Friday Squid Blogging: The Language of the Jumbo Flying Squid

The jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) uses its color-changing ability as a language:

In 2020, however, marine biologists discovered that jumbo flying squid are surprisingly coordinated. Despite their large numbers, the squid rarely bumped into each other or competed for the same prey. The scientists hypothesized that the flickering pigments allowed the squid to quickly communicate complex messages, such as when it was preparing to attack and what it was targeting.

The researchers observed that the squid displayed 12 distinct pigmentation patterns in a variety of sequences, similar to how humans arrange words in a sentence. For example, squid darkened while pursuing prey and then shifted to a half light/half dark pattern immediately before striking. The researchers hypothesized that these whole-body pigment changes signaled a precise action, such as “I’m about to attack.”

More interestingly (or worrisome), the researchers also believe the squid use subtle pigment changes to provide more context to the action. For example, they sometimes flashed pale stripes along their torso before darkening, possibly denoting the type or location of prey. This suggested that the squid may arrange the patterns to modify the meaning of other patterns, creating what humans call “syntax.”

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on August 19, 2022 at 4:05 PM55 Comments


vas pup August 19, 2022 4:21 PM

Digital detoxes: Popular but not always effective

“Research finds that digital detoxes can help to improve mental health but also exacerbate loneliness.

However, it is not only famous people who sometimes feel they need a break from social media; so do “normal” users. According to a recent survey by the digital association Bitkom, 10% of the population in Germany planned to spend more time offline this year — and about 43% had taken a break from digital media in the past to feel better.

Other studies have also made a link between the time a user spends online and depression, but many experts say that it is hard to say what came first, as people with depressive tendencies
might be more inclined to use social media. Other research, such as a 2019 study by Abu Dhabi University, showed that digital detoxes could also have negative effects; participants reported stress and loneliness during their break from social media.

The impact of social media on a person’s life also always depended on personality, said Langer. While some people benefitted from new networks, others felt pressure and also envy
when they compared themselves to other users who appeared to have it better in life than them, she said.

Young people in particular have to be careful not to post something that might turn out to be unpleasant in hindsight or that shows somebody else who might not want to be in the picture.”

Clive Robinson August 20, 2022 3:29 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : Memory Access Obfuscation.

You might find this from Signal of interest,

It explains how you can use a CPU enclave that accesses common CORE RAM from leaking information by what would be “traffic analysis” on the RAM addresses.

It’s actually a fairly important function that I discussed with people way back on this blog years ago about protecting encryption keys that had to end up being stored in CORE RAM due to the then CPU limitations. One “attack mode” that had to be considered was spraying liquid nitrogen over the RAM chips thus freezing the values held such that the RAM contents could be read out. Simply encrypting RAM was insufficient.

Clive Robinson August 20, 2022 3:35 AM

@ ALL Linux 6 users,

This is going to be a source of all sorts of security issues,

Basically it falls very foul of,

“Security -v- Efficiency”

Thus at the very least is going to be rich in time based side channels.

Leon Theremin August 20, 2022 4:38 AM

Radio2Speech: High Quality Speech Recovery from Radio Frequency Signals

Given human brains still send minuscule signals to the speech muscles when doing “inner speech”, given that may be enough to produce tiny vibrations invisible to the naked eye but visible to high speed cameras/radar, the approach used for this academic work may just be enough to extract people’s inner speech wirelessly.

&ers August 20, 2022 8:16 AM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

To understand a little bit better of that system.


SpaceLifeForm August 20, 2022 12:43 PM

Re : Memory Access Obfuscation

While it sounds good in theory, it is just Silicon Turtles. If you cannot trust SGX, then you can not trust Signal, because the SGX could leak and you would be none the wiser.



Dancing On Thin Ice August 20, 2022 1:10 PM

A resonant frequency in Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson can crash some hard drives.

An example of how security exploits/computer flaws can depend on when components from different times are in use:
I often played the music video at high volume in a nightclub when it came out in 1989 but never had a problem with the computers. This may be due to less likely for a 1989 song to played when the affected hard drives circa 2005 were in use.
Disclosure would not wait until now to be in the news when a timely warning would be more useful.

SpaceLifeForm August 20, 2022 1:22 PM

Re : Memory Access Obfuscation

Don’t get me wrong here, at least Signal is trying to make it more difficult for an attacker.

But, ultimately, the crypto must be separated from the comms, and that will never scale if there are servers in the middle somewhere that have knowledge (some kind of database) of users via a registered ID, even if it is just a random bit string.

In order to not have any knowledge, it has to allow anyone to use the system anonymously.

If there are any servers that retain any metadata about a user, it can ultimately lead to some kind of leak that may lead to traffic analysis, which could ID the user.

It is a very hard problem. But I do give credit to Signal for trying to impose a cost on the well funded and motivated attacker.

Sid August 20, 2022 2:46 PM

“ there might be little to no margin of time to delay adoption of PQC.” (post-quantum cryptography)


vas pup August 20, 2022 3:11 PM

@Moderator – can’t find this post – do reposting.
If it was deleted – can’t understand why: subject match blog subject, source is not from N Korea, Russia, China you name it.

Q: Do you have outside Handler Who required its removal? That is reasonable question. Thank you.

Reviving Old Aircraft Could Help the U.S. Raise an Army of ‘Undead’ Drones

“The U.S. Air Force might be sitting on the key to expanding its inventory of fighter jets without even knowing it. Older planes, like the F-16 Fighting Falcon, could be brought back to life as uncrewed drones, among other combat weapons. The drones—what war analyst Zachary Kallenborn calls “undead aircraft” in a recent article for War on the Rocks—could be an inexpensive, expendable solution to the problem of rising aircraft costs. Undead aircraft could take on assignments too dangerous for crewed aircraft, flying one last mission before a permanent retirement.

Many of the planes in the Boneyard were in flyable condition, but have simply become obsolete. Some are considered no longer safe to fly, their airframes having reached the point of exhaustion. Others are cannibalized to keep active aircraft of the same family flying on active duty.

Undead aircraft, freed of the need to carry a pilot, can carry out a whole new level of dangerous missions. Kallenborn sees the possibility of robo-aircraft armed with missiles, bombs, and other munitions, or simply used as decoys. QF-16s could be armed with HARM anti-radiation missiles and then flown over enemy air defenses, automatically launching HARMs at any radar that dares to turn in its flight path. The concept would be extremely dangerous to an aircraft with a human pilot, but for an undead fighter, it’s just another mission flown.

Undead aircraft could even be loaded up with bombs and turned into giant cruise missiles.”

vas pup August 20, 2022 3:14 PM

Israel’s StemRad gears up for major demo of anti-radiation suit on NASA’s Artemis I

“Israeli company StemRad, a developer of radiation protection suits for space explorers, emergency responders, defense forces, nuclear industry workers, and medical personnel, is preparing for a major demonstration of its technology as part of NASA’s Artemis I mission later this month.

NASA’s Artemis program, first unveiled in 2017, aims to land astronauts on the lunar surface in the next few years and establish a long-term human presence on the Moon as a warm-up for future missions to Mars. Israel officially signed onto the Artemis program in January.

As part of the uncrewed Artemis I mission, StemRad will assess the protective qualities of the AstroRad, an anti-radiation suit co-developed with Lockheed Martin to protect vital organs from harmful gamma radiation, on human analogs (or mannequins) aboard the Orion.

The phantoms (called matroshkas in space contexts), are made of materials that mimic human bones, soft tissues, and organs in female bodies, and contain thousands of radiation detectors that will provide researchers with a high-resolution map of radiation dose deposition in humans.

===>The Israeli-American company was set up after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to develop protection for first responders exposed to the highly penetrating gamma radiation emitted in such events. StemRad’s radiation suits are now used to protect workers at nuclear reactors, radiological first responders, physicians and military forces, as well as astronauts.”

SpaceLifeForm August 20, 2022 3:33 PM

@ Sid

There is a push to scare you.

Do not chase the PQC Ghost thru the swamp. Do not be surprised if whatever NIST decides upon, ii is broken quickly.

I mean, it’s not like that is infeasible, just because that has not happened.

Oh, wait! My bad! 😉

BTW, a slightly more efficient attack on SIKE/SIDH was found days later. Sorry, no link handy ATM.

Move to an ECC Safecurve, phase out RSA, and not worry about PQC is my thinking.


I do not want any new and improved backdoors delivered via Silicon Turtles at this time.

vas pup August 20, 2022 4:25 PM

Eternal Wisdom:

“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

SpaceLifeForm August 20, 2022 4:27 PM

@ Clive

re: io_uring

I have thought about the performance problem of moving data around for decades. It is expensive in terms of cycles.

But, this performance problem and various approaches are fraught with secondary problems.

Just to make this work requires a lot of work at kernel level regarding locking, mutex, etc. It will add more attack surface due to race conditions.

I do not think this is easy, and I doubt it has been well thought out yet.

My thinking is that to avoid the moves, there must be dedicated buffers in userspace and kernelspace that can be dynamically be remapped in the TLB. That would require major redesign work. Seriously major redesign.

It would likely be easier (ha!) to write a new kernel from scratch with this design goal in mind from the start.

Trying to graft this into the Linux kernel after 3 decades is probably not wise.

It is going to create more problems. Just g(io_uring attack).

Slower is more secure.

Ted August 20, 2022 8:53 PM

Is anyone reading any good books right now?

There’s a few I’d like to listen to when they come out in September 2022, including:

“Like, Comment, Subscribe: Inside YouTube’s Chaotic Rise to World Domination”

“The Secret History of the Five Eyes: The untold story of the shadowy international spy network, through its targets, traitors and spies”

I just saw “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology” is coming out in October 2022. So lots of good listening/reading to look forward to.

Clive Robinson August 20, 2022 11:28 PM

@ &ers,

“To understand a little bit better of that system.”

I am not surprised, I’ve previously mentioned the known corruption with radio systems and how it could play out[1].

As for the “Deadmen Walking” this was so common in WWII they even made a joke about it in the 1970 film “Kelly’s Heros”[2].

It was once observed back in Roman times if not earlier that an army brought crime and corruption with it in two forms,

1, The “Camp followers”.
2, The “Soldiers”.

Oh and the higher the rank in any given unit of an army the more corruption and crime there was likely to be.

The only way to limit it is the ages old, “Train and Reorganize” along with the pointless make-work of “If it moves salute it, if not paint it” and harsh arbitary physical punishments. That even the earliest of Roman Soldiers would have recognized.

The problem in there is of course the “harsh arbitary punishment” quickly becomes bullying and thus forms power cliques the equivalent of gangs with all the nasties of sadistic, psychopathic, and narsistic people gaining control over others.

As I’ve also pointed out the Russian armed forces are still run on a rather outmoded “aristocratic” model, of aloof but tyranical officers from a “born to command class” giving arbitary orders to brutish / thuggish “Non-Commisioned Officers” (NCO’s) who then controled the so called “Other Ranks” (ORs) who were treated at best as medieval serfs. Independence of thought would be beaten out and promotion almost via “dead mens shoes” and given to those who realy never ever should be given power over others.

Other armies work more sensibly, where you are trained to step up one or two ranks at any time. That is a private or cadet will first receive basic training. Then will be asigned a trade, from where they will then get both trade training, and command training, to become first a lance corporal then a corporal, and the required command functions of those ranks. Part of which is a “Detachment commanders” role. If they pass the Det-Com then promotion to a lance corporal or full corporals role usually follows within short order, as places become available. Then both training types step up and progression to sergeant. At which point a sergeant can if considered more command orientated train as an officer and become a captain having learned what the two lieutenant ranks learn as part of their senior NCO training.

Part of such training systems is “self survival” with knowledge of how to be a unit of one. That is all the knowledge required to get from A to B and much else that makes you an independent entity that can not just support it’s self but others. Something specifically “beaten out” in the “aristocratic” model.

In the British army the smallest tactical unit is considered “The four man brick”. The assumption is that it will still operate capably in combat with a 25% wounded rate. That is one injured stretcherd by two others with the remaining man with the unit support weapon –machine gun etc– taking the appropriate position. It also alows for “two on two off” rotas for guarding a position for rest / eating and other essentials.

Each man in such a unit has to be capable of carrying out any command role plus their own trade or trades and have familiarity with other trades depending on the unit role.

[1] The sort of radio systems you need for actual “military combat” are upwards of €5000 each. Whilst all you need for “military excercises” are Baofeng UV5 almost “throw-away” hand helds from Chinese FMCE mass production at maybe €25 each. So if you were of sufficiently high rank with control over ordering say a thousand radios, you could put around €4.9million in your pocket without abyone being the wiser in peace time…

The problem with using ordinary hand held radios like UV5s in combat against a technically competent and well equiped enemy. Is the “Find, Fix, Finish” cycle could be very fast with integrated fire control systems. So the enemy could have your,

1.1, Signal “Found” ~10sec
1.2, Position “Fixed” ~20sec
1.3, Incoming shell to “Finish” you ~30sec

But even with an opponent who only has cheap commercial drones, “software defined radio”(SDR), consumer laptops, open source software and a few handgrenades and ingenuity they could get possibly even more accurate “Finish” with say an extra 5mins flight time… And the drones they use to “Find&Fix” could be easily more than 5km from you so the first you would know is when that grenade dropping drone zooms in at 10-12m/S from a low angle and drops it’s little “message of love” right down into your fox hole/trench and onto your helmet you’ve just instinctively grabbed knowing what comes next…

[2] Kelly’s Heros is a film everyone should see atleast once in their life,'s_Heroes

There is a “deadman walking” refrence where you hear “crapgame” the corrupt supply seargent say he’s collecting a dead officers whisky.

Clive Robinson August 21, 2022 12:18 AM

@ Dancing on thin ice, ALL,

Re : Self Resonance

“A resonant frequency in Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson can crash some hard drives.”

Anything eith sufficient “stiffness” or “bounds” has one or more self resonance frequencies.

Whilst most usually only think of the mechanical or sound/acoustic domain, any domain that can support radient or conductive transportation of energy will also have an implicit frequency domain (inverse of time domain). Thus anything that falls within that domain will have self resonant frequencies.

What happens at a self resonant frequency is the energy transportation and reflection becomes in phase and coherent. The result is the energy builds up and one of two things happens,

1, It fractures due to vibration.
2, It melts due to absorbtion.

Of the two fracturing generally takes less input energy which is just one of the reasons why the development of laser weapons has gone down the pulsed path (see “laser peening” as a usefull spin off[1]).

I’ve seen CDs / DVDs “shatter” in multi-speed drives in the same way a glass Prince Rupert’s Drop explodes due to very high “residual stresses”[2].

Some people are researching residual stress as an energy storing method with very short duration very high peak output pulses.

To see why consider the reasonably well known fact that there is an electrical circuit which consists of a resonant line and avalanche component used for generating very short duration high peak power pulses. Which has in the past been used in radar transmitters and also test instruments such as those used for “time domain reflectometry”(TDR). You charge it like an ordinary capacitor, but the output pulse duration is defined by the resonant transmission line. A variation of this is the pumped optical resonator. Similar are “water dielectric capacitors”.

In all cases very large amounts of energy can be stored for very short periods of time, then released at almost unimaginable power levels. Look up the curious Z-Machine and it’s results[3].

Now imagine what you could do if you could keep such energy stored almost indefinitely as “residual stress”…

[1] ‘

[2] ‘

[3] ‘

Clive Robinson August 21, 2022 12:33 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

“It would likely be easier (ha!) to write a new kernel from scratch with this design goal in mind from the start.”

If my brain remembers correctly that was one of the goals of the “user space MACH kernel” where there would be,

1, Kernel space and algorithms.
2, Shared space and interfaces.
3, User space and processes.

The shared space acted like “Letterbox memory” with clearly seperated write-read protocol and security control.

In part it was based on the “write up, read down” security model where you could write data to an equivalent privilege process, or higher privileged process, but only read data from an equivalent or lower privileged process.

Clive Robinson August 22, 2022 5:06 AM

@ Winter,

“The Russian incompetence, ineptitude, and ignorance surpassed even the worst predictions made. The resolve, determination, and effectiveness of the Ukrainian response surpassed everything anyone could ever have dreamed.”

As I pointed out repeatedly the Ukranian’s had had a taste of freedom from the Russian Empire and were making a steady improvment. They had also seen northwards to Belarus and what was happening there to see what the future held for them under “Putin benevolance”. So the majority wanted none of it back.

Russia has a,history of not learning from past mistakes and falling back into old patterns. So will quite probably repeate their past mistakes as seen in Afghanistan. Their supposed leadership will lie to their people and hide the bodies, untill there realy can be no denying what has been happening.

Obviously Putin’s legacy, is not going to be that he united the Rus and rebuilt the glorious motherland, that is a madness between him and reality and reality tends to end up winning.

In the near future the Russian people are going to be asking the question,

“Why does the world hate us?”

To answer that they will have to look at why they as a people they,

“Abdicated on their responsability”.

Every so often a nation gets a wakeup call that as a people they have alowed the leadership to take and misuse to much power. Worse is that the citizans of that nation as a people will have to pay the price for the leadership (It’s something the UK is going to have to deal with as well but from a much poorer state). How a nation’s people act together to get back to a place where society functions equitably is based on many things and it will take time.

As I’ve noted before, Russians have a dilemma they can try repeating the same old “Strong Russia” criminal Empire nonsense which so far has always ended up failing. Or they could instead build a functioning nation via hardwork and trade. It is upto them to take responsibility and act whilst they still can. So far they have chosen not to thus the bodies continue to pile up.

European History over the past half millennia carries object lessons aplenty for those who simply care to look. Looking might be painfull but reality has a habit of delivering longterm unlike politically motivated fantasies of a past that never realy existed.

But on the flip side all non civil wars in the past hundred years have been destroyers of firmly held military notions and doctrines about technology on the battlefield, and woe betide the army that tries to fight new wars in the old ways. This war that “The Poisoner” has started out of vanity is not an exception in that regard, in fact quite the opposite, so much has changed it’s hard sometimes to see the underlying reasons.

To the world in general the “fighting backs against the wall” of the Ukranians has apparently brought out an astonishing inventiveness. More importantly it has brought an alleged Super Power down to “rotting in mud” by reusing consumer and commercial devices and technology in new ways that the attackers plans and training had not anticipated.

The actual reality is that an almost relentless logical progression has been followed, via one of the oldest military doctrines[1] which is one that has been discussed at some level in the past on this blog. But also another ancient doctrine of war that a smaller force can take on a much larger force and have a significantly disproportionate effect[2].

But the exponetialy rising use of technology especially in some military systems has brought in the concept of an “Army of one” with real meaning. Where an unknown individual can build “Cyber-Weapons” that can bring down the “Interconnected world” and all that it supports. Whilst it is not actually new –the earliest example most here can probably name is “The Bob Morris Worm” from Nov88 a third of a century ago– each year it gets exponentialy more effective. Whilst both the “Great War”(WWI) and “Second World War”(WWII) were to some extent technology wars, at those times the technology was led by the military not civilians, and humans were the communications and action loops.

These days the technology side is very much driven by the needs of even the “Mom&Pop Fried Chicken Shop” just around the corner and your little sister and friends who hang around there. So the old order is reversed, and it is the military that is now getting “The spin off” technology. Where things imagined by the “egg heads of Bletchley” during WWII are an everyday in your pocket normalcy, more so than “MTV” or “CNN”.

The interesting thing about the so called “Cyber-Weapons” is that they are all “force-multipliers” that use the enemies resources to get the force multiplication. They are quite literally “information” in the form of instructions that the enemy systems blindly follow, replicate and spread. They are an almost pure form of asymetric warfare, and something military thinking is not yet used to.

That is the enemies resources are so weakly defended that even little more than a child can send in a bit of code and turn those resources against the enemy.

In a way this is actually little different to 9/11 where a box cutter in the pocket, enabled a dozen or so people to easily turn the highest comercial technology a nation possessed into guided missiles against that nations people, the repercussions of which are still ringing around the world over two decades later…

The lesson as always is,

“Any technology no matter how complex that can be made usefull for everyday activities, can also be turned and used against society as a weapon.”

That is the curse of technology, in that if it is usefull it will be used. What that usage is, is not good or bad, that is for an observer to decide.

So we can no more stop the bad usage[3] than we can only enable the good, one implicitly comes with the other, as at the base of it they are both the same actions only distinguishable by an observer from their point of view.

But in that third of a century since the Bob Morris Worm, the Super Power Militaries have changed, much like the civilians of Western Nations they have become not just hooked but effectively dependent on technology based on data communications at all levels.

In part this is due to the notion of the “Observe Orient Decide Act”(OODA) Loop thought up by combat pilot and later military strategist “United States Air Force”(USAF) Colonel John Boyd, also known as the father of the F-15, F-16, and F-18.

Boyd learned the hard way about,

“Getting inside your opponents turning circle”

That is if you can turn faster then you will effrctively win in close quarters air combat. He further refined the idea and realized it also applied to combat knowledge and the speed it could be utilized. He then applied the getting inside the turn concept to the combat operations process, later at the operational level and above during military campaigns. It is now also found via various “LEAN” methodologies applied to the understanding of not just commercial operations but learning processes as well.

This “getting inside the opponets turning circle” is fundemental to asymetric warfare and why some traditional battlefield techniques are now almost obsolete.

Traditional fighting trenches provide no cover to a handgrenade dropped from an aerial vehicle. This was actually known in WWI when the use of aircraft changed from observing to attacking. Likewise vehicles and field guns if they move to slowely or are caught by surprise.

But new to most is “electronic and signals warefare”. WWI made extensive use of field telephones, unbeknown to most was that whilst they speeded up the chain of command they were also a liability. Because it was possible to locate command locations and other stratigic points and attack them thus “lopping off the head” of the enemy.

The Russians realy have gone about implementing not just their combat but command communications very very badly, and they very much underestimated the Ukranian ability to dominate them in this area.

Whilst we are thinking this might be the first real “cyber-war” I suspect history will remember it more for Russia’s inability to communicate securely. Not just in terms of message content but in that meta-data that makes fast “Find, Fix, Finish” a very real asymetric weapon.

The reality of the Russian military command is much like that of Russian politics and Russian society in general. There are those that see themselves as “entitled” who look upon the rest of society as at best livestock to be brutalized to the entitleds will.

Such “entitled thinking” is almost always pathogenic in nature and also frequently comes to an unfortunate end for society as well.

The fact that Russia has not won despite ten to one and greater odds in it’s favour says much about the Russian leadership and way of life. And why the Ukranians do not want to be part of it in any way. They have seen a better way and despite much past arguing they want the all want a better way than that of “The Poisoner” and are for now effectively united and fighting for it every which way they can.

It was once said that for a nation to become one, it had to be forged in the furnace of conflict. Likewise for a nation to become truly democratic it has to fight it’s way through it’s own medieval tyranny. If either are true or not is a matter of opinion, but it is what appears to be currently playing out.

But perhaps the lesson we should all learn is,

“Not to let the self entitled take power from the people”

And for that the people have to take responsability and “step up to the plate” and not abdicate their responsabilities as citizens. As one American allegedly observed to another,

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance

(which he probably borrowed in spirit from Irish whit and statesman of note John Philpot Curran).

[1] About the oldest military tactic there is which is “fight from the high ground” and can be seen from earthworks that are many millennium old and predate any kind of recorded record. It is the place where gravity is mostly your friend not your enemy, and the range you can see and project power that much the greater.

[2] Another of the oldest military tactics is the use of surprise. Normally you hear about it being used to “ambush” an inferior force and annihilate them. However it works the other way around as well where a small unit attacks at a weak or stratigicaly advantageous point then disappears before their enemy realy has time to rally and respond. Such “hit and run” tactics are in modern parlance part of asymetric warfare. The ultimate form is the forward sniper team actually behind enemy lines taking out individuals in rest and HQ / Command areas and the like, such that the enemy troops can not rest and decompress but stay living on their nerves wondering when it’s going to be them or somebody they know. Such stress can actually kill you as your fight or flight hormones cause organ failure.

[3] What we have to stop are the people and their directing minds… And after many millennium we still have no idea as to how to do so… Which is societies curse.

Winter August 22, 2022 4:17 PM


But in that third of a century since the Bob Morris Worm, the Super Power Militaries have changed, much like the civilians of Western Nations they have become not just hooked but effectively dependent on technology based on data communications at all levels.

But we learn how to defend ourselves. The Poisoner did launch brutal attacks of disinformation and cyberwar well before the action on the ground started. After six months, they lost that war too.

As the head of UK intelligence Jeremy Fleming explains in his article for The Economist [1]:

According to Fleming, online disinformation quickly became a major part of russia’s campaign, to cause confusion and chaos in Ukraine and beyond. Russia has used this playbook before, including in Syria and the Balkans. It aims to sow mistrust in information sources, to misrepresent Ukrainian actions and to promulgate false narratives about the reasons for russia’s actions.

These streams of disinformation were relentlessly, and successfully debunked by, eg, UK and USA intelligence spoiling lies and fabrications before they could be launched. Remember how, for instance, false flag provocations were published before they could have been enacted [2] and the invasion was predicted to happen weeks before the actual attacks started when any plans for an attack were vehemently denied.

“As we have witnessed heroic defence by Ukraine’s military, online we have arguably seen the most effective defensive cyber activity in history. Operating under sustained pressure against a very capable adversary, this team of industry, intelligence, security agencies and in some cases, citizens, has worked side by side to warn, respond and remediate. These cyber defences proved stronger than russia anticipated,” Fleming said.

Western allies started helping prepare cyber defenses months before the attack [3]. And the preparations paid off.

[1] ‘

[2] ‘

[3] ‘

SpaceLifeForm August 22, 2022 5:24 PM


Microsoft Royally Screwed Up

Microsoft Royally Screwed Up

Microsoft Royally Screwed Up

The software is not sanctionable.

Code is speech. This is chilling free speech.

Microsoft has no gonads. Worthless. I knew years ago they would screw over github. EEE.

If someone is using the tool to launder money, they need to go after the bad actors, not the tool. This was not thought out clearly by OFAC. It would be like outlawing money and banks because people can do bad stuff if they have money.

It is damage, we will route around it.

This move to sanction Tornado Cash represents the first instance in which the US government has applied economic sanctions to an open source software project.

EFF’s most central concern about OFAC’s actions arose because, after the SDN listing of “Tornado Cash,” GitHub took down the canonical repository of the Tornado Cash source code, along with the accounts of the primary developers, including all their code contributions.

JonKnowsNothing August 23, 2022 8:29 AM

@Clive, SpaceLifeForm, All

re: Ramp up hype for expected Fall Barfages

The global health services are ramping up their news and PR notices about the upcoming Fall Sick Season, that is expected to have a combo hit to both the health care systems and global economies.

The targets vary by country and their economic ability to procure treatments both injections and drug courses.

There will be a minimal amount of details passed along, and as many of the previously important science and health commissions have been disbanded, it will remain with individuals to decipher the hype from the hope.

In addition to the Usual Suspects, we have a additional ones lurking and growing in scope and geographic presence. These new virus are no less important that what we watched in 2019 although we have seen that script and, so far, nothing has deviated from the 2019 version.

Fomite transfers will be back as a topic. Indifference will be prominent too. Moralist judgements can be expected but won’t do much to contain a medical condition.

We will be offered many options, some combos, some singletons, some mix and match and a good deal of it far less effective if you don’t follow the same 2020 protocols. Those 2020 protocols have been nearly eradicated except in China.

China remains a Zero-COVID country and all COVID cases are brought in by external trade. MSM rarely publishes the Chinese details of their track-n-trace programs but what is published points more towards an Imported from Pick-A-Western-Economy than any new novel variant virus.

On the hopeful front a few of the low cost systems enhanced in the last few years remains our best indicator for what’s around you.

Some small list of things to look forward to:

  • Avian and all forms of influenza in circulation. The particular variants shift from country to country. Influenza jabs are generally specific to what’s in your local area.
  • All forms of “common cold”. What are generally called colds are actually 3+ different virus that cause similar symptoms. One aspect of this is sequential or multiple episodes of sickness, each caused by a different virus.
  • COVID with all it’s many sub-lineages. On the Big List: BA4 BA5 BA4.6 BA2.75. There are many variants in all geographic regions. Reinfections, rebounds, single or multiple infections, concurrent, leap frog, back to back. Nearly no cross over of immunity protection between any of them.
  • Polio
  • Monkey Pox
  • “Tomato Flu”: painful red blisters. Virus TBD. Might be Covid, chikungunya or dengue fever.
  • Diphtheria
  • Langya = novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) was first detected in the north-eastern provinces of Shandong and Henan in late 2018 but was only formally identified by scientists Aug 2022. Symptoms including fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and muscle aches, is believed to have spread from animals to humans. Shrews, dogs, goats.
  • Ebola/Marburg virus
  • a list of diseases that maybe rare in a geographic area but are significant if they get a toehold. As an example: Foot-and-Mouth doesn’t directly affect humans, but can lead to mass culls and food shortages. There are lots of these diseases moving around with global trade system.


  • posting on how to read a specific drug and vaccine test

ht tps://www.schneier.c om/blog/archives/2022/08/friday-squid-blogging-new-squid-species.html/#comment-408776

(url lightly fractured)

SpaceLifeForm August 23, 2022 12:09 PM

Twitter should have let Musk walk away


Clive Robinson August 23, 2022 2:44 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re: Ramp up hype for chill season,

“The targets vary by country and their economic ability to procure treatments both injections and drug courses.”

I guess you’ve heard the UK has signed up for an mRNA “Bivalent” combo single shot vaccine from Moderna (Which you may remember had the worst reported track record of cardiac issues of the mRNA vaccines).

The combo being for the original 2020 and now extinct BA1 pathogens…

Oh and according to the Moderna press release the only info available currently… they used a test group of just 437 study participants (no demographic information given). Who had not been previously infected, nor had been vaccinated (not sure where they found such people in the UK). Apparently the small study group well-tolerated the mRNA-1273.214 50μg booster dose.

Nobody is saying what people like me who are suspected of having had an adverse cardiac reaction to previous vaccines are to do… And the stats on adverse cardiac reactions are growing by the day as are “long covid” if there are correlations no one is saying currently (though two trends both heading in the same direction suggests somebody should check).

As I said I will be geting the flu vaccine when it’s my time in the que (unless I hear actuall medical advice that checks out to the contrary). I will also still be self-quarantining and following the old mask wearing and hand sanitizing rules.

I realy do not care about what is being said by the naysayers about such measures, what we do know is that due to them we have two less flu viruses to contend with, and other pathogens took a hit as well.

As far as I’m concerned my health is very probably fragile (I have organ failure and autoimmune diseases according to the Drs). And as I only came with one life, it’s upto me to look after it as best I can. And if that means avoiding trouble where I can by being cautious… Well as my father put it,

“The best place to be when there is trouble is somewhere else.”

Which means keeping my ears and eyes open to all sources of information and hopefully making the correct evaluation for me and stearing an appropriate course.

All I can advise is for others to do the same “Be vigilant folks”.

Clive Robinson August 23, 2022 3:12 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Ted,

Re : Musk getting exercise

I think he went at it “bull at a gate” but sometimes you have to.

In the UK we have laws that grant individuals “cooling off” periods when they have signed financial and similar contracts. There is good reason for this legislation and I see it as lacking that other nations do not.

I have been suspicious of the Twitter Board for quite some time, going back before Elon Musk’s public behaviour.

The fact that Mudge, has confirmed my suspicions about the Twitter Board whilst not a surprise in terms of what I had suspected, is a surprise in the way the Twitter board have thought they could get away with it… And the fact their response was a “Textbook example” of “US Lawyer-talk for ‘guilty as charged’ but we have to fight as it’s other peoples money paying”.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Twitter share price. My guess is it will return to the same downward trend or worse than before the Musk bid.

Because it must be clear to everyone by now that the Twitter board has commited fraud. If the SEC carry on sitting on their hands then they will get called a paper tiger at best, and politicians with agendas will take the opportunity and the big Silicon Valley Corps are not going to be happy if they do.

So “MESSY, Messy, messy”…

SpaceLifeForm August 23, 2022 5:55 PM

@ Ted, Clive, ALL

Note that @jack hired @dotMudge for the CISO role, which means you will become the scapegoat at some point. But @dotMudge knew that going in.

You really have to think outside of the box to realize what is happening.

I have zero reason to believe that @jack, @dotMudge, or @ElonMusk are bad actors in this play.

I realize this may make no sense today. But it will later.

Think outside the box. Seriously.


Elon Musk has subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as part of his effort to fight a lawsuit from the company attempting to force the billionaire to move forward with their $44 billion acquisition deal.

Clive Robinson August 23, 2022 9:44 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, lurker, Ted, ALL,

Re : Twitter debacle and fraud.

“I realize this may make no sense today. But it will later.”

There is a reason why I say “Twitter board”…

It may well be the same reason or sufficiently similar. As they say,

“Time will tell”

But I also suspect there are other players behind the “Twitter Board” and have been for quite some time who are not directly visable.

Let’s just say the share price was following a curve not to dismillar to some “pump and dumps” before Elon jumped in on the down slope.

Clive Robinson August 23, 2022 9:52 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : Nice to see you OGs paying attention

Are you paying attention?

Did you notice that the two books side by side were actually different revised print runs?

Clive Robinson August 24, 2022 7:36 AM

@ ALL,

Gathering SigInt

As I mention quite frequently “Software Defined Radios”(SDR) are changing the security world big time, and many are not aware of it to their cost (both good and bad guys and the 99.8% in between).

As I’ve mentioned, the issue that’s half a year old to the East of Europe is rewriting many play books from Beijing through to Washington and most First and Second world Capitals inbetween.

SDRs are also starting to rewrite the “cyber” play book as well and I do not mean just cyber-warfare or other potentialy kinetic conflict but what goes on in everyday offices in certainly every First World Capital in the world and oh so many other places.

During “The Great War” the “Field Telephone” came of age as a “Command and Control” technology. As a source of Intelligence it also proved invaluable as little of the traffic was encoded let alone encrypted.

Whilst Radio in Ships had started “Signals Inteligence” as Winston Churchill divulged later in his memoirs where he talked about “Room 40”, what was little known was what was happening in the trenches (and much of it is still classified at secret or above today).

SIGINT –along with ELINT– is one of the most powerfull intelligence tools around especially on the battle field, and Governments have spent trillions on gathering it from front line “Obsetvation Points”(OPs) through to Spy Satellites in Space and more realcently every form of civilian electronic communications they can grab (darn near all of it).

Ed Snowdens revelations just under a decade ago opened a number of eyes.

Unsuprisingly those with most to gain were criminals and as a result nearly all those outside of Government SigInt Agencies and other “Inteligence Community”(IC) entities are playing “catch-up” most often by “buying it in” from criminaly minded types, who realise there is more money to be made by being “pushers” to “Law Enforcment”(LE) and other Tax funded agencies.

But the simple fact is, all you need is some “pocket change” technology, Open Source Software and a sharp mind, to get into SigInt as a hobby and many are doing just that.

There is an introductory video that has just gone up called,

“Listening Posts: An Intro to SIGINT”


It actually paints SigInt as a “little dull and even tedious” but as I said increasing numbers are turning it into a hobby. In part because they “automate the 51ht out of it” and feed it upto the Internet to become “Open Source Intelligence”(OSint) which as the video notes has become a bit of a concern for some IC and LE agencies/entities.

Thus the agencies have fallen into the same old “you can’t do that” mentality to find themselves rudely reminded that they can… Which has then entered into negotiations and agreements, that the web sites will block certain traffic…

The problem is that this creates a “hole” which is a big red flag if you know how to exploit it.

You use the equivalent of “Differential analysis” that is you compare what your local SigInt you gather your self shows compared to what the web sites show. Anything you see that’s not on the web site is well “suspicious” or “note worthy”.

One thing that was mentioned was the ADS-B transponders being either turned off or switched to a different mode like ADS-S thus covert aircraft apparently “falling off the OSint radar”.

Well not true… I guess most of you know the basic principle of radar. You send out a high power short duration RF pulse in the high VHF through Microwave range and some of the energy of that pulse gets reflected back as an echo to a receiver from where the pulse was transmitted. By timing the length of time the echo takes to arive you get distance, and because you know where the antenna is pointed you get direction. Thus to some extent all aircraft even stealth aircraft show up.

What you may not have heard of is “Offset Radar” where the receivers are not located with the pulse transmitters. Instead they are omnidirectional and can pick up all radar transmitted pulses and their echos “passively”. Knowing where the transmitters are or just “Direction find”(DF) their location you can then by using simple timing and integration work out which direction the transmitter pulse is being sent and with a little high school trig, turn the echos into your own radar display. Some hobbyists have released OS software that does just this with a $30 SDR. Others have linked it’s output to their ADS-B receivers to make their own “air traffic control displays”… And Opps those covert flights with no ADS-B transponder signals are “caught like moths in a flashlight beam”.

But guess what it does not have to be radar transmitters you use as your signal source. One or two people kbow that the original English denonstration of the potential of radar used an existing low band VHF broadcast transmitter and a simple dipole antenna and an osciloscope.

That is the signal source was “Continuous Wave” not pulsed. Well that still works just as well today… There are some Amateur Radio enthusiasts that are using that effect in reverse.

What they do is point a VHF or UHF antenna array towards an airport some 60-100 miles away. And they send out a test or beacon signal. Abother Amateur maybe a hundred miles the other side of the airport in a 90 degree arc also points their antennas at the same airport. When they pick up the test or beacon signal they reply. Ordinarily they would not be able to hear each others signals as they are over “The Radio Horizon” with respect to each other. However they do because the aircraft all be it briefly acts like a “mirror in the sky”. An analysis of the signals for Doppler etc will give out information about the aircrafts speed and direction…

Whilst the “authorities” might get quite upset by this, there is little they can do to stop it. As,

“The laws of physics alow”

And it works as well to find information on the aircraft passively receiving commercial broadcast signals as it does with Amateurs transnitting test and beacon signals…

At the turn of the century this sort of thing was majorly expensive to do because the cost of the processing power was enormous. Which ment it fell mostly in the realm of “Level III” adversaries…

Now you only need a $60 Open Source OS laptop, Open Source Software and a $30 SDR dongle on a $10 high quality 10m length USB cable.

Or if you want to spend another $100 or less on a “Single Board Computer”(SBC) such as a Raspberry Pi and a WiFi dongle put the SDR into it, run it from batteries and go stick it ontop of a local highrise.

Or go for slightly more expensive SBC and use it as a “Drone Payload” to get a good 50mile or more radio horizon to sniff out those “odd holes” that tell so much that others do not want you knowing.

Ad I’ve mentioned before technology acts like a damped pendulum. At first it give new capability only to specialists with very deap pockets, then it’s falling cost makes it available to inventive amateurs who take it way way further, then others with deep pockets only start to play catch up, and after a couple of more swings it becomes the new reality.

Thus if you can you need to get in on that slope where the inventive amateurs are making significant gains, and package it up to your own benifit…

Oh and you might learn a few military truisms along the way such as

“TX sites are artillery magnets”

Or at the East of Europe “hand grenades dropped on your head from a drone you barely heard 10seconds ago because it’s doing 10-20meters per second from a very low level and effectively leaping up out of the sun with a well practiced “lob shot”. Just because some idiot used their Baofeng UV5 to call in…

Low cost drones “Find, Fixing and Finishing” more effectively and accuratelt than field artillery for a very small fraction of the price of a single “smart round” is the new reality of war… Hence the lights burning in all those stratigic planning offices around the world.

And the spin off is the same technology is comming close to an office near you real soon now, if it has not already, just with a different payload…

I’ve already experimented with dropping a drone based WiFi relay onto an office roof to get well within the perimiter and it works just fine, better than most Pen-testers could hope for in their wildest dreams just half a decade ago…

vas pup August 24, 2022 1:31 PM

“Ambulance Drone

The first minutes after an accident are critical and essential to provide the right care to prevent escalation. Speeding up emergency response can prevent deaths and accelerate recovery dramatically. This is notably true for heart failure, drowning, traumas and respiratory issues. Lifesaving technologies such as an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), medication, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) aids can be designed compact enough to be carried by a drone.

For the Ambulance Drone, a new type of frame was developed that is a compact flying toolbox containing essential supplies for (lay-person) advanced life support. Portability and foldability help the drone to be used anywhere, also indoors. The first prototype focuses on the delivery of an Automated Defibrillator (AED). In the European Union around 800.000 people per year suffer from a cardiac arrest, an upsetting number considering that only 8% survives this incident. The main reason for this high number of casualties is the relatively slow response time of emergency services (10 minutes). Brain death and permanent death start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes.”


lurker August 24, 2022 1:54 PM

@vas pup

The DW article doesn’t say where Lower Saxony Rail are getting their hydrogen. I don’t believe there is enough surplus land, sunshine, hydro, or geothermal power in Lower Saxony for green hydrogen. Wind, maybe. Have they factored in the environmental costs of transporting the hydrogen from wherever it is made?

Clive Robinson August 24, 2022 2:03 PM

@ vas pup, ALL,

Re : Where dors the hydrogen come from.

“Hydrogen could be a zero-emissions rail solution on quieter lines where electrification is too expensive.”

I can guarentee that unless the hydrogen is split out from water via either “green or nuclear” power there will be a lot of CO2 involved.

In fact when you include all the CO2 from making either the “green or nuclear” systems and the hydrogen cracking systems then you might find it actually has a larger CO2 footprint.

Efficient cracking out of hydrogen from either “water or hydrocarbons” is an energy intensive process. That energy has to come from somewhere and if it’s fosil fuels like oil or natural gas, then all you are doing at best is “shifting the problem”.

But the storage of hydrogen is actually quite problematic, steel preasure vessels have a very short life time, and other storage methods of hydrogen such as in hydrides have other problems.

Oh as for, the journalist saying,

“Hydrogen could be a zero-emissions”

Compleate nonsense. The exhaust gas will be “raw steam” which when cooled will be water.

Which brings us to,

““Whatever the time of day, passengers will travel on this route thanks to hydrogen,” Stefan Schrank, the project manager at Alstom, told the AFP news agency”

Not true, hydrogen is just a highly ineficient way of transporting the energy that was probably released from hydrocarbons in the first place, hence the CO2 emissions will have happened at a diferent time and place…

Untill we learn to be honest about the entire “energy chain” then nearly all such “green projects” will be little more than highly expensive tax funded vanity projects, that can actually be more harmfull to the environment.

lurker August 24, 2022 2:10 PM

@Clive Robinson,
“During “The Great War” the “Field Telephone” came of age … ”

One hundred years after the “Great War” on a visit to the coast of southeast China, in a little village grocery store I stumbled on a scene from the Goon Show[1]

Local reservists were carrying rolls of wire, and a couple of handsets that looked much like the ones I had used half a century ago while wearing the green.

[1] “The Telephone”

vas pup August 24, 2022 2:28 PM

@luker and @Clive Thank you for input.
There is video inside touched some issues You’ve point to.
I agree – there no silver bullet including hydrogen as fuel at least for now. There are always trade offs.

SpaceLifeForm August 24, 2022 3:34 PM

@ Clive

re: different revised print runs

No I did not notice, because that was not my point.

awk file | sed | tr | lp

My point was that the creators of K&R C are still actively thinking. That is all.

Winter August 24, 2022 4:19 PM


In fact when you include all the CO2 from making either the “green or nuclear” systems and the hydrogen cracking systems then you might find it actually has a larger CO2 footprint.

Sorry to say so, but this is FUD.

Wind and solar electricity are currently produced by systems that have a large positive energy balance. That is, they deliver much more energy than is needed to make them. Most of the energy needed to make turbines and panels can be delivered by electricity, ie, wind and solar power.

Hydrogen is needed for some applications like long range transport, eg, fuel for airplanes, very high temperatures, and things like steel production to replace reducing coal.

As hydrogen can be made from sustainable electricity and solar panels and wind turbines can be produced using electricity and hydrogen, it is FUD to claim the use of hydrogen requires CO2 emissions.

The one problem left is concrete, eg, needed for making nuclear reactors and the concrete tombs for covering them up after decommissioning. Making cement from limestone as it is done now emits lots of CO2. Some of it can be reduced by recycling concrete or curing new concrete with CO2, but these do not realy scale. There are other base materials that do not emit CO2, but it is still an open question.

SpaceLifeForm August 24, 2022 6:10 PM

@ Winter, vas pup, Clive

It is not FUD.

If you have to split off Hydrogen from Carbon, you are creating a problem.

Mother Nature solved this long ago, via Photosynthesis.

You split Water, not HydroCarbons.

You would not be here to even argue over this because there would be no Oxygen for you to inhale.

Those addicted to money will try to explain that fossil fuels are fine.

The only solution is Solar Energy. It is probably too late now.

lurker August 24, 2022 6:57 PM


… solar panels and wind turbines can be produced using electricity and hydrogen, …

Can be, ideally, but in fact are currently made in countries with an insignificant amount of renewable fuelled electricity. Yes, there’s a bootstrapping problem there …

Clive Robinson August 25, 2022 12:36 AM

@ lurker,

Re : Goon Show

“Local reservists were carrying rolls of wire, and a couple of handsets that looked much like the ones I had used half a century ago while wearing the green.”

They say every regiment has one, especially a reservist regiment, and that is the “disaster magnet” it does not matter what they do there is always a disaster around them. But the disasters always happens to others not them…

You put them on Guard on the gate and whilst they won’t be touching the gate, it will as if by magic crash into the one vehicle that will block the gate all day etc.

Give them a kitchen orderly job and the will bring in sacks of spuds and the potato peeler will break down, collect used plates etc and the dish washer will break down. Trust me what ever you do, do not give them garbage duty…

Our regimental disaster magnet I’m going to call “David”. All the above happened to him. Even though socially akward –he was the inventor of the anti-chatup-line– he was likable enough friendly and actuall quite intelligent (he had a couple of engineering degrees and was working on a PhD). We were in the bar one evening, when he told us he had not passed his driving test that afternoon. Because… just as it started the vehicle he was in got hit in the side by a lorry. He was all right but the examiner needed a couple of plasters for flying glass cuts and the lorry driver got taken away by the police having failed a breath test. The driving instructors car got towed as it was all stoved in on the drivers side.

Any way it was a long haul HF Signals Regiment and we had set up a “Communications Center”(CommCen) in a nuclear shelter on the side of an airfield. Within which we had built a “Crypto Room”(CryptoCell) which had two very solid doors. One was used for access and the other locked under which we had run mux cables to the operator area where the teleprinters thrumed along quite noisily but with that warm oily smell that made it popular on damp cold nights and as they always had power to spare there was also “the Barco” water heater for tea making[1] a necessity in all seasons for all soldiers to function[2].

Importantly there were three field telephone lines. Going under the door the most important of which was the “Engineering Order Line”(EOL) also known as “the god line” because anything that you got told over it you had to treat like gospel. And as I was one of those issuing instructions down it I could get quite pevish if my requests were not immediately followed by man or beast[3].

Anyway field telephones are linked up by “DON-10” wire that is a very tough plastic outer around a core of thin steel and copper wires, designed to survive a near by artillery strike. Whilst not unbreakable, it could hold the weight of a 250lb man quite easily. So it was not just tough it could be a major triping / snag hazzard and if precautuons not taken field telephones could “take off” and become low flying health hazards quite capable of knocking you out or breaking bones or both[4]. So it was not uncommon to fined “wiremen” putting “stopper knots” in the wire and dropping them over earth spikes or similar hammered in the ground. As you can not just bash spikes into the concrete floor of a bunker, they had put a knot in the wire on either side of the locked door…

Well the excercise was over, and it was tear down time. Secure kit was been “bagged, tagged and dragged” out one door from the crypto-cell whilst the teleprinters etc in the adjacent room were being taken out.

Alledgedly some Officer who should have known better ordered David to get the field telephones packed up…

Well he disconected the phones at both ends and then for some unknown reason decided to try pulling the DON-10 under the door without first taking the stopper knots out…

Yup he broke the door… And by break I don’t mean a few marks on the door edge. No he split the bottom rail and panel of a quite stout wooden door… The Sergeant Major who unfortunately was in the room was shall we say not pleased and for once, possibly the only time in his adult life, actually swore loudly… It was such a shock that every one in the quite noisy room just stopped and silence fell… There stood David with the wire wrapped around his arm looking sheepish and the Sergeant Major standing there red in the face with both fists clenched just glared at David ground his teeth, then turned and stomped out of the room. Thus as the only “tech” in the room it fell to me to ask the obvious question,

“What the heck were you doing?”

Or words close to that 😉

[1] It was once said that an army marches on it’s stomach, and the story is Napoleon designed the French Pantaloon so a soldier could carry a loaf of bread down inside it. The British Squadie in the 1980’s was however powered by “RatPack sweeties” “oatmeal blocks” and the all inportant “fresh” of “Egg Banjos and Standard NATO tea”. An egg banjo is a fried egg sandwich but importantly it must be made with that truley appalling white sliced bread and buttered with that white margarine even a starving dog would reject. Which is why the “Standard NATO” tea was so important. It was made with an unknown brand of tea which –was alleged to be the sweepings off of a machine shop floor– but was made so strong it came out like diluted tar. So it was made boiling hot and was 1/3rd full fat milk with two heaped spoons of sugar and dolled out by the pint (size of canteen mug). It could tan leather and “Degrease truck engines” which was good because at the time army cooks had a reputation to live down to. Anyway such tea was also alleged to have certain nitrates you normally find in “stump remover” added to “rot the wood” as it were. But unlike ordinary tea it had the property it would brew with hot water so did not need boiling water. What ever the tea had done to it, what ever was in it, it was strangely addictive, and for my sins I prefered it to the beers that were popular at the time…

[2] I had my own secret recipe for soup, basically it was boiling water, tins of tomatoes you chopped up, tins of corned beef, a bag of sugar and enough army “wall paper paste” flour to thicken. With the all important blend of spices I made up that had plenty of oregano and smoked paprika and some chilli powder to give it a warm smokey flavor with a bit of an edge. It was as far as I was concerned the first order of setting up an antenna farm site. Whilst we were putting up antenna masts on cold bleak rain and wind swept hills and setting up TX or RX trucks and generators somebody would have an 8by12 tent up fast and be brewing up tea and soup as it might be the only hot drink and meal many of the troops that were only there to help get the masts up would get in the next 12-48hours.

[3] I was back then six foot six and had a fifty inch chest, and did a few highland games for fun as well as competative cycling and the odd game of rugby. I was remarkably light on my feet and could sneek up on both mice and pigeons and more importantly rabbits for the pot (a useful talent when on survival courses). It was said that people knew I was peeved because I could look like a “Klingon having a bad hair day” and it generaly started when I stopped smiling. It was also known that I had once had an argument with a herd of cows when they got into the antenna farm, and that the cows had most definitely come off the worst of it. Also I had a natural talent for shifting sheep (and cooking them but that’s another story).

[4] Filling out a post excercise report with command and having to give information about wounded/injured and having to report that the only injury was someone who was actually hospitalized with severe concussion and a suspect fractured skull because they got hit in the head by a flying field telephone because a passing lorry caught the overhead wire is not fun. Especially when the one on their back in hospital is one of your mates.

lurker August 25, 2022 2:37 AM

@Clive Robinson, “But the disasters always happens to others not them…”

The only disaster I’m aware of on this occasion was I as a foreigner interrupted their chatting up the two shop girls …

Winter August 25, 2022 3:41 AM

Re: sustainable energy

Yes, there’s a bootstrapping problem there …

So what? This is not some religiousholier than thou competition.

What counts is zero CO2 emissions at the least damage and the shortest time.

Winter August 25, 2022 9:41 AM

Re: Sustainable Energy

1) There is only enough Uranium to fuel the world for 5 years. “Alternative” sources like seawater are worse than impractical, processing cubic km/miles of seawater is a still unproven technology.

1a) Thorium breeders are still experimental for a reason. Recycling the seed Uranium from the molten salts at scale without generating a radioactive graveyard is still an unsolved problem.

2) Solar Energy is available as Photovoltaic, Concentrated heat, and wind energy. They vary, but that variation is largely predictable. Variation can be leveled out with storage of heat, hydrogen, pumped hydroelectric, or batteries.

2a) The amount of solar energy available in just a corner of the Sahara is more than the whole world needs.

3) Transport losses of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) lines are around 5% over 2000 km. It is profitable to generate electricity in the Sahara and transport it to NW Europe.

4) Battery storage is already competitive with nuclear power with prices still dropping.

Winter August 25, 2022 11:05 AM

Re: Sustainable Energy


If we do not act fast, the Sahara will move north to include Greece, Spain, Italy, and half of France. Which would make the case for solar energy even more competitive.

Clive Robinson August 26, 2022 3:30 AM

@ lurker,

Re : Flurocarbon contamination

“I am advised rainwater on this planet is unsafe to drink:”

It is. But then so is all potable water supplies.

The problem and it’s a curious one, is that with the chemicals concerned the human body is apparently sensitive too, beyond our ability to realistically measure levels of the chemicals in water.

Also the chemicals are caught in the hydrospher cycle of seawater to precipitate through grownd water filtration and back via run off and similar back into seawater.

Thus the chemicals are not being removed and stored in the environment as previously argued by the manufacturing industry…

But there are other chemicals to worry about as well. Rain water as a condesed evaporate filters out various gasses from the atmosphere. The result is rainwater is increasingly acidic, in effect rainwater is dilute carbonic acid etc. So rainwater now attacks the environment and in particular the rocks that filter out and store many contaminants, which are now comming back into ground water.

So yes, we’ve shot ourselves and the rest of the flora and fauna in the foot.

Which means we’ve also poisond our food supply chain. And we’ve at the same time by over processing our raw food stock concentrated undesirable chemicals and removed desirable chemicals…

Did I mention that the Continental North America where these effects are by far the worst, actually has a falling average age of death, whilst other places still have a rising average age of death?

Winter August 26, 2022 4:32 AM


The problem and it’s a curious one, is that with the chemicals concerned the human body is apparently sensitive too, beyond our ability to realistically measure levels of the chemicals in water.

As any worrying substances in tap water will also have been concentrate in your food, I wouldn’t worry about the tap water that much. At least not in civilized areas. The USA are, as usual, the dysfunctional outliers with mass poisonings of tap water for minorities.

Modern tap water production is such that measures have to be taken to add/leave some ions to make it drinkable (pure water is not nice to drink).

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.