Posts by tussock

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    "I'm pretty certain that innocent people had or have nothing to worry about."

    First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left, to speak out for me.


    Organisations who do these things, they have always abused their position. Always. Every time. It's so easy, you can target anyone at any time, you define your task as avoiding the innocent, so obviously everyone you target is guilty of something. They must be, innocent people have nothing to worry about.

    Why would you defend the guilty anyway? What are you, some sort of sympathiser? Perhaps we best keep an eye on you, too, and your family, and everyone you meet, or pass nearby, or who reads the same books.

    When the Nazis burned all those books, the ones from the libraries, they checked the slips in the back, for who had borrowed them in the past. Make a big list. Just to keep an eye on them. What have you been reading? Because this looks pretty subversive.

    But don't worry about being on the list, if you're innocent, that would never get you raided or anything. Operation 8 was just a blip, not a trend.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: "Project SPEARGUN underway", in reply to llew40,

    So it seems to me if that is the case - vested and political interests and spin aside - entirely plausible that most if not all of the parties involved in this may be telling the truth.

    The Government here is lying by omission.

    GCSB collects our allies data, our allies collect NZ data, from the same buildings, including in NZ. Then everyone looks at the combined data stored on the same servers from everyone's countries by "asking someone else to do it for them", or just doing it themselves by ticking a box, because it's all run from the same places. No one is technically spying on their own citizens in a way that makes mockery of the language: they're all helping each other spy on all of their own citizens all of the time, and they need almost no excuse to dig through things even if you are a citizen and they care to follow the rules for a change.

    Not just metadata. The NSA is running a rolling copy of all internet traffic for months, years from the millions of people they're "watching" (say, because you read Keith's page about TOR and PGP), and expanding that time as budgets allow. They can read your emails, log on to your facebook, browse your cloud storage, track every search term and website visit, and they routinely do that to pass information to US businesses for economic advantage, and to pet politicians for political advantage. Terrorists found? Approximately zero.

    The GCSB has people from the NSA working in their buildings here, and we know John Key uses their secret squirrel crap for political gain because that's what he's doing right now, by responding to the allegations before they were even made.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: "Project SPEARGUN underway", in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    How do you 'probe' an optic cable, without breaking it to insert a splitter or somesuch?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine_communications_cable
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_amplifier

    Note that most submarine cables have dual landing cables built in, as the landing is the section most often broken so it acts as backup. There's already a complete copy of all transmitted data landing in a second maintained but "unused" building in most western countries. You don't actually have to physically hack anything at all, just set up a server farm nearby and do some trivial forwarding.


    But if you did want to break them? Physically, for teh sneakies?

    Oceanic optical data cables have powered signal boosters every few kilometres. The optic cable is surrounded by a copper sheath which carries the power for the boosters (amongst many other layers). You've only got to tap into a signal booster to get the entire signal dump with perfect clarity, they already collect, analyse, and resend the optical signal at those points, and have built-in systems for checking that they're working, and they are all physically replaceable.

    So, you know, just replace one of them with one that copies the signal, like they already have at most of the landing points, make your own landing, and that's done.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics,

    “There is not, and never has been, a cable access surveillance program operating in New Zealand, because it operates in Hawaii. Our local access stuff are not "cable access", they automate off local hardware, send it to Hawaii, where it gets grabbed up by the cable access program.

    “There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB, because technically the NSA do it for them, while sitting in GCSB offices, in New Zealand. They change badges when doing the NSA stuff, so it's totally legit.

    “Regarding XKEYSCORE, that's true and the GCSB use it to spy on New Zealanders for me, OKAY? But the GCSB does not collect mass metadata on New Zealanders because, again, they're people and machines are doing it automatically. Totally hands off until you search through it. Therefore it is clearly not contributing such data to anything or anyone, I mean, there's scads of it, it's obviously all automated, and not ours anyway, technically.

    Just like those GIANT SPY SATELLITE DISHES that we also don't do anything with at all and aren't spying on anyone with, OKAY?

    That law, where they get to tell everyone what hardware we have to use in our internet backbone and stuff, that's what I'm trying to tell you. It's not the GCSB, they just tell everyone to install the NSA's custom hardware and never even touch the stuff. Other than to read it for me. The Prime Minister. To destroy my political opponents with. OKAY?

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to Marc C,

    So much for "trust", I'd say, I lost trust in the media a fair time ago, and I never had much trust at all in any PR hacks, lobbyists and whatever else they may call themselves. Society is breaking to pieces and going to the pits in inter human relationship terms, it seems, because it is all about what sells, who can sell it, and how many buy what these days.

    None of that rubbish. The media are under vastly greater scrutiny than they've ever been, by a highly aware, extremely literate, and well connected public with excellent self-publishing skills. PR is a cat and mouse game between the skills of journalism and advertising, and we only get to hear about PR being anything because somewhere some journalists are doing a great job and letting us all know.

    Society is more wonderful than the people of fifty years ago could have imagined, it is entirely possible we live in the best times humanity will ever know. Yes, our improved public access to knowledge is showing us a bunch of crooked stuff that was invisible until recently, but cigarettes used to brighten your smile and make you breathe easier with "doctors" saying so on the evening news, and it was genuinely hard to find a way to tell anyone any different. I suppose you could say the same about booze now, given that it used to be illegal to advertise, and hard to buy.

    Dirty politics, it's rotten, it should go, but politicians used to just sack people who got in their way. Public Works Act everything on a whim. Decide which journalists got any access at all to parliament depending how nice they were to the PM. The bloody Official Secrets Act, where lying was just what politicians did and anyone saying otherwise with facts was up for prison. Cronyism on the public purse perhaps didn't happen under Clark much, but it's not at all new.


    Never stop criticizing government, it's good for them. It's a wonderful thing to even be allowed to do, many countries simply murder their critics, but don't forget that what we're fighting to hold on to is incredibly nice and we are privileged to be here to fight for it. Holding a light to the bastards just reminds them not to leave a mess on their short trip through office.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Irrelevant, it doesn’t change the fact that the there is no available evidence against the proposition that deity exists.

    Everything. Every single thing in existence is proof that there's no gods. Photons, Neutrinos, Cell Phones, Dark Matter, Cosmological Expansion, Plate Tectonics, the Evolution of Species, Universal Gravitation, everything is chemicals (even your thoughts and ideas), we're made of stardust, birds are dinosaurs, the atoms my body is composed of are much more recently attached to the whole than the date of my birth.

    Sociology, history, we've records of people from long before god was supposed to have created the earth by hanging the sky-blanket over the mountains, creating light, and then later on remembering to create the sun and everything else which makes it. Only that's not how it happened, the sky-blanket theory is not correct.

    We're not babushka dolls, there's no homunculus, prayer does nothing, there's no god on the mountain tops, no god in the clouds, no god on the moon, Saturn and Jupiter and Mars and Venus and Mercury aren't gods either, there's no gods on Neptune, none in the Kuiper Belt or among the Plutinos, and despite there being thousands of planets around nearby stars (averaging about 1.3 gas giants per star, at least in the disk), there's no god there either.

    There's no god at the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, which has hundreds of billions of stars in it's bar and disk.

    ~300,000,000,000 stars, locally, within our own galaxy. There's no god in the novas as some of them eat their smaller companions which spiral inside the Roche limit.

    There's no god in the quasars that turned out to be distant supermassive black holes gobbling up giant stars a hundred billion other galaxies.

    ~170,000,000,000 galaxies. And no sign of god, at all. Most much smaller, some hugely bigger, we end up average.


    So there's ~300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, a number so big I'd have to double the length of this post to let you even try to grok it. And they're just the ones within the observable universe, the whole thing is at least several thousand times larger. There's no god in the cosmic microwave background either. The father-figure who doesn't like to see you masturbating but just can't help watching anyway wasn't hiding in the Higgs boson, it was recently discovered. Jokes about being infinitely good at hide-and-seek are ... a very good argument against there being no gods of any kind.

    There's no god in polio, or herpes, or HIV, or smallpox. We killed smallpox, all of it (bar lab samples), forever, because it was related to harmless old cow pox and we could train our immune system's T-cells on them to kill the thing before it got a good hold on us, and it's unusually stable genome prevented it mutating a solution in time. God didn't help after a thousand years of prayer and billions dead, because there's no god and prayer does nothing. Vaccination, that works. Science.


    It's not mysterious, there's no sophisticated version that makes any more sense, it was just bronze and iron age men trying to make sense of the world while securing their social dominance by murdering the competition. There were thousands of stories invented about gods, and just a handful of them survived into the modern world in a persistent enough meme to overcome the starkly obvious lack of any gods, backed by the evidence of every single thing ever turning out to not have your god in it, or anyone else's god in it. All of it, everything, there's no gods, not even one.


    Evidence. There's nothing but evidence. /mic drop.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Yes, common law isn't static, but it's not so fluid that it can disown its own source.

    I'm only interested in English common law, as it applies to NZ

    Right, but not it's sources, which you of course immediately disown because they prove your own ranting here to be bound by religious faith. Which is to say, the sky faeries of your imagination demand that only their sources are undeniable.

    Except, you know, the 17th century called and we have science now, turns out your sources are not original, not special, and also didn't work well and have been completely replaced.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to izogi,

    It's no wonder so many people apparently just rank other candidates in the way that their favourite candidate tells them to.

    Those stupid-ass 29 candidate ranking contests are not susceptible to rational analysis. That's why we have party lists in NZ, so you can just tick Labour and get a bunch of people who have at least some idea of life outside the boardroom.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunking_(psychology)

    Real people can make a choice that feels comfortable, if they work at it, between only very small groups of things. About seven. For more than that, they have to first sort those things into similar groups, of about seven. The more familiar you are with the subject at hand, the more that number creeps from five up toward nine.

    Political systems should allow for that, not only in voting where people massively prefer very limited choice sets, but in how those sets are built and even how the government conducts it's business.

    That's why we have 8 cabinet committees, for instance.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_of_New_Zealand#Committees

    The thing where they have 20 cabinet ministers is terrible though, that sort of thing is how the ministers go astray and find themselves living with their head firmly up their ass. No one can really understand who's doing what and why they're doing it, sub-groups form which inherently distrust each other.

    20 is amongst the worst possible numbers for understanding something like collective accountability. Far too big to individually track everyone with any detail, and too small to feel good about any possible chunking.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Sign this Petition, in reply to Tinakori,

    the impact appears to have been an unintended one of strengthening the Conservatives and NZ First

    There's always a spike for some random authoritarian "common sense", "listen to the people", "won't someone think of the children" minor parties around election time. There's a bunch of people have a history that makes them distrust both Labour and National intensely and they vote for anyone who's going to make 5% to keep them in check.

    The combined swing from Labour+National to various Minors hovering around around the margin is about 6%. Most of that is "undecided" voters that don't show up in the previous 3 years of polls who finally get a look at who's going to get in and won't be a wasted vote (and also hits one of their pet issues).

    In the past, if a major party looks like they can't win, their vote collapses and goes into the leading minors instead, to drag the other major closer. Labour-Green is probably high enough to avoid that this time. But there's a lot of propaganda about who "can't win".

    Not that the polls will tell you either. The swing from National to Labour on the day, against the polling trends, was 5% last time (about 3% of that moving from National to NZF), and polling this time is even more variable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Sign this Petition, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's a been a standard tactic against the book itself: delegitimise it by by alleging it's partisan.

    It is partisan. The left spokesfolk believe that this is a bad thing, while the spokesfolk of the right have openly taken great joy in it since at least the days of Helengrad, if not dancing Cossacks and even the formation of the National party in the first place to fight against organised social good.

    I've heard family anecdotes about this stuff from the 40's. Not every National government has been that way, nor every Labour government free of it, but for the most part and certainly today and in the near future: being clean, open, and honest, playing the ball and not the player, is a left wing idea for government.

    Since Nov 2006 • 384 posts Report Reply

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