Sunday, June 21, 2020

Distributed, peer-to-peer Internet company.

I've been talking about mesh-networks for some time. Lately almost everybody has a smartphone with as much compute-power and storage as a desktop PC from 2008, that's a lot of horsepower sitting around idle. Also, lately the Big Tech companies are getting kinda fascist in their rules and regulations. Twitter and Farcebook have gone so far as to censor the President of the United States. Who knows what they're already doing to you and me, right?

So here's a notion. I'm not recommending this company, because I don't know anything about it. Nobody does. But the idea is excellent. A de-centralized Internet that skips all the big companies and does the transactions on a block-chain, peer-to-peer level.

It requires a lot of different technology for backups and storage, for which ThreeFold is building a variety of related technologies: peer-to-peer technology to create the grid in the first place; storage, compute, and network technologies to enable distributed applications; and a self-healing layer bridging people and applications.

Oh, and yes. There is a blockchain component: smart contracts for utilizing the grid and keeping a record of activities.

"Farmers" (read: all of us) provide capacity and get micropayments for usage.

I'd say it will require a lot of work, because the first thing that will happen is some asshole will try to turn the whole thing into his personal bot-net. But this mesh-network structure is the answer to Google, Apple and Microsoft. Peer-to-peer, created at the individual level instead of the corporate Big Iron approach. Personal computers instead of mainframes with dumb terminals, which is the model that we currently operate under. You -think- that because they call it a Personal Computer or a Smart Phone that the thing is doing the work and that you own it. But that is not true. All the work is done by a server farm with cloud storage. It is situated somewhere probably far away and under somebody else's control. Your smart phone is basically a dumb terminal. It barely does anything except play games.

That's the thing. Games are mostly local processing with a bit of network connection to a server, mostly for authentication. So the phone is certainly a capable machine. It can do things. But applications like Siri are mostly server-side processing with a bit of local hardware for the microphone management etc. It doesn't have to be that way of course, the phone is fast enough to do most of what Siri does, and it has more than enough storage to hold the Siri ap and its database. But Apple runs it server side because that gives them DATA on you, which they then sell to advertisers.

Which is why I never use Siri or the Android equivalent. Because that level of intrusion into my private life is not something I feel like cooperating with. They get enough free data from me already, I should actively help them? No way.

So the local-storage, local-processing model is how you beat Big Brother. If the data never touches their server, they can't copy it and sell it. A mesh-network doesn't use Big Iron cloud storage and huge servers to route the packets.

And really, there's no reason not to have both models going. Big Iron has its place, its just a bad idea to have a small number of companies (or governments) control everything. There needs to be an alternative, to keep them honest. This could be an alternative.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

JK Rowling speaks.

Long, but worth a look.

Update: covering the inevitable shrieks of outrage. J.K. Rowling sold out by her friends, people who are multi-millionaires now solely because of her.

Nice to know that backstabbing and betrayal are still a thing these days. Stay classy, Hollywood.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Book burning is in again.


Your Bookshelf May Be Part Of The Problem

By Juan Vidal, author of lots of stuff at NYT, NPR, Rolling Stone, the usual outlets. Juan baby is in with the in crowd.

One of my favorite passages from Black Boy, Richard Wright's poetic and searing memoir, which turns 75 this year, goes like this:
I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human.

This is one of your favorites, Juan? Seems a bit dark. U mad, bro?

Black Boy traces Wright's development from a troubled youth who encountered bigotry daily in the Jim Crow-era American South to a self-educated man whose reading shaped his understanding of society. I think about Wright's words often, these and others. Especially now, as cries from black men and women demanding agency reverberate across the nation and the world. It feels like the summer of our discontent is only just beginning.

That book sounds super entertaining, I'll run right out and brave COVID-19 at the bookstore to get it. But I think it's more the cries of black businessmen burned out by Antifa rioters that are reverberating across the nation and the world. Why are you boosting the depredations of a bunch of white college kids?

Books, when people come to them early enough or at the right time, have the power to be transformative. And for a lot of readers, this is the right time — witness the many anti-racist book lists circulating on social media. We must recognize the inherent value that good literature has, and the ability of language to strike an emotional chord. But someone, at some point, has to get down to the business of reading — as Lauren Michele Jackson writes at Vulture. Simply handing someone a book cannot automatically make them care. This is something I remind myself whenever anti-racist lists start to make the rounds online.

Now, finally, we come to it. He says "Books, when people come to them early enough or at the right time, have the power to be transformative". Pretty basic question I have, is it the book that has the power to transform? Are those words the thing that changes a human? Or is it more that they do it themselves, and the words just tell them something they didn't know or understand before? If handing them a book can't make them care, reading one can't make them care either. And by the way, since when is it possible to -make- someone care in the first place? I think Juan has some deep seated philosophical issues here regarding force and agency.

Grown white men in their 40s — for example — cracking open James Baldwin or Toni Morrison for the first time, after cities are already ablaze, are not going to eradicate racism. It will not put an end to the systemic injustice that has plagued this country for more than 400 years. Still, I can't help but wonder whether some people have considered that, at a basic level, the homogeneous nature of their personal library — and what that represents — is a part of the problem.

 Yeah, as I said the cities are ablaze because of fires set by a fairly small group of white college communist agitators named Antifa. Made possible by DemocRat mayors who ordered their police to stand down and let it happen. Or possibly burned after pillage by black youths getting their rampage on, but to be honest the black kids don't really seem to be burning shit very much, apart from cop cars. Very practical of them, it's hard to steal out of a store that's on fire. So I have to say it is a real stretch to suggest that people's book collections are the cause of the rioting. But let's continue.

You may have seen the phrase "decolonize your bookshelf" floating around. In essence, it is about actively resisting and casting aside the colonialist ideas of narrative, storytelling, and literature that have pervaded the American psyche for so long.

Yes, I've seen the phrase and assumed it was bullshit made up by some socialist Ivory Tower wanker looking for something to complain about. Because try as I might I can't find a definition or even an example of those dreaded " colonialist ideas of narrative, storytelling, and literature". I presume Juan baby is not referring to The Pilgrim's Progress, very popular during the actual Colonial Era.

If you are white, take a moment to examine your bookshelf. What do you see? What books and authors have you allowed to influence your worldview, and how you process the issues of racism and prejudice toward the disenfranchised? Have you considered that, if you identify as white and read only the work of white authors, you are in some ways listening to an extension of your own voice on repeat? While the details and depth of experience may differ, white voices have dominated what has been considered canon for eons. That means non-white readers have had to process stories and historical events through a white author's lens. The problem goes deeper than that, anyway, considering that even now 76% of publishing professionals — the people you might call the gatekeepers — are white.

This is the set-up to the sell. I'm supposed to go look at my bookshelves and count the black authors. I'm supposed to see that there are fewer black ones than white ones. I'm -not- supposed to stop and think that maybe, just maybe that's because there are a lot less black people writing science fiction than white people. I'm supposed to now feel guilty because I've been ignoring those poor black people and then run out and get more.

Because it is the colour of an author's skin that matters, my friends. Not the contents of his book. Or her book, gotta combat that unconscious sexism you know, can't assume that "his" refers to everybody like we normally do.

Tell you what, Juan. Maybe you should go find out why so many black kids in big DemocRat-run cities are graduating highschool illiterate. As in, can't read. Struggle with street signs. (Also white kids, but Juan is on a roll and I don't want to cloud the issue with facts.)

Reading broadly and with intention is how we counter dehumanization and demand visibility, effectively bridging the gap between what we read and how we might live in a more just and equitable society.

Really? Reading can do that? How come it hasn't, so far? Oh right, because 75% of publishing professionals are white, yeah I forgot that. And also because some huge percentage of kids are graduating illiterate in socialist-run cities, maybe? Just a thought.

Or maybe it's because the United States is the most just and equitable society in history, and you, Juan, are lying about it. And I say that as a Canadian, incidentally. Canada is pretty good, but America is better.

Wright, in regards to his own self-education, later writes: "It was not a matter of believing or disbelieving what I read, but of feeling something new, of being affected by something that made the look of the world different." In that moment, he was referencing how he felt upon devouring H. L. Mencken's A Book of Prefaces, a book that helped Wright find new ways of looking and seeing.

I'm sorry, wasn't H.L. Mencken a white dude? How is it that a black dude read something written by a white dude and benefited from it? Aren't we supposed to be decolonizing here?

You might say the same of those who only read the books they have written. Their knowledge of the world and of the systems at play will always be incomplete. This can apply to any form of media we take in, naturally, but especially the literature that non-black and brown people choose to consume. Anti-racist books will only do a person good if they silence themselves first and enter into the reading — provided they care enough to do so.

It's funny you should mention reading your own books, Juan. I was driven into writing my own books after 2010 by the unrelenting push from Big Publishing for Woke (tm) books. I'm not at all interested in processing the issues of racism and prejudice toward the disenfranchised. Not to put too fine a point on it, there aren't any "disenfranchised" to worry about. Everybody has the vote, Juan. Even people who shouldn't have it, like illegal aliens, convicted criminals, and in Chicago the dead.

Now if what you actually meant was "disadvantaged", I don't want to hear about it. You want to see disadvantaged, you try being a white male SF author in 2020. Think I'm lying? Try this on for size. That's a link to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, their statement on the Antifa riots. TL/DR, they're going to throw money at black organizations. Their money comes from dues, so if you are a dues-paying member of the SFWA, they are throwing -your- money. Go to any of the Big 5 publishers, you'll see the same thing. Fuck those white male authors and their colonialist racist books, we're down with the Cool Kidz and their picking authors by surface albedo.

But anyway, there you have it Ladies and gentlemen, pernicious racism and an exhortation to book burning from NPR and Juan Vidal, as opposed to Gore Vidal or Juan Valdez.

Really, this could have been written by Juan Valdez's burro. Just another Leftist jackass cheering the looters.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Blackie McBlackface takes a knee.

The beclownment of Canada continues!

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knelt on the ground as part of a crowd gathered on Parliament Hill Friday afternoon, in solidarity with anti-racism demonstrators protesting police killings of Black people.
The demonstration is one of multiple events in Canada, following days of demonstrations against racism and police brutality in numerous American cities.
Trudeau had declined to say earlier Friday whether he would attend, but arrived on Parliament Hill in mid-afternoon with security guards, wearing a black cloth mask.

I'm not even going to say anything about it. There it is, let it speak for itself.

The Phantom

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine -does- work on the Wuhan Flu.

Well, lookee here:

A mysterious company's coronavirus papers in top medical journals may be unraveling

Seen first at Small Dead Animals, there is a growing shitstorm in the medical journals over Hydroxychloroquine.

On its face, it was a major finding: Antimalarial drugs touted by the White House as possible COVID-19 treatments looked to be not just ineffective, but downright deadly. A study published on 22 May in The Lancet used hospital records procured by a little-known data analytics company called Surgisphere to conclude that coronavirus patients taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to show an irregular heart rhythm—a known side effect thought to be rare—and were more likely to die in the hospital.

This type of thing is what I like to call Propaganda Overreach. They want to demonize something, so they fling together a study that makes it look like the drug is actively killing people. The problem here is that Hydroxychloroquine is a very old and very safe drug that's been on the market forever. Every doctor and pharmacist knows what the side effects are, and who to avoid giving it to. You don't give it to people in certain types of cardiac distress, because irregular heartbeat is a known issue.

If you look at the study sample, what was done here is they gave it to people in acute COVID-19 respiratory distress who were already in hospital and already in ICU on oxygen. That's not how it works. You give it to people when they start showing symptoms, and they get better immediately. And by immediately I mean 2 to 5 hours for normal breathing to resume. Waiting until they're on life support is not the accepted COVID-19 protocol. Giving it to known heart patients is not the protocol either.

So the study is bullshit already, twice over, but was reported as if it was gospel. We are getting used to this in the media, #OrangManBad is their only remaining moral value.

It gets better:

But just as quickly, the Lancet results have begun to unravel—and Surgisphere, which provided patient data for two other high-profile COVID-19 papers, has come under withering online scrutiny from researchers and amateur sleuths. They have pointed out many red flags in the Lancet paper, including the astonishing number of patients involved and details about their demographics and prescribed dosing that seem implausible. "It began to stretch and stretch and stretch credulity," says Nicholas White, a malaria researcher at Mahidol University in Bangkok.
Today, The Lancet issued an Expression of Concern (EOC) saying "important scientific questions have been raised about data" in the paper and noting that "an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly."
Hours earlier, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) issued its own EOC about a second study using Surgisphere data, published on 1 May. The paper reported that taking certain blood pressure drugs including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors didn't appear to increase the risk of death among COVID-19 patients, as some researchers had suggested. (Several studies analyzing other groups of COVID-19 patients support the NEJM results.) "Recently, substantive concerns have been raised about the quality of the information in that database," an NEJM statement noted. "We have asked the authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable."

Fabricated, in other words. So, bullshit study design using bullshit data. Reported as gospel because #OrangeManBad.

I'm not going to speculate on the ulterior motives of various companies and Medical associations around this, because the appearance of impropriety speaks for itself. The Lancet and the mass media are complicit in spreading a deliberate lie about a safe and life saving medicine, during a pandemic, indirectly causing the deaths of unknown (but large) numbers of people. All because Donald Trump dared speak of it with approval.

Update: The Lancet study has been retracted.

The Lancet on Thursday issued a statement about the decision, noting that the retraction wasn’t unanimous:
Today, three of the authors of the paper, “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis”, have retracted their study. They were unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis. As a result, they have concluded that they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.” The Lancet takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously, and there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study. Following guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), institutional reviews of Surgisphere’s research collaborations are urgently needed.

 Here's a list of 15 COVID-19 studies that were likewise retracted.
 This is a very serious thing, my friends. Medicine co-opted to shill for politics? With people dying? Unacceptable.

Upperdate: I have to hand it to The Guardian, they did work that no one else would on this scandal. They googled the Surgisphere company.

Two of the world’s leading medical journals – the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine – published studies based on Surgisphere data. The studies were co-authored by the firm’s chief executive, Sapan Desai.
Late on Tuesday, after being approached by the Guardian, the Lancet released an “expression of concern” about its published study. The New England Journal of Medicine has also issued a similar notice.
An independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has now been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere because of “concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database”.
The Guardian’s investigation has found:
  • A search of publicly available material suggests several of Surgisphere’s employees have little or no data or scientific background. An employee listed as a science editor appears to be a science fiction author and fantasy artist whose professional profile suggests writing is her fulltime job. Another employee listed as a marketing executive is an adult model and events hostess, who also acts in videos for organisations.
  • The company’s LinkedIn page has fewer than 100 followers and last week listed just six employees. This was changed to three employees as of Wednesday.
  • While Surgisphere claims to run one of the largest and fastest hospital databases in the world, it has almost no online presence. Its Twitter handle has fewer than 170 followers, with no posts between October 2017 and March 2020.
  • Until Monday, the get in touch” link on Surgisphere’s homepage redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, raising questions about how hospitals could easily contact the company to join its database.
  • Desai has been named in three medical malpractice suits, unrelated to the Surgisphere database. In an interview with the Scientist, Desai previously described the allegations as “unfounded”.
  • In 2008, Desai launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo promoting a wearable “next generation human augmentation device that can help you achieve what you never thought was possible”. The device never came to fruition.
  • Desai’s Wikipedia page has been deleted following questions about Surgisphere and his history, first raised in 2010.
Two of three employees are a science fiction writer and a porn actress. Still published in The Lancet! Man, you can't make this stuff up!

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The Antifa Riots.

I haven't had anything to say about the riots thus far, I felt that the media and the rioters were beclowning themselves sufficiently without my help. I'm calling them the Antifa Riots because poor old George Floyd has nothing to do with this.
But now something new has been added. The rioters have decided they need to "take it to the White people" instead of just looting Walmart.

Here's what happened when they tried it in Yucaipa California, yesterday. (Or so the tweet says, anyway.)

In case the link doesn't work, this is a video of a bunch of white kids trying to loot/burn/deface/whatever an Arco station in Yucaipa. The locals, also white (with some Mexicans in there), weren't having it. Nobody got shot, nobody got beaten to death, and no businesses got burnt to the ground. Some white Antifa rioters did get punched in the face a few times, but they were still walking and mouthing off at the end of it so not too bad a beating.

This is racism, according to the media.

Important safety tip for anyone wanting to protect their business from arsonists and looters, the story goes on to say that the cops finally arrived and asked THE RIOTERS if they wanted to press charges. You know, for the ass kicking they got while trying to riot. Okay? Just so you know what you're up against.

Canadians please note: This scenario will not go well for you if you are trying to protect your home and your family.

You -will- be arrested. You -will- be charged with assault at least. If you have a firearm you -will- be charged with everything under the sun. The rioters -will not- be arrested or charged. For sure, they won't.

Canadians will want to total up the worth of their home and belongings and compare that to the cost of a five-year court battle against the Crown. Be sure to include time away due to incarceration and lawyers fees.

It cost Ian Thompson two years of his life and $250,000 in lawyer fees. He had LIVE SURVEILLANCE VIDEO of his self defence actions against three men with molotov cocktails who were engaged in burning his house down with him in it. Not threatening to, not making like they wanted to, they were actually doing it.

Do you have video surveillance of your house and grounds? Do you have half a million bucks to hire lawyers? Will your heart and psyche stand the strain of jail and two years of legalized Chinese water torture? The drip, drip, drip of government officials slowly taking away everything you worked a lifetime to build? Oh, and threatening your family, they do that as well.

You're going to want to strongly consider letting the fuckers burn it down, because the justice system will take everything you own anyway. They'll just do it slower and uglier. At least with the rioters you will get a pittance back from insurance. Maybe.

And if you think I'm lying, you go read that Ian Thompson link again.