Category Archives: Underhand

With Which to Psychoanalyse Julian Assange

Selections from Rubberhose.

Our journey begins with example code from the style guide showing a preoccupation with sex, drugs, and jail time:

	enum myheadhurts {lsd, mda, mdma, thc, peyote, women};

[...]

	if (foo1 &&
	    boo1 &&
	    (sex1 && sex2))

[...]

	if (chdir("/home/lolita" == 0)
		lolitastuff();

[...]

		struct hurricane
		{
			int years;
			char sex;
			int parole;
		}

current/src/doc/proff.style

This instructional snippet encodes a government conspiracy:

	== frazer.c ==

	bool CIA_support = TRUE;

	static int campaign_fund;
	static int frazer_dollars:
	static char *frazer_mental_state = "hopeful";

	void
	frazer(void)
	{
		frazer_dollars -= bribe_kerr(frazer_dollars);
		campaign_find -= frazer_dollars/2;
		if (dismiss_govenment &&
		    strcasecmp(dismiss_action, "care-taker"))
			frazer_mental_state = "hot doggarty dog";
	}

current/src/doc/HACKING

Before we dive into a colorful autobiographical narrative, two brief fantasies:

		onion routed block-device! yeah!
		  nb. time to lay off the weed

current/src/TODO

The story of naming the program is an entertaining read. These highlights shed light on the character of the author:

Guards. Guardians. The Greeks didn't have many with bite and I'm
loosing patience with the whole culture. Euphrosyne, Aglaia, and
Thalia do not grace me.  What I need is something that evokes
passion within my cryptographic domain. And when you come down to
it, that means something which produces copious amounts of gore
and blood, at will, from those who would dare to pass its demesne
of protection.

[...]

You had to hand it to Sigmund. He was nothing if not authoritative,
and after reading his inspiring words on the terrific serpent haired
woman, two things became clear to me. One, _Proffs_ and the Gorgon had
certain unresolved metaphorical incompatibilities and two, Sigmund was
clinically insane. I didn't want my software giving anyone a
castration complex, but I didn't want to give up snorting coke either.

[...]

If MARUTUKKU was my exquisite cryptographic good, of wit, effusive
joy, ravishing pleasure and flattering hope; then where was the
counter point? The figure to its ground - the sharper evil, the
madness, the melancholy, the most cruel lassitudes, disgusts and the
severest disappointments. Was Hume right? Because if he was, there was
only one organisation this string of hellish adjectives could
represent. The cryptographic devil with its 500,000 sq feet of office
space in Maryland. But surely there could be no reference to such an
organisation in the 4,000 year old Babylonian tablets.  The idea was
preposterous. Wasn't it?

TABLET VII OF THE ENUMA ELISH:

ESIZKUR shall sit aloft in the house of prayer;
   May the gods bring their presents before him, that from
   him they may receive their assignments; none can without
   him create artful works.  Four black-headed ones are
   among his creatures; aside from him no god knows the
   answer as to their days.

It's a cold and wintry night here in Melbourne and the gusts of wind
and rain seem to be unusually chilling. What had I, in my search for a
cryptographic mythology, stumbled onto?

I look hard at the seven letters E-S-I-Z-K-U-R. A frown turns to
a smile and then a dead pan stare. I write down:

			  IRK ZEUS

current/src/MYTHOLOGY

Finally, the quip that inspired me to compile these excerpts:

Some possible alternatives to passphrase based keying (we have some more
notes on these ideas, but no code or concrete design documentation):

[...]

	6) Colour contrast discrimination. It has been shown that individuals see
	   slightly different hues due to visual cortex and cone cell / retina
	   variation. It maybe possible to design moire or 
	   other tests on 24 bit displays which are recognisable by
	   one party but not another. Just hope no-one runs a magnet
	   over your monitor. Interestingly, one drug that this method is
	   highly likely to detect is Viagra, which intereacts with the retinal
	   environment to produce hue distortions. Rubberhose is naturally
	   arousing so we don't see this as being an issue.

current/src/ideas/keying

Here ends an incomplete and unrepresentative picture intended for entertainment only. Cheers to you, Julian, for making life on Earth more entertaining. I wish you liberty.

p.s. I wonder how many encrypted aspects exist in the insurance file. You wouldn’t let one key unlock the whole file, spending all of your insurance at once. The first key must expose a little bit of data while leaving the bulk of it encrypted. If it contains anything as clever as a Rubberhose extent, one can never be certain whether the insurance policy has been exhausted.

p.p.s. Love the sig':

-- 
Prof. Julian Assange  |If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people
                      |together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks
proff@iq.org          |and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless
proff@gnu.ai.mit.edu  |immensity of the sea. -- Antoine de Saint Exupery

Islamophobia is bad but it is a good step

A national ban on an architectural element seems silly but the vote to stop the construction of minarets in Switzerland is a real accomplishment. The people of a mature country have peacefully expressed a strong collective feeling against what they perceive as a grave threat. The tragedy is that they identified the threat as the Islamic religion.

The real threat is more general, more widespread, and more dangerous than Islam. It took something as extreme as Islamic extremism to trigger a cultural awareness of it. Unfortunately, like the ringing of an alarm clock, the first thing to awaken consciousness is for a time the only piece of reality about which we are aware. Islamic extremism is the alarm clock.

The supporters of the minaret ban see the growth of the Muslim population as an aggressive cultural invasion. They don’t see an immigrant minority that deserves state protection. They see settlers from a destructive culture claiming their country. They feel vilified within their homeland by outsiders and they are afraid that their politicians will continue to insist on irrational “religious tolerance” despite the intolerant attitudes spread through Islam.

National Islamophobia is a phase whose time has come. It is extreme, prejudiced, and wrong, but it is the natural reaction against the wrong actions of extremists trying to universalize Islam. Two wrongs do make a right when everyone learns a lesson. The lesson here is that no protection for status, be it religion, race, sex, or what have you, is deserved when it is used for harm.

Religions have been invoked to excuse atrocious behavior since ages before the life of Muhammad. So have other statuses such as race, color, nationality, and sex. The world tends to absolve these harmful trends after a reform and some generations. And the human race eventually learns a lesson.

I see the minaret ban as a sign that the world is just beginning to reject religion as an excuse for bad behavior. Peaceful Muslims will work with non-Muslims to prevail over the radical perversion of Islam. This time will pass into history and be replaced by a time of rational discrimination and careful tolerance. I hope I’m right, the sooner the better.

Entropa

Entropa, a satirical sculpture made by David Černý (of pink tank fame) and commissioned by the Czech Republic, gives me hope. When it was unveiled yesterday in Brussels, the government realized that they had been duped. The sculpture portrays each of the 27 EU member states in the sort of way you might expect from Mad Magazine or Monty Python.

There might be hope for the EU. Events like these are a sort of litmus test. If they can laugh at their folly and let it stand as a document of modern history, certainly the EU government can improve. On the other hand, if they blubber and bluster and blow the thing down, count on a protracted cultural winter.

What does this flourish of politically relevant art portend?

Paid Straight

There is so much talk about how the government must fix the economy. The teetering corporate giants loom over our vulnerable cities, foretelling the doom of everyone who lives in their shadow. Woe is us, brother. We put too many eggs in too few baskets and now look where we are: proving once again that we would sooner repeat our mistakes than take the consequences and learn something. Are we really too far advanced to learn anything?

I’ll tell you the truth in the next paragraph. First let me tell some lies. Nobody is happy with the situation. Nobody is immune to it. Nobody wants to see good people take the fall. Nobody is seeking to profit from disaster. Nobody elected to their office would take this opportunity to suck federal money into their local communities to guarantee their election for another term. Nobody on the public payroll would take a bribe. Never forget those lies.

Now the truth. To get your way in this country you have to pay for it. To get your way in this country you have to pay for it. To get your way in this country you have to pay for it. To get your way in this country you have to pay for it. To get your way in this country you have to pay for it. To get your way in this country you have to pay for it. Always remember that truth.

Now a fresh idea. Let’s start bribing our politicians openly. We could take up a collection to pay our representatives to balance the budget, for example. Would that even be a bribe? A reward for the correct performance of a sworn duty… why, that sounds to me like the definition of fairness. But isn’t that why we pay them in the first place?

Cost of a free stapler

Wise Bread told me how to get a free Swingline stapler. It’s not Milton’s red stapler but I did have my eye on staplers at the store, so I was interested.

The survey starts with an email address and at some point they’ll collect your mailing address. There was no link to a privacy policy so I went looking and found one after about two minutes. It said they will email me, send me literature, and share my info with other companies.

I pictured myself shredding sheafs of junk mail while grumbling at my shiny new stapler. How much would my free stapler cost me? If I can get ACCO to take me off their sharing and promo lists, not much. I took the survey.

School shooting conspiracy theory

School shootings (Again) offer no explanations.

Gun control lovers fill their tanks on this stuff (State lawmakers push, pull on gun control following NIU shootings).

This time, investigators find a link (Gunman, Virginia Tech shooter used same Web dealer) suggesting that the shootings might have had a third party in common.

Besides well-meaning but misguided Americans, who would like to succeed in disarming the American populace? A foreign enemy, that’s who.

This is a perfect opportunity for the JTTFs to stop training layabouts to act like terrorists (Myths of Domestic Terror) and find the real foreign agents sowing violence in our midst.

Reality check: I have no more evidence than the articles linked above. Nevertheless, weaker leads have sparked investigations. If our enemies are plotting to weaken our domestic defenses by fueling (and, who knows, possibly staffing) the gun control lobby, they are very wise indeed. I stand behind an “individual rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment.