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Comment Re: Just another mindless attack (Score 1) 507

You'd be surprised at what can be done by careful selection of camera angles and framing.

I doubt it. It's what I do for a living.

You're right that the camera lies in important ways. It lies in what it omits.

But that is the point. The journalist omits a shit-tonne of irrelevant detail every single time s/he writes a story. And a photojournalist removes a shit-tonne of detail every time s/he frames a shot. That's actually part of the job: highlighting the thing that makes this particular story newsworthy.

The fact that it's often done inadequately shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Here on Slashdot, for example, we all know how much of source code is absolute shit. And familiarity breeds contempt.

But somehow we still manage to find enough software to build a platform on which to perform our everyday online tasks. Which is kind of remarkable when we consider the shit sandwich we're resting our work on. And yet, we find a way.

I'd recommend you take the same approach to the news. Yes, there is a really thick and juicy shit sandwich out there, and a lot of reporting is made up of the moist middle bit. But not all of it is. Not every reporter does things perfectly every time, but with a little patience and perseverance, you can build a stable of go-to commentators who can be relied on to be honest, fair and to follow the facts. They won't always be right, but they will never attempt to deceive. There are more of them out there than you may know.

There's a years-long discussion on the back side of this point, about how to engage with your audience when telling an honest story, but the bottom line is this: 'The media' doesn't exist as a single, monolithic thing. It's a broad and wildly diverse landscape. Bias is unavoidable, and contrary to popular opinion, it's not the death of journalism.

Comment Re: Just another mindless attack (Score 1) 507

The problem is I consider ALL the media news to be propaganda, and don't really believe any of it. I'm even dubious about the things that are agreed upon by both the left an right sides of the political spectrum.

What's ironic is that you learned to distrust 'the media' because of a rhetorical line promulgated in 'the media' against 'the media'. Maybe, just maybe, 'the media' isn't monolithic. Maybe it comprises a huge variety of perspectives and motivations and capabilities. And maybe some sources are more reliable than others.

Maybe... the media sources that spend their time discrediting other media sources are not so credible themselves? Maybe it's complicated.

Pretty fucked up, huh?

Comment Re:Why trust in the media is at an all time low (Score 2) 920

That was the first PewDiePie I've watched, and it's interesting to see the media do to him what they've done to Trump, Farage, Wilders, Le Pen, Orban, etc.

So, for the record, you consider Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, the le Pen family and Viktor Orban to be genuinely upstanding public servants who have been unfairly portrayed as not-nice people?

Why, in your opinion, do you think these particular people—and not, for example, Justin Trudeau or Angela Merkel—have been so victimised?

Comment Re:What about data and txt costs? and can they rem (Score 1) 75

What about data and txt costs?

How much do you pay for bluetooth and WiFi on your phone?

This is fascinating, intended for third world use. Do we imagine that the density of cell phones in the third world is really sufficient to meet the 200' range? Maybe in the city, on the streets. Anywhere else, huh?

Hello from the developing world. Yes, most people, even in remote areas, tend to live in clusters. These clusters increase in concentration during natural disasters. This kind of tech would allow news to propagate within population clusters, leaving disaster response people to focus more on hopping between concentrations of people. All in all, probably a useful addition to the disaster-response toolkit.

BUT... Android-based mesh network tech that uses a mobile's wifi has been around for years. I test drove one FOSS project back in 2011-12. And it's never proven practical because of the high traffic management overheads, and the fact that always-on wifi can eat a fully charged battery in hours. I've been through two cyclones out here, and I can tell you from experience that getting access to power is a huge challenge for most people. Unless they find a way to address power consumption, this will be a nice idea, to be tossed into the Nice Ideas drawer and forgotten.

Comment Re:Yawn... (Score 2) 627

This guy works on image analysis for telescopes in other words spy satellites which just happen to be large telescopes pointed downwards.

The NRO runs the spy satellites and the Air Force launches them. NASA has nothing to do with them besides providing rockets and launch platforms.

You're right, but there's still a decidedly non-zero chance that the hi-res optics he has access to see a lot of classified things.

Comment Re:Russian hackers = the best (Score 2) 102

So based on your "I grew up in the cold war" anecdotes about SO MANY -(Citation needed) journalists being spies...

Spies is a strong word to use, but yes, it was more or less assumed that journalists from behind the Iron Curtain were intelligence operatives and were expected to gather information and data about much more than they wrote about. Likewise, there were more than a few writers and reporters who knowingly (and sometimes unknowingly) provided the CIA with intelligence from their areas of expertise.

This doesn't imply cloak-and-dagger stuff, or breaking into offices late at night (let's leave the Nixon White House out of this, shall we?). For the most part, it would take the form of one or more journalists hanging out after work and trading scuttlebutt—interesting and useful information that was either not newsworthy or not well-enough sourced to report on. There would frequently be a CIA intelligence operative present during the conversation, and they didn't always try very hard to hide it.

Let it be known that this channel never entirely dried up. I've had several conversations with 'embassy staff' who were clearly trying to pump me for information. And I'm happy to share with them what I'd share with anyone else. If that helps them get a better understanding of a sensitive situation, then I've done my job as a journalist and a responsible citizen.

To take a slightly more controversial example, consider Gloria Steinem's famous escapades as a 'recruiter' for CIA propaganda operations. She willingly accepted payment for identifying people to speak at international conferences who would tout the government line about freedom and democracy. The CIA considered this a necessary tactic to thwart the flood of communist and socialist messaging that was flowing in from Soviet-funded sources. Ms Steinem had no qualms about taking cash for it, and although I would baulk at accepting payment for something done out of principle, I can't say for certain I wouldn't have done the same thing as she did.

nobody should believe anything reported about state sponsored hacks, because the reporters themselves might be "in" on it?

No, all he's saying is that context matters. Attempts to spy on reporters, overtly and covertly, have been ongoing since reporters first existed. And reporters are—or should be—aware of it, too. It really does come with the territory.

Please continue dancing around while you mention feminism for no reason.

Yeah, the anti-feminism jab was gratuitous and out of line. You've got a solid point there. But just because he can act like a dick doesn't mean he's entirely wrong.

Comment Re:An insanely clever solution, Microsoft-style. (Score 1) 236

Your idea would be easy to implement, a perfect solution to the problem and most of all it would work. We can't have that at MS.

I laughed, too. But it has to be admitted that this phenomenon is not unique to Microsoft.

I haven't used RPM in years, so I don't know if the problem persist, but it used to be that Redhat upgrade mechanism sorted packages alphabetically, which meant that this you'd frequently get cases where upgrade candidates sorted like this:


And because your packages came from hundreds of different sources, everybody had their own way of coping with the problem. The company I worked for managed a special-purpose server distro, and our builds were constantly beset with a day or two spent disambiguating package names.

Comment Re:Trump seems to think Executive Orders... (Score 5, Informative) 952

What happens if he doesn't adhere to the above? I get the feeling we're about to find out.

It's already become clear that the White House explicitly overrode a DHS determination that contended the ban didn't apply to Green Card holders and other valid, vetted residents. The ACLU is reporting that some officials are not abiding by a number of stay order issued at courts in at least three locations.

As a legal instrument, at least one scholar sees these particular orders as so incredibly flawed that they won't stand up to a sustained legal attack by the ACLU, CAIR and others.

Most worrying though are the reports circulating that the drafting process bypassed the normal interdepartmental and legal review stages, and that DHS was only briefed on the content of the Executive Orders as they were being signed. This doesn't sound like an administration that's particularly worried about adhering to the letter of the law, or bringing a lot of people into the conversation. Not sure how that will stand up over time. Politics is often petty and vengeful, and the White House is already leaking like a sieve. It might be that their incompetence is what does them in. It may be that their unwillingness to share power will do it.

My personal feeling is that neither one will stop them. I think people severely underestimate the lengths that this administration will go to to see this through. When Donald Trump promised the people of America that he would never back down, that he would do everything to advance the cause... I think he was speaking literally. When Steve Bannon says that we're at war with Islam, I think he believes it fervently. When Flynn and others portray their work as an existential fight, I think they're sincere in that.

Left-leaning people and other opponents have mobilised quickly, but they're expecting the administration to react the way they would react. They think that public shaming, legal action and political activism will drive Donald Trump's administration back. I fear they're wrong. They will be seen as traitors and subversives, and they'll be treated accordingly, through formal and informal means. They don't realise that their resistance will ultimately have to be physical. They should be reading up on their Thoreau right about now....

Comment Re:Wholly Delusion Batman! (Score 1) 278

Anyone who watched the process KNEW full well that there was massive collusion by the DNC and Media to INSTALL Hillary as the candidate. In the first election, she won 6 straight coin tosses to take Iowa. That was day 1. So did Russia fix all of the coin tosses, card flips, and dice rolls of which Hillary won 100% of the "tie breakers"?

I couldn't agree more! Why don't people ever even type "Iowa coin toss" into Snopes before they start talking shit about conspiracies? I mean, sheesh, people! How many conspiracies do we have to confront before everyone realises that my conspiracy is the real one, and all the other ones are just phantasmagorical fever dreams?

... Right?

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder... (Score 1) 734

Armchair quarterbacking the intelligence agencies is so easy, isn't it? Perhaps you should read more history and some primary sources like Michael Hayden's book for some additional perspective.

The fuck, dude? What are you disputing? And stay classy with the downmods, while you're at it. It's so charming.

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder... (Score 1, Redundant) 734

Let's compare/contrast the historical veracity of information released by Assange/WikiLeaks with that of any US intelligence service, shall we?

Anyone who claims that the Podesta emails were not real is delusional. There's no real dispute over that.

Anyone who believes that Assange isn't biased against Clinton is also delusional. He also shows a disturbingly willful blindness to find any problems with the state of civil liberties and human rights in Russia—which, again, is not really subject to controversy.

Anyone who believes that Assange can be certain about the origin of the Podesta emails doesn't understand chain of custody. His de facto imprisonment in the Peruvian Embassy makes it physically impossible for him to objectively, empirically verify any claims of provenance. If this were evidence for the courts, he wouldn't be allowed to testify as to the provenance of the emails.

Anyone who has examined the pattern of overt and covert activities as already detailed by public domain sources that has been judged with a high or a moderate level to confidence to originate from the Russian state would be foolish to deny that there isn't a strong preponderance of evidence that yes, Russia conducted an anti-Clinton (dis)information campaign.

On the record print and TV interviews with avowed state-paid Russian trolls who profess a strong preference for Trump is probitive of a classic old-school dezinformatsiya effort. It's something that both sides used frequently in the Cold War. RT's overt anti-Clinton editorial slant is obvious, but in itself only contributory, not probitive. Assange's frequent appearances on the channel are evidence of nothing more than a bit of narcissism on his part.

The fact that the APT28 modus operandi is consistent with well-documented spying activities against the Bundestag as well as the TV5 cyber-attack is one plank. The fact that APT28 code was almost exclusively developed in a Russian language build environment, in the Moscow time zone is damning. The fact that that they used of as an URL-obfuscator—and then committed a rooky OPSEC slip-up that allowed investigators to see what other individuals were targeted by the same account—is compelling. The fact that APT28 source has been found in the wild doesn't diminish the likelihood that this particular use of it originated from the Russian state. The use of encryption keys and certs pretty much makes it impossible for third parties to use the software without significant—and obvious—re-engineering. There is no evidence of such changes. In fact, at least one cert used in the Bundestag hacks was re-used in this effort.

The evidence suggesting that Guccifer 2.0 is almost certainly not Romanian, and is probably a Russian speaker, is not probitive, but it's strongly contributory to a conclusion that the account is a sock puppet, probably linked to a Russian source.

The USA intelligence community lacks credibility. It has relied far too much on its own much-sullied authority to make its arguments. But its credibility is laughable, and its patent insincerity and systematic dishonesty is demonstrated by a mountain of evidence. The fact that their assertions are consistent with open-source evidence indicates, however, that they're not lying about everything—this time. That does nothing to diminish the fact that they're driving a clear agenda, possibly because they don't trust Donald Trump and they feel he's compromised, or at least willing to put personal interest before national interest.

Conclusion: It's not necessary to believe the CIA/NSA/FBI to conclude that there is a concerted Russian effort to subvert the integrity of key aspects of American democratic institutions, including the US Presidential election. The Russian state has motive, means, opportunity and there is sufficient evidence to suggest that, in absence of any more compelling explanation, they have probably been at it for quite some time. Did they 'hack the election'? No. Did they sway it? They certainly put a lot of time and resources into the effort. Did they change the outcome? Probably not. The single event that correlates most closely with an actual swing in the electorate is James Comey's letter to Congress concerning the Weiner laptop. Did they help swing it? Almost certainly, yes. There's a compelling argument to be made that if countless sources—with Russian prominent among them—hadn't worked so hard to poison the Clinton well, the Comey announcement wouldn't have been so decisive.

Comment Re:Zuck 2020! (Score 1) 181

As a small government conservative: laws.amendments that restrain the power of government are great! "Centuries of precedent; personal conscience, ethics, tradition" are worthless for protecting us from assholes. Of course, so is the Constitution once there are enough asshole in the SCOTUS.

That last sentence is particularly telling. When you come right down to it, after you've stripped away the puffery and pageantry, laws really are just a set of rules we agree to abide by because the benefit to society is greater when we do. They're really nothing more than articles in the social contract that Hobbes defined way back when.

And as you rightly note, they are designed as asshole repellent. Their purpose is largely not to set norms, but to curb extraordinary, often sociopathic behaviour. Lawless societies, such as remote rural areas in the developing world, are largely peaceful and orderly. Most people don't steal, even when they can. Most people don't fight or kill each other, even though they could. But in those rare cases when someone does transgress, it can cause huge disruptions to the village. A killing can result in reprisals and, often enough, collective punishment, including arson attacks against entire families.

And that's when the rule of law comes into play. Its purpose, to a large degree, is to objectify and depersonalise the process of dealing with situations of injustice or inequity, in order that the effects don't upset the social order.

But it's only one tool among many. Personal conscience, peer pressure, social opprobrium and—yes, tradition—are extremely strong forces when they're brought to bear on non-sociopaths. That's why we have them. And that's why they succeeded in restraining even extremely pathological individuals like Richard Nixon (ultimately, and admittedly with the threat of legal action impending).

The fact that Donald Trump, and his sycophants on this site, don't seem to see the merit of such restraints is not a commentary on the effectiveness of tradition, and abstract social constructions such as ethics and public morality. It's not a commentary on them; it's an indictment of the man himself. This is precisely what people mean when they talk about having a presidential temperament. It's the willingness of the wolf to allow himself to be constrained by sheep.

And I know you're turning your Galtian profile to the sky right now, and laughing in derision at the metaphor. But it worked for a couple of centuries. You can philosophise all you like. It fucking worked. Until now.

What changed? Not the law, not the value of ethics, morals and traditions. What changed was the man in the Oval Office.

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