What’s Living In A Simulation Like? (Saturday Movie Interlude)

believe it or not, someone thought about this a looong time ago

and made a movie about it

What Color Is This Violin?

Photoshop says it’s whatever color you want it to be but some retard at the CIA who works Hollywood screenwriters says it’s red so we’ll work with that

Read the VLNLAB Release Note

Steve Jobs, Post Script: Tim Cook Is An Homicidal Faggot (Interlude)

“As Dmitry – and, indeed, perhaps all of humanity – stared into the void, a world of possibilities appeared to him in an instant. Just as Tolstoy once described the experience of a child witnessing the unfolding of nature as though he himself were the causative variable, with even the chirping of nighttime insects occuring in response to the desires and thoughts at the front of his mind, Steve too had a moment of clarity: the recognition that he might someday hold that very same power – in a far more concrete sense.”

at some point, we may discuss in greater depth the more advanced yet not publicly acknowledged capabilities and uses of Apple’s iDevices.

BUT FOR NOW, WE’RE GOING TO SHOW YOU WHAT THE HUMAN’S IPHONE DID IN THE MIDST OF HIS ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT AT A SHARP BEND AROUND THE EDGE OF A CLIFF, AND YOU CAN JUDGE MURDEROUS DOUCHEBAG PEDERAST TIM COOK ACCORDINGLY: AN ORIGINAL SCREENSHOT FROM APPLE MAPS ON AN IPHONE SE PURCHASED IN THE USA.

Elon Musk Thinks He Lives In A Video Game

meanwhile, americans trust him to build carsthis loser* works, superficially, in biotech; same problem

*we might out this person eventually, absent a major behavioral change, but the important part is that he was recommended for hire into this biotech company by the CMO of a major West Coast venture capital firm, and he is a severely mentally ill kleptomaniac.

note to peasants! unless you are quite smart, your john nash impression is going to be shit. also, while we’re on the subject, john nash is not an important intellectual. he provided a quasi-autistic systemization of the way rich people have behaved since the Rennaissance. QED.

In theory, we could probably just leave this post here as-is and leave you to make inferences from the title, the web address, and some snide comments about ‘Merica’s favorite entrepreneur. 

Elon: so I made an electric car. it runs systemd
CIA: like, even the throttle control? excellent. think you could market it overwhelmingly to anti-Western dissidents?
Elon: wtf is wrong with you none of those guys have any money and it’s not like the Iranians will buy any
CIA: well we could make more tax incentives I guess
Elon: no. just no. please for the love of god would you people come up with something that actually makes sense
CIA: uh…

as the human once noted to a former co-worker, it’s easy to think you’re living in a simulation if you’re a second standard deviation IQ living in the USA due to the many offensive absurdities of American people/culture. the problem occurs at the third standard deviation.

More important, though, is the use of the simulation argument and the mass media on its theme as psychological operations propaganda.

look, at some point, smart people cease to willingly tolerate living in America, unless they’re burdened with a peasant-like phenotype that due to cultural expectations makes life in Europe or Asia difficult, in which case a move to Berkeley or Boston or San Francisco is usually the option

So the USA’s security services occasionally take it upon themselves to poison (in order to mildly disfigure) good-looking, smart people who seem like flight risks, particularly if they’re unhappy with the USA and vocal about it. The human is one of these: he now wakes up every day to a face he barely even recognizes in the mirror anymore.

 challenge: explain this to the cute girl a few meters away at the bar without seeming like a complete raving lunatic. realize that you nevertheless may need to do so at some point even if you do get her number. it’s an horrific punishment, “please make your reproductive decisions based on these pictures of me when I lived in Austria” being perhaps exactly the least compelling pickup line of all time

“Oh, no, the USA would never do that!” you exclaim.


meet Victor Yuschenko, a former president of Ukraine. poisoned at a level that nearly killed him, Victor is found in this heavily-retouched photo blithely approximating the penis size of America-lovers. Russia is predominantly accused of his poisoning in the Western press, but for a number of reasons, that is extremely unlikely

in recent years, America has dropped the ‘carrot-or-the-stick’ approach to achieving desired outcomes with security targets. instead, it is now predominantly the stick as the Reaganite doctrine of unwillingness to pay off ‘terrorists’ is used daily to redefine anyone opposed to the Washington Consensus as a terrorist

The Simulation Argument

The crux of the Simulation Argument, as used in psy-ops provocations, is that people are the same in every country. Big cities and the people in them are all the same everywhere with only minor regional differences. Small cities the same. The countryside too. There’s no point in political activism. There’s no point to getting fed up with the moronic losers around you and diving into a civilized gene pool and environment before it’s too late. You’re probably just living in a video game and Elon Musk, by virtue of unwavering positivity, American Idealism, dutiful meditation and/or prayer and hard work, is just waaay better at it than you are. No matter how strange or horrific or painful the problems you face are. Never mind that the real founder of Tesla was a dorky-looking German-American engineer from the midwest named Martin Eberhard whom you never hear about in the press.

the sad part is that this will resonate with a lot of people it shouldn’t

because it’s not a fevered screed about ‘the system’. it’s a deeply personal exposition of what happened to the human as a result of psychopaths still receiving very large checks from the United States Treasury in exchange for enforcing their ridiculous reverse caste system. that’s all. the unique, valuable intellectual property here is how the targets – a sizeable proportion of whom end up committing horrific acts of violence and other forms of criminality – are convinced to believe this nonsense, but that’s a subject for another day.

This Is What Incompetent Spy Work Looks Like

far from Daniel Craig’s James Bond, the typical position of a Western intelligence agent today appears to be jonesing from an ephedrine shot, huddled in fear behind the wheel of a just-crashed rental Kia, in a color-matching shirt to the vehicle he failed to take out, no less

to be fair, were I trying to take out a 4200lb iron-frame, iron-block Jaguar with a rented Kia head-on, I’d need an ephedrine shot too

our subject was kind (well, maybe just trained) enough to throw out his paraphenalia upon impact with another random car immediately ahead. click it:

bitch, n. “well, I mean it like the way black people use it, which is more meaningful, I think.” – Derek Zoolander

Interlude: On The Peasants

note: this is a movie clip. please do not use the n-word in real life. it is used here to engage with readers in a dialogue about the peasants, and in our discussions of the peasants, we refer only to phenotype (and the aspects of personality and intellect that unfortunately seem to remain associated with it, except in the case of people from Romania, who all seem to be mildly retarded.)

phenotype is for the most part independent of skin pigmentation, which is mostly disassociated with a great many other genetic factors. there is so much new, dumb, embarrassing money all over the world now that being superficially racist in any way makes zero sense.

Zen and the Art of Jaguar Maintenance

the amateurs ride motorcyclesmeet Ivanka the ’97 Jaguar VDP

People tend to think that British cars are unreliable. This is not true. Some are garbage; Jaguars are not. In fact, they may be the best luxury car you can buy.

see, Britain has a bizarre phenomenon – due to demographic factors dating back as far as the 17th century – of a very large class of low-level nobility, now ‘middle class’ (who would be defined as upper middle class by American standards) who, due to greater geographic isolation, tended to die less often in wars and revolutions than their Continental counterparts.

so there were a lot of them, and they didn’t want to ride around in the same cars as the peasants, and Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar, became very skilled at exploiting this fact at scale.

If you bought a Jaguar, you got a car that was in most cases more carefully engineered and built than a Mercedes or BMW or Cadillac, with nicer design and materials and a nearly unstoppable drivetrain – for a comparable or lower price.

“but why do they break down so often?”

Ask yourself: have you ever seen a broken-down Jaguar on the side of the road? I bet you haven’t, and this is where it gets a bit unusual. (Well, to American sensibilities, anyway.)

LET ME CLARIFY THIS FOR YOU. CARS THAT ARE INHERENTLY UNRELIABLE, ARE UNRELIABLE EVERYWHERE. THEY BREAK DOWN AT RANDOM TIMES WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING THEM.

Jaguars do not.

 (well, at least not until 1998, when the Ford buyout and associated engineering downgrades started working their way through the whole product line. for the purposes of this blog, “Jaguar” means pre-1998 Jaguar.)

So when your Jaguar breaks, asking why is a good idea.It means one of three things is happening:

  1. you bought your car used, but someone at Jaguar has decided that you are not worthy of being a classic Jaguar driver or your car is not worthy of being a classic Jaguar (this happens, and did to the human’s other, salvage-titled beater Jag, before he bought it: there was literally a connector wired onto the cooling fan under the lower front bumper lip used to completely drain the battery at any time with the help of a piece of copper wire or even just a large construction staple. so he cut it off, and the battery miraculously began to NEVER spontaneously drain itself overnight EVER AGAIN.)
  2. someone else is fucking with you and has sabotaged your car (an edge case, but it happened to Ivanka)
  3. some ancient part has finally ‘given up the ghost’ (because if you own a pre-1998 Jag, any premature failures will have happened already.)

“but what about all of that nasty wiring everywhere?”

well, it’s all color-coded, so…

“but why don’t they at least put it in a wiring harness?”

see #1. “shit, another electrical fire.” get it?

If you’re curious, here’s what #2 looks like – a business-related attempt on the human’s life carried out by the American FBI in exchange for…well…money, that through careful listening and driving, was averted:

morning of, the human got in the car and noticed that his seat was in a slightly different position and that an additional six miles were on the odometer. then he reached highway speed and the throttle STAYED OPEN.

driving through a winding road in the mountains in winter with no shoulder. there is oncoming traffic, the throttle is already stuck open and you can only change the vehicle’s speed with the transmission. there’s a loud clunk from the front driver’s wheel, and then it starts wobbling on its axis from side to side until about 70km/h. horrible grinding sound when turning & braking as metal-on-metal literally eats away at the brake disc, the inside of the brake caliper and the wheel.

if you slow down, the wobbling gets worse and puts more stress on the axle, meaning that the wheel falls off sooner and you go flying through the guard rail and off the side of a mountain.

If you speed up, the wobbling stops but the steering is barely functional: you perhaps have a few more miles at best before the wheel comes flying off. What do you do?

the human sped up. here’s what the saboteurs did:

Reverse Engineering the Steve Jobs Biographies: Part 4

i think i forgot something


yeah. right. death.

“why are you writing about Steve Jobs? he was so early 2010s, the world, and by the world we mean America, has moved on, why are you rehashing the past?”

because the real story of Steve Jobs provides a model for what a lot of American entrepreneurs who generate unique intellectual property experience, including the human, who is pretty pissed off about it

specifically, the model is as follows:

  1. generate unique intellectual property, or even just possess the unique combination of knowledge and skills to generate it within a certain domain
  2. refuse CIA-generated ‘serendipity’: incredible, improbable introductions to investors somehow based in the middle of bumfuck nowhere and introductions to other random people who want you to couple up with a potential cofounder who works at a major corporation but doesn’t seem to actually do or know much about the subject at hand aside from tangential interests
  3. find yourself somehow totally unable to generate any source of income aside from miserable, demeaning service jobs despite being extremely well educated, competent, and highly productive

guess what, it’s flowchart time

have you:

a) surrendered 50%+ of your intellectual property to attorneys, cofounders, investors yet? if yes, celebrate: assuming you built something more potentially societally influential than a stupid consumer-facing platform app, you just may be allowed to become the next Aaron Swartz, founder of Reddit, who “committed suicide”!

or have you:

b) refused to engage in a valueless exchange and, instead, done things like sending major VCs cans of dog food when they try to troll you into paying to enter pitch competitions or repeatedly applying to accelerators (psychological technique to generate commitment & impressions of exclusivity) and just openly, publicly mocked tech billionaires who are actually welfare queen losers in private life?

i sent paul graham of y combinator a little giftso paul got someone at the other startup the human was working for to try to feed me a bag of silica gel. true story. paul’s a giant loser.

(but I don’t eat silica gel, so paul decided then to take his inappropriate, childish anger out on the human by making Checkr – paul’s background check company – report and/or upgrade a bunch of traffic tickets on the human’s record most of which never actually happened.)

man, that’s not really a flowchart, is it. shit.

 perhaps when the first box of a flowchart ends with “most probably kill yourself” you don’t really need a flowchart

But this part of the Steve Jobs series isn’t about his death.

we won’t discuss how easy it is to induce certain cancers and other diseases that can lead to cancers, or who might have had an incentive to do that, nor will we discuss the many perfectly good strategic reasons a CEO might have to consider faking his own death. talk is cheap, and if we had some sort of unique or useful verifiable insight to add in regards the circumstances of Steve’s death, we’d have done it already.

sorry, folks, tupac haaaaas…left the building!

The takeaway here is that the USA’s security services are actively destroying the lives of nice, smart people who just occasionally feel the desire to spontaneously build things for humanity. It is sad and pathetic and the FBI/CIA/NSA are a bunch of degenerate peasants leading the country they exist to serve and protect off a cliff.

Eventually, we also will explain why this is.

Another Interlude

the thin mint, as it happens, fits inside a diplomatic pouch

Life Under Surveillance Abroad

occasionally the human enjoys a glass of wine

this one claims to be a Rothschild wine and we don’t know if that’s actually true nor are we sure exactly why there seems to be an Ukrainian flag on the foil, but it is $12 in the USA and for that price it is quite good

anyhow, the wine we are discussing is not the wine above

Wine is an interesting thing, as an attack vector against someone you don’t like.

This is because the contents of wine aren’t really regulated.

I mean, back in the ’80s there was a court case about the legality of adding automotive anti-freeze to wines to give the impression of age, but basically, for any sort of real regulation to happen someone probably has to die first

so awhile back, the human moved to a new part of a major city in a former Soviet Union country, started shopping at a new grocery store and found a good, dry white wine from Georgia (country, not US state) that was about $6.50 a bottle that he would periodically buy

The human moved for his own safety and has been under surveillance for a long time because his grandparents were important people plus he formerly had an important job and he speaks several languages which makes the proletarian CIA & NSA very uncomfortable

One day, he bought a new bottle, took a swig, noticed it tasted different from what he was accustomed to, spit it out immediately, and began to examine it.

old (good) bottle on the left, new one on the right

real one has darker ink, multicolored & shinier hologram strip, different fonts, etc.

here’s the label from the real bottle

and here’s the label from the fake bottle

But the real difference is in the contents. The good bottle on the left is a delicious, dry white with low content of sulfites and other preservatives and impurities.

The one on the right is sweeter and has enough histamine-reaction-inducing sulfites and other impurities to put a horse out for a week.

No joke. The human drank literally just one mouthful as a test and within an hour was unable to breathe out of his nose for an entire day and was practically injecting himself with double espressos just to stay awake.

I mean, if your favorite grocery store wine costs $6.50 and someone’s faking the label, you’re obviously being targeted.

SO HE REPORTED THE STORE TO THE COUNTRY’S SECURITY SERVICES.

now, why is this important?

Inflammation, as it happens in response to allergens – increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. So, in addition to making you lethargic, a strong allergic reaction will also increase absorption of whatever other chemicals happen to be in wine (in addition to the alcohol) into your brain.

On one hand, hey! Great! You get drunk faster and cheaper!

on the other hand, hmm…what else is in there?

and in this case, the answer to that question appears to be, “poison”.

A Writing Exercise

time to put the Vermeer out on display

We generally try not to write about people who are still alive. Their deeds and achievements should stand for who they are, unmolested by the subjectivity of a peanut gallery, canine/human/otherwise.

 nevertheless, if one does need to write about a living person, we recommend what we like to call “the wood chipper test”.

Imagine an outdoor barbeque, southern-USA style, in the middle of nowhere, late afternoon.  You’re in a small, peaceful clearing surrounded by big, old-growth maple and fir trees. The only sounds, aside from what you yourselves produce, are the wind working its way through the full, green, late-summer leaves of those trees, and noise from a distant country road. There’s a full spread of food and booze, intended for you, a squadron of bodyguards, and your subject. Not far away, in a field, awaits a brand-new, well-oiled, top-of-the-line Vermeer wood chipper.

today, you are God. you can do whatever you like with your subject. barbecue & fascinating conversation that becomes a lifelong best memory? check. revolting gay (or not) gangbang orgy at gunpoint? check. drunken Civil War reenactment? check.  origami-making session with paper napkins? check…i guess.

“but what if things go badly, or if I decide I really don’t like this person”, you ask?

Well, that’s why the wood chipper’s there.

see, the wood chipper execution is an highly nuanced piece of business.

it can be a nearly painless mercy killing (head-first) or it can be an absolutely horrific, incredibly violent mess of an experience (feet-first) as all parties watch an human being be gradually consumed and recycled by a simple piece of gasoline-powered machinery into its constituent parts of blood, flesh, and bone.

 But the additional complexity of this scenario is that the wood chipper execution is the only way out of the scenario for both you and your subject if things go badly, even if you decide he or she only deserves a good beating on the basis of your own worldview.

that’s the thing: there are literally hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who, given the chance, would sit down with Adolf Hitler, say “you know what, I totally get you! you only deserve life in prison on a technicality but since that’s not an option, I’ll just punch you in the face” three hours later, and let him go.

THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE WOOD CHIPPER.

just ask the Jews, they’ll be happy to remind you.

See, Adolf isn’t a nice guy. You know that already. If you let him go, he goes to the police and you go to jail for a long time. So either Mr Vermeer gets a nice long lunch or you’re in for a serious lifestyle change.

Which is it?

“well, now that you put it that way, I guess…”

 Really? Are you going to help the bodyguards?

“well, I…isn’t that why they’re there?”

Actually, no. They’re there to protect you. If you ask, they’ll help you – but the decision is yours.

“shit…I…Adolf’s such a nice guy, I mean, you could practically imagine him as a Jew, couldn’t you?”

Yeah, that’s the problem: he’s a psychopath regardless of ethnicity, but the distinction doesn’t really matter to you, does it.

 “why are you being so critical? this is a hard decision! don’t you thin..”

No. I’m not here to advise you; I’m simply providing an exposition. There’s no doubt it’s pretty hard to feed a human being into a wood chipper in a literal sense, yet the metaphorical equivalent happens every day with the consent of allegedly educated people as long as there’s at least one degree of separation involved.

“well I went to the LSE, and in my global econo…”

Look. You have an option here. This is the first day of the best part of your life. You can literally unceremoniously throw the dickhead into the wood chipper without any real-world repercussions.  So do you want to?

this, in essence, is the subject matter of every Hague war trial and every corporate malfeasance inquest and every congressional ethics probe, and unless the person in question is very rich by birth, the answer is inevitably “well, yeah, I guess so, I mean, who really gives a shit.”

 Don’t get drawn into an ethical dilemma here: the world circa 1933 and later is better off with Adolf as atomized flesh in all cases – and this is what “the wood chipper test” is all about.

 you are the writer. it is less important that Adolf’s corporeal mass is promptly scheduled to meet a wall of sharp, geared, gasoline-driven teeth, and more important that those teeth are totally indifferent to whichever end of Adolf comes first.

Nevertheless, those teeth are inanimate; you are not.

Which end of Adolf goes first?

this, truly, is the most human part of the question. Adolf is important only to the extent that you feel it appropriate to offer him mercy: once you’ve already decided on the execution, whether Adolf experiences just 0.5 or 55 seconds of excruciating pain is most likely immaterial to you – and everyone else, actually.

The important part is you. What questions do you want to ask? How much of the process do you truly want to witness? Do you want to distribute the video? And if so, how and with what goals and strategy? How does that affect your choice of cinematography?

These questions confront both ISIS and BCG every month or so – but they have been asked for centuries. Neither cares what the answers are anymore. Nor should you. All that matters is that you asked the questions, and from asking them, you gain greater insight into what you should write. Nevertheless – the dickhead goes into the wood chipper.

REPEAT AFTER ME:

The dickhead goes into the wood chipper.

The dickhead goes into the wood chipper.

The dickhead goes into the wood chipper.

The dickhead goes into the wood chipper.

The dickhead goes into the wood chipper.

THE DICKHEAD GOES INTO THE WOOD CHIPPER.

THE DICKHEAD GOES INTO THE WOOD CHIPPER.

Interlude

“so I sent Jeff Bezos a dildo…and, well…it was THIS big!”

*smirking* “well, you know, that might explain why someone rigged your car to kill you last Christmas Eve”
“nah mate, that happened before I sent it”
*cap, cigarette* “hmm. interesting. either of you chaps have a light?”

The Unified Theory Of Edward Snowden

we don’t take Edward Snowden very seriously

because he’s either a complete idiot or a CIA provocation

the human delineates possible scenarios along two lines: House Snowden and Field Snowden

“why are you using this terminology? it’s offensive!” kill yourself. Snowden’s a high school graduate and just a computer tech – not a high value or smart guy. he made a six figure salary due to the insanity of US Government largesse under an administration that was purposely bankrupting itself just to see if it could and stupidly gave up a great life he’d never have anywhere else.

the House Snowden possibilities are as follows:

  • CIA provocation 1: Snowden’s defection is done with his full collaboration from the beginning as a provocation for political purposes as different US government agencies attempt to rival each other for power and influence – in this case, perhaps to weaken the NSA. This is reasonably possible: all of the Bush administrations were seriously heavy on CIA influence, while Obama was a big NSA proponent (and had to be to keep the CIA under control)
  • OR: Snowden, having possibly run into some trouble due to political beliefs/leanings, defected due to fears in re: personal safety and weaved a post-hoc narrative in which he publicly gave up a bunch of mostly worthless information (most of which the human knew about already having simply grown up in a town that formerly housed a research facility for a major US tech firm) and used it to brand himself as some sort of freedom fighter, which he has more or less done successfully so far.

and now we come to Field Snowden:

  • CIA provocation 2: Snowden is the ultimate enterprise software salesman’s demo presentation. Having been gradually radicalized to extremist libertarian beliefs via poor education and resulting inability to meaningfully critique propagandistic content, he has surrounded himself with people who are demographically similar, hold simple worldviews, and only reflect his rigid and uninformed convictions about society. Much like Muslims who Western social media radicalizes in order to stoke the multiplier-based American economic demand model via terrorism, Snowden became radicalized as the result of a psy-ops experiment (much as many Muslim terrorists have) and only boarded a flight to Hong Kong instead of strapping on an explosive vest and boarding the NYC subway due to the ingrained expectations of white, suburban American corporate/government culture. His defection and revelations are worthless and the CIA intended for this to be the case from the beginning as a warning to the world of what they are capable of.

anyway, there he was, sitting in the HK airport

CHINA: “uh, we don’t want this guy. we’re good at this whole totalitarianism bit already, no need for another low-IQ white guy unless he has lighter eyes, sorry”

RUSSIA: “well we could take him. let him sit and stew in Sheremetyevo for a month or so, you know the drill, lace his meals at McDonalds and Sbarro with the laxatives we put in the beer at all the tourist places in Moscow to fuck with the foreigners, give him a media circus with some guy who wants to make a name for himself as a one-shot human rights lawyer then give him a government apartment in Podmoskovie and a data entry job at VKontakte or something, maybe a lifetime free pass on Aeroflot for the stripper too. then we can sit back and laugh when no one in America even listens to him.”

HK: “yeah, sounds good to us, I’d hate to do the same in the airport here, the bathroom custodian’s too nice a guy. thanks again.”

Reverse Engineering the Steve Jobs Biographies: Part 3

on product roadmaps, population demographics, & pancreatic cancer

Around 2004, Apple began making plans for a gradual switchover to Intel processors and UEFI firmware.

The reason the public heard for this was that IBM “couldn’t” produce the types of chips Apple needed for its prosumer and consumer hardware: fast, low-power variants for laptops and full-throttle desktop chips that could compete with Intel on clock speed and performance. It was Just Too Hard and Intel was Just Too Good.

this, naturally, was total bullshit.

Fast-forward thirteen years: Edward Snowden, whom the human periodically trolls on Twitter for being an  overpaid, deluded, undereducated lump of human garbage, goes on a Twitter tirade (later deleted) about how awesome it would be if AMD open-sourced its firmware because this would be such a revolutionary and wonderful thing. Wait, is that circular reasoning?

in fact, it would be neither revolutionary nor wonderful: see, Steve Jobs used Sun Microsystems’ OpenFirmware for all of his PowerPC-based Macs for literally all of 22 years prior to Snowden’s spontaneous live-tweeted (twitted? twatted?) stroke of genius

and this is probably why IBM said “sorry, we’re…we just…uh…we just suck too much, we can’t do this for you”

BECAUSE WHEN YOU MAKE THE GODDAMNED CHIPS FOR EVERY SINGLE ULTRA ENTERPRISE SERVER BEHIND EVERY MAJOR BANK AND AIRLINE AND CLOUD SERVICE AND MAJOR CORPORATE DATABASE it doesn’t make sense to allow a demographic BULGE (the children of the Baby Boomer generation) of people heading off to university CS programs to easily learn to work on your architecture at a low level. This is NOT what the USA likes to do in its management of the labor market and it is also potentially a security nightmare.

instead, we got Python and the Raspberry Pi and a veritable sea of now-Intel MacBook-toting CS grads, blissfully unaware of…well, for now, let’s just say ‘a lot’, who used Apple all throughout school thanks to John Sculley’s incredible ability to ram even the worst garbage Apple ever made through state government procurement channels. the rest is history. oh, and we got this Russian iPhone ad too, which may or may not have its origins in a stupid American “dick-in-the-box” joke
“In her dreams. In your gift box.”

*Barry White voice* “oooohhhh…yeaaaahhh.”

Throwback Thursday: Padolf Pupler Explains Est

as a pup I had a Hitler moustache

hope that’s cool

Today, we take a break from tech stuff and discuss some of the weird shit the CIA does to influence the direction of American society

one of the really weird things the CIA did in the late ’70s through the end of the Cold War was to heavily promote an organization called Est

as usual, I won’t point fingers at contemporary organizations, but I will be descriptive enough for you to make your own evaluation

fake KGB agent on TV: “est made me feel so much better”

the human: *projectile-vomits contents of entire stomach on TV set while laughing hysterically*

 In the late 1970s, the CIA had a big problem on their hands. The biggest generation in American history – the Baby Boomers – had come of age, and were gaining power, money, and political influence.

they were also pretty left wing, comparatively speaking: unlike the generation that fought the Korean War, this generation had a serious problem with foreign wars like the one in Vietnam, and didn’t seem overly bothered by socialism

naturally this had to be fixed. oh man, i feel a booze binge coming on

c’mon, knock one back with me here

 War and its associated accoutrements make up a huge part of the US economy; keeping that ball rolling was a pretty big deal – for both sides of the  Cold War

but it’s pretty hard to get people to actively disagree with the notion that killing people is a bad idea, so the way you keep the military-industrial ball in play is to direct attention elsewhere

this was pretty easy to do to the Boomers

CIA agent 1: so what in the hell do we do with these leftist nutjobs
CIA agent 2: i have no fucking clue
CIA agent 1: yeah but we have to do something. what the fuck do i tell the director if this stuff keeps up
CIA agent 2: well I know a guy from college who works for an ad agency on Madison Avenue now, he’s pretty good at this stuff
CIA agent 1: ok cool. give him a call then
CIA agent 2 *on telephone* “hey brad, this is mike, we haven’t spoken in like eight years but I’m, you know, trying to keep the peasants from revolting and stuff so we don’t slide into an economic depression. any thoughts?
ad guy: well you could always try exploiting narcissism, fuck, that’s all we really do all day
CIA agent 2: tell me more
ad guy: well I personally recommend finding ways to make people think they’re delving deep into their souls and finding that they’re really a Ford guy, or a Gilette guy, or an Avon girl, or…or…or whatever
ad guy: i mean, this is america, there’s generally not much there, but you gotta give them something to find, because if they dig deep and all they find is a giant pile of dead Vietnamese farmers who never gave a fuck about politics at all that’s pretty fucking depressing, you know?
CIA agent 2: yeah ok tell me more
ad guy: so the other day I saw a flyer for this talk by some german guy. i don’t remember his name but it was all about finding who you were inside, escaping your hangups and stuff. i mean, he’s german, there’s practically a porn shop on every corner there, it’s no wonder they’re so open
ad guy: it seemed a lot like the stuff we try to do to get people to make brands a part of their life, except…oh wait, here it is, it’s Warner Erhart
CIA agent 2: ok great but what exactly does this mean for us
ad guy: well you could give him some money, start scheduling talks, if it goes well, expand it using members, you know, kind of like an Amway for motivational speaking, get people to think about themselves and their identities instead of about politics, give them levels and badges kind of like boy scouts, maybe even pay them as if it were a real job or something
CIA agent 2: huh. well i can cut you a check right now for a million bucks is that cool
ad guy: yeah sure I guess, we’ll get on it
CIA agent 2: great. what are you going to call it?
ad guy: i dunno…wait. so I went out to lunch at this jewish deli around the corner yesterday. the owner’s from Russia, Odessa I think, and he screams at people a lot to eat their food, i mean, famines apparently do that to you and I was asking him about it. so the verb for eating in Russian is “est” and it also means “to have” like “I have a car” and stuff. let’s call it est, that should be a funny way for you to kick some dust in the Russkies’ faces
CIA agent 2: uh yeah that sounds great. run with it
CIA agent 2: so I gave my guy a million dollars what do you think is that too much
CIA agent 1: give him two

Why Is Everyone So Interested In The U.S. Power Grid?

sigh

Reverse Engineering the Steve Jobs Biographies: Part 2

this is my serious face

In the mid-80s, Steve and his company were flying high.

the FBI, on the other hand, were less than pleased

One problem was that Steve was trying to be an entrepreneur in an industry that was tightly but unofficially regulated due to the Cold War, and as someone from a middle-class background who hadn’t graduated from an elite institution (or any institution at all) he was viewed as highly unreliable by law enforcement, by competitors, and even by his own investors – who tried to install as much ‘adult supervision’ as possible, but largely failed to get him to take advice from that supervision

I empathize, unfortunately, despite being the polar opposite of that profile

Another interesting ‘problem’ was that Steve’s top notch models from the mid-80s to the mid-90s consistently used as many discrete components as possible, at a time when integrating multiple functions on to single chips to reduce manufacturing costs was becoming more common, even at Apple, whose supply chain was probably artificially constrained to begin with

all but three of the chips on this Macintosh Plus motherboard could be found in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc: the ROMs, which contained the basic operating instructions for the computer and were easily copied; and the disk controller, a unique Apple component designed by Steve Wozniak and known as the Internal Woz Machine, was easily replacable with a standard component

Naturally, the Soviets reverse-engineered it pretty quickly, though they never put it into production

probably because they’d made a major, high-profile deal with Motorola to actually purchase the 68000 processor rather than just ripping it off, which meant that Macintosh clones would have been prohibitively expensive to produce relative to other models

Meanwhile, Apple’s cheaper models got the VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) treatment, with more and more discrete components integrated within a single chip:

an Apple IIc Plus motherboard from the same period

an Apple IIgs motherboard from the same period

Essentially, Steve was engineering his computers so that they could be easily copied abroad – while still maintaining patent protection in the West.

Interlude

periodically, a young family from russia or ukraine happily documenting their emigration to the USA shows up in my social media feeds via friends

the photos are always so happy, but they make me so sad – not out of jealousy or anger, but because I know what the FBI will most likely do to them, particularly if the wife is attractive

this lion is offering good non-verbal advice

The Most Hilarious Psy-Ops Provocation of All Time

why is it called punkt and why is the model MP01. oh, right, the title covers that. over to you, neo

*ahem*

Does your smartphone freak you out?

Are you a design-forward urbanite looking to disconnect?

Are you cognizant of the many ills of smartphones, yet not smart enough to choose a dumbphone that will actually rid you of those ills?

Enter the Punkt MP01.

You will still have an accelerometer logging your every movement should someone at the NSA want to do so.

You will still have a device with a non-removable battery whose microphone can be turned on remotely for private security firms and government security agencies to avail themselves of, potentially entirely without any good reason.

In the process you will spend 2-5x what you would spend on a passable smartphone. You will lose GPS (for yourself, anyway). You will lose multimedia messaging. You will lose tethering. And everyone will think you are a bit nuts.

Which, at this point, you probably are. Good luck out there.

Reverse Engineering the Steve Jobs Biographies: Part 1

the Cold War was super fun for left wing types in the USA. lemme show you

meet the humble Compaq Contura 3/25 and its only circuitboard

Powered by a chip almost entirely unknown and undocumented today, the 8292sx, the Compaq Contura 3/20 (or 3/25) was powered by Intel’s first 80×86 based System-on-a-Chip, encompassing video + I/O + etc.

Released around a year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was an engineering marvel for its time in terms of the level of sophistication it provided in consumer hardware, let alone budget-level consumer hardware. The much more advanced fabrication process & timing hardware necessary to run essentially every major peripheral out of just a 44-pin package were the key innovations, which no other hardware manufacturer in the USA was given access to.

Imagine you’re a low or mid-level electrical engineer or programmer in the Soviet Union: would you find this disheartening?

That was probably the point. I almost wonder if it wasn’t named the way it was because Leonid Brezhnev died in ’82 and top brass expected the Soviet Union to collapse by ’92.

Here’s the weird thing: this processor, nor any other like it, was used after ’93 or so. No need to, I guess, plus it was probably expensive to manufacture and the needs of color displays rendered it totally obsolete. They don’t seem to have ever updated it with color VGA circuitry, either.

Intel was run by a die-hard anti-Communist who escaped Hungary, and Compaq was run by a bunch of dorky Texans in suits with pocket protectors

Apple was run by a lunatic who would have passed a security clearance right around the time hell froze over and who liked to do hallucinogens and bare his soul to foreign gurus

So the insides of Steve’s laptops from the same period looked like this, they used 2x as much power, weighed about 1.5x as much, and cost WAY more:

Would you be constantly stressed, angry, and mercurial if the government and practically everyone in your entire supply chain were doing this stuff to you in order to destroy and/or marginalize your company?

If you think the playing field is even for any business in the USA, think again.

WHERE DID THE MODEM GO: A Pictorial History of 56k Modems

c’mere babe, check out my ten inch…modem


an US Robotics 56k modem circa 1995, to my knowledge the first available in the USA consumer market

 What does all this shit do?

  • Codec: man oh man, gotta translate all those annoying scratchy buzzy noises into zeroes and ones, gotta have a chip that can identify and create those noises & stuff
  • DSP: gotta take data from a PC and turn it into instructions for the codec to turn it into an annoying noise and vice versa
  • Flash memory: gotta have a place for the chips to remember what scratchy buzzy noise means what thing and how the chips have to talk to each other and stuff
  • SRAM: gotta have a place for the scratchy buzzy noise data to sit while the other chips sit around and figure out what they mean
  • CPU: Intel 80186, probable great-great-great-great-grandpa to the processor in the computer you’re using now, cuz you gotta have a chip to organize the whole racket
  • Chipset: somebody gotta send and receive this shit through a serial port


by 1998, US Robotics had concluded it was less about the size and more about how you use it

So they put the CPU & chipset on the Same Freakin Chip & put it in, you know, a White Package

 
in 2000, US Robotics decided modems should be allowed to…get inside…computers…and…plug in

This joke has gone way too far, but in essence, access to the fast PCI bus inside the computer eliminated the need for a bunch of hardware that sets the timing for what data gets sent around when and allowed the modem to communicate with the rest of the computer more directly

2000 was a great year. Computers were getting more powerful and people started using D.S.L. and other…faster…ways of getting…online. Modems were unloved and sad and people found ways to make them cheaper, mainly by offloading processing tasks to the main CPU using software drivers


around the mid-2000s Agere & others decided it would be cool to offload the…tasks…to the main processor and basically just lie there, moving…data…occasionally

Was that another dick joke?


Then, processors with dedicated multimedia processing instruction sets, or motherboard chipsets with similar capabilities, meant that formal modem hardware to decode and encode audio really wasn’t necessary at all – just a riser card with a phone jack and some power hardware to take the voltage down to something that could be fed more or less directly into the I/O bus.

 But wait – WHERE DID THE MODEM GO?

What did that mean in an historical context?

It meant that if you were a processor and/or chipset manufacturer, you could build an audio transceiver-based backdoor into hardware and allow security services to use it to screw governments and individuals you didn’t like. Go read my acoustic coupler post now and get into a Lotus position and meditate and pretend you’re one of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s nuclear engineers circa 2009 for awhile.

On Acoustic Couplers: A Kids’ Multiple Choice Mad-Lib

for Barron Trump, who apparently “can do anything with computers” -POTUS

This is an acoustic coupler, circa 1978.

Acoustic couplers were used to

  • communicate telepathically with rodents
  • let modems communicate over telephone lines using a regular phone handset
  • gradually make your toaster into a sentient being

Let’s get creative! Today, if you were an electrical engineering or computer security student and you wanted to make a proof of concept of a contemporary acoustic coupler, what might you easily do that with?

  • a banana and an angle grinder
  • a case of motor oil and a baseball
  • a new, noise-canceling cellular phone and a piezoelectric diode on a laptop motherboard

What do you think that would be able to achieve in terms of data rate?

  • pony express envelope speeds
  • can and string speeds
  • 56k modem speeds or even a bit higher

Now, think about this technology. What if it already existed dormantly in most consumer-level phones and computers?

  • pigs would fly
  • Subway sandwiches would no longer contain chemicals found in yoga mats
  • security services in Western countries might have the balance of power set quite a bit in their favor

What if it was time to sunset this technology, though, because it’s been replaced by something superior, and use its retirement for political gain? Would you:

  • choose a foreign manufacturer that is a major OEM for other brands anyway and won’t care, out their consumer-class hardware as containing unspecified “bloatware”, leave the feature on all the time and threaten lives/jobs/etc of anyone who figures it out,  so that smart-ish people can think they’re making a better choice buying a domestic brand even though this tech exists in basically all devices now, and so that IT people better understand that the major part of their job is shutting the hell up and that acoustic couplers are obsolete anyway
  • forget about it, grab a beer, and catch a Sunday Night Football game
  • both (choose very carefully here)

What else might you do, as one of the security services of a Western country?

Merry Christmas!