Friday Squid Blogging: Grounded Fishing Boat Carrying 16,000 Pounds of Squid

Rough seas are hampering efforts to salvage the boat:

The Speranza Marie, carrying 16,000 pounds of squid and some 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, hit the shoreline near Chinese Harbor at about 2 a.m. on Dec. 15.

Six crew members were on board, and all were rescued without injury by another fishing boat.


However, large swells caused by the recent storm caused the Speranza Marie to pull loose from it anchored position and drift about 100 yards from from its original grounded location in Chinese Harbor, according to the Coast Guard.

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 December 30, 2022 at 5:56 PM116 Comments


Beatrix Willius December 30, 2022 8:22 PM

Blog article in German from Chaos Computer Club at

CCC captures US military biometrics database

The U.S. military has used masses of devices to biometrically enroll people in Afghanistan. Some devices were left behind during the hasty withdrawal of NATO troops. CCC researchers have found large amounts of biometric and other personal data in analyses of such devices. In the wrong hands, this data means danger to the lives of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The biometrics devices were used to identify people, including at checkpoints when searching for wanted persons, or to control access for local forces. On used U.S. military equipment, we discovered, among other things, an unprotected biometrics database containing names, fingerprints, iris scans, and photographs of more than 2,600 Afghans and Iraqis.

Clive Robinson December 31, 2022 1:19 AM

@ Beatrix Willius, ALL,

Re : Left behind bio-metrics

“The U.S. military has used masses of devices to biometrically enroll people in Afghanistan. Some devices were left behind during the hasty withdrawal of NATO troops.”

Actually it was the US “Inteligence Community”(IC) masquerading as soldiers “being under flag” in uniform, which gained them the protection of the “Geneva Convention” their actuall activities should not have entitled them to.

The fact the US IC left behind such large quantaties of data “is to be expected” as they have a very long history of doing exactly this from WWII onwards. Much to the detriment of those left behind on almost all occasions.

After all do those who grab such records realy care if you were “co-operating” with US IC willingly or under significant duress?

Nope as far as they are concerned you were a traitor and more than likely as not treat you as such. And in quite a few cases “not worth a bullet” just a stab with a knife, or public beheading or hanging as a warning to others. Look back over what happened with the fall of the Shar of Persia, in what we now call Iran.

Just think back to the “underpants bomb” plot, US politicians were more than happy to “burn the source” who was an asset from another country that had taken years to get into place. Then there was the work of the Dutch Inteligence service, using the cameras in laptops to identify Russian and other hackers working for the Russian Government. Again US politicians and US IC blabed it all out thus “burning the method”.

But more recently the truely appaling lack of security of agent handling via a very insecure Internet based system. That Iran and China used to identify and interrogate / torture / exocute dozens if not potebtially hundreds of people.

iAPX December 31, 2022 10:26 AM


“end-to-end encryption” now means (Apple) encrypted data through a derivative of a password, so essentially weak secret key symmetric encryption.

“zero knowledge” now means (LastPass) that some data are in plain text (or Base64!) and totally exposed.

What’s the next concept to be abused by PR people and their companies?!?

Winter December 31, 2022 10:46 AM

Your political party affiliation can influence your life expectancy, at least it has done so in the previous 2 years.


But we can also conclude that gullibility is a deadly mental condition. But we already knew that.

Nick Levinson December 31, 2022 12:31 PM

New cars and trucks are to get kill switches operable by law enforcement and able to notice whether the driver is impaired, the switches to be mandatorily installed by vehicle manufacturers under recent Federal law, with enforcement delayed by 5 years, according to Motorious (as accessed yesterday).

Phillip December 31, 2022 1:25 PM

@Beatrix Willius, @Clive Robinson:

It would nice to get some kind of response from appropriate US officials. This is great from one standpoint: there are plenty of researchers who look into this sort of thing.

Researchers of voting machines in the US were getting drowned out by voices who did not respect the work of researchers. Anybody who does this kind of research ought to be acknowledged. Good job, “Chaos”; “Control” is watching out for you!

SpaceLifeForm December 31, 2022 3:57 PM

But why?

In theory, it is not their problem.


I know you are but what am I? Infinity! December 31, 2022 8:14 PM

“What’s reality? I don’t know. When my bird was looking at my computer monitor I thought, ‘That bird has no idea what he’s looking at.’ And yet what does the bird do? Does he panic? No, he can’t really panic, he just does the best he can. Is he able to live in a world where he’s so ignorant? Well, he doesn’t really have a choice. The bird is okay even though he doesn’t understand the world. You’re that bird looking at the monitor, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I can figure this out.’ Maybe you have some bird ideas. Maybe that’s the best you can do.”

  • Terry A. Davis

Ted December 31, 2022 11:01 PM

Auld Lang Syne from Ireland. Beautiful. Happy New Year.

In other Irish news: a digital stamp.

The Emerald Isle now offers a digital stamp for use within the country. Residents can use the postal service’s app to generate a 12 digit alpha-numeric code and write it on the envelope where the stamp would go. On top of that, the postal service will send a notification when the mail is delivered. Must say, that would be a fun stamp to add to a collection.

modem phonemes December 31, 2022 11:20 PM

@ Ted

digital stamp

You now pay directly for your index into the relational database of mailings ! How cool is that ? 😉

ResearcherZero December 31, 2022 11:55 PM

“…For those two cases bring to life otherwise esoteric questions about whistleblower laws: Who is to be protected, under what circumstances, and from when? How should the inequality of financial arms be handled?”

“Invariably, whistleblowers report the wrongdoing of big companies and governments, who have enormous resources. How do we ensure the reported wrongdoing is investigated and acted upon, and not swept under the carpet?”

“The problem with complaining to your organisation, whether it’s defence or not, is you can’t have your own organisation deciding whether your complaint is valid or not. You need some third party to look at it, and they can then go to the police, or they can advocate on your behalf for some sort of action.”

“I am very possibly facing the rest of my life in prison,” McBride said.

“If I have to go to jail, I’ll go to jail with my head held high.”

The appeals court argued the law’s protections do not apply to securities fraud. The D.C. Circuit’s decision relied on a 2010 Supreme Court case, Morrison v. National Australia Bank, in which the justices held “when a statute gives no clear indication of an extraterritorial application, it has none.”

Morgan Stanley has denied retaliating against Garvey.

modem phonemes January 1, 2023 12:16 AM

@ I know you are but what

The bird does understand the world. What is a bird ? It is to fulfill the end of being a bird. This end does not seem to involve computers as such, for birds have been fully and happily in act since long before there were computers. There does not even seem to be a potential for inclusion in the end of being a bird. Computers are not a good for birds.

You do better than the bird. What is a human being? It is to fulfill the end of being a human being. The human has also long been in act before computers actually existed. But here there does seem to be the potential for inclusion of computers in the end, for human beings intellectualized and then made the artifact. But is the computer then part of the end of being human ? This would be true if the computer were a human good, since the end is always the good. It seems to me that the computer is a very limited good.

Who? January 1, 2023 8:28 AM

First of all, I would like to acknowledge @Clive Robinson, @JonKnowsNothing, @SpaceLifeForm, @MarkH and @Nick Levinson for the tips to sort the strict moderation filter on this forum. Hope this time it will pass—I will entirely rewrite the post now.

Now what I observed:

  1. 3mdeb Sp. z o.o., the corporation behind firmware on the PC Engines devices, has not released a firmware update since August 26, 2022. It usually had a monthly release schedule.
  2. No new updates, even commits to github, since August. I am not talking only about coreboot release schedule for these embedded computers, not a single commit to the source code I am aware of.
  3. 3mdeb owner key has been updated, last canary has been re-signed with just a minor typo fixed. As said, Mr. Krol key has been updated, but its date has not, but it may be just github playing games with file creation/modification dates. I cannot really be sure.
  4. There had been no new canary published on the first two weeeks of December. It is certainly concerning:

    6. We plan to publish the next of these canary statements
    in the first two weeks of December 2022. Special note should be taken
    if no new canary is published by that time or if the list of statements
    changes without plausible explanation.

Do you have some information on this matter? I know the new APU 7 has problems PXE booting from its new 2.5 Gbps integrated NIC, so perhaps they are working full-time on fixing this issue. I do not like, however, how events are evolving.


Who? January 1, 2023 8:40 AM

About the PC Engines coreboot-based embedded computers whose name we cannot publish, as it triggers the moderation filter, last firmware version is It has been announced on the PC Engines blog, but not on the download page. Should we return to

Nick Levinson January 1, 2023 9:55 AM


While I understand that a PC Engines server might be meant for security and this blog is about security, there may be no one reading this page who knows about those servers.

For example, I do not know if rolling back to an earlier firmware version is even possible.

Your questions seem more suited to a hardware forum or possibly a software forum, especially a hardware forum where people already discuss PC Engines servers and APU-7 cables, if I have correctly identified the hardware you are concerned about. The producer of the servers has a support page and it points to an official forum. Unofficial fora may also be a good idea, although you may have to dig through Google to find them. I suggest this search terminology, including the quotation marks as shown:

“PC Engines” forum

In any forum, see if your question has already come up and been answered. If it hasn’t, post your own question.

Who? January 1, 2023 10:38 AM

@Nick Levinson

Those PC Engines embedded computers are great security devices (routers, firewalls, IDS). Designed to run BSD operating systems (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD and others) or Linux, these embedded computers are one of the few ones that provide an updated traditional BIOS (not UEFI), disabled SMM by default, no Intel ME, and other great features.

Hardware has been discussed on this forum in the past, so I cannot really agree with this one being the wrong forum… plus I do not want to register on a forum to post a message, not to say an official forum; canaries have been conceived to talk where talking is not allowed. On the other hand, I do not expect an honest response from the manufacturer if it has been received a national security letter or other form of administrative subpoena.

I had been looking for months, no one has noted anything odd with relation to 3mdeb or PC Engines on the forums I have looked for an answer.

Rolling back firmware should be possible. Never did it, but see no reason it would fail. Just boot, let us say, OpenBSD on it in single user mode and run flashrom with the old, downgraded, binary.

Of course, if you think this forum is not the right place to talk about this issue I will not insist.

Who? January 1, 2023 10:47 AM

@Nick Levinson

I understand you have identified correctly the problem with the new generation of embedded devices:


I hope all is related with an effort to provide network booting to the Intel i225 NICs on these new devices, but I must admit I had a hard time trying to understand why they failed with the critical canary update, why they have not provided new coreboot releases for these embedded devices in the last months or why they have re-signed an old canary with the new key only to fix an obvious typo.

Who? January 1, 2023 11:05 AM

@Nick Levinson

Please, note that I have asked the question about 3mdeb/PC Engines more from a political point of view than a technical one. It is not a technical question about these devices but more an administrative, legal or even government-related, question.

I know how upgrading/downgrading the firmware, checking the integrity of the downloaded binaries using GnuPG and so on. My question is about the lack of a new canary, as the one we were expecting for december has not been published yet at January 1st, 2023.

Nick Levinson January 1, 2023 11:28 AM


Now when I look it up in Google snippets, I see you probably are right: rollback may often be possible, depending on the device. I had thought that a firmware update could change firmware in places and ways that a previous version could not anticipate so that a rollback would miss bits to roll back, but apparently the last pre-update version may be preserved as an image so that rollback could be reliable. But I’m not sure and please don’t rely on the last 2 sentences unless you do your own research and independently agree with them.

There isn’t much posting of hardware questions on this blog and even less of answers other than security implications of broader interest and what there is, other than security issues, may be on this blog by mistake.

Since you seem to want to protect your privacy, you may want to ask someone else whom you trust to keep your identity secret to find out for you, even to post your question for you and to check for answers and pass them along to you. It is possible that your question combined with any prior contact or history would identify you with fair probability, so that may affect your decision on asking. There used to be anonymous forwarding services, but I don’t know if they still exist. There are ways of anonymously reading the Web, such as the Tor browser, but not all websites permit full interaction through Tor.

JonKnowsNothing January 1, 2023 11:46 AM

@Clive, @SpaceLifeForm, ALl

re: CHOVNADO swirls

A few bits of information showed up on CHOVNADO

  • The reported China COVID variant is BF.7.
  • BF.7 has been dominant in Australia. (dunno the current status there)
  • BF.7 has been in USA for some time. Declining in scope to ~3%.
  • BA.5 is dead in the USA. BA.5 had been dominant last year.
  • BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 were the replacements for BA.5 in the USA until recently
  • The new dominant in the USA is XBB.1.5
  • XBB is a recombinant variant of SARS-CoV-2. XBB.1.5 is part of the of XBB lineage.

** Recombinants are the combined lineages of 2 or more different branches. The variations of concern, are those that have pulled in immune escapes genes from 2 separate lineages. Often times the recombinants will have enhanced profiles with additional genes from both families.

  • XBB.1.5 first marked growth by CDC ~12 03 2022. Now 40% of reported events 12 31 2022.
  • XBB.1.5 is fastest growing in the Eastern part of the USA. BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are still the major lineages in the West.

** It can be expected that another wave beyond the Super Spreader Holiday Waves currently sweeping the West, will be the arrival of XBB.1.5 from Jan 2023 celebrations travel.


Information on USA variants are from CDC reports 12 31 2022

Who? January 1, 2023 11:58 AM

@Nick Levinson

I am not aware about a rollback mechanism on these embedded computers; on the other hand, as soon as I believe a firmware upgrade works as expected I usually reflash the device again to replace the backup copy of the firmware too (it was a common practice for me on the Sun SPARC’s OpenBOOT PROM, and do it these days on the Dell PowerConnect and Networking switches). Perhaps a bad practice, considering this time the concerns are not related with the firmware performance but with the existence of a possible hidden, and greatly unwanted, feature.

I believe downgrading will work; in any case, there is a chance to buy a recovery device from PC Engines that will flash one of the oldest firmware releases on these devices from a copy stored in a ROM once attached to a port on the motherboard.

Last four firmware images at least have the exact same size (8388608 bytes), and it is possible instructing flashrom to not preserve the current settings if it matters, but will probably wait some time to know how events evolve. The devices I own are on an air gapped network and do not want to expose them to the ultrawild-west of Internet at least by now.

You are right, I have been a very private person for decades. Long time since the penet remailer was turned off, but it had a history of compromises that made it mostly useless for real world usage. Will consider using a Tor browser if I decide opening an account on a forum, but will avoid the official ones as I do not expect anything valuable from them if PC Engines or 3mdeb have received a NSL.

Hope someone on this forum has something to add. I am a bit worried about the lack of firmware upgrades for more than four months and, now, an updated canary.

JonKnowsNothing January 1, 2023 12:00 PM

@ Nick Levinson, @Who?, All

re: Firmware Updates and Rollbacks

It all depends on the mfg and their internal design whether a rollback is possible or even advisable.

If rollbacks are supported, the switch will be done by 2 images: old and new. The old one will be in a memory section, from which it was originally imaged. The new version will be in a swap out image area, which after in change will be tagged as the archive version.

The versions are written into firmware and alterations made by the new image. Rollbacks, again depending on the scope, do not “undo” the new image, they write over the image.

It’s a similar problem to software rollbacks where a new change is added but the rolled back version does not undo the new change. So if the new firmware updated some part of the system, the old version doesn’t know about that. You end up with mixed versions.

It is possible that an undo feature is included in the rollback option but you need to be sure you fully understand what got slammed and what didn’t. If you are fully paranoid, and have full chain of all updates, you can try a factory reset and reapply changes 1×1 until you get to the one you are concerned about. Yep, takes much longer but you do not end up with mixed updates.

Anything with firmware, needs extra vigilance, because some chips have limited Write cycles. If you hit the limit of Writes, your device is a brick. (btdt)

Paul Lock January 1, 2023 1:30 PM


Thank you for all you do.

In this time of minimum privacy, maximum fake news, and endless peril, you are a touchstone of veracity, ethics and a bit of hope. 😉

I look forward to another year of your work.


Who? January 1, 2023 1:43 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, @ Nick Levinson, All

I think I will wait to see how this event evolves in the next weeks. This device is, as said, in an airgapped network so damage should be limited. I think no PC Engines embedded computer provides a rollback mechanism like the one you describe in previous posts on this thread, as a difference to PowerConnect switches or Sun SPARC64 workstations and servers that store two firmware images on each device.

Hopefully, firmware images on these devices are monolithic instead of incremental, so in case I need to downgrade it there is a chance to get a clean device by just flashing the old firmware and returning BIOS to factory settings.

Indeed, I have two off-line copies of all firmware versions released for my devices, either workstations, servers, network appliances and embedded ones. I have some hashes stored for these files (at least MD5, SHA256 and SHA512) and check them all. Even if some checksums (e.g. MD5) are easy to counterfeit, I do not see an obvious way to provide a modified firmware image that has a concurrent collision on all these different checksums.

JonKnowsNothing, I am sorry to know you bricked some devices after hitting the maximum number of write cycles. Never happened to me and, as said, we usually flash each firmware revision twice once we know the first one is functinoal. It seems I had been very lucky.

Let us see what happens to PC Engines and/or 3mdeb; it is odd that no one has commented on this matter as a new canary has not been published on the expected time frame. This behaviour should be suspicious. Not to say, if no new firmware images have been released for months and the signature of the owner of PC Engines has been replaced with a new one.

Who? January 1, 2023 1:51 PM

@ iAPX

What’s the next concept to be abused by PR people and their companies?!?

Privacy friendly corporations, meaning corporations that highly appreciate your data as a core element on their business model while providing a false sense of security to their customers.

Our world needs to be “written from scratch”. Unfixable beyond any repair.

SpaceLifeForm January 1, 2023 2:46 PM

@ Who?, Nick Levinson, JonKnowsNothing

I would rollback if possible, otherwise start over and roll forward. Up to maybe 2 or 3 releases back.

It is sus.

Note the size of the firmware image is not going to tell you anything.

SpaceLifeForm January 1, 2023 3:03 PM

@ MarkH, Clive, ALL

So, in this New Year, what will JWST tell us?

Here is a re-posted article about a specific item that, as expected, raised more questions than answers.


Who? January 1, 2023 3:07 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm

flashrom(8) is a generic firmware upgrade tool, it just dumps the contents of a SPI flash chip, once identified, to a file (“backing up flash contents”) or vice versa (“upgrading firmware on the device”). I may be wrong, but hope these images having all the same size means that firmware will be completely overwritten by flashrom(8) during upgrade, removing any trace from previous firmware.

Obviously, we need to care about the BIOS configuration area too. Will look at the board description to see if there is a jumper that helps erasing this memory area.

Indeed, I may return to a previous firmware version soon. Right now, the device is turned off and waiting for a more careful analysis.

SpaceLifeForm January 1, 2023 3:26 PM

@ Clive, JonKnowsNothing, ALL


It is BAD. It will dominate.

The worst in the 3 years of this pandemic.


Who? January 1, 2023 3:44 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, MarkH, Clive Robinson, All

The standard model is alive (yet)…


It is just a misused quote from Allison Kirkpatrick. Mrs. Kirkpatrick never said big bang did not happen. There is enough evidence yet, as the cosmic background radiation, proving otherwise.

lurker January 1, 2023 4:03 PM


… a new canary has not been published on the expected time frame. This behaviour should be suspicious.

Suspicion can be dangerous when combined with a free imagination. We live in interesting times, pandemic, extreme weather, holiday season, … I am aware of two websites that received regular weekly updates, but have not since mid 2020, yet remain online.

JonKnowsNothing January 1, 2023 4:36 PM

@ Who?, @ Nick Levinson, All

re: monolithic vs incremental updates

fwiw: In all the companies I worked at there was a Forever-Argument about updates. Not just about functionality and technical delivery paths (open, paid, push, pull, shove).

A great deal of beefing was over the entire scope of the package. A full image of the system or only the portions that needed updating. (1) Most had stopped at direct editing patches: poking a code segment into the middle of an existing obj or executable. Things were more weird with DLLs hanging out on the device HUD/UI.

It would not be a safe bet that any update is a “full image”. Most will only be a replacement for a particular aspect of the device. That aspect will be swapped out but not the entire system.

  • ex: System = subsystems A B C D / update swaps segment C but not AB D

It sounds like you know the device system very well, so you probably have a good idea of what’s being switched or have monitored what was getting changed. (2)

Air-gap isn’t any guarantee of anything these days. Better than nothing, but not a significant deterrent against the determined.


1) rl tl;dr In one case, the update was critical and would normally have been done as part of the maintenance window on the device. The problem was that it was a) serious and b) once patched the fixed device would no longer talk with an un-patched device.

As you might well guess, having parts of the network no longer talking to each other was “problematic”. The other problem was the “breadth and width of the window for The One to open the door”. The patch took a long time due to several security checks, validations, etc plus the patching time. It was going to take about 3 years to patch all the devices using the maintenance window.

Yep, it was not a happy day at the office…

2) Pet Peeves are updates that claim to update X or Z but slipstream in an change to B. B won’t be on any manifest or update list or detailed list. When challenged a mfg will fall back to

  • it was a critical patch and we needed to get it out there asap and didn’t have time to go through the normal procedures

They of course, will not tell you what that critical thing was, and have no intention of documenting it after the fact. Naturally, they never expected you to notice the change in the first place.

pup vas January 1, 2023 5:42 PM

@Nick Levinson • December 31, 2022 12:31 PM
=But wait, there’s more. This kill switch “safety” system would be open, or in other words there would be a backdoor. That would allow police or other government authorities to access it whenever. Would they need a warrant to do that? Likely not. Even better, hackers could access the backdoor and shut down your vehicle.

It’s time for not only car enthusiasts but also regular Americans to get loud and tell their US Representatives and Senators what they think of laws like these. Obviously, {!!!} our elected officials don’t care too much about our safety or privacy, so we need to remind them what we expect now and moving forward.=

Above – from the link you provided.
{!!!}They do not until personally affected by safety or privacy violation. As more years in the office elected officials stop representing interests of the people of the district or State but rather their own interests.

SpaceLifeForm January 1, 2023 6:29 PM

@ Clive, ALL

ARPANET adopted TCP/IP 40 years ago today.

The first router was called the Interface Message Processor.

Here is a bit of history.


Clive Robinson January 1, 2023 8:09 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, JonKnowsNothing, lurker, Winter, ALL,

Re : It is BAD for some but all?

With regards XBB.1.5 and,

“The worst in the 3 years of this pandemic.”

Yes and no, we just do not have enough data to know.

The figures we do have are in many ways “selective” not “general” and I’m not in any way implying any kind of coverup or conspiracy, it’s just the nature of the way these things work.

Look at it this way you have populations,

A, Not vaccinated, 10% or less infected.
B, Not vaccinated 45% or more infected.
C, 80% vaccinated 20% or less infected.
D, 80% vaccinated 45% or more infected.

The vaccines used are not the same in all groups.

At the moment we are getting figures from only a couple of those groups and we are trying to project forward into the other groups.

Personally I think we will get some surprises along the way. The US population though having a high rate of vaccination, realy only had one type of vaccination mRNA which few think will now have any real efficacy as it’s coverage skirt was way to narrow, thus vaccine escape happened early on with it. The UK had two vaccines the, experimental mRNA and the more traditional Oxford AZ, thus will have in effect two vaccine profiles. The most traditional vaccine that should have had the broadest skirt was the lokes of Sianovac where basically you brew up lots of active strains, mix them up, deactivate them chemically and inject in all the fragments, for the individuals body to chose which bits it wants to recognize as a threat. The skirt is broad but the efficacy lower.

But… What do we mean by “efficacy” it’s open to debate such as,

1, “If you catch C19 it’s failed”
2, “If it keeps you out of hospital it’s a success”

At the moment what we realy need and nobody is giving is way more detailed break down of information by which we can start making judgments.

Oh and we need “all risks” included, mRNA for C19 as was is now assumed to be usless as the strains it was developed for nolonger exist. However no vaccine is risk free, and there is increasing evidence from autopsies that mRNA is significantly linked to sudden death in the young due to it’s effects on heart muscle.

Which in reality means in the younger age groups the risk of having the vaccine is around a thousand times greater than not having the vaccine “WITH THE CURRENT STRAINS”… But “NOBODY HAS A CLUE” with these new strains just opinion not yet on figures.

But that mRNA vaccine risk… Is it down to the vaccine, or the way the vaccine is given? There is evidence to suggest that if given into a blood vessel rather than muscle that the risks could differ by upto 10000:1… From studies on mice.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve not had a booster even though I did try to get one… The reason was that within three weeks of having had my second vaccine shot I was in hospital with a blood clot the size of the end of your thumb in my heart… The cardiologists think it was because I was on the wrong anti-coagulation medicine, those involved with immunization are going “ah hum, hmmm, lets not go there”. Which was fine as long as the pathogenicity of the C19 mutations was dropping, but now it’s “apparently not?”

And when you ask those that should know all they do is “shuffle their feet” and “look embarrassed” and avoid answering…

The reality is that for nearly everyone reading this blog there is “no qualified advice”…

Have a serious,think on that, then remember the 4-12weeks lead time for boosters to reach their best efficacy and that the US may have only 3weeks for the latest strain to be dominant… So it may already be “too late”…

Phil January 1, 2023 8:26 PM

I’ve been trying to find information on the “Intel Management Engine”. I thought I saw an article or two on this site but can’t seem to find them using duckduckgo. If you know of any article on this site about the “Intel Management Engine” please post it. If you know about this system and would like to share it, please do.
Thank You

Clive Robinson January 1, 2023 8:41 PM

@ Who?, JonKnowsNothing, MarkH, SpaceLifeForm, Winter, All

Re : The standard model is alive

I need to say up front I don’t “believe” in either “the standard model” or “Big Bang” as “currently expounded”, because, well, to be blunt,

“You don’t fix a leaky bucket by inventing some magical cure all.”

Even by calling it “Dark Matter”.

I’m not a “denier” or “It was this way” alternative explanation type of person it’s just that with way too little evidence and way to much that does not stack up, and worse the more we find out the less things stack up, I feel people need to be a little more honest about things.

I was never happy with the notion of “cosmic inflation” where people tied themselves in knots trying to say that the Universe could expand faster than the speed of light “on just this one occasion” the arguments were at best flaky / contrived back then and somethings don’t change.

Will we get to the bottom of things, probably not, because of the “something out of nothing” issues[1] but the journy is atleast entertaining, so I’m along for the ride 😉

[1] The “Where did our universe come from argument” boils down to,

1.1, It’s always existed
1.2, We can not look back to find out.

The “always existed” starts to flap around like a loose sail in a gale when you consider what infinity realy means… And well the reason you can not look back is well if nothing existed before the big bang, then time did not exist, and that has some strange implications of it’s own. So it’s possible both answers are right, in that there could have been an infinite number of big bangs leading to some kind of colapse and back again, or each big bang occurs in an existing universe and pushes what is now the previous universe out like the layer in an ever expanding onion… Such is the fun with guessing games, where evidence is at best scant.

Nick Levinson January 1, 2023 9:20 PM


The Intel Management Engine is mentioned on this website. Do this search in Google (although you won’t have the privacy protection of DuckDuckGo, DDG doesn’t offer Google’s search results):

“Intel Management Engine”

Include the straight quotation marks as shown to push irrelevant results further down.

For info on the “site:” search operator (note that there’s no space on either side of the colon in the search string), see

Nick Levinson January 1, 2023 9:28 PM

If a nuclear attack on the U.S. comes anytime soon, 6 U.S. cities, New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., may be the first to be hit and are inadequately prepared. These cities have critical infrastructure needed for security and large dense populations. An article (probably the same article) is in Business Insider and Yahoo (the article may be 3 years old).

EMP destruction of computer systems would also be likely.

While the article essentially calls for more prep, a contrary view was that it’s pointless and effort should instead go into preventing nuclear war, or all war especially if any war could escalate into nuclear war. That contrary view is likely based on the belief that nuclear war is not survivable anyway. On the other hand, while deaths would be many, injuries to the living would be major, and destruction of physical things would be immense and widespread, there would be some survivorship. Washington, D.C., has Raven Rock, the subject of a recent book, a hidden cave to which key Federal government officials would go to work and live. Chaos would be big; for example, while there are succession plans for the President and other offices, what happens if we don’t know whether a certain person is alive somewhere and could act if only they could be found may be inadequately planned.

lurker January 1, 2023 9:45 PM


Flavour of the month in NZ is now BA.5, declining and being replaced by BA.2.75 and BQ.1.1. XBB any nr. is hardly a blip on the horizon, but, we are a significant destination for Chinese tourists. Some pundits who should know better think we are over the current wave, ignoring we are in the middle of holiday spreader event and low reporting season. “Official” vax is mRNA, whole virus has been withdrawn and replaced with a “protein fragment” version which uses mostly the same adjuvants as the mRNA.

modem phonemes January 1, 2023 10:18 PM

@ Clive Robinson. Who?, JonKnowsNothing, MarkH, SpaceLifeForm, Winter, All

always existed

No actual infinity is implied by “always existed”. The infinity is just something falsely imagined in the mind, like the imagined infinity of points obtained by “endlessly” dividing a line. The line exists and can be divided at points as much as desired, but it is not possible to complete this process.

So there is nothing simply in itself of the notion of always existing that is a problem.

As you indicated, the question of whether always existed, or not, has to be referred to observation of the physical world.

JonKnowsNothing January 1, 2023 10:25 PM

@Nick Levinson, All

re: Nuked in a Flash

Don’t be daft. Any nuclear exchange today, as 50 years ago, is a non-survivable event. The entire infrastructure of the planet will go POOOF in 60 seconds or less.

While there may be some survivors, there are plenty of “thought experiments” about at what level that will be. Frankly the majority of humans, especially those living in Hi-Tech, Urban environments do not have the skills to outlast the Nuclear Winter.

There are people who do have those skills, but it is not likely you know them. We stopped teaching that stuff long ago. Even the Scouts aren’t prepared enough.

If you are planning on surviving for a long period, provided the rad poisoning doesn’t kill you in short order, and the fallout hasn’t poisoned all the landscape for hundreds or thousands of miles by wind carry from a blast site (1), and nuclear rain doesn’t taint the everything it touches (see acid rain), you are going to need a lot more than 6 months supplies plus means of creating new ones.

  • I at least know how to make a hand axe from flint and a river stone. How about you?
  • You ever tried to straighten a stick or branch to form an arrow shaft, axe handle or spear?
  • You got any idea how to bind the hand axe to the shaft without superglue?
  • You might luck out on making a Spear-thrower or Atlatl (2), which will help your chances of killing something bigger than you.

There won’t be electricity for long, and the average Joe isn’t going to know how to run a cracking tower to get fuel for the generator. Solar panels are possible but you won’t be able to replace the solar cells that make up the panel after they wear out in 2-5 years.

Wanna take a look at what’s waiting? Check out Chernobyl. The animals are doing fine. They are all radio active and non edible. They are moving in some additional rare species to protect them from poachers-hunters. Nothing like a Geiger Counter to slow down that venison roast.

Wanna plant some taters? Don’t even disturb the earth in Chernobyl. The top inch is lethal. If you are planning on plowing, you need to remove some 4+ inches or more of the top layer of soil. Exactly how you can remove 27 cubic feet of dirt (1 cubic yard) without touching it or breathing in the air remains TBD.

  • There are 1613.33 cubic yards in one acre foot.
  • There are 13079.50613786 cubic yards in 1 hectare (2.5 acres).

Even a small farm needs 80 acres and most industrial farms are millions of acres. Once you remove the “top soil” what is underneath is sterile anyway. You might be able to reclaim the land under the highways and streets but the materials we use to build roads are pretty toxic and leach into the ground.

Seafood won’t be all that good for you. Fukushima is already dumping all their highly radio active containment water into the Pacific Ocean. Their idea is the dilution will make it less radioactive. I don’t think so.

Rain fall, hurricanes, typhoons all mixing it up, evaporation taking it up and condensation, rain, and snow dropping it down again.

We better hope that somebody will be just as thoughtful about “pushing the button”, like the last time we almost did The Big Reset.


1) Wind carry is a significant problem. Especially if the goop ends up in the jet stream. Closer down to earth, organic farmers who do not use pesticides or artificial fertilizers, have loads of issues with neighbor farmers who do.

In some cases, the pesticide user wins in court and the organic farmer has to move, since the stuff carries over the fence line, and is detected on inspection. It takes 3+ years to get a full organic permit and 1 application of stuff by the neighbor will ruin the organic farm.

In another case, an Organic Apple grower had their crop decertified due to detectable pesticide residue. No one in that area used this particular product. It was traced to a farm ~80 miles away and was wind carried to the organic orchard.

2) Spear-throwers or Atlatl are sold in pet stores, as dog toys. You load up a tennis ball in the pocket and the extra length of the shaft lets you hurl the ball farther. Ancient Tech for Modern Dogs.

Clive Robinson January 1, 2023 11:05 PM

@ Nick Levinson, ALL,

Re : All weapons get used eventually.

With regards,

“the article essentially calls for more prep, a contrary view was that it’s pointless and effort should instead go into preventing nuclear war, or all war especially if any war could escalate into nuclear war.”

How do you prevent war?

Especially as selling weapons is the only way to get the “oil dollars” back and is otherwise one of the highest profit export industries there are.

But also there is about 10-20% of the population who see war in one form or another as a way to achieve personal objectives, and gain control of people, resources, and status under the “Might is Right” nonsense doctrine.

Oh and always remember the truism,

“One man’s freedom fighter, is another man’s terrorist.”

So war is going to happen, and nuclear weapons will be used, is in effect a foregone conclusion.

Which is why some might think,

“based on [that] belief that nuclear war is not survivable anyway.”

Actually there is good news and bad news. Conventional nuclear weapons are nowhere near as dangerous as people think or have been led to believe. It takes a certain kind of “evil” to use either “salted” or “nuetron enhanced” weapons and they are not as easy to make as is generally implied.

So nuclear war is actually fairly survivable, and the lower down the socioeconomic ladder your population is the more likely they are to survive. Somebody herding goats in the foot hills of mountains and above may remain blisfully unaware that somebody has tried to turn their countries capital city into a dirty ash tray. And even if they did would probably not care as the inpact on their way of life would be at best small in real terms. They might die five or ten years earlier, but then their life expectancy health wise was not that great anyway.

Studies on Japanese and Ukranian people has shown from nuclear war and nuclear accidents that survivability is way higher than expected and flora and fauna return to near normal very quickly. You just have to take some precautions (like not fight conventional warfare on a nuclear site and bring radioisotopes back to the surface to become wind bourn again).

This does always amuses me,

“… while there are succession plans for the President and other offices, what happens if we don’t know whether a certain person is alive somewhere and could act if only they could be found may be inadequately planned.”

The one thing warfare almost always achieves is “pragmatism” you’ve probably heard,

“No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”

Well it’s true, and has been known to be true for centuries. The only real advantages you can have in war is “surprise” and “rapid movment”. Those who use them best can and have defeated well trained and well equiped armies a hundred times their size.

The problem the US and to a lesser extent other First World Nations have is our dependency on “technology”. We talk a lot about EMP but actually that is one of the lesser problems. In the US way way to much primary infrastructure of electrical supply and communicationsvis strung up on cheap poles for miles and miles. Every time the US has even a minor storm infrastructure gets damaged or destroyed. It’s the price you pay for doing everything on the cheap.

One of the lessons likely to come out of the Ukraine is “infrastructure in the ground is hard to destroy” thus takes direct hits which have very limited radius and are fairly quick to repair / replace.

The downside of this however is that it makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely not less.

To be honest I’m surprised that Putin has not moved forward on the use of nuclear weapons, it tells us that there is something in his current calculations that is making him hold back… Thus thecquestion is,

“What is it?”

Knowing the real answer might actually be usefull to know (it could be as simple as they probably will not work, thus are only usefull as long as the bluf is not called).

Nick Levinson January 2, 2023 1:42 AM

@JonKnowsNothing & @Clive Robinson:

Nuclear war is survivable; you both seem to agree on that. JonKnowsNothing’s counterargument, while he agrees on survivability, is that it would be fast and global and survival is not thriving. I’m not sure that there are enough nuclear weapons worldwide to render Earth uninhabitable in a minute; but I agree on the difficulty of surviving. If too many of us die or are incapacitated during the strikes, we could not long sustain the means of supporting 8 billion people now on Earth and therefore we could not sustain most of the survivors. I estimated that if we all switched to gathering and hunting tomorrow morning and stuck with it then, in about a month to a month and a half, not counting murder or the need to find enough potable water near survivors (we can survive only a few days or less without drinkable water), and just because of food supply, out of every 35 people 34 would have to die. How much acreage for hunting-gathering is available and how many people that could support can only be estimated, so numbers may vary; but any reasonable estimate will be dire.

I do not know how to prevent war. I don’t think anyone else knows, either. You can sometimes prevent a particular war, but, in the larger scheme, there are always some people who sometimes want to kill entire societies and almost everyone wants to ensure their own defense against being killed. Therefore, war will be waged from time to time.

All types of weapons will normally be used. There can be limits. A limit could be unilateral when it appears to be too expensive to invent, build, or use even in the face of existential threat or demand (since key resources are never unlimited) or when use would likely fail if the failure would have the consequence that the enemy would gain an increased likelihood of victory. Where a limit would be mutual among belligerents, when they find it in their interest to limit they can and may. One line of discussion among war planners is on the advantage of keeping an enemy head of state alive and in office, i.e., no decapitation, because only the head may have the local political clout to surrender. Hirohito said he made only 2 decisions on his own and that was one of them. The Imperial Japanese generals knew of his decision and probably could have done something like throw fuel oil onto the runway to delay the Swiss ambassador’s take-off (to deliver the message to the Allies to start the surrender process) by a few hours while the generals tried to change the emperor’s mind; but they didn’t.

The claim that “[n]o battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”, even if widely said, is no more than an excuse not to plan and an excuse to ignore commanders. We all know that enemies don’t cooperate and planners know this, too, but not all plans are useless. It may be that militaries that are efficacious delegate a lot of authority to front-line servicemembers, so that it may seem that tactics are unplanned, but even there you’ll likely find planning.

I mentioned EMP because this is a security blog, especially on computer security, and the threat of EMP to computers is substantial.

People who want something that hasn’t been obtained in a long time often say that someone else wasn’t willing to spend the money. Those discussions as I hear them rarely include any numbers about how much it would cost and from where that money would come. For example, we could harden every target; but, never mind unwillingness to spend the money, we don’t even have that kind of money; and we don’t know how to get it in time. Sell buildings? To whom? A few, yes, but try selling a million of them and you get only fire-sale prices. And so on for other ways of raising money. Print money? How long before hyperinflation (>=100%/year) sets in? How would a leadership manage the domestic political fallout of that? Carter lost the presidency over inflation and it wasn’t that severe.

We probably don’t know definitively why Putin hasn’t launched a nuclear weapon. The U.S. is reportedly still being wary of being too provocative of Russia precisely because it is a nuclear power, so I doubt the U.S. military leaders feel confident that Putin and his top generals won’t use them.

JonKnowsNothing January 2, 2023 4:08 AM

@ Nick Levinson , @Clive, All

re: Levels of Survival vs Levels of Technology

Nearly every part of the globe has experienced wars, some small ones, some enormously destructive. The outcomes of all these historical wars and repeated wars remains pretty much unchanged. A few names get altered, new border lines drawn but the underlying reasons remain unchanged. Since the reasons are unresolved, repeated wars take place.

So, while you are contemplating survival of even limited strikes against all major cities and capitals, consider carefully the outcomes of recent history, like the last 50 years or so, and what did or did not change after a particular military expedition.

During the initial phase, as much physical damage is inflicted as possible. Buildings, farms, schools destroyed. There are deaths of people, civilians and military but once dead, those folks stay dead except in memory. The value is in the land and the rebuilding… sometimes.

The aftermath is about asset transfer. Buildings will be knocked down, rebuilt, some will be restored or recreated. The previous owners of those buildings may or may not retain ownership of the destroyed asset but are unlikely to be able to rebuild the replacement. Small examples are the devastation by fires and flooding. If you do not have a pile of capital stashed someplace, deeds will change hands, willingly or not.

Once the asset transfer is complete, a new set of owners will be enticed to take up residence, for a price. Homeless or now houseless people will not be moving in.

Farmers may last a bit longer, as they generally don’t have too much anyway. They scrape by harvest to harvest. Not too many years ago, in the USA farming heartlands, huge numbers of “family farms” were sold to the highest bidder by the banks. Family farms are not necessarily Old McDonald Farms, they may cover a large amount of acreage in different locations. As urban sprawl continued, those once fruitful fields and orchards were turned into housing tracks, with electricity, city water, sewers and WiFi.

So take an inventory of the war zones in the last 50 years and count the number of rebuilt houses, the number of refugees no longer able to make a living in their homelands, the impediments to rebuilding. A few places may have recovered but just outside the “safe zones”, poverty, hunger and destitution are hallmarks left of war.

In any nuclear exchange, even one nuke hitting the Capital, Los Angeles, or Houston would wreak enormous devastation. I doubt there’s much in San Francisco left of value other than the central communications hub that used to be there, but has since moved inland; so the strike would need to be nearer Sacramento to do regional communications damage.

On a scale of devastation, a small nuclear strike might inflict less damage than SARS-CoV-2 has done and will continue to do. The problem is you cannot control a single strike.

A ship stuck in the Suez Canal, an explosion at the Port of Beirut, fires sweeping the USA Pacific North West, Canada, and Greece, floods and rising ocean tides, SARS-CoV-2 rolling in and out every 3 months, and suddenly there isn’t any toilet roll in the store.

  • Remember Sears Catalog? It isn’t published anymore. You might wish it was.
  • It takes 1 year to raise a crop of corn. Provided you are successful. You need 365 corn cobs or parts there of, more or less, depending on your internal digestion rate, per person. Depending on the variety of corn, you might get 4-6 ears per plant, with fertilizer. Just remember which direction they are used.

Winter January 2, 2023 6:03 AM

@Clive, @modem phonemes

It’s always existed

The “always” part has nothing to do with “infinity”. Space and time are not separate. Time and space came into existence at the same time, together with the energy/mass that fills the universe now. When all mass, space, and time were in the same “spot”, the known physics cannot describe the state of the universe. Only after a certain evolution will the universe have dimensions that allow known physics to be used. At this point, the universe already had a measurable age.

What this all means is that going back will never let you hit the origin of time. This is not as strange as it sounds. General Relativity tells us that if we drop something into a black hole, we will never see it cross the event horizon as time will slow down to a stop. However, for a person to fall into a black hole it will seem like it happened at the speed of light [1].

[1] Interstellar, the movie, has dramatized this time dilatation quite well.
Note that we can and do measure the time dilatation on earth.

Winter January 2, 2023 6:43 AM


Nearly every part of the globe has experienced wars, some small ones, some enormously destructive.

The worse of them reduced the population by 30+% (Thirty years war).

I think a good rule of thumb is to look at the population of the world before industrialization. If a nuclear war destroys the industrial infrastructure, we will go back to a pre-industrial population. That would mean much more than a 50% reduction in population.

modem phonemes January 2, 2023 6:57 AM


Time and space came into existence at the same time, together with the energy/mass that fills the universe now

Things and motion exist in the physical world. However time and space exist only in the mind, as measurements of things. Time is a numbering of motion so is only in the mind. Likewise, space is a imagined measured extension related to the actual physical existence of place.

The existence of natural things provided the potential for time and space as things in the mind of a knower, provided a knower also exists.

Winter January 2, 2023 8:19 AM


Things and motion exist in the physical world. However time and space exist only in the mind, as measurements of things.

Interactions, events in GR, take place at specific coordinates in spacetime and different events have spacetime distances that relate them (eg, speed of light, plank length) . No spacetime, no interactions.

How spacetime relates to particles is still under investigation.

Clive Robinson January 2, 2023 8:31 AM

@ Nick

Re : EMP is a matter of prepardness.

“I mentioned EMP because this is a security blog, especially on computer security, and the threat of EMP to computers is substantial.”

Actually it’s not as much of a threat as it used to be in one way (hardware), and way more in another (cloud).

Computers are physically a lot smaller than they used to be and in more than quite a few cases the chasis are made of metal. What used to be the killer via high intesity “ElectroMagnetic Interferance(EMI) was “cables”. Because they acted like large antennas and because of the nature of an EMP waveform they were “resonant” at some point and could couple several hundred volts into the main board via the connectors that were not even up to minimal EMC standards in a lot of cases.

The much smaller form factor, lack of connectors, running off of bateries, and the moving over to USB-C has reduced the threats of cables a lot.

However it has opened up a whole bunch of “Radio Frequency”(RF) “Over The Air(OTA) ports that were not there as little as a decade ago.

RF OTA ports are by their definition susceptable to EMI and unless mitigated high voltage damage (even DC Blocking Capacitors effectively pass the leading edge of an EMI pulse).

Which brings in the question of,

“How is the computer used?”

I have a couple of older IBM –ok creaking old– laptops that have full metal cases and the cable ports blocked as the use is “stand alone emergency” the only? external cable needed is the charging/power port, which I’ve made certain modifications to. They live in a higher end metal brief case that has also had certain modifications made one of which is an internal uMetal sleeve/cage to limit not the voltage component but the magnetic component of an EMI Pulse.

I could do similar with newer laptops Panasonic make some nice “tough-books” but… the assumption these days is “everything in the cloud” infact the likes of MicroShaft try to force you onto the cloud every which way they can…

For instance I need to run some 16bit MS-DOS programs and even earlier (Win2K) 32bit software which Microsoft don’t alow to run on their current OS’s.

The solution is use original hardware which is obviously “self limiting” or *nix of one flavour or another. So using the likes of DosMerge running in an earlier *nix like Sys Vr4 running inside a VM / container of a more modern *nix. Or some other arangment using say Wine, that is as lways still only sort of works but it’s comming real soon now 😉

These are what I call,

“Matryoshka Solutions”

As the symbolism of the “nesting dolls” and the way Russian programmers used to squeeze the best they could out of hardware.

In the West we’ve been spoiled and we’ve all to quickly slept-walked into the gilded cage trap “the cloud” is in oh so many many ways.

The fact “People” need to learn how to “un-hook themselves” from the Internet and RF networking is apparent to too few people. Worse the fact is the Internet gets less and less private or secure on a minute by minute basis[1] and that is actively encoraged / pushed by a few for their own agendas is quite worrying.

The more “Hi-Tech” using a nation is the more vulnerable it becomes unless it takes active legislative and regulatory action to prevent the “agenda pushing”. The “screaming push back” on the EU GDPR will give an indication as to just how far these “agenda pushers” will go. Which fortunately currently is not quite as bad as some natural resource grabbers sending in hit teams, mercenaries, private or national armies to increase the numbers of “Disappeared” but as the old saw has it,

“Where people lead, others will follow…”

So designing and building an “iFree” system[2] should be on everybodies list of things to do if they value their privacy. Going that little bit further to “harden it” against EMI both natural and man made is a sensible thing to do.

[1] New CVE registered vulnerabilities crossed the 200 a working day this year. So assume a 20 hour day that’s ten an hour or around one every six minutes. Good luck on trying to keep ontop of that lot… As most are “Internet/Cloud” delivered in some way, a simple mitigation would be “to pull the plug” in an “effective way” (it’s that last bit that’s hard 😉

[2] I’m talking about “Internet Free”(iFree)[3] not “i-Free” the Russian development org or the many others using some variation of I-Free.

[3] An iFree system does not need to be a PC / laptop etc. You can actually make a Smart Device like a “Mobile Phone” iFree and keep it in an RF tight wallet or equivalent. All you realy need to do is download one or two essential apps, one of which is a scripting or programing language, such that you know you can develop into the future. Python and WISH is one way to do this, however both Apple and Google try realy hard to stop you breaking the jails they have put you in as they want to make you pay them for the privilege of being free of them. If you have a little hunt you will find information such as,

Clive Robinson January 2, 2023 9:10 AM

@ Winter, modem phonemes, ALL

“Interactions, events in GR, take place at specific coordinates in spacetime and different events have spacetime distances that relate them”

I think you’ve missed the point being made by @modem.

GR is a model created by one man of how he thought the Universe might work. It is currently as a model at the very least incomplete, hence the last century and a bit of activity trying to make it work in all ways

So GR does not tell the universe how to behave, and as such the universe does not as far as we are aware make measurments of it’s self[1].

Thus, “… time and space exist only in the mind, as measurements of things.” is from that philosophical view point correct.

[1] Though contemplating how it might or why it would, will make an interesting philosophical conversation.

modem phonemes January 2, 2023 9:23 AM

@ Winter

Interactions, events in GR, take place at specific coordinates in spacetime

Physical events take place regardless of what model or coordinate system one adopts. Spacetime, GR etc is just a geometric model that has been found useful. Epicycles were found useful once (and still are). None of these models should be considered to be real and it is blinding to treat them as having real existence. The interactions are happy whether someone is modelling them or not.

Winter January 2, 2023 9:54 AM


Physical events take place regardless of what model or coordinate system one adopts.

But which events affect each other, or are possible at all depends on spacetime relations (distances) that are independent of the description or coordinate system chosen. That is what GR was all about. You cannot wish away spacetime. The fact that your GPS coordinates work is concluding evidence that spacetime matters.

Winter January 2, 2023 10:08 AM


GR is a model created by one man of how he thought the Universe might work.

Which holds too for Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell’s electromagnetism. As a way to deride these theories as nothing but phantasies, this is rather comical for people who use the predictions of these one-man figments of their imagination every day.

GR is at the same time one of two best tested theories in science of all times and known incomplete. Which means that every prediction of GR has been correct for every measurable decimal. The problem is in the unmeasurable parts. For these, eg, the start of the universe, you can pose any fairy tale you want as long as the outcomes match when they reach the GR domain.

If you do not believe in inflation, that is fine. But as long as you have no alternative that is useful for astronomers, they will keep using inflation as that allows them to do real work and real predictions.

JonKnowsNothing January 2, 2023 11:12 AM

@Clive, @SpaceLifeForm, ALL

re: CHOVNADO in many forms

Some interesting data starting to shift up into the small filler boxes in MSM about the coming COVID waves for Q1 2023. We already know that each country or area has their own mix of variants floating about, it is not a monolithic global virus anymore. It’s a COVID soup of viruses.

In the USA XBB15 is the coming storm, already in the East Coast USA. BQ1 BQ11 is still dominant on the West Coast of the USA.

BF7 seems to be the CHOVNADO variant rolling over China. BF7 has already pushed through other countries. In theory, BF7 would not be significant source of infections and deaths in those locations. The presumption is that residual antibody memory will kick in, should you get re-exposed to BF7.

A (preprint) study published 12 21 2022, reviewed the state of antibody treatments and resistance to a number of current variants in Australia: BQ.1.1, XBB.1, BR.2.1 and XBF.

They are all resistant to most forms of existing treatments. XBF is resistant to all, except Paxlovid.

Paxlovid is an anti-viral that needs to be taken ASAP that you have symptoms and test positive. In practical terms in USA, there are many contra-indications to Paxlovid, and by the time you have taken all the lab tests and gotten permissions for a Rx, the window will have closed. In many cases you need 2 courses of Paxlovid to avoid the COVID Rebound effect.

“The last drug left in the cupboard is Paxlovid.”

Associate Prof Stuart Turville
Kirby Institute’s immunovirology and pathogenesis program

XBB, XBF, BQ.1.1

  • XBB.1 recombinant of BA.2.10 with BA.2.75 lineages
  • XBF recombinant of BA.5.2.3 with CJ.1
  • BR.2.1 derived from BA.2.75 lineages
  • BQ.1.1 derived from BA.5 lineages

variants derived from BQ [BQ11] and BA.2.75 sub-lineages efficiently evade neutralization response

BQ.1.1, XBB.1, BR.2.1 and XBF were ranked the most evasive variants across all groups

The study includes a nice graphic of the recombinant lineages. One of the interpretation difficulties is the Pango lineage names and renaming protocols. New Pango names are assigned when the lineage gets 3 layers deep. So, it’s a bit challenging to follow the names back to their origins. As COVID-19 mutates frequently, the graphic helps to link their current names to their ancestors (BA2, Delta, BA5).


Emergence and antibody evasion of BQ and BA.2.75 SARS-CoV-2 sublineages in the face of
maturing antibody breadth at the population level

htt p s://doi.or g/10.1101/2022.12.06.22283000

Paxlovid ‘last drug in the cupboard’ for Covid as variants in Australia …

htt ps://www.theguardian.c om/australia-news/2023/jan/03/paxlovid-last-drug-in-the-cupboard-for-covid-as-variants-in-australia-evade-other-treatments

(url fractured)

Clive Robinson January 2, 2023 11:37 AM

@ barfa,

Re : Russian Legislative proposals.

blockquote”Russia is trying to get home IT workers that have left the country to work remotely…”

As previous Russian seniors going back for centuries, “Always the stick never the carrot”

It’s as though they have a genetic mental deficiency dedicated to violance, terror and tyranny.

No doubt Putin will send out a few rouge elements to murder people to scare others.

Something tells me a few have woken up to the realisation that Ukranian youth has. Put simply,

“To die fighting for freedom, is preferable to living a life in oppression, and fear.”

To be honest it’s a stark choice, but they have been living closer to it, than most reading here have. Having had a life of relative freedom for over half a century, and looking back on how it could easily have been otherwise. I can appreciate their position rather more now than I might have when younger.

Clive Robinson January 2, 2023 11:56 AM

@ Winter,

“As a way to deride these theories as nothing but phantasies,”

I do not see anybody here doing that.

Mathmatical models are just that models and you need to extensively test them before using them to make predictions for obvious reasons.

But the point made about the measures being in the mind and the universe not needing them is nevertheless true.

As I’ve noted before the universe is fond of unitless ratios as this scales, it also likes percentages of percebtages, as that gives equivalent behaviour to growth.

But I seriously doubt anyone would treat predicted growth rates as anything more than advisory. As they are effectively a gross simplification of a more complex process, much like statistical mechanics is effectively an average of more complex movment of working fluid particles.

modem phonemes January 2, 2023 12:32 PM

@ Winter

The fact that your GPS coordinates work is concluding evidence that spacetime matters.

The theories, epicycles, Newton, GR, etc., all have their utility and successful predictions. Presumably they achieve this as a result of and in proportion to the elements of actual observational physical reality they incorporate. Epicycles as far as they go, and Newton, and even more GR are marvelous at “saving the appearances”, and by continuing comparison with physical reality, they are fruitful in suggesting new questions and guiding the search for new observations and truths.

But this proves nothing about the truth or existence of the hypothetical elements they use to “save the appearances.” There probably are no physical epicycles, Newton’s space and time are abandoned now though once were certainties, and there is no direct evidence of “spacetime”.

Nick Levinson January 2, 2023 12:38 PM

@Clive Robinson, @Winter, @JonKnowsNothing, @barfa, & @echo:

@Winter & @JonKnowsNothing:

The Thirty Years’ War may have caused 30% population loss, but not worldwide. I gather that was mostly in Germany and among foreign belligerents. According to Wikipedia when I looked (not a reliable source but its sources probably are and I didn’t have time to dig deeper), that war in 1618-1648 caused about 4.5-8 million deaths; the Population Reference Bureau says the world population in 1650 was about 500 million. That death rate was thus under 2%. The same Wikipedia page lists the war that had the most deaths as World War II, at 70 to under 120 million deaths; the same PRB table says the world population in 1950 was 2.499 billion. That death rate was thus slightly under 5%. Both wars were followed by substantial growths in global population and economy, although war is not always how we’d like to get those growths. Among other reasons is that massive population loss ramifies in equally massive fertility loss and therefore a delay in population recovery and thence in economic recovery. So, if the public demands that a war have a supremely good justification, the demand wouldn’t be surprising.

@Clive Robinson:

I never use the cloud. Great name, but I can’t use it when I can’t go online and I think when I want a full choice of OSes. One hopes security is top-notch but I’d like more control of my own security. No, thanks, cloud providers. The one use for it I think is to store securely-pre-encrypted backups (not encrypted merely simultaneously with uploading) as offsite, which would require storing the cloud password offsite; and maybe we wouldn’t have a good enough cipher for that (a one-time pad on just a gigabyte would usually be insane), so maybe the cloud is bad even for that.

If EMP is less of a threat than it used to be, that might explain why I couldn’t locate the medical lit project meant to educate doctors on how to provide half-way decent care based on pre-computer medicine, which at least would be better than, say, medieval medicine. (It also had the problem of expensively having to print and store the lit now at every major hospital and many other loci, along perhaps with some tools and chemicals no longer needed for modern practice, because storing the lit in a computer system would make it unavailable when needed.)

Wine is a nice idea but hopeless, last I heard, because Microsoft updates its products too often and wants the Wine developers to be unable to keep up, so incompatibilities will keep cropping up, enough of them critical to write Wine off.

@Clive Robinson, @barfa, & @echo:

I’m leery of relying too much on analyses of Putin’s private thoughts. There may be plenty of useful evidence of them but he isn’t alone at the top, even if he has sole authority at the top. He has generals and other top leaders and evidently they’re still largely on board with what he’s commanding. He may be micromanaging but micromanagement comes at a cost of time and, if he brings people with him to watch, their time; and skip-level meetings have their own costs.

I suspect much of the resistance in Russia to joining the Russian military to fight in Ukraine is not about objecting to the objective of the fight but about having to join a losing side regardless of objective.

SpaceLifeForm January 2, 2023 1:24 PM

@ Phil



Winy January 2, 2023 3:05 PM

Bad opsec, bad recycling, and bad temper dget the better of influencer

Did the Romanian pizza box in response video to Greta Thunberg give away Andrew Tate’s location?

modem phonemes January 2, 2023 3:39 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm


“How? MINIX can do all this because it runs at a fundamentally lower level.”

God-mode. The gods seem to chthonic. Doubtless they demand sacrifice.

lurker January 2, 2023 4:19 PM

@Nick Levinson & others

Why the emphasis on strikes against major cities in continental US? I thought Putin’s earlier comments were generally taken to mean battlefield tactical nukes. Escalation is usually a tit for tat affair. So who will bomb the Kremlin because Russia used some N-artillery in Ukr?

Maybe the western allies no longer have weapons the like of which were demonstrated in Operation Tumbler, intended to remove a whole armoured squadron with one shot, or a whole infantry battallion with its support hardware and personell, be light, portable, and easy to deploy.

On poisoning the earth, I visited Hiroshima 20 years after it was laid waste. It was a thriving modern city, with quite a small recreational park area at ground zero.

Winter January 2, 2023 5:07 PM


But this proves nothing about the truth or existence of the hypothetical elements they use to “save the appearances.”

The true nature of the world is not science, but metaphysics and religion. Kant already showed no human or living creature could know the True nature of things.

Science works and shows progress, metaphysics has not progressed a hair’s breath since the old Greeks.

Nick Levinson January 2, 2023 5:15 PM


The article about the 6 cities was likely published a coupe of years before the invasion into Ukraine that came with a nuclear war threat, so the only connection is about large escalation, and the preparation advice was not about any specific threat.

Operation Tumbler was a 1952 test. It seems to have been more a test of effects, not a test for operational acceptance of a new weapon. The two purposes can overlap, but perhaps a weapon design was not validated enough to justify mass production or the type of weapon the test could have supported was outlawed by treaty.

I agree that recovery is possible, but it is slow and expensive. While a city is recovering from having fallen behind, it is not advancing from where it used to be before recovery was first necessitated. So, if war, in general or a particular one, is not a good idea, it should not be allowed to happen.

JonKnowsNothing January 2, 2023 5:16 PM

@ lurker, @Nick Levinson , All

re: Hiroshima 20 years after it was laid waste. It was a thriving modern city…

So, a few observations about first impressions

Asset transfer happened. The old city (rubble and radioactive waste) was carted away and a new city was built. This required substantial sums of “money”. In ancient wars, “money” came in a variety of forms but someone “has to pay the piper” with whatever is demanded.

There were 2 targets, both cities were devastated and the blast radius was enormous. Radioactive winds didn’t help. It was a terrible loss of human life. It did not cripple the entire planet or supply chain. It was well premeditated and tested, the results joyfully greater than expected. We cannot wait to do it again, the adrenaline rush is too satisfactory.

“20 years”, is a long time with no food or water. In the 2 cities, there was some assistance within days or weeks. In a serial modern strike, the devastation will be spread around. No one is going to be coming to anyone’s rescue. If nothing else has sunk in over the last 3 years of SARS-CoV-2 is this: No One Is Going To Help YOU. Specifically no government is going to come help you survive. You will have to do it on your own.

Japan had a large farming base and many people knew how to grow rice and vegetables. Individuals had to look out for themselves.

You will have to wait foe 20 years, an entire generation. If you are lucky, that may be cut in half due to knowledge transfer from surviving areas. You are going to have see who is left standing before you find out if they are willing to sell to you.

As for this:

  • “To die fighting for freedom, is preferable to living a life in oppression, and fear.”

Great propaganda. Tell it to the dead. If you think that wars are about anything other than asset transfers, you have gone down the wrong rabbit hole. Happily a lot of people have voted with their feet and have zero intention of “dying for freedom”, they are waiting for the All Clear in UK, EU, USA and other countries. Not just the UKR, the RU are getting out too.

fwiw: In Central California, we have a large population of Armenians and Turkish peoples. There are some calendar days where our local police don even greater amounts of safety gear. These two groups have a big bone of contention: historical and geographical. On those anniversary days things get intense. The dead leave memories behind them. The seeds of the next eruption of violence are carried by those who did not die. Only the living can make peace, but they have to chose to do so.

Nick Levinson January 2, 2023 9:28 PM

@JonKnowsNothing, @lurker, @Clive Robinson, @Winter, & @echo:

A military and intelligence problem due to secrecy:

Scholarly research includes relying on the best evidence, such as by interviewing or examining original sources, making those sources available to other scholars, even competing scholars, on their demand, conducting tests that use random sampling and control groups, and publishing the test method so that unrelated, perhaps competing, scholars can replicate the tests.

Intel and military agencies require that same quality in their results for their most important information needs. But, even when they do their best to validate their conclusions, they can’t use most of those best practices. So, inevitably, they have a problem when their choice is between lower quality of results or spilling the beans to the enemy and thus immediately obsoleting the results, harming the nation which the agencies serve. Note that scholars publishing for unlimited readerships do not conform their methods to those that military and intel agencies need.

On nuclear weapons: Maybe it is politically and sometimes legally impossible for any nation to test major nuclear weapons as much as, say, a home appliance manufacturer tests its unclassified consumer products. Henry Kissinger, in his book Diplomacy, pointed to the problem of testing a U.S. ICBM: what if it exits its silo and promptly tips over onto Kansas? Imagine the Russian asking if we’d please fire a no-warhead ICBM at them so they can test their interdiction and counterattack systems: the U.S. military would say something like, you’re pranking us, right?

At least with intel, there may be a chance to have multiple research efforts by leaders who hardly know each other. With major nuclear war systems, there may be no research feasible beyond a certain point, by any nation, not even a first try.

So no nation may be able to use nukes until even an enormous error margin becomes politically acceptable to that nation. That margin includes the prompt death or injuring of many of its own nationals and harm to its physical things and its allies.

The comment on hotheads is interesting if it came originally from a commander who was supposed to command the servicemembers who would be the hotheads. That’s an admission of failure and I’m glad if someone had the courage to so speak and if someone in command was open to listening to it without punishing the speaker.

modem phonemes January 2, 2023 10:52 PM

@ Winter

Re science

If science is not in some way concerned with truth, it is hard to see why anyone would bother with it. Even if the main motive and interest is mastery of nature, as in Bacon, Descartes et cetera, truth will be needed at least tangentially.

We mostly know by working from effect back to cause so have little basis for understanding things starting from causes and deducing effects. It is true we don’t know things in the most profound and certain way, for example as we do in mathematics.

Kant was an extreme Cartesian and never proves anything, because the Cartesian starting point is that we do not and cannot know anything. Nobody ever actually acts on this basis.

Metaphysics is a science, namely the science of things from the point of view of their existence. There has been progress since the Greeks, that is since Aristotle. Aquinas shows that in things existence is a separate principle from essence or form. This resolves a number of insoluble questions in Aristotle.

Winter January 3, 2023 2:40 AM


If science is not in some way concerned with truth, it is hard to see why anyone would bother with it.

How do you recognize truth in a sea of errors?

Robin January 3, 2023 3:34 AM

The discussion on science/theory/reality reminds me of the old adage (which I used as an introduction to my courses on modelling and simulation, back in the day):

“Never confuse the map with the terrain.”

Physics is getting better and better at drawing maps, but as with (real) maps and (real) terrain there is always a difference and much complexity has to be omitted, which leaves room for different types of maps (think political, topological, geological, etc) and leads to adage #2:

“All models are wrong; some models are useful”.
(attrib George Box, statistician).

In a different context, it’s often the phenomena that are omitted that provide opportunities for exploits.

(As an aside, and to lower the tenor of the conversation somewhat, the first lab session for my students was to build a mathematical model of a simple water tank with inflow/outflow pipes, a float valve and a recirculating pump. They always looked at me as if I was insulting their intelligence. At the end of an hour or so they had usually created something standard which we discussed. I then asked them to climb up on the bench and take a look inside the tank, where they found about 4cm of sludge at the bottom, half-blocking the exit pipe, and a large lump of scrap that had fallen in some years previously. The scrap would affect the capacity of the tank, but more importantly the sludge could be disturbed, circulate, screw up the valves and the pump and make the system fail.

Sludge was not part of their “threat model”. They realised that the point of the session was not the model building but capturing the essential parts of the “reality”.)

Clive Robinson January 3, 2023 6:26 AM

@ Nick Levinson, JonKnowsNothing,

Re : Inclusion or not.

“It is not possible in everything I write to write about everything, just to make sure readers don’t think something was left out.”

Yes it’s a problem as you might have noticed just recently.

But also it’s not helped when your post containing further information having checked it’s been visable[1], you find the following day it has disapeared over night…

[1] It was in response to @JonKnowsNothing and was –past tense– the post that followed your,

And was on the same subject yet drilled down deeper in some related areas.

Clive Robinson January 3, 2023 7:27 AM

@ Sumadelet,

Re : Survivability.

First a word of caution your post is in the same “areas of the map” my disappeared comment I’ve mentioned to @Nick and @JonK… was in so keep a “weather eye open”.

But onwards,

“I would counsel caution in listening to anyone who claims nuclear war is survivable for humanity.”

It both is and not depending on how you define “survivable” and “humanity”.

Certainly the current way of living in many US towns and cities is so fragile, it will not take even a small outbreak of civilian unrest to destroy it beyond use (as has been seen). This is in part because nobody wants to make the use of resources considerably more efficient. Hence many in the US are in the position of even moderate winds that might ruffle your hair, on a dry day can cause rolling blackouts to happen…

Of all forms of societal unrest that might or might not get the “W-label” or similar, I have the same feelings you do,

“The only winning move is not to play.”

And oddly I still remember the time I first heard that line, oh and the cute young lady I was sitting next to… Which could be cause for me to say an equally famous line of

“make love not war”

From the generation before that at the time was rather vividly portraied as “anti-culture” by certain profiteers who had power over the MSM via the then MIC.

Even though the wheel has effectively gone around atleast four generations since, in reality that conservative view has hardly changed, whilst the bulk of society has moved on, a lot.

And this is where the ground gets a little boggy, the person you and I are aware of does not see society, humanity or surviability even remotely closely to the way most of us do… and that is a problem.

Winter January 3, 2023 9:44 AM


“Never confuse the map with the terrain.”

But for the universe, the map is all we have.

Winter January 3, 2023 10:06 AM


Certainly the current way of living in many US towns and cities is so fragile, it will not take even a small outbreak of civilian unrest to destroy it beyond use (as has been seen).

In general, disasters (and wars, eg, Ukraine) make people stick together tightly and help each other.

Civil unrest often is a precursor of civil wars where people do not stick together but try to destroy each other.

What I see in the US from afar looks like there already is a separation between groups of people. These groups want to drive each other out in the best of times. In the worst of times it divolves into civil war.

echo January 3, 2023 10:31 AM

While Clive is busy posting stories about impressing the ladies yours truly is documenting and filing away how the police are frequently inadequate as well as having a few attitudes. Yes, a certain person who committed a Public Order offence (including but not limited to comments of a sexual nature such as slapping my boobs in my face) is now in jail on other charges but that’s rather not the point as I wanted my case to establish better practice and a precedent in court for this type of case. This is all after I had personally taken steps to secure the CCTV evidence and had detailed contemporaneous logs and had read all the relevant Crown Prosecution Service guidelines and they still bungled it.

And while I made myself scarce from the crime scene to avoid that idiot I went from the frying pan to the fire and got myself felt up. I also don’t like men developing thousand yards stares and forgetfully unconsciously clutching their nuts. I’m not even going to bother with that one.

Moving on from the mundane implementation issues there is a national security context too which is well documented even if it gets a bit waffly. Let’s see if their internal memo to arrange a meeting with a Superintendant goes anywhere.

Kant was an extreme Cartesian and never proves anything, because the Cartesian starting point is that we do not and cannot know anything. Nobody ever actually acts on this basis.

By that definition Marx was a Cartesian. Although some of the applied social-economic views are interesting as they get into power structures and influence Marx never proposed a solution. He only described a system as he perceived it. That’s where the USSR went wrong as the plebs were basically solid a lie which established a form of fascism. This and Putin’s contrived machismo likely explains the enthusiasm some Christo-Fascists in the capitalist world have for Putin-ism as well as all the second and third tier wife beaters in other parts of the world.

Funnily enough that idiot now languishing in jail had a fairly binary ingratiating/escalatory response. There was also an element of blackmail. That kept everyone in line. So there’s me waiting for the usual white knights to step in which they didn’t and leave me all on my own to de-escalate while I’m developing tunnel vision. Thanks. Anyway, he had annoyed too many people and did get arrested. I was old later there was quite a scene with police cars arriving in around 20 seconds closing off both escape routes with him disappearing under a scrum of police officers.

One thing I have learned it whatever someone technical skill they are still carrying around their worldview and personality. Regardless of their skill, perceived or otherwise, it’s really difficult for them to escape their own personality and society. I don’t know what this says about Putin but if you take the scary nuclear imagery off the table what does it leave? A “Johnny no mates” criminal who’s annoyed too many people? Who’s pee’d the family inheritance up the wall? If the Russians are to salvage anything Putin going to the Hague would at least solve a few problems even if not the primary problem of reform on a timescale everyone would prefer.

At least that’s the way I see it.

JonKnowsNothing January 3, 2023 12:18 PM

@Clive, @ Nick Levinson, All

re: … explicitly writing about the U.S. South up to the 1860s

We can kick the economic definitions and variations around but that USA law did not De Facto end slavery in the USA. It was only an attempt at making it illegal De Jure.

It’s a tetchy topic to be sure.

Loads of people think that such enactments “ended slavery” globally soon there after. UK, Brazil, Netherlands and most colonial empires kept variations on the theme, while some enacted laws prohibiting the open market, the back door market was and is still is in existence.

I wanted to highlight this aspect because the same conditions exist today in the USA. They don’t use the same name (1) but the economic and social aspects are unchanged.


1) Similar to the USA using “enhanced interrogation” in reference to illegal acts. These acts are illegal both domestically and internationally, yet continue to be practiced in the USA and by the USA without repercussions. The changed of name, no longer matches the legal name attached to the definition of the same acts.

Ted January 3, 2023 6:33 PM

@vas pup

Re: Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV)

EUV machines are incredibly expensive and are built from hundreds of thousands of components. Though ASML is based in the Netherlands, it is a product of many countries.

As Chris Miller wrote: “A tool with hundreds of thousands of parts has many fathers.”

Both the EUV supply chain, and the semiconductor supply chain in general, are highly complex and vulnerable to choke points.

Any country that participates in this market is subject to multi-national interests and alliances.

China would face monumental challenges if it were to try build its own independent ecosystem.

echo January 4, 2023 2:30 AM

The problem with too many technical people is they make assumptions both about the law but also about psycho-social affairs. It’s not just technical people it’s administrators and management and society too.

In the UK slavery is unlawful. So is servitude. In the US physical punishment and servitude exists within a loophole in the law so is by default not unlawful… That’s why you have prisoners being “thrown in the hole” and enhanced interrogation and so on. There’s also a Burkian thread running through the UK where “the state” is a self-protecting entity and social led policy is downgraded. Why is this so? Simply “the powers that be” i.e. the people in charge when the constitutional rules were determined made it so. They mark their own homework. Often their views and comfort zones take precedence over thorough process.

It’s all really rather limiting.

Post-truth politics have “DOOMED” the UK | Armando Iannucci | the New Statesman

The analysis is somewhat lacking. I mean, anyone who has been paying attention isn’t really learning anything new.

Mae Dobbs speaks the most sense. James Ball? Dear God the waffling male ego. But overall the content speaks enough sense and contributions by Armando and Anoosh are good enough. Actually, the more I hear from James Ball as the discussion goes on the more I feel he is talking more half baked nonsense than not. True enough yes but too much shoot from the hip conflation. He annoys me.

I was banging on about the social contract in the early 2000’s. I know I wouldn’t have been the first either but it’s certainly becoming more obviously critical today. Burkian doctrine is why the UK never signed up to the EU social chapter and why policy never went forwards but backwards and why things are falling apart around our ears in real time today.

Mae segues into my earlier observation about the psych-social versus technocratic. That’s another one which sprang out of early 2000’s discussion and was popularised and did the rounds.

When Armand brings up the point about civics James waffles on about teaching in schools writing off anyone over the age of 10 and dismisses teachers as being generalists. He is talking utter nonsense. Sex and relationships and health and religion have been part of the curriculum for some time now and are actually quite specialist subjects. God, the man is a prematurely aged dadbod comedian. SHUT UP!

modem phonemes January 4, 2023 10:49 AM

@ Winter @ Robin

How do you recognize truth in a sea of errors?

Never confuse the map with the terrain.

But for the universe, the map is all we have.

We do know and what we know are things. One can make claims to skepticism, but nobody actually acts on that basis. Everyone knows that they know.

in spite of this. It is crushingly obvious that we do make errors in knowing.

How do we know, and how do we make errors ?

To know a real physical thing, it must be that the thing, while existing externally, also comes to have existence in our intellect. That is, we become the thing without its matter. Any attempt to say the thing is represented by something else such as an image leaves one with the problem of never being able to establish the identity of the external thing and the thing as known, that is, denies that we know.

How does error occur ? The external thing is first received in the intellect at the sensory level unerringly. But this sense knowledge has to be completed by the intellect combining it with other things from memory, logic, intellectual experience. We see Smith sitting in his chair. What we really receive initially is sensory, certain colors and shapes and distances. Its existence as Smith goes beyond the sensory, so the intellect has to add something. It is in this highly complex completion process that error can occur.

We can say then that knowing is not a map, that is, a representation, but is cognitional existence of an identical externally existing thing.

We can cognitionally make a model or map of something, but we then know three, the thing, perhaps partially, the model. and the relation between them.

Winter January 4, 2023 11:52 AM


How do we know, and how do we make errors ?

To know a real physical thing, it must be that the thing, while existing externally, also comes to have existence in our intellect.

It seems you want to redo Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernuft [1]. In general, that is not a winning strategy and tends to fall in the category of proving Fermat’s last Theorem or the Riemann Hypothesis.

[1] ‘

modem phonemes January 4, 2023 1:05 PM

@ Winter


No, just clumsily trying to express the treatment of cognition in Aristotle ans Aquinas. All the modern attempts are empty.

Winter January 4, 2023 3:13 PM


All the modern attempts are empty.

Those who forget Kant are doomed to repeat him.

Calling Kant empty suggests you didn’t read his work.

modem phonemes January 4, 2023 5:50 PM

@ Winter


Reading Kant, true story. A visiting German scholar was lecturing on Kant to a seminar at a university in North America. In trying to explain a certain point while referring to the authoritative German text, he stopped and asked everyone what their English language translation said.

Descartes put the starting point for knowing in the mind. This immediately cut the ground away from ever getting to real external things. This was realized by everyone, Hume, Kant, Husserl and so on. Instead of considering the possibility that the origin might be sought in real external things, the classical approach, they in effect doubled down on locating the origin in human activity, endlessly seeking ways to rescue it. The original artificial difficulty of Descartes led to 400 years of futility.

Nick Levinson January 4, 2023 9:51 PM


On slavery: The U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment made slavery unlawful and, for the most part, the kind of slavery it made unlawful no longer occurs in the U.S. There was an instance of it maybe a decade-plus ago involving a farm or mine and guards with firearms pointed inwardly. But a law enforcement agency, I think the FBI, broke it up. That kind of enforcement is likely to continue. So that kind of slavery is both de jure and for the most part de facto banned.

ResearcherZero January 5, 2023 1:23 AM

How cooperation in the field of information exchange is planned and discussed by Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communication and Mass Media, and China’s National Radio and Television Administration

State news organizations in Russia have been working with the China Media Group, a conglomerate of the biggest state media outlets in the PRC.

Russia and China have each developed a set of tools that enable rising authoritarians to repress potential opposition at home while undermining democracies abroad.

ResearcherZero January 5, 2023 1:26 AM

“They scoop up all forms of intelligence and pass it back to the Kremlin through handlers. Of course there are different types – declared intelligence officers known as part of Russian diplomatic missions, and those operating under cover trying to recruit agents and then sleeper agents in all aspects of society. Given our support for Ukraine, Russian intelligence will be focused heavily on operations inside the UK and could also include recruiting agents inside political establishments, defence and industry”.

“This could be anything from what sort of weaponry is being sent to the Ukraine – and how much of it – to the sexual antics of the country’s political and military leaders.”

“All my work in the organs of external intelligence of the USSR was connected not just with the foreign intelligence service, but precisely with illegal intelligence.”

The Russian president clarified he had worked with deep-cover agents who were active without diplomatic protections. These spies are known as “illegals” — the most prominent being spook-t​​urned-model Anna Chapman, who was deported from the US in 2010 following accusations of espionage.

ResearcherZero January 5, 2023 1:52 AM

@modem phonemes

Many real external things do not actually exist, but some believe they do.

And worse still, a few real external things do actually exist but some believe they don’t.

Some even know that some real external things do not actually exist but they pretend that they do.

“white supremacist attacks plots against critical infrastructure systems have distinctly increased”

“the theory is also getting a boost from what some researchers say is a coordinated disinformation campaign”

150 instances of pro-Kremlin disinformation about the coronavirus outbreak

250 websites actively working to spread Kremlin disinformation

echo January 5, 2023 6:47 AM

Everyone missed my comment that servitude remains lawful in the US.

The difference between slavery and servitude does exist but in practice may largely amount to the same thing. In the UK slavery was unlawful except it had not been made unlawful in overseas territories during the slave owning and trading years. That came later. In fact their are a couple of legal cases at around that time where a slave had run away and the courts ruled they were free. The problem was getting another job so they could pay for food and accommodation and the approximation of a lifestyle so they more often than not ended back at their previous owner. There is also the well documented visit of an independently wealthy African princess to the US. No she was not and never was a slave on US soil. However, white slaves did exist during this time of US history.

In the UK Somerset’s case (1772) is significant. No transcript exists of the case but it is supposed the judge made everything up in his judgment so the slave, Somerset, won. Oddly enough the UK’s laughingly called Bill of Rights (1689) when passing through Parliament (which is actually in law a court with law making powers) had it’s votes miscounted so it won when it should have lost. after parliamentarians discovered this they unofficially allowed it to pass anyway as presumably not doing so would have ruined their lunch at the club. So there you go. The part of the US legal system which depends on English law prior to 1776 is dependent on this. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to ruminate over the historical and legal detritus.

And why are we discussing Philosophy Made Simple? How old are you lot?

Dear God, make an effort.

Winter January 5, 2023 7:19 AM


Instead of considering the possibility that the origin might be sought in real external things, the classical approach, they in effect doubled down on locating the origin in human activity, endlessly seeking ways to rescue it.

The problem is not the existence of external things, but the fact that we cannot know about their true nature.

All we have is a representation of reality in our minds. A representation that is build from sensory information. Classical philosophers did not consider a difference between reality and our perception of reality. But we have progressed.

While the map is not the terrain, the map is all our mind has.

modem phonemes January 5, 2023 9:28 AM

@ Winter


The Greeks did consider the difference between reality and our perception of reality.

If alll we know is a representation of reality, then don’t we only have a representation of that representation, and so on, turtles all the way down ?

Winter January 5, 2023 11:17 AM


If alll we know is a representation of reality, then don’t we only have a representation of that representation, and so on

The fact we do not like an outcome does not mean it cannot be true? The Universe does not owe us the Truth.

We only have a representation of reality, so we will have to make to most of it. Which is what science is trying to do.

modem phonemes January 5, 2023 11:45 AM

@ echo

And why are we discussing Philosophy Made Simple?

What is intended by “made simple“ ?

There is “made simple” in the sense of trying to clarify some questions while under the limits imposed by the commenting conventions, brevity and reduction, while still conveying the essential argument. In this sense philosophy made simple is just philosophy.

There is “made simple” in the sense of providing a kind of quick convenient myth, without really adverting to causes and scientific argument. This would be pseudo philosophy.

I know everyone 100% supports the first alternative.

The perverse will to power, resulting psychological and cultural dysfunctions and societal ills you regularly comment on operate under a general philosophical malaise. This was created by the Enlightenment’s deliberate turning away from seeking philosophical truth, affecting all area of knowing. because that conflicted with its agenda of “masters in our own house”, that is, the decrepit old pride “I will not serve”.

JonKnowsNothing January 5, 2023 7:01 PM


re: Always-ON, shutter-free IR cameras

A MSM report about how shutter-free IR cameras are used to track the position of users in order to alter the delivery path for “surround sound”.

The idea is that as you move around the room, the AI Head Tracking system can alter the speaker balances so you are always in the Sweet Spot for audio.

The IR cameras come on several devices that replace the old L-R speakers or integrated stereo speakers and maybe part of newer IR Camera included devices.

There are no shutters to the camera and they are always “ON”, or rather, you cannot tell if they are ever OFF. (1)

The AI Head Tracking also comes in head sets that can detect orientation with/without a camera.

I can easily think up a lot of Not Benign uses for such a device. I can also imagine some people and agencies who will readily use such a device for exactly those Not Benign uses. As such people and agencies already have a history of using standard tech for similar Not Benign uses, I would hazard a guess, they will consider this a worthy upgrade to their arsenal of Not Benign Methods.


1) OFF does not mean OFF

Search Terms

IR camera

drafted lurker January 5, 2023 10:07 PM

As a layman, does duct tape render IR ineffective? Folding in a laptop? Latter is a joke, but right away this lurker just lacks a windows tool to use and check IR (only) to determine how much tape is needed. And to check if that IR cam can detect draft locations to insulate.

Nick Levinson January 6, 2023 8:40 AM

@drafted lurker & @JonKnowsNothing:

IR reflectivity of duct tape:

It depends on the tape’s brand and batch, since, in my observation, it’s not a feature on labels and therefore is not offered, so the manufacturers’ standards may not consider this, so the reflectivity or lack thereof may be accidental. Also, what I see in stores is often not exactly called “duct” tape but may have a brand like “Duck” and simply look like duct tape.

Also, IR is in a frequency or wavelength range, and light sources, transmission media (e.g. air and other reflectors/nonreflectors), and receptors (in this case, cameras) may send, transmit, or receive all or only part of that range, and that, too, may vary by brand and other characteristics.

How much consistency you need may depend on how critical is your concern.

modem phonemes January 6, 2023 8:46 AM

@ Winter

only have a representation of reality

How would we know the representation is a representation, and moreover is of reality ?

Nick Levinson January 6, 2023 8:55 AM

@drafted lurker & @JonKnowsNothing:

IR reflectivity:

Also, Windows software to evaluate IR, if there is any, would depend on your computer’s physical ability to sense IR and to pass that info to the software. Many lenses, maybe because of their coatings, may block most or all infrared light. The hardware beyond the camera lens must also be able to handle IR.

Winter January 6, 2023 9:06 AM


How would we know the representation is a representation, and moreover is of reality ?

Read Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934) or any treatise about the philosophy of Science.

You can only prove that a hypothesis is false, not true.

Eg, if your hypothesis is that the world is flat, this leads to a number of predictions about observable phenomena. If these predictions do not materialize, your hypothesis has to be amended. Science assumes that, done right, we can weed out false hypotheses until we approximate the true observable behavior of Nature.

In the first lecture in academia physics, it tends to be made clear that Science is not about the True nature of Nature, but only an approximation of it’s observable behavior. If a student wants The Truth, she should switch to Mathematics.

lurker January 6, 2023 12:20 PM

@Nick Levinson, drafted lurker

The concern with duct tape is its IR transmissivity, not reflectivity, but again this doesn’t normally form part of its specification.

Lens coatings are usually to block UV which can harm the sensors. Most lenses will happily pass IR but they won’t focus it as well as visible light. This might not matter to an application that only wants to detect the presence of an object in a general direction.

Anyone using Windows OS has more problems to worry about than IR signal processing software.

drafted lurker January 6, 2023 7:10 PM

@Nick Levinson, lurker

The laptop in question touts having a IR camera. Also has a button which supposedly disconnects the camera, but no shutter. The main point of taping it shut is to prevent any images or remotely biometric info taken without need or consent, say while surfing, all those occasions none of that is wanted.

If sites don’t want me accessing them without ludicrous 14 factor auth, i can survive that.

Say I look for new apartments, check github, for none of that I want to be datamined.

As this laptop is a new win11 device with uefi which tout cloud protection, how much of the camera is even able to be disabled just using bsd linux beos, any os buying into secure boot signing to run is questionable at best. How much is a camera driver, barebone networkstack and hypervisor? 1 mb? 10?

This isn’t about opsec, but a normal citizen fed up being profiled, spied upon and sold out.

Clive Robinson January 6, 2023 9:54 PM

@ drafted lurker,

Not quite sure what it is you are after but one important thing to remember,

“Conduction is not radiation”

Radiation alows for the coherent movment of waves and particles across distance.

Conduction on the other hand passes energy from particle to particle which quickly becomes decoherent.

To get an image of any quality then it needs to use “radiation” not “conduction”.

You might have noticed with “thermal imaging” equipment the images can sometimes be very low quality, often this is because you are seeing the result of “conducted” energy through an object that is then being reradiated to the imaging camera.

Thus you might want to consider taping a small coin or metal disk across the camera lense.

modem phonemes January 10, 2023 3:15 AM

@ Winter

or any treatise about the philosophy of Science

All these statements reflect the starting point of modern (Enlightenment) thinking. The starting point is merely an arbitrary.choice and is never in spite of much writing justified by its proponents.

They are all false from the classical starting point of knowledge of external things, natures, causes, essence or form, and existence. The classical starting points and development are justified in Aristotle and Aquinas.

As a trivial illustration, consider Popper’s example of falsification or scientific statement.

All swans are white.

This is falsifiable because a black swan is logically possible.

Classically this is not scientific because it merely enumerates and does not mention causes. The scientific question is whether whiteness is a part of the essence of swan. If so then all swans are white. As it clearly is not part of the essence, the statement os about an accidental situation.

modem phonemes January 10, 2023 4:03 AM

@ Winter

If a student wants The Truth, she should switch to Mathematics

As an addendum, this isn’t true for modern mathematics, which suffers from the same neglect of causes as other sciences.

For example, consider mathematical induction. It will convince one of a fact, but it does not provide proofs, that is, the reasoned fact.

As a very instructive exercise, try establishing the formula for the sum of the first N squares by mathematical induction, and proving it by a completely causal mathematical argument.

One learns much more via the second treatment.

Winter January 10, 2023 9:04 AM


Classically this is not scientific because it merely enumerates and does not mention causes.

That is the reason classical philosophy was of little help in exploring the universe. Aquinas could prove the existence of god, but not the size of the earth (which was done by explicit observation). They could argue about the essence or accidental nature of the whiteness of swans, but were utterly unable to find Australia and observe black swans.

In the end, the pinnacle of 1500 years of science in the classical world was Archimedes’ principle of water displacement. That was all of the science of the classical world that endured. What classical philosophy was good at was developing mathematics.


For example, consider mathematical induction.

Induction is good for some problems. Not every problem allows an analytical solution and a non-constructive proof is still a proof.

It will convince one of a fact, but it does not provide proofs, that is, the reasoned fact.

I do not understand what this means?

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modem phonemes January 11, 2023 1:11 PM

@ Winter

the reason classical philosophy was of little help in exploring the universe

Classical philosophy may have not been much or properly used in some scientific areas but it was used in others. Aristotle’s study of animals is full of astute detailed observations and speculations on their relationships.

However, realist classical philosophy, that is Aristotle and Aquina, is the only possibly correct account of scientific knowledge and takes natural phenomena more seriously than do the moderns.

It has no problem accommodating the exploration of nature from the point of view of quantity, characteristic of modern science.

Besides Archimedes, the classical world, although perhaps not directly from Aristotle, offers the sphericity of the earth, Aristarchus’s heliocentric model, and the astonishing Antikythera machine.

modem phonemes January 11, 2023 3:53 PM

@ Winter

fact and reasoned fact  

For the reasoned fact, that is, scientific syllogism or proof, one has to have the appropriate object of study and the commensurate universal cause, the immediate necessary cause.

As an example, the Pythagorean theorem about right angled triangles and squares states a true fact, and is the conclusion of a valid syllogism.

A more nearly scientific fact is the construction of Pappus that, given any triangle and any parallelograms on two sides, produces a parallelogram on the third side that is the sum of the given parallelograms.

In the case of a right triangle and squares the resultant parallelogram is the usual square.

We see that right triangle and squares are not the appropriate objects, but rather any triangle and any parallelograms.

Generally, there are no errors, only facts, in Euclid, but the presentation though thoroughly syllogistic, is not scientific.

This kind of thing happens constantly in mathematics today.

Winter January 12, 2023 1:44 AM


Aristotle’s study of animals is full of astute detailed observations and speculations on their relationships.

Observations and speculations are not science. Testing the speculations, or hypothesis is the final, and crucial, step. Aristotle is generally considered one of the philosophers who prepared the way for science, but his “astute observations” remain just that, observations.

However, realist classical philosophy, that is Aristotle and Aquina, is the only possibly correct account of scientific knowledge and takes natural phenomena more seriously than do the moderns.

Given that Aquinas proved the existence of God without having to resort to observables, I doubt it. Also, progress in the knowledge of the world in the 1.5 Milleniums in between the two thinkers has not been spectacular.

Besides Archimedes, the classical world, although perhaps not directly from Aristotle, offers the sphericity of the earth, Aristarchus’s heliocentric model, and the astonishing Antikythera machine.

Indeed, and these feats had nothing to do with classical philosophy, but with observations and measurements.

Winter January 12, 2023 1:51 AM


Generally, there are no errors, only facts, in Euclid, but the presentation though thoroughly syllogistic, is not scientific.

Mathematics is not science. It describes logic, or philosophy. Someone must take it, and apply it to the real world to let it make sense. Proving that certain mathematics applies to certain problems in the world is part of science. The mathematics itself is not as it does not tell us how the world is or behaves.

Someone January 17, 2023 4:14 AM

No squid blogging last friday? Last comment in this thread is from five days ago? What happened?

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