SpaceLifeForm September 9, 2022 4:25 PM

@ Clive, ALL

That’s a bold and interesting exit strategy Cotton

We was haxored!




It will not be long now.

Clive Robinson September 10, 2022 10:46 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re : Pateron ditching staff.

It will not be long now.

Before the “angels cash out” via an IPO etc.

The “market” does not look favourably on “salaries” where as paying external consultants five times as much goes in a different accounting column and is looked favourably upon.

Also I suspect that in a few days it will become clear that those employees thought they were getting shares instead of wages, but… Will now find those shares they thought they were getting were never going to be theres and they’ve been had.

Not just as mugs and cheap labour, they will also probably find they will not be able to work for a year due to contractual terms.

They say,

“There is one born every minute”

Which appears especially true in the US where people are daft enough to believe in the “American Dream” and thus get hoodwinked by shysters on the make.

I nearly walked into such a low payed job last centuey as the first Internet bubble was inflating. I was treated to flights and expensive hotel etc wining and dining and quite a bit of first soft sell then harder sell.

I pointed out that in the UK emoloyees had “Contracts of Work” that employers had to not just give but sign, thus I wanted to see the contract they were offering me…

They started foot shuffling and kept saying stuff about the future etc. So I decided there was something fishy going on.

I got a friend in the UK to “fake bad news family emergancy” and got the hell out of dodge promissing that I would be back promptly.

The promised contract never turned up so I decided going back was not wise…

Turns out that others who I met who had signed on on minimal wages etc all got stiffed when the bubble market did what they all did.

They were not the only ones, in fact many people found out that not only was “Burn Rate” real, they were also “on the hook for it” one way or another. Amongst other things those shares they supposadly had been given carried “liability” in various ways and there were other nasties. Even in the US being made BankRupt and loosing what you own does not look good on a C.V.

Oh and being chased by the lawyers of “Fire Sale” IP aquirers, intent on putting on the squeeze in various ways does not make people have a warm and cuddly fealing.

This century I had found a nice job in the UK in a subsidurary of a US Company where the owners had a very good track record. Unfortunately they felt the hand of time and decided to sell. The company that took over was to put it mildly very bad news. I got sacked because they tried to grap IP that belonged to me… As I pointed out under my original employment terms I had been given an exemption and that all my IP not directly relating to company business remained my property…

All I got was an internal Email saying “You’ve gotvus there” and very shortly there after I was out the door.

Half a year later I discovered via a friend working in a University they were still “Trading on my name”. So I sent them a cease and desist letter. Which they apparently then used to sack people with draconian gaging clauses to stop them appearing in any legal action.

So my advise is these days especially now jobs are getting scarce again is make sure you realy understand your terms of employment, and what ever you do, make sure you get paid today, not on some future date that many will try to make sure never happens for you in oh so many ways.

Remember people have been killed for the fidty bucks in their wallet, to that sort of mentality how far do you think they would go to hang on to a bunch of shares worth a million or so?

SpaceLifeForm September 10, 2022 6:42 PM

@ Ted, Clive, ALL

re: Patreon IPO

It has been floated for some time now, but it has always been a Pump-and-Dump. There was never going to be an IPO.

Connect these two dots, and figure out how Cryptocurrency ties in.

It also may be worth noting that Patreon and Ambisafe are not far apart in SF.



Rj September 11, 2022 5:04 AM

My father was involved in Project Vangaurd. Sputnik beat them to be the first orbiting satellite. I remember the night Sputnik was launched. My father took me out to the front porch of the house and pointed up at the sky and explained what had happened. I was around 7 years old. But not too long after that, the USA launched a metalized mylar balloon whose purpose was to reflect radio waves. This balloon could easily be seen at night, but it was nowhere nearly as big as the antenna that was launched last night. Judging by the photograph in the article, it is a multi-beam phased array antenna.

Winter September 11, 2022 5:39 AM

Mobile phones have changed war considerably. Now each side can text a number where enemy soldiers can surrender.


Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 11:19 AM

If loading (adding) cash, as currency, into a debit card has a descending and low maximum per load is a security feature, it seems excessive as security.

No link, but here’s my recent experience: Wanted to load $189. Max used to be $500. I tried last year, through a national retail chain (presumably by contract), and it was $300. This month, in the same chain, I was limited to $50 twice, $30, and $20 thrice (the last would have been $19 but there’s a minimum, so minimum = max that time).

There’s no fee to load in any state in the U.S. The same cashier handled all six transactions with no pauses in between.

I don’t see a purpose other than security (unless they’re trying to encourage other ways of loading instead of cash), and maybe it was a mistake or glitch or something, but it adds to the retailer’s costs (and a little to the card company’s costs) and I don’t see how it furthers security much.

Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 12:01 PM

Did then-former-President Trump keep low-resolution images of classified documents that were seized? His security cameras imaged the search while it was underway. The images, whether video or stills, were streamed to his location, which was somewhere else. He would still be, today, a fairly-high-value target to some foreign governments. Did he make sure to secure the transmission and the transmission path tightly enough so no foreign government or agent thereof could copy part of the stream and decipher it? Should the FBI have had authority, given what they were authorized to search for, to order cameras turned off, or turn them off by the FBI’s hand, during the search?

The Department of Defense could have ordered the reclassification of anything formerly classified that the President was possessing after the end of his term, even if he had lawfully, if informally, declassified (I agree a President has the right to declassify subject only to the impeachment power). Reclassifying after declassifying is physically a challenge and requires notice to the possessor, but I think it’s lawful. So, DoD could reclassify the camera images, although doing so would be problematic. Such a DoD order could start out being broad and then get narrowed by the issuer. Trump could sue over reclassification but he’d be up against a tough opponent: the national security establishment topped by the sitting President.

JonKnowsNothing September 11, 2022 3:07 PM

@Nick Levinson

re: Classifying and De-Classifying Documents along with Ownership

Over on Marcy Wheeler’s site (emptywheel. net) she’s been very thorough about going over the proper designations for the items taken from MaL.

I don’t think your description quite matches, as there are many many different documents and it’s not One Designation Fits All.

  • President has the right to declassify subject

I do not think this is correct legally. The designation is part of our National Security System not in the power of the Executive. It’s also a matter of ownership. The Privious-Dude doesn’t own these types of documents at all. The true owner is the NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration.

So, things are complex because different types of documents are all jumbled up.

It might be a good name for some PRNG:

  • The MaL PRNG Sorting and Distribution Algorithm.

It’s a lot of popcorn to be sure, and with MvT scooting along, I’m going to have to ration my caloric intake.

Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 4:33 PM


My legal basis for saying Trump could have unilaterally declassified is the norms of international law (i.e., general international law), which is above international treaty law; domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, is inferior. As far as I know, under it the legal responsibility of a nation rests, when on anyone, on the head of state (except that the chief judge, with other national chief judges worldwide and speakers (often professors) of law (also worldwide), is among the elucidators of the norms who have primary authority).

A nation must refrain from international war and other breaches of nations’ sovereignty unless justified by the norms and therefore the head of state may or must act in order to fulfill that obligation, so, if declassification will achieve that, the head of state may declassify.

It is domestic law, not the norms, that adds other people to help the head of state, but, whatever the other people do, in the eyes of the rest of the world’s nations the head of state is responsible for what the head’s nation does or fails to do.

It would generally be politically stupid for any head of state in the world to rely on the norms instead of on domestic law when justifying to the domestic public why they are doing something; they’re better off looking for a domestic legal path that permits what they want to do; but that doesn’t and can’t void the norms. If a domestic legal authority were to go after Trump in his defense and Trump wanted to invoke the norms and domestic authorities don’t buy his claim, he could try to travel abroad and seek asylum, but even a nation he helped by declassification needn’t agree to protect him or even let him in, whether he’s a former President or a sitting one. Protecting him against the U.S. could be highly costly, well beyond Trump’s personal finances.

If Trump wants to claim that he’s still the President, international practice has a way to test that: A nation’s leader could ask him to prove it by telling him to command the U.S. military to do something symbolic that it would do only for the person the military believes is the head of state and whom it would obey. Should Trump try that today, he and the Republican party could be very embarrassed for years.

A single search in for

“international law” “Trump” “documents”

found nothing on point. There may be someone who has addressed this, but I don’t know who.

vas pup September 11, 2022 4:39 PM

“A Russian think tank is offering a $16,000 bounty for the THeMIS robotic vehicle.
It was recently delivered to Ukraine, where it’s reportedly used to transport wounded civilians.
The think tank, CAST, told Insider it wanted to produce such a system for the Russian military.

Dubbed THeMIS, the remotely controlled ground vehicle is manufactured by an . A spokesperson for the company told the defense publication Janes that at least one unit had been delivered to Ukraine, where it’s being used to carry medical aid and transport injured civilians.

The company said the system, which can carry up to 1,650 pounds, can also be “rapidly configured from having a transport function to being weaponized,” enabling it to be used in combat operations. Promotional literature emphasizes its ability to transport battlefield casualties — as well as mortar rounds and other munitions.

More than half a dozen members of NATO, including France, Germany, and the US, have acquired versions of the THeMIS platform.”

Small Estonia is leader in robotics versus Russia. No further comment.

vas pup September 11, 2022 4:59 PM

North Korea’s new law lets it strike first with nuclear force if its leadership faces an imminent threat

“North Korea passed new legislation this week that permits the country’s nuclear forces to strike first with nuclear weapons in the event that a threat of an imminent attack on its leadership is detected, among other scenarios, state media reported.

The law states that “in case the command and control system over the state nuclear forces is placed in danger owing to an attack by hostile forces, a nuclear strike shall be launched automatically and immediately to destroy the hostile forces,” according to the state news agency KCNA.

!!!It further establishes a wide range of conditions in which North Korea can pre-emptively conduct a nuclear strike, with conditions including an attack or evidence of an impending attack with either conventional or weapons of mass destruction against the state, strategic targets, or .”

More details in the article. Kim don’t really want to end his life as Saddam Hussein and/or Gaddafi. He learned the lessons from the history.

lurker September 11, 2022 7:38 PM

@Nick Levinson
re international norms vs. domestic law,

It appears that the bigger a nation is on the world stage, the less notice its leaders take of this contrast, and the less they seem to care about the consequences.

JonKnowsNothing September 11, 2022 8:47 PM

@Nick Levinson

I don’t think anyone is worried atm that someone in France or Denmark is going to put up an international legal claim to the MaL Documents. If I’ve understood what’s been written up on EW, we are trudging down the lane of USA laws.

Your suggestion of defining legal validation as “acts of violence directed outside the normal course of USA laws”, I think the folks at Dec37 are getting a good taste of what that really means.

As for Unilateral Declarations… there are many contemporary Popes with claims to being The Pope. None of these claimants live in the Vatican.


Search Terms

Pope Michael
David Bawden

Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 8:55 PM

@vas pup:

The North Korean law for a first strike says a lot less than it seems in the article. Even without the nation’s new law, North Korea had the legal right under the norms of international law to self-defense and, when the scale is appropriate (it’s allowed to try to win), that includes pre-emptively striking first.

If anyone views the older law as having limited North Korea’s options, it would have been only if an aggrieved party could have sued in a North Korean court or equivalent domestic body. The North Koreans would likely have laughed at such a petition. I don’t think the U.S. would have assigned a lawyer to filing it, but would have assigned military people to war with North Korea.

Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 9:03 PM


The bigger nations definitely notice.

The norms give nations rights, the bigger ones bigger rights, including the right to promulgate some constraints on nearby smaller or weaker nations that are, so to speak, in a more powerful nation’s backyard.

Both Presidents Obama and G.W. Bush, while in office, publicly recognized the norms.

JonKnowsNothing September 11, 2022 9:18 PM


re: Rare Bit of Magic in SCOTUS-land

A rather odd MSM report surfaced with an odd quote from the USA Chief Justice. It seems he is perplexed WHY people got UPSET and remain UPSET, when the court overturned ROE. He is genuinely at a loss to understand WHY anyone would care at all.

  • “I don’t understand the connection between the opinions people disagree with and the legitimacy of the supreme court”
  • “You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is”

Last I knew about US Civics was

  • People are elected as Representatives. Many Representatives are members of 2 parties which assist in campaigns and funding. Representatives go to their designated elected locations (city, county, state, etc.). Their JOB is to MAKE LAWS. They make and change laws regularly. So the legislative branches, which are made up of members of political groups are SUPPOSED to make laws.

Perhaps he got confused by the legislative power to raise taxes and levies…

Dining alone. Table by the F-Window. Confused by wrackspurts.


ht tps://ww w.theguar dian.c om/law/2022/sep/11/john-roberts-defends-supreme-court-kamala-harris-abortion-ruling

(url fractured)

Article One of the United States Constitution

Article One grants Congress various enumerated powers and the ability to pass laws “necessary and proper” to carry out those powers.

Article One Section 8 The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts…

Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 9:21 PM


I don’t recall writing exactly what you’ve quoted. Where is it from? I’d like to check the context.

Your example of popes is irrelevant. Some people have legal authority that is unilateral and I pointed to one. If that’s wrong, show how.

Nick Levinson September 11, 2022 9:34 PM


The three branches are each responsible for law-making and all are responsible for staying Constitutional in doing so. Differences then have to get sorted out. The U.S. Supreme Court asserted relevant power in Marbury v. Madison and it’s now settled law, although you’re welcome to petition for reconsideration.

The system in the U.K. is somewhat different.

SpaceLifeForm September 12, 2022 12:36 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Nick Levinson

No one can just wave a Magic Wand and declassify. There are processes and procedures in place, and once a doc is declassified, it must be clearly marked so.

From EO 13526


This part may explain much of the machinations in Florida. My bold.

From Sec. 3.5. Mandatory Declassification Review

This is about half way thru the entire webpage, see para (b).

However, the Archivist shall have the authority to review, downgrade, and declassify papers or records of former Presidents and Vice Presidents under the control of the Archivist pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 2107, 2111, 2111 note, or 2203. Review procedures developed by the Archivist shall provide for consultation with agencies having primary subject matter interest and shall be consistent with the provisions of applicable laws or lawful agreements that pertain to the respective Presidential papers or records. Agencies with primary subject matter interest shall be notified promptly of the Archivist’s decision. Any final decision by the Archivist may be appealed by the requester or an agency to the Panel. The information shall remain classified pending a prompt decision on the appeal.

MarkH September 12, 2022 12:49 AM

@Nick Levinson, who wrote: “a President has the right to declassify subject only to the impeachment power”

Facially, a POTUS seems to have such authority during term of office.

However, there is a distinct regime of secrets related to nuclear weapons which, by Congressional enactment, can only be released from restriction by the Department of Energy. The statute does not empower POTUS to do so independently.

I’ve no reason to believe that the documents found in the residence of a private citizen included such restricted information, but I can neither exclude this as a possibility.

In any case, the criminal statutes cited by DoJ do not require classification of documents as a predicate.

MarkH September 12, 2022 12:57 AM

I’m a little confused by the comments on the recent announcement from North Korea.

As far as I can discern, that state is more purely totalitarian than any in history. Its leaders accept the constraints of no law, domestic or international.

Accordingly, the new “legislation” is strictly a matter of publicity.

While it might be intended to send some signal of strength and reassurance to the people of North Korea, internationally it is another example of “nuclear saber rattling,” which the Kim regime has done many times before.

MarkH September 12, 2022 1:12 AM

As well noted above, there are mandatory processes for declassification in the U.S. They are established by Executive Order (EO), which is generally held to have the force of law.

If a POTUS chooses to declassify in conflict with the governing EO, the proper procedure is to first issue a new EO, which s/he must sign and cause to be entered into the Federal Register.

In any case, to secretly declassify a whole tranche of documents by whimsical fiat is senseless, because of the failure to:

• update document markings

• apply the changed classification to other copies

• notify agencies which may be affected by the change

• ensure coordination among other documents which may contain some of the same (magically declassified) information

MarkH September 12, 2022 1:18 AM


If anyone believes the MaL documents were actually declassified, here’s a simple test:

1) File a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain copies of all of the documents with classification markings returned to U.S. custody.

2) When those requests are denied, file a FOIA lawsuit, in which you can make your argument that DJT waved a fairy wand and declassified them all.

If your case is legally sound, there’s a good chance that some Federal Court will order the release of said documents.

If you’re talking through your hat, the outcome might be different. Either way, the theory will be put to test in the forum provided by the Constitution to test the validity of legal arguments.

JonKnowsNothing September 12, 2022 2:40 AM


re: Classified Status is not a matter of Belief

One does not need a belief (as in theology) about the MaL document’s status or any other similar document’s status. The documents have a recorded status by each agency that issued it. Documents can have multiple designations in different departments and areas and each department has a record of that document. There is a historical listing of when those designations where added, changed, upgraded, downgraded or removed or reinstated.

It’s matter of looking up the MaL versions in the agency databases.

Currently, no one is allowed to look, even though the documents have already been looked at, sorted and their status noted, because the Judge said No Peaking.

While we do not know the contents of the documents, we do know from legal filings, what kind and how many were found and in which boxes. The full listings are in the legal filings but EW has several summary listings focusing on which documents are related to which of the several challenges and counter challenges.

EW has recently put up a listing of who all is known to have seen the documents, who signed declarations they had seen the documents, and who signed declarations but may now have their own problems because the declaration or assertions were faulty (something was put in, removed or was never in the box).

FOIA requests are sent to many different agencies who are supposed to determine if the document is able to be released. The round robin is you have to file with the proper agency according to the published rules of the agency.

Since atm, no one is allowed to officially look, not even LEAs or 3Ls, and even though they have already been looked at and checked over by an “FBI filter team”, you can’t know which agency should get the FOIA.

JonKnowsNothing September 12, 2022 3:23 AM

@ Nick Levinson

re: The three branches are each responsible for law-making and all are responsible for staying Constitutional in doing so

Ahhh… no… not in the USA.

Other places and countries have their own processes and procedures.

  • The Congress makes the laws. Laws remain until changed by Congress.
  • The Executive aka Presidents can issues Executive Orders which maybe enforced similar to a law, but is not a law and can be rescinded at-will.
  • Courts determine if a law is compatible with existing rulings (precedent) and with the US Constitution and Amendments. Courts do not make laws. They rule on the validity of a law. It can be upheld, struct down, or sent up and down the legal pipeline for more analysis.

There is another type of law, that gets enacted frequently and mostly clandestinely, it comes under a variety of aegis and agencies.

These are ex-parte laws, made up by the agency and organizations in the furtherance of activities that otherwise would be deemed illegal. This often requires a redefinition of a word (relevant == all). These rules are either reviewed in ex-parte courts (FISA, Grand Jury) or by invoking specific terms and legal distortions of prohibited activities (no activity is Unusual therefore no activity requires a Warrant). It is also commonly discovered as a CYA rear guard action, when the proscribed activity is made public (Gina Haspel).

If it’s this latter category you are referring to, then it is known that of the many cases that became public, all were known to Legislative Congress (both sides), Executive, and Legal branches, each branch supporting the others.

  • Intelligence Committees (Senate and Congressional) gang of 4 or gang of 8.
  • FISA Courts (rubberstamp)
  • 3Ls CIA (Panetta Review Report)
  • Executive branch President

It’s a nifty twist when they can pull it off.

SpaceLifeForm September 12, 2022 4:01 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, MarkH

Time is of the essence

FOIA would be a waste of time.

Look at it this way, DOJ/FBI review definitely involved people with clearance, versus the proposed Special Master candidates, none of which have clearance currently.

But, the key part is that the DOJ/FBI people that had clearance that did the review, did not even need to read the specific content in the document itself.

They only had to look at the metadata, the document classification markings.

They, in coordination with NARA, already know what documents are misssing.

So, to speed things along, hopefully tomorrow, the DOJ briefs Gang of 8. They only need to present (preferably heaviliy redacted) copies of classified documents that were found at MaL, and show that they were still in classified status. Redact the content, but not the classification markings metadata. To show that they were not properly declassified.

vas pup September 12, 2022 4:44 PM

@lurker • September 11, 2022 7:38 PM

In International Law winner rights the Law. Small countries need to have support of powerful countries to enjoy rule of International Law.

Unfortunately, recently we could see double or even triple standards in application of International Law.

Currently it is rather based on such statement “For Friends everything for enemies International Law. Selective application of Law is the worst case of unlawfulness.

That is why I agree with @Nick Levinson that at the end of the day only own powerful military could be deterrent against aggression (e.g. N Korea, Israel, Switzerland, even Sweden to some extend before joining NATO) meaning power is better guarantee than any International agreement (e.g. Nazi Germany attacked USSR in 1941 regardless of having agreement of mutual non-attack).

JonKnowsNothing September 12, 2022 5:59 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, @ MarkH

re: DOJ/FBI review definitely involved people with clearance, versus the proposed Special Master candidates, none of which have clearance currently.

EW was making this point. Each agency has a level of clearances for different documents. You need clearances from every agency involved to handle all the documents. iirc the documents are now sorted into agency piles, reducing the number of clearances needed to see them.

Down on the beach at MaL, the TMaga folks moving the physical boxes, putting the documents in question physically in boxes, shuffling physical items into different boxes didn’t have any of those clearances.

It’s an Own Goal.

iirc(badly) In the US Intelligence Committees there are 2-4 members who do not have the ultimate clearances to enter the holy-of-holies room and view the holy-of-holies documents. In order to enter said room, the secrets oaths demand such constraints on the investigation or inquiry aspect of the job of being a Member of the Intelligence Committees, that they would no longer be able to ask “pointed questions” nor inform the public about suspect actions-activities.

As the agencies all get the lists of expected questions before their meetings, they can craft a polite but non-committal reply to it.

It is the question that matters…

The Panetta Report Toss Over, was instructive about the way the Holy-of-Holies Rooms are built, both at the CIA designated SAFE-ROOM where the report was given to the Senate Representatives, who had all the required clearances to see the documents but also at the Senate itself, a building off limits to the CIA, until the CIA threatened to breach the doors.

There are claims that the storage room was such vetted structure. It is not clear if the MaL TMaga office, where some of the documents were kept, had the same vetting.

SpaceLifeForm September 12, 2022 7:12 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, MarkH

There may have been a legal SCIF at MaL but there is no way it is legal today.

That reminds me, I need to call my Uber driver, Devin Nunes, because I may need a ride to the SCIF at midnight.

Clive Robinson September 13, 2022 3:32 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

Re : When is a spade not…

With regards,

There may have been a legal SCIF at MaL but there is no way it is legal today.

This has always been an issue of “certificates” and similar including identity documents like passports, and it’s all to often used for “rights stripping” by those in a position to control the certification[1].

So an example, I build a fire / earthquake shelter “to code” and it is then examined and “officialy” accepted as such. Then they change the code and over night the shelter is nolonger “officialy” accepted as such.

But is the shelter any less safe than it was?

Well it’s not changed so of course not[2]…

With regards the potential of a SKIF at the hole in the ocean, there will however be a “bureaucratic reason” for it no longer being certified… Like there was not “a certified guard” standing at the door scratching his butt 24×7, but then that is the nature of the beast…

Oh and don’t think that having it tested for compliance will work… There will be some clause somewhere that says some of the necessary tests are “secret” so… No independent testing possible, as they say “Not my first rodeo” on such nonsense.

[1] Look up what happened to Ed Snowden for example.

[2] You see the same but opposit problem with calibration certificates, one day a test instrument is allegadly tracable to national standards the day after it’s not… But in reality it was only tracable at the time it was tested not for the duration of the certificate. Because logically “entropy” tells you at some point it will fail in some way and it may not be immediately obvious, you do not know when, it could be five seconds after the calibration it might be five decades or more you just do not know (hence older wiser engineers do check tests before and after equipment use).

Nick Levinson September 13, 2022 5:56 AM

@SpecialLifeForm, @MarkH, & @JonKnowsNothing:

The norms are superior to domestic law and nullify domestic law when in conflict, but, insofar as the norms don’t conflict, domestic law applies. Executive Orders, when law and many are, are part of domestic law, rarely or never of international law.

Whim is hardly likely to justify any important legal decision.

The norms are not generally enforced in U.S. courts against the Federal government, but courts will uphold Federal rights or duties to comply with the norms. Preference for domestic law is probably common in adjudications around the world. The norms are enforced by international war, other breaches of sovereignty, and at least one international court the governing law for which explicates general international law as one source of law it applies.

I should clarify my comment that the impeachment power is a limit. It is a limit, but a limited limit. The head of state can declassify regardless of the prospect of impeachment in order to preclude or end an international war or other breach of sovereignty, impeachment can proceed, and a foreign nation can protect the head of state facing impeachment or who has been impeached, but the protection is discretionary and may fail, as would be the impeachment. Similar reasoning applies to the application of criminal or civil liability law and the role of a foreign nation. Note that our electoral process tends to elect Presidents who don’t come close to those risks.

The rights of POTUS are not necessarily the rights of a former POTUS who is not POTUS.

Law is that which can be enforced by someone else. A contract is law between the parties because someone else, such as a court, can step in and enforce the contractual rights of a party. The court can step in because a higher law says that a contract can be law. A regulation and even an office memo can be law; many regulations are. Terms of use of a website can be law. Whether a promulgation can be rescinded at will does not change whether it is law. While Congress names many of its enactments Public Laws and Private Laws, that is not entirely determinative of what is a law. Courts make law often; their rulings, opinions, and actions make that clear. When a State legislature enacted a death penalty statute, it was law until the State’s highest court said it was unconstitutional, which meant it was still a statute and was still on the books but was no longer enforceable and therefore was no longer law; and, in some cases, a finding of unconstitutionality will be applied retroactively but not always.

Testing through FOIA would fail without disturbing the applicability of the norms. I’d need to establish declassification as fact at trial and, assuming Trump’s declassification was unilateral, I’d need to do that probably by subpoenaing Trump to testify and I suspect he wouldn’t be informative on the witness stand to help my case, such as when he’s asked to tell about the predicate threat to our sovereignty.

MarkH September 13, 2022 2:59 PM

SIGINT, 60 Years Ago

I’m reading a book with far more extensive history of early automatic computers than I’d seen before.

IBM made a special system for the NSA in 1962. Their 7950 HARVEST was an add-on to the earlier 7030, dwarfing the base system. One component was the suggestively named 7951 Stream Coprocessor.

“It appears that HARVEST had a setup mode that preconfigured its processor(s) with complex and specialized bit patterns, controlling the reading of a stream of data (possibly two streams) from the 1.75 inch tape drives in free form, examining and selecting specific patterns from a ‘watch list.’ HARVEST was able to scan over 7 million blocks of data, for occurrences of any of 7000 keywords or patterns, in something well under 4 hours.”

vas pup September 13, 2022 3:21 PM

Samsung subsidiary buys Israeli developer of health monitoring system for passengers

“A Samsung subsidiary has acquired an Israeli tech startup that developed a radar-based monitoring system to track the health and vital signs of vehicle occupants.

Harman, Samsung’s audio electronics company, said in an announcement Tuesday that it bought Netanya-based startup Caaresys to expand its automotive product offerings and “offer new ==>levels of in-vehicle safety, comfort, and well-being in its growing product line.”

Caaresys was founded in 2017 by entrepreneurs Ilya Sloushch, Vadim Kotlar, Konstantin Berezin, and Alex Arshavski, and built an in-cabin, . The system can monitor and track passengers’ general health state, their vital signs like their respiration and heart rates, as well as their location, to ensure their safety. The company also developed a specialized solution that monitors young children and pets to prevent tragic accidents.

Harman previously acquired three Israeli startups in the past 10 years: Ramat Gan-based iOnRoad, which develops augmented reality (AR) for cars; Hod Hasharon-based Red Bend Software, which enables cars to be connected to the cloud; and Kfar Saba-based TowerSec Automotive Cybersecurity.”

Clive Robinson September 13, 2022 5:46 PM

@ MarkH, Ted, ALL,

Re : Crypto breaking half a century or more ago.

“IBM made a special system for the NSA”

The Harvester system has been documented before, even though supposadly classified beyond “up tight and out of sight”.

But they were not the only ones. Cray had some extras in their systems to supposadly “Do Parity” only it was quite a bit more than that.

Remember back then “Linear Feedback Shift Registers”(LFSR) were still considered by many to be “secure” if you used a bit of non-linear logic from the shift register bits[1]…

They were not and GCHQ thus the NSA certainly knew this, as it shows up in the BID 600 designs if you know how to look at them.

So that “odd” parity instruction hiddrn in the Cray systems would have made breaking a lot of stream cipher systems favoured by the Europeans at the time a lot lot easier to break.

[1] In theory every stream cipher generator that can be constructed can be modeled as a “counter” driving a mapping function / lookup table / ROM. Obviously the required number of gates for a ROM with a 4096 bit address bus would be immense and not possible to build (not enough grains of sand in the Universe). Even a 64 bit address ROM would be effectively beyond practical manufacture. So any stream generator has to be of a very very limited number of the total possible permutations. And so of low or non complex mapping -mostly linear- thus effectively very simple to break. If you look at the EU NESSIE competition all the stream generators failed to make the grade complexity wise, which resulted in the following half decade long eSTREAM project,

Most of the algorithms appart from Salsa you will probably never have heard of (nor will again).

MarkH September 13, 2022 6:03 PM


I try to keep comments short, to avoid automatic binning.

Marshall William McMurran, ACHIEVING ACCURACY, 2008, Xlibris (self-publishing company)

Though I used quote marks above, I made several edits for clarity.

SpaceLifeForm September 13, 2022 6:04 PM

Mudge hearing

The only positive that I can report from this hearing, is that it happened at all, and in public. Yes, I watched it all.

TL;DR – Twitter is a spy operation wet dream for insiders

It is over 2 hours long. Does not get started until 12:52 mark. Mudge starts at 28:18 mark. And I thought the CIA DEVLAN was the Wild Wild West. This mess at Twitter makes them look great.

Misc notes:

  • Twitter behind a decade of security measures
  • Profits over security. Mentions Upton Sinclair.
  • data sources not documented. 80% of data from outside. PII cross-correlated
  • FTC letting Twitter grade their own homework
  • No Test Env. No Stage Env. They test in Prod.
  • Lack of logging and access controls.
  • Approx 4000 engineers. They basically all have root.
  • Not proactive. Reactive. Crisis driven management.
  • 80% of users are outside of US. Can not try to rely upon Google Translate to find bad stuff.
  • No incentive to patch. No MDM.
  • Bad growth incentives
  • Bad news never reported upstream

[429 after nearly 23 hours]

MarkH September 13, 2022 6:27 PM


What interested me were the tech details in the text, few as they were. The custom tape system was not only wide enough for perhaps 30 tracks, but also used cassettes and an automatic handling & storage system which presumably enabled tapes to be retrieved and stored under software control.

HARVEST must have been one of the more powerful systems of its day — hundreds of times the speed of IBM’s workhorse 704 — and was extensively tailored to NSA’s pattern-search application.

For its day, it was ultra-bespoke heavy iron.

SpaceLifeForm September 13, 2022 11:45 PM

Twitter shareholder vote

An interesting number 98.6 is. Seems familiar. I await the 8-K. 🍿

Media reports were already out early saying it was a foregone conclusion, yet the business day was not yet done. Stock price barely moved.

This was at 2022-09-13 13:12 ET


This was at 2022-09-13 13:44 ET


Timestamp of this press release is 2022-09-13 16:54 ET (over 3 hours later)


Based on a preliminary tabulation of the stockholder vote, approximately 98.6% of the votes cast at the Special Meeting approved the proposal to adopt the Merger Agreement.

This was at 2022-09-12 19:09 (ET assumed) (note this was the day before!)


A majority of Twitter’s shareholders have voted in favor of the social media company’s $44 billion sale to Elon Musk, people familiar with the tally said on Monday.

The deadline for the shareholder vote on the deal is Tuesday but enough investors had voted by Monday evening for the outcome to be certain, the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity ahead of an official announcement.

Weather September 14, 2022 12:17 AM

It would have been cleaned, baiting not likely, minor, it’s just police work, what do you lot think of quantum cythers?

Clive Robinson September 14, 2022 2:53 AM

@ MarkH,

Re : IBM kit for NSA

“For its day, it was ultra-bespoke heavy iron.”

At more than,

“Solid gold pricing”

The NSA were at one point alledged to be a century in advance on “storage technology” they designed much of it internally including compression algorithms alledgedly thought up in GCHQ. Neither SigInt agency had the manufacturing chops and the UK did not have the finances anyway. So rhe ideas got “outsourced” to IBM and one or two others.

That “hundred times faster” is probably not a mistake, from some of the information that leaked it was a massively parallel design in atleast two diminsions with algorithms optomised for such an environment.

It actually takes only a few hardware modifications to get quite a speed increase in cryptanalysis. For instance “set bit counting in a word” is like an extended form of parity checking, it is inordinately slow in software taking around three instruction cycles per bit counted. In hardware you can design hardware trees that can count a 128bit word registers set bits in just a couple of instruction cycle times especially if the set bits are expected to be sparse, thus alowing the count tree to be shallower (see the ideas behind “look ahead carry” from fast adders the principle is similar).

Any way, those “NSA contracts” with the money and information should have given the lucky supplier a significant market advantage… Only the market was not ready for it so did not need it…

It was only in the late 1980’s that the advent of cheap desktop computing a decade before with the likes of the Apple ][ and the IBM PC –that copied the Apple to the point it was very nearly a clone– had brought the “Data Processing Market” sufficiently forward. With the advent in the late 80’s and early 90’s of LAN’s for PC’s making the likes of bulk storage and central servers a rapidly growing market segment with Novell almost being “the winner takes all” and the likes of “Data Warehousing” making the data almost “infinitely usable” to “all users” in an organisation.

By which time over the couple or so of intervening decades the “information” advantage from those early NSA Contracts had almost melted away.

About the only clues left are in the IBM “Z Server” series and Sun Starfire E10K with the latter drveloped by Cray that had bebifited from those NSA contracts. The fruits of which carried forward to the last of Sun’s Servers with the E25K series in the early part of this century and sidways into Silicon Graphics systems. Sadly neither Silicon Graphics or Sun realy exist any more it’s a shame as Sun was to most a fun place to work at.

Clive Robinson September 14, 2022 7:07 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL

Re : Things a’twitter.

“Media reports were already out early saying it was a foregone conclusion, yet the business day was not yet done. Stock price barely moved.”

Yes it was expected that the vote would be to get out with a profit.

Anyone who looks at a graph of Twitter share price csn see the Venture Capital “Pump and Dump” peaked out before the Musk offer. If you assume a straight line continuation the share price would be well well below where it currently is. Thus the real value of the Twitter share is probably below a third of what it currently is…

Thus the share holders all want to cash out like fleas hopping of a dying dogs carcus.

If the peding court case looks like it’s going to go Musk’s way expect the current share price to not just slump but tank like a lead kipper.

It might save time if Twitter changed it’s name to Toast…

The more information that comes out about how certain members of the Twitter board have shall we say been “fudging the figures” the lower the real share value will be. Beyond a certain point the “bull run effect” will happen and you would find the share certificates would probably not be worth hanging on a nail in an old style 1800’s out house…

JonKnowsNothing September 14, 2022 10:18 AM

@SpaceLifeForm, @Clive, All

re: MvT Share Offer Vote

From the 10,000 ft level, people often think that the stock share price and the number of listed stocks outstanding are The Price and The Voting Shares. They are not.

There is often a series of levels below (or above depending on your viewpoint) the public traded shares and the public traded price.

The main vote was done long before the close of voting. Like most elections, the tail end votes (individuals) don’t change the outcome. Once the difference to override a selection becomes greater than the outstanding votes… Bob’s Your Uncle.

The vast number of institutional investors, of which venture capital is one group, know the score and they have more leverage and funds on hand to force their views when it comes to a proxy fight. The vote for or against the buyout didn’t even scratch a dent as a proxy fight.

Musk didn’t rally his shares or allies to fight the vote, because it would have been a Not Good Move. If you think of the absurdity of Musk holding 9% of shares, voting against his own buyout offer, at what is now nearly 2x the current listed stock price.

What runs under the banner of institutional investors are banks, funds, hedge funds and international investment firms. These folks control the shares. They also often have special share pricing which may or may not be tied to the market stock price.

Anyone in Silicon Valley (or elsewhere) who has been granted stock options, purchase options, bonus options, performance options along with a host of derivative stock options and price, all have different prices attached to them. There are buckets of these sorts of stocks in the mix: none at the stated market price and nearly all either fully granted (free to the person getting them) or at serious discounts.(1)

Every year, ~Q1, there are reports of CEOs selling N-shares for huge sums, as part of their compensation package. It’s done in Q1 for taxation reasons, but it can happen year round. These shares are temporary and the game is this:

  • The grant shares are priced at $N-cheap per share, sometimes pennies. If the Market Price is $N+, then the stocks are “purchased and sold” same day. The price is a wash and the CEO pockets the difference. This stock is not active until purchased, it’s in a reserve pile (buy backs). Later when the share price dips again, the company repurchases the same shares, now discounted.

There are taxation rules in effect depending on when the grant-offer was made and the pricing differential.

There are also multiple classes of stock. Not all are traded on the open market. Some have voting rights and some do not. It’s the wonderland for investment funding and hard to sort out even from the footnotes in the financial statements.


1) It always surprised me that few of my colleagues ever bothered to READ the wads of paper handed to them for Stock Options etc. They went along based on the Executive Summary top page. Had they bothered to read them and bothered to check out their taxation exposures they would not have had the problem that some did:

  • People exercised their options Buy-Sell same day, and pocketed the difference.

Then they got a demand for millions of dollars in taxes due to Timing of Sale. They tried to fight the IRS and like many others found out, you cannot win against the IRS.

They lost everything they had acquired: houses, cars, boats, vacation spots, time shares, market shares, every thing was captured by the IRS.

It was all in the paperwork. It was never fully explained by the corporate stock purchase department and even CPAs cannot figure out your liability without the specific terms of the grant and timing of sale.

MarkH September 14, 2022 1:36 PM


The 7030 STRETCH base system was itself rather a supercomputer for its day — but the 7950 add-on was physically twice as large as STRETCH.

Off to the side, were you aware of the LEO computers and their curious origin? When I read about them, I thought, “‘Encyclopedia’ Clive is the only person I can think of who might know about that.”

vas pup September 14, 2022 4:56 PM

Japan harvesting junk electronics to tackle resource shortages

“A new “urban mining” campaign aims to extract valuable metals from used smart phones, televisions and computers. The goal is to reduce Japan’s dependence on foreign suppliers and shaky supply chains.

Japan has announced ambitious plans to utilize tons of disused electronic equipment that are discarded every year, as disruptions in international trade threaten shortages of raw materials critical to the country’s high-tech production sector.

The Environment Ministry announced in late August that it is aiming to double the amount of metals recovered from electronic devices by 2030 and for the resources to be recycled and reused in everything from state-of-the-art electric vehicles to computers and smartphones.

=>Discarded mobile phones and television sets, computer motherboards and refrigerators, microwave ovens, car components and countless other household items contain varying amounts of gold and silver, lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper and zinc. They provide key components of batteries and high-tech electronics and can be reused if processed properly.

!!!So much is discarded every year that a 2020 estimate suggested that there could be as much as 6,800 tons of discarded gold alone in Japan, which is more than the known deposits still waiting to be mined in South Africa.

“A decade ago, discarded electronics was not seen as being very valuable or a resource that that needed to be exploited, simply because the price of the metals that they contained was relatively low,” said Kohmei Harada, director of the Sustainability Design Institute and a former director at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science.”

Electronics should reliably be wiped out of all information before dumped out for recycling. That is what government or technical gurus should teach regular folks how to do that I guess.

fib September 15, 2022 8:57 AM

Given the pessimism about AI[1], does anybody think that we could have something akin to the Butlerian Jihad[2] some point in the mid term future?

The paper[3] envisions life on Earth turning into a zero-sum game between humanity, with its needs to grow food and keep the lights on, and the super-advanced machine, which would try and harness all available resources to secure its reward and protect against our escalating attempts to stop it.




What amazing powers of imagination had Frank Herbert.

*url’s fractured as per the customs

Clive Robinson September 15, 2022 11:18 AM

@ fib, ALL,

Re : The rise of AI and the fall of man.

Both are going to happen simple logic predicates both. Though when and how they happen and if they will be related is a whole different set of questions and answers.

With regards,

“Given the pessimism about AI[1], does anybody think that we could have something akin to the Butlerian Jihad[2] some point in the mid term future?”

It’s a possability but I hope less likely than not, it rather depends on stupidity…

Look at it this way, we talk of the basic “Modus operandi”(MO), which is Latin meaning “way of working” and most often heard about alledged criminal behaviours. Which in turn get broken down into,

1, Means
2, Motive
3, Opportunity

Thus for an entity to commit a physical act it must have “agency”, “cause” and “locality”. It’s the inverse principle by which we incarcerate people. That is if you are imprisoned or issolated then you do not have locality thus agency and can not commit a crime no matter what the cause.

On the unlikely assumption AI gets some form of sentience then it might develop a cause. However if it has no physical agency or such agency is non local it has neither the means or opportunity.

The problem is when AI is not sentient but has advanced pattern recognition or “targetting information” and is “given direction” and the physical agency for both moving and acting.

You care not if you are wounded, maimed or killed by a drone piloted by a human or some computer software. The difference is about blaim, justice, compensation, retribution.

The idea of “Killer Software” already exists in practice and pattern matching is sufficiently good that since the 1980’s it could fly a missile (MLRS) down onto a tank hatch. The fact that “friendly fire” could happen ment that the weapons also had to be “given direction” to get the alledged correct “locality”.

Since then pattern recognition has increased to the point that, locality is very broad and less direction need be given. Thus direction can be almost an “arm wave” compass bearing.

But dangerous as this all is, there is no sentience in the systems thus no “Directing Mind” to develop a cause.

Which brings us to “Stupidity” as targeting by pattern matching becomes more selective, humans will unfortunately develop cognative bias as a form of myth of infalibility. That is they will incorrectly believe such weapons will be “to smart” to make mistakes… Thus the humans will wave their arm and push the button without due consideration…

This I can see a lot of happening, followed by the concequent denials by those pushing the button or ordering the button to be pressed.

As I frequently note computers have no sense of “good or bad” it’s a “social more” of humans that is highly variable and almost always seen from the point of view of an observer, after the fact of the act.

So the question of a “Directing mind” arises. We assume such a mind must be sentient, but does that of necescity mean sentience has the same “social more” that alows “good bad” differentiation? I would argue that from animal studies and some human studies the answer is actually no.

But also consider “crime” has a component that is “motive”. Part of motive is the “What do I gain?” question. All human crime even the apparently sensless crimes all have the “What do I gain?” question underlying them. We may not understand the gain it might be totaly alien to our way of thinking and behaving but it is there.

So the question arises as to if software becomes sentient and we give it physical agency, “What would it see as gain”…

Thus I suspect a “Butlerian Jihad” won’t happen for a couple of reasons,

1, Machine Sentience is unlikely.
2, The lack of attendent evolutionary advantage.

Others may disagree but the potential of a “Machine Uprising” I’m not going to loose sleep over. However I do loose sleep over the inordinate stupidity of “genius with lack of social mores” which is one way to describe modern weapons developments.

Quantry September 15, 2022 11:49 AM

After an upgrade to 104.0.2,

I noticed that Firefox was resolving DNS under
‘ht tps://
in about:networking#dns

(which is NOT the cloudflare mode 2 “TRR” I’ve been testing. ‘ht tps://,

rather than fail-back to the local dns, as it should under mode 0, I thought.

Feels like a high-jack, although I didn’t pursue it much, and the second resolution seemed on track.

Vis: ‘ht tps:// regarding ‘ht tps://

Que Será, cira.

JonKnowsNothing September 15, 2022 11:57 AM

@ Clive, @ fib, ALL,

Re : The rise of AI and the fall of man: The Stupidity Principle

As others have pointed out there are technological issues involved and there are social issues involved in the continued pursuit of what is a faulty design for AI : training sets and pattern recognition.

There is another level on the Stupidity Index which relates to: who will be tasked with using this system. In the scope of current global demographics, it is still humans that have not yet past the age of “reckless behavior”.

Numerous reports of AI Drone Operators in the USA, which are split between the Army and the Air Force, have detailed the military preference for using basic entry level recruits (~17yo) and reducing the number of experience military pilots (~30yo), even though the mechanics of controlling the drone and releasing the missile are done by Joy Stick. There isn’t any physical strength needed when pushing the Joy Stick around and clicking the Fire Button.

The preference is based on what one might call The Stupidity Principle: humans without enough life experience, have less means of understanding the repercussions of their actions at the time that action is initiated.

Military systems rely on this for their combat and support troops: Follow Orders and Don’t Ask Questions. It’s not new news.

However, once we add in the Stupidity Principle into the AI Design it adds an overlooked aspect to the system. We presume, that the designs (good and bad) are done and executed by “life experienced adults” but we rarely consider how this rolls out with the much younger contingent of 10-20yos. As the global demographics shift, the drone operator is more likely to be a very young person, that an older person. One will push the fire button immediately and the other will not.

Jim September 15, 2022 12:23 PM

Customs officials have copied Americans’ phone data at massive scale

U.S. government officials are adding data from as many as 10,000 electronic devices each year to a massive database they’ve compiled from cellphones, iPads and computers seized from travelers at the country’s airports, seaports and border crossings, leaders of Customs and Border Protection told congressional staff in a briefing this summer.

The rapid expansion of the database and the ability of 2,700 CBP officers to access it without a warrant — two details not previously known about the database — have raised alarms in Congress about what use the government has made of the information, much of which is captured from people not suspected of any crime. CBP officials told congressional staff the data is maintained for 15 years.

Winter September 15, 2022 12:23 PM


There is another level on the Stupidity Index which relates to: who will be tasked with using this system. In the scope of current global demographics, it is still humans that have not yet past the age of “reckless behavior”.

There is this futuristic dream of a machine that can create any product for basically free. The idea being that we all have all our product needs fulfilled.

But reality will be that this machine will belong to some person(s) at the exclusion of all others. The result being that everybody will be out of a job and dirt poor while the happy few will be immensely rich. Al little like Bezos and Musk versus their employees. Or worse. [1]

Military systems rely on this for their combat and support troops: Follow Orders and Don’t Ask Questions. It’s not new news.

Not quite, as we see play out in the East where such an army is trounced by one where they rely more on insight.

[1] Science fiction has covered this. It involves slavery.

fib September 16, 2022 12:35 PM

@Clive Robinson, @JonKnowsNothing, @Winter, @All

Thanks for the insights. I would like to counter the question raised by @Clive, regarding the possible sentience of machines, raising the hypothesis of substrate independence [no good link, sorry], in which I see feasibility.

For my part, I believe that the problem of the lack of advancement in AI can be attributed to two factors: a) the lack of a general theory of mind and; b) the approach that I would call Platonic, a brain in a box thinking purely, without the inputs of the senses. This imo flawed assumption make our models crude – albeit based on initially valid principles – representations of thought processes. While we can get interesting results from this approach [much like a cargo cult representation of an airplane can fly briefly if thrown off a cliff] we are clearly off course in our quest.

I’m inclined to think that artificial intelligence, like the minds it is purported to imitate, must acquired through an evolutionary process, with the integral participation of sensors [image, acoustic, pressure, chemical] capturing reality in real time, and processing it without having to solve a specific problem. In short, a model of ‘reality recognition’, in which each frame of [a somehow tagged] reality is transformed into tensors, and each new frame is the result of the weighing of previous inputs. That would be a closer mimicking of the human mind. How to control that beast would be another story [is it programmable? Is an independent mind programmable in the strict sense?]

I wished I had posted this comment earlier in the week, as I’m not meant to disrupt the normal flow of the board with the imminent new squid thread.

Clive Robinson September 16, 2022 4:04 PM

@ fib,

Re : Other sentience.

“… must [be] acquired through an evolutionary process, with the integral participation of sensors [image, acoustic, pressure, chemical] capturing reality in real time, and processing it without having to solve a specific problem.”

I’ve highlighted two parts because they are effectively contradictory.

All “evolutionary processes” are driven by the need “to solve” one or both of two very “sprcific problems),

1, Survival of the organism to breed
2, Survival of the species of the organism

Whilst they are often the same thing they can appear to be directly contradictory, such as when a female rodent eats her helples young, or a female insect eats her mate.

When looked at correctly they are “purposeful” under “evolution”.

The development of more than rudimentry skills is purposeful, thus it does fall within consoderation for evolution.

However with “sentience” a third eveloutionary pathway opens up,

3, Survival of environment

That is an organism can chose not to breed and in fact can chose to not keep their species alive if they will destroy the environment thus kill all life.

The question thus arises as to what the difference is between nonsentient and sentient life.

At the risk of being shot at, I would claim it is the maner of “free will” with regards “agency”.

Religion in particular is “anti-freewill” for the individual yet has to have organisational free will to exist and remain in existance in the face of changes in the environment.

It’s why I consider there are no deities just humans seeking control over other humans by use of a dictate / argument that is so one sided it leaves the power in just one or two hands, of people you realy do not want dictating your life (look at what we call “cults” to see why).

For those that doubt this look at the historical maturity of deities from worshiping that which is comprehended through to that which is effrctively philosophical musing on the notion of “good” but is in fact an evolutionary imperitive.

Thus I would argue that sentience in a spiecies can be found by looking first for societal grouping. Then by looking for signs of religion or moral evaluation as to “good or bad” not by participents in an act but by independent or third party observers. Further by a societal desire to “strive” toward a set of goals that are always on the edge of “reachable” thus as a species evolves and achives goals the goals either evolve or are replaced by other goals. So a societies generalised or sociatal goals evolve staying just ahead of where most in society would wish them to be (thus mores become norms and so on).

The important thing to understand is that at the base the physical environment is “bound” thus effrctively a “zero sum game” all that changes is how we increase any given resources utility by the application of energy as “work”.

There is unfortunately much nonsence talked about “increasing productivity by improving efficiency” well it takes no great brain to work out that with a fixed quantity of physical resources and that the efficiency of any process is ultimately limited, there is only so far you can go. And infact with a little further thought realise that beyond a certain point (around 67%) you start in on the “law of diminishing returns” as the processess cease to be robust to change and become increasingly fragile. It’s why we are now seeing the damage of over doing “efficiency” by the increase in supply chain issues.

As sentient beings we should be able to see when and where the 67% is worth passing and why, and when we should just jump to some alternative. But for some reason on mass humanity appears incapable of being sentient in this way…

So the, “Physician heal thyself” question arises about humanity… Which might account for our current inability to come up with a “theory of mind” or more esoteric, a “theory of sense” or “theory of inteligence” and importantly how they came about.

Whilst Roger Penrose claimed a “quantum theory” and since we have found biological quantum processes, we can not answer the “How?” question.

SpaceLifeForm September 16, 2022 4:49 PM

@ Quantry

Just keep in mind that all of your DNS traffic is potentially MITM-ed at some point. Always.

You can cut down tbe level of exposure by running your own Recursive, Caching DNS Resolver, and over-riding TTL. See Unbound. Even that does not prevent traffic analysis at IP level. But it can definitely help performance and save bandwidth.

The question is, who do you expose your DNS traffic to? Your immediate upstream ISP, or to some entity higher upstream running DoH to hide the DNS traffic from your local ISP?

Remember, most of the DNS traffic is UDP, which is easily MITM-ed.

It is whack-a-mole. Your ISP will still be able to see the IP traffic. At minimum, they can log target IP Address and Port.

If one does not want to run tbeir own DNS, my thinking is just use your ISP DNS, and become part of the DNS noise at your local ISP level, instead of concentrating traffic over DoH to a specific MITM.

There is always the old school hosts file if one is so inclined if you think the ip address stays fairly static.

JonKnowsNothing September 16, 2022 6:26 PM

@fib, Clive, All

re: AI isn’t A+I

Way back in the rear view mirror…

Early AI endeavors attempted to replicate the method of “thinking” of a human. It explored the nature of intelligence and how it developed in our complex species. While it did many experiments in animal models, some of them horrendous because humans do not understand animals at all, we had to default back to the only thing we have some understanding about: humans.

It was abundantly clear, even in those days, that what makes up “intelligence” (not spy craft stuff) was far too complicated. Even attempting to mimic a toddlers thinking was beyond the abilities to define exactly what a toddler knows.

It was when Intelligence == Knowing. Knowing did not require Knowledge as in education but the very basics of how all creatures function. (1)

Early attempts to make chess programs also attempted to mimic the thought patterns and cross connections made by humans in a chess game.

Then the definition changed to what we have now: AI == Pattern Recognition with a finite list of responses at the end-exit node.

This is when the greater computers began to run All Possible Paths to find a solution in Chess Games. When you can run every possible permutation and at each node always select the winning move, you win games but you do not match human intellect. It can never be so.

An out come of this Perfect Match Search is that today’s chess players all train against the Perfect Node Selection and their games are mimics of the different computer algorithms they train against. There is still some variation, often called a blunder, but at high ranks very rare. When it happens it’s big chess news.

Both eras of chess included a great deal of memorization and pattern recognition. Knowing the opening and knowing N-moves with all variations subject to the persons abilities and talents to remember all that detail.

The change shifted how that memorization takes place in order to exclude “blunders” (unexplained variations), in search of a guaranteed Check Mate.

Modern AI suffers from this in every aspect and it would be way better if someone would come up with a different moniker.


1) Even animals know things fall DOWN and they don’t take courses in physics. Horses can calculate speed, velocity, angle of attack and intersecting arcs and they never take courses in mathematics. Horses are able to do this within 1 or 2 days of birth. Humans take a lot longer.

Clive Robinson September 17, 2022 7:06 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, fib, weather, All,

Re : Species of AI.

“Early AI endeavors attempted to replicate the method of “thinking” of a human.”

That still exists, and at one point was distinquished as “Hard AI” with the implication that other areas were “Soft AI” which at the time covered “Expert Systems” and later drew in “Fuzzy logic”.

Hard AI appears to get further away with every constructive step we take in that direction. Because what is realy being sort after is non human “creativity” that is ingenuity and invention capable of moving not just knowledge but the world forward in new and original ways.

Soft AI is realy about “codifing existing knowledge” and has no “creativity” even though it might appear to. Originally you would get an “Expert” to make the rules and these would be tested and further refined, hence “Expert Systems”.

The result was in effect no more than a flow chart decision maker with a fancy computer front end. But just as static as if the rules had been chisseled in stone.

Which brings us to,

“Then the definition changed to what we have now: AI == Pattern Recognition with a finite list of responses at the end-exit node.”

It was a bit more drawn out and nuanced than that.

The next stage was to make the human expert more “efficient” in rule making. In essence statistics on data sets instead of being used to test the rules, were used to find anomalies that needed addressing. As part of this non obvious patterns started to become seen.

Which appeared to some to be like magic, thus require abilities beyond theirs so therefor must have some form of intelligence… Which says rather more about their capabilities than those of the software. This process became known as “Knowledge Mining” a term still used today but has since had additions.

As I’ve mentioned before, back in the 1980’s I was involved with what was the first easily available and usable commercial system. The Company was called “Brainstorm Computer Solutions” and the product called “HULK” for “Help Uncover Latent Knowledge”.

I learn’t a lot from that, primarily why keeping out of Hard AI was advisable if you wanted a career[1] 😉

My input was to “Move the drinks cabinate”[2] by adding the use of “fuzzy logic” with randomized tree spanning to help match goals in more optimal ways. As it turned out even though it worked and worked very well it was not realy necessary.

Others investigated via “weighted drunkards walks” what were to become “Annealing Algorithms” to optimize desired outcomes.

These annealing algorithms showed quite significant returns, but not in AI but in manufacturing. They were ideal to minimise wastage on things like “glass cutting” in the making of double glazing and the like where standard sizes were not the norm and “cutting” had to be done in compleate straight lines such as “cleaving”.

The reality is AI, is still not “delivering” but some have discovered a “New Magic” for it. Most here will have heard,

“There are lies, damn lies, and then statistics”

Well the “New Magic” is to replace the word “statistics” with “Artificial Inteligence” or what ever the snake oil salesmen are calling it today.

I won’t go into the details of how you transfer a desired “bias” into such systems but as current research is showing it’s not exactly difficult due to “First look sensitivity”.

But one correction,

“Even animals know things fall DOWN and they don’t take courses in physics”

And they are wrong… As Sir Issac proved they move towards the respective center of mass in a vectored way. The reason “down” has a direction is we are already falling in that direction on a parabolic path.

As for,

“Horses can calculate speed, velocity, angle of attack and intersecting arcs and they never take courses in mathematics.”

That is because they use a varient of what was once called “fuzzy logic”.

“Fuzzy logic is based on the observation that people make decisions based on imprecise and non-numerical information.”

( From )

Which drives a simple “split the difference and re-evaluate” huristic for two or more moving objects, which is kind of essential for “running eith the herd”. It is the same thing that gave USAF Colonel John Boyd the idea that gave rise to his “Observe Orient Decide Act”(OODA) loop huristic approach.

[1] It was not long after that I got right out of the AI Game, and went back into product design of “Intrinsic safety” and “Safety Critical” systems where I unfortunately became “an expert” which I hated, so then went back into my “first love” telecommunications, oddly in FMCE product design. However the horror that most of the world thinks of as AI, that which underpins Soft AI still keeps coming back in my life in one way or another. For instance in the likes of “Interface Design” where the Interface learns from the users behaviours. At another level be used to optomise database organisation. Anything where adaptability is desirable will probably end up using the tools that Soft AI does, but without any kind of Inteligence, because it’s not needed when “a drunkards walk” gets you more that half way there, and adding even a little annealing gets you atleast eight tenths of the way there and often well over nine tenths…

[2] See “Black Adder” where the expression was coined as a sarcastic euphemism for an expensive but ultimately futile act.

Winter September 17, 2022 8:26 AM


For my part, I believe that the problem of the lack of advancement in AI can be attributed to two factors: a) the lack of a general theory of mind and; b) the approach that I would call Platonic, a brain in a box thinking purely, without the inputs of the senses.

Not quite. Current AI == Deep Learning == artificial Neural Nets.

Deep Learning is a statistical methods that stores patterns of activations (search “Hebbian learning”). Current methods are successful because they store enormous amounts of “co-occurences” from even more data in internal parameters. GPT3 has 175 billion parameters trained on 570 gigabytes of text.

But this approach learns by coupling everything to everything. If you have more parameters than data, it will simply store the data itself. This is called overtraining.

But then look at the numbers. Something is wrong. Humans do not learn language by hearing or reading 570 GB of text. So, the task can obviously performed much more efficiently. In addition, in many natural cases, eg, language or speech variants that are not on national TV broadcasts, there simply is never enough data to learn the task in the first place. This limits the high performance applications to the most common tasks.

Current systems remediate the lack of data by generating synthetic data. If you know what variation is irrelevant, eg, speaker characteristics, pitch, and tempo for speech recognition, you can generate new data where these aspects are randomly varied to force the Deep Learning application to ignore them.

This points to the fundamental problem of current AI: They cannot extract the relevant aspects from the data and ignore the irrelevant parts. This probably has to do with the grounding problem.

The data have no relation to any external reality. It is all words about words, or numbers about numbers. If you read that “durians” are forbidden in hotel rooms and polite company, you are likely to make a link with illegal or immoral activities. How could you ever use the word correctly if you have never observed it?

And more general, how can you become conscious if you have no sense of a reality but everything is just words about words?

People know what should be done to improve AI in this respect, eg, add emotions, sensors, and actuators. But no one knows how to do it.

Clive Robinson September 17, 2022 9:38 AM

@ Winter, fib,

Re : AI and sensors

“eg, add emotions, sensors, and actuators. But no one knows how to do it.”

Not quite true as written. We know how to add sensors and actuators, and even via the likes of adaptive huristics we can get a machine to link some sensors and some actuators (preasure sensor and grip actuators) in a feedback loop such it grips but does not crush.

What we can not do, nore it appears have any clue how to do is get a machine to “want to play” just by it’s self without prompting / forcing / directing. Which when you think about it is how humans calibrate their huristics, and then go on and learn about things like hot, cold, etc.

As far as we can tell play is about “fun” which is a form of “pleasure” and we humans get rewarded for it by a release of chemicals that our brains “like”.

But those words fun, like, and pleasure, are just tags devoid of actual meaning they are just “names” for things we just do not understand.

Just like “random” and “determanistic” we can and do ascribe useful meaning that we can process to determanistic, but the only meaning we can apply to random is “appears non determanistic” and it’s not usefull.

To see why, come up with a “usefull meaning” for “joy” and why it is quantatively and measurably different to “happiness” and “pleasure” thus can be correctly recognised.

The only thing we do know is that “pleasure” in it’s broadest sense is a driver for evolutionary processes.

But we do not know which is cause and which is effect. That is does seeking pleasure cause evolutionary behaviour or does evolutionary behaviour cause pleasure. So far we say “Chicken or Egg”.

What we do know is that without regulation thinks become either obsesive or addictive depending on your point of view as an observer.

Which brings us around to the notion of “judgment” and “good and bad” we have absolutly no idea how we decide good from bad and we use “arm waving argument” to “talk it into the long grass”. Part of which is to talk about “goal setting” and “achiving”.

Which brings us back to a subset of “pleasure seeking” and how much pleasure is good and how much is bad, without any way of measuring it empirically.

Thus arguably “emotion” is based on a “feeling” that can be either good or bad but does have intensity. The purpose of which is apparently to keep an organism one a usefull evolutionary path…

But it’s not very usefull because the first question where it all falls appart is the obvious,

“How is the evolutionary path defined?”

Followed by,

“How was the emotion control mechanism arived at?”

We don’t know but we do know that it can be seen in people that are “driven” and they often have high IQ’s, and it can show at an early stage.

For instance I have a very fond memory of my son’s first Christmas. We had got him one of those “driving consoles” for 18-36 month olds, figuring he would learn in his own time. It was the “Fisher-Price” sort that has a steering wheel and accelerator lever, both of which change the sound it makes. Even though like most under one year olds he could not realy “sit up” properly after being shown how to play with it, he in effect glued himself to it and kept playing untill he slumped over it fast asleep… It was the first indication of just how focused he can get when something engages his attention.

The question arising is “Why?” when other children of the same age mostly don’t, their attention span can be measured in seconds or just a few minutes at most. The next question is “Does it have an evolutionary advantage?” and if so “Is it for the individual or the species?”

fib September 19, 2022 1:54 PM

@Clive, @Winter, @JonKnowsNothing, @All

Very thoughtful points, I can only thank you.

Yes, I was imprecise expressing some of my concepts. I will be polishing my discourse/arguments and will bring them up again soon – when the occasion manifests.


ResearcherZero September 21, 2022 12:13 AM

@Nick Levinson

He would still be, today, a fairly-high-value target to some foreign governments.

He was a fairly-high-value target to some foreign governments a very long time ago. Conversely he was also seen as PITA that everyone else wanted to avoid pursuing anything related to, a ‘hot potato’ that stayed hot for a very long time.

“I’ll posit that President Trump is not a Manchurian candidate, prepped and lodged in the highest office to betray America. That said, his behavior is really no different from what one would expect — or Russia would expect — from a planted agent. It does not mean Trump is a planted agent; it means Russia has been so successful in getting the results it wants without accomplishing any cinematic-worthy spy escapade as to mark this as among the most successful intelligence schemes in history.”

SpaceLifeForm September 22, 2022 2:48 AM

Twitter 8-K

It appears that .6006486 of the outstanding shares as of 2022-07-22 were voted. So, nearly 40% of the shareholders did not care to vote. Strange.

And apparently, Elon Musk either voted for or sat it out. Suspect latter.


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