Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fixed privacy leak in avatars

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Following the wise advice of Prince Charming, I edited a custom personal 256 bit secret into the php code of Avatar Privacy avatar generator, so that now it actually works as it is supposed to.

So now we have avatars, and actually do have privacy.

My own personal experience in security is that your boss orders one to do something inexplicably stupid that introduces a subtle flaw, an order that one would not expect your boss to give, or even to understand, but the flaw does not flat out report everything directly to the NSA, and the flaw is arguable – one is not flat out breaking security, it is just subtly weak, in a way complicated to explain and not entirely trivial to exploit.

And when you try to explain the problem to him he does not want to listen, and is unable to understand.

I conjecture that this is what happened to the Avatar Privacy plugin.

The flaw, explained by Prince Charming and checked by me is that the salt does not salt – it is same salt for every user, and the salt is quite short, thirty two bits, and thus can be easily reversed by exhaustive search. Given one known email, one can reverse the salt. Given the salt, one can reverse the hash of the any email. You have to throw the entire population of potential email addresses, which may well be enormous, at the hash of the email, but this does not take that long.

The central authority has a list of everyone they could do harm to, and try the list against the hash of the emails of the blog commenters who have offended by displaying inadequate holiness.

I could have fixed the salt part, and perhaps I will, but instead used a 256 bit site wide secret prepended to every hash directly in the source code.

return \hash( 'sha256', "my custom secret"."{$this->get_salt()}{$identifer}" );

This results in everyone randomly getting a new avatar, which will likely be different from the old one.

Back again

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

My blog has been down for a while – the perils of being your own system administrator.

Because of political events, I have moved the blog onto a server physically located on the boundary between the US empire and the Chinese hegemony, in a country that piously proclaims fealty to both, and tends to be left alone by both.

(Which means we are now being spied on by twice as many people, but they will probably forget about shutting me down and all that.)

While I can blame lots of other people for lots of things that went wrong in the move, the chief errors were my own.

I am back

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

If you have problems viewing this site or commenting, clear your browser caches (except for passwords and such)

Some browsers cached messed up data during the transition.

I am feeling optimistic about my safety, because I have taken some additional precautions, and the move seems to have taken me off the radar. About America, not so much.

After the Republic died in Rome, it took a long time for a new political order capable of cohesive action to appear, and even after Caesar Augustus took power, it took him twelve years to get things in some sort of order.

Elections and due process have gone down, and most of the civil service is in similar shape.

Sulla restored the Republic the only way it could be restored, at swordpoint with considerable slaughter.

The restoration lasted twenty one years, then the Republic died again of the same causes.

But for fourteen years after it died, until shortly after the assassination of Caesar, everyone acted as if the dead Republic was still alive, as if due process and free elections were still in effect.

Frequently with fatal consequences.

The politically correct story of the Roman Republic is that it died of ambitious generals with troops personally loyal to their general.

This just is not true. There was a terrible vacuum that demanded a general to restore order at swordpoint and enforce at swordpoint the cooperation that makes collective action possible, and that vacuum twice persisted for an extraordinarily unreasonable time before a general finally did. The Republic died twice, but things superficially appeared to keep happening as they used to for a while because of old people with old habits acting in ways that used to make sense, but were no longer sane or safe in the new reality.

Because the CEO, the sovereign, cannot be everywhere at once and decide everything he constructs a process that will generally produce an acceptable result if everyone follows it.

But, not everyone is going to follow it.

There is an interesting mathematical theorem from computer science that it takes at most one third of the parties engaging in Byzantine defection to subvert any process. It does not take majority defection, and unless the process is robustly designed to resist Byzantine faults, like the processes of the Venetian Republic in the days of its greatness, which requires immense amount of bullshit and heavy overheads, it takes far less than a third defecting.

The reason is that the people defecting from the process necessarily have a considerable advantage in getting their way over people who do not defect, an advantage that can be mathematically proven is always at least two to one, and is usually far more than two to one. Getting it down to two to one requires smart people designing the process.

A process that can resist one third Byzantine faults always has enormous overheads compared to a process that assumes no Byzantine faults.

If Trump’s people play by the rules, and other people do not play by the rules which is what has been happening, Trump’s people are going to get screwed.

So, by and by, everyone stops playing by the rules, as in the recent exposes of NSA misconduct, as in the recent election, as in the recent court decisions, and too many other instances to count.

But if everyone stops playing by the rules, then collective action becomes difficult. As the Russians complained of America under Obama, “America is not agreement capable.” Notoriously the State Department is owned by Israel. And by Saudi Arabia. And by China. And by assorted Hunter Biden type grifters. All the mutually contradictory conspiracy theories are simultaneously true.

Now in a private company, when you detect Byzantine faults you suspect Byzantine defection, and fire people till it goes away.

Obviously this does not happen in the public service. So the public service tends to become corrupt and incapable of collective action, incapable of serving its purpose.

If Biden gets in, then the people pulling his strings will find that the way they got in makes it impossible to get anything done. Until they start shooting judges and public servants, which I expect to start happening around 2026 or so if Trump fails to start shooting people sooner than that.

In the Roman Republic, the processes stopped working. Caesar incorrectly assumed that it was still impossible for respectable people to publicly murder other respectable people in public. And his assassins incorrectly assumed that after they assassinated Caesar, it would once again become impossible. He was wrong.

And they were wrong. Interesting times ahead.

This blog is going down

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

This blog, and the associated email addresses are going away until it becomes apparent which way the wind blows.

I am going to sell the domain name.

When it becomes apparent which way the wind blows, a similar blog, with all the original content and comments, will re-open on a less valuable domain name in a safer administration.

Bets on the outcome of current events should be settled in 2020 january 21 with ushwx@protonmail.ch
gpg fingerprint: 0D6ABF58AA31AF9594E70E4673E4BC62E92B87D7

The blog will go into maintenance mode in due course. If things go well, it should start redirecting to a domain with a cheaper domain name on which the blog is no longer in maintenance mode. If things go badly, I am pursuing a course of action based on blockchains and cryptography, while waiting for a Sulla, a Cromwell, or a Stalin. If a Cromwell or a Stalin, I will prepare the way for a General Monck or a Putin.

Whether this domain name will start redirecting to a new domain name depends on my judgment of events. A new blog with all the original content will probably open somewhere, but you may have to discover it.

Where we are, and where we are going

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

This blog has never been in the business of covering today’s news, but rather of covering the long sweep of history, and putting today’s news in the long sweep of history.

And today’s news amounts to the fact that we are not going to get a good look at the ballots printed at midnight after the voting finished until and unless Trump proclaims the Insurrection Act:

The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it-

so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or

opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

We have a conspiracy hindering the execution of the laws of numerous State, and of the United States within those States. And the conspirators need to be detained, preferably in Alaska as far from Washington as possible, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, and questioned, by military intelligence and loyalist federal cops.

And now, back to the long sweep of history.

A King creates a virtuous elite, as King Alfred the Great and Charles the Second did. A virtuous elite, having internal cohesion and trust, is quite capable of running the country without much Kingly supervision, and the King is apt to be quite content to focus on fornication, partying, and hunting, so the Kingdom gradually becomes a Republic, at first de-facto, and eventually in name and truth.

But a Republic lacks effectual means of dealing with misconduct in the elite, so cooperation and trust in the elite breaks down. They turn to the masses to resolve their internal conflicts, and the Republic becomes a democracy. As evil flourishes, and cooperation continues to break down, it eventually comes to pass that the stakes on the table are too high, so the Republic, or the Democratic Republic, dies.

Democracy requires a level of trust and comity between the parties that no longer exists.

The loser has to believe that loss will not be total, permanent, and result in his destruction.

Because the Democrats have been indulged by law enforcement for a long time, they have committed all manner of crimes, and will go to jail if law enforcement is done in an impartial manner.

Because law enforcement is not done in an impartial manner, the Republicans will go to jail if it is not fixed. If Republicans lose power now, they are permanently and irreversibly out of power, and many of them will wind up in prison or worse. Paul Rand times ten thousand, because the man who attempted to murder Kyle on video is free as a bird.

Caesar became an enemy of the Republic by crossing the Rubicon, but he had to cross the Rubicon because otherwise would have been charged and convicted of no end of political offenses.

However this thing ends, one side or the other is going to jail, and if it ends with Trump out of power, Trump’s family will eventually be executed. Initially they will only be imprisoned, but as $#!% continues to hit the fan, they will eventually, like the Romanovs and the family of Louis XVI, become too dangerous to live.

Fixing law enforcement is going to require proclaiming the Insurrection act, and it may well become necessary to call out the unorganized militia and organize it. Nothing less is likely to suffice.

Too much is on the table for democracy to continue, and it has not continued. To restore a genuine Republic requires the creation of a well behaved elite. It will take at least a century, even if we start right away.

Trying to fix ballot counting requires sending a pile of people to prison, which ups the stakes even further. There is no way to bring the stakes down to something consistent with a Republic, because our elite is corrupt, degenerate, and decadent. You have to create a new, virtuous, elite. Start by purging Harvard, or leveling it to the ground and building a new Harvard, a Harvard run by men who are married, God fearing, Christian, and have well behaved children. (Or, in the case of India, gods fearing.) The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. We are going to need a Caesar Augustus, and Caesar Augustus is going to need, like Constantine, a state religion that works to produce a virtuous elite.

Caesar’s problem was that all the genuinely virtuous gods fearing people were on the side of the Republic. He had only bad people. And the problem that all the genuinely virtuous gods fearing people had is that they were on the side of a Republic that had died a long time previously. Don’t do what they did. Trying to fix harvesting and registration is doing what they did. You cannot do it unless you purge or dismiss the the three letter agencies, and if you purge or dismiss the three letter agencies, the existing Democrat organization is going to jail.

Marius failed because he upped the stakes so far that the Roman Republic could not continue. Sulla’s problem was that he restored a dead Republic. Caesar’s problem was that he was an enemy of the (undead) Republic and had only bad people around him. Augustus Caesar succeeded because he “restored” the Republic – but made sure the fact that it was dead was not a problem.

But Augustus Caesar had a problem in that insofar as he had a live state religion, he had a hostile state religion. He tried emperor worship, the equivalent of Deng Xiaoping theory, but nothing worked until Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion. Constantine also built a new capital far from the swamp.

What Putin is doing, making Russian Orthodoxy the state religion, is working. What Deng Xiaoping did looks like it is sort of working so far, but, like Augustus Caesar’s emperor worship, obviously fragile. Deng Xiaoping theory is “learn truth from facts”, which is a mighty good start, the main fact from which they learned truth being that socialism does not work, but the since the state religion is incarnated in the head of state, the facts are what the party says they are.

Charles the second instituted the rule “Nullius in verba”, which obligates you to check stuff for yourself, or at least identify the person who checked stuff himself and listen to what he said, rather than what someone else says he said. I walked in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci and Lyell, and I myself verified with my own pickaxe and my own eyes that the Earth is immensely old, not because I had any doubt that I would see what they saw, but because I was raised to believe that one had a moral obligation to use primary sources or, better, much better, one’s own observations, that the Wikipedia style reliance on highly derived sources is not merely unwise, but wicked.

I told Scott Alexander

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

I told him, your friends are your enemies, and your enemies are your friends.

A few hours ago, he shut down his blog, Slate Star Codex, because the New York Times came after him.

Every year I have lived, it has been getting crazier, faster and faster. If Trump fails to become Caesar Augustus, Scott Alexander will not very long afterwards be killed by those he regards as his friends, unless rescued by those he regards as his enemies. Reflect on Venezuela. It started in Venezuela with pulling down statues, renaming streets, and revising the curriculum. And pretty soon they were revising the people.

He neglects to name the reporter: “(out of respect for his concerns, I am avoiding giving his name here.)”

Come on Scott. Everyone who works for the New York Times is evil, and you cannot appease them, because they hate everyone, including themselves. Being nice to reporters just gives them more opportunity and incentive to hurt people, starting with whoever is being nice to them. You should have encouraged and enabled your readers to take vengeance, not to maximize utility by protecting the next hundred people this reporter will destroy, but because vengeance is the right thing to do, when authority will not provide justice.

Scott, when a crazy fat woman in your circle of friends started accusing people in your circle of sexual harassment and sexual assault, what did you and your friends do about it? How did being politically correct on that turn out for you and for her? And do friends who respond in that way qualify as friends?

Scott is a smart guy, and a good writer. If he starts blogging with stronger anonymity, using a domain name purchased with bitcoin laundered through Monaro on a cloud computer similarly paid for, he might he able to be more wary about his “friends”, and less hateful to his “enemies”.

Praise the Holy StarProphet!

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Americans back in space on an American rocket, launched by Musk, who was protected from Nasa by Trump.

The reason he can successfully launch stuff from the Nasa launch pad, is that he could launch stuff from a pad where the Range Safety Officer is Space Force, rather than Nasa, a pad that gets blown up from time to time. The space suits they are wearing have Nasa logos, but they are SpaceX suits, were personally designed by Musk as the prototype for Space Force’s space uniform. The primary design criterion for SpaceX space suits, is that they can be worn by heroes in space. The primary design criterion for Nasa’s space suits, is that they can be worn by morbidly obese middle aged lesbians larping space travel and no one can notice the difference between a hero and a morbidly obese middle aged lesbian.

The Cathedral and the Holiness Spiral

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

“The Cathedral” was the hacker metalepsis for centralized authority, which Moldbug appropriated to describe the rule of the most holy unofficially official state religion of progressivism.

A real life Cathedral is not run by a single CEO, but by a synod of bishops, and “The Cathedral” is the Beast with Seven Heads, several conspiracies struggling with each other for power and status, each composed of several individuals struggling with each other for status and power.

Rule by priests tends that way, because warriors prefer a clear chain of command, with a single man able to give command, while priests like to work by consensus. And consensus tends to madness.

Priests want to develop a shared story, so that people hearing the story from multiple seemingly separate sources will be more inclined to believe it, so naturally tend to develop their story by consensus. Warriors want a clear decision to deal with some external problem.

We are always ruled by priests or warriors, or some mixture of both, and when too many priests acquire too much power, they butt into the affairs of warriors and merchants, where consensus is a really bad way of making decisions.

The capacity of the Cathedral to abruptly and uniformly changed its line in a cohesive and coherent way indicates that the number of individuals is not a whole lot larger than the Dunbar number. Variations over time in its ability to act coherently and cohesively indicates that the number of influential individuals changes over time, and that the Cathedral struggles to preserve it ability to act cohesively, to act like a single being with a single will, not always successfully.

The Cathedral tends to be dominated by the most cohesive groups. Thus each group struggles for cohesion, as the Cathedral as a whole struggles for cohesion. One ever popular source of cohesion is blackmail through participation in shared crimes, and perhaps the Clinton group derived substantial cohesion from this source, but this necessarily only works for a quite small tightly knit group, which may well be at the center of a larger group. To hold a larger group together requires a shared faith, and so you derive cohesion by recruiting the most zealous believer in the faith.

To ensure loyalty and cohesion, the group, and the Cathedral as a whole, recruit the most zealous defenders of the faith.

Thus competition to join the group, and to rise within the group, results in ever more extreme demonstrations of holy faith, which is apt to result in manufacturing more ever extreme things to be holy about, in order to promote oneself and one’s faction, and cast out other factions, and competitors within one’s own faction, as insufficiently holy.

Off Topic: SARS-CoV-2 public service announcement

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Wash your hands before touching your face. Soap and water not only removes the virus, but kills it. Disinfectant works, but is unnecessary.

The virus survives for a day or two on glass, steel (such a doorknobs) and plastic (such as supermarket wrappings) Windex spray kills and removes the virus. Clean everything that has been exposed to outsiders. Windex spray is more convenient than soap and water for doorknobs and such.
NovelCoronaVirus

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It is likely that the anti malarial drug Chloraquine is effective against the virus.

It is also likely that the virus is evolving into less lethal forms, evolving into its own live vaccine, which protects you against more lethal forms.

Soap and windex is the best public and personal health measure.

Oligarchs

Friday, February 21st, 2020

The big winner of the Democratic Party presidential nominee debate was, of course, President Donald Trump.

The commies called out the oligarch for being an oligarch, and the oligarch called out the commies for being commies. The commies lost and the oligarch lost worse.

Following the debate Bernie Sanders gleefully referred to “our networks” – implying that some nominally private networks are in fact owned by the Permanent Government / Democratic Party, and frequently answer to commies. As obviously they do.

The word “Oligarch” in its old and correct meaning is a member of the permanent government. Newer usage, however is to refer to members of the permanent government that substantially exercise power as capitalists on the revolving door between regulators and regulated, such as Jon Corzine, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Jeff Bezos. Soros’s wealth comes from buying up worthless third world debt, and then having the World Bank, which is to say the American taxpayer, make it worth something.

Oligarchs(new meaning), is a small subset of oligarchs(old meaning) Bloomberg and Bernie are both oligarchs(old meaning) but only Bloomberg is an oligarch(new meaning)

Capitalists are not usually oligarchs, though some capitalists such as Bezos are also oligarchs. The Microsoft/Amazon conflict is a capitalist versus oligarch conflict, with the oligarchs(old meaning) coming in on the side of their fellow oligarch, and President Donald Trump coming in on the side of the taxpayers, and also on the side of his fellow capitalists at Microsoft.

Under Obama, the oligarchs ran wild, looted the nation, and proposed to loot it a great deal worse (the infamous Trans Pacific Partnership). This gave the commies plenty of entirely justified complaints and arguments, which is why Bernie Sanders is doing OK despite being two steps behind Judge Ruth Ginsberg in front of death’s door.

The elite is losing cohesion, leading to anarcho-tyranny and internal conflict, which internal conflict was on display in the recent Democratic party debate. Oligarchs(new meaning) should exercise power from behind the scenes, relying their allies(oligarchs in the old meaning) to tell the voters “hail fellow non white, hail fellow oppressed woman, hail fellow gay”. When they have to put their own faces forward, they are in trouble. It shows that Bloomberg does not trust the Democrats to look after the interests of his sort of people the way Clinton and Obama so generously did.

Oligarchs(new meaning) are worried that their fellow capitalist Donald Trump is stabbing them from in front, while fellow oligarchs(old meaning) are going to stab them in the back.

The Transpacific Partnership was a plot by oligarchs(new meaning) against capitalists, a gigantic pile of lobbyist written law and regulation.

As a result, we are now seeing the rich oligarch(new meaning) face of the Democratic party and commie loser face of the Democratic party on display simultaneously, with Bernie Sanders being a wealthy oligarch(old meaning) and commie loser simultaneously.

A lot of people say that a president Bernie would not do anything, because being rich from political gravy, he is not inclined to do anything, because he is a fellow oligarch(old meaning), and the oligarchs(new meaning) in the government would not allow him to do anything.

But the holiness spiral, running leftism ever lefter, has installed a lot of commies in the Permanent Government. A president Bernie, unlike President Trump, would have enough of his own people in the Permanent Government to get stuff done by executive order, and he, unlike Trump, has people that will cheerfully carry out some quite extraordinary executive orders, which is how Hugo Chavez destroyed Venezuela and Allende destroyed Chile. I don’t think he intends to turn America into the Soviet Union, and if he does intend that the Permanent Government will not allow it. But he does openly and enthusiastically intend to turn America into Venezuela, and there are plenty of people in the Permanent Government who are mighty keen on that idea.

Leftism always fragments into leftists fighting each other, and leftism always solves this by cohesion around the leftmost faction. I was expecting an anti white to be the leftmost faction and that the anti white Democratic leader would try to build unity around getting rid of white people, starting with old white people in the Democratic Party, with Nancy Pelosi getting the first pass of the salami slicer, but Bernie Sanders is the leader of the leftmost faction. If Bernie Sanders loses the candidacy, Democratic Party / Permanent Government chaos and internal conflict will continue. If he wins the candidacy, the oligarchs will bend the knee. The left always does, sometimes after a few left on left mysterious disappearances and “suicides”.