John June 8, 2022 8:11 AM


Persons who have not learned the lessons of history are destined to repeat them.

We seem to have quite a few right now!!!


Clive Robinson June 8, 2022 8:42 AM

@ ALL,

Is this realy that surprising?

Whilst the information might be officially “classified” to some level, it is often in the public domain to anyone who works in the arms industry or happens to watch You-Tube or similar.

Arms manufacturers want to sell their product and they will provide the information directly to a serious buyer or indirectly through “action footage” of the vehicle being put through it’s paces.

With a photograph or video and a known refrence marker you can calculate these fairly easily. I know model makers who do this with old black and white photos and films of railway locomotives which are nolonger in existence.

A friend showed me how they had calculated the wheel diameter from which all the other measurments were derived, from a man standing in the picture holding a stokers shovel, for which all the measurments were known.

There is a well known virtual world with buildings, cars, trains and boats where, individuals have spent posibly thousands of hours of their own time building the virtual models.

Another well known “Space Game” that NASA is known to have helped with[1] and learn the science / enginering in a fun way for people to get to be good at various things is known as “KSP” or just Kerbal’s. It uses the “Unity” physics engine for very realistic orbital manovering and is more than a bit nerve wracking to play. But the KSP engine and system also alows “mods” people have spent hours developing not just highly realistic parts but missions as well[2].

So yes, any source of information is likely to end up in these games or more correctly simulators.

The fact the “documents” might be clasiffied does not of nacessity mean the “information” is actually classified, a mistake many journalists should understand a little better…

Oh as for those French figures, yes for some reason the French and Turks use not 360degrees in a circle but 400mils… Something that can be a real nusance on surveying equipment that has been “Frenchified” for some reason…



Peter Shenkin June 8, 2022 9:43 AM


It is well to remember that those who do learn the lessons of history are also doomed to repeat them.

lurker June 8, 2022 12:07 PM

These must be the progeny of those denizens of the ‘net in the late ’80s who proclaimed “Information wants to be free.”

David Leppik June 8, 2022 12:35 PM

What a great idea for spies! Set up a video game to attract the people you want to extract information from. Make it highly realistic, but make the things you want to learn implausibly, embarrassingly wrong. Just wrong enough that people with the real information can’t stand it!

Actually, if I were a spy, that’s what I’d say I’m doing. I’d just want to get paid to make a cool, realistic video game.

wumpus June 8, 2022 1:11 PM

I have to wonder how many people have been encouraged to “leak” bogus information to drown out the signal-to-noise ratio. Anyone with a troll farm should be amazingly good at this type of thing.

I wonder how many spies figured out that this was an obvious security flaw in the wetware of plenty of people with security clearances.

JB June 8, 2022 2:01 PM

@Clive – Just because it is out on public domain doesn’t mean people, who hold security clearances, can still comment. If someone knows information to be false, allow it to continue to be false. Don’t comment either way until the information becomes officially declassified, or expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent. No video game is worth any potential consequence of losing a security clearance, just to be “correct.”

wrorke June 8, 2022 2:01 PM

The source article in your prior item re: the CIA Vault 7 leaker points out:
“We live in an era that has been profoundly warped by the headstrong impulses of men who are technically sophisticated but emotionally immature.”

A vast amount of information is classified. Millions of people are needed to do all the work with that classified info. Increasing demand for that growing workforce inevitably requires mining lower grade HR ore. More and more people are getting access who will not meet the desired standard of confidentiality.

Secrets are perishable and have half-lives. Those half-lives may be (are) shortening in the modern world where everyone, on a whim, can talk to the entire world.

Clive Robinson June 8, 2022 4:34 PM

@ JB,

As I said,

“The fact the “documents” might be clasiffied does not of necessity mean the “information” is actually classified, a mistake many journalists should understand a little better…”

Whilst someone holding a clearence may not be able to read the documentation if it is clasified (thus can not be in the public domain). If however the information is they read comes another way, such as from photographs, film, video or newsprint etc that is in the public domain (thus not classified), they are actually not doing anything wrong by reading it.

However, there is an issue as to what documents are and are not claaified.

Some mistakenly argue that if a non-clasified document gets taken into a classified document it some how magically becomes clasiffied.

It does not… A US judge settled that argument some years ago when a certain US agency decided it did not like a researcher and tried to retrospectively classify documents that had not only been in the public domain for some time, they were in very many University libraries. The judge actually apologized to the defendent for the way he had been treated.

Unfortunatly as normal those who pushed for the prosecution refused to acknowledge any kind of wrong doing, and as far as we can tell they were never “sanctioned” in any way.

It’s about time such people were dragged into the light, “named”, “shamed”, “stripped of clearance”, “stripped of job” and “stripped of pension and benifits” as well as anything else they had done to quite innocent defendents. Also their departments not just ordered to pay full costs to the defendent but three times full costs and any other benifit the agency might have incurred.

Certain people need to understand why power has to be restrained and taken out of their hands as they are not “fit and proper persons”.

As the old saying has it,

“All power corrupts, and absolute power corrups absolutely”.

For the sake of society and the rest of the world, even Governments at war need to have their power constrained.

A point not lost on the EU representative to the security council who caused the Russian to throw a hissy fit and stomp out.

Godel June 8, 2022 6:17 PM

@Clive There are 400 gradians or grads in a (French) circle. The mil is a military unit of measurement for gun sights and binoculars and the like and at 6400 NATO mils to a circle, approximates a milliradian. Wikipedia is your friend.

Bck209 June 9, 2022 12:36 AM

Beyond the debate as to what is classified or not, I have a major concern which is that boundaries between realistic-looking games and hard reality is too permeable, in both directions.

In a game, you lose, you press reset reality ain’t like that and, apparently, this subtlety is lost to too many in the political class. Or even military.

Add to this that, obviously, a lot of the population is not really aware that actions (on the real world) have consequences … is more terrifying than annoying.

The real world needs proper protection. This story here is a rather innocuous event. But a valid proof of concern.

Clive Robinson June 9, 2022 1:22 AM

@ Godel,

Blaim a tired mind… Doing odd hours yet again and sleeping twice a day. Back half a lifetime ago when I was a keen sporting sailor it was not a problem, these days…

As for units that sound like “mils” it’s perhaps the most context sensitive shortening there is (basically 1/1000th of XXX).

You have millimeters or 1/1000th of a meter and you will hear builders and carpenters say 1200mil meaning “four foot”. But just to confuse there are also thousandths of an inch ~1/4mm called mils and still used in the electronics industry causing confusion especially amongst software developers…

Then there one or two others in electronics such as reactive component values. Mils is often used as a shorthand for inductance, even occasionaly capacitance though “mike” and “puf” are more normal. Then there is milli-Siemens and a few other device parameters. Yes there is even milli-Hertz found used for measuring mechanical wave vibration frequency components in various geological sciences.

Then there is even air preasure in millibars, which gets shortened by some such –as those working with the atmosphere and Drs– to “mils”…

However things are not all they might seem… 1 atmosphere supports approx 30 inches / 0.75m of mercury, so whilst it is easy to make a measuring device using a U shaped glass tube –manometer– it’s actually not very precise… This is due to amongst other things hight, weather, temprature, local gravity and even phase of the moon and how good your eye sight is when measuring the meniscus… So we have Pascals defined under SI as one newton per square meter, and one hectopascal as one millibar. Only millibars are not always millibars, it depends on “the guage type and it’s datum / refrence point. Drs for instance still use mercury manometers so your “blood preasure” realy can be dependent on “which way the wind blows” 😉

ResearcherZero June 9, 2022 2:42 AM

Like Clive said, most of it is public anyway.

Unfortunately most of it exists in an environment increasingly dominated by information warfare. By keeping information classified some can then take full advantage, hence the environment we are in today. But convincing politicians to act any differently, that is a very difficult challenge. I haven’t seen the poor old judges this ‘toey’ since a madman was running around blowing up the family courts in the 1980’s, and that is hardly going to help matters.

Shouldn’t they all be trying to work together, maybe compromise and come up with some solutions? Sounds pretty crazy, working together, like the little school kiddies do.

LeakerNaah/SpeculationUWU June 9, 2022 6:18 AM

Miniaturized Synthetic Aperture Radar, Remote controlled UGV Chainguns, and PSYOP Automation revealed in discussion boards?

Bob Paddock June 9, 2022 7:30 AM

@Clive Robinson

“Drs for instance still use mercury manometers so your ‘blood pressure’ really can be dependent on ‘which way the wind blows’.”

Medical errors caused by confusing Pounds with Kilograms have caused deaths.

When I was in school getting my degree, I had a Physics teacher that gave all of his lectures in the Metric System. The book covered nothing but the Metric System. All of the tests he gave were in the English system!

Conversions where never mentioned, anyplace, not the book, not the class, not the homework. Everyone failed the first test. This kind of #)$#$ in schools, is the kind of thing that makes me believe in Home Schooling, and left a bad taste for “higher education” from ivory towers.

The one good thing to come out of that (?), is everyone in class learned to paying attention to the ‘Units’.

In the English System the unit of Weight is the Pound(Oz). The unit of Mass is the Slug. In the Metric System the unit of Weight is the Newton. The unit of Mass is the (Kilo)Gram.

So why does this box of organic cereal, first thing at hand with label, say “10 Oz (284g)”? All of these dual unit labels are comparing weight vs mass, is it any wonder people get confused?

Clive Robinson June 9, 2022 11:44 AM

@ Bob Paddock, ALL,

Re : is it any wonder people get confused?

Remember the “English units” are often US / American and not the “Imperial units” which are UK / British… the “Continentals” having given up not just LSD but much else for the sake of Revolutionary French Finger Counting because some little bloke got insistent 😉

From memory the US liquids are based on the Elizabethan “wine gallon” the UK on what became the “beer gallon”.

But personally I go back to the very roots of science and blaim the chickens 😉

Let me explain, why they are the very devil in disguise and quite innocently caused science and industrialisation to happen (the third bad move after walking out of the oceans, and comming down from the trees)…

A chickens egg was the standard “kitchen measure” which eventually became both volume and then “weight” on a balance scale in a cup or small bowl[1]. From which most other kitchen measures were derived. But recipies are “the earliest published science experiments” and are ratio based not measure based, something most do not realise or why.

To make a balance measure you would have two small bowls hanging on either end of your measure balance stick, that you would “adjust dry” / “center for” the balance point.

So a recipe and method,

1) Put four unbroken eggs (appx 245g) in one bowl and add sugar to other bowl to balance. Tip the sugar into the mixing bowl.

2) Add flour to Balance eggs, then tip flour onto paper/plate.

3) Add fat (butter/oil) to balance, against the eggs and add to mixing bowl. Mix sugar and fat to make a smooth “cream”.

4) Mix in some flour and one egg, cream untill smooth.

5) repeat 4 untill all eggs and all flour mixed in.

6) If required add “full fat” milk to loosen the mix.

7) Put in two “8 inch” oven pans and cook in moderate oven.

8) when cooked and cooled make more butter cream to hold two together add more butter cream or icing to top add decoration serve in 12 slices with three large pots of tea (6pints).

And enjoy. No measures involved just ratios by balance.

When “small” helping mum so you got the mixing bowl to clean with your finger, tounge or more usually both ment you “learnt about ratios” before you ever did about measures of weight or mass or density (if you ever did).

As our world naturally works by ratios not absolute measures, you can also see why modern kids have trouble with mathmatics, where ratios make sense but absolutes rarely do except as multiplication / division constants[2].

The fact we teach things the wrong way around is why it takes so long for some children to learn. Give them cylinders and string and show them how to find a cylinder with twice or half the diameter of another teaches their “senses” a valuble lesson. If the cylinders are all made of the same material say wood and are the same length a simple “balance” teaches their senses another lesson (first area then volume). Then using an adjustable or graduated balance, you can teach them about “scales” then introduce the next logical step “rulers” / “measures” and introduce multiplication and division and “normalisation” for “percentages” then the concept of “powers”. Using squares and cubes and similar blocks alows for basic measurment and the notion of geometry and the likes of square roots etc.

Oh and explianing “equals” or the “=” symbol from “balance” is almost painless. Likewise the concept of “zero” which took mankind a few thousand years to grasp after they had learned how to “write” (the Italians AKA Romans never did get the hang of zero or negative it’s why their maths was so dificult, but they grocked ratios and geometry without problem)…

[1] As some know “white smiths”, “shoe makers” and druggists / “apothecaries” needing “small units” used the likes of Barleycorns (1/3 inch) and poppy seeds (1/12 inch) and similar “grains” for weight (7000 wheat grains being one medieval pound). Hence “Troy” and “apothecaries” “avoir de pois” “goods of weight” measures.

[2] Remember Y = K + (C x X) is actualy a “two line aproximation” to a power curve. Which is why in cooking meat in an oven you say,

“20mins per pound plus one for the oven.”

Importantly this is after the oven has come to temprature not before. Another mistake people make, so can end up with under cooked food, that can be quite harmfull to them.

Winter June 9, 2022 11:49 AM

@Bob Paddock

In the Metric System the unit of Weight is the Newton. The unit of Mass is the (Kilo)Gram.

Actually, the Newton is the unit of force. The unit of weight is the force of Earth’s gravity on the unit of mass.

lurker June 9, 2022 1:40 PM

@Bob Paddock
As @Clive asked “English” or “American” measures? The ounce weight (oz) is nominally the same, but an Imperial pint of water is the volume occupied by 20 oz; a US pint is the volume occupied by a pound of water, 16 oz. To the nitpickers who ask at what temperature, short answer: go look it up. The end result is 8 pints make 1 gallon (galon), so an Imperial gallon is about 4.5 litres, and a US galon is about 3.8 litres. For an extra fun fact check the difference in metric units between the two kinds of inches.

The ultimate “check the units” reminder should be the Mars Climate Orbiter:

SpaceLifeForm June 10, 2022 12:47 AM

@ Godel, Clive

I like to estimate wind speed based upon the vibrating water in the toilet.

As to determining the direction, well, that methodology is classified.

skaelikiw June 10, 2022 3:02 AM

I dont see a problem.
If everybody publish’s everything on everybody.
Its win win..

All is fair in love and war

Winter June 10, 2022 4:20 AM


All is fair in love and war

We see again in Ukraine today what War means: Death an Destruction.

And I think #metoo shows us again and again what this “proverb” means in Love.

Clive Robinson June 10, 2022 6:16 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Godel, ALL,

As to determining the direction, well, that methodology is classified.

But quite simple to do.

One simple system requires only three “vent pipes” in an aproximate triangle. Comparing the “phase of the waves in the bowl” with a little mathmatics gives you direction and velocity.

I can think of several other systems, but that’s the easiest one to understand.

Oh fun fact you might know about the ancient Chinese earthquake detectors that gave direction by the use of multiple dragons mouths around the bowl. Well they also had directional wind whistles esentially a vertical pipe with a “bottle top” type resonator / whistle in it. The top of the whistle had a directional cowl.

Now… If you made the same, but with the cowl being rotated by a mechanism where the instantanious direction was known the amplitude of the whistle would be a sinusoid and have a phase difference with respect to the instabtanious position of the cowl…

Oh and quite a few experienced sailboat sailers can hear the speed and direction of the wind almost subconciously by the sounds it makes in the rigging when moored at the dock. Thus they know when the weather is “on the turn” and if it is worth / safe to venture forth.

Who? June 10, 2022 1:02 PM

Is it a matter of emotionally immature people with a clearance, or just one of people that has challenges differentiating reality from fantasy? Our current world is evolving in a somewhat worrying way, people is focusing on social networks. They are living a fantasy in an electronic dragnet targeted to store and sell their lives.

What do you think?

Who? June 10, 2022 1:17 PM

Just want to be more precise. It is obvious someone has leaked classified information, and [s]he did it to win a discussion and nothing more. What is not clear to me is that the “whistleblower” was aware of the consequences of his/her actions.

It is the third time it happens on the same forum. People is, in some way, getting seriously disconnected from reality. It is not just a matter of being emotionally immature; I am sure, these leakers would not do the same on a different (e.g. technical) forum. It looks like the brain of a lot of people thinks that, as it is a game [forum], real-world rules do not apply.

SpaceLifeForm June 10, 2022 5:17 PM

@ Clive, fib

Thus they know when the weather is “on the turn” and if it is worth / safe to venture forth.

Most people do not pay attention to which way the winds are veering, so they do not know where the nearest storm is relative to their location.

It is not rocket science, you just need to go outside, pay attention, smell the air, and watch the clouds.

SpaceLifeForm June 10, 2022 5:44 PM

@ Who?

It looks like the brain of a lot of people thinks that, as it is a game [forum], real-world rules do not apply.

That sums it up. See Jan 6.

These insane people have no functioning
frontal mirror neurons.

They are literally brainwashed.

They have no cognitive reflection capabilities.

They can not envision any repercussions of their actions.

They are insane. They are NOT sane.

There are way too many insane people, and storage facilities are limited.

Leon Theremin June 10, 2022 7:26 PM

These people were not always insane. Someone made them insane so they could be weaponized.

QAnon/4chan/8chan are used as breeding ground for terrorists, criminals and insane people. The ones responsible for this have complete surveillance of everybody and are sponsored by Silicon Valley, who spies on everybody and is willing to ignore all laws and rights to maintain their monopoly. They make problems to sell the solution.

Clive Robinson June 10, 2022 9:07 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, fib,

It is not rocket science, you just need to go outside, pay attention, smell the air, and watch the clouds.

Or listen to their bones[1], but seriously with so many people looking at their smart phones, do they ever look up and see the clouds, let alone watch them…

As you are aware my childhood would be considered strange these days with helping in the kitchen and garden to “bottle” vegtables, make vinegar to make pickles and make jams fruit cheeses and cordials. Then there was shoot / slaughter and prepare pigeons and chickens, chop up pigs heads and trotters and rendering down to get lard and boil out gelatine for making jellies but also seal in potted meat. To preserve the seasonal excecess to store in the pantry to be used in the rest of the year. As well as killing grey squirles to get the bounty on their tails. Normal stuff for children prior and during WWII but my parents even though on upper midle class salaries, were frugal and prepared. So the power and energy supply strikes of the early 1970’s and reading by candle light reflected by tin foil and focused through a bottle of water were just things you did and the likes of hay box cooking of hearty stews etc and waking in the morning to find ice on the inside of the windows “normal”.

Now people who do this are given stange names like “preppers” as though they are strange weirdo more dangerous than “pot-head-hippies” and taffeta weaving “back-to-the-soil” hedge witches.

And this change for the worst has taken less than half a century…

[1] It is treated as a folk lore or myth by those that do not suffer from “weather bones” all that realy tells you is that they have probably not had a serious broken bone in their life. I can assure you, having had many broken bones in my time, including the almost unheard of in living people full fracture at the point of the lower jaw that they do definately ache with changes in the weather. The broken toes and fingers from sporting injuries “dull ache”, and the broken collar bone “hot aches” as for the lower jaw, people talk about having their teeth set on edge, imagine if you can your teeth feeling like they are trying to do an “ice-cream brain freeze” in very slow motion.

ResearcherZero June 12, 2022 1:18 AM


“Is it a matter of emotionally immature people with a clearance, or just one of people that has challenges differentiating reality from fantasy?”

It’s not too different from high school. The emotional maturity of some attending security briefings, and inflated sense of self importance, is quite evident. At least they enjoy the sandwiches.
It would be good if people did listen, and more importantly, read the reports, but some are busy people that don’t think that is important.

There are issues with perceptions of power and ego, temptation. The belief by some that they can’t be fooled, the rules don’t apply to them, or a persecution complex. If they do become “captured”, those vulnerabilities are often reinforced by ‘honey dripped’ words in the ear.

“They are telling you lies, she is not really a spy, they are looking for a scapegoat.”

Whiskers In Menlo June 13, 2022 8:30 AM

The angular mil is used for artillary calculations. One mil translates to approximately one metre at a distance of one thousand metres. The angle is used for calculating either size or range. Where the range is known the angle will give the size, where the size is known then the angle will give the range.

1 NATO Mil = circle/6400

Rifle scopes, binoculars, spotting scopes can have reticles that mark these angles. I.e. one at a thousand.

And about 1957 it was agreed that 1 inch is EXACTLY 2.54 cm. That was a small change but surveyors still wrestle with it and other conversions where the error adds up. Rates of continental drift are large enough to be interesting

Whiskers In Menlo June 13, 2022 8:53 AM

On secret management.
For those that are read in, work with or trained involving classified information there is no notification that the locked room information briefing is declassified. Even less clarity is given to engineers that invent or design classified content. [ roach motel ].
The only way to know is when a declassified document without redactions surfaces in some news article. If the redaction is your name or might be, speaking with authority is a problem.
Patents surface from the classified world but where that patent was applied can continue to be classified.

Ollie Jones June 22, 2022 6:09 AM

In his book Gunfight (Hachette, 2021), Ryan Busse calls people like these perpetrators “couch commandos” and the snarkier word “tactards”. Busse’s more concerned with infantry equipment than tanks, but the idea is the same.

The cat’s out of the bag, the worms don’t fit back into the can, Pandora’s Box is open, whatever metaphor you want to use. Military weaponry is now part of popular culture.

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