Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Brains

Researchers have new evidence of how squid brains develop:

Researchers from the FAS Center for Systems Biology describe how they used a new live-imaging technique to watch neurons being created in the embryo in almost real-time. They were then able to track those cells through the development of the nervous system in the retina. What they saw surprised them.

The neural stem cells they tracked behaved eerily similar to the way these cells behave in vertebrates during the development of their nervous system.

It suggests that vertebrates and cephalopods, despite diverging from each other 500 million years ago, not only are using similar mechanisms to make their big brains but that this process and the way the cells act, divide, and are shaped may essentially layout the blueprint required develop this kind of nervous system.

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 November 18, 2022 at 5:12 PM297 Comments


&ers November 18, 2022 7:05 PM

What’s the latest with Covid?

And to stay on topic : latest Flare On writeups.


SpaceLifeForm November 18, 2022 11:55 PM

@ Clive

re: KQED podcast

I am listening. It is from 2022-11-02, so eons ago. I ate the cookie, but that probably was not the issue. It may be that you are geo-blocked.

So, far, nothing really of interest to report. Kind of negative, as in, the three talking seem to be resigned to accept that Twitter will die.

I do not believe that is the case.

But, I will continue to listen, and will update if any interesting stuff is discussed. They are discussing listener comments and questions now.

SpaceLifeForm November 19, 2022 12:48 AM

@ Clive

re: KQED podcast

Not much. Not worth listening to. Fluff.

Some topics mentioned, but not seriously discussed:

News aggregation, RSS, ListServs, Social Science Research, Emergency warnings and reports. No mention of NNTP. No mention of Mastodon that I can recall.

Side note: Check the timestamps on comments here. They do not seem to be as expected. At least, not how it worked last year when we did CDT to fallback to CST. It appears that the timezone has been changed on the servers to be EST.

Tell me if this comment shows up with timestamp of November 19, 2022 12:48 AM

SpaceLifeForm November 19, 2022 1:25 AM

Re: Twitter implosion

Someone at Twitter was thinking before they left the building.

The TLS Certificate was set to expire 2022-12-12.

Someone got a new cert rolled this past Monday, 2022-11-14, so the current cert will not expire until 2023-11-15.

SpaceLifeForm November 19, 2022 3:08 AM

@ Ted, Clive, ALL

Speaking of timestamps

Prescient defined here.

This was the tweet:

I can’t wait till elon musk offers to buy twitter and delete it and everyone who calls it a “hellsite” has to pick sides for real

Make a guess as to how old that tweet is. Just a guess, say in months.

Approximately how many months ago was that tweet posted?

Hint: Obviously the answer is at least 7.

Then check the link for the timestamp. The answer will surprise you.


Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 6:46 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

With regards,

“Tell me if this comment shows up with timestamp of November 19, 2022 12:48 AM”

You got your wish, it does…

Speaking of time stamps, the KQRP NPR link I was told was interesting, was I was alleged to believe, about the effect on the Bay area economy etc of Twitter just shuting up shop.

Apparently a lot of that $3million/day of wages Musk is trying to save goes directly into that local economy. Pulling oh lets call it a round half billion a year out of a local economy that is also “bubble inflated” with “idiot investments” is going to hurt.

The question of interest is,

“How badly will it effect the bay area bubble, enough to deflate or even implode?”

Thus potentially leaving many of the idiots trying to ride it, high and dry…

You might remember my view was that if they can, those who were going to get terminated should “Get the heck out of dodge” and “go north and probably east though I’m told Seattle is “doing OK” even after the events of C19 etc.

Oh as for Twitter’s demise, I suspect that even if it could be made viable… in both tech and investment terms it’s now in that “ripe” stage just before everyone starts the “10ft pole” behavior.

I am finally seeing people wake up and start asking “The House of Saud” question. After all Twitter kind of stands for everything the Prince hates, as for Musk, the rise of petrol less cars would simplisticaly not be in Saudi interests either. So has the prince thrown both Twitter and Musk a “poisoned pill”?

Call it the start of the “conspiracy stage” when “chinese whispers” become Fox “Talking Heads” Points… One good thing is it appears to have cleared two other talking points off of 24Hour Nuts Services Dec36 events and the C19 politics.

P.S. Oh side note you say,

“I am listening. It is from 2022-11-02, so eons ago.”

Do you mean 2nd of Nov or 11th of Feb? I always have problems with the many different ways time is noted in the US, as for dates it oft appears a free for all to my eyes.

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 8:31 AM

@ Bloodonthestreets,

Re : World Cup tracking apps.

We first discussed it in oh what feels like a couple of weeks back, have a look in the past two or three Friday Squids. Our host @Bruce also has a more recebt thread on it.

My view is,

“Don’t travel with electronics”

And if you have to, “buy and dump” that is get the cheapest new device you can that will work and either before you depart or immediately when you get back,

1, Factory Reset.
2, Give to charity / landfill.

Importantly do not use the device to “phone home” work or other of your normal activities including browsing the Internet, they will all be tracable back to you and that will end up in some database you realy do not want it to.

Have a look at the history of NSA personnel activities in the Middle East. We only know a tiny fraction and in the case of the UEA and “Project Raven” it was because of a Whistleblower.

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 11:25 AM

@ Bruce,

Re : Non Squid, Squid.

On the odd occasions the friday Squid is not about the biological Squid but technology that gets called SQUID for some reason

So you might find this of interest,

Importantly the device brings the capabilities of high end microscopes down to what would otherwise be low cost microscopes.

Thus cutting the spending capability required in educational and labs not in First World Western Nations.

The article mentions other potential benifits such as in medicine getting test results more quickly and potentially at much lower cost.

Nick Levinson November 19, 2022 12:54 PM

Bitcoin anonymity is mainly gone and skilled criminals have mostly stopped using that particular cryptocurrency. I knew it was sometimes broken but I only heard it was mostly or entirely broken in the last week (I think on the BBC, which doesn’t publish transcripts of its broadcasts). So some mass media may be only now catching up on this. Some details (as accessed Nov. 16, 2022) are in CNet (2022) and Science (2016).

Nick Levinson November 19, 2022 1:04 PM

Cars get stolen by a thief using the onboard diagnostic (OBD) port to reprogram a key fob so they can start and drive the car without needing the original key fob. An OBD port lock may help. The OBD may be very common on new cars.

Or they can intercept a distant radio signal between a key fob and the car, which signal a legit driver might send to ensure that the car is properly locked, thereby signaling the thief that the owner won’t be at the car for a significant while. Then the thief can reprogram a key fob and drive off.

Changing a VIN is done by thieves.

Multilayered protection is recommended.

Yahoo News, as accessed Nov. 16, 2022.

lurker November 19, 2022 1:05 PM


I presume the difference between CDT & EST is only political, polemical? I noticed when I replied to @Clive’s DDG question, that this place appeared to be running on EST.

Daylight Saving is a racket to force lazy city dwellers to get up an hour earlier in summer. It causes two months per year of chaos on transoceanic airline schedules and short wave broadcasting.

Nick Levinson November 19, 2022 1:16 PM

DuckDuckGo may not be as comprehensive as Google for searching this website and that’s an issue for people who rely on DDG for not only privacy but also equivalence.

Example: I searched in DDG about an hour ago for

onboard diagnostic

on the website for the whole website and got no results and then searched in Google for

“onboard diagnostic”

and got 2 results.

Probably not every DDG user knows that DDG probably doesn’t use Google, since that would need permission, which probably would cost substantial money.

Nick Levinson November 19, 2022 1:27 PM

@vas pup & @ALL:

In solving crime, a problem with science in U.S. courts is that applying science to figuring out whether a violation happened and who did it is that courts are ill-equipped to determine the consensus in scholarship.

Example: “The majority of courts use some variation of a random drawing. One simple method is to rotate the names of available judges.” Rotation, however, is not randomness. The Federal courts officially don’t understand the science.

One source said that bite evidence has already been found to be unreliable as proof of guilt but that it’s not unlawful to introduce it to try to prove guilt anyway. This can happen if the rejection of bad science was by a jury in refusing to accept it i n support of a factual claim but was not by a judge by ruling on the law, which would be hazardous to science if science later validates the evidence type but the law has not been updated and probably can’t be until a party has the money to fight the prior ruling.

Courts depend heavily on expert testimony and occasionally on judicial notice.

Expert testimony is introduced by one or both parties. An expert who’s very knowledgeable can be too expensive, forcing finding someone cheaper who doesn’t know as much. An expert need not be a scholar but is not often a party to the case even if the defendant relied on their own expertise to do or not do something. That means a person who did it (whatever “it” was) may have to have someone else testify about why and that can lead to discordances, such as if the expert denies knowledge of something the defendant could testify to but isn’t allowed to, and the defendant may not even be allowed to question the expert about because the defendant is often not the lawyer and the lawyer is not a subject expert. The judge might be able to ask but probably won’t. The two sides offering expert testimony on the same subject can lead to disputes that judges and juries cannot resolve by waiting till both have testified and then asking the experts probing questions; if a jury is allowed to ask a witness anything, it’s through the judge, who can rephrase.

Meanwhile, a society has to figure out whodunit and specialization means that people who specialize in adjudication and guilt or liability are not the same people who specialize in science or other nonjudicial scholarship. So, legal judgments that need science for the underpinnings often don’t get it. The wrong people sometimes go to prison (although sometimes for a crime they didn’t commit while having committed one that was about as serious for which no guilt was found), the right people sometimes find that crime pays, and we as a society don’t have a judiciary-wide solution.

GeoffP November 19, 2022 1:41 PM

@Nick Levinson

Interestingly, searching for:

“onboard diagnostic”

on Startpage — which I believe does use Google — returns one result.

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 5:10 PM

@Nick Levinson, GeoffP, ALL,

“DuckDuckGo may not be as comprehensive as Google for searching this website”

As far as I’m aware DDG does not do any searching. Instead it’s a front end for other search engines. It would appear primarily DDG uses the friend of “porn fiends” Bing as it’s search engine…

Something that people who work in places where they have a MitM SSL gateway, DNS sniffer, or on your PC browser cache sniffer, and NSFW policy should be aware of…

I found out this just the other day when a user I know was searching for tutorials to get inspiration from. They used,

Java Teaching materials

And got what they were looking for in “all”, “images” and “videos”.

However when running it again they left the second “a” in Java out and was really quite shocked about what had been pushed into their browser in the background and only found when switching to the “images” tab hoping to find “death by viewfoil” presentations…

Apparently Bing has shifted not just the usual “adult smut” and “artistic models” but all that stuff most people would find creepy or unsettling on to a seperate Microsoft Domain, to make their “porn push” to Bing thus DDG users easier to spot by employers etc, but not the users…

The problem is that even “safe search” on bing is not reliable…

Look at,

Where you will find the words,

“You may navigate to Bing – Settings and then you will see Safe Search and set it as Strict such as the following image. It should block most of adult contents, however if you saw any content, you may click on the image and you have options and then click on More and Flag as appropriate.”

So it gets the users who may have accidently tripped there employers NSFW alert to “moderate Bing Content”… Will their employer believe that it was a “Push by Bing” rather than a “Pull by the user” probably not if history is anything to go by…

But, whilst turning javascript off appears to limit the problem… the problem with DDG if you use it in HTML mode by having javascript off it makes life much harder to use it (try the changes in the way cut and past work from a mobile for instance).

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 6:02 PM

@ Nick Levinson, vas pup, ALL,

“Courts depend heavily on expert testimony and occasionally on judicial notice.”

Being an expert witness is not fun, technically you are an “officer of the court” in English Courts thus have a primary duty to the court not the party you are representing.

In my experience judges have less interest in science than even jury members who nod off to sleep, and their logic is sometimes quite curious. By and large judges hate experts that contradict each other and will go to great lengths to avoid any such issues by lifting a corner of a rug and sweep sweep sweeping it under.

But what the average person considers evidence judges do not… Basically they work on testimony written or verbal that is entered into court by formal process, not actual evidence as those in other domains would regard it.

There have been a great number of miscarriages of justice due to this, but that’s OK because the judge went by what was in their pile of paper…

As long as they stay within the rules set for them by other judges –or atleast appear to,– then they are like any nit pick bureaucrat safe from any blaim or rebuke.

We complain about how “Machine Learning”(ML) can be biased and should not be used in any law enforcment process, but judges can be obviously biased beyond doubt, yet remain free from any kind of sanction or retribution.

Oh and as I’ve said before, most of the mumbo jumbo that comes from “forensics” is by very definition NOT SCIENCE… Because it incorrectly argues from effect to cause, and nature and thus science just don’t work that way for very good reason.

So I guess, the question that should be asked is,

“As there is little or no actual science brought into court, does it actually matter if a judge has no knowledge of it?”

I’ll let others draw their own conclusions, but in the US Congress obviously does not want science being involved in the making of legislation and regulation as the Republicans killed of the advisory office nearly thirty years ago and have done just about everything they can to stop it being brought back,

What appears to have resulted since C-19 blasted a wake-up call across the nation is an expansion of the GAO STAA that sings it’s own praises,

But others say largely is ignored or even sometimes hostily rebuffed, but… not alowed to defend it’s self.

&ers November 19, 2022 7:46 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

You DO already follow BadCyber, right?


JonKnowsNothing November 19, 2022 8:59 PM


Another round of ” warrant v warrantless” surveillance coming to SCOTUS soon.

First Circuit Court of Appeals:

  • United States v. Bucci (2009), which found utility pole surveillance is not an unlawful
  • United States v. Carpenter (2011), found that warrantless seizure of cellphone records did violate the Fourth Amendment

A separate Massachusetts court decision:

  • Commonwealth v. Mora (2020) found utility pole cameras violated the state constitution

Now the issues coming before the courts is how much of this can be used to watch you inside your home?

One case involves cameras and devices planted for multiple months to watch a particular house and family. After multiple months of data collection, differing charges were brought against several members of the family. The final charges were different than the original “guesstimate of illegal activity” which permitted the initial placement of the devices.

“… what the Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” means in an era when electronics can erase property lines.”

In other similar deployments, private companies are installing trackers along public paths, parks and mounting them in trees. Ostensibly to monitor their “patrol guards” who have to pass, press a button, log in at specific locations to prove they are making their rounds.

Some devices are mounted in trees by drilling holes in them (1) so the device isn’t easily visible. Such private surveillance devices when found in public parks have been removed.

A while back, the City of London was trialing trackers installed in public waste bins/garbage cans. When the LEO was testing their face recognition program, and people pulled their jackets over their faces they were arrested for hiding their face…

We have these devices on utility poles, street signs, parking lots, door ways and many other spots we don’t pay too much attention too. We have drones that peek into upper floors and record actions when any window covering is open or askew.

We have all the corporate wearable trackers going 24×7 monitoring your heart and activity rates and GPS locations.

Will the court find there is much difference between these collections?


1) A current practice found by home owners who have Great Views blocked by Big Trees, that are not part of their property or maybe protected by various laws on public trees and heritage trees, is to take a portable battery powered drill and drill a series of holes around the trunk of the tree, then pour in a toxic substance to the tree thus killing the tree in short order and improving their Magnificent View. This practice also increases the resale value significantly.


There was a UK TV program on real estate in the UK and the gotchas, watch outs and lots of interesting DidYaKnows? on housing in the UK and regions. There was a nice old (by US standards) brick walled house with a great wall of ivy growing up the several stories. Looked to me like a fairy tale house. The first thing the RE Agent said was cut the ivy down as the ivy causes problems, cut it off at the base to be sure to kill all the ivy growing up the wall.

Hmmm… I think that RE might have missed the point of the ivy… It may have made some building maintenance sense but not an esthetic one. Clearly a differing cultural view. I would be buying a wall of ivy, someone else would be buying a wall of brick.

Some folks can’t see the vista for the trees… and some cannot see the trees for the vista.

ResearcherZero November 19, 2022 9:03 PM

“This technology allows police to secretly watch and record highly invasive details of our private lives, from when we leave and return home, to what we carry with us when we do, to who visits us, and when. Without a warrant requirement, nothing stops police from using these small, cheap cameras to watch anyone’s — or everyone’s — homes without limit.”

The ACLU petition essentially asks the Supreme Court to provide more guidance about what the Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” means in an era when electronics can erase property lines.

In a country like Australia, with no bill of rights, popping a camera up at high elevation and monitoring a whole street, to target a single property, is indeed practiced. Police can simply get away with murder, if they want to. You could sue the state for a sum, but the officer will walk free.

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 9:14 PM

@ Bruce,

I don’t know if you happened to see this little gem,

I don’t know if you know or not but,

“all internet devices hosted in the UK”

Is a bit ambiguous… Let’s just say that physical geographical maps and InfoSys network infrastructure maps are not the same thing by a country mile…

I know of several systems that are physically located in the US, Germany, South Korea, Iceland and Taiwan that appear on a network map to be part of a Class-C network in the UK… And no we are not talking via VPN’s.

ResearcherZero November 19, 2022 9:21 PM


Up a tree is one place where they place the cameras, from quite some distance away too. People assume it’s monitoring wildlife. The drug addicts don’t care, and it’s not like any of them could mount a legal challenge, or a convincing argument either.

Grifter’s Rules

“We now have both grafters and grifters. Grafters, as everyone knows, are those who separate us from our earned or unearned increment in the ordinary course of business. Grifters do not pursue the ordinary channels…grifters keep out of the legitimate channels of commerce and resort to unique and extraordinary practices. Grifting is far more sensational and spectacular than grafting, and commands less respect.”

In politics, the term has been used to describe those who use the political process to enrich themselves.

“In old New York, they did their skimming out in the open and never tried to pretend they were doing something noble.”

These people have lined their pockets by promising that if you send them money, they will send men and women to Washington who can ‘fix it.’

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 9:47 PM

&ers, SpaceLifeForm,

Re : BadCyber

Err no, I do however watch some of the sites it watches 😉

So many sites, so little time.

Plus a lot of what interests me, is not usually considered new for oh maybe three quaters of a decade…

There is some new stuff that will in time effect “Quantumn Key Distribution”(QKD) but I doubt any of the aggregator sites will pick up on it.

The other problem is much of that stuff is “not original” you know after reading just a few sentances exactly what the real root cause of the problem is. Then you get exasperated that the reporter entirely misses it.

I guess you are not just old but jaded as well when you look at news and only see olds in at best a new disguise.

So I dread to think what that makes me 😉

Not so much a “Long haired lover from Liverpool” more a “Bald old coot from Arsenal”[1]…

[1] For those not familiar with areas of North London, Arsenal is pronounced as Arse-an-all, thus appears in more than a few jokes. Like one about the three shipwrecked sailers trying to decide how to eat a forth who has died. One sujests the football team they support and says his is Hartlypool so he’ll have the hart, the second says, Liverpool so he’ll have the Liver, the third looks down at the Arsenal shirt he’s wearing abd says he’s not hungry…

Clive Robinson November 19, 2022 10:25 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

“The first thing the RE Agent said was cut the ivy down as the ivy causes problems, cut it off at the base to be sure to kill all the ivy growing up the wall.”

There are several types of ivy, which all originate from Eurasia, and grow relatively slowly.

However another plant Fallopia baldschuanica often called “Russian Ivy” is also called “mile a minute creeper” and is a highly invasive spiecies causing multiple proplems. It was a few years ago a popular plant untill people started having lots of problems with it.

Which caused two of more significant problems,

1, Insurance companies don’t like it.
2, Mortgage lenders don’t like it.

Thus the “Estate Agents” advice of get rid of it is correct.

However just chopping it off at or just above ground level is not enough, you have to do it in autumn and paint the cut section immediately with a herbicide you have to “special order”…

JonKnowsNothing November 20, 2022 12:28 AM

@Clive, All

re: However just chopping it off at or just above ground level is not enough, you have to do it in autumn …

A farmer’s almanac type mnemonic for weed control…

Cut in May,
Will come back some day.

Cut in June,
It’s much too soon.

Cut in July,
It’s sure to die.

This is for seed-headed weeds, for rhizome or similar plants, you might never get rid of them without an herbicide, but even then, there are some weeds who grow 6ft tall on herbicides, which they process like fertilizer.

Ivy can grow roots at any point a node touches something it can grab on to. Ivy can send roots into walls and cause cracks and the moisture from rains or wicking from the ground is good enough.

Same as pumpkins and melons. The more ground it touches the more roots it grows.

Unlike ivy, vegetables often are annuals and die off in the cold (or extreme heat). Ivy and similar “weeds” just keep on growing…

SpaceLifeForm November 20, 2022 12:33 AM

Re: Twitter Implosion

I expected this to happen over 12 hours ago. I guess it took them some time to unlock the account.

This is why I said Twitter will not die.

Yep, Trump is back.

Clive Robinson November 20, 2022 1:44 AM

@ ALL,

WEB 3 is Hype and not Web 3.0

As I mention before there are two Web threes people talk about,

Web 3.0 is what Sir Tim Berners-Lee (aka TimBL) and the W3C backed by the likes of Google want your future to be.

The mear fact Google the worlds larget centralzer was previously directing things should bring you out in hives. Which might account why earlier this month TimBL talked very publicly distancing himself and talked about “Solid” from “Inrupt”. His comments about ignoring WEB 3, Erithium and blockchain apparently is a shock to many.

Which brings us to WEB 3 supposadly coined nearly a decade ago by one of the blockchain and crypto-coin gurus, and is full of as much hyperbull as normal. We all should know by now that blockchain is a disaster and crypto-coins / crypto-tokens are fast becoming “bad news” even at the second hand shirt market.

Unfortunately just as with the early days of Blockchain and Bitcoin journalists who know little or nothing are drinking the cool-aid of people with beguiling smiles and soft patter and slide decks of some future utopia that will be all things for all people but in reality say only giving lots of money to them will… Well as they say a fool and their money…

I gather my comments about these WEB 3 hucksters, shysters, grifters and long con artists are not popular in certain circles.

Well it would appear my views are not unique and some are even prepared to stand up and smile and tell a large audience so.

So can I suggest you give up 15min of your time to,

What she does not mention I guess because to some it’s obvious, is that you will not be alowed a utopia.

The reason, we are all basically lazy and do not want to take responsability.

Thus in every Western First World endevor no matter what it is, if there is status, money, or power anywhere close to it, then a control hierarchy develops with power, money, status acruing to the top, sucked out of those at the bottom.

When you look at WEB 1 back last century, things were static and decentralized, but impossible to find except by chance. The idea of indexing came along and two things happened,

1, Things tended to centralize.
2, First to market was the market.

In the early 2000’s WEB 2 started and this reversed the idea. Users becane not creators but consumers even though they still created. Thus gaving rise to the massive theft of PPI, and long con advertising on rapidly increasing sized, very centralized power and control structures as “social media” happened. The price you payed was your soul.

WEB 2 is now dying as the long con advertising is not giving the rewards promised and the investors after over a decade are still not seeing any real money coming back Their wealth taken and pocketed by a few.

So some kind of third web will come along. We want it to be utopian but they know we are not prepared to take responsability for it to be even egalitarian…

So expect lots of grifters creating new bubbles for investors to pour money into like a hole in the ocean. In the background expect a new type of data aggrigation and deeper control, and larger pyramids of status, power and money.

Karl Marx once said,

“Religion is the opium of the people.”

For his time that was to a certain extent true, but this has become many things since. One such is “Reality TV is the Opiate of the masses” from a decade or so ago and more recently and more truthfully “Social networking is the Opiate of the masses”.

Well that tells you what the third web will be if those at the top of the hierarchy have their way, it will be designed in the best Orwellian traditions to turn you not into beaten slaves, but the next step in being near mindless serfs.

Those that form such hierarchies do not want you to have any assets, everything is to be rented there will be no “first hand” for you only pay, pay, and pay again as you go, rent seeking in every way. As you will not be alowed assets the reality of inflation will be used against you. The rent you pay will go to the top of the pyramid where it will be converted to the assets only they will be alowed to own. You will find that as your wages rise, inflation will ensure that it has no material effect for you. That is no matter how much you earn the rent will rise to take it away from you, you will be deliberately kept poor and reliant thus controled.

If you have assets they will be taken from you “by legal means” and if you fight you will be bankrupted by legal costs or medical bills. The world will stagnate as progress becomes near impossible. That is their utopian dream, that they will try every which way to force on you as a living nightmare, unless you wake up and take responsability and stop sleepwalking into their trap…

So it has to be you, not them that takes responsability for the third web, and I would suggest that the more decentralized and localized it is the better it will be for the majority.

History shows that life was more egalitarian when we lived in vilages and small towns where most things were within a days walk or brisk half hours cycle ride. Trust was not realy an issue because you were known sufficiently well as to have a reputation. Yes you had little privacy in real terms because you were known from birth by your neighbours any way, and you rarely or never moved far enough away to escape that knowledge. But it also brought rewards in a more cohesive society where you got “turn about” you helped others and they helped you. Bad behaviour gave rise to a bad reputation and you got socialy punished by it. The problem with it was those that formed hierarchies for personal gain be it wealth, power or status…

The root of all evil however is not the wealth, the power, or status for that matter but the method by which they are aquired and protected and the base of that is always two things,

1, Centralisation.
2, Hierarchies.

If you prevent the first, the second has dificulty forming beyond a rudimentary level. The problem though is that sometimes we need large hierarchies for large projects. Also centralisation alows for things that would otherwise not be economic such as hospitals, higher education, certain types of industry, and even barn raising, that all bring economic benifts of scale.

Thus we need a balance, which needs broad control, thus people taking responsability…

Clive Robinson November 20, 2022 2:07 AM

@ MarkH, SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re : Proof Fluid equation fails.

You might want to read this, because it has broader implications.

The thing is “incompressable fluids” as dealt with by Leonhard Euler’s quater millennium old equations are the foundation for many other mechanics since.

It’s not nice when you find your foundations slipping. A little over a century ago, physics found it’s foundations did rather more than slip and the result, what many call quantum mechanics. Less well known is what effects it had on the players as the old guard handed over the reigns to the young upstarts…

ResearcherZero November 20, 2022 3:10 AM

@Clive Robinson

The old guard claimed this was impossible:

“Light can trigger a new mechanism in a catalytic material used extensively in water electrolysis, where water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. The result is a more energy-efficient method of obtaining hydrogen. More hydrogen produced in a shorter amount of time, with less energy consumed.”

Mohajer-6 UAV

The Mohajer-6 – bISTAR (Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance)

…equipped with four precision-guided missiles. This drone is produced by the Qods Aviation Industry Company (QAI). The aircraft has the capability to provide in-real-time video footage of the battlefield to artillery units or other relevant combat missions. The aircraft is suspected of having electronic jamming capabilities.

Qods Aviation Industry Company is a subsidiary of the Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO), a state-owned enterprise subordinate to the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) and operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“the two countries are moving rapidly to transfer designs and key components that could allow production to begin within months”

Russia and Ukraine are both significant players in global energy, food and fertilizer markets.

“High prices for energy and food pose immediate threats to human security… These threats may also trigger cascading risks, which may combine with existing socio‑economic and political stresses to spark unrest and even further conflict in other parts of the world.”

SpaceLifeForm November 20, 2022 3:53 AM

@ Clive, Nick Levinson, GeoffP, ALL

re: Diagnosing Diagnostic Search Diagnostics

You want interesting?

I pull up google (the actual webpage, not relying on any browser toolbar box that wants to convince you that it is a magic combo box that handles URLs and also search. Also See: Absolute Garbage UI Design).

If I enter into the search box: “onboard diagnostic”

I get 3 results. Note that I got 3 because the Google crawler has already recently crawled the recent 100 page.

Ignoring the recent 100 link, these come up:

If I remove the double quotes: onboard diagnostic

It says about 248 results.

But, then I do almost the same search: onboard diagnostic

Note that I changed the order.

This says about 193 results. Some examples:

The order of your search keywords and whether you use double quotes or not makes a difference.

Diagnostic may or may not equate to diagnostics. Plural. Just my quick diagnosis.

SpaceLifeForm November 20, 2022 4:39 AM

@ lurker. Clive, ALL

Re: Timestamps

Re: difference between CDT & EST

There is no difference if one does not pay attention.

This blog had always been running on Central Time since the conversion to use Pressable. It did the fallback last year on 2021-11-07 02:00 as expected. I know this because I tested. I posted a comment at 2021-11-07 01:30 CDT and another one at 2021-11-07 01:30 CST but you could not tell which was which. I could, because I was paying attention to the comment_id numbers. In fact, they ended up out of chronological order, but upon a cursory read, one would not realize that. The only reason I know that is because I was testing, paying attention, and connecting dots. On purpose.

Timestamps should be UTC in ISO-8601 format. Always.

So, Clive, thanks for the feedback. Just wanted to verify. The reason I spelled out exactly what I expected you would see, was to make it easy.

As you noticed, there can be ambiguity when reading dates.

Since before Y2k, I always try to use ISO-8601 format to remove any ambiguity. So, if you see me use a 4 digit year at the front, you can take it to the bank that I am referring to a YYYY-MM-DD date. I will convert dates from articles to ISO-8601 format just so future readers understand.

There are some websites that need to die, because they have articles with no readable date at all. And, no, you can not trust page info from your browser.

So, when these types of pages show up in search, they are not trustable.

Wait, did I just mention search?

See recursion.

ResearcherZero November 20, 2022 5:01 AM

@Clive Robinson

In the 1990’s we were showing some scientists how our little hydrogen production experiment worked better with the lights on, and the scientists replied, “You must have done something wrong.”

“Well that is for you to work out. We are just here to do the demonstration, you are the scientists.”

And then we did a little victory dance in front of them, to give ourselves an even greater appearance of being a pair of fools. 🙂

Here we report a general method for the synthesis of a single atom catalyst with control of the atomic structure of the single atomic site as well as the mesoporous structure of the carbon support for optimized catalytic performance.

Commercial TiO 2 loaded with NiO for improving photocatalytic hydrоgen prоduction in the presence оf simulated solar radiation

Compared to cells, which have been employing photocatalytics and photosynthesis a tad longer, we still have a lot to discover…

All our times have come
Here, but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

Hey, that hippie must be really out of it!

And with enough hippies on the moon we should have an ample supply of hydrogen…

SpaceLifeForm November 20, 2022 6:14 AM

Re: Twitter implosion


Seriously, you can not make this stuff up.

The first link refers to something I previously mentioned.

The second link is 49 tweets in a thread to get the movie in. I guess it was a good movie at the time, but I never watched it. It may be on youtube for all I know. Note the account name and the point of the name. It is not that they are asleep, it is that they are not there at all.



Clive Robinson November 20, 2022 7:01 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : A search oddity

As you may have realised I’ve been running some diagnostics on another leading search engine due to a potentially nasty user issue via DDG.


“The order of your search keywords and whether you use double quotes or not makes a difference.”

As does concatination (no space) hyphen or space. So,

Hitch hiker

Then the “connectives” you might expect but the “Porter list” and other Stop-Words?

I guess the,

Cat at mat (side of …)
Cat be mat (coloured.)
Cat by mat (side of …)
Cat in mat (coloured …)
Cat is mat (coloured.)
Cat on mat (side of …)

Are all different argument holds sway these days as well.

Winter November 20, 2022 10:41 AM


In the 1990’s we were showing some scientists how our little hydrogen production experiment worked better with the lights on, and the scientists replied, “You must have done something wrong.”

Producing hydrogen with light has its benefits, but the downside is that you would like to produce hydrogen with electricity even at night. If you use sunlight directly to power hydrolysis, the H2 production would be dispersed and the hydrogen would have to be collected on site and transported from each solar collector. Electricity is much easier to transport.

I do not know what the best process is to produce hydrogen at large scale. But the end-point efficiency of splitting water is only one of many factors determining the usefulness of a process.

Nick Levinson November 20, 2022 11:07 AM

@Clive Robinson & @SpaceLifeForm:

DDG is a metasearch engine, using one or more other search engines to produce a unified list of results.

Using double quotation marks is helpful. A search for John Smith vs. a search for “John Smith” gets more results because, while both initial SERPs may be identical, as you dig soon the unquoted form gets pages with only John and pages with only Smith, which gets tiresome fast.

The order of terms matters; that’s been noted for a while; the most important terms should come first. But why inurl:… as coming before or after makes a difference baffles me (I haven’t searched what anyone else says about that).

But before or after doesn’t matter if the only other string is quoted as a single quotation in double-quotation marks.

I haven’t tested single quotation marks, since that would be nationally sensitive and, in the U.S., they’re also used by linguists to set off a definition or sense that is not a quotation.

Google adds similar spellings to a search even when a string is quoted, although probably not at the beginning of SERP 1.

I have not tested the difference when a word for a search is set solid, hyphenated, or spaced (spaced when the string that includes a space acts grammatically (not just syntactically) like one word), but Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (Merriam-Webster, 1961), makes an entry for only one of those forms and doesn’t even list the others as alternative forms (unlike for other kinds of alternative spellings), and says this in its frontmatter. It rarely makes a difference in sense; the only exception I know of is between file system and filesystem in the context of Linux, it was in a simplified technical book the title, series, author, publisher, and decade of which I forgot, one is more generic in meaning, and I forgot which one is which.

Nick Levinson November 20, 2022 11:20 AM

@Clive Robinson & @SpaceLifeForm:

The Wickr announcement, especially with its short deadline, and Wickr’s description of remaining products as including data retention for compliance purposes suggests (to me) that the plaintext of transmissions will be retained for up to a year (perhaps it will be stored as ciphertext but only with the cipher handy) (and perhaps a customer can copy what was thus retained in AWS for local permanent retention). What is retained is, in the U.S., subject to subpoena even if retention was unnecessary or accidental.

Nick Levinson November 20, 2022 11:27 AM

@SpaceLifeForm, @lurker, & @Clive Robinson:

The time zone change was something I noticed but didn’t test. The time stamp was for a long time one hour off from when I posted as measured by my local time. Very recently, it’s my local time. It being an hour off preceded the last change from standard to daylight savings time. The very recent change was thus likely by the admin.

An alternative to UTC is to convert from UTC to the user’s local time, as some websites do, but that would require more programming and a user setting, probably not worthwhile. I’m glad this website exists and I wouldn’t want to add to the burden or expense of running it.

Nick Levinson November 20, 2022 11:34 AM

@ResearcherZero & @JonKnowsNothing:

An outdoors camera pointed at someone’s home (at a front door or through a window or wherever) can be installed by a private party with, often, a low risk of discovery. Illegally probably often, but relatively easily.

lurker November 20, 2022 12:46 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, Clice, All

These search engines claim to be intelligent, to help you find what you want. If you get 248 results, scroll down the page, click on one (or two …) into new tab(s), by the time you get to page 2 it will have guessed what you’re looking for and dropped “unwanted” results from the remainder.

It will be making these guesses based on your search history. How far back I do not know, I just give up and accept it as a quirk of the machine. So @Clive searching

Hitch hiker

will get different results depending on the order of that list, and I suspect on whether he purges browser cookies and history between each line.

Remember, the results are worth what you paid for them . . .

Nick Levinson November 20, 2022 2:02 PM

@lurker, @SpaceLifeForm, & @Clive Robinson:

I suspect Google reruns a search when the user leaves SERP 1 for another SERP, even the next SERP, and the reason I think so is that the same result sometimes turns up on both SERPs. I’ve asked Google about this at their Search forum and there’s been no answer. Rerunning presumably excludes what would have been on higher-ranked SERPs, but if the same result is on both SERP 1 and SERP 2 then presumably something moved up the ranks from SERP 2 onto SERP 1 without my being able to see what moved up and I lose out on what’s likely to be a better result for me.

I guess an engine could adjust what’s on SERPs after you’ve clicked on some result/s, although I’ve heard only that they do so for subsequent similar searches by aggregating which results get more clicks. I guess they also could do it fast enough to do it for the current user without aggregation.

I tried the hitch(-| )hiker test with and without double quotation marks, 6 in all, and all the SERP 1s were a least a little different from each other. However, the test was inadequate. A better test would run comparisons simultaneously, realistically within a tiny slice of a second of time (a physicist thinks abstractly while an engineer is pragmatic), so tiny you couldn’t count on doing it with your fingers. You’d need a bot, which would be illegal at Google. If any of your attempts generates a reCaptcha as a bot test, all the tests done at the same time would be invalid. Also, you can try to clear cookies and caches, but Firefox in private mode actually keeps some for a certain purpose (I don’t know what other browsers do) and even if the browser is clear of all that I don’t know what happens if you set up separate tabs and somehow press Enter for all of them virtually simultaneously; I don’t know if one tab could collect a cookie that other tabs use in that nearly simultaneous search. You could set up separate instances of one browser but you can’t be sure that the instances don’t share cookies or caches (I think FF limits how many instances can run at once to 4). You could set up separate computers with one browser instance each, but you’d have to be sure of enough platform similarity and maybe add handicapping for nearly simultaneous transmission and you’d need enough transmission capacity (phone lines and nearly-identical modems) for simultaneity. You could add phone lines but then you’d have to wonder whether the phone company has more latency on one line than on another. You could ask the phone company for stereo lines used for broadcasting and you could even ask them if they can do more than a pair and, if they agree to either, you get to write an admirably big check.

What you pay as a measure of value is a common thought but often wrong. When there is competition to deliver a free product to users who then will be shown advertising, the competitors will usually want to increase satisfaction and loyalty in order to give a better audience to the people who do pay, i.e., advertisers, in this case by delivering a more attractive audience of users by delivering better search results to users even though the service is free. I think Google puts a lot of work into that. Should you wish to use search engines that don’t do that work, try and even though the latter had a more user-friendly history when it was

Clive Robinson November 20, 2022 6:25 PM

@ Lurker, SpaceLifeForm, All,

“It seems Elmo misquoted vox populi, vox dei.
The full quote is more accurate”

And I’ve just looked at Twitter and it looks like that thread has been hacked by a near Anglo Saxon battle axe…

The quote “vox populi vox dei” is taken from a longer quote in a letter writen to Emperor Charlemagne in 800, by the Master of the Palace School at Aachen (now westernmost city in Germany[1]). He was the Saxon scholar and teacher “Alcuin of York” (in England[2]). He wrote it from Marmoutier Abbey (Tours France) when he was in his mid sixties, which was a great age for the time. Having been made abbot in 796, where he remained until his death in May 804.

Having seen quite a bit in his life –born in 735– he was concidered to posses great wisdom, which is why Charlemagne invited/commanded him over to Aachen.

In his letter, Alcuin[3] wrote in latin –the language of the Church thus politics and Court– he said,

“Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.”

Which means (if the brain is working[4]),

“Nec audiendi” : Do not give audience,

“qui solent dicere” : to those who repeatedly say,

“Vox populi vox Dei” : the voice of the populous is the voice of the deity.

“quum tumultuositas vulgi” : their tumultuous vulgarity,

“semper insaniae proxima sit” : always is in near proximity to insanity.

Mostly this gets tided up in translation to,

“And those people should not be listened to, who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always close to insanity.”

[1] Aachen has been a historically important place since the Roman times, it’s also a very nice place to visit if you get the chance,

[2] Like Aachen York is a historically important place since the Roman times and is also a very nice place to visit. But don’t take my word for it actually go, you can see much of it’s history in the architecture that is still there from Roman sewers still functioning to the era of steam that lasted until the 1970’s with the National Railway museum bow occuping the old rail sheds etc,

[3] At the invitation of Charlemagne, “Alcuin of York” became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, and many associate him as the most important intellectual architect of the “Carolingian Renaissance”,

Oh in the UK we have our fingers crossed for a new “Carolingian Renaissance”. Since the death of Queen Elisabeth, her son is now King Charles. In Latin the reign of a king called Charles is called “Carolingian”. With the seamingly eternal list of screw ups the incumbent politicians have been making for the last half decade and more, we are badly in need of a new “Renaissance”. Where it would be hoped, that egalitarianism, science, engineering and technology driven by rational and factual education would prevail.

[4] That strange creaking noise you hear of stage left, is not “the maddening crowd” trying to push down the wall, but the acient gears in my head, long disused trying to “read the code” once very badly and incompleatly learned… Perhaps I should have taken more note of one of Alcuin’s other quotes,

“Quapropter potius animam curare memento, quam carnem, quoniam haec manet, illa perit”

What I do however vividly remember from those times is a Victorian ditty, we were told –probably incorrectly– were the words of a student scratched in their work surface,

“Latin is a language,
as dead as dead can be.
It killed the acient Romans,
and now it’s killing me.”

You can supprisingly to some translate that into Latin and still have it rhyme… Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly I don’t renember it.

Mephisto November 20, 2022 6:56 PM

Bitcoin is dying

A couple of days ago, Forbes ran the article “FTX Fallout Slams Bitcoin Miners, More Bankruptcies Coming”.

Back then the situation was that the mining rewards can compensate for the electricity costs if you do not pay anyone a salary, and your electricity cost is 8 cents/kWh.

Now the currency has lost further value.

vas pup November 20, 2022 7:14 PM

@Nick Levinson • November 19, 2022 1:27 PM, @Clive related post

Theory of evidence remain theory only for courts/judges.
I don’t know how US, UK, Australia Law Schools teach future prosecutors and judges but all evidence including expert opinions should be evaluate as cluster or as I like to call constellation and NONE of single type of evidence should have highest value/priority: (1)witness/victims memory is vary unreliable and malleable – see on the subject Lisa Genova, Prof.Loftus when time past especially; some witness just snitches for LEAs and promised some benefits for their testimony; (2)confession is serving not just finding the truth by closing the case – see any book on Forensic Psychology – chapter on false confession;(3)expert opinions reflects only part of scientific knowledge matching PhD of the expert and usually just have just probability of the statement expert provide to the court. Moreover it depends how good material evidence were collected form the crime scene and NOT contaminated during storage. (4)material evidence could be planted to lead LEAs on the wrong path of investigation.

Conclusion is obvious: lack of general technology knowledge serve bad for judges and it is not their fault but education you usually get: BS in Liberal Art + Law School with close to zero GENERAL knowledge of STEM.

@all on hydrogen:
Israeli startup to supply Moroccan renewable energy developer with hydrogen power

“SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Israeli hydrogen company H2Pro and Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy signed a strategic agreement for the supply of green hydrogen on Tuesday during the United Nations’ COP27 climate conference in Egypt.

Hydrogen power is harvested by separating and reuniting the elements that make up water through a process that uses electrolysis. Hydrogen is green when the energy used to power the electrolyzers comes from renewable sources.

H2Pro is the commercial arm of an innovation developed by the Grand Technion Energy Program at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, in northern Israel. The company !!!developed a system called E-TAC (Electrochemical – Thermally Activated Chemical) that separates hydrogen from oxygen in several steps in a technique that uses electricity more efficiently.

!!!Green hydrogen is widely seen as an alternative to fossil fuels in sectors such as trucking and heavy industry. It can also be converted into liquid ammonia for the storage and transportation of renewable energy.”

@Bruce and Moderator
Interesting research:

Empowering social media users to assess content helps fight misinformation

“When fighting the spread of misinformation, social media platforms typically place most users in the passenger seat. Platforms often use machine-learning algorithms or human fact-checkers to flag false or misinforming content for users.

“Just because this is the status quo doesn’t mean it is the correct way or the only way to do it,” says Farnaz Jahanbakhsh, a graduate student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

She and her collaborators conducted a study in which they put that power into the hands of social media users instead.

This work shows that a decentralized approach to moderation can lead to higher content reliability on social media, says Jahanbakhsh. This approach is also more efficient and scalable than centralized moderation schemes, and may appeal to users who mistrust platforms, she adds.

The spread of online misinformation is a widespread problem. However, current methods social media platforms use to mark or remove misinforming content have downsides. For instance, when platforms use algorithms or fact-checkers to assess posts, that can create tension among users who interpret those efforts as infringing on freedom of speech, among other issues.

To overcome these problems and pitfalls, the researchers sought to create a platform that gives users the ability to provide and view structured accuracy assessments on posts, indicate others they trust to assess posts, and use filters to control the content displayed in their feed. Ultimately, the researchers’ goal is to make it easier for users to help each other assess misinformation on social media, which reduces the workload for everyone.

The researchers found that users could effectively assess content, often based on expertise, the content’s source, or by evaluating the logic of an article, despite receiving no training. They were also able to use filters to manage their feeds, though they utilized the filters differently.”

More useful for blog information inside.

Nick Levinson November 20, 2022 7:39 PM

@vas pup (& @Clive Robinson):

You make good points and the solution you offer, that judges et al. should get STEM education, is good, but how much should they get as a requirement? The more the harder it will be to get candidates and to get political support for the requirement unless most of the profession agrees. Law school is now 3 years. I don’t know how many will agree to, say, 4. It would cost more money for tuition etc. and you’d need candidates with some STEM aptitude. Researching to find a scholarly consensus in a field that’s not yours is (how much psychology or archeology did Einstein know?) not like researching law.

Example of a problem: A detective should start with no preconception of whodunit and go where the evidence takes the detective. But a scientist is taught to start with a hypothesis and prove or disprove it, the disproof being a conflict with the hypothesis leading to harder work by the doubtful scientist and adding credibility to the surprising conclusion. In education and subsequent work in law, this divergence can be solved, but not easily.

Clive Robinson November 20, 2022 8:55 PM

@ Mephisto, ALL,

Re : No ROI demise of BitCoin.

“… the situation was that the mining rewards can compensate for the electricity costs if you do not pay anyone a salary, and your electricity cost is 8 cents/kWh.”

Well it was to be expected…

Applying a little logic about the way the cost of each new bitcoin rises and the number of compeating miners[1] this was very obviously going to happen at some point, irrespective of just how valuable each coin is (unless the end-stop is reached at which point all those mining rigs are redundant).

It’s why the semi-sensible con artists were also running exchanges on a percentage rather than a flat fee.

The same is going to happen to all “Proof of work” systems where the cost of the work is deliberately designed to rise with each coin minted/mined (I’ll let others trot through the fanboi argument as to why this has to be the case). Technically it does not, which is a point that appears to be lost on most, likewise the cap on the number of coins (none of which realy exists with the production of traditional coinage/currency).

So the “merry go round” has run out of steam because they can not aford the coal…

Their options are,

1, Shut up shop
2, Make mining more efficient
3, Make mining less costly.

What worries me is the last one…

Because unless you have your own power station where you can fiddle the grid rates favourably and not pay the “grid ~25% loss” tax[2]. Then they will have to resort to some other form of “criminality”.

If we look at the old “pot farms” in buildings they used to use expensive to buy and run “grow lights”. Because this cost made growing a “No Return On Investment” they resorted to stealing electricity in various ways.

One of which was to “rent a house” fill it with their farm and use fake details or identiry theft, make not just the rental but also the energy costs free to them. They would just disappear after a short period of time to another rental.

Others dug down to the cables on the other side of the meter on adjacent properties and “live spliced” into 6000Amp streat cables. Thus if the utility company “traced the current” they would end up at the wrong property. Careful survailence by the growers would give them “bug out time”…

Interestingly I’ve been told –I have no direct knowledge– “new technology” has apparently made the second option available to growers. The latest “grow lights” are apparently “multi-spectrum” LED lights using around 1%-5% of the energy of the old grow lights.

As crypto-coin mining is actually “work” that has already been efficiency engineered, I can not see much that can be done to make option two very viable.

Hence my concerns about option three and how they may well use identity theft etc to cut their mining cost at other peoples expense…

It is as they say,

“The next logical step”.

[1] Simplisticaly as crypto-mining is a first past the post every one looses except the winner. Your cost effectively rises by the number of miners you compete with. That is assume they all use random start points and the same rig setup they all burn power untill one randomly wins the lossers have to swallow the power they burnt.

Less simplisticaly the rigs are very far from being the same. Thus you can spend more and increase your chance of winning. Thus you compete not with miners, but the individual mining engines and their respective speed and efficiency in use. But the idea is broadly the same only it’s the number of engines not miners.

[2] Few understand the darn right decite and worse involved in electrcity generation and customer charging. I could write pages and pages about it and still not cover even some of it. Put simply the load on the grid is not longterm predictable except in the most general sense of “it gets cold in winter so people turn on the heating”. So the grid operator has to pay generators to “run on standby” to fill in those “millisecond changes” to stop cascade fails and the like. Mostly this means running a plant at “full steam up” and dumping the unneeded power back into other “gen sets” and the like. The generators who do this get payed premium rates. Thus it would not be dificult for them to dump the power they are being paid top rate to generate into mining rigs that can be turned from on to halt in microseconds. Better yet, they don’t have the average 25% transmission loss to cover, so they could effectively mine not just for zero power cost, but actually be paid prenium rate to mine…

Clive Robinson November 20, 2022 9:41 PM

@ vas pup,

Re : All work adds to Global Warming.

Your statment of,

“Hydrogen is green when the energy used to power the electrolyzers comes from renewable sources.”

Is one of those not realy true statments, but it sounds good.

The ultimate form of polution is the heat caused by the fact all work is inefficient.

As a general rule of thumb 75-80% of chemical energy that goes into generating electricity for consumers is wasted as heat. A big chunk of that is getting the chemical energy from the hole in the ground to the generating plant.

Few actually realise the energy required to get LPG or Natural Gas to the point where it is used to release thermal energy.

Part of it is direct losses out of the pipe work into the air, another part is due to friction and moving the mass of the gas.

Switching from Natural gas or LPG to hydrogen is not going to make those losses any the less, in fact it will probably increase them by quite a factor.

Then of course the “cracking” or “electrolysis” methods are not at all efficient….

All this inefficiency means direct heating of the environment. Worse hydrogen in the atmosphere is not normal, thus leakage will become another “green house gas” issue to deal with.

Oh there is another issue with hydrogen, not only is nearly every reasonably usable engineering material pourus to it including stainless steel. It also “rots metal fast” in the process. It easily compared with other fuel gases makes metals brittle and suffer from micro fracturing that makes the leakege worse. Oh and weakens the pipes so full rupturing considerably more likely.

Which means more energy has to be put into manufacturing the infrastructure…

It’s these little details the money men and their stooge politicians do not want you hearing about…

Speaking of which,

“It can also be converted into liquid ammonia for the storage and transportation of renewable energy.”

Do you realy want a highly toxic and corsive cryo-fluid sloshing around the place? You are probably aware of previous “oil spils” and things like Exxon Valdez. Have you thought about what a substance like ammonia would do, especially as it gets into the air with little difficulty easily combines with other environmental contaminats and so causes significant respitory distress even at very low concentrations and in the UK around 3000 deaths a year,

A more sensible option if we can get it to work, is to take CO2 and H2O and wind it backwards to give us oxygen and a basic hydrocarbons that can then be processed into millions of products we currently need oil and natural gas for…

MarkH November 20, 2022 9:45 PM

@Clive, all:

unless the end-stop is reached at which point all those mining rigs are redundant

Probably most people who’ve heard of “crypto mining” think of it as a way to obtain valuable “coins,” and don’t understand that the actual purpose of so-called mining (in proof-of-work systems) is to update the distributed ledger.

In such systems, updating the ledger is insanely expensive (on the order of USD 100 per transaction for BitCon); the creation of new “coins” is a maneuver to give people an incentive to shoulder all of that cost.

MarkH November 20, 2022 9:48 PM


If an end stop actually were reached — or the market value fell below marginal mining cost — the infeasibility of further mining would suddenly transfer these giant transaction costs on to the users, which would perhaps collapse the whole system.

I expect, however, that the system will die from other causes, long before the endpoint can be reached.

ResearcherZero November 20, 2022 9:57 PM

@vas pup

I don’t know how US, UK, Australia Law Schools teach future prosecutors and judges

Sometimes they teach them, sometimes they “learn” on the job. Some go to university, some hang a fabricated document on the wall from their university of choice without ever enrolling. This results in the occasional judge or prosecutor struggling to understand procedure and law even decades later.

Obviously there is a lack of enthusiasm to correct the problem, given that it may lead to the discovery of decades of mistrial and erroneous conviction.

ResearcherZero November 20, 2022 10:05 PM

@Clive Robinson

There are many different chemicals and methods that can be used to produce energy, each with their own benefits and drawbacks dependent on application.

There are always alternatives to simply picking the worst examples of each.

Power Beaming

The technology itself takes several forms, including: (1) optical transmission at a range of possible wavelengths to receivers consisting of bandgap-tuned photovoltaics, thermophotovoltaics, or heat engines, (2) millimeter-wave transmission using solid state or gyrotron sources to rectennas or heat engines, and (3) microwave transmission at a range of possible frequencies from vacuum or solid state electronics to rectenna receivers.

“Lasers and microwaves may conjure images of death rays and unanticipated health risks. Based on decades of research, power beaming via both microwaves and lasers has been shown to be safe.”

Microwave Power Beaming

An in-depth historical overview tracing the worldwide progress in microwave and millimeter wave (mmWave) experimental demonstrations over the past 60 years shows clear evidence of a significant increase in activity during the last 5 years.

In 1963, the first modern system was constructed at Raytheon’s Spencer Lab. This system, seen in Fig. 10(a), used a DC-fed magnetron and reflector to send microwave energy at 3 GHz to a horn antenna located 5.5 m away.

W. Brown’s 1975 Goldstone demonstration remains the highest-power result to date, delivering 35 kW at 1.55 km. His other experiment of the same year demonstrated the highest DC-to-DC power beaming efficiency result to date, delivering 495 W at 54% total system efficiency.

Section II provides an overview of the physics of power beaming, including beam diffraction and atmospheric propagation effects.
…and surface penetration (of the epedermous).

beaming microwaves from space

sunlight to microwave power transmission module


Laser Power Beaming

“Infrared wavelengths are an order of magnitude safer for your eyes than other parts of the infrared spectrum. …observers in attendance were able to walk around between the transmitter and receiver without needing to wear laser-safety eyewear or take any other precautions.”

“Once converted into a laser beam, the energy will be recaptured by a high-power photodiode or solar panel that can capture a high-intensity ray. These photodiodes can transform the light from the lasers into electricity to produce 100 to 500 kilowatts per square metre. As a result, they require one hundred times less surface area than a solar panel and are easier to install locally.”


“Attenuation of the laser beam is caused by both absorption (primarily by atmospheric molecules) and scattering (also by molecules, but primarily by larger suspended particles such as water, dust, or smoke Scattering generally dominates at the near-infrared wavelengths of interest.”

Thermal Blooming

“Thermal blooming occurs because the laser beam heats the column of air in the beam path, creating a region of lower air density in the center of the beam, which then acts as a negative lens, defocusing the beam.”


The power density manifested in a power beaming link may pose safety concerns for people, objects, and wildlife exposed to the beam. For both laser power beaming and RF power beaming, there are safety standards (IEEE, ICNIRP and ANSI) for limiting continuous human exposure to specific power density thresholds.

Power beaming systems must include measures to ensure that safety limits appropriate for a given situation are not transgressed:

IEEE Standard for Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields, 0 Hz to 300 GHz, IEEE Std C95.1-2019

ICNIRP guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields (100 kHz to 300 GHz) RF EMF Guidelines 2020

ANSI Z136 standards

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 20, 2022 10:21 PM

In the U.S. there are private, and some public schools that are using a conceptual framework to redefine (I’d suggest strip) citizenship prior to reaching the voting age. The framework includes curriculum under the wider banner[1]. Look it up, it is a fascist theonomic social structure that posits a power hierarchy that goes something like; God, Church, Family. And that all law and authority runs through that hierarchy. Bizarre as hell, and it is a psychologically and intellectual backward facing concept in organizing any pluralistic society–and it really doesn’t matter what you define as pluralism–if it aint in the the Big Guy’s book, it aint real.

In relative terms, this movement would cast Stone Henge as a technological evil made by Satanists , and dispose of it and the persons responsible for it, post haste.

There are academies and home schooling curriculum in distribution today that sells this concept, it is both ahistorical and riddled with inconsistencies. Dinosaurs were alive at the same time as hominids, the Big Guy’s book is irrefutably factual, and that the Big Guy ordained the U.S. as the new Israel. There have been U.S. congresspersons schooled within this context, Look it up.[2]

The Supreme in coming decisions is poised to redefine public education; everything from text books, institutional support, credentialing, and reintroduction of the Christian Bible into the classroom.

I have not seen a case on the courts docket that directly attacks university principles of higher ed, but are going to overturn affirmative action in admissions.

[1] ” P a t r I o t A c a d e m y & B i b l I c a l C i t i z e n s h i p ”
[2] ” \M \a \d \I son C & A & W thorn ”

Just helping out the algorithm…

SpaceLifeForm November 20, 2022 10:38 PM

Re: a Search Odyssey

Testing variations of hitch and hiker, you still get inconsistent results even if you add 42 to your search arguments.

Weather November 20, 2022 11:23 PM

They are losses a battle with current laws, but I don’t agree with your devil advocate, yes new tec can lead to stuff, but it’s the 1st stage mutilation that is hard to judge. Yes the tec industry is going to get flattened, you lot recognize that, I can put to words, but the paper cake people are pushing is not even recognize in life.
Well have a good day ?

SpaceLifeForm November 21, 2022 12:07 AM

@ EvilKiru, -, Clive

Deja Vu all over again.

In this case, the comment-id is 412734, visible on recent-100.

The text of the comment (2 lines) is identical to two weeks ago. It has no link, nothing nasty, and is meant to appear relevant to the article, but it really has no pertinent point. So, it’s only purpose must be to put a website name in the URL field, in the hopes that it will be SEO.

Here is the actual text of the comment for future reference:


[…] issues are also damaging Internet Explorer’s reputation. A security specialist said in 2004 that it was “foolish” to use the browser. The Washington Post published a […]



Currently the comment count is back up to 8 again. For now. So, it must be a known SEO spammer, and the comment is immediately shadow-banned on any article page, but not on the recent-100 page. Note that you can not see any URL value from the spammer on the recent-100 by mousing over the name. This SEO spammer is an idiot that does not realize they are wasting their time. The shadow-ban is immediate, but the purge from database is not. The comment count will go back down to 7 soon.

MarkH November 21, 2022 12:32 AM

Re: Fluid equations singularity, 1

An interesting quanta magazine article. I delight in detail such as the mathematicians having used techniques including “one that dates back to the 18th century, when the French mathematician Gaspard Monge sought an optimal way of transporting soil to build fortifications for Napoleon’s army.”

With the proviso that I’ve never studied fluid dynamics equations, I offer a perspective on possible broader implications.

To my small understanding, Navier-Stokes (with their Euler special case) are not pure physics, but rather applied math. They embody a scheme to enable calculations of fluid dynamics, by making simplifying assumptions. The fluids which would be exactly described by such equations don’t (and can’t) exist.

SpaceLifeForm November 21, 2022 12:33 AM

@ Nick Levinson, lurker, Clive

re: Time Zone Change

It is not a crisis, just worth being aware of it.

The only reason I mention UTC is that for readers around the world, they probably know their UTC offset and current Daylight Saving Time rule in place if any.

That is, it is probably mentally easier for them to calculate in their mind how old any particular comment is, which is something that I find useful.

So, for clarity: This blog is now running on EST, which currently is UTC-5.

MarkH November 21, 2022 12:35 AM

Re: Fluid equations singularity, 2

A singularity in the equations might have implications for the underlying physics, but it does not necessarily follow that they must. It’s entirely plausible that the physics is sound, and that the “bug” in the equations belongs only to the mathematical approximations.

The example of the “quantum revolution” is pertinent: lab experiments — which were straightforward to reproduce — showed results for which no explanation could be found in classical physics.

The examples I can recall of revisions to physical laws were typically motivated by physical observations, and not glitches in equations.

Any thoughts? Am I missing something?

JonKnowsNothing November 21, 2022 12:39 AM

@ ResearcherZero, @vas pup

re: I don’t know how US … teach future prosecutors and judges

In the USA, most judges are elected by voters.

At Higher Courts they are appointed and get approved by the Senate. Higher Courts are generally Life Time appointments.

There isn’t any requirement for prior legal knowledge or instruction. Not even for SCOTUS. The legal profession does do a lot of wand waving about the person’s qualifications but having a degree in any field isn’t a prerequisite.

For elected judges, they all have to appear periodically on the ballot. You get “Elect SoNSo as Judge… Yes/No” option.

It might sound odd, but Judges have “clerks” and those clerks do a lot of the leg work and present summaries and POV for a case. It depends on if the case is Criminal or Civil. Judges apply the prescribed penalties as defined by laws which are enacted by government bodies (city, county, state, regional, national). That’s the job.

They also are supposed to referee the proceedings according to defined rules.

SCOTUS gets a bigger hunk of publicity, and getting a job as a clerk to one of them, often leads to an appointment at one of the lower courts. If their rulings hold up after challenges, they might get bumped up another level. Again, by appointment and Senate approval.

As EMusk-TwitHead found out. Rules of Law are not Twit Rules. He can’t make up what he wants one day and then change it the next, invoking such changes in the name of innovation. It’s what’s written in the books.

All you need to do is look it up… Understanding it, is a different problem.

Prosecutors are also elected. They get elected based on the number of people they get a convicted. The higher the profile crime, the more points a prosecutor earns for re-election. They develop a rather lopsided view of life, its a contagious condition.

MarkH November 21, 2022 1:05 AM

A tidbit not directly related to the Twitter meltdown, though it might soon seem more relevant:

There exists no procedure to cold-boot Twitter’s infrastructure.

Here’s the nature of the problem, where A, B and C are functionally distinct servers. [Note: A may run as 500 parallel instances, but all A servers do the same job.]

The A boot sequence includes an interaction with C to fetch some vital data. If C is not running, A cannot start.

Similarly, C depends on interaction with B in order to boot up … and B cannot boot up without responses from A.

I got this from a friend who has spent his career working on complex server systems. He says it is quite easy to fall into this trap without being aware of it. A, B and C are supposed to up continuously, so as software is revised and tested systems start up just fine.

Unless you shut them all down at once.

ResearcherZero November 21, 2022 1:34 AM


A singularity in the equations might have implications for the underlying physics, but it does not necessarily follow that they must.

This correct, as many examples of theory exist in a theoretical space which does not include real world influences. Other equations may be introduced in real world settings to account for physical variables as they arise. Even if there is a problem with an equation in a particular setting, there may be an answer as to why, or it may even lead to a new discovery.

SpaceLifeForm November 21, 2022 1:44 AM

@ MarkH, Clive

Re: Fluid equations singularity

This is weird. How is it possible that you could possibly rotate a liquid in the top half of a cylinder, and rotate it in the opposite direction in the bottom half?

When they mention “blow up” in the article, that seems correct.

It seems to me that even if you could build this Rube Goldberg device, and actually get it moving the fluid, there will be friction between the atoms at the equator level, and it will create heat, and eventually there will be cavitation and boiling. It seems inherently unstable.

Winter November 21, 2022 2:36 AM

Re: Equations

To my small understanding, Navier-Stokes (with their Euler special case) are not pure physics, but rather applied math.

The Navier-Stokes equations are differential equations. These equations relate infinitesimal changes in flow velocity with infinitesimal changes in pressure etc.. But “flow velocity” and “pressure” are statistical averages over many particles. These concepts do not exist on a molecular scale. Individual particles (molecules) have neither a flow speed nor a pressure but an individual mass and speed in a specific direction.

It has been clear from the start that these equations cannot hold on a scale where individual particles interact.

The equations blow up, but where they do that is in empty space between the particles.

ResearcherZero November 21, 2022 2:56 AM

Theory blows up quite a bit, including the scientists arguing over which explanations are correct, and which are not.

BCS Theory

Time reversal symmetry is the idea that most fundamental physical laws would not change if time ran backwards instead of forward.

But the UA physicists find that time-reversal symmetry is broken because of the simultaneous rotating and non-rotating average spins of exotic Cooper pairs.

“It’s important to note that our theoretical results are very general. They are based on a mathematical theorem and have to be experimentally applied to most kinds of existing superconducting materials, including high-temperature superconductors.”

“Liar! Liar! Ladies and gentlemen, that man is a liar — don’t listen to a word he’s saying!”

Theories also require empirical research to prove if and when they may hold true.

“We know that the Standard Model is wrong, in that it’s incomplete. It’s also phenomenally successful, allowing some properties of electrons to be predicted to 13-14 decimal places.”

Electromagnetism is a property of spacetime itself, study finds – requires empirical research

“Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism are an optimality condition for the metric of spacetime to be sufficiently flat.”


James Clerk Maxwell gave an address on “Action at a Distance.” Most natural philosophers hold, and have held, that action at a distance across empty space is impossible-in other words, that matter cannot act where it is not, but only where it is.

Outside of physics we know nothing of action at a distance.

“More careful reflection teaches us however, that the special theory of relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume the existence of an ether; only we must give up ascribing a definite state of motion to it, i.e. we must by abstraction take from it the last mechanical characteristic which Lorentz had still left it. We shall see later that this point of view, the conceivability of which I shall at once endeavour to make more intelligible by a somewhat halting comparison, is justified by the results of the general theory of relativity.”

“Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable”

Special theory of relativity could generate the same mathematics without referring to an aether at all. Aether fell to Occam’s Razor.

Winter November 21, 2022 3:35 AM


Time reversal symmetry is the idea that most fundamental physical laws would not change if time ran backwards instead of forward.

But the UA physicists find that time-reversal symmetry is broken because of the simultaneous rotating and non-rotating average spins of exotic Cooper pairs.

The exact conserved symmetry is not simply time, but Charge-Parity-Time reversal:

Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether.

In the Æther theory, the Æther exists in space. In general relativity, space itself, ie, the geometry, is involved. Unless the Æther is identical to space, it has no place in GR.

James Clerk Maxwell gave an address on “Action at a Distance.” Most natural philosophers hold, and have held, that action at a distance across empty space is impossible-in other words, that matter cannot act where it is not, but only where it is.

That is why we have photons. They carry the EM “forces”. The standard model has no action at a distance.

SpaceLifeForm November 21, 2022 5:32 AM

@ Ted

Is it truly officially declassified?

I am not convinced. It is not officially marked as such (see last link). It has FOIA redactions to hide classification markings. But, just because the image is out there, does not mean it really is declassified.

Check out this Mastodon discussion about classification.

The real question to me is: why was it leaked in the first place? Was it just to send a message like: “We got good tech, we can see you” ?




Compare the top left corner of the images. Note the original leaked pic was photoshopped to black out the classification markings before it was leaked.

Nick Levinson November 21, 2022 6:50 AM

@JonKnowsNothing, @ResearcherZero, & @vas pup:

Federal Article III court judges, all of them, high and low including appellate and trial, are appointed by the President on the advice and consent of the Senate, in the U.S., and all have lifetime appointments during good behavior, which legally means it can be less than lifetime but there is no mandatory retirement age.

High court judges in U.S. State court systems hold their positions in accordance with State law, perhaps by election or perhaps by appointment, and the Senate and the President have no role in how they get into their positions. For some judgeships, the judge has to be elected only once and then is eligible for gubernatorial appointment for renewals.

Article III refers to the article of the Constitution that governs the judiciary, which has one supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress may ordain from time to time. It does not govern civilian administrative adjudication agencies or military courts-martial, both types coming under Article I, their adjudicators holding their positions because of other law.

Federal Article III judges do not Constitutionally have to have any particular education and do not have to be lawyers, and someone once suggested that appointing an anthropologist might be interesting, but nominating anyone without a good legal education would be politically foolish and a headline-grabber. During the Nixon Presidency, someone suggested that mediocre judges should be given a chance, and the flak came at that person.

Law clerks, at least in the Federal system, tend to have good legal educations. Their title is odd in modern parlance but probably is traditional, and it’s a very good step to have in one’s resume or CV. Law clerks do not rule on cases, although they might make recommendations; one told Justice Thurgood Marshall that he has to rule a certain way on a case and repeated their statement; Marshall said all he has to do is be Black and die, although he also said that if he dies to prop him up and keep writing. Law clerks are not subject to Presidential nomination or Senate approval unless and until they seek to become Federal judges. As lower-level judges, their record is likely a factor for any promotion.

As to non-Federal law clerks, in one set of courts where I live they reportedly get their jobs by appointment on recommendation of the dominant political party and don’t work directly for a judge.

Prosecutors may be elected, but not Federal prosecutors. Each district (there are about 94 of them) has a local office of the U.S. Department of Justice that is headed by the U.S. Attorney for the district, who serves at the pleasure of the President (I think appointment requires Senate consent but termination does not). The prosecutors you’d be likely to see in court are Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs); I don’t know how they get their jobs except that it’s not by election.

A corporate CEO, at Twitter or anywhere else, generally has discretion in corporate rule-making, as long as they stay within the limits of higher law, and, within higher law, can amend whenever they want and without prior notice.

Clive Robinson November 21, 2022 10:25 AM

@ Nick Levinson, JonKnowsNothing, ResearcherZero, vas pup,

Re : Title of “Clerk”.

“Their title is odd in modern parlance but probably is traditional”

It’s not.

A “Clerk” is a professional honorific such as Reverand, Proffessor, Doctor, etc.

It is for a type of administrative podition like an accountant, computor, or, librarian.

It is for a person who runs the administrative side of a law court or legal chambers.

Part of that job is to be a librarian of both the law books and court decisions. Part of which is keeping those in titled charge of the court or chamber.

At one point in time the Clerk would have been ordained as that was the only route for a non titled, or lay person to achieve the post.

It goes back to “The first estate of man” notion. Judges and the legal representaives are a reflection of the “King and Knight / Kings Champion” from the “trial by combat” system going back several millennia. The Clerks are a reflection of the church functionaries, responsible for record keeping, education and arbitration by rule, rather than deity.

In a UK Magistraits Court the actual legally qualified individual is “The Court Clerk” not the magistrates who were at one time “Justices of the Peace of good standing” which usually implied property owning and living off of unerned income off of the sweat of others brows. JP’s They were never expected to be more than nominally literate, sufficient to run an estate. Those of education came via the clergy.

If you have to represent yourself in a UK magistrates court, it is wise to remember that JP’s are considered to be your peers, just as jury members are in other courts. So it is the Court Clerk to whom you addrrss points of law and who guides the JP’s. It is wise to remember the expression “Is that your administrative decision?” of any other party, representative or JP, if you use it you will generally see the Court Clerk’s “full attention to be given” as such those choices are not just legaly binding on the parties but the court as well, and thus future court actions. Like contracts it’s more than just crossing the t’s and doting the i’s those pesky commas carry considerable weight these days and can,

“Turn a nose to hang you, into a whip to drive the hangman away.”

JonKnowsNothing November 21, 2022 4:27 PM

@Clive, SpaceLifeForm, All

re: COVID economic shifts

In the USA and other countries, the Special Rules, Regulations and Laws passed during 2019-2022 for COVID mitigations, treatment and vaccines are ending. In some places they ended quite a while ago by popular fiat.

While COVID has not gone away, and hundreds of people in the USA die each week, the HIP-RIP-LOVID mantra continues to hold sway in public and in personal choices. Masks are O-U-T but they are also I-N as C19+RSV+INF crash into the population at large.

Since the 2019 rules for everything have expired or are now ignored, neoliberal-libertarian-illiberal economics are sprouting wings intending to cash where ever they can as their prior monopoly status diminishes.

MSM report of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla discussion about the pricing of C19 Vaccines

  • Pfizer’s 400% price hike on COVID vaccines will be “free”

While you might want to parse that statement closely it translates to this:

  • US Government COVID Vax monopoly granted to Pfizer cost $20-$30 per dose. US Government paid the bill and the population got the vax for zero out of pocket charge.
  • New Pfizer 400% price hike will be $130 per dose. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla claimed this is the “free” price.
  • What Pfizer is expecting is that Governments and Health Insurers are going to pick up the cost at $130 per shot and the general population and health care consumers will get the shot for zero out-of-pocket costs.

It’s an interesting economic gamble.

COVID vaccine uptake and COVID booster uptake numbers are dismal.

XBB BQ1 BQ1.1 do not respond to the old vaccines and do not respond to the bivalent versions which are engineered for versions of COVID no longer in circulation.

A fire sale?

Clive Robinson November 21, 2022 6:29 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Fire Sale.

It’s funny that you should ask this…

You probably know that the UK Booster appears to be an Anatidae Mortuus as far as efficacy.

Just about an hour ago I got an automated text message inviting me to get my booster.

As I’ve already indicated to the Doctor in my specific case it’s very probabbly “contra indicated” as I’m still getting over my heart issue from Aug 2021 that darn nearly killed me just three weeks after my second shot.

The fun thing is when I went for the booster shot, they looked me up on the system and said “Not without a letter from your doctor for the other vaccine” (which is the Ox AZ which is what I’d had originally).

But since then I’ve been looking at Long-C and trying to get figures on the relationship to vaccine type…

There is plenty of data about those who have never been vaccinated. But… Try as hard as you can to get the data split out by vaccine given and you hit a wall… Looking at info from nations that only gave mRNA and nations that did not, tends to suggest that we realy realy need to see the data from a mixed nation such as the UK.

As you know the US was an mRNA only nation and has had quite bad long-C even though it is actually drastically under reported (job loss fears etc, not having medicare etc).

My view is that there is a known heart risk with the mRNA vaccines all be it very small. But if the booster is known to not work thus give no benifit then that small risk is the only thing on the weigh scales so indicating risk without any potential reward.

For me I-N is standard even though I get the odd funny look, not that I go out much… In fact I’ve developed another problem becsuse of it. Ever heard of “Bungalow Knee”?

Well it’s caused as you loose certain muscle mass in the legs. It does not stop you “going up” but “going down” your leg won’t support you.

So I’m having to do the odd type of excercises I thought I would never need to do (having been a very keen cyclist, however I’m nolonger alowed legaly to ride due to the ongoing heart condition).

lurker November 21, 2022 8:55 PM

@Clive Robinson, JonKnowsNothing

NZ was mrna only for the first year, then grudgingly allowed Ox-AZ for the contra-indicated. Now for reasons unexplained AZ is no longer available, and the alternative is the protein fragment Novavax, and booster rates are dropping as the case numbers rise. MSM thinks it’s because most people are “over” C, ignore it and it will go away. If only …

Rates of (re)infection and side effects per vax type will not be published for reasons of “commercial sensitivity.”

SpaceLifeForm November 21, 2022 9:10 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Clive

re: Fire sale

the general population and health care consumers will get the shot

Yes, they will take a shot in the pocketbook if this goes anywhere, because the health care providers will just pass on the cost to everyone else.

But, I do not see it going anywhere. I can see the health care providers saying that if you want Pfizer, it will be $100 copay, otherwise get Moderna or Johnson and Johnson.

It’s been just about 2.5 years since I got the J and J vax. Never had any other jabs. I’m sure I have been exposed, but never had any symptoms.

I specifically avoided mRNA vaccines.

Still to this day, it appears that in the main, many that died or are dealing with Long Covid, were Anti-Vaxers.

spine helix vaccine design

Nick Levinson November 21, 2022 9:24 PM

@Clive Robinson (& @JonKnowsNothing, @ResearcherZero, & @vas pup):

I think you’ve indicated that you’re in the U.K., and U.K. and U.S. practice may differ. While the U.S. law has strong roots in English common law, not all practice about clerkships is bound to law and the U.S. has had the right to amend common law as imported into the U.S. regardless of what happens to it in England, and the Federal and 50 (49 without Louisiana, a civil law state) State governments can each amend common law separately from each other, even to be in conflict.

In most large institutions in the U.S., clerks are usually low-skilled workers with some skills that are applied to administrative tasks; an example is a file clerk. For purposes of insurance in at least one State, clerk is the position that has, I think, the lowest premium, of which some employers take advantage by misclassifying more substantially skilled employees as mere clerks. In courts, there are clerks who do a variety of administrative functions, such as sending out jury notices to people on mailing lists; but also there are law clerks, whose education levels are high, such as being a lawyer who graduated from a top law school with honors, and whose responsibilities are proportionate. I have not known of a law clerk who was a librarian except for a judge’s own library; a courthouse library I’ve seen was run by a full-time librarian, one of which was a lawyer but I’d expect most of them to have master’s degrees in library science and a course of study in law without being lawyers.

Almost no clerk I’ve ever known, except probably for law clerks, wants to be addressed as Clerk (Personal Name) or (Personal Name), Clerk.

I’m not surprised about a history of clerks as ordained and I may have heard that somewhere. Ministers often had more education than had most of their contemporaries, often were literate when most of their contemporaries were not.

JonKnowsNothing November 21, 2022 11:10 PM

@Clive, SpaceLifeForm, lurker, All

re: Catching up with Long COVID

disclosure: As the numbers, reporting rate, accuracy of COVID related cases and conditions have “Plummeted to the Depths of Khazad-dûm”, I don’t chase after this bad data. Information is often spotty and not well supported. ymmv.

Long COVID is getting slightly more noticeable because it actually is quite a common reaction to both the virus and effects (or lack of them) of vaccines and treatments. It’s going to be a huge area to investigate and has already led to better understanding that diseases that were historically categorized as “Female Hysteria” are not psychological but due to viral infections. Some of these viral infections may have occurred decades earlier with no overt symptoms.

These long lingering viruses cause serious problems decades afterward but the medical profession, for want of any other excuse, put them on the psycho-list. The pyscho-list is the repository for anything they don’t understand, don’t want to treat, or interferes with other recreational activities.

Along with SARS-CoV-2, Epstein–Barr virus and Guillain–Barré syndrome have become more interesting in their long dormancy and reactivation mechanisms.

For Global Economic Government Disability Programs, Long COVID is an economic catastrophe, hiding in plain sight, with a high percentage of the infected never regaining full function or prior competence. Repeated C19 infections increase the probability of Long COVID symptoms, but even 1 bout can be enough, depending on which organs the virus targets.

Few Governments are willing to declare Long COVID a disability; either as a Short Term Disability (1yr) or Long Term (life time). The cost of early draws on social security retirement funds and the continuing costs of medical care are not included in the Official Austerity Budgets.


Search Terms

Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS)

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)

Transient global amnesia (TGA)

SpaceLifeForm November 22, 2022 1:09 AM

@ MarkH

Re: Twitter cold-start

Your friends description is spot on, call it Dependency Deadlock.

I doubt they get there because after pulling the wire to Twilio, the SMS 2FA is still down as per recent report. So, Elmo probably has learned to not just randomly pull on wires.

He had a little crash course recently via some whiteboard diagramming.

You can see how complex the front-end systems are and how they talk to each other. You can imagine that complexity is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is difficult to read, but gives you an idea.

The white blobs are not part of the diagram, they are reflections of the overhead lights in the conference room.

ResearcherZero November 22, 2022 3:30 AM

Moldova leaks target anti-corruption officials, diverting the public’s attention from groups in the Republic of Moldova and their connections with foreign services.

“Russia’s operatives have considered increasingly desperate measures to prevent further erosion of its influence.”

Moldova’s new anti-corruption prosecutor last month detained 24 people, including members of Shor’s party, in connection with the alleged illicit financing of the demonstrations, with the prosecutor saying investigators had seized 20 black bags stuffed with 3.5 million lei (about $181,000) in cash.

Credential Roaming

APT29 successfully phished a European diplomatic entity and ultimately abused the Windows Credential Roaming feature.

ResearcherZero November 22, 2022 3:35 AM


Yes, they are all examples of theoretical arguments that were later abandoned due to increasing evidence they were flawed. Mistakes are often important steps in finding the correct answers.

SpaceLifeForm November 22, 2022 3:40 AM

SW controlled lights

The first time I saw this, I thought I must have confused myself.

Why would the taillights be out while the headlights are on?

Well, maybe it was just bad luck, and both taillight bulbs had died and the driver was not aware. Possible, I thought.

Taillights are supposed to be on when the headlights are on. For safety reasons.

Then I saw it again. And again. And again.

Turns out, there is an explanation.

Winter November 22, 2022 4:05 AM


Yes, they are all examples of theoretical arguments that were later abandoned due to increasing evidence they were flawed. Mistakes are often important steps in finding the correct answers.

Indeed, the failure of the AEther brought about special relativity and later general relativity, action at a distance gave us Quantum Electro Dynamics and Quantum Field Theory, Charge-Parity-Time reversal symmetry came from the violations of simple time symmetry.

All of these will, eventually, replaced with something else, say, quantum gravity.

ResearcherZero November 22, 2022 4:11 AM

“Russian influence operations attempt to exploit weaknesses in target countries in order to destabilize them from within. The sanctions imposed today expose not only Russia’s covert strategy in Moldova, but also demonstrate how corruption undermines the rule of law.”

Igor Yuryevich Chayka (Chayka), in conjunction with Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, developed detailed plans to undermine Moldovan president Maia Sandu and return Moldova to Russia’s sphere of influence.

Yuriy Igorevich Gudilin (Gudilin), a political technologist and former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, coordinated efforts in 2020 and 2021 to influence the outcome of Moldova’s elections.

Ilan Mironovich Shor (Shor) worked with Russian individuals to create a political alliance to control Moldova’s parliament, which would then support several pieces of legislation in the interests of the Russian Federation. Shor had received Russian support and the Shor Party was coordinating with representatives of other oligarchs to create political unrest in Moldova. He was previously arrested on money laundering and embezzlement charges related to the 2014 theft of $1 billion from Moldovan banks.

Last week, the Telegram social media accounts of Sandu and other top Moldovan dignitaries were hacked, resulting in the posting of purportedly fake messages.

Moldova’s president, prime minister, and members of the senior ruling party gathered for an urgent weekend meeting after weeks of anti-government protests, pressure from Moscow, and social media hacks that targeted top officials.The statement cited “energy blackmail” by Russia and unspecified “attempts by a group of thieves…to create chaos in the country.” It did not elaborate.

Thousands of protesters have filled Chisinau’s streets in recent weeks to rail against Gavrilita’s government amid a mounting winter energy crisis and spiking inflation as Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine grinds on.

The protests have been organized in part by the party of fugitive banker Ilan Shor, who was convicted in absentia in connection with what’s been dubbed the “theft of the century” in Moldova in 2014.

Winter November 22, 2022 7:17 AM


Gravity, that’s a tricky one! I’d like to say what I think about gravity, but it’s pretty offensive.

I think that all our ideas about gravity are wrong, but they are all wrong for different reasons. However, some ideas are useful and others are not.

JokingInTuva November 22, 2022 8:12 AM

@Clive Robinson

“There is some new stuff that will in time effect “Quantumn Key Distribution”(QKD) but I doubt any of the aggregator sites will pick up on it”

Quite interesting! Please, share some details about that “QKD New Stuff”…

lurker November 22, 2022 2:21 PM


The investigation found in rare cases the lights may intermittently not work due to an anomaly that may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake-up process.

Uhuh. No corelation of course between false positives and false negatives …

Somebody might have told Elmo a battery, a lamp, a switch, and a pair of wires was too simple

Weather November 22, 2022 3:41 PM

That pmm I’m not talking about, heck pick some random to take credit, I don’t care, question did you spend $40 to see if it worked?

K18 November 22, 2022 3:46 PM

Where do you go to get it figured out, if it looks like you might have a man-in-the-middle problem with your internet connection and perhaps phone communications? Perhaps an intermittent one, but what I see really doesn’t make sense.

vas pup November 22, 2022 7:25 PM

@Nick Levinson • November 20, 2022 7:39 PM
stated:”A detective should start with no preconception of whodunit and go where the evidence takes the detective. But a scientist is taught to start with a hypothesis…”
The most important to find who done it based on evidence connected is to develop !multiple! hypothesis answering the main question: “MOTIVE”. I guess there is book of Mr. Douglas “Anatomy of Motive”. That will answer Q: “Who and how benefited from the crime?” I agree that evidence should go BEFORE suspect not vice versa meaning as Chief NKVD Mr. Beria “Give me a person and I’ll find crime which he committed.” Read book “A Three Felonies a Day” on the subject in US.

@Nick Levinson • November 21, 2022 6:50 AM
On Judges: My personal opinion appointment of State Judges should go through similar procedure as Federal Judges but on State Level. By the way, former US Supreme Justice Sandra Day O’Connor supporting such idea. Election of Judges by general population is just theater – who knows them?

BUT: The most dangerous even in Federal System are Magistrate Judges (except FISA court) who do the most intrusive decisions: arrests, search warrants affecting human rights and their decisions are made in secret, no lawyers present and appeal could be done only thereafter or not at all (no being approved neither by legislative no executive branch).

You may call them Clerks. I think such decisions should be made by Trial Judges by themselves on rotation basis not Magistrates.
Chief Judge set up schedule (not available to LEAs and prosecutors at all) so when warrant is requested nobody knows who will approve-reject them for pure logic of judicial independence.

On State Level, Yes. Magistrate Judges should be ONLY elected by public Judges due to reasons above, so everybody will know their history of activity.

Anyway, nobody is going to listen (even Big Brother). E.g. the whole civilized world abandon Grand Jury trial even mother of it UK but common sense, logic and reason not applied. Emotions only.


SpaceLifeForm November 22, 2022 8:57 PM

@ Clive, ALL

Catching the Wave 35 years ago with Max Headroom

Or, catch it today!



ResearcherZero November 22, 2022 9:47 PM


Well we all know how easy it is to break into diplomatic systems and steal their cables. One persons credentials, that will get access to 9.7 million health records as well.

I imagine at least a fair number of people that frequent this blog have had at least one conversation with a manager of some sort, at an entity with a large database.

Politicians said 30 years ago regarding cyber security that legislation takes too much time to implement, and some of them were repeating that message recently.

Remember when someone accessed diplomatic cables not that long ago?

Hackers managed to get all the passwords they needed to connect to the EU’s entire database of exchanges after a run-of-the-mill phishing attack.

All the governments know what is being discussed, but publicly it’s been a sad state of affairs for a very long time. The last time anyone was frank was during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I know Frank, he’s alright. That guy cuts through the s**t. He tends to calm folks down. Cool heads lead to reasonable dialogue. It’s the public’s job to panic, leaders are not supposed to drop the ball and run away.

Leave a ball like that lying around and a clown is likely to pick it up.

What was it the clown said, “Trade wars are easy to win?”

Here is another clown:

“This is a joke. The truth is these people are bumping right smack up against reality, and here’s the reality: We have 25 days to avert economic catastrophe. Catastrophe is what will happen if we run out of diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is not just low in this country. It’s low in every Western nation that is aligned itself with Ukraine.”

A joke hey? If the clowns want to know some secrets, if they want to be in the hot seat, give them some. Explain a little of the trouble they have gotten themselves into. Explain it to them like you would to a child.

ResearcherZero November 22, 2022 10:12 PM

Australia’s dirty little secret.

Real world effects observed.

“First and foremost, this study could only measure statistical associations; it’s not designed to make a causal argument and people should be cautious in interpreting it as such.”

SpaceLifeForm November 23, 2022 6:31 PM

@ Ted

Thank you for paying attention, doing research, and connecting dots.

This is how society moves forward.

There is a snake in the birdhouse.

ResearcherZero November 23, 2022 11:36 PM

How to land a government contract (or how not to do it):

“A cache of leaked emails reveals how Robert used his status as a federal MP in 2017 and 2018 to help the firm, Synergy 360, sign up corporate clients with the promise of helping them navigate the federal public service and political system and meet key decision-makers, including senior Coalition ministers.”

“The emails also show Robert introduced Synergy 360 to overseas officials and businessmen whom he met in his official capacity as an MP.”

“Among the clients of Synergy 360 is Indian multinational Infosys, which won Centrelink contracts in late 2019 and 2020 worth more than $100 million.”

“believed at the time” that Mr Morrison had been told the use of “data to calculate entitlement and as the basis for raising debts would not proceed”

According to former Department of Social Services (DSS) director of payment integrity Cameron Brown, the legal advice that arrived in 2014 that it was illegal was: “as definitive as I’ve ever seen.

Scott Morrison, Christian Porter, Alan Tudge, Stuart Robert, Michael Keenan and Marise Payne have received approval for taxpayer-funded legal expenses related to the robodebt royal commission.

“Like all language models, Galactica is a mindless bot that cannot tell fact from fiction.”

“People found that it made up fake papers (sometimes attributing them to real authors), and generated wiki articles about the history of bears in space as readily as ones about protein complexes and the speed of light. It’s easy to spot fiction when it involves space bears, but harder with a subject users may not know much about.”

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 2:32 AM

Evaluating five years of pro-Western covert influence operations (TAKEDOWN)

“The U.S. network — linked to individuals associated with the U.S. military — operated across many internet services and focused on Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.”

“authoritative guidance” for planning Defence Force operations aimed at “undermining the adversary’s ability to develop, disseminate and execute sound decisions”

Other operations by nation states:

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 2:34 AM

An underlying motivation for researchers is to explore and, where possible, disentangle “human and algorithmic choice” on the internet.

“Massive volumes of data and content continue to exponentially expand across the internet, and the ability to examine the negative impacts of tech on society has not kept pace.” – Stanford Internet Observatory

“For mis- and disinformation, it is all but impossible to place them into neat, mutually exclusive categories. Requiring platforms to disclose the prevalence of such material on their platform might seem attractive until you attempt to define exactly what such material entails.”

What Do We Mean When We Talk About Transparency?

“In one instance, a TikTok user posted a video claiming that she had been sent a ballot from the state of Washington, even though she is not a citizen and therefore cannot vote. Upon closer inspection, it is hard to tell if the envelope in her hand is for a ballot or a voter registration form, which, in the lead up to the election, confused other non-eligible voters and was taken as a sign that the election was rigged. Whether or not she is genuinely mistaken about the mail in her hand determines which category of content the video belongs in— whether it is misinformation, true information, or, if she is intentionally trying to deceive people, disinformation. Which bucket should it belong in?”

Winter November 24, 2022 2:53 AM

Counter-effective cyber-crime:

European Parliament Putin things back together after cyber attack
DDoS started not long after Russia was declared a state sponsor of terrorism

A pro-Russian group called KILLNET appears to have claimed responsibility for the attack in this slightly NSFW Telegram post.

KILLNET is a plausible source of the attack. It is known to have used DDoS attacks on government websites – including trying to take out US government sites earlier this month.

I am mystified by the rationale behind such attacks. The economy of Russia is about the size of that of Italy. It’s army is currently trounced by a third world country a quarter it’s size. Russia is now doing senseless acts of vandalism against a political entity with ten times the economy and 4 times the population on which it is highly dependent for its economic survival.

What benefits do the Kremlin expect from such vandalism?

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 3:49 AM


The main purpose would be to try and assert pressure on the European parliament in preparation for any refugees forced to move by their attacks on civilian infrastructure.

On June 2nd, the group created a new division called ‘Sparta’. The responsibility of the new division includes ‘cyber sabotage’, disruption of Internet resources, data theft and financial intelligence focused on NATO, their members and allies. Notably, “Sparta” outlines this activity as a key priority today and confirms the newly created division is an official part of ‘Killnet Collective’ group.

“Among the complaints lodged by CIA officers over the past year is that the agency task force isn’t doing enough to run down legitimate leads that might expose who or what is causing these strange episodes.”

In the 1970s, Prof Lin set to work conducting his experiments at the University of Washington.  He sat on a wooden chair in a small room lined with absorbent materials, an antenna aimed at the back of his head. In his hand he held a light switch. Outside, a colleague sent pulses of microwaves through the antenna at random intervals. If Prof Lin heard a sound, he pressed the switch.  

A single pulse sounded like a zip or a clicking finger. A series of pulses like a bird chirping. They were produced in his head rather than as sound waves coming from outside. Prof Lin believed the energy was absorbed by the soft brain tissue and converted to a pressure wave moving inside the head, which was interpreted by the brain as sound. This occurred when high-power microwaves were delivered as pulses rather than in the low-power continuous form you get from a modern microwave oven or other devices.

Millimeter-wave interactions with the human body: state of knowledge and recent advances
Received 30 October 2010; Revised 17 January 2011

Review 2022 Aug

Non-ionizing Radiation

Instead of producing charged ions when passing through matter, non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation has sufficient energy only for excitation (the movement of an electron to a higher energy state). Exposure to intense, direct amounts of non-ionizing radiation may result in damage to tissue due to heat.

“Skin is the only organ of the human body, besides the eyes, that will be directly exposed to the mm-waves of the 5G technology.”

“Finally, so long as exposures remain below established guidelines, the research results to date do not support a determination that adverse health effects are associated with RF exposures, including those from 5G systems.”

Clive Robinson November 24, 2022 3:53 AM

@ Winter,

“What benefits do the Kremlin expect from such vandalism?”

To try and “save face” for the worlds most corupt politician and likewise crook “Putin”

All sorts of stupidity are attributable to vanity and worse narcissism.

Especially in a highly authoritarian hierarchy. Where telling the “self appointed” person in charge “to grow up” or similar can have life ending consequences not just for the opinion utterer but their family, loved ones, friends, colleagues or anyone within blast radius.

The act of “throwing the toys out of the pram” is never pretty, and always self harming, yet people do it more frequently than you would expect.

Winter November 24, 2022 4:45 AM


The main purpose would be to try and assert pressure on the European parliament in preparation for any refugees forced to move by their attacks on civilian infrastructure.

But any future compromise would now look like giving in to vandalism. Not something politicians are likely to want associated with.

It is quite clear that Russia et al. weaponize refugees. The willingness to take in millions of Ukrainian refugees must have stupefied the Kremlin. But if you first do not succeed, try again, and again, and again.


To try and “save face” for the worlds most corupt politician and likewise crook “Putin”

Ie, it is for Russian national consumption. Showing Russia as powerful.

That might very well be a reason. It also aligns with pure revenge.

Clive Robinson November 24, 2022 7:35 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : Melon Husk “we’ll beat Signal”.

As you probably have nothing to do for the next day or two 😉

I’ve found a little “food for thought” rather than “food to feed the spare tyre” as you “Couch Slouch” or similar…

As you know “Hell on Rusk” has been sniffing something and decreed that the Twits shall have E2EE DM so as to whip Signal’s h’assp or some such.

Now as we know “Hell on” will swallow just about any techno babble right now as long as it sounds “proactive to shareholders”…

What’s the odds it’s even remotely going to be secure?

Lets just say “I’m not going to risk it on a biscuit” especially if it’s a baby Rusk getting hurled from the pram.

It would appear I’m not the only one,

Ted November 24, 2022 8:14 PM


Infosec.Exchange going from “180 to 31,000 users in the last three weeks” is remarkable. It seems like there are significant updates made and considered every day.

Here Jerry says CISA will be setting up accounts on the instance, but is early in the process:

Here, as you may have seen, Jerry introduces an Alice server and a Bob server to be used for testing and research.

It looks like Alex Stamos has set up a Mastodon testing server too.

Lots of updates on moderation and federation. Lots of communication about issues big and small. I’m so glad you are taking an active interest in matters affecting the community. Your perspective and contributions are insightful and valuable 😊👍

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 8:30 PM


“People are increasingly outraged by reports of the extravagant lifestyles of government officials, executives of state-owned corporations, and members of the president’s inner circle. …Putin increasingly receives his share of criticism and is treated on the same level as other government officials.”

@Clive Robinson

“Come and use our incredible product. We guarantee your messages will be secure.”

Europol was able to identify additional users of the iSpoof service, a number of which were already known for their involvement in other high-profile cybercrime investigations at the European level. 142 suspects have been arrested, including the main administrator of the website.

Operation Phobetor

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 8:58 PM

Scott Morrison’s secret self-appointment to several ministries was “corrosive” to trust in government, former High Court justice Virginia Bell’s inquiry has found.

The inquiry into former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret portfolio scandal has described his actions as “troubling”, “unnecessary” and “difficult to reconcile”.

The Bell Inquiry has recommended new laws that would require public notice of the appointment of ministers to an office, including temporary appointments, and departments to publish lists of ministers appointed to administer them.

“Neither the people nor the parliament can hold a minister accountable for the exercise (or, just as importantly, for the non-exercise) of particular statutory powers if they are not aware that the minister has those powers. Nor can they hold the correct ministers accountable for any other actions, or inactions, of departments.”

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 9:44 PM

Learning from machines to close the gap between funding and expenditure in the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme

“NOT to use the L word!!”

Mr Robert had also been the minister for the NDIS.

Disrupting Reinsurance Portfolio Optimization: Machine Learning Is the New Normal for Portfolio Optimization


…there might be a few other backbenchers on the Coalition side sweating about what might emerge regarding their own efforts to connect big firms, often run by mates, with decision-makers.

Clarification: A “Scott Morrison” is now a colloquial term given to someone who avoids taking responsibility for a lewd act performed in public.

ResearcherZero November 24, 2022 10:37 PM

“‘Technocracy’—Ways and Means to Game Industrial Democracy”

Cole argues that technocracy excludes citizens from policy-making processes while advantaging elites. He also argues that the value of expertise is overestimated in technocratic systems, and points to an alternative concept of “smart democracy” which enlists the knowledge of ordinary citizens.

Epistocracy: the rule of the knowers.

A masterclass in hollow promises to do better.

Among Facebook’s myriad algorithmically induced advertising categories was an entry for users whom the platform’s data mining systems believed might be interested in treason against their government. The label had been applied to more than 65,000 Russian citizens, placing them at grave risk should their government discover the label.

Similarly, the platform’s algorithms silently observe its two billion users’ actions and words, estimating which users it believes may be homosexual and quietly placing a label on their account recording that estimate. What happens when governments begin using these labels to surveil, harass, detain and even execute their citizens based on the labels produced by an American company’s black box algorithms?

Zuckerberg runs a media company that distributes news, but doesn’t have a proper newsroom.

A bigger stick might be needed.

“If big tech companies are going to turn their back on U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.”

In Heaven His throne is made of gold
The ark of his Testament is stowed
A throne from which I’m told
All history does unfold
Down here it’s made of wood and wire
And my body is on fire
And God is never far away

SpaceLifeForm November 24, 2022 11:25 PM

@ Clive, Ted, EvilKiru

Re : Melon Husk “we’ll beat Signal”.

[stripping stuff – BHMT monster]

My read is that Elmo is in HODL mode.

He is trying to come up with reasons for people to not leave Twitter and move to Mastodon.

The DM issue does not really exist that much on Mastodon because most are quite aware that it is not encrypted, and also because the UX is still young.

This is from a user that I do not follow, but I saw it because hacks4pancakes boosted it, and as I follow her, I saw the post. Pretty spot on I would say.


OH: “Nobody has spent more on a dead bird this Thanksgiving than Elon Musk.”

Ted, thank you for the kind words. We do what we can do, and soldier on.

I have only built up my list of follows to just over a dozen. There are plenty more to add to my list. Some have not completely migrated yet, but they have set up an account.

As the UX improves, more will migrate. As you noticed, I am paying attention to UX issues.

BTW, you only need an email, no phone number required.

My follow list will expand. I hope the server can handle the load. 😉

SpaceLifeForm November 24, 2022 11:36 PM

@ Ted, Clive, EvilKiru

Re: Twitter implosion

Mass exodus starts now. Elmo is compromised.


Twitter CEO Elon Musk has decided to offer “general amnesty” to suspended accounts starting next week — a gentler way of saying that he’s decided to welcome back some of the site’s worst and most toxic people.

Clive Robinson November 24, 2022 11:39 PM

@ ResearcherZero,

“Clarification: A “Scott Morrison” is now a colloquial term given to someone who avoids taking responsibility for a lewd act performed in public.”

How long before that becomes both shortened and more juvenile?

Say as,

“a Spotty Morry”

Or similar…

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 12:06 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re : Is Mastadon a Russian Plan?

With regards,

“The DM issue does not really exist that much on Mastodon because most are quite aware that it is not encrypted, and also because the UX is still young.”

You and I are aware of that but…

There is a story being developed about Mastodon being a Russian destabilising weapon.

As you probably know it’s been said that the majority of the code is from a Russian programer with the implication they are “under the thumb” of “Putin’s little helpers”.

For instance[1] under the title,

Who is Eugen Rochko, Mastodon’s owner?

We get,

“Rochko, a Russian-born German software developer, first began working on the site in 2016 and it has enjoyed a huge flood of new users in recent weeks.”

They go on to note he’s received some EU funding money and is funded through Patreon and OpenCollective contributions.

But appart from these two points they do not answer their own “click bait” style title.


ResearcherZero November 25, 2022 1:46 AM

“a Spotty Morry”

I think that could catch on.

The majority of federal judges in white-collar cases “frequently sentence well below the fraud guideline”

“C’mon. Fair cop mate. He was just droppin’ a “Spotty Morry”. Three years seems a little harsh!”

Kerviel had learned how to hack SocGen’s risk surveillance system and was only doing one half of the arbitrage trade. Lost US$7.2 billion

Annual losses from the preceding white-collar crimes are estimated at $426 billion to $1.7 trillion.

Until the definition of “legal” is no longer controlled by the people or organizations with the deepest pockets, it’s unlikely that real change will come about.

More than half of white-collar criminals are between 41 and 60. They are nearly all men.

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 5:39 AM

@ ResearcherZero,

Re : White collar crime.

“More than half of white-collar criminals are between 41 and 60. They are nearly all men.”

That is only of the ones caught, and prosecuted, which is but a very small fraction.

Whilst I would like to say that means that the female criminals are better at it[1]. I suspect that they don’t appear as such is due to the mental deficiences of the males in top positions operating ego/id driven glass ceilings.

If you look a little further into those figures you will find that most have one or more of the mental deficiencies of narcissism, sadism, psychopath and even Machiavellisum. Though if the latter is “strong in their wheelhouse” then they are least likely to be caught or be prosecuted. Because they will work through others who’s strong suits will be one of the first two, and as a result will be easy to setup as “fall guys”/”scapegoats” for the crimes by those with the Machiavellian strong suit.

It’s a subject area we don’t yet know as much as we need to about, and these life long mental deficiencies where tested have been found in the top of hierarchies of all forms. Especially in the likes of business and politics.

[1] It’s been found that women who get into general crime such as house breaking and other forms of theft are generally much less likely to be caught. They plan better and they usually have less tendency to “flap their gums” and tend not to wreak the place they steal from as some stupid ego/id driven power trip.

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 8:18 AM

@ Bruce, Usuall suspects, ALL,

UK Gov call for ban on Chinese CCTV equipment.

This is an odd and developing story, which journalists are,starting to sniff around.

In essence the majority of non domestic CCTV equipment is made in China by just one or two companies. Like all National Companies they are subject to their home Nations laws, legislation, regulation and other Governmental demands (such is Governmental abuse of power).

It should be noted that whilst this story appears to cover “complete items” such as cameras, they are actually sold as “components” of larger system.

If the same logic was applied uniformally there would be no input of physical tech-goods as they all contain one or more components manufactured in China or using materials sourced in China (think rare earth minerals in Displays, DC motors, and much more).

As described in the artical and elsewhere, the ban is not for any publically known “security issues” and the companies claim that there can not be for various reasonable technical assumptions.

But because the companies sell product to the Chinese State, who then use them for what some UK politicians consider “Human Rights Abuse”. In effect making an eronious if not specious argument that the companies arr,

1, Complicit in the Chinese Government use.
2, That the companies have any choice.
3, That penalising the companies will stop the alledged abuse.

And from there,

4, The companies are spys.
5, They will become spys.

But asside from the ludicrous nature of these arguments is the assumption that,

6, The UK Government is any better.
7, There is an alternative supply of components and systems.

As you will appreciate without smoke let alone a gun or fire any argument can be made for what is a “made decision” the reasons for which are not publically known.

One thing however is certain is that it will almost certainly have more economic and socio-economic impact on the UK that it will on China.

The US found out the hard way that starting “trade-wars” is a “fools errand” and almost immediately “back-fires”.

I would not rule out the fact that what is happening at the eastern edge of Europe and that China is seen as “Russia’s Allay” is involved with this. It’s thr sort of “impotent idiocy” many politicians in the western hemisphere indulge in, despite the probable concequences. Lets be honest, in this respect “Barn Doors” should have been bolted years ago, not just pushed closed with the sole intent the public could not see the political horse trading going on behind them…

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 8:34 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, MarkH, SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

This article from nature may well cause a raised pair of eyebrows,

However it is very much inline with other epigenetic research.

Now consider the question I raised back in 2020 about changes in the human genome due to C19.

Also consider the epigenetic effects of those conceived by parents suffering long-C. The effects of which are akin to significant socio-economic hardship / privation and if many Western Governments have there way will be made significantly worse…

Winter November 25, 2022 9:02 AM


However it is very much inline with other epigenetic research.

This is in line with the research of the long term effects of gestation during the Dutch Hunger Winter (1944–45):


Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 9:39 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re : Twitter implosion

Crule and unusuall revenge?

You might find this of interest

It appears that “Hell-on Rusk” not being able to get revenge on those who have sensibly left, is now taking it out on those who went for loyalty.

Worse for Hell-on his “droids” are finding that other countries do not share US stupidity over labour protection. Thus there are a whole stack of legal cases starting that potentially will cost Twitter not 3months severance, but upto three years, severance equivalent… Not what the shareholders are going to want to hear… Expect remaining non Hell-on alined investors to start making their way to the exit.

Oh and it appears both Amazon and Google have been told they have to reduce “engineers benifits” by investers and are moving towards doing so.

Thus in the US expect “new hire” packages to be considerably down in the near future. With old hires getting pushed as they have no legislatory protection unlike other countries.

A word of warning for the US, the UK under Tony Blair started weakening labour protection under preasure from business leaders, whilst protections for enployees increased,in adjacent Europe.

The result was a steady decline in emoloyee ability and thus UK companies became increasingly uncompetative, unresponsive and irrelevant.

The US could do well to learn from that lesson, especially as many of those “out sourced” jobs ended up in Nations with either better labour laws (ie europe) Nations that used them against US National Security (China, Russia) or those run by those who quite happily lock employees in death traps then walk away when the inevitable happens.

lurker November 25, 2022 2:02 PM

@Clive Robinson, re spy cameras

As usual I question: if this stuff is not going to come from China, then where else?

If you’re worried about somebody in Chengdu watching your cameras, why on earth are they connected to the internet?

How long will it take those countries who have outsourced all their skills to realise that they might never be able to reclaim them?

lurker November 25, 2022 2:13 PM

@Clive Robinson, re spy cameras, and
somewhat related your post last week on the squid low cost microscopes,

It used to be that precision optics and mechanics came from Germany at astronomical prices. Japan’s post 1945 imitative rebuilding increased the supply without much reducing quality or price. Now China has “met the market”. The BOM for that Squid microscope shows how much. Parts come from “US” companies to satisfy govt funding requirements, but the manufacturing is done in China. It’s interesting how their old habit of throwing manpower at production, because they had plenty of that, cheap, has been replaced by the use of robotics which give much higher consistent quality.

MarkH November 25, 2022 2:48 PM


The Nature article is both interesting and disturbing.

“subjecting people to harmful events such as famines … would be unethical”

That message never reached the Kremlin

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 4:29 PM

@ lurker,

“As usual I question: if this stuff is not going to come from China, then where else?”

At one point we had the “BRICs” of Brazil, Russia, India, China.

The first two due to corrupt political behaviours have effectively tried committing economic suicide, and are now in effect on the gurny in Accident&Emergancy awaiting treatment.

India is actually fighting nuke powere enemies on both sides, and worse internally they have religion creating mayhem. Whilst they appear to have a functioning economy, much of it is very polarized and run in ways that shock us in the West, when we get to find out about workers being locked in their places of employment that are little more than derelict buildings. Yes there is money in India but it’s either in the hands of very very few or passed amoungst the corrupt. Even the higher education system is based on coruption where getting any kind of qualification means paying corupt journals and conferences amoungst others.

China has it’s economic struggles, in the West we accuse them of many human rights abuses, and whilst there is certainly such happening the same being done by Western Corps with the knowledge of Western Politicians is happening in Africa and South America, to keep Western Nation economics going.

The sad thing is the more we find out the more disillusioned we become at how the bestial behaviour of maybe 10% of a population seizes wealth, to get power, to get control, and so in some cases status.

In short the barbarity of the feudal system where the “Three estates of man” are used to effectively destroy human progress. Where the 10% would rather lead very short and brutal lives as “Kings, Bishops, Barons and lords” to have “status” over all others to do with what they wish via authoritarian following guard labour… The dropping life expectency in thr US for all but the top 5% tells you where this is all going.

There is a saying about three sign posts to disaster. The first is felt by very few and only is obvious with hind sight. The second can be seen by the few who look but the majority chose not to see. The third is to obvious to all, yet even then too many do not want to see it directly infront of them.

Well as far as Western economics is concerned we’ve past the second post. As for Western politics I think it’s safe to say the third post has been past. Which unfortunately brings up Western Religion, which is rapidly becoming the new “oppressor of the masses moving forward”. It’s safe to say they nolonger feel they are like satanists having to hide their bestial behaviours in the dark, so I guess we are entering the second signpost period with them as they gather their authoritarian followers to build their own oppressive guard labours.

I’m hopefull that both the Long-C and East of Europe issues will start to open more eyes and make those who believe in egalitarian society more alert to how it is being taken away, thus possibly slow or stop it for a while. Because we realy do bot need another couple of world wars to address the balance, they are too destructive, and now battlefields are nolonger “Some distant corner” they are the cities and centers of society, where what was once called “ethnic cleansing” is most easy to carry out. The aim Convert, or kill “the women and children” into a slave or serf “vasal” status and kill the males to destroy the unwanted blood lines. Just as stock breeders have done with livestock for hundreds of years. Remember there is something very real to fear in the mantra of “The lord is my sheppard”, it’s a form of cultist brainwashing.

SpaceLifeForm November 25, 2022 7:29 PM

@ Ted, Clive

Re: Twitter implosion

As the exodus continues

This is recent, but obviously behind.

It is going to get slower. Users must be patient. Hence why I am looking at UX and performance issues.

This account name is interesting but I suspect the stats are legit.


7,601,724 accounts
+2,635 in the last hour
+57,784 in the last day
+495,181 in the last week

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 8:50 PM

@ MarkH, JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

Re : Nutrients from anywhere.

“That message never reached the Kremlin”

Oh it very much did, but the questions of “When?” and “What they did?” about it and “What effect it has?” on their more recent thinking are shall we say very relevant.

Due to both stupidity, coruption, and fear, on several occasions the so called “CCCP” carried on the traditions of earlier Russian regimes and starved parts of the populous to extinction with whole villages and towns dyeing out.

Part of that on many occasions were people –usually male– aquiring the flesh of others to consume. It did not matter if the victims were dead or alive. Worse some openly sold body parts as “meat” even though easily recognisable as human body parts.

I won’t provide links as I have in the past because the graphic descriptions and photographs understandably upset people, and they can be “auto-loaded”.

Sufficie it to say searching for “peasant cannibalism russia” even in DuckDuck will bring up links to the 1900’s, 1920’s and 1930’s politically driven famines that killed tens of millions.

As to the view point in the Kremlin that was expressed by Lenin’s,

“Let the peasents stave”

And Stalin’s alledged

“One death is a tragady, millions is a statistic”

Is most probably a misquote of Stalin quoting, German satirist, pacifist and well known at the time Journalist Kurt Tucholsky.

As the current Russian leader is clearly a fan of both the “Russian Empire” and later “Stalin etc” I would find it extreamly unlikely that he is unaware of these historic politically planed and carried out events and their consequences. Or that he has not quite deliberately, and with both contempt and “malice aforethought” built it into his policy to have his name remembered for centuries.

Remember he has frequently shown this attitude with “turning off tha petrochem tap” for political reasons in winter etc with several nations. Also actively attacking food and energy distribution in several nations including the UK and US.

A thought to remember, even though there is the saying,

“Every dog is alowed one bite”

The actual policy in most places is the first byte indicates a rabid or mad dog and that it should be “put down immediately”.

Clive Robinson November 25, 2022 10:26 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : As the exodus continues

Asside from the fact I was never a “twit”, I won’t be joining the herd, or for that matter following them.

For some reason I can not be bothered to invest time in to find out why, all Mastodon links fail on this phone.

If cookies and JavaScript are off you get the logo.

With javascript on you just get a black screen. Same with JS on and cookies on.

I know Mastodon had a reputation for having been poorly written in the past, but failing that way means it’s not even close to “prime time” ready.

As I’m not into either alpha or beta testing code that is that badly written, I’ll say why it’s stupid and leave it at that

First and foremost there is a very valid reason for the,

“Principle of least surprise”

In that “bug reports” of,

“Just gives black screen”

Is not helpfull to anyone, in fact they are a waste of developers time, as well as the users.

As has been so often pointed out,

“Effective communications is a two way street”

Anyone who builds zero error feedback into their product is a waste of their own time, let alone anyone elses. Worse if they can not understand that, then there is realy no reason to use their products.

Secondly and importantly such code is also illegal in the EU and other places under “Disability Discrimination Legislation”…

The thing is the DDL is not so much about development, but operating. Thus every one who has set up such a dire Mastodon instance is technically in breach of the DDL and thus open to fines and other sanctions.

So not a good start…

Winter November 26, 2022 7:22 AM

@Clive et al.

As to the view point in the Kremlin that was expressed by Lenin’s,
“Let the peasents stave”

I do not ascribe to any historical determinism, but, sometimes, history illustrates later developments more clearly than anything else.

In the 13th century, Moscow was part of a Mongolian/Turkish Khanate, the Golden Horse [1]. They ruled the region for some 3 centuries. The Slave people were not more than, what better word, slaves. They were literally owned by the ruling Mongolian and Turkish rulers.

The rules of the Czars and their modern heirs followed the Mongolian example quite faithfully.

When thinking about the Kremlin, think one of its predecessors: Tamerlan [2]. Tamerlan might have inspired Stalin and indirectly Putin, but Stalin did not reach his level in sheer destruction and death.

[1] ‘


Clive Robinson November 26, 2022 8:44 AM

@ Winter,

Re : Future Prediction.

“I do not ascribe to any historical determinism”

A wise choice, as otherwise it can only mean the universe is “preordained by a deity” or similar. Worse still there would be no freewill therefor logically “no criminals”.

However in the UK we have an expression of,

“The apple does not fall far from the tree”

Indicating that there is a nurture aspect to hereditary behaviours. It turns out that not only is there a “Like Father like son” relationship in mentality, there is also epigenetics from life style as well.

It’s not hard to see how “nurture” and “life style” can be social at the National or even continental level simply by those who control “education” from the earliest ages.

However humans do have both “free will” and “agency” within limits, so they can chose not just which side of the path they walk in lifes journy, but even though harder which path as well.

Putin’s behaviour is by his own choice as was Stalin’s,and Lenin’s. Historians claim they were all the product of their environment. Whilst there is some truth in this. The old saying of,

“Where there’s muck there’s Brass”

Does have a double meaning,

1, Where good is, so also is bad.
2, Bad can be turned into good.

Much though it might appear on the macro scale, the future is not determined. Like Brownian Motion we can make statistical projections of large groups of particles but not individual particles.

Also no matter how likely or unlikely an event may appear, probability says that all outcomes are equally as possible for individual particles. The path of individual balls through a Galton board/box[1] is within reason unpredictable. However on mass the balls usually “regress,to the mediocre”. But only as an approximation, the perfect “normal” or “bell” curve, is as a unique a state, as is it’s inverse. Therefore both can and do very occasionaly happen[2].

[1] Invented by Sir Francis Galton back in the late 1800’s to show that regression to the mean is the most probable given a sufficiently large population size,

Importantly though, every so often the likely does not happen. Science as we understand it requires this to be so.

[2] The likelyhood of the “spread of the balls” is actually not at all as random or as great as it might at first appear. It can be shown to correlate with the energy of the balls caused by the force of gravity acting upon them and the angle at which they strike a pin/nail. Whilst the “entropy” potential appears high, the reality shown by the resulting near bell curve shows the entropy is actually quite small and the spread “chaotic” not “random”.

Winter November 26, 2022 10:29 AM


However humans do have both “free will” and “agency” within limits,

Humans can chose from the paths they encounter. However, the paths you encounter depend totally on where you are born. Being born in NW Europe, I could generally trust my neighbors and the representatives of the state. If I had been born in Russia, that would not have been prudent of me, to say the least.

A general strong distrust and unreliability is one of these dark Nash equilibriums that destine people to living in poverty [1]. If Ukraine survives the war, the “binding” of the fight for freedom could make it possible for them to switch to a high(er) trust Nash equilibrium.

[1] Ever wondered why small Switzerland hosts more multinationals per Capita than any other country? Read Trust: The Social Virtue and the Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama

Clive Robinson November 26, 2022 1:09 PM

@ Winter,

Re : Oppresion and Power.

I suspect you are going to know what I’m going to say with regards,

“A general strong distrust and unreliability is one of these dark Nash equilibriums that destine people to living in poverty “

Strong distrust drives to a zero sum game or worse fairly quickly, and a certain economic minima results in a locked in effect.

It’s not just “lost opportunity cost” but the cost of defending against the fear of the unknown. The result is at best economic stagnation at worst a strike out of fear that becomes global warfare.

A Nash equilibrium is a form of locked in effect where the options of all the players whilst not set in stone are interlocked such that the change in option by just any one player will result in a worse condition for that player.

That is more than one player has to take action effectively simultaniously to break the lock.

If they don’t then the clock counts down untill atleast one player reaches the “death throw” where they decide the only way out is by what is in effect a gamble on a suicide move.

“Give me death or give me victory”

Ordinarily is the wish / hope of an idiot as the former is more likely than the latter. Knowing this they go to the

“I’m taking you with me”

Stratagem that “Mutualy Assured Destruction”(MAD) is based on and wierdly forms a Nash equilibrium of it’s own.

There is in reality only one way out of a Nash equilibrium, and that’s by realising that any situation is not a single game but multiple games in parallel. You give ground on one game so that another player gains. They in turn give ground on a different game so you gain. If the games chosen cause each play less loss than they gain from the other then the lock is broken. If done in a round robin fashion then all the players can “trade” their way out.

The major trouble though, is that by the time the Dark Nash equilibrium has been reached, the players are in “Bunker mentality mode” and there is the very real danger that any advantage one player gives to another will be used to “Dig-in” rather than “Dig-out”.

Few realise it but Europe was entering a Nash equilibrium in the late 1800’s by 1900 the die had been cast and the tensions arose steadily to the “Flash Point” that turned an uneasy truce by treaty into “The Great War” the cessation of hostilities did not remove the lock in fact it made it worse. So the tensions arose again and we entered another World War.

Eventually someone a little smart than the average “toilet seat thick” politician realised the only way to break the lock was by “trade”.

Unfoetunately we still have the “thicker than a toilet seat” politicians with dreams of status and grandure, and that ALLWAYS creates a Nash equilibrium, it’s unavoidable…

Winter November 26, 2022 1:25 PM

Re: Dark Nash equilibriums

That does not only hold between states, but also within communities. In low trust societies, everyone expects everyone else to rob you if they can. So most will actually be willing to return the favor. Everyone is expected to be corrupt, so most people are indeed corrupt.

Such a Nash equilibrium can only change if most people change together, accepting each other’s fears and rights. Wars and national disasters can cause such a shift.

lurker November 26, 2022 1:37 PM

@Clive Robinson

You give ground on one game so that another player gains. They in turn …


Such a Nash equilibrium can only change if most people change together, accepting each other’s fears and rights.

Problem: when will social ethics be strong enough to overcome evolutionary selfish greed?

Clive Robinson November 26, 2022 4:02 PM

@ lurker,

Re : Oppresion and Power.

“Problem: when will social ethics be strong enough to overcome evolutionary selfish greed?”

If only it were greed.

In an environment rich in resources greed in the general sense has few advantages. Because the work involved with securing resources against others far outweighs the advantages.

That is what is the advantage in building a fence around an apple tree when there are more apple trees in the immediate vicinity than there are people?

What however will always cause issues is “mates” no matter what the level of other resources. It’s been pointed out that one of the advantages of warfare is in the traditional form it removes some of the competition for mates. However that nolonger applies, in the modern form of warefare it removes entire bloodlines or ethnic societies / religions etc…

However even when in other abundance, there will always be resources that whilst not scarce, can be controled fairly easily.

So whilst it may not be advantageous to put a fence up around an apple tree, puting up a fence and a dam around a water source may well be.

This is not about “mating privileges” or “survival” it’s about “status” from “control” derived from the power and most importantly the desire to oppress others. This takes us into the relms of the dark tetrad of psychology.

The dark tetrad comprises the mental deficiencies that exhibit as the personality traits of Narcissism, Sadism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. In that overlapping order. That is someone with Primary Narcissim will have associated traits of Sadism and the direct form of Psychopathy we traditionaly call psychopaths rather than sociopaths. Such people, often are not particularly inteligent, and whilst overtly vain are also overtly “think with their fists” types. Primary Machiavellianism has only been recognised as one of the dark deficiences fairly recently. They are not as such interested in overt status they are aware of the risks, whilst often overtly charming they are higher functioning in inteligence, and will have significant psychopathic traits that used to be called sociopathic[1].

It is assumed currently that these mental deficiencies are incurable.

Thus there are only two solutions to them,

1, Remove them from society.
2, Prevent them from breeding.

Both have been tried in the past and neither actually achieves very much.

Arguably whilst the Narcissistic end of the spectrum has little actual worth socially, the Machiavellian end of the spectrum has value, in that the traits are found in those at the tops of hierarchies.

The work of the psychologist Robert Hare, who created what is known as the “Psychopathy Checklist”(PCL-R) is worth looking at. However to paraphrase it, his take is Psychopathy involves no sense of morality or empathy and is almost always planed rather than spontaneous, thus things like violence has been committed to long prior to signs of it becoming visable to others. Whilst his view on people with Sociopathy, is they will often justify actions they recognize as “wrong” as they do have a conscience thus sense of right and wrong, and underlying morality. However, that sense of morality, does not line up with the norms and mores of the majority culturaly or socialy.

Thus they will see not status or wealth as benifits but the ability to control others, almost as though they are Chess Pieces. When they can not get the control they desire by charm and easy persuasion they will try oppression instead.

I think you are probbably aware of this from obsetvations being made about the “implosion” that is currently going on in the US with one of the social networking Corps.

The viewpoint of some with regards to people of this caliber is,

“They get things done, but ‘You have to take the rough with the smooth'”

For various historic reasons I disagree. We’ve had thousands of years of “Water Wars” and we know ehy they happen and why they never end well for anyone. The US has an East West divide and the East is acively fostering water wars and oppression. More recently we have “Energy Wars” that are going critical yet again. But worse we now have one man who has very oppressive control of a nation, seeking to start “Food Wars” by engendering starvation around the globe.

I would say there is “no smooth” to be taken, it’s raw naked oppression for oppressions sake. In this case removing the individual and most of those at the top of the hierarchy he controls should be of a very high priority, before the cost of not doing so becomes not just millions of lives put at risk but billions.

[1] The term psychopatic has been around since the 1930’s and was used to refere to often violent criminals with no morals with regards right or wrong. Sociopathy came in later when it was realised that there were people with a recognition of right and wrong but it did not align with society. Thus there are things that they would do that they regarded as right but society regardrd as wrong and the other way around. Often inteligent and articulate they could apparently rationaly not just explain their position but talk others into going along with it. The two lables have not realy been used proffessionaly since the 1980’s. Because it is recognised that the two are actually different presentations of “Anti-Social Personality Disorder”(ASPD). With sociopathy associatrd by FMRI with incrrased functionality in certain parts of the brain.

are nolonger

Clive Robinson November 26, 2022 5:00 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Like you I would be more than happy to hear,

“from Bruce that reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated.”

However untill we get a further verifiable update I will work on the “attribution is hard” principle.

Speaking of which,

@ ALL,

How “Open Source Intel”(OSInt) can work,

You might remember the actual photo from a link from a thread @Bruce posted not so long ago,

SpaceLifeForm November 26, 2022 6:01 PM

@ Clive


And you previously had dissed Bellingcat.

Or, am I misremembering? Be honest.

Don’t make me search.

Clive Robinson November 26, 2022 6:39 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : Detecting fakes

“And you previously had dissed Bellingcat.”

It depends on what you mean by “dissing”. I’ve previously caught out Bellingcat making claims that were obviously not true or suspect.

One of which was the wall of photographs from a Russian Officers club. Where every photograph but one had the people in uniform, but the one claimed as primary evidence was not…

Other things about the image sugested “cut-n-paste” was probably used but the only available copies were of too lower resolution.

I suspect you remember this particular incident as it involved an incident that occured backing onto Sailsbury Cathedral, where I’d just recently been with my son.

There have been other incidents back then and before. After that I stopped taking much note of them.

However a quick glance through what they have done here does show the OSInt method…

But then, you and I think it was @-, did a nice number on locating not just the address and bus stop, but a confirming video from a relator that showed the kitchen where the two drunken Trump election challenge lawyers were photographed doubly confirming that one of them owned and lived there…

But neither of you went into the details… I think @- said everything came up on the first screen of a DuckDuck or Google search. It was oh more than a couple of years ago now.

SpaceLifeForm November 26, 2022 7:14 PM

@ Clive

Re : Detecting fakes

I think they have learned a lot over the years, and have learned to correlate intel from multiple sources.

Fake photos are easy. But when they can be correlated with SATINT, that gives photos more weight.

Especially if there is EXIF in the photo that also correlates.

Nick Levinson November 26, 2022 7:31 PM

The top person affects security.

As Elon Musk runs three fairly high-tech companies, which likely applies?

— He’s badly running Twitter and so he’s likely badly running SpaceX and Tesla, with potentially disastrous prospects.

— He’s running SpaceX and Tesla well and so he’s likely running Twitter well, other than his editorial judgment and his (non)anticipation of advertisers’ response, issues not much relevant to the other two companies, so his technical oversight is dramatic but maybe not so bad.

— He’s wildly inconsistent. He might try to fix this by moving resources from SpaceX and/or Tesla into Twitter. Investors, I think, tend to dislike wild inconsistency and tend to pull their money out. I don’t know if Musk has investors with him on Twitter even if he’s sole owner, but they might want recourse.


SpaceLifeForm November 26, 2022 7:44 PM

@ Ted, EvilKiru, JonKnowsNothing

re: Twitter implosion exodus

I apparently have a troll already on Mastodon.

I have unknown followers.

On #birdsite, @emptywheel has locked her account. She has over 300K followers.

She does not want to deal with the kraken trolls that Elmo has released.

Twitter is going to turn into a cesspool of right-wing fascists shouting at each ofher wondering where are the libs to own.

Mark my words.

Clive Robinson November 26, 2022 8:38 PM

@ Nick Levinson, SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Re : Implosion Central.

According to various press articlrs Hell-on Rusk, has the “managment” of something like a hundred companies with the three biggies we all know and around ten large like the Boaring Company, Nurelink, etc and the rest well nobodies realy said. Apparently that he turns upto board meetings for from time to time, and rattles the chaons and gets what I understand is “high pressure updates”.

On effect he manages the direction of yhe managers who manage the managers.

We know at SpaceX and Tessla he has created “engineering” and similar teams that are in effect self managing.

Apparently from what alleged employees have said the way it works is targets are agreed and reports submited and if you meet the targets then all well and good. Importantly though “Don’t hide issues”. Issues are to be expected, it’s what you do with them that counts.

I’ve worked in similar engineering environments and even being on more than first name terms with directors the managment touches were lighter than a humingbirds feather. I got more grief from the girl in accounts, but that was only because I was late on a second date.

I’ve also worked in software development that is not embedded system, and oh boy, how some of you folks don’t “go postal” I don’t know. Lets just say having played rugby I know what a real scrum is and I can assure you it’s not the abusive nonsense some software leads think is obligatory to hand out every morning.

Thus I have a feeling that Twitter is not just a “culture shock” for Hell-on, but also the team leads he brought in from his other to main companies.

The simple fact is Twitter has a culture of “hiding the truth” because senior managment did not want to know, so they could not be accused of breaking the law. They were after all chasing “stock price” not sustainable business as they “pumped and dumped”.

You can virtually guarantee that the size of the Tsunami of technical debt that has been building at a rate unfathomable to most, is probably now well beyond recoverable even with double the number of technical staff they had.

I suspect every where Hell-on looks, he is finding so much hidden away he’s now “punch drunk” beyond the point of incapacity.

You can also pretty much guarantee that certain other Social Media Corps likewise have a Tsunami of technical debt they can never clear… And now the smarter investors know and can already see ad revenue diminishing due to the global recession we are slaming into…

Well I’ll let others finish this cheary little bedtime story.

Winter November 27, 2022 3:47 AM


Problem: when will social ethics be strong enough to overcome evolutionary selfish greed?

When have ethics and morals ever improved a situation?

The only use of ethics I have ever observed is in judging others, mostly to ostracize them.

What drives people is status and fear. Greed is a symptom of fear and status-angst.

Clive Robinson November 27, 2022 6:25 AM

@ lurker,

Re : Blue hand on yer collar.

“Within hours… …material was uploaded which is illegal to possess in NZ.”

It is hard enough for newspapers with specialist legal teams to check what is legal and not legal in their own jurisdiction[1]. To be able to do it for all jurisdictions is ludicrous, but still judges and simillar behave as though they believe otherwise.

To expect people to have knowledge of what they have not, or can not be[1] told of is ludicrous. It is why a couple of hundred years ago someone once noted through a fictional character,

“The law is an ass”.

Which could indicate just how little the law actually understands logic or quite deliberately fails to update it’s self[2].

Also why “technical solutions” sould not be attempted for “social problems”.

But further in English law we have a boiling up issue of what “possession” actually means. An issue that goes back as long (look up the reasons why “common carrier” status exists).

In times past it was reasonable to assume that an individual standing there would have knowledge of what was in or not in their pockets, and to a certain extent their other possessions like baggage.

This is impossible to keep with as an assumption for the non-physical “information” world.

As I’ve been investigating just recently even an innocent “miss-key” mistake in a search queary to a major web browser “Search Engine” can result in images of questionable legality to be “pushed” onto a users computers hard drive by the search engine entirely without the users knowledge.

It is the electronic equivalent of “slipping an illicit item into a persons pocket”. Only it’s fully automated and can happen at any time, in more ways than an individual can imagine. Thus leaving them apparently guilty of a crime, they have actually not committed.

Yet who’s going to believe them? Certainly not a prommotion hungry law enforcment officer or prosecutor, or a jury where the chances are reasonable that most,

“Can not set a VCR”.

But that “not knowing” is mostly “not knowable”… How do you prove beyond reasonable doubt you do not know something? Likewise how does someone else prove you do?

Of the two the “burden of proof” is smallest for the prosecutor, not the defendent, that is the prosecutor does not have to prove guilt, but the defendant has to prove beyond any doubt reasonable or otherwise they are innocent. Which is why so many new laws are being written such that the defendant carries “the burden of proof for their innocence” which next to nobbody including the extreamly paranoid can do because it’s “proving a negative”.

The argument for this stance, is the old,

“If you give them an inch, they will steal a mile”

That some people will push the boundaries deliberately and fake innocence.

This is very clearly a “social problem” but making everyone guilty by the technical trick of “rights stripping” is not the solution to the problem. Because it will always fail to work as desired and is extreamly open to prosecutorial abuse, which in an adversarial legal system is guarenteed to happen and happen frequently, and be denied at every step of the way.

[1] In English tort law there are the Kafkaesque “super injunctions” where revealing knowledge that they exist is a breach of their injunctive requirments.

The Neuberger Committee setup to look into Super-Injunctions concluded back in 2011, that they were,

“an interim injunction which restrains a person from:

(i) publishing information which concerns the applicant and is said to be confidential or private; and
(ii) publicising or informing others of the existence of the order and the proceedings (the ‘super’ element of the order).”

Note “ii”… if the injunction is so super secret that you can not inform people of it’s existance then how are they expected to comply with it?

[2] Paradoxically this makes the judges, the legislators, and prosecutors guilty of the crime they accuse others of “willful not knowing”.

JonKnowsNothing November 27, 2022 6:59 AM

@Clive, Winter, lurker, All

re: Status, Fear, Choice, Hunger

While contemplating the higher levels of interactions, there are lower levels of interactions to consider. The beach is more than a beach, it’s made of millions of grains of sand. We might discuss beaches but forget the sand (1)

RL This Week tl;dr

At 4am I get up to stand in the food line. I arrive around 5am. It’s 35F outside. It’s cold and the food pantry doesn’t open for 4 hours. The line is growing every week. Hungry people are standing waiting for their allocation. I see more canes, more walkers, more elderly, more infirm every week. I see families with small children and families with older children. I see people, like myself, who never expected to be standing in this type of line in their entire lives. Some are solo, some are accompanied by a spouse-friend-partner.

This week, I saw an elderly woman, who had no jacket, no sweater and no teeth. She wore a knee length skirt and had bare legs with no hose. She wore worn out slippers. She was disoriented. It was 35F. At some point someone from the FP took her inside because I did not see her for a while. Later she came out of the building clutching some clothes. She had no carry bag for the clothes, which she tried to stuff into an already full purse. As she tried to put one item in the purse, the clothes fell on the ground. No one came to assist her.

I had an extra bag, so I went over to her and helped her put the nice clean clothes in the bag so she could carry them. No one offered a word of encouragement.

Later, as I was leaving, I saw the woman again, standing with the bag of clean clothes but no food. I asked her if she had gotten any food. She didn’t know or didn’t understand that there was food inside the building. I told her to go back in the line and get some food. I do not know if she did so.

A grain of sand. A grain of hunger. A grain of poor health. A grain of destitution. A grain of humanity. The specter of starvation in a city of 1,000,000.

200 people standing in 35F cold waiting 4 hours to be less hungry. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun. It’s hard to look at. It’s hard to witness. It’s hard to do every week.

Yet we are standing in line, the regulars, passing on tips of where to get a meal to the new comers as we can. Handing out a shopping bag if we able. Turning our backs when we cannot.

Each of us thankful to the people inside the building. The ones who gather the supplies and make sure that everyone in line, gets something, gets enough to carry them until the next line up. We all know, that without them, hunger will not just be an inconvenience.

You don’t have to look and you don’t have to see. The grains of sand on the beach are invisible; those grains of sand are what make the beach function.


1) USA, Pacific Coastal erosion is often caused sand mining. Millions of tons are taken from beaches and sand dunes to use in concrete, which makes up a huge amount of building material in Western USA. At some tipping-point, the amount of sand on the beach is not sufficient to keep the shore line in place. It’s a chaotic equation but at the boundaries are stable beach and coast lines vs moving or eroding ocean and land demarcation.

Clive Robinson November 27, 2022 9:47 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Hunger and cold.

The Western world certainly is heading into the sort of recession that has not been seen for nearly a century.

In some ways it was easier for people a century ago for three basic reasons,

1, The US was mainly “small community”.
2, People still had basic skills of survival as a societal norm.
3, Legislation that is now in place to stop the first two had not begun.

Thus the likes of “Hoovervilles”[1] were possible and people would not be pushed off of the bottom of the socio-economic ladder into prison (though a number of what we now call the GOP certainly tried).

The thing of note though is the several meanings of,

“Those who have the least, give the most.”

And how if alowed to it forges societies with egalitarian aims and objectives.

By and large people are actually decent to each other, it’s fear that makes them act otherwise.

What you saw in that que, by way of inaction was actually an expression of their fears of unknown outcomes. This is one of the hallmarks of a police state.

As some one remarked,

“Russia has the right of free speach, but not free of concequences”.

The same is becoming true of the US with politicians threatening corporations who in turn claim the right as property owners to practice censorship.

It’s the way it works in the West these days, you find ways to ensure your wishes are carried out at arms length by those entities that can be “Scapegoated”.

I could come up with a long list, but as this is an Information Security blog, the most relavant is,

“The computer says …”

Which is being made so much worse by “Machine Learning”(ML) which is nothing of the sort. It is at best the use of statistics to find correlations, at worst a totaly biased system to enforce prejudice. Because there is more than a grain of truth in the old saying of,

“There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics”[2].

If you can control the system or the input to the system, then no matter how complex or opaque the system, by simple logic you control the output.

Part of that control as we know from cryptography, is the ability not just to hide the true meaning of the message from an observer of the output, but make determination of any deliberate or determanistic bias effectively impossible, even though the bias can be clearly seen.

[1] You can read up on what happened and with further research why, and see why we are again heading in that direction,

[2] The origin of the observation is lost to time. However some attribute it to the famous author Mark Twain, who wrote,

“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself. In which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'”

Not the all important “when I have the arranging of them myself” we know that William Barr was fond of doing this “curve fitting to suit his view” and that it is way more common in all walks of life than could be explained by mere chance.

ye_olde_reader November 27, 2022 11:28 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Hunger and cold.

Very strange situation. USA is granting millions for Ukraine (weapons aid) and at the same time its own people are starving and freezing. Every day in Ukraine they destroy numerous fuel tanker vehicles yet at the same time Western Europe is in worst energy crises ever and energy prices are sky high.

Somehow this “war” or “military special operation” as Russia put it is more important that people’s wellbeing. 2 big countries (USA and Russia) sets their influence lines in Europe and ordinary people are just victims of that “play”. There’s enough money for weapons and political plays but not for ordinary people’s food.

How come? How we tolerate this? And how long?

Winter November 27, 2022 11:37 AM


The dictum against the perfectly natural act of “Breastfeeding” is to oppress around half of society women.

It seems to be an “Anglo-Saxon” thing. Breastfeeding is not uncommon on continental Europe. In Spain I saw wonen walking in the street while breastfeeding a baby on their arm.

In general, people politely look away, but I never saw any consternation.

If you visit European museums, you will see hundreds of paintings of topless Madonnas with Child, from medieval times on. So it didn’t seem to be a problem for the “church”.

Given that breastfeeding was a matter of life or death until the second half of the 20th century, that should be no surprise. It is only hypocritical Americans [1] and fundamentalist islamists that make a point of this.

[1] Americans lead the world in number of lifetime partners. Puritanism breads promiscuity:

lurker November 27, 2022 12:27 PM

@Clive Robinson

[USA morals] is the dictum of a cult pretending to be acting for a mythical being.

And the pretense produced the result that for some years the Bluebird was able to prevent a particular item being posted on its platform. Post-Elmo they can’t. That surely is a platform failure induced or provoked by the new owner.

Winter November 27, 2022 12:45 PM


Re: Russian propaganda

The common people are poor as a result of policies intended to keep them poor. Neither the Kremlin nor Washington will increase spending on the poor if they ever reduce spending on wars.

2 big countries (USA and Russia) sets their influence lines in Europe and ordinary people are just victims of that “play”.

European countries protected by the USA grow rich. Those “protected” by Russia grow poor. Take your pick.

JonKnowsNothing November 27, 2022 12:54 PM

@Clive, ye_olde_reader, All

re: Hunger as a visible and invisible weapon

We can see the devastation that wars create. My frequent posts on the state of farming in war zones is a harbinger of serious consequences coming Soon(TM).

The grain exports from UKR-RU have started up again, much of it heading to ME & Afrika. A good number of the target delivery countries import 80%-100% of their grain from both UKR+RU.

When 100% of the components for bread are imported and there hasn’t been much planting in a productive zone or the planting season fails, hunger and famine (a nice word for starvation), is the result.

It’s not just UKR-RU. Australia has had climate related crop failures in sequence: too hot, too wet, under water. Same in other countries where either war or climate is making basic food production impossible.

We can see a graph of this by charting grain prices vs volume or quantity available on the open market or in transit by shipping.

Wars are human controlled mechanisms that once started take a long time to run down, leave long lasting impacts on the population and the embers of the next conflicts.

Lack of food is a political weapon based on both political and physical weaponry by pricing and destruction of means of production.

However, we often “Look Over There” and do not recognize “What Is Here Under Our Noses”.

The effects are ignored because “Someone Else Will Do It”. Triage is the future of food allocation in our own back yards. It’s done by Means Testing, by Program Thresholds, by Winnowing the Deserving Poor from the Undeserving Poor. These policies are global not just in war torn areas.

Fighting over farm lands has a global history. It is also the global future.

Politicians may be interested in culling their populations, especially older members, via any number of mechanisms on the premise that younger members will withstand their policies better. However, we all become the target in time.

The Babushka holding out a cup for soup in UKR, is not that much different than the old woman in the USA who doesn’t have a cup to hold out.

Winter November 27, 2022 1:00 PM


At 4am I get up to stand in the food line. I arrive around 5am. It’s 35F outside.

I feel for you and those standing in line for food. I wish you strength. I think it is too much to even hope local or national politics will even try to step in to reduce the suffering.

Beyond the “local” effects, it is good to remember that the scarcity of energy and food are part of the Russian war strategy.

JonKnowsNothing November 27, 2022 2:44 PM

@Winter, Clive, lurker, All

re: scarcity of energy

Nnedi Okorafor, the author of the Binti Trilogy, has a humorous passage about failing energy systems.

Here in Nigeria, PHC is always taking the lights, so I keep candles in my room just in case.

PHC stands for “Power Holding Company of Nigeria,” but people like to say it really stands for “Please Hold Candles …”

More MSM stories about ordinary people using candles instead of electricity. I have solar camping lanterns that I use. People in UK are turning off their heat, their cookers and their ovens. People in the USA are rationing when they cook and time of day use surge usage pricing means no heat, no cooking from ~4pm-9pm.

My riff on Nnedi Okorafor phrase:

The California Public Utility commission sets the pricing of electricity and gas. Due to how the Utility was set up legally, they are guaranteed a 3% ROI no matter what the service is like or how often it fails. Yes, they get sued for massive failures such as gas line explosions and flame outs from swinging high tension wires arcing and starting wild fires, but the 3% ROI remains.

PUC stands for Please Use Candles.

I have those too.

Clive Robinson November 27, 2022 5:49 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : Cytokines and premature death.

There is increasing evidence that “inflamation is a killer” that is the more of it you have in life, the less life you will have[1].

This is a seperate issue to “cytokine storms” but far from unrelated.

The question of “cause or effect” arrises with cytokines but, they do provide measurable markers[1],

“to identify the protein markers in blood that most clearly signal systemic inflammation. In particular, they pinpointed the immune-signalling protein, or cytokine, CXCL9 as a top contributor; it is mainly produced by the inner lining of blood vessels and has been associated with the development of heart disease.”

As you might know “heart disease” is one of the number one causes of not just early mortality but non accidental death in general.

Much inflamation is put down to oxiditive stress[2] easily visable in the arteries, but again the “cause or effect” / symptom question arises as evidence is increasing that there is a lot more going on than we currently know.

As for “Vitamin E Suplementation” via tablets etc to aleviate, oxaditive stress it very probably does not work. The evidence from “gold standard” double blind testing indicates it has little or no actuall effect. However VitEs aquired “naturaly” via raw seed/kernel lipids that have not been “stabilised for shelf life” does show meausurable positive effects[3].

Other natural sources of anti-oxidents that are not “red fruit” derived are garlic, onions and cinnamon.

[1] Nature : “‘Inflammation clock’ can reveal body’s biological age” : Max Kozlov,

[2] Oxidative stress and aging is an idea that goes back to atleast the middle of the last century. However as with many things in the medical proffession it got ignored untill it could not be, so early in this century it started appearing in the more widely read journals based on “articles” rather than “papers”.

The suggestion that it is linked to premature aging thus death goes back almost as long as the original oxiditive stress research,

[3] Including natural canola oil or wheat germ oil will sigbificantly increase peoples intake of natural Vitimin Es. So along with certain other antioxidents such as juice from citric fruits as in say home made salad dressing, may have more benifit on longevity than “the rabit food” you are trying to make it palatable with… Any volunteers to do such testing? 😉

Clive Robinson November 27, 2022 6:51 PM

487million WhatsApp numbers

Yes I know that more than a million individual user data sets is very very common in cracked data breaches.

But what’s the upper limit?

Half a billion unique user records up for sale is quite a lot. Apparently it’s about a quater of the monthly users of WhatsApp,

Whilst I’m not surprised by this cracking of a major Social Media Corp, I wonder what is the point.

Look at it this way, who can usefully use half a billion user records?

Thus what value do they actually have per record?

Also what’s the storage and transportation costs… Trying to move it covertly across a data network is not going to be easy…

I can see a point coming fairly soon where stealing such large data sets will start to cost more than they can be sold for.

JonKnowsNothing November 27, 2022 9:17 PM

@Clive, All

re: Upper Limit: what value do they actually have per record?

The more mega hacks that get reported and the continuation of harvesting data that is not relevant (other than FISC Relevant means All) along with selling to middle-data-brokers, I expect the value plummets. Once the same record is haxed more than n-Few times, it will already be in every data-warehouse.

It will be an interesting shift in data harvesting and data storage.

If every record, on every person, in every country globally is fully haxed and the data sold, merged and tethered, at t-Time there is nothing left to sell on existing persons. The value and ML/AI extrapolations will be well known. The LT value is zero.

Only new persons born with little history will be of value.

MSM reported about how baby formula companies are using cross referenced metadata to target potential new parents. The purpose is to get them to see baby formula as a better feeding method. In some countries direct marketing of baby formula is prohibited. So they use search history and specific search terms like Folic Acid, to send “information” brochures.

Much like the early days when a young woman was outed to her parents by searching for pregnancy tests and the pharmacy corporation sent a coupon for diapers to the registered email = papa.

Only now, it will be global and there won’t be any privacy on data at all. Not because people don’t want privacy or value it, but because everyone+dog will be able to know their neighbor’s inner and outer joins.

  • The Data has left the building

ResearcherZero November 28, 2022 12:31 AM


The real figures of what is spent on the industrial military complex are incredibly difficult to quantify. A large amount of spending does flow through into public programs, but a very large amount flows through into private coffers. The detail however is protected by confidentiality clauses and secrecy.

Even government programs outside of defense, where industry and big business has an interest are cloaked in secrecy.

“About half the government scientists and nearly 40% of those working for industry said they had been blocked from releasing or discussing what they had found either publicly or internally where they worked.”

The environment department withheld more than 30 documents from Guardian Australia and those it did supply were heavily redacted. The department did not directly answer several specific questions.

The documents show that before a meeting with two of the hub’s scientists at the University of Melbourne the department drew up options, including “don’t publish the paper” or remove references to the government program. The research, known as the Spending to Save paper, was ultimately published in the journal Conservation Letters in November 2019 after the researchers deleted references to the government program and agreed not to promote its findings in the media.

“We strongly reject any assertion that department officials sought to pressure researchers in relation to the non-publication or authorship of the paper.”


“A government-funded research hub dedicated to Australia’s threatened species will have its funding discontinued from mid-next year.”

Nick Levinson November 28, 2022 2:42 AM

@Clive Robinson & @JonKnowsNothing:

The upper limit of the size of a net-positive-value dataset of users depends on the content. A couple of years or so ago, someone posted what purported to be all the passwords in use in all of the MySQL databases. That dataset was taken down, but not before I noticed that perhaps one percent (my sheer guess only & from memory) of users used what appeared to be their own personal names, unaltered, as passwords. I know this because I Googled a person whose property I found and wanted to return and discovered this person’s name as a password. I don’t think usernames were given in the dataset, but if the password looks like a username, well, cracking that person’s access would not be so difficult, would it be? You’d just have to know which db to try.

Storage of a tebibyte or two has come down in cost over the years and will likely keep descending. Transportation could be by postally mailing a hard drive and therefore bypassing network security checks. Googling finds models on sale at about $25 to $400 for 16-20TB. Maybe you get what you pay for; but if the thieves are doing it they don’t have much reason to spend for quality and the recipient would be lucky to get any data back.

Clive Robinson November 28, 2022 4:29 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

Re : Latest Infrustructure Fail.

One of the issues with “power companies” is that nearly all other infrastructure is dependent on them, including their own infrastructure.

But importantly also including “communications” infrastructure which creates an interdependency “lock” issue. This is due to replacing expensive manpower with machines, that to save more manpower are controled centrally via communications. Which to save more money is outsourced to the likes of “non hardwired equivalent” networks, that “go down” without power…

The problem this time is officially “a loss of power” to the water utility causing a drop in preasure, that could have alowed the ingress of biological nasties or pathogens, and poisons in ground water…

So Houston in Texas has been issued a “boil water notice”,

The problem is that whilst it will kill or render inert biological nasties, it does squat for the majority of ground water poisons…

The best most can actually do is by unglazed “ceramic filters” for larger molecules and “activated charcoal” for some smaller molecules (they are both physical process filters but work in different ways).

Having seen a number of “water test reports” for various parts of the US, lets just say I’d be doing this sort of filtering as standard all the time…

ResearcherZero November 28, 2022 4:34 AM

@Clive Robinson

“No one understands what it was like,” says former PM

…the ex-Treasurer went head-to-head and told the former prime minister: ‘You wouldn’t do it again if you had your time over.’

He was shocked by the three word answer, with Mr Morrison reportedly replying simply with: ‘Yes I would.’

“Bell made six recommendations to make sure this can never happen again, including legislation to require public notice of the appointment of ministers to administer departments, the publication of acting arrangements for ministers, and the publication of details of which ministers are appointed to administer departments.”

ResearcherZero November 28, 2022 4:46 AM

@Clive Robinson

Some of the companies bidding for tenders did claim they could reduce electricity consumption by nearly 30 percent and water consumption by more than 70 percent.

JonKnowsNothing November 28, 2022 9:09 AM

@Clive, All

re: Forgetting, Not Remembering, Deliberate Ignorance

An interesting MSM article on how people differ in their personal strategies dealing with difficult, extreme, and horrific events.

Topics range across a number of publicly known historical and current events and how people chose to or chose not to remember them.

Towards the bottom of the article is a reference to COVID pandemic and how or maybe why people chose HIP-RIP-LOVID as their personal response to the presence of a globally active deadly virus.

It may also help explain some of the turmoil in China over their Zero COVID Policy which has resulted in very few deaths in this last years, while the death rates are still actively high in UK EU USA. People chose to forget the deaths at the start of the pandemic.

The USA is clocking in “just-only” 400 COVID Deaths per day (1)

  • 400 * 365 = 146,000 COVID deaths per year (2)


1) The USA reporting system for COVID and COVID related illness is severely crippled. The numbers as reported to the CDC are dependent on the Dx given at time of death. PCR tests are not easily available (MD Rx for Test / Test to Treatment).

2) The rate of death is dependent on the variants in circulation. The USA has an entire soup of COVID variants across the country. Previously a single major variant maintained USA and Global dominance. Currently in the USA there are multiple competing strains.

ht tps:// m/science/2022/nov/28/secret-police-have-file-do-you-want-to-see-it-stasi-east-germany-siegfried-wittenburg

(url fractured)

Clive Robinson November 28, 2022 11:47 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Re : To be, or not to be, remembered

Such is the question for us all, as we all have pasts, and as with everything that is not monotonic there will be highs and lows.

What we chose to call accidents have happened to us all, yet for many they will feel some form of responsability. The truth is there realy are no accidents in the physical world we live in, just lack of knowledge and to little time. Mostly there is nothing we can do about the lack of knowledge and as for to little time, nothing we can do about that.

Yet when we feel guilty, we feel we should have known, we should have acted sooner, we ignore reality.

But there are those that feel they were reckless and those that will claim others were reckless. These are the opinions of people observing the past and trying to decide what was good and what was bad. It’s a form of “second guessing” and usually it acomplishes nothing, the past is gone, a land whose boarders are forever closed to us.

The reality is the only thing that can be achived is for the future. That is to provide the knowledge such that others will not be put in similar positions. It’s why we have behavioural prohibitions through legislation and regulation.

So as we can not change the past, can we gain knowledge from it?

The answer is yes, but then is the knowledge usefull?

The answer is often yes, but then the acid question will we learn from it?

Mostly the answer is no. The reasons are many but one few consider is the personality type. We are kind of familiar with “boat anchor” conservatives and “full ahead” liberals, as much as we are pessimists and optomists. But they are “bell curve tails” most of us live in the bubble in the middle and mostly we fear the future from our knowledge of the past.

It’s why we change the past in our minds, to make the future less to be feared.

Sometimes we have to not just close the door on the past but lock it away for good.

As the 69 year old photographer Siegfried Wittenburg interviewed in the article indicated,

“Having discovered the identities of his informers, he made peace with one of them – whom the Stasi had blackmailed – and cut ties with the others.”

Which as he said,

“Ever since I cleaned up my past, I feel free, I became more open, happier, warmer – and successful.”

The future was nolonger the fear it had been.

For some though they can not shut the door on the past let alone lock it away. They become depressed, ill, and in many respects paralysed. Thus held in the past events, or a limbo just beyond them.

There has been a lot of controversy in the world of PTSD in the past couple of decades. Originally the thinking was that you should confront the past… All that realy achieved for most was to burn the events even more deaply in their minds, and make closing the door near impossible. Healing is a gradual process as is forgetting. Repeatedly opening a wound does not alow it to heal, nor the scars to fade. So why would we expect the memory to be any different.

The only purpose in reopening the past is to walk through it with the person and show them that there was nothing they could have done to prevent the event. That is they did not have the knowledge or the time to change the outcome, so they do not themselves keep revisiting and reopening the wound, thus the healing process can start.

This is of course difficult if not impossible, if they had been reckless, thus the person has little choice and that is at best problematic for many.

&ers November 28, 2022 11:55 AM


I can currently relate to you – harsh times here.
But can i ask – how much is the internet at your side?
Here it’s quite expensive since we are so small country
(and therefore customer base is also small).
Here i must think twice whether to pay for the internet
or get some food (and stay alive) for the same price…

Clive Robinson November 28, 2022 12:49 PM

@ &ers, JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Resource utilization.

Peoples resources are always finite thus limited to a measurable degree.

From a political point of view, the fact that those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder often do not have sufficient resources to live healthy thus long lives is seen as benificial, as it means future savings.

Society is being changed in that,

1, You are actively priced out of assets by which you can earn rent.
2, You are actively kept away from information by which you can improve your resources.

The reason for both is that it enables you to be kept in poverty, and 100% reliant on the whims of others for you survival.

Nearly a century ago in Europe it was felt by the self entitled classes that the “petty bourgeois” classes were growing to fast and taking money out of the self entitleds pockets via high wages for skilled workers.

Thus various ideas became excercised via “labour laws” and eventually a rework of the Victorian and older “work houses” that became “labour camps”.

I won’t go into the details but it enabled employers to keep the wages of skilled labour down by fear, of forcing them into uneployment thus into the labour camps and thus getting their skills for next to nothing.

These ideas have not changed, the UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott acrually talked publically as labour camps being a solution to high unenployment. Conveniently forgetting that high ubenployment is very very rarely to do with the unemployed, but the employers and political policy.

In the US looking up “Union Busting” and the murders committed for emoloyers and politicians should tell you that the US is very much not “the land of the free” unless you are wealthy enough to be able to hire “guard labour” to keep you free from “rent seekers” and the like.

Winter November 28, 2022 1:22 PM


The reason for both is that it enables you to be kept in poverty, and 100% reliant on the whims of others for you survival.

The current situation is a little peculiar. Due to the demographics, there is actually a growing shortage of labour in the developed world.

Importing foreigners is of limited use as there is a global shortage of skilled labour. And those countries that have plenty of “skilled” labor are not easily cowed anymore. Their resources are now effectively out of reach of Western moguls.

The de-globalization that is going on makes things worse.

I do expect a rise is salaries the coming years. The money is in the hand of the older generation who are competing for hands to do the work.

Winter November 28, 2022 2:03 PM


From ‘quiet quitting’ to ‘lying flat’, compliance risks posed by global skills shortage

And “skills” affects jobs from nursing to plumbing or electricians. Energy conservation has become rather urgent. However, the people to implement it are lacking. The same in building. This results in backlogs and price increases.

JonKnowsNothing November 28, 2022 4:12 PM

@ &ers, All

re: how much is the internet at your side?

My connection charges are divided into 2 parts:

1) Land line (Emergency) + Internet @ $85USD per month.

These are bundled together and removing either increases the bill.

2) Cellular Phone $70USD per month.

Total Cost $85 + $75 = $160 / month

I am currently checking alternatives (upgrades-downgrades) and the bill could potentially rise to $185USD per month.

There are additional charges, telecom taxes, fees, one time costs and sales taxes.

I recently heard about a USGov program that will apply a $30USD credit to either of these options but not to both, restricted to “qualifying persons”. I don’t know any details or how you apply – likely you need a smartphone and a lot of patience with the chat-bot and supply Means Testing Documentation and Your First Born as proof that A) you are poor and B) you are human.

fwiw: These are also on my list of “Must Cuts” but given the state of things you need both to have any hope of getting information, documentation and notifications. I don’t have a printer (anymore) and that causes no end of difficulties in providing hard copy applications.

JonKnowsNothing November 28, 2022 4:23 PM


re: The current situation is a little peculiar. Due to the demographics, there is actually a growing shortage of labour in the developed world.

This is not peculiar, it’s historical. There has always been a shortage of labor. It’s the primary reason for slavery. It gives justification to wars.

Take the land. Take the people. Free Land. Free Workers.

Checkout the Trojan Wars and sneak a peek at the ending, when the walls fell. What did the Greeks take home with them beside Cassandra?


Cassandra or Kassandra in Greek mythology was a Trojan priestess dedicated to the god Apollo and fated by him to utter true prophecies but never to be believed.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 28, 2022 5:38 PM

It is stunning to witness the protests and the protesters in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities across west and east China. The protests center around the overly aggressive restrictions respecting Covid. But unlike protests in the U.S. where those expression of concern revolves about the imposition on their freedoms, the Chinese protesters are wearing masks. What do the Chinese people know that those in the U.S. do not?

Oh, and the crackdown on protesters is wide and unyielding given that the surveillance state under which they live, using technology to arrest all those that were participating. The East German Stasi would be so proud.

When will the knuckleheads in the U.S. understand when, where, how, and what risk they truly face?

JonKnowsNothing November 28, 2022 8:55 PM

@ lurker, @name.withheld. …

re: overly aggressive restrictions respecting Covid

There are only 2 choices for COVID :


Both presume that at sometime Soon(TM) there will be a reliable vaccine and then there won’t need to be restrictions.

For Case 1, our vaccines are NotWAI. We have so many mutations we cannot keep up changes in the, whatwas vaunted at the time, mRNA Tweakables, that turned out to NotBeSo.

For Case 2, Vaccines are still in progress and more in progress than progress. Western Pharma refused to license the mRNA tech to China, so they are DIY mRNA. Which isn’t going any better than the mRNA tweaks outside of China.

The problem for Case 1, is COVID Soup De Jour followed by the increasing risk of getting something nastier as we putter along with Using Up Old Stock Vax.

The problem for Case 2, is massive deaths on a scale beyond 2019, as COVID Soup blows through the entire country. They won’t be able to bury the elderly-dead fast enough (iirc see Hong Kong and Shanghai outbreaks).

What the West wants is, cheap labor, long work hours (getting their money’s worth) and Mega Profits.

It’s also what China wants, which is why they let COVID Positive Westerners and COVID Carrier VIPs into the country, infecting everyone they come in contact with, leading to flash outbreaks.

The overall problem for Case 1 and Case 2 is that neither country or geopolitical region has the means or logistics to properly feed and provide for the affected populations. Eating and paying bills are sometimes Day2Day or Week2Week. There isn’t any reliable program to plug the leaks in either group.

China is also very aware of the Long COVID massive numbers of disabled in HIP-RIP-LOVID economies. 2 Million in UK so far, all unrecognized as Permanently Disabled and few currently getting any medical assistance and even fewer getting Economic Support Assistance.

China cannot afford to have 20-40% of their population incapacitated.

Winter November 29, 2022 3:57 AM


This is not peculiar, it’s historical. There has always been a shortage of labor. It’s the primary reason for slavery. It gives justification to wars.

Yes, labor migration to alleviate labor shortages, forced and voluntary have been a thing in history since the invention of agriculture.

Skill shortages too are not new. The decline of the UK postwar economy has been attributed to bad education leading to a chronic skills shortage [1].

However, currently we are in a demographic transition with a stalling and declining population with a shrinking work force. At the same time, all growth comes from technological innovation, which requires an up to date schooled workforce.

A shrinking workforce relative to the population leads to an increase in wages. An shortage of newly schooled employees leads to an increase in starting wages.

Historically,, this was seen after the black death were there was a strong pressure to increase wages and where these were kept low by force, people migrated to areas where they could earn more. Even people under serfdom could escape as there were many regions that would not extradite fleeing serfs as they did before.


Clive Robinson November 29, 2022 4:43 AM

@ name.withheld…, JonKnowsNothing,

“What do the Chinese people know that those in the U.S. do not?”

What is in front of their eyes. Seen through a more atune cultural perception.

You only have to live with Chinese people for a few days to realise they are “family oriented” socially and frequently live in three or for generation extended families and the kitchen is the social center of the home. It’s both good and bad. Good in it provides an individual with a support network, but you live cheek by jowl, which is bad as it means any pathogen has an easy time spreading through the whole extended family.

We had conversations back in early 20 about how to deal with C19 and my opinion was the only solution was,

Quarantine untill,

1, It died out.
2, It was killed off.

But greed and stupidity in the UK and US had to switch into politically led “Victim Blaming” so that money could be channeld to the “chosen few” under failed neo-con thinking.

The simple fact is, Western Society as led by moronic mantras from those to greedy to think about even their own safety, has to change. It can not aford not to, because one of the things that is truely existential is stupidity.

To see why, lets look at the common cold which is a near relative of C19. For well over half a century a “vaccine” for it has been keenly sort but never found. As a result it spreads like wild fire around the globe makes billions of people sick and killing a good percentage of them needlessly.

In the Far East in general they tend to wear masks way more frequently in “respiritory disease season” than other cultures from long befor C19.

As I expected back in 2020 and has been found vaccination including mRNA would not “be agile” enough to keep up[1] with a wild fire disease spread then there would be only two options,

1, Significant Quarantine.
2, Build big crematorium.

Personally I’m in favour of the first option.

The practice of “What-aboutism” by people who should know better has led to a massive loss of human resources, with the result economically the world is currebtly going backwards.

Now add to that if our current change in climate issues continue we’ve about two growing seasons before we enter “world famine”…

People need to look reality in the face and realise that money will not get us out of this mess.

Humans need to change the ways they behave and quickly, whilst there are still enough of us around to keep humans at the level we are at.

Otherwise, we will end up loosing 40-80% of humanity and have to return to living the ways we did a century or so ago.

There realy are not any alternatives, and relying on,

“I’ve dreamed up this magic do-hicky that will solve everything, when we get it working”

Is not rational thinking because “when”, whilst not necessarily “never”, can easily be “not in your now very shortened life time”, which kind of makes it “never for you”.

We’ve known for centuries that quarantine unpleasent as it is works for society that is “most people”. But for the most to survive quarantine two things are important,

1, Everyone has to obay the rules.
2, You have to be sufficiently prepared.

The problem with this has always been “the greedy” or “self entitled” who either can not or chose not to think further than their fists reach to grab or punch, or their feet run when their fists fail them.

Such people are never prepared, and unless dealt with harshly and quickly will not obay the rules, even those that are unquestionably for their own longevity.

As was made clear to me when I was young more than half a century ago, laws, regulations and rules were there,

“For the guidence of wise men and the obedience of fools”

My father also used to point out that wisdom came from knowledge that had been learned and tested through a lifetime of observation and consideration.

But as my mother also noted

“Wishes don’t fill dishes”

That is you had to put in the planing and labour long before you got the reward. As I got older I learnt just how far in advance you have to plan to put food on the table, and it was rather more than,

“If you want to eat next year then you have to dig this year.”

That food that took you five seconds to pick of the supermarket shelf the other day was probably atleast five years in the preperation…

China and India, are making the foolishness of the West more obvious and concequentially rather more painfull.

They’ve actually woken up to the facts that,

1, food security is vital”
2, Global weather is changing detrimentally.

So like the “Wise Kings” of two or more millennium ago, they have decided to as my granny used to say,

“Put a bit by, for a rainy day”

That is rather than put high energy dense crops on the world market, they are putting the likes of rice and grain into silos and fish and meat into cold stores.

We in the West decry this as “economic warfare”, rather than what it actually is “Suffering from our own stupidity”.

A stupidity pushed as neo-con mantra into vacuous heads that failed to observe and aquire knowledge, that are the first steps to wisdom.

For quite some time now I’ve mentioned that evolution has found the 2/3rds rule[2] to be about optimum for longterm survival. There are various ways you can look at it, but it tells you how much “distributed storage” you should have in your supply chain over any given period of time to alow for variability. Obviously this makes the supply chain inefficient when things are optimal and unchanging, but it works out as an efficient strategy when things do change as they usually do.

Well the Chinese and Indian Governments having seen repeated crop destroying bad weather that has caused yields to drop to 50% or less. So have decided they realy do need to “put by” not just for one “rainy day” but several.

It’s a sensible thing to do in any system other than the “don’t leave money on the table” mantra addled behaviour of the neo-cons.

A friend once described the neo-con mind set as working under the “fallacy of the next tree thinking”. It’s a variation on “magic umbrella thinking” and works as follows,

“You are out for a walk in the countryside and it starts to rain so you duck under a tree for shelter. After a while the rain gets through the tree canopy and you start getting wet so what do you do?”

Well a neo-con would just run to hide under the next tree, as their thinking is they’ve had five minutes of shelter under this tree so they’ll get another five minutes under the next tree and so on…

As most of us know from experience in general it does not work that way[3] things are mostly not independent an effect has cause. And if the effect is also the cause then it takes little input for an “avalanche”, “cascade”, or “chain reaction” to occur untill what ever alows the cause has been used up or is to distant to be effected.

[1] Even if we could make a new vaccine once a month in the lab, and not end up with something dangerous. Anyone who knows anything about manufacturing and supply logistics knows that it is not going to get to the point of need for half a year at best.

[2] It’s actually not 2/3rds but as they say in Australia “Close enough for Government work”. If you want the actual value reach for your calculator and find “1-(1/e)”. If you want to know why it’s this value, well it’s to do with growth by a percentage in a fixed period towards a fixed target.

[3] That is, mostly natural events are not independent of each other, rain falls on all trees in the local area not one tree at a time. Neo-con thinking is that all things are independent so you can “hit and run” invest. That is there is an endless supply of “up turns you can ride” if you have the skill to spot them before anyone else. Not only is it a false assumption, it’s not helped by the “If all you have are lemons…” thinking… Which presupposes there will always be a market for a specific item, which realy is not true as any retailer of “seasonal goods” can tell you.

Winter November 29, 2022 4:53 AM


Total Cost $85 + $75 = $160 / month

I pay:

1) Land-line + fiber Internet 38 euro (100MB/s up and down)

2) Mobile 10 euro (4G, 10GB/month, SIM only)

Together: 48 euro/month

Winter November 29, 2022 5:24 AM

@Clive, name.withheld…, JonKnowsNothing,

What do the Chinese people know that those in the U.S. do not?

That face recognition works less well when you are wearing a mask.

Besides the fear for the virus killing them or their loved ones, they also fear the police who is as likely to kill or maim them as the virus (or even more likely).

In general it is true that there are less people in China willing to state they do not care about the well being of their family and neighbors. Idiots that die because they do not like to be told what to do are also less likely to be vocal about it.

But it is not that suffering for the well being of others in unknown in the USA. We should all remember Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who bravely called on old people to die for the economy.


JonKnowsNothing November 29, 2022 7:11 AM


re: Tech Scandal: AUTOPEN signatures

There is a bit of a dust up in the book world when it was discovered that a “Personally Signed Book authored and signed by Bob Dylan” costing $600USD, was actually done with Autopen. (1) There was a MSM apology by M.Dylan and explanation (he was sick and there was a deadline) and promise to refund the costs. (2)

While it might seem inconsequential, it does bring into question “What is Cheating” in the high tech age? There have been some topic-posts previously about cheating and test cheating and what to do about it. Another MSM article highlighted a new cheat: AI/ML generated essays that are top notch and cannot be detected by the plethora of Cheat Detectors used by educational institutions.

So what is Cheating? Does it matter any more?

What is Fraud? Is it fraud to rake in half a million for a computer generated signature?

  • 900 books * $600USD = $540,000

There are autograph collectors and many signed editions (our host has signed editions) and the value of a computer generated signature is zero-added-value, remaining just a reading copy.

Scandals erupted over signed baseballs where the bat boy or a club house worker did all the signings for years. Even though the signatures were good simulations of the player’s signatures, the value of such memorabilia plummeted when it was discovered. The players sold the signed baseballs to the public as authentically signed items.

Are these Forgeries? Conspiracies to collude by entire baseball and sports teams?

An interesting intersection between “real but fraud” and “real but fake”. (3)


1) An autopen (or signing machine) is a device used for the automatic signing of a signature.

2) I read about a refund being offered but not whether there was an option to get an actual signed first edition.

3) I have a small collection of signed editions. Some worth more than others. Provenance is essential but even in my own collection, doing due diligence, there are some items that I think are questionable in spite of the declarations and authentications by the seller. Most of the signed items in my collection are real signatures done at public signings, where everyone can see the signer and depending on the pen selected, enjoy the smell of Sharpie.

ht tps://www.theguardian. co m/books/2022/nov/29/do-the-write-thing-do-authors-use-autopen

ht tps://arstechnica .co m/gaming/2022/11/ea-patent-could-probe-social-media-connections-to-detect-in-game-collusion/

ht tps://www.theguardian.c o m/commentisfree/2022/nov/28/ai-students-essays-cheat-teachers-plagiarism-tech

(urls fractured)

JonKnowsNothing November 29, 2022 8:17 AM

@Winter, All

re: Self Inflicted Labor Shortages

Perhaps it is time to consider a different approach? There are demographic changes and population shifts but these are not unusual per se. What is different are the dependencies we, as a society, have built into the systems. The primary one is Exclusivity.

We use Exclusion to keep prices high, availability low and maintain a constant shortage. Works for food and it works for labour and it works for “high value professions”.

So, we can continue with our same program, or we can shift to something different. In the USA we are struggling with even a minor shift: Canceling Student Debt. (1)

So when we consider: A Population and B Worker Skills and C Knowledge Transfer, we need ABC together in some proportional ratio.

We artificially constrain A B C by Funding, Testing, and a plethora of mechanisms designed solely to limit access. And that’s where the fatberg clogs the system.

In NeoCon-Libertarian-Illiberal economies, everything MUST generate a profit. Universities are no different. The chancellors want their paychecks but they do not want to pay the graduate and post graduate workers, anymore than *$ and Amz wants to pay their workers.

If we consider removing the bottle necks, all of them, remove testing, funding and all other constraints… well you can just hear the sputtering and tut-tuting at the very thought.

In some countries, the sieve is a school uniform. In others it’s distance to travel. In some it depends on your bladder control during an all day test.

Removing these blocks, won’t guarantee instant worker abundance, because a good number of jobs are “manual stoop labour” but it can increase the number of people shifting professions during their life span.

  • It takes 2 years + a BA/BS to get a degree in Physical Therapy in the USA. It takes 3 years if you want a BA/BS+Masters in Physical Therapy. If you have a Masters you can Dx physical therapy issues, if you have a BA you cannot. If you graduate with just a BA/BS and later want to go on to a Masters you have to invest 3+years again due to changes in curriculum.
  • BA/BS 2yrs
  • BA/BS+MA/MS 3yrs
  • BA/BS 2yrs then later MA/MS 3yrs = 5yrs

Does this make any sense?

It did to the NeoCon-Libertarian-Illiberal University For Profit System.

It doesn’t make sense if you want a 55yo to go back to school and get a Physical Therapy Degree which will take 3-5 years making them 58yo-60yo when they get certification. That’s 3-5 years of labour shortage. Plus an additional loss, which is perhaps not quantifiable, of a the difference between working career at 55yo and working career at 60yo.

  • If working career in PT is 70yrs, you are losing at least 12yrs of skilled labour.

Some professions, the working lifetime is 80yrs+.

The underlying issue is: Exclusivity


1) The Student Debt under consideration is a fraction of the debt load. It was primarily acquired through fraudulent universities using Federal Guaranteed Student Loans, enticing people to get a a degree (in anything) but later the students found out the degree was worthless (did not satisfy regulatory requirements). Betsy DeVos was a primary supporter of these fraudulent schools.

  • Elisabeth Dee DeVos is an American politician, served as the 11th United States secretary of education from 2017 to 2021.

Winter November 29, 2022 8:47 AM


Does this make any sense?


I supervise and have taught BA&MS&PhD students. There is a difference.

BA students have learned to apply knowledge, MA students have learned to evaluate new knowledge, PhD students have learned to generate knowledge.

The difference really makes sense. There are/might be students who are brilliant and can skip the queue. But I have yet to meet them.

Lifelong learning should be the norm, not the exception. A30yo, 40yo, and 50yo should update their knowledge regularly.

I am pretty old now, but I still go to conferences to learn new stuff that did not even have a name when I left the schooling system.

But going back to the root of the problem. All the little tigers got rich by collectively investing heavily in education.

JonKnowsNothing November 29, 2022 12:39 PM


re: Learning Tigers </i<

BA students have learned to apply knowledge,
MA students have learned to evaluate new knowledge,
PhD students have learned to generate knowledge.

Then I suggest it is time to re-evaluate the criteria.

If a student has any level of A1, A2, A3, then why are they required to repeat the previous levels in order to advance?

Not only are they penalized but also subject to your interpretation of “advancement”. Academia works directly with NeoCon-Libertarian-Illiberal policies to make sure “advancement” happens to only a few.

Consider This:

  • Every academic class, and every person in those classes: PASS, A++, 20/20

Aghast and Flummox!! What a concept…

In PASS/FAIL systems there is always a bell curve, biased overtly or covertly. Grading systems vary by design: Absolute (n-points/total) or Arbitrary (essay evaluation). They are all designed to omit and exclude.

If you want to reduce the labor shortage, it will be necessary to not exclude anyone, for any reason.

There isn’t a programmer that doesn’t know, academic knowledge is useless in RL working environments. Only at a very early phase of design does it matter. The criteria used by computer science type classes, doesn’t teach RL design needs. It doesn’t even teach good programming practices. What we were all trying to do, is cobble up something in a 2 week project that would compile and spit out some required outputs. (1)


1) RL tl;dr

In an Assembler class, an assignment was to manipulate the registers and return A-Result.

My turn in, included the A-Result, a UI, a set of changeable inputs, and options for printscreen (proving steps).

My instructor did not thank me or encourage me in any way and told me: don’t do that again, I don’t want to read that many pages of source code.

In France, I would have been failed because I did not follow the requirements because I exceeded the scope required. (btdt)

Winter November 29, 2022 1:38 PM


If a student has any level of A1, A2, A3, then why are they required to repeat the previous levels in order to advance?

I have no idea what you are talking about. We have a German like system. There are different paths through levels of “highschool” that lead to vocational, college, or university education. I know people who did them all and ended with a PhD.

There isn’t a programmer that doesn’t know, academic knowledge is useless in RL working environments.

In general, if your aim is to learn a trade or craft, academia is not the way to go. I do not know my way around the USA educational labyrinth.

The Belgian/Dutch/German systems I know, do separate applied studies from academic studies. Applied studies do not reach you research, academic studies do not teach you a trade.

Academia works directly with NeoCon-Libertarian-Illiberal policies to make sure “advancement” happens to only a few.

Not over here. But I sense some traumatic experiences which I cannot judge.

The German like systems in NL/BE/BRD are much less expensive than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, where the Dutch system is the more expensive one, I believe. All have financial support for students. One year at any Dutch university costs ~2300 euros for EU citizens. In Germany it is ~600 euros (could be lower). Belgium is between 50-850 euros a year, depending on the region. Non-EU students pay much, much more.

As far as I know there are no entrance exams. However, your high school level must qualify you for University, or you must have other tertiary education that qualifies you. I won’t say the system is “fair”, but it seems much less bad than the USA system.

Clive Robinson November 29, 2022 1:47 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Winter,

Re : Grade hand in length.

“My instructor did not thank me or encourage me in any way and told me: don’t do that again, I don’t want to read that many pages of source code.”

Yup it happens a lot…

On a “higher education course” we were given a limit of only a couple of “double spaced line pages” that had to be atleast 12point…

There were noises of descent, untill another lecture from industry pointed out that the limit was just for the “paper” not appendices, refrences etc…

So I handed in a little over twenty pages I wrote over the weekend with all but tiny snipits of code in the appendices along with test results and refrences to the critical algorithms used. I got a good grade and no complaints…

And yes there were comments written by the lecturer in the appendices, so they had been looked at…

I suspect it was an excercise not just of doing the work, but producing it not in “academic format” but “managment format” where all they are generally interested in is an intro/overview and summery/conclusion that can be read in a minute or two.

Winter November 29, 2022 1:57 PM


I suspect it was an excercise not just of doing the work, but producing it not in “academic format” but “managment format”

TL;DR format is all you need to master.

Winter November 29, 2022 2:09 PM


don’t do that again, I don’t want to read that many pages of source code

Having done my part of reading student’s essays, I do value briefness.

Students have a way to hide ignorance in words.

lurker November 29, 2022 3:44 PM


… academic knowledge is useless in RL working environments.

Uhuh. One gem of academic knowledge I have retained for over six decades: in high school maths somebody asked the teacher “What is the use of quadratic equations?”
The immediate reply, “They are essential for painting brick houses.”

Clive Robinson November 29, 2022 6:56 PM

@ Bruce, ALL,

UK uses cover of free speach to further strip privacy.

The Reuters artcle title is,

“UK ditches ban on ‘legal but harmful’ online content in favour of free speech”

Unfortunately it misses what is actually going on.

The UK was going to pass unworkable legislation () to force moderation of “legal but harmfull” web content. It takes no great brains to realise what an unworkable legal quagmire of endless expense that would have created. And apart from some people who do not appear to understand technology I don’t think many were in any way infavour of it.

Instead the UK Government have chosen to go down an even worse path with their new “Online safety” bill.

With laws that would,

1, Focus on the protection of children.
2, Requiring Corps censored illegal content
3, Censpred content prohibited by their TOS.

However the UK Government is not saying what “legal content” should be censored… So obviously they will make it up as they go along, which will almost guarantee it will be “Politically motivated censorship” under some flimsy guise.

But not that it includes enforcment of the Corp TOS prohibitions. This is likewise unspecified but leaves things open to other potentially hostile Nations dictating what the TOS is and thus reflecting it on the UK (so no “Rupert the bear” cartoons).

But note the “protection of children” asspect which the UK “Digital Secretary” (senior Minister) Michelle Donelan has wittered,

“Companies can’t just say ‘yes we only allow children over 13 to join our platform’, then they allow 10-year-olds and actively promote it to them”

For anyone with only half a brain it should be obvious that there is no way to know a persons actual age online, unless they give at some point verifiable / traceable legal proof not just of age but identity.

Further that certain “forever technologies” that have not yet been invented stop accounts being created and either “loaned out” or “passed on” (The UK Government are desperate for such technology to use in commerce to stop small fry “money laundering” and are trying to force all cash to be replaced with “Cards”).

Such technologies will force all users to be de-anonymized thus there will be “No Privacy” of thought, word, or action.

JonKnowsNothing November 29, 2022 7:31 PM

@Winter, Clive, lurker, @All

re: The problem is:

  • How to increase the number of workers with the existing and aging population

While much of academia, in the USA is hardly of long term use at work, it is not without value as knowledge. We punish inquisitiveness, we delay with petty criteria, we rely on historical “Always Done This Way” methods of determining how to pass on that knowledge.

The instructor too lazy to read. The grader to harassed to answer questions. The re-do-overs for (pick any reason). The classes designed to restrict access to advancement. The competition between disciplines for students and procedural locks on a particular degree.

If we want to make a dent in @Winter’s observation of Lack of Workers, we will have to redefine the criteria that qualifies a person for a particular job.

@Winter’s observation of vocation training vs academic training has many valid counterparts. There are historical means of exchange via indenture and apprenticeship.

However a 50yo is not going to do a 15yr apprenticeship. A person with a BA in field A, is not going to be able to get a Masters in field B without a lot of do overs. A 60yo with a Masters isn’t going to do 15yrs as an unpaid grader in exchange for a PhD at 75yo.

It isn’t that this doesn’t happen in RL, it does. There are people doing it. There are not enough people doing it.

So… how to removed all restrictions and all blocks to permit the re-entry of workers in new fields that are suitable for their physical ages?

It’s not too likely at 75yo is going to take up manual labor if they have not done this all of their lives. But a 75yo who has done manual labor might be a fantastic addition to architecture or civil engineering or new materials design.

They cannot do this easily now and so many don’t bother. It’s a concern because societies lose out on decades of knowledge because the candidate never took a GMAT or GRE test.

Zho, consider:

  • How can society make improved use of existing knowledge and remove restrictions to expand access.

The current methods already have a supply shock issue: we killed a lot of Health Care Persons, MDs, RNs, CareGivers, Dentists etc. during 2019-2022. It takes 40yrs to replace a MD. NeoCon-Libertarian-Illiberal systems have been relying on extracting these workers from other countries that have few restrictions to the education needed. That supply pipeline is failing and western health care cannot maintain even the barest of levels. Western countries face a collapse of their existing health care levels and no recovery for 30-40 years.

Education, academia, degrees, degree tracks, tuition, costs all need to change and the very mindset of “What is education”.

Clive Robinson November 29, 2022 8:23 PM

A crap place for advertising?

Although there is a serious lesson behind this,

It did make me chuckle.

Three days in and this new design hi-tech sort of stainless steel egg with a super-loo in it broke down…

The SF streets are not a place you want to be fieldtesting at the best of times… And it appear the beta was a real blocker.

Apparently SF does not pay for these super-loos, they alow the opetator to earn money by selling advertising space on them…

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons November 29, 2022 11:54 PM

@ Clive (you having laid the 10 kilogram sledge hammer to the thumbtack on the wall–hanging all the frames at once)


blockquote>The simple fact is, Western Society as led by moronic mantras from those to greedy to think about even their own safety, has to change. It can not aford not to, because one of the things that is truely existential is stupidity.Erudite, succinct, strong, and all too true…well done my good sir.It is the reason I understand the most abundant particle in the universe is not the photo, neutrino, lepton, quark, or pi meson; it is of course the moron. It is the particle responsible for anti isospin known as the unspun.

Winter November 30, 2022 1:29 AM


If we want to make a dent in @Winter’s observation of Lack of Workers, we will have to redefine the criteria that qualifies a person for a particular job.

Yes and no.

For instance, nursing requires an education. A former cleaner or office worker is not a replacement for a nurse without an education. However, modern nurses have to do many things that could easily be done by people who have no nursing education. So, the same work could be done with fewer nurses and more help.

The same holds in many other professions. Specialist nurses already take over certain jobs of specialist MDs. Examples from other professions are plenty.

As for switching jobs at 60, there will always be a tradeoff between time learning vs time working.

But 60 is way too late to start learning a new profession. You should be learning at every age. Ideally, you should also always be teaching at every age.

The German apprentice system should actually be an example for everyone:

Winter November 30, 2022 3:30 AM

Preparation is everything:

“Russian missiles can’t destroy the cloud”: Ukraine leader describes emergency migration

“Let me be honest with you. This is priceless. State registers and databases are critical information infrastructure,” he said.

According to Liam Maxwell, AWS Director of Government Digital Transformation, “in January 2022 it was increasingly clear there was going to be an attack on Ukraine from Russia … in February 2022 Ukraine’s parliament passed a law allowing government and private sector data to move to the cloud, and we started engaging really closely with the Ukrainians,” he said. “On the day of the invasion we met the ambassador at the Ukranian embassy in London and we sketched out a plan of how to identify the parts of the State that we could help them back up, and that included things like the population register, land and property ownership, tax payment records, education records. That laid the groundwork to build a strategic move to help the Ukranian government and safeguard their digital infrastructure.”

Clive Robinson November 30, 2022 5:24 AM

@ Winter, JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

Re : What makes a job.

“For instance, nursing requires an education. A former cleaner or office worker is not a replacement for a nurse without an education. However, modern nurses have to do many things that could easily be done by people who have no nursing education. So, the same work could be done with fewer nurses and more help.”

Let’s be clear on one thing historically nurses were skivies or housewifes in training just as many servants were. In Britain things started to change with warfare the old,

“Come home with your shield or on it”

Was changing in two ways. Blood and guts surgery kept injured people alive but the guts aspect or more correctly what was in them started taking increasing numbers of lives not through injury but disease. Due to lack of efficient communications this was effectively kept hidden. Then thanks to journalists getting news back home faster it became clear there was a major problem with significant political repucussions. Florence Nightingale was a political activist and administrator, it was her statistics gathered as an administrator and presented via her political connections the fact that disease not injury was the reason the military was failing became starkly clear. With the work of around a hundred others such as Mary Seacole nurses became more than skivies and servants to be kicked around, they became “cleaners of the body and environment” and started what became palitive care. In the 1980’s medicine had developed to the point where rather more than cleaning was required, so the job got split into two, what were called nursing auxiliaries/assistants that did the cleaning and carrying and other environmental issues and proffessional nurses (grade C and above) who now usuall need as a minimum a degree to do the body issues. In the 1990’s infection control became a real issue and nursing auxiliaries got split into skilled and semi skilled. Cost preasures impossed politically, turned the semi-skilled side into basic skills cleaners on minimum wages or less. Proffessional nurses got further split and we now have “Nursing Specialists” and “Nurse Prescribers” who are replacing the bottom layers of doctors and Pharmacists.

But the important thing to note is that all these medical jobs from basic cleaners all the way through through nurses and doctors to the most senior of consultants have one thing in common.

“80-90% of the working day is unskilled work”

Which can just as easily be carried out by others with minimal on the job training.

When you look at all other jobs the “skill” be it physical or mental is similarly a very small fraction of the job.

More importantly the major part of all jobs are readily “transferable” across knowledge domains and fields of expertise.

Further thought reveals the recognition that they have to be, otherwise “jobs” could not exist.

But further thought gives rise to other apparently counter intuative realisations, that become explainable with further thought.

Try defining a job with a single sentance… Such as,

Scientist : Searches for questions to answer with logical and mathmatical models.

Inventor : Searches for problems to answer with physical models.

Artist : Searches for models to solve aesthetic needs.

For these people what appears to be 99% of their time they do not produce those models that pass muster. But their occupations are seen as “positive” in that they “make possible”.

However they very rarely “make real” or practical that falls to Engineers and technicians.

Engineer : Takes problems and uses models to make practical solutions.

Whilst often seen as a “positive” occupation it’s actually not in mindset. An engineers job is actually to “find fault and fix it” hopefully before it becomes a reality.

Thus a good engineer has to be able to “think hinky” to spot all the potential faults and vulnerabilities and using the models they have remove or minimize them.

It’s not a creative, but destructive view of life.

As part of engineering you have design and manufacture / production and layer after layer of jobs that get the goods or services into the hands of people who also create and sometimes destroy to,

“Clean slate, for those that do create.”

But as with all processes there need to be those that are “nose prods” like politicians they want accounting to extract what they see as their share… The question about them is,

“Parasite or symbiote?”

Either way they require something like a half to two thirds of the jobs to be administrative in some way, which includes that contingent which look more “hands on” we call “Guard Labour”.

Winter November 30, 2022 5:59 AM


“80-90% of the working day is unskilled work”

Caring for sick people is a job requiring quite some training. What is and is not “healthy” for a sick person is non-trivial to decide. Making a bed might be simple, turning a patient lying in the bed is not.

Same thing is security. Most work is routine and can be done by unskilled people, knowing when it is not routine require specialist knowledge.

But even if part of the work is unskilled labor, logistics kicks in. An electrician doing a repair taking some unskilled worker with her to do the routine work is not freeing up the electrician to do more work. It just means two people showing up at a job where always one is drinking coffee.

Clive Robinson November 30, 2022 7:46 AM

@ Winter,

“Caring for sick people is a job requiring quite some training. “

That’s not the point I’m making and I would not despute it either.

The fact is what ever job you look at the percentage of it based on time working that requires specialized skills is a fraction of a fraction.

Whilst you can check this is true of jobs, with the more cerebral than physical bias by observation, the real problem is a neo-con view by managment to “down-grade” for what they claim are fiscal reasons (but usually are not). Hence the spliting and respliting of nursing and the imposed requirment for higher “academic” qualifications than is required.

That is do you require “research qualification” to be a “Nurse Ptactitioner”, “Nurse Specialist”, or “Nurse prescriber”?

Actually “NO”. Few Doctors are actually PhDs likewise Pharmacists, yet some not overly bright civil servant of an even less bright political master thinks that Nurses should be forced to have PhDs to solve a budgetary problem…

A note for those in the US, your degree system is not taken that seriously outside of the US. In part because of the “points make prizes” nature can result in someone getting a degree without any real subject direction. I used to work in a Uni and we used to get a number of US students, who frankly spent most of the time looking shell shocked or even the equivalent of hung-over without the assistance of any chemical substances other than their own stress hormones… A friend working in a European University makes similar comments about UK students they see.

JonKnowsNothing November 30, 2022 12:16 PM

@Clive, @Winter, All

re: Restricting Entry by Arbitrary Rules

We are so used to the existing status quo, that it IS hard to consider alternatives. Yet I see glimmers in the questioning of the existing methods.

It isn’t just about “skilled vs unskilled”, it is more about making everyone “skilled” who desires to do so. Regardless of age, financial situation, geopolitical alignments.

60yo maybe too old for a few professions, like airline pilots with mandatory retirement at 65, but it is not too old to become a pharmacist, computer programmer (journeyman level), administrator, social support services coordinator. In fact, a great deal of USA services are based on Retired Persons providing the labor and coordination.

There are techniques that may require years of experience and those maybe out of range.

If you have never taking a Blacksmithing course and learned how to shape, forge and use bar stock, and then learned the anatomy of the horses foot and how to properly trim the foot and set the shoe correctly, hit the nails in the right cadence (so they bend) and then finish the line, or how to correct physical and genetic foot problems (with or without the aide of a veterinarian), you need to plan on 3-6 months of training, plus 1-2yrs of on-your-own work.

You do not need a BA/BS for this work, yet many Blacksmiths have them from Ag Colleges. It also pays well if you are good. It’s also a job that has physical health risks (getting kicked, stomped on, have the horse fall on you) but there are plenty who continue to work into their 60s. So, for Blacksmithing perhaps starting at 60 is not a good choice. But there are few restrictions in getting vocational training vs many restrictions in getting a BA/BS.

There are other techniques that are quite appropriate for anyone including 60,70 yos.

RL anecdot:

A visit to a person in hospital not long ago, I noticed that not a single RN or Admin was On The Floor or in a Room. They were all bunched at a central computer area. All staring at screens in front of keyboards. Patients had to Press A Button and WAIT until someone showed up. Bathrooms were used as storage closets so all the persons were in diapers. Getting PT for walk-about took hours or days to arrange. Getting out of bed into a chair was not possible as there were no suitable chairs for patients to sit in. In some rooms all the visitor chairs had been removed, shortening the time visitors stayed based on how long they could stand or perch on the edge of the bed.

So which part of the above requires 3+ layers of degrees?

Training yes, but revisiting 2yrs or 4yrs or 6yrs of Pre-Med classes with all the Lower Division Re-Work (curriculum change) (1) isn’t necessary and a good number of people can do Watch The Monitor. A previous job watching the War Room Walls of Monitors at police stations might be a good background.


1) In the USA every school has a list of required courses and a list of electives. There is a pathway through this listing to every degree offered by the institution. The first 2 years are generally mandatory before you get to year 3 and 4 where you specialize for your degree. Some of years 1 and 2 maybe prep for year 3 and 4 but much of it has nothing to do with year 3 and 4 other than as a gate block.

On a periodic basis the University will alter the listing, especially for years 1 and 2.

When you register, you get the listing for the year of registration (eg 1980) and as long as you keep continuous registration, you get to keep that listing.

However, if you take a break, (eg like having to work FT for 10 years) and then want to complete one level or take the next one, you get the newest listing with different requirements. (eg registered w 1980 curriculum list, out of school 10yrs, then back to school you get a new curriculum requirements list for 1990.)

Much of this new curriculum, is a gate block. Often the name of the course has changed or a different set of courses inserted in the pathway.

A classic Computer Science Block (USA) is 5 quarters of Maths. 3 Calculus: A B C + 2 others. Only Hard Core versions of these courses are accepted. No transfer credits given from other colleges. These 5 must be taken at the University. They are gated such that it takes at least 1 full year to complete the cycle and as much as 2 years for the full sequence. A B C are scheduled Fall Winter Spring. If you enter in Jan, you are SOL for the sequence.

The difference is between a Major and a Minor in Computer Science.

You cannot get a Masters without them, so if you opted for a Minor and now want to complete a Masters, you have ~2 years of repeat work to do.

MarkH November 30, 2022 7:28 PM

Safeguard Gone Wrong, Pt 1:

I’m still working my way through the book about computers and missiles, which in places is most fascinating.

TL;DR: When I was a boy, the new U.S. state of Alaska experienced the second most energetic earthquake ever recorded. For a while, almost of all of America’s ICBMs (supposed to be a robust deterrent force) were disabled by the distant shaking.

Background: ICBMs are steered according to inertial navigation systems (INS), which could with impressive accuracy guide the missile and its warhead through an arc ensuring that the nuclear bomb would explode the right distance from the launch point (a buried missile silo).

Although INS was the best available tool for tracing that arc, it couldn’t accurately find the azimuth (direction of travel as you’d plot it on a map).

MarkH November 30, 2022 7:41 PM

Safeguard Gone Wrong, Pt 2:

Modern INS are so good that they can find the azimuth with sufficient accuracy by purely inertial means, but that wasn’t possible when the MinuteMan ICBM was first developed.

So, an “enemy” target (later, two targets) was established for each silo. If I understand correctly, a marker was planted far from the silo at the target azimuth (for example, on the great circle line containing the center of the silo, and Moscow).

Then, by “first order surveying techniques,” the marker azimuth was transferred to an autocollimator target on the wall of the silo.

The MinuteMan INS could align itself with that autocollimator target, via a window in the side of the missile, and evidently ran this alignment process continually. [MinuteMan INS are continuously powered, saving warm-up time in readying the missile, and enabling better accuracy by lengthy integration of error terms.]

MarkH November 30, 2022 7:55 PM

Safeguard Gone Wrong, Pt 3:

Designers expected that the Soviet Union would aim its missiles at MinuteMan silos, and so anticipated that the INS could lose azimuth alignment during ground shocks from Russian H-bombs exploding nearby.

The missile software would wait a while for the INS to reacquire azimuth alignment, and resume its readiness to launch.

If a fair number of such shocks were recorded with intervals of stable alignment in between, it was presumed that the silo would by then have been shaken so badly that missile could no longer fly an accurate azimuth to its target … so the software disabled the missile.

The MinuteMan silos were thousands of km from the Alaska quake, but the initial shock and aftershocks triggered loss of azimuth alignment; when the shock count threshold was exceeded, the missiles were disabled by their computers.

MarkH November 30, 2022 8:01 PM

Safeguard Gone Wrong, Pt 4:

The author of the book worked on the MinuteMan guidance computer, and remembered this event vividly when writing his book about 40 years later. He recalled that on the morning of the next business day, he had “a contingent of Air Force brass camped outside” his office, and hearing the “opening blast from an irate colonel.”

As might be expected, this incident inspired design changes.

Clive Robinson December 1, 2022 1:52 AM

@ MarkH,

Re: Fail Safe is not an option

“a contingent of Air Force brass camped outside” his office, and hearing the “opening blast from an irate colonel.”

Part of the negative asspect of being a design engineer is looking for all the very many ways a system can fail. And if you can not design the failure out design it such that if defaults to some agreed level of failire or “fail-safe” condition.

But what is that “safe” condition?

If you are in a passenger aircraft and the pilots and auto pilot control systems fail, do you want the aircraft to default to fly straight and level, fly level in a circle, climb, or crash down etc?

A simpler case that also shows how the military mind works,

Even today high level crypto keys known as “Keying Material”(KeyMat) are stored on punch paper tape. It used to be an odd colour and burn faster than a ping pong ball in a furnace, and disolve a lot faster than tissue paper, whilst still being mechanically robust to handaling (a real ask of a materials scientist when you think about it).

Well it was also kept in a portable safe to stop it being copied etc.

Now… As a rule of thumb modern safes which are designed for very high value content use “glass relockers” to limit what a thief can do to open the safe. Basically the safe door bolt retraction method rather than being made of linked metal rods, uses a chain or wire rope that is suppprted by glass supports in such a way that if any of them break the chain will not be able to retract the door bolt so the safe stays locked.

Well… A wellish known Safe Manufacturer tendered for a military job, and extoled the virtues of their products and all went well to they described the “relockers” to the Mil Brass and Civilian admins.

Who looked aghast, due to the usuall “secrecy” requirments nobody had told the safe manufacturer that the safe was for KeyMat and one of the odd implications.

The Military would rather know the KeyMat had been stolen than for it to be like “Schrödinger’s cat” in some unknown state. Thus to prevent an attacker opening the safe taking the KeyMat closing the safe and “dropping it” to break the relockers to conceal the fact the KeyMat had been stolen the safe manufacturer was told “no rekockers” but for secrecy resons “not why”.

The fun fact though the mil brass in the room had never been told the real reason for “no relockers”.

It was very similar to the ICBM & Earthquake issue…

In battle field conditions explosions and violent vibrations are an expected part of what equipment is expected to work in.

Back with old “Electro-mechanical” encryption equipment “losing power” did not cause the KeyMat to be erased from the equipment. The move to electronic equipment via fragile miniture thermionic valves/tubes had changed this and loss of power would cause a loss of KeyMat. Now unknown to most in Military “Communications Centers”(ComCen) in the field, loss of power is not just expected, it’s assumed to happen all the time and at the worst time possible[1].

Mostly when a boot meets the wire or similar a curse is uttered and the plug, fuse or cable quickly repaired either by the operators or technician and things get back up quickly and the “no foul no fault” rule applied (like getting dust in your eye).

Obviously not the case with crypto kit… Thus the KeyMat had to be kept “at the ComCen” in near instant rediness… This was not the way things had been done with electromechanical kit where the KeyMat was kept away from the actual ComCen for security reasons (ComCens are easy centers to both find and overrun for an enemy especially if they are looking for intel).

The actuall requirment for the new safes had actually come about because of the switch in base technology in the crypto kit. And unrealised by many it changed the “Fail Safe Parameters” in a long chain of knock-on effects. That as you probably can guess were “secret” even from the Brass…

Eventually a new piece of technology called the “Fill-Gun” was developed, and this brought a fresh wave of “Oh so secret” issues, that nobody were supposed to know[2]. But… actually very easy to guess even by some fresh faced lowly kid still wet behind the ears from collage, who did not yet have the experience to know when not to ask questions…

[1] Under “The theory of the pervasiveness of inanimate objects” and “The size 9 military boot knows not where it is” the combination of which is more commonly known as “Murphy’s law”,'s_law

[2] The real consequence of Murphy’s Law and something the military Brass would not accept for many years was the “No win scenario”. In fact with nearly all “fail safe systems” there is “no safe to fail to”… So the specification writer hides the fact they flipped a coin with spurious reasoning or similar… Which has it’s own concequences as you move down the chain, and why large systems such as aircraft and ships composed of many smaller systems, can do apparently random things when problems strike. Planning / Designing such things out is no easy task, and you don’t want to get it wrong. Because when the brown stuff hits the rotary accelerator, everyone switches into “Blaim mode” to pass the hot potato of fiscal liability on “down the line”. In the film Appolo 13 there is an obvious obsequious slug from the rocket engine manufacturer. The simple fact is hateful as he was made out to be in the film, such people are standard. Only these days they are usually young pretty with blond hair and high heals and law or PR qualifications and have a lobbying background, and their attitude is worse than the militray Brass as they believe very much at a personal level of the “No loose or draw for me” senario.

FA December 1, 2022 5:28 AM


I’m still working my way through the book about computers and missiles, which in places is most fascinating.

Could you provide a reference ?

The IRS used on airliners today can indeed find true north, and even latitude.
It takes 5 to 10 minutes, during which time the aircraft must not move. Even fueling, loading freight or boarding passengers have to wait.

Bryan December 1, 2022 1:45 PM

Just saw the FB and Twitter share buttons for the first time. Is that because they are a recent addition, or did I unwittingly change some of my local anti-modernity settings?

That said, I LOVE the way they are implemented. Gotta ask though, where’s the Mastodon button?

SpaceLifeForm December 1, 2022 6:23 PM

@ Bryan

Re: Buttons

They have always been there.

They should be removed for security reasons, so you do not accidently click on them. Because Metadata.

SpaceLifeForm December 1, 2022 6:36 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Clive

Re: Education System

I concluded long ago, that it is defintely a “System”

That there are two main aspects.

One, to discover intelligent people.

Two, to pigeonhole them to make it easier to track their thinking.

MarkH December 1, 2022 7:21 PM


McMurran, Marshall William
(c) 2008

If you imagine a retired uber-geek revisiting the career glory-days of his youth, and doing considerable digging (including seeking out the memories of his compadres from back when) …

… and writing a two-pronged history, which tends toward a lot more detail at points where he was involved …

… and self-published without benefit of a copy editor, or much more crucially a publishing house editor …

… then you probably have a pretty good idea of the texture of this exceptional book.

MarkH December 1, 2022 7:35 PM

@FA: You probably know the gyrocompass, but for any readers who don’t: you’re in a windowless room. Of course the feeling of gravity tells you which way is down, but otherwise you don’t know your orientation or position.

On a table in this room is a perfect gyroscope. It doesn’t slow down or drift. It has no restriction on rotation: imagine it’s inside a transparent sphere, which floats neutrally in the middle of an aquarium.

The gyro will maintain the direction of its axis of rotation inertially — relative, in Newton’s words, to “the fixed stars.”

But your room turns with Earth’s rotation, so you’ll see the gyro axis slowly turn in its aquarium, returning to its starting orientation after about 24 hours.

If you measure and plot the gyro angles (relative to vertical, and axes of the room) you can do some math to find out which way is North, and your angle of latitude.

MarkH December 1, 2022 8:21 PM

Gyrocompass, Pt 2:

Old-style Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) have a gimbaled platform with spinning-wheel gyros and accelerometers mounted to it, with mutually orthogonal axes.

The gimbals don’t turn freely: each is driven by a motor, with a computer controlling the gimbal motors to maintain the platform in a defined orientation. The computer can do this, because the gyro outputs tell it if motion of the “outer frame” (say, airplane fuselage) is trying to turn the platform relative to inertial space.

Usually, for navigational convenience, the platform has an idealized orientation — I’ll call it normal — in which the three orthogonal gyro/accelerometer axes are respectively vertical, north-south, and east-west.

Clive Robinson December 1, 2022 8:33 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Education and place.

“Two, to pigeonhole them to make it easier to track their thinking.”

Ahh pigeonholes are an infinite conundrum for obfuscation and faux correlation for those who can not just think but observe…

The ground rule those who run the sysytem use is “one pigeon per hole” but ask the question of why the pigeon population keeps rising…

MarkH December 1, 2022 8:39 PM

Gyrocompass, Pt 3:

Because gyros are inertial rotation sensors, if the computer drove the gimbals to keep all measured rotations at zero, the platform gradually would tilt away from its normal orientation as Earth turns.

To keep this from happening, the computer’s gimbal control loop doesn’t actually seek zero for the east-west axis, but instead adds a rotation for Earth’s rate (corrected for latitude!)

Typically, when an INS powers on it makes no assumption about the platform orientation. First, it uses a pair of bubble levels to drive the gimbals so the platform is N/S and E/W axes are close to level.

Then, it seeks null on the N/S and E/W accelerometers, which will make the platform very accurately level — if the vehicle isn’t moving.

MarkH December 1, 2022 8:47 PM

Gyrocompass, Pt 4:

But the INS still doesn’t know azimuth, so it goes through a process rather like the table-top thought experiment. The gimbal rotations the computer must apply to keep the platform level give a direct read-out of Earth’s rotation relative to the platform orientation. The computer turns the platform about its vertical axis until the the sensed Earth rotation is around the N/S axis — i.e., the N/S axis does not need to turn to keep the platform vertical.

Rather intuitively, this step is call “gyrocompassing.”

Comparison of the measured Earth’s rate to the known rate at the equator can compute latitude; in principle, the INS could also gyrocompass before leveling, making the N/S axis actually parallel to Earth’s axis. But either way, I wouldn’t expect the latitude estimate to be very accurate.

MarkH December 1, 2022 9:05 PM


Coming at last to a question I inferred from your comment, though it’s normal for an INS to gyrocompass when aligning, the accuracy of its azimuth depends on the performance of the gyros — and making very accurate gyros is very, very difficult.

For an airliner, accuracy requirements are not very stringent: if your intention is to land at the destination airport, instead of cratering its runways by dropping iron bombs through fog, an INS error of a nautical mile or two is fully acceptable.

Bombing planes need more accuracy, and achieve it by using multiple means of navigation. An INS periodically updated by star sightings can be much more accurate than an INS running purely inertially.

MarkH December 1, 2022 9:11 PM

@FA, continued:

ICBM guidance is a special case: early ICBMs were guided only for a few minutes, so long-term drift was not an issue – though the gyros still needed to be very good. But there’s no mechanism to compensate an initial azimuth error: the path deviation increases linearly with ground distance covered.

The last generation of spinning-wheel INS actually was accurate enough to hit ICBM targets without any azimuth reference, and so are ring-laser gyro INS.

In the story I related, the MinuteMan engineering fix included the addition of a purpose-built gyrocompass (separate from the INS gyros). I believe it still wasn’t as accurate as the surveyed azimuth, but a better fallback than the inherent INS ability to estimate azimuth.

MarkH December 1, 2022 9:19 PM


Now, for a good head-scratcher.

Most land-based strategic missiles are fired from silos, the positions of which have been carefully fixed by surveying.

How do submarine-launched ballistic missiles navigate to their targets? Bear in mind that SSBNs are continuously submerged, and constantly changing position, for up to 90 days.

Here’s the kicker: The Navy’s Trident II is supposed to be twice as accurate as the current MinuteMan III.

MarkH December 1, 2022 9:26 PM


‘Twas long ago, but I recall reading that all technical equipment in U.S. ICBM Launch Control Centers had to be qualified by drop-testing from a height of something like 3 to 5 meters (presumably, the launch control officers themselves are exempt from this ordeal).

I wouldn’t be surprised if the test articles were dropped on all 3 axes before verification that they survived.

Not an ideal application for glass relockers — but perhaps a visit by a well-equipped yeggman wasn’t the primary threat model they were securing against!

SpaceLifeForm December 2, 2022 1:35 AM

@ Ted


Over 2000 per hour currently

I am finding some of the legal folk now.

Many to still arrive. It is an interesting phenomena.

Winter December 2, 2022 2:11 AM

@Clive, SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing,
Re: Education System

“Two, to pigeonhole them to make it easier to track their thinking.”

What did you think education was used for in history? Enlightenment?

I see attempts to shape education as a road to self-fulfillment and personal enlightenment as unhelpful for children.

When I look at the history of education as a communal and state organized activity, then the main goal was preparing pupils for a role in society.

The reason being that there have always been parts of society where uneducated people could not function. Before industrialization, there were many places in life where you could learn your occupation at home from your extended family and neighborhood. But any “trade” had to be learned in a formalized system, e.g., apprenticeship.

But in an industrialized society, you cannot function without an education. Any industrial society must supply an education to its members to continue functioning. Any educational system that does not supply the graduates needed will bring down the industrial base of its society. Examples are the UK after the last war and the USA after the 1980’s.

It is clear that educational systems have serious inertia and will always lag social and economic developments. Students have been, and will be, prepared for a state of society that does not exist anymore when they graduate. Schools should always be criticized for that and forced to change.

However, there are strong incentives to actively interfere with the education of other people’s children to steer society in a direction that will be beneficial for one’s own children and one’s own interests. See, eg, the (racial) policies to downgrade the education of poor children in the USA and, previously, South Africa and India[1].

Winter December 2, 2022 2:15 AM


Something about rodents

What are “desk hamsters”?

Btw, I loved the writings of Lesley Carhart, but I am not on twitter/mastodont and she stopped update her blog anymore. I must admit that I have no idea what it is you are talking about.

Clive Robinson December 2, 2022 3:53 AM

@ Winter,

“What are “desk hamsters”?”

You won’t believe it but they are,

“hamster wheels with desks in them”

When I first heard about them nearly a decade ago I thought some conceptual artist had heard about the “ICTsec Hamsterwheel of pain” which is the modern equivalent of the Lewis carrol’s “Red Queen’s Race” and built it as a work/life statment.

But no, they are “4-realises” now as “the next step on” from the “standing desk” you have “the walking desk” or treadmill… About 90inch / 2.3m in diameter with a computer work desk built in you climb in and “walk as you work”…

I can’t find the add for the all chrome and black rubber version.

Personally it I was to build an “Excersize Desk” I’d go for a static bike or some such.

But managment “Don’t think you’ll get free electricity” back in WWII and through into the 80’s “special forces” got issued with “stay behind” radios powered by either a hand mill or peddle mill “crank generator”. They are pure hell on arms or legs and you will be lucky to get 20watts out of a human for any sustainable period.

Remember there was a reason “convicts” were used for “dock cranes” pre-1800’s it was the “hard labour” asspect pluss keeping them confined.

It’s hard to see this wheel in all it’s glory, but I not only visited it but stood in it back in the 1960’s as a not so little pre-teen I was about the size of the convicts that used to operate it,

Oh whilst I could “stand” in it, the wheel was “locked in position” as the guide pointed out “no brakes” was a serious design flaw.

As far as I’m aware it’s the only example of it’s kind still in working existance in Europe.

Clive Robinson December 2, 2022 6:29 AM

@ Winter,

Re : Cruel and unusual punishment.

For whom?

The crank rod pretending to do work[1], or their office compatriots who have the distracting thud thud thud of the footfalls if not worse
in the office…

Trust me most people do not look good in “gym kit” be it skin tight body form spandex through to heavy hang style boxing sweats, and don’t get me started on 80’s style leg warmers…

In London during the summer for the past couple of years it’s been an increasing fashion trend for those who think they have “the body beautiful” to wear body form spandex in bright lurid conflicting fluorescent colours with matching top of the line mobile phone and ear buds. For others traveling home after a day of toiling graft it’s a sort of gut churning psychedelic experience that is not welcome in the subterranean gloom of the tunnels and carriages of the “underground” and the harsh flickering dystopian low energy lighting and fetid smell of damp and stale air.

Worse is when such a person rubs up against you in the carriage crush, synthetic of that form against the natural wool of an office suit tends to raise the voltage, worse if the suit is a cheap synthetic, making it a potentially hair raising experience…

[1] There is a good and propper reason why “Road Safety” legislation, regulation and similar say don’t use a mobile phone when driving. Because it divides the attention and most people can not “multitask” in that way (or at all). Worse walking or joging cause your torso to move at the hips and waist which travels up the spine to the shoulders where the arms swing as a natural counter balance. Trying to stop that swing is unnatural and causes stress both physical and mental. Then trying to do fine motor skill activities like typing or using a mouse is going to be impaired. Whilst proponents say “not with time/practice” the fact is most studies so far on those using under standibg desk tredmills have shown that there is a decrease in work capacity especially when high order cognative ability is required. So kind of confirming the old military adage of,

“You can think on your feet, but not on the run”.

FA December 2, 2022 7:43 AM


TNX for the book ref.

For an airliner, accuracy requirements are not very stringent: if your intention is to land at the destination airport, instead of cratering its runways by dropping iron bombs through fog, an INS error of a nautical mile or two is fully acceptable.

The real difference is that airliners are guided by ATC anyway.

But final approach and landing still require high precision. Even for a routine ILS Cat I approach the pilots may have no visual reference at all untill they are just 200 ft above ground – that’s typically less than 20 seconds to touchdown.

This is an area where satellite based navigation has not yet taken over from traditional land based navaids. Most precision approaches [1] and all Cat II and Cat III ones (autoland without any visual reference) still require a traditional ILS (Instrument Landing System). The problem with satellite based navigation is not only reduced accuracy, but also availability and integrity – making sure that the system will not provide any false information without timely indication of failure.

In the long term, only a LAAS (Local Area Augmentation System) will be able to fully replace ILS.

[1] ‘Precision’ in this context means that vertical as well as horizontal guidance is provided.

FA December 2, 2022 8:16 AM


How do submarine-launched ballistic missiles navigate to their targets? Bear in mind that SSBNs are continuously submerged, and constantly changing position, for up to 90 days.

I guess they maintain a pretty good estimate of where they are – how exactly this is done we are probably not expected to know.

The subs will have a gyrocompass, so true north can be tranferred to the missiles.

One way to fix a launch position would be to use LIDAR, measuring the sea bottom profile, at a previously surveyed site.

Another point to consider is that ICBMs are not fully ballistic, not even after the boost phase. The final stage has some (limited) maneuvering capability which it needs anyway to release each of the multiple re-entry vehicles into the correct direction. So some final corrections can be made at this time. AFAIK, the Trident uses star observations to do this.

Winter December 2, 2022 8:31 AM

@FH, MarkH

How do submarine-launched ballistic missiles navigate to their targets?

Use the Earth’s magnetic anomaly field. I have seen rumors about it’s use for ballistic missiles years ago. It has even been published in the open press.

The Air Force Is Going to Navigate Jets Using Earth’s Magnetic Field

Absolute Positioning Using the Earth’s Magnetic Anomaly Field


Clive Robinson December 2, 2022 10:09 AM

@ Winter, FH, MarkH,

Re : Absolute positioning.

“Use the Earth’s magnetic anomaly field.”

You can do that just as you can with contour mapping, both above and below the sea level.

The problem is no hight/strength is realy unique, therefore you can not just “turn it on and wait.

The sensor(s) have to move around to build up the current base position. Howrver the more they move the more accurate the position.

However once established the sensor can follow a “ground track” in the same way fishermen have been doing with sonar since the 1970’s through early 1980’s[1] as the price of the equipment plumeted.

So the hard problem to solve is actually your start or base, position, which could take quite some time.

[1] Once you know where you are and where you want to go. All the sensor has to do is zig zag back n forth across the ground track checking the angle of the gradient. In some cases it’s easier to go directly up or down the slope then chabge direction and go directly up or down a different ground track slope.

Winter December 2, 2022 11:22 AM

An AI to chat with. How long before you do not even notice it is an AI?

If it is to be used as an alternative to Google, as some speculate, it would have to be updated on a daily (hourly?) basis. Not sure whether that is yet possible.

ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue

We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT shows why implementation is key with generative AI

My own example of why I think this is so powerful is timely, if mundane: I asked ChatGPT to provide me with all the various Pokémon Type strengths and weaknesses, and it delivered exactly what I always hope Google will every time I enter a Tera Raid in the new Pokémon Scarlet game and have to try to remember what counters what.

What is ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that’s taking the internet by storm

But while many people were in awe of the abilities of the bot, some were also quick in spotting its limitations. ChatGPT is still prone to misinformation and biases, which is something that plagued previous versions of GPT as well. The model can give incorrect answers to, say, algebraic problems.

And due to the fact that it appears so confident in its super-detailed answers, people can easily be misled into believing those are true.

MarkH December 2, 2022 12:59 PM

Sub Navigation, Pt 1:

@FA, Winter, Clive:

Much about SSBN navigation is classified, and my knowledge of the unclassified bits is less than skin-deep. Here’s what little I know:

Since the early days of nuclear submarines, they’ve carried specialized Ship’s Inertial Navigation Systems (SINS). I was surprised to learn this, because INS errors accumulate so rapidly. Proto-SINS were basically missile INS (with punishing drift rates) … though knowing your position within ten nautical miles might be much better than several days of dead reckoning through variable sub-surface currents.

Over time, the guidance system wizards were able to take advantage of the differences between aircraft and submarine environments to improve their error rates to levels much better than those of airborne INS.

Obviously, submarines have much lower linear accelerations, angular accelerations, and angular rates than jet planes. SINS can be much better protected from environmental disturbances, and don’t need to be lightweight.

MarkH December 2, 2022 1:21 PM

Sub Navigation, Pt 2:

Of course, even the most awesome INS suffers from accumulating error, and accuracy requires a position update from time to time.

But the whole case for survivability of SSBNs depends on their remaining always submerged and silent, which rather limits the possibilities — so it’s best that the INS be very, very good.

One advantage subs have, is that they can carry an extremely accurate gyrocompass. Gyrocompasses correct to Earth’s axis, so there’s no accumulating error: they’re just as good after 90 days as on the first day. Any oscillation about the Earth’s axis (an inherent property of the way they correct) is no problem, because their output can be integrated over long time intervals.

The gyrocompass output can be used to effectively reduce the inertial azimuth error to zero.

MarkH December 2, 2022 1:38 PM

Sub Navigation, Pt 3:

SINS got better and better through the early 1970s, when a step-change in accuracy was achieved using a new technology, the ESGM (Electrostatically Supported Gyro Monitor). It was called a monitor because it didn’t do the full job of the INS, but instead was used to update the INS to limit drift.

Book author McMurran worked at Autonetics when their G-11A electrostatic gyro was selected for the ESGM. The rotating element was a solid beryllium sphere (fabricated with extreme uniformity) perhaps 1 cm in diameter, with total runout limited to about 40 microns, electrostatically supported in a vacuum, and spinning at 216,000 RPM. It had a tiny mass imbalance deliberately implanted to give it an equatorial wobble.

The equipment housing and running the pair of tiny gyros was room-sized, and looked to have a mass of several tons.

MarkH December 2, 2022 1:58 PM

Sub Navigation, Pt 4:

With their exquisite SINS updated by gyrocompass and ESGM, submarines were probably able to roam the seas for about two weeks before needing an external position update.

I really don’t know whether SSBNs are ever permitted to come to periscope depth during a cruise; if so, there’s a variety of straightforward ways to update position.

One technique allowing the sub to stay deep is contour mapping of the ocean floor; the Navy has made some highly detailed charts for this purpose. By passing occasionally through suitably distinctive mapped regions, the sub can update its position with good accuracy.

The simple way to read the bottom is by a sonar ping, which is dangerous because it can disclose the sub’s presence and position. Perhaps they can use a “stealth” low-energy ping for this purpose, or even passive sonar (the ocean is full of noises which will echo from its floor; tricky to image, but computer power might make it feasible).

MarkH December 2, 2022 2:06 PM

Sub Navigation, Pt 5:

The inertial navigation tech described above is history now: today’s SSBNs carry laser inertial systems much simpler, smaller, lighter, more reliable, and far more accurate than their mechanical predecessors — and probably cheaper too.

I’m rather amazed at the reports about using the magnetic anomaly field (or as I prefer to call it, magnetic field anomaly) for precision navigation.

Again, this is something made much more practical — or even possible — by modern computing power. I wouldn’t be surprised if submarines already use it.

Of course, it’s possible to imagine creating artificial anomalies to harm an opponent’s accuracy …

MarkH December 2, 2022 2:15 PM

Sub Navigation, Pt 6:

At the end of the day, the Trident missiles are so good that substantial error in the submarine’s launch position can be tolerated.

The missiles launch with an estimate of their initial position from the INS, and a very good azimuth reference from the gyrocompass.

They don’t need to wait until post-boost for star corrections, and it would probably be a big problem if they did. Our atmosphere is dependably transparent to visible light above 30 km, and probably lower altitudes for longer wavelengths.

The Trident apogee is about 1000 km, so perhaps the first stage not very many seconds into its burn when the missile gets high enough to use its very good astrocompass to update its very good INS.

JonKnowsNothing December 2, 2022 4:16 PM

@ Winter

re: An AI to chat with. How long before you do not even notice it is an AI?

Prolly not long at all.

I talk to my pets.

I talk (back) to the news (audio and written).

I talk to NPCs (1) in video games.

I talk (or rant) at other drivers or delivery trucks.

I even talk to myself. Out loud too.


Long time back on a TV Science Program, an early version of VR+AI was being demonstrated. It was a large dog. The host entered a room and closed the door. The VR-Dog entered and the person could see the image of the dog walking around him but of course there wasn’t anything to pet. The VR-Dog could have interactions based on the food bowl.

At one point the VR-Dog walked behind the host and the host turned around to follow the image of the dog – that wasn’t really there.

So, for a good AI-Bot, prolly ~30 seconds. ELIZA was pretty quick.


1) NPC Non Player Character. Usually a quest giver or guide, sometimes known as the Quest Bestower, compared to other NPCs you might have to interact with.

Clive Robinson December 2, 2022 5:56 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, ALL,

Re : I talk to the trees[1].

“I even talk to myself. Out loud too.”

In science there is the saying,

“If it’s not written down it never happened”

It’s actually not that new an idea, for millennia there has been the philsophical notion of,

“If you do not tell the universe then it can not know”

Which has all sorts of implications that people still hotly debate. Thus most have heard the somewhat trite if nof naff spin off of,

“If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it…”

So you are not “talking to yourself out loud” but “telling the universe” 😉

Interestingly there is more than sufficient evidence that “vocalising an argument gives it both “form and substance” and is a necessary part of reasoning. Much as the,

“If you can not write it in a single sentance then you do not understand it!”


You could also argue –if you were perverse enough,– that as paper is made from wood that comes from trees, writting on it actually is “talking to the trees”…

So obviously I am perverse enough to be obstreperous from time to time if not cantankerous to boot 😉

[1] Is a line written by comedian Spike Milligan for the character “Eccles” in the “Goon Show” back before it was broadcast “to the world” in 1955. Coupled with “that’s why they put me away” for some unacountable reason became a catch phrase in not just British culture. The same line has poped up in several other places one such is the song of the same name in the 1969 film “Paint your waggon” (still one of my favourites for the way they brought the town down). The song was written by “Lerner and Loewe” for the original stage show.

MarkH December 2, 2022 8:18 PM


The Spike Milligan reference was unknown to me, I’m constantly learning new things from you. “Paint Your Wagon” played London’s West End in 1953, so perhaps Spike drew inspiration from Lerner’s lyric.

We were discussing Earth’s magnetic field today. I recently read that on 30 October 2003, a geomagnetic storm induced a seven degree change in compass deviation in Scotland within an interval of 20 hours.

Such storms often wreak magnetic field havoc near in polar regions; the 2003 event was notable for such a powerful disturbance (which caused some disruption to Scotland’s power grid) relatively far south.

Clive Robinson December 2, 2022 11:01 PM

@ MarkH, ALL,

“I recently read that on 30 October 2003, a geomagnetic storm induced a seven degree change in compass deviation in Scotland within an interval of 20 hours.”

Such “natural events” are known to happen, and some have been recorded as molten rock solidified to be measured by geologists and the like.

When you look at the vast energies involved with such storms, you tend to think less and less of the energies in the creations of man. Yes thermonuclear weapons are a very real and credible danger but existential?[1]

When learning to navigate as a pre-teen back in the 1960’s it was firmly impressed on us that “magnetic north was subject to continuous variation” but nobody could then say why.

In the 1970’s some researchers found an interesting and still not satisfactorily explained phenomenon. If you take a large cylinder of iron and drill two holes in it about 1/3rd in from the ends but one rotated about 90degrees around the axis from the other and inserted snugly fitting but freely rotating iron slugs in them and ensured it was all demagnitized it had no magnetic field. Spin either of the slugs on it’s own still no magnetic field. Spin them both and a magnetic field would appear the direction and strength of which was related to the direction and speed the slugs were rotated.

Thus the question of the Earths magnetic field is not just as some imply due to the Sun, or Moon, or Earths rotation, but some complex combination including it would appear the position of the large gas giants…

But also impressed on me when learning to sail “Off Shore” as a teenager and get qualified as such was that the only navigational markers you could rely on were the position of the stars and your tables… Since then we have been spolied by technology.

When I started learning about “surveying” a large chunk was devoted to learning not just how to fix your position with very great accuracy by the stars but also alow for anomalies like “continental drift” which can be upto a couple of inches or so a year in some places.

It was given such emphasis because 1950-1970 was when it all changed… Prior to 1950 plate tectonics and continental drift were “poo-pooed” by the fixists, by 1970 it had all changed… Those learning geology at school today have no idea as to the upheaval it all created…

But even today with a protorype cubsat on my bench, I know not to trust the works of nature or man on earth for navigation, and instead look to the stars those gyroscopes of stability millions of miles distant in their near predictable dance with the solar system rotating around the Milky Way at a leisurely ~230km/sec.

[1] Remember it was less than 75 millennia ago that some natural event reduced mankind to probably no more than 6000 individuals yet here we are at over 7billion with the likes of the US population doubling in less than a lifetime (1950-2005).

MarkH December 3, 2022 2:21 AM

@Clive, re “vast energies”

As a lad, I saw photos (and movies) of solar prominences which could easily envelope a sphere the size of Earth. Kinda makes you think …

Clive Robinson December 3, 2022 4:24 AM

@ MarkH,

“Kinda makes you think “

Yes it does, or sometimes doesn’t…

Back when I was a heck of a lot younger I was with a group of friends doing the teen-friday-night movie and meal thing. And some of us lads had “big ideas” about impressing the young ladies. So we did the B-movie horror flick, which I can not remember but it was one of those Gothic-Satanic type horrors from Hammer.

Well the “evil” got roasted in one of those clasic “hell pit” scenes with lots of flames roaring monster noises etc towards the end of the movie and we lads had got the cuddles we had hoped for. So there we were on leaving with our “protective” arms around our young ladies and about to “go eat” when one of the girls said something about the film ending… And a lad who shall remain forever namless said,

“It makes me think of the baby back ribs and barbeque…”

Needless to say it kind of put a damper on the whole evening from then on in…

But the ultimate stella horror if you like has got to be the output of stars going super-nova that can throw out beams of particles that can cut across a galaxy sterilizing all in it’s path. We are only just being able to reproduce them,

Clive Robinson December 3, 2022 7:51 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : Twit implodes

“Over 2500 per hour now.”

And so the clock winds down…

But does it just tickdown slowly like some “infernal machine” of Victorian melodrama, or like the altimeter in the tail spin plane count fasyet and faster as V^2 rises?

Me thinks a power curve fits best at the moment.

So as a jumping passenger might say to pilot “Pull out, pull out”… But the pilot appears to have had his shot of rice wine and is screaming “Tora Tora Tora”. But there is no Kublai Khan at the gate for a Divine Wind to ravage…

MarkH December 24, 2022 3:32 PM

The Apex of Inertial Navigation, 1:

This is a sort of follow-on to my chain of comments above.

For America’s LGM-118 ICBM (variously called MX or “Peacekeeper”), the guidance boffins created an absurdly perfect mechanical INS called Advanced Inertial Reference Sphere (AIRS).

I’ve seen claims for the missile that the CEP (an estimate of aiming error statistics) of only 40 meters. Sources also claim that AIRS contributed only one percent of this, or crudely 40 cm … I don’t know what to make of such numbers.

However, the claimed drift rate for AIRS was “less than” 0.000015 arc-degrees per hour — that’s 1/20th of an arc-second per hour.

MarkH December 24, 2022 3:43 PM

The Apex of Inertial Navigation, 2:

To put this number in context, from the late 50s through the 60s the state of the art for aircraft and missile INS was about 0.01 degree per hour.

That drift rate was painfully difficult to achieve (you might be amazed by some of the techniques involved), but still resulted in distressingly large targeting errors — AIRS was about 700 times better.

AIRS was literally a spherical assembly, floating in a special fluid with minutely regulated temperature. Hence there were no gimbals (I assume it must have been powered by induction.)

In place of gimbal motors to maintain inertial orientation, AIRS instead used little hydraulic jets to turn itself.

MarkH December 24, 2022 3:52 PM

The Apex of Inertial Navigation, 3:

It’s basic that gyroscopes measured angular rates in INS; perhaps surprisingly, the best accelerometers (for linear rates) contained … gyroscopes. (Look up PIGA for more on that.)

PIGAs were famous for being really hard to build, and a leading contribution to failure rates.

AIRS used a refinement of PIGA called SFIR. The production process for an SFIR took six months! The triplet of these needed for one AIRS cost about USD 2 million in today’s money.

Considering that an INS with ten times the drift would not have meaningfully degraded missile accuracy, AIRS was surely a waste of money, but was an astonishing feat of technical exuberance.

MarkH December 24, 2022 4:02 PM

The Apex of Inertial Navigation, 4:

I don’t have good information on current-technology (ring laser) INS, but I suspect that none of them comes close to AIRS accuracy.

In a way, AIRS was like the Great Pyramid at Giza: nobody will ever again build an INS that good, because it’s ferociously expensive and there’s no practical use case.

If almost all aiming error was NOT from guidance, then where did it come from?

One contributor is unavoidable asymmetry in reentry vehicles (remember, they have ablative noses). This makes them wander a bit from their initial idealized trajectory.

Another is variations in Earth’s gravity; it was not though practical to map these deviations well enough to null them out over the missile’s whole trajectory.

MarkH May 7, 2023 12:39 AM

Sociology of Tech, 1:

A few comments up (The Apex of Inertial Navigation, 1) I reported the amazing claim that one U.S. ICBM guidance system contributed as little as 40 cm to targeting error.

Such exquisite performance is (a) an amazing technical achievement; (b) a heavy drain of resources (see the accelerometers in part 3 above); and (c) completely irrational. Even 10 times as much guidance error would have made zero difference.

I’m now reading “Inventing Accuracy” Donald MacKenzie, MIT Press 1990.

MarkH May 7, 2023 12:45 AM

Sociology of Tech, 2:

Although MacKenzie’s book is a much better summation of the technology than the engineer-written book I referenced farther up in the comments, it’s written by a sociologist — an acutely perceptive one, who was then studying at the University of Edinburgh, where I believe he now works.

It seems plain to me that all major developments in technology must be understood in sociological terms.

MacKenzie set out specifically to answer such questions as how did the quest to improve missile targeting accuracy progress to such meaningless lengths?

How much did demand from nuclear policy makers drive the quest for accuracy, and how much did improvements in accuracy change nuclear policy?

Clive Robinson May 7, 2023 5:22 AM

@ MarkH, ALL,

Re : Quest for accuracy.

“Such exquisite performance is… …(c) completely irrational. Even 10 times as much guidance error would have made zero difference.”

If you make the mistake of thinking a nuclear payload only…

During WWII the Germans put a V-weapon production plant inside a mountain in France with a massive concreat dome on it. Similar with some U-boat “pens” and similar high priority instalations including the V-3 a forerunner of “Gerald Bull” Big Gun” that Iraq was paying for (Which Gerald was hoping to use to further his low cost space launch system HARP)…

Such targets were effectively considered immune to conventional “iron bombs”. Even with the Barnes Wallis “earthquake bomb”[1] some attacks were only going to succeed against relatively small target points of a few feet, such as well defended entrances and exits, tunnels or narrow cracks or faults in natural rock formations.

As such these small target point weaknesses required what many considered at the time impossible accuracy. Thus long before the notion of nuclear missiles the need for great accuracy was required. The German V1 was arguably the first of what became “cruise missiles” and their V2 the first of the ICBM’s, and the V3 will nodoubt become of use in the near future due to the 1/r to the 1/r^2 or 1/r^3 energy of deployment / delivery advantage.

It was again argued by many that such delivery systems were too expensive even for nuclear weapons which accounts for why many German rocket scientists rounded up and brought to the US as part of Operation Paper Clip spent so much time sitting doing nothing in the south of the US (IIRC in the middle of nowhere that is now Fort Bliss, Texas and the adjoining White Sands range). Whilst “Bomb them back to the stone ages” Curtis LeMay was arguing for an aircraft based nuclear deterrent which others in high political office had financial interests in encoraging…

But WWII had shown the need for very long range weapons of very high accuracy to attack not just strategic military but civilian targets[2]. But importantly having a delivery speed that conventional anti-aircraft and similar defences could not stop (an idea still current with hypersonic missile systems).

Thus the need for what appears “ludicrously accurate” weapons was well established, but technically unfulfilled, because of the expense required not just back in the 1930’s when Barnes Wallace thought the weapons up, but even through the next three decades.

But the political success of nuclear weapons had opened the political purse strings and money flowed like a mighty river into technology development. Thus many things were “over specified” for three basic reasons,

1, Spend the money with favourd friends.
2, Even if the specs are not met fully getting part way is probably “good enough for first user advantage”.
3, Push R&D well into the future.

Thus the free hand with money that Nuclear spending was getting, purchased things that the millitary perceived a significant need for but could not get the money directly to develop…

So as so often happens, “one hand washed the other”. You sometimes hear of “The Apollo Effect” an argument that the US economy reaped vast riches from the high tech advancments from the Apollo Program. These days many historians claim it’s not a real effect, that is the evidence is not there. They may be right, but they have kind of missed the point of “Strategic” political and military spending. The idea is only to be “ahead of the enemy” by a very small time window. You get in with first deployment thus “first user advabtage” and the enemy gets fatally wounded in that time window as they can not respond.

It’s the reason the US pushed the “First Strike Defence” idea which legally is a war crime. But boils down to “Might is Right” thinking expressed as “Do unto others before they do unto you” which is what drives the whole crazy “Defence Industry”… Something you can be sure that with what is happening at the far East of Europe currently will be used as the new “marching song” for the US MIC, NATO and similar (so in effect creating an economic depression).

Because the thing is, civilian R&D development now far outstrips Military R&D development, not just in terms of raw finance but speed of development. Thus it’s the military now “getting the crumbs from the table” rather than the other way around as it was into the 1960’s.

Examin what is going on in the Tech industry and how the US is trying to get everything back under it’s military reach. Taiwan Politician’s know, that if the acceed to US demands to move all their seniconductor manufacturing and development to the US, they will loose not just what it does for Taiwan’s economy, but also the military shield the US gives that keeps the Communist Party jack-boots of China out of their country. The same is known by all technology based nations in not just The South China Sea’s but West Pacific and Australia New Zeland, etc.

[1] Barnes Wallis father of the “bouncing bomb” actually realised the need for the “earthquake bomb” very early on prior to WWII, and initially his arguments for it were rejected by “traditional military thinking” or doctrine.


However the design of such a bomb, was comparatively easy, compared to the issue of “Bomb Aiming”. That contrary to US and others claims about being able to “Drop a bomb in a pickle barrel” could actually not hit anything within “a country mile or five” as photo reconnaissance showed. Which was why the concept of “wide area”, “roll back” and “carpet” bombing were developed and why “Fire Storm” bombing against civilian targets was discovered and then more widely used as a “terror weapon” towards the end of the war in Europe, but took the gloves off for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It was not untill later much later during WWII that bomb aiming started to sufficiently improve with first radio-location technological aids, that now give us Global Navigation Satellite Systems, and the fading Decca Navigator etc. However a variation on the Decca Navigator is being looked at for precision systems for unmaned aerial vechile landing and similar systems, that can give millimeter accuracy at comparitively quite low cost.

[2] Imagine if you can the effect of a conventional 2000lb iron bomb going in through the windows of the Oval Office at at an angle then blowing up deep inside creating a subterabian cavern in which the whole building would drop into and disapear out of sight. Nobody would need to be hurt or killed, the image alone would be enough of a weapon.

It was not untill the First Gulf War that the idea of “Smart Weapons” of very high precision entered the public imagination via the visceral displays nightly on “Nationwide TV” to much of the West. And got cemented later by the so called “Bunker Buster Bombs” or “Thermobaric bomb” that were little more than a conventional “iron bomb” case with a “flare material”, “Fuel Air Explosive” or similar more tailored explosive filling with a precision guidence system to get it to “fly deep down a tunnel” or similar strapped on the outside.

MarkH May 7, 2023 1:37 PM


[1] To my knowledge, all ICBM warheads are nuclear.

[2] By the claims I read, the missile CEP was 40 m, with 1% of that from the guidance system. If that’s true, a 10X degradation of guidance would have resulted in 44 m CEP.

[3] The crushing production time and cost of AIRS — along with its size and operating requirements — would effectively prohibit its use in any other application.

[4] It’s not irrational to pursue high accuracy: the U.S. “Small Diameter Bomb” claims 1 m CEP at $200,000 using non-inertial tech. What’s irrational is contributing 40 cm of error — to a 300+ kiloton warhead — at almost 10,000 km by pure inertial measurement.

MarkH May 7, 2023 1:40 PM


I failed to note that MacKenzie’s book is specifically about the development of inertial navigation, and does not address any of the far more economical methods of targeting weapons.

Clive Robinson May 7, 2023 7:24 PM

@ MarkH,

“[1] To my knowledge, all ICBM warheads are nuclear.”

We actually don’t know…

As nobody so far has acknowledged firing an ICBM in anger.

What we do know however is,

1, During testing of ICBM, IRBM, cruise, hypersonic, etc missiles the warheads were not active nuclear packages.

2, More interestingly we know that Russia has been demounting nuclear warheads and replacing them with more conventional warheads in missiles they have been using to try and push forward on their attempted invasion of the Ukraine.

The argument put forward for this Russian action is “they are running short of missiles”. If this is true, then they might keep using existing up short tactical and more strategic Itermediate Range (IRBM) missiles and thus work their way up to the many ICBM’s they have.

Putin has in the past behaved as a “Rational actor” thus the question arises of which would be the more rational view point. Keep strategic weapons of low real utility[1] or convert them to tactical weapons that are currently of utility?

Speaking of rational behaviour,

“What’s irrational is contributing 40 cm of error — to a 300+ kiloton warhead — at almost 10,000 km by pure inertial measurement.”

As I indicated we do not know if there was an unstated reason. I can give you a whole host of quite rational reasons to develop such systems just one of which is space flight. There was a lot going on behind the scenes in the Mercury and later missions involving highly classified equipment. Not least of which was the knowledge of explosive navigation devices built into the capsuals[2]. Generally you do not take such a risky action unless you believe you have good reason to. So yes people do wonder what other “secrets” might have been involved that needed what appear to many to be quite extrodinary measures. An inertial navigation system of that accuracy would certainly be one such “fits the bill” device.

[1] We know from historic records the US military was more than happy to use nuclear weapons not just in the Pacific war, but also the Korean war (it even got discussed as an option for the Vietnam war). That is the US military had no qualms as long as they had effectively a monoply on such “might is right” weaponry. US politicians however baulked at the idea of using nuclear weapons after their first use in the Pacific War, which is why the Korean war did not go nuclear. By then it became clear that other Nation States were going to be not just going nuclear but developing delivery systems that were considered “unstopable” hence the notion that came out of Rand for “Mutually Assured Destruction”(MAD). Since MAD US policy and doctrine changed… and a first strike by the US is seen by many as not just unlikely but ‘unthinkable. So… Putin might see using ICBMs that are nolonger “first line” to carry a conventional warhead as a tactical weapon rather than just scrap them as rational behaviour (which from some view points it is…).

[2] When them Mercury 7 capsule was finally recovered, an interrsting little tit-bit got into the news. When the capsule was lifted onto the recovery vessel deck, the first thing that was done was the removal of an “explosive navigation device”,

Apparently the idea was that if a capsule sank as Mercury 7 did, when it got below a certain depth the device would explode (which it did not). Whilst little information is actually available, the idea appeared to be that the device could be heard by submarine hydrophones upto maybe a thousand miles away. Thus enabling recovery of secret equipment. It’s been said that the Mercury Astronaut’s were deeply unhappy about this explosive device being fitted into the capsule.

MarkH May 7, 2023 7:51 PM


For the sake of precision, “warhead” by etymology and definition is an assembly intended to cause destructive effects in the vicinity of the target.

On average, ICBMs have a lot of test flights, with test payloads sometimes called “dummy warheads.”

I used to work in a facility with a special small lab, with equipment to play back many-track magnetic tapes with data recorded during ICBM flight test from inside the reentry vehicle. How these were recovered I know not, but surely parachutes were involved.

MarkH May 7, 2023 7:55 PM


Note that I very explicitly wrote only about ICBMs — lots of weird things have been done with missiles which are (a) much cheaper, and (b) not so prone to provoke others into nuking you. You may recall Iraq lofting Scuds with concrete loads. [Reportedly, this wasn’t because anybody thought it was a militarily useful … under pressure to launch at a high rate, they gathered up flight-test loads that were in storage.]

Isn’t “location device” much more accurate terminology “navigation device” for the space capsule explosive?

Apollo moonshots had more than 200 pyrotechnics aboard at launch — “WARNING: Do Not Play in or Around.”

MarkH May 7, 2023 8:13 PM

All of the first groups of astronauts were military pilots. At least a few of them had experience with combat aircraft with ejection seats, and all of them flitted about the U.S. in T-38 trainer jets with ejection seats … so sitting on top of a intensely powerful solid rocket motor was all in a day’s work.

Mercury capsules had dozens of explosive bolts and (at takeoff) an escape rocket powerful enough to loft the capsule clear of an (hypothetically) exploding booster in a fraction of a second. You had to be philosophical about very intimate proximity to pyrotechnics.

MarkH May 7, 2023 8:16 PM


From my reading, astronauts had considerable intimacy with the engineering of the capsule — it wasn’t designed in secret. My bet is they would have known about the “depth bomb” location charge.

BTW, until the space shuttles starting killing 7 people at a time, by far the leading cause of astronaut death were those T-38 flights. They were encouraged to fly them very often.

I suppose that in theory, this was to keep up their piloting skills … and of course, it worked with the macho public image of early astronauts.

MarkH May 10, 2023 2:15 AM

MacKenzie (see above) is excellent. It’s also getting expensive to read: I’ve already ordered two of the books he cites, and I’m just getting started.

Estimating position by purely inertial means requires a double integration of raw measurements over the length of time elapsed since the last known position fix (i.e., launch point for a missile).

In double integration, accumulation of seemingly tiny measurement errors leads to extreme errors of estimation … that’s why it took generations to get position error after one hour down to two miles, and decades more to get much better than that.

MarkH May 10, 2023 2:23 AM


The book includes an historian’s account of a brave 1930 test of aircraft inertial navigation.

“The flight, which departed from Berlin-Aldersdorf, was discontinued and the attempt terminated after three hours of flying time when the aircraft equipment indicated a position somewhere in Australia.”

The historian dryly noted that “visual observations confirmed the aircraft position to be at the western border of Germany near Holland.” No kangaroos about.

The concept — a gyrostabilized platform with integrating accelerometers — was sound, but measurement errors had to be reduced by many orders of magnitude.

MarkH May 13, 2023 1:24 AM

Excited today to receive the first referenced book, a bio of U.S. gyro pioneer Elmer Sperry.

It was a presentation copy, with a very tidy label pasted inside naming the recipient, who had been awarded the Sperry Prize.

This made him easy to look up: he died about a year ago, and I could easily visualize his children (or grandchildren) figuring out what to do with his effects.

I found a warm tribute to him by a man who had worked with in the field of marine engineering … who himself passed a few weeks ago.

Growing old myself, I often think about the technologists who came before, and pioneered so many areas of understanding and capability.

MarkH May 13, 2023 10:42 PM

In early December we had some discussion (above) of precision navigation for military submarines intended to stay submerged for long periods.

My reading has brought to my attention something I think I learned long ago, but had forgotten.

One technical gadget is the gravity gradiometer, which can be realized as an accelerometer with enough precision, stability and repeatability to register tiny variations in g from place to place.

Such variations are highly stable, and regions of Earth can be mapped by g at high resolution.

Such gradiometers have been used in subs, and perhaps supplement other measurements from which geographic position can be inferred far beneath the waves.

MarkH May 23, 2023 3:58 AM

Increasing Accuracy, 1

About 150 years ago, a scientist noted that by continuous measurement of the deflection of a mass suspended (like a pendulum) from the ceiling of a train car, the train’s speed and distance traveled could — in principle — be known at all times.

Of course, on a train you needn’t worry about turns if you know which line the train will follow, and you have a pretty good idea of which way is up (vertical vector).

For general inertial navigation, rotation measurement is also needed, hence gyroscopes.

MarkH May 23, 2023 4:04 AM

Increasing Accuracy, 2

From basic physics, it seemed pretty clear that inertial navigation should work if the sensors were accurate enough. But for many years, it was doubtful whether the required accuracy would ever be possible.

Making highly accurate gyros proved to be amazingly difficult, and consumed an enormous amount of engineering effort. I’m now reading some of the history.

The German “V2” rocket’s gyros drifted (wandered away from initial spin axis orientation) at about 7 degrees per hour.

In 1947, a U.S. analysis estimated that the best gyros anyone knew how to build would drift at about 1.7 degrees per hour.

Roughly around the mid 1950s, the state of the art had improved to a few tenths of a degree per hour.

MarkH May 23, 2023 4:16 AM

Increasing Accuracy, 3

Even with this amazing progress, navigation accuracy was very poor. Rockets were helped by short flight times, but needed a lot of development to land within 1 km of the target.

For bombers or cruise missiles needing perhaps 10 hours to reach a target, 1950s gyro drift rates meant several miles of error.

By good fortune, I had a very slight involvement in a project related to testing of an early 1960s inertial measurement unit when I was much younger. It used a pair of Autonetics G9 gyros.

MarkH May 23, 2023 4:23 AM

Increasing Accuracy, 4

According to McMurran (see above), the G9 drifted at 0.01 degrees per hour! I retain a little skepticism, because he also describes it as single-axis, whereas I know it was a 2-axis gyro.

I didn’t see any performance figures in those long-ago days, but I knew that the G9 used a trick for accuracy: the entire case was rotated (at a modest rate) around the gyro spin axis.

Much of mechanical gyro error was caused by deviations from perfect symmetry of the sensing mechanism: rotating the gyro case caused most of the bias to average out to nearly zero.

This stunt required a rotation motor, slip rings, and a nearly perfect case rotation bearing.

MarkH May 23, 2023 4:30 AM

Increasing Accuracy, 5

An enabling technology was a resolver — essentially, a gadget to do precision trigonometry — to map the always-rotating sensor axes onto the fixed axes needed for inertial measurement. And of course, the extra complexity did nothing for MTBF.

Even with all of that effort, the error on target would have been thousands of feet, without Doppler radar to update speed, and an astrocompass to do automated “sextant work” to correct position estimate drift.

The G9 had gas bearings, so the gyro wheel didn’t touch any other part of the assembly. The maintenance manual had illustrations of ten or so workstations or test stands, each of which must have cost tens of thousands of dollars even 60 years ago.

MarkH May 23, 2023 4:42 AM

Increasing Accuracy, 6

If I remember right from 40 years ago, two of those exotic workstations were (respectively) for removing a special coating from the gyro wheel, and re-coating the wheel — part of periodic maintenance.

Even today, with an extravagantly equipped laboratory and state-of-the-art machine shop, making spinning gyros of such accuracy would be nearly impossible.

It’s ancient history now … even the most basic ring laser gyros match G9 drift rates, and fancier models do significantly better than that.

There’s no longer any reason to make such exquisite mechanical instruments.

MarkH May 31, 2023 11:03 PM


You introduced me to the CORDIC system used on early electronic calculators; I just learned a computational tid-bit you might find of interest.

The earliest inertially-guided long-range U.S. missiles used an algorithm called “Q guidance,” apparently derived by holding the time-to-target at some fixed value.

The missile didn’t use Q guidance because time-to-target was critical, but rather because the computational power that could be fitted on a rocket was so limited. The algorithm uses a “Q matrix” (or really, matrices because they vary somewhat through the trajectory).

The matrix could be pre-computed on the ground, and “programmed” (by setting variable resistors, perhaps?) into an analog guidance computer. It was a way of fitting the trajectory problem to electronics of manageable weight and complexity.

MarkH June 25, 2023 12:15 AM


Your 7 May comment questioned my assertion that the AIRS inertial system performance was irrationally high. I’ve done more reading:

1] Some sources say 40 m targeting accuracy without citations, but 90 or 100 m is much better supported.

2] I think I see the origin of the “100X” claim: the gyro drift was supposed to be not more than 0.26 microradians/hr; a drift rate of 28 microradians/hr could by itself cause 90 m of error.

3] AIRS could find true North with the required accuracy (needed for azimuth), and the books say that gyrocompassing requires better drift rates than simply flying the missile. (Finding the azimuth is harder than holding to the azimuth.) This is given as a justification for ultra-low gyro drift.

MarkH June 25, 2023 12:23 AM


I haven’t seen a derivation for gyrocompass accuracy vs. drift, but by my own estimation 0.6 to 0.3 microradians/hr seems to be required, to limit initial azimuth error to 10 m — so one could say that the “excess accuracy” makes sense.

However, Minuteman with 240 m CEP simply adds a purpose-built gyrocompass, rather than doing “double duty” with the guidance gyros.

If the MX designers had done the same, they could have tolerated 10X the gyro drift while achieving about the same CEP.

Each AIRS cost USD 16,000,000 in today’s money. They’re all gone, and the world will never see their like again.

MarkH June 25, 2023 12:27 AM


The Soviets bought a “warehouse full” of Hungarian-made gyrocompasses designed for commercial use, and installed one in each missile silo.

Transferring that instrument’s north reading to the missile was time consuming, because the gyrocompass was undamped, and the crew had to observe and average peaks of its 84 minute “Schuler pendulum” cycle.

Labor-intensive, but economical.

MarkH June 28, 2023 12:04 AM


I’ve been doing a lot of reading about inertial guidance, and found two “truth is stranger than fiction” accounts which relate to Grissom’s Mercury-Redstone 4 flight.

It was the second and final ballistic manned flight, powered by the (relatively) tiny Redstone, which von Braun’s team had designed for the U.S. Army. Redstone was essentially a V2 with a much higher payload weight, but otherwise similar performance.

Although a relatively modern inertial guidance system (made by Ford Motor Co.) had been fitted to Redstone as a nuclear missile, the Mercury version had the Siemens LEV-3 — the same guidance package used in 90% of the V2 wartime launches!

MarkH June 28, 2023 12:13 AM

Part 2:

The project report doesn’t seem to offer an explanation; my guess is that the primitive technology of the circa-1944 guidance system, combined with its large number of completed flights, was judged by the engineers as better able to meet the reliability criteria for the manned mission.

Anyway, I was shocked.

But there’s more … the wartime supply of LEV-3s had long ago been used up, so the Mercury-Redstone units were almost certainly manufactured by Waste King Corporation of Los Angeles, California.

Apparently, they pioneered the under-sink kitchen garbage grinder (or garbage disposal), and made other kitchen appliances such as dishwashers.

MarkH June 28, 2023 12:30 AM

Part 3:

At this point, I was even more shocked.

It’s hard to find info about the company (the brand continued, but the business is long gone). However, it was incorporated in 1946, and one of the three directors listed in the initial filing had a name which seems strongly German to me: Ferne Heinze.

Some personal connection to the “Project Paperclip” guys?

Anyway, it seems that Shepard and Grissom went beyond Earth’s atmosphere steered by V2 guidance systems, manufactured in a garbage disposal factory.

Clive Robinson June 28, 2023 6:32 AM

@ MarkH,

“Anyway, it seems that Shepard and Grissom went beyond Earth’s atmosphere steered by V2 guidance systems, manufactured in a garbage disposal factory.”

Remember that “lowest bidder” quote[1] about hating to think of those brave men going into space at the lowest contract bid price?

[1] A number of early astronauts are kbown to have made the quote in various forms at various times, and it was certainly not original to the Space Race, similar has been said about all military use equipment at one point or another. But currently most believe it was John Glenn with,

“I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of 2 million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract.”

Remember the same applies to all airliners, only it’s a different set of bean counters and bosses. It’s been said of even the 747 that had nearly a production life spanning seven decades (68-23), enough airmiles under it’s wings to have got you “out to the stars” or more correctly the moon and beyond and well mainly did what it said on the tin.

MarkH June 28, 2023 3:12 PM


After his extra-eventful Mercury flight, Grissom told reporters “well, I was scared a good portion of the time; I guess that’s a pretty good indication.”

I’ve taken a close look at a Mercury capsule. After absorbing how tiny it is, my impression was that (exotic materials aside) it looked like a hobbyist garage project — and not in a good way.

In the last days before the first manned flight, the astronauts set up a rotation for 24-hour watch, to prevent engineers from making “last-minute improvements.”

MarkH June 28, 2023 3:28 PM

I just read from Wikipedia that (a) one reason for choosing Redstone was its many flight tests, and (b) they indeed reverted to the old LEV-3 for reliability.

LEV-3 deserves its own page: it’s so wonderfully primitive, that anybody who could build dishwashers could manufacture it (if they were German, anyway).

The Siemens-designed gyros drifted at 7 degrees per hour, about 1000000 times worse than AIRS. But state-of-the-art inertial systems typically had lousy MTBF (before laser gyros). 747s carried 3 redundant INS … any fewer would be useless.

I now suspect that INS change-out is one of the major causes for crews to enter missile silos (in the U.S., ICBMs still use mechanical sensors).

MarkH July 3, 2023 1:28 AM

continued: This effect isn’t critical for artillery: fired rounds travel in the grip of aerodynamic forces, which (within the limits of wind speed) anchor them to the “Earth’s crust” reference frame implicit in maps.

Above the atmosphere, ballistic missiles follow arcs through inertial space, where the latitude effect can seriously displace the impact point.

Even more complicated: while the missile is climbing through the atmosphere — and again, after the start of reentry — it’s anchored (like an artillery round) to the surface-oriented reference frame.

There’s also a whole menagerie of other effects, large and small.

Clive Robinson July 3, 2023 4:01 AM

@ MarkH, ALL,

Re : It’s in orbit Jim but not as we know it.

“There’s also a whole menagerie of other effects, large and small.”

Yup, including hat tips to Albert Einstein and Sir Issac Newton.

The problem is,

The more precision we look for and the faster we want it the closer those edge and corner effects of chaos and uncertainty get, until we are “hard up against the sides of the box” marked “possible”.

But even near the middle of the box we “have fun”…

Most people if they tgink about it at all, tend to think of missiles as “ballistic” like shells from a gun or like glorified high speed RC planes of “cruise” missiles. But few outside of physics and those developing them think of them as being “in orbit” and all that involves, including relativity.

Time passes differently for those in high latitudes to those in low latitudes. Also in which direction you travel. We’ve practically not just theoretically proved this with atomic clocks on commercial jet planes way back last century and every day since with radio signals.

It effects satellites in orbit like GPS Systems and thus requiring their need for continuous corrections, it also effects the mobile phone in your pocket and some of the test equipment on my bench.

Few realise just how much we actually measure with time, and the speed of light, and how even Sir Issac gets a look in via his infinitesimals (“for the younger readers” in high school you call it a part of calculus and tends to be obscured vy limits[1] 😉

Fun thing to do for homework… Work out approximately how much in terms of distance the Earth’s slowing down wobble caused by the other “celestial bodies” in the solar system effects things…

I’ve yet to hear anyone blaim the gas giants on the rifle range but hey give it time 😉

[1] For those wanting to get a little more depth see if you can get to read Prof. John L. Bell’s book
“A Primer of Infinitesimal Analysis” ISBN 9780521624015

MarkH July 3, 2023 5:06 AM

I haven’t yet read anything about relativistic corrections for ICBMs, and I guess that their 100 m (best case) miss distance is too big for such small influences to matter.

A much bigger source of targeting error — which gets more and more hairy, the closer one looks — are the variations in the gravitational acceleration vector throughout the trajectory.

Altitude, lunar and solar gravity, variations in geologic mass distribution, changing sea levels (including tidal shifts), volcanism, and extraction of petroleum and well water can all factor in.

MarkH July 5, 2023 11:03 PM


After a little reading, I concluded that solar gravity is too small to worry about … but you probably have to take account of the moon to shave a meter or two from your CEP.

And already in the 1950s, the wandering of Earth’s poles was identified as a potentially non-negligible source of targeting error: it seems that they can wander more than 15 meters, and their rate of motion is much greater than I would have imagined: they can move more than a meter in two months.

If Galileo really stamped his foot on the ground and said “but it moves!” he was correct in more ways than one.

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