…water, water everywhere [DOT 11/4/23]

but not a drop to drink...

…honestly…even if I could conceivably fit all of it in here without breaking the scroll function entirely…there’s a lot I’d probably skip because…well…I don’t ever need to see a livestream from a mass shooter PoV, for a start…quite literally that way lies madness…&…maybe if you told me that we had AI capable of noticing that sort of thing coming together & could get the police on scene before anybody got hurt I’d waver in my distaste for stuff that reminds me of minority report…but…well…when it does this kind of crap

Their concerns about the impact AI may have on humanity in the future are justified – we are talking some serious Terminator stuff, without a Schwarzenegger to save us. But that’s the future. Unfortunately, there’s AI that’s being used right now which is already starting to have a big impact – even financially destroy – businesses and individuals. So much so that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) felt the need to issue a warning about an AI scam which, according to this NPR report “sounds like a plot from a science fiction story”.

But this is not science fiction. Using deepfake AI technology, scammers last year stole approximately $11m from unsuspecting consumers by fabricating the voices of loved ones, doctors and attorneys requesting money from their relatives and friends.
And these incidents aren’t limited to just consumers. Businesses of all sizes are quickly falling victim to this new type of fraud.

That’s what happened to a bank manager in Hong Kong, who received deep-faked calls from a bank director requesting a transfer that were so good that he eventually transferred $35m, and never saw it again. A similar incident occurred at a UK-based energy firm where an unwitting employee transferred approximately $250,000 to criminals after being deep-faked into thinking that the recipient was the CEO of the firm’s parent. The FBI is now warning businesses that criminals are using deepfakes to create “employees” online for remote-work positions in order to gain access to corporate information.


…yeah…still not loving the new toy…though at least there’s some things we could do which would prevent most of that from having the desired effect…&…it’s…well, no…it pretty much is as bad as it sounds…or worse, even…if it sounds like a friendly/familiar voice…but…as I’ve recently been reminded listening to a BBC series called the lazarus heist…$11million is peanuts compared to the amount north korea (minor spoiler but the lazarus thing is taken from the name given to a hacker cadre from NK) tried to & at least partially succeeded in ripping off…& they did it without AI…which is worth bearing in mind

The FBI offers similar guidance on its website to avoid public chargers. The bulletin didn’t point to any recent instances of consumer harm from juice jacking, and the FBI didn’t immediately return a request for comment on what prompted the reminder from its Denver office.

The Federal Communications Commission has also warned about “juice jacking,” as the malware loading scheme is known, since 2021.

…not for nothing but you can get USB cables that lack the strands which carry data…all they do is send power from one end to the other…just sayin’

Consumer devices with compromised USB cables can be hijacked through software that can then siphon off usernames and passwords, the FCC warned at the time. The commission told consumers to avoid those public stations.

Consumer devices with compromised USB cables can be hijacked through software that can then siphon off usernames and passwords, the FCC warned at the time. The commission told consumers to avoid those public stations.

FBI warns against using public phone charging stations [NBC]

…& they ain’t blowing smoke

The network’s coverage of the Giuliani news conference showed just how impossible this balancing act would be. Immediately afterward, a Fox News White House correspondent, Kristin Fisher, went to the network’s camera position outside the West Wing and fact-checked the allegations. “So much of what he said was simply not true,” she told Fox viewers. Giuliani, she said, provided no hard proof for a claim that “really cuts to the core of our democratic process.” Fox’s opinion hosts, who had been broadcasting the Giuliani-Powell Dominion fantasies to varying degrees themselves — some appearing to endorse them outright — had been complaining internally that the news division’s debunking efforts were alienating the core audience. An executive at the Fox Corporation, the network’s parent company, had recently started a brand protection effort to, among other tasks, “defend the brand in real time.” After Fisher’s segment, the group sent an alert to top news executives. In a follow-up email, Scott vented to a deputy. “I can’t keep defending these reporters who don’t understand our viewers and how to handle stories,” she wrote. “We have damaged their trust and belief in us.” One of Fisher’s bosses told her that she needed to do a better job of “respecting our audience,” and Fisher later complained of feeling sidelined.

…yeah…there’s more than one unappealing definition to the phrase artificial intelligence…& this one got refreshed yesterday but isn’t any more appealing than when it ran on the 6th

For most of my career as a reporter, I’ve been tracing Fox’s long journey to a dividing line: On one side, journalism, constitutionally protected, even in its nastiest, most slanted and ideological form as part of the brutal scrum of democracy. On the other side, knowing lies, reckless disregard for the truth — the “actual malice” that is at the heart of the Dominion case. The court will decide if Fox crossed that line. But the newly available records show what drove Fox, and its powerful founder, to the very edge of that line, if not beyond: an audience that has reliably delivered influence and profits for decades. Now, in the age of social media and powerfully attractive disinformation campaigns, that audience could instantly move on to even headier stuff from even more adventurous competitors.
Murdoch has always understood the value of his audience, in terms of power and in terms of money. For him the choice may be simple. In his Dominion deposition, a lawyer asked him why he did not want to “antagonize” Trump after the election. “He had a very large following,” was Murdoch’s characteristically terse response. “They were probably mostly viewers of Fox, so it would have been stupid.”

How Fox Chased Its Audience Down the Rabbit Hole [NYT]

…it’s worth a read…but…it’ll likely take the better part of a half-hour…so I’ll resist the urge to prove it with more bits…& draw a small comparison in passing…since you could say rupert made himself a bit of a career out of carrying a certain sort of water for a certain sort…&…when career water-porters of that kind of caliber decide it’s time to let it spill…if you’re not careful you could have a flash flood situation on your hands

Donald Trump “has a penchant for engaging in reckless and self-destructive behavior” and is facing a serious threat of a federal indictment over his handling of classified documents and his supporters’ deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol, his former attorney general William Barr said on Sunday.

“He’s dug himself a hole on the documents, and also on the January 6 stuff,” Barr said of the former president during an interview on ABC’s This Week. “That was reckless behavior that was destined to end up being investigated. So it doesn’t surprise me that he has all these legal problems.”


…well, not to get carried away or anything…it’s not like trying to suggest bragg playing his cards close to his chest is evidence of a weak hand rather than looking like somebody learned a few lessons from the abuse of discovery that’s been rampant among the subsets of defendants whose legal representation is underwritten by people entirely more invested in defending individual #1 doesn’t involve carrying a pretty staggering amount of the same old water that personally I’d sooner see poured down any hole you might find that guy digging away at the bottom of…but it ain’t nothing…& nor is the dominion/smart-matic stuff…either way…if the courts & the deep state worked the way the martyr of mar-a-lago makes out they do…he’d be more by way of where this guy is

Members of the court: I was sure, after two decades spent in Russian politics, after all that I have seen and experienced, that nothing can surprise me anymore. I must admit that I was wrong. I’ve been surprised by the extent to which my trial, in its secrecy and its contempt for legal norms, has surpassed even the “trials” of Soviet dissidents in the 1960s and ’70s. And that’s not even to mention the harshness of the sentence requested by the prosecution or the talk of “enemies of the state.” In this respect, we’ve gone beyond the 1970s — all the way back to the 1930s. For me, as a historian, this is an occasion for reflection.

At one point during my testimony, the presiding judge reminded me that one of the extenuating circumstances was “remorse for what [the accused] has done.” And although there is little that’s amusing about my present situation, I could not help smiling: The criminal, of course, must repent of his deeds. I’m in jail for my political views. For speaking out against the war in Ukraine. For many years of struggle against Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship. For facilitating the adoption of personal international sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against human rights violators.

Not only do I not repent of any of this, I am proud of it. I am proud that Boris Nemtsov brought me into politics. And I hope that he is not ashamed of me. I subscribe to every word that I have spoken and every word of which I have been accused by this court. I blame myself for only one thing: that over the years of my political activity I have not managed to convince enough of my compatriots and enough politicians in the democratic countries of the danger that the current regime in the Kremlin poses for Russia and for the world. Today this is obvious to everyone, but at a terrible price — the price of war.

In their last statements to the court, defendants usually ask for an acquittal. For a person who has not committed any crimes, acquittal would be the only fair verdict. But I do not ask this court for anything. I know the verdict. I knew it a year ago when I saw people in black uniforms and black masks running after my car in the rearview mirror. Such is the price for speaking up in Russia today.

But I also know that the day will come when the darkness over our country will dissipate. When black will be called black and white will be called white; when at the official level it will be recognized that two times two is still four; when a war will be called a war, and a usurper a usurper; and when those who kindled and unleashed this war, rather than those who tried to stop it, will be recognized as criminals.

This day will come as inevitably as spring follows even the coldest winter. And then our society will open its eyes and be horrified by what terrible crimes were committed on its behalf. From this realization, from this reflection, the long, difficult but vital path toward the recovery and restoration of Russia, its return to the community of civilized countries, will begin.

Even today, even in the darkness surrounding us, even sitting in this cage, I love my country and believe in our people. I believe that we can walk this path.


…I wouldn’t normally quote a whole thing that way…but I figure whatever WaPo might have to say on the matter of it jumping the paywall…it seems pretty clear the speaker would prefer as many people as possible listen to what he had to say…&…given one rupert murdoch was the owner of a paper (last I checked) with a journalist who’s behind bars waiting on a day in that same court…I’m probably not alone in thinking the post maybe doesn’t have any grounds to be trying to keep that to themselves

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday formally declared that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is being wrongfully detained in Russia.

The official classification means Gershkovich‘s case will be handled by the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, giving the government additional resources to secure his release. The office’s envoy, Roger Carstens, will work toward Gershkovich’s release and maintaining contact with his family.

“Journalism is not a crime,” Vedant Patel, a State Department spokesperson, said in a statement Monday. “We condemn the Kremlin’s continued repression of independent voices in Russia, and its ongoing war against the truth.”


…now…to go back to the stuff I don’t much want to touch…people have a lot to say about guns…& if you’re me some of it sounds more intelligent than others…I might even be tempted to say reasonable…still uncomfortable as all hell to someone who thought the UK took reasonable steps after dunblaine…but…different strokes…so…at the risk of starting to sound like I’m shilling the dude’s channel…a bunch of the stuff in this playlist would most likely qualify…but I’d note that there’s a run at the beginning that notes that previous attempts at reform have been ineffective at reversing what in at least some respects is a recent phenomenon…those are about five years old at this point…& if I’m not altogether off the mark…there’s five year olds out there who’re a year or so away from having to try to get their heads around school shooting drills…but…some things are hard to understand

For decades, we’ve treated gun violence as a battle to be won rather than a problem to be solved — and this has gotten us worse than nowhere. In 2021 a record 48,000 Americans were killed by firearms, including suicides, homicides and accidents. So let’s try to bypass the culture wars and try a harm-reduction model familiar from public health efforts to reduce deaths from other dangerous products such as cars and cigarettes.

Harm reduction for guns would start by acknowledging the blunt reality that we’re not going to eliminate guns any more than we have eliminated vehicles or tobacco, not in a country that already has more guns than people. We are destined to live in a sea of guns. […]

That can make a huge difference. Consider that American women age 50 or older commit fewer than 100 gun homicides in a typical year. In contrast, men 49 or younger typically kill more than 500 people each year just with their fists and feet; with guns, they kill more than 7,000 each year. In effect, firearms are safer with middle-aged women than fists are with young men.

We’re not going to restrict guns to women 50 or older, but we can try to keep firearms from people who are under 21 or who have a record of violent misdemeanors, alcohol abuse, domestic violence or some red flag that they may be a threat to themselves or others.

…how does it go again? …guns don’t kill people…boys do? …mind you…takes a village

…if you’re not part of the solution…something, something

It’s often said that machine guns are banned in the United States, but that’s not exactly right. More than 700,000 of these fully automatic weapons are in the United States outside of the military, entirely legally. Most are owned by federal, state or local agencies, but perhaps several hundred thousand are in private hands. With a background check and permission, members of the public can buy an Uzi submachine gun or a mounted .50-caliber machine gun made before 1986 — even a grenade launcher, howitzer or mortar.

To buy a machine gun made before 1986, you need a background check, a clean record and $200 for a transfer tax — a process that can take several months to complete. Then you must report to the authorities if it is stolen and get approval if you move it to another state. To buy a machine gun made after 1986 is more complicated.

None of this is terribly onerous, but these hoops — and stiff enforcement of existing laws — are enough to keep machine guns in responsible hands. In a typical year, these registered machine guns are responsible for approximately zero suicides and zero homicides.


…I’m no expert…but I guess if I had to guess…making use of how people feel about something dangerous when you don’t understand the dangerous part & your whole deal is pitched at furthering a set of goals that are arguably divorced from the full set of associated agendas…well…it does a good impression of being a dumb move, if you ask me…but it’s a fine line…& I don’t envy anyone trying to walk it without cutting their feet to ribbons

President Biden and Bill Clinton will be among a bevy of Irish, British and American leaders traveling to Belfast to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the April 10, 1998, signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The landmark peace accord ended the 30 years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland known as “the Troubles.”

The deal, in which American mediators played a central role, is worthy of celebration. It won a Nobel Peace Prize for two negotiators from Northern Ireland, and it stands as a paradigm for resolving seemingly intractable sectarian conflicts. Political violence has been relatively rare on the Irish island since it was signed: The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, once pockmarked with watchtowers and roadblocks, is almost undetectable, and downtown Belfast, a battlefield during the Troubles, could now be the hip center of any European capital. Public opinion in both North and South overwhelmingly supports the agreement.

But the old sectarian differences fester. Despite surveys that consistently indicate support for integration, Protestants and Catholics still live largely apart. Even if they are no longer fighting, their schools and neighborhoods remain mostly segregated.

The problems have become more complicated since Britain opted out of the European Union in 2016, leaving Northern Ireland in limbo. The Assembly and Executive that comprise the power-sharing government, one of the primary products of the Good Friday Agreement, have not been functioning for months because of the main unionist party’s dissatisfaction with the final Brexit trading arrangements.

In fact, the Assembly and Executive — the devolved Legislature and the committee that runs the devolved government of Northern Ireland, which require active participation by both unionists and nationalists — have been unable to operate for much of the time they’ve been in existence, leaving the business of government to civil servants for long stretches.

At the heart of the matter, according to political scientists, is that the Good Friday Agreement was focused largely on ending the bloodshed, and less on efforts to integrate the warring communities — the largely Protestant unionists who wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom, and the Irish nationalists, most of them Catholics, who would prefer union with the republic to the south.
Attitudes are changing, especially among the young, but slowly. Some public opinion polls in Northern Ireland have tracked a steady rise in support for Irish unification, especially since Brexit, and more people identify as neither nationalist or unionist than identify with either of those groups. Yet identification with their cause remains strong among those who still identify as nationalist or unionist.

Brexit — Britain’s break with the E.U. — fanned the old flames by threatening the unionists’ geographic links to Britain and the nationalists’ insistence on an open border between North and South. Brexit potentially meant an end to the free movement of goods between the United Kingdom, of which Northern Ireland was a part, and Ireland, a proud member of the European Union. Reimposing a hard land border was ruled out by all sides, leading to an arrangement to introduce checks on British goods entering Northern Irish ports.
It’s not clear that there is any arrangement that the D.U.P. — which opposed the original Good Friday Agreement, supported Brexit and continues to staunchly champion all the old unionist causes — would agree to. Basically, the only choice is whether trade controls are to be on land or at sea, and there’s not much more that either London or Brussels can do.

The hope among more moderate Northern Irish is that Mr. Biden’s visit to Belfast might persuade Jeffrey Donaldson, the D.U.P. leader, to relent. Mr. Biden is expected to be accompanied by Joe Kennedy III, his special economic envoy to Northern Ireland, whose presence signals the promise of American investment in the economically struggling North.
The agreement ended a bitter and cruel sectarian war that had come to seem intractable after three decades and the loss of some 3,600 lives, most of them civilian. And the key elements of the agreement — the principle of consent, power-sharing and democratic institutions — have stood the test of time and remain a model for other nations rent by internal discord. The Northern Irish know this: A recent poll found that 69 percent of them believe that the Good Friday Agreement is the best basis for governing Northern Ireland, even while 55 percent think it could be reformed in some way.


The Good Friday Agreement was a tortuous thing to wangle. A host of individuals — some on the world stage, others forever anonymous — took meetings in living rooms and shadowy fields. People prayed in churches of all denominations. It failed and failed and failed until it didn’t.

To say there were compromises is one of those instances of the English language having scant resemblance to reality. People in prison for murder were freed. More than 1,000 murders were left unsolved. People on all sides kicked some hopes down the road and gave up on others completely. People sewed up their wounds, believing in an eventual healed scar.
I am part of a generation that as children thought bomb scares and military patrols were normal. For 25 years there has largely been an absence of war, and we’ve never taken it for granted. But I think we have the mistaken impression here that that absence is peace. If only it were peace, we’d all be fine. But it’s not.

Stormont has been inactive for almost a year because one of the main parties has refused to take its seats; the terrorism threat level was recently raised to “severe” after an off-duty police officer was shot. The shooting was claimed by a dissident republican group called the New I.R.A. and paramilitaries are estimated to still have thousands of members operating like organized crime gangs and doling out what are colloquially known as “punishment beatings,” like bullets through kneecaps.

Peace in Northern Ireland is a matchstick tower, and recently there has been a shifting of the ground below.

One of the central tenets of the agreement was that the border between Northern Ireland — or the North of Ireland, depending on your political persuasion — and the Republic of Ireland would no longer be a hard border. What we mean by a “hard border” here can be characterized by its opposite — today, I really notice I’ve crossed it only because the road signs change from miles to kilometers and my phone beeps to tell me that I’ve changed countries. But throughout my childhood I crossed a hard border at least eight times a year to visit family in the South, in Cork. Back then, there were watchtowers and helicopters, the northern side was patrolled by the British Army, and soldiers with machine guns checked our passports. People have told me that they always felt the air on the border was taut; everyone was very aware of what a wrong word and a hair trigger could do.

When the border was dismantled as part of the peace process, there was a sense that a bulwark against collectivism had been demolished. And since both North and South were part of the European Union, it even made good geopolitical sense.

Being part of the E.U. did something metaphysical, too: Citizens of Northern Ireland could then and can still choose to hold British or Irish passports or both. But we were also all European, and our passports bore the little circle of stars that represented the E.U. We could all formalize our national identity as we saw fit and remain part of something international.

But then England, Scotland and Wales left the E.U., and all the people in Northern Ireland who held British passports exited with them, while those who held Irish passports remained European. Nobody moved a muscle.

Northern Ireland did not collapse into chaos overnight, but something deeper was afoot. Insecurities about identity that had been slumbering started to wake.
Unionists were spooked to see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the U.K. Quickly — we love a political sign here — posters declaring “No border in the Irish Sea” appeared on lampposts. To some that statement is magical thinking, since the sea itself is an immutable border. But Unionists, especially members of the Democratic Unionist Party, feared that every form stamped would erode British identity, each one a de facto declaration that Northern Ireland is separate.

In an election last May, about a year after the protocol came into effect, Sinn Fein, the main nationalist party, became the largest party in Stormont for the first time in the 100-year history of Northern Ireland. Members of the D.U.P., the second largest, refused to take their seats until the British government renegotiated the protocol. (They were able to do this because, per the Good Friday Agreement, government cannot sit in Stormont without both parties present.) Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, negotiated a new arrangement with the E.U. in February that simplifies the customs arrangements but leaves some E.U. law in place in Northern Ireland. The D.U.P. said it still wasn’t good enough. The British government’s position, more or less, is that it’s the best they’re getting.

…while we’re talking about sinn fein…that leopard…face-eating or otherwise…may have changed a lot of spots over the years…but when I were a nipper…they were more or less literally the publicly-sanctioned PR arm of the IRA…you know…back in the day when that didn’t stand for the Internet Research Agency…AKA russia’s own cadre of digital necromancers…& gerry adams had to be dubbed over to get quoted on the media…which as it happens I think would be an interesting way to go with some of the GOP rabble-rousers…but…I’m just flinging out loose ends at this point…so for the sake of at least a vestigial thread to all of this

Civil servants kept the lights on, as they did between 2017 and 2020, when Stormont collapsed over a domestic scandal. But a budget for Northern Ireland was not agreed on for 2022-23, and the deficit is ballooning, and payments to help with high energy bills over winter were delayed.

The unfolding of Brexit has elucidated several facts long suspected, one of which is that the British government is not overly concerned about us. But it’s remarkable to me that citizens who took part in a democratic election have almost silently allowed the absence of government to take place. There have been articles, tweets and grumbling but notably few demonstrations.

As long as there is peace, this absence of dissent seems to say, “Anything is better than the Troubles.”

There are exceptions. The controversial Northern Ireland Legacy Bill introduced by the British government in May 2022 would grant amnesty to perpetrators of the unsolved murders of the Troubles. This is one rare thing in the North that united all the major political parties in opposition and brought people out into the street in protest. At least we are talking about some of the silences that smother democracy.

This month we remember that a version of peace was gifted to us by a brittle matchstick tower constructed a quarter of a century ago. We can celebrate that, but we need to tend to it, too.


…& I know there’s a lot going on that also seems to be stuff that’s been going on approximately for ever & it’s hard to tell what looks like progress versus just setting yourself up for disappointment

Donald Trump and his business empire are currently the subjects of no fewer than five government investigations and cases — a truly extraordinary challenge for anyone, let alone a former and possibly future president of the United States. These are complicated proceedings, with long and winding paths to resolution. They involve scores of federal and state investigators and witnesses across the country, including politicians eager to shield themselves from scrutiny and employees turning on their colleagues, as well as a former president who knows how to navigate (and manipulate) the legal system like no one else.
The public has very little visibility into how these investigations are proceeding, as government officials quietly gather evidence and plan their next moves. But in late March, we caught a glimpse of their thought process when Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s district attorney, became the first prosecutor to indict Mr. Trump. As these five efforts move forward, the presidential campaign could affect how prosecutors weigh their options. But even at this stage, some scenarios are possible to discern, including the possibility, however improbable it may seem, that all of the proceedings resolve in Mr. Trump’s favor, with few, if any, serious legal consequences. Here is a close look, based on interviews with experts and analyses of media reports and the law, at some of the paths to such an outcome.


…&…to be honest…when I started at the top of the page…I had every intention of going somewhere entirely different with this…so it’s no exaggeration to say they are dozens of things in the headlines today that I’d sooner talk about




[…encouraging as I find a lot of the reading @loveshaq sends our way about the EV stuff…he ain’t looking at norway for a partner…& it’s hard not to read a few tea leaves into that]

BBC objects to ‘Government Funded’ Twitter label. Musk has thoughts. [WaPo]

The man who unleashed AI on an unsuspecting Silicon Valley [WaPo]

The Great Salt Lake seemed like it was dying. But there’s been a ‘miraculous’ shift. [WaPo]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/04/10/squirrels-climate-change [WaPo]


Earth’s core seems to be surrounded by enigmatic layer, geologists say [WaPo]

…I mean…c’mon…who among us can resist an enigmatic core?

The parents’ rights movement keeps ducking parental responsibilities [WaPo]

…or a moral &/or medical dilemma



…or the pros & cons of a rising tide



…& the relationship between perspective & context can radically alter the picture…not to mention the eye of the beholder


…& that isn’t always the sort of thing I’d consider responsible


…but you know what they say…when people tell you who they are…sometimes it pays to take them at their word…sometimes…maybe leaning towards that whole “trust but verify” thing might be the way to go, though


…either way…there’s a reason they say actions speak louder than words


Young people are unaware that they are being “exploited and groomed” into criminal violence by paramilitary groups, a leading academic has said.

Petrol bombs were thrown at officers by young people at an illegal republican parade in Londonderry on Monday.


…how does it go again?

…but right now…I already have more different problems than I can contend with just persuading this laptop to settle down long enough to get this posted…so I’m giving up this part of that unequal struggle & I’ll see if it’s any more amenable to letting me add some tunes once it’s someplace anyone else might see it?

[ETA: …unless I’ve got my wires crossed…that one’s about his father…who’d be the older man who you hear at a point or two…& the title might be the name of his autobiography…which would take you in & out of prison, the UVF & eventually the ministry?]

apparently no irish singalong is complete without a rendition of spancill hill…so

…worthy or not…it ain’t my cause…so



  1. I wasn’t aware that you could buy charge only USB cables or that it was even necessary. I will be getting some before my upcoming trip, thanks.

    • I just learned that fact about a month ago. I was connecting my MP3 player to my laptop, and it wouldn’t transfer data, though I could see it was charging. Wouldn’t connect to my car or truck, either. Shit, I thought, time for new MP3 player. Off to Amazon I go.

      New MP3 player worked great, until it also wouldn’t connect to my laptop. Dammit, two of them? So I thought, could the cable be the problem? Asked my kid, the computer science major. “I dunno.”

      Google set me straight. Yes, some USB cables are designed for charging only, not data. So if you’ve got USB devices like flashlights (I do) the cables that come with them don’t carry data. But to my eye, they look the same (people on the internet claim they are thinner because they don’t have the data cables but I wouldn’t count on that). It’s true for C cables and micro USB. I assume iPhone lightning cables too, but I don’t use those much.

      And yes, I have an MP3 player (well, two now). After watching all my iTunes disappear from my phone, and all my Google tunes disappear from my phone, I now record my own MP3s from YouTube and keep them on non-internet-connected devices. My music no longer vanishes.

      • I have been a proud owner (and user) of a Microsoft Zune for the past 15 years.  I’m on my third one.

        I tend to use it less and less, but there are still some very important use cases for it.

        • I use Audacity. It’s free and pretty easy to use. I store up tags on Shazam when I’m driving or whatever and then every month or so I spend an hour or so recording them off YouTube. I get a pretty decent quality recording that costs me nothing and I keep them stored on a flash drive for backup and my player(s).

          I tried loading them onto my phone but it seems like there’s some sort of snoopware that finds and deletes them over time, even if they’re recordings that I made. This is after iTunes and Google Play deleted all the music I paid for. Apparently I’m supposed to subscribe to their streaming services, and nope, not going to do that. Frankly, both services owe me a few hundred dollars for music I paid for and can’t access. I will not be taken again.

      • The reason why your music was disappearing is due to licensing. When we “buy” a song from iTunes or Google, we’re not actually buying the song. We are buying a license to play the song. That way, when the inevitable contract pissing matches ensue between the retailers and the record labels/publishers your music vanishes. It’s the same as when a cable company gets into it with a content provider and the cable company yanks the channel. So your solution of just buying generic mp3s or ripping from CDs is the best way to make sure that you actually own the music you paid for.

        • …when they start wiping shit you paid for from your devices it’s undeniably shittier than what is by comparison a minor inconvenience…but the fact that google & amazon are too busy trying to get the other one to blink & dribble a bigger slice of that pie their own way is likewise why the android version of the kindle app currently allows you to find something you’d like to read…& which amazon would be delighted to flog you…but you can no longer perform the transaction without ditching the app for a URL in a browser

          …& that’s the one I run into often enough to be salty about

        • Oh, I understand the licensing. Not happy about it, but I understand it. What I don’t like is that music I ripped from CDs I paid for and own will disappear out of iTunes and Google Play and YouTube player and a couple others I’ve tried. If you house your music on any of their associated players on your phone, they’ll start deleting it. Other players exist, but then they want you to pay an ongoing fee, and I’m like, well I could just stream it then. And if you’ve got hundreds of songs on there, it takes a while before you notice something’s gone, and unless you keep an inventory somewhere, it’s hard to go back and find what’s missing. You would know better than me, Butcher, but it seems like a CD rip still contains some DRM data that they can locate on your phone.

          CD ripping got cumbersome when I had to start using an external drive. So I did a little research and bam, record it off YouTube and keep it in your own player. Only downside is dragging around two devices, but that’s better than the white-hot rage I feel when my music is deleted. The only real issue is the proliferation of versions on YouTube, and sometimes the music video includes dialog and other stuff you don’t want. I’ve edited some out, but you can usually find a clean HD version of just about anything. And I know there’s no data attached to the recording at all, but I still keep them offline.

          • …there used to be…maybe still is…a massive database online called something like gracenote (iirc) which was a fantastic way to replace the shitty metadata some methods of ripping things you owned often left you with, which could seriously screw up your player-of-choices ability to index/display the stuff the way you’d like…cover art thumbnails & the works

            …but unless they have some sort of honor code deal that stops them from deleting things that don’t have a tag on them saying they came from them as a source…that feels like the sort of thing that would contribute to that issue…if the metadata isn’t clean they’d claim it looked like pirate material & they had a right to wipe it…& if it is…it looks just like their copy would have…so…ditto

            …feels like there ought to be some sort of consumer rights class action avenue available but like you say…it’s hard enough to notice…much less adequately document how many of your hard-earned bucks they blew without so much as a word of warning?

            • Yeah, I have no album art or anything. The only thing my player shows is the title and artist that I typed in. Sometimes I miss seeing the album art (I might even be able to add it if I wanted and felt like collecting jpgs), but it’s not enough of an inducement to me to change my process.

        • Yeah, it’s insane. I liked a group The Palmer Squares and bought a it of thier stuff but they started ony releasing in Spotify etc. I tried to talk to them and the fan base and explain that hard copies are better and I don’t do subscription services, they were not worried about losing a fan and the fan base chastised me for even questioning it.

    • …I don’t know that anyone hereabouts needs to hear this…but while we’re on the subject of PSAs…& I’m replete with dark thoughts about the sort of lowlifes that made it so my whole hunting-for-tunes project got summarily back-burner-ed while I made haste to the home of a little old lady on a fixed income to post-mortem yet another scam attempt to help themselves to her system & make free with her online banking

      …ain’t nobody legitimate cold calling anyone with time-critical steps they need to take to defend you from a cyber-security threat…& if there were…they wouldn’t be asking you to install free consumer-grade remote desktop softwhere like anydesk or gotomypc or teamviewer…& unless you share with me a sliver of satisfaction from delivering a piece of your mind to that kind of asshole sufficient to make them get there first…which frankly gains you sweet FA…it is never too soon to hang up on their ass or ignore literally anything they tell you to do


      …just sayin’

      …now…let me catch my breath…& I’ll go find some belated tunes

      • Been there. I finally got my mom to respond to any telephone request by saying: I don’t know anything about that. You’ll have to talk to my son.

        It took forever and losing several hundred dollars, but I got her to do it.

        My father-in-law got conned many times and lost thousands of dollars, possibly hundreds of thousands. We found a lot but there’s probably much more we’ll never know about. We simply couldn’t get him to admit he didn’t know what was going on, and he kept trying to run his car lot. After he died, we got lucky. My mother-in-law is too deaf to understand people on the phone. After they scream at her for a while, they give up. Plus she’s on a short leash monetarily.

        Bizarrely, old people are compelled to answer a phone when it rings. It’s Pavlovian. “I’ve got to get that.” “No, you don’t.” “It could be important.” “It isn’t.” “How do you know?” “Because the only people who would call you about something important are your family, and they would have already called me.” Then it rings again and the cycle starts once more.

        • I have people at work who will engage the auto warranty calls.  After 10-15 minutes of asking for details and going over all the plan packages, they initiate the registration process:

          “Okay, now I need a phone number.”


          “Fuck you, asshole.”

  2. That Fox News story was pretty fascinating, and something I’ve been saying for a while: It’s easy to point at the media and cry “BIAS!” but more than ever before, media orgs feel pressure to conform to their audience’s beliefs lest they lose their attention.

    Fox is, of course, not really a media organization, so it’s not a huge step to go from broadcasting “lies we kinda believe and hope you buy” to “lies we we know aren’t remotely true.” But so often, Fox’s viewers are talked about as an immovable monolith. You know who knew better: Fox executives! And there are a lot of ways to do bad journalism, but telling an audience you’re afraid to lose what they want to hear is always going to end badly (and probably stupidly).

    • The reality is that pretty much every news organization is a business. You can tell by the fact that they’re disappearing like snowflakes in July. NPR’s business model allows it more autonomy (BBC too, to an extent), but they’ve all got to keep the lights on.

      Fox News simply waded into the “sheer greed” end of the pool.

      • It wasn’t always a “business”. It really didn’t morph into a business until FoxNews came around. Prior to that, CNN was like the weather channel, you tuned in for 5 mins and that was it.

        The fact that FoxNews exists because of a republican base that thought they were being treated unfairly in the news is pretty ironic and hypocritical.  MAYBE STOP DOING HORRIBLE SHIT.

        • It’s always been a business.  I suspect what happened is that they shifted from competing for readers to competing for advertisers, and that has fundamentally changed what news gets reported and how.

        • The problem is that they don’t think they are. Even the biggest assholes assume they’re good people (see my formerly fabulously wealthy now poor uncle, the Trumpster.)

          Me? I just assume I’m an asshole and go from there.

      • Of course, it’s always been a business.

        But there is a difference between an attempt to do real journalism and the inherent tension between that and being the sort of thing advertisers want to be a part of versus just out and out propaganda. And that filters down to the people who work for those places (and who want to work at those places.) It wasn’t that long ago that newspapers simply took sides and you knew what you were getting; the whole “objectivity” thing is really an ahistorical blip in media history that seems to be coming to an end.

        All that said, the biggest thing to remember is that journalism isn’t itself lucrative! Newspapers made a lot of money off other stuff that funded the news-gathering — things like classified ads were hugely profitable. As those things got whittled away by cheaper online alternatives, newspapers increasingly didn’t have another place to turn for revenue and had to cut back and slim down and make the product clearly less substantive (while meanwhile charging more for it!) and sell out to increasingly disinterested buyers. None of that was ever going to work, obviously. But it’s also a story of a lot of other industries, just ones that are less day-to-day obvious than the media.

        • I think the other factor is that once upon a time, journalism had ethical standards. You weren’t supposed to make things up EVER. Editors would review your work and yank you up short for even minor exaggerations or omissions. However, it wasn’t really codified, like the Hippocratic Oath or even the standards adopted by accounting. Any sort of journalist ethics disappeared over the years since the internet has eliminated journalism as a profession.

          • …& any ‘paper worth its salt had a full-time fact-checking department…can not exaggerate how shocked I was when a friend who did a lot of temp cover (maternity leave & the like) as an editor told me…oh…twenty-odd years ago now…that in the UK the FT was maybe the only one not saving themselves that element of payroll

            …not sure that the various things I see declaring themselves to be fact-checks under a masthead…which don’t tend to be about claims made by the ‘paper in question…are any sort of evidence that’s changed, since?

          • I mean, that’s actually not really true either. There are considerably more ethics rules journalists are expected to follow now than there were last century. That said, ethics rules are only as good as the people who enforce them, and per your “editors are supposed to catch things” the whole point is those editors don’t exist because the industry has been hollowed out. Everyone always takes that as a journalistic failure, but that’s pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

          • Fun fact: the Hippocratic Oath isn’t as codified as you think. Different schools have different versions of the Oath that they use. Plus, it’s not exactly binding. That’s up to the various and sundry state regulations.

            • And because of the First Amendment, you simply can’t have governmental oversight of journalism ethics (nor would that be a good thing) but even something like the AMA or Bar Association for journalists would likely have a lot of limitations on what it could do to an unethical journalist.

    • A good way to think about Fox (or other press outlets) is to think in terms of movie studios.

      They will absolutely follow what their core audience wants. So Disney and Warner will make superhero movies until the economics fail.

      And they also have enormous flexibility in changing the composition of their core audience. So Disney superhero movies are significantly different from Warner movies. Disney used to be all about Winnie the Pooh and princesses. Now it has a very different base.

      Also, they have huge flexibility as far as what specifics they choose to meet demands of their core audience. In the next round of Star Wars sequels, Disney can pick from 100 different actors for almost any role, and while they may decide demographics and overseas sales dictate that they have at least one Asian actor, the actual number and specific choice(s) are completely up to them. If they wanted, they could even have ditched Daisy Ridley and Rey.

      There is simply no way to predict more than the broadest strokes of what the next Star Wars movie will be — some of it is locked down by marketing demands, but there will be huge room for subjective choices by the director and screenwriters within those broader dictates.

      And in a parallel to those subjective choices in the movie business, in the news business there is enormous room for purely subjective choices — bias, to be blunt.

      It’s not an either/or situation. The press has to stick to some basics, like the existence of the election or the invasion of Ukraine. But within those overall constraints, there is enormous room for subjective bias to be expressed.

      Even in the case of Dominion this is true. It’s absolutely true in a narrow sense that in late 2020 Rupert Murdoch was stuck — he had hitched his wagon to a parnoid audience that wanted fuel for a stolen election narrative.

      But from a broader perspective, it was a result of his own choices. He hadn’t diversified his audience, and he hadn’t developed his own narratives. And he hadn’t managed very well his own power to influence the man who led the headlines.

      Endless accounts of the Trump White House note how Fox was the start of the pipeline of disinformation to Trump, not the end. Trump would sit in bed from breakfast through lunch day after day consuming and absorbing what Fox would tell him. And not simple  hosannas, like North Korean TV and Kim, but the endless of stream of specific events which then became the grist for his tweets.

      Fox couldn’t easily tell Trump that he had lost. But Fox had enormous flexibility in telling Trump what it wanted about supposed election malfeasance.

      And that’s at the core of their Dominion screwup. Nothing was forcing them to go to the level they did. There is simply no way to see it as a pure expression of market dynamics. It was a choice they made to endlessly trumpet that specific angle of the broader narrative, when they had all kinds of other choices, and more broadly, they had all kinds of narratives they could have developed if they had wanted much earlier.

      Only by constructing a narrative of Fox’s helplessness is it possible to see Dominion as inevitable. But Fox simply wasn’t helpless. It was the result of conscious choices they made with many alternatives.

      • …I think its utility as a metaphor depends on the conversation a good bit…in that in my experience it isn’t one that cuts a lot of ice when I find myself having conversations about that sort of thing with people I know that work in the relevant industries

        …but where fox news is concerned I think the closest movie development analogy that springs to mind would be how they wound up making snakes on a plane


        …it’s not that other “reputable” news brands are immune to that effect…but there are none the less a great deal of ways in which even if you roll with the suggestion that they keep meaningful company with the lowest bars the murdoch media empire offers…like that sinclair broadcast network bunch…or some of the voodoo local news acts that are increasingly legion…it’s a lot less applicable to the likes of the BBC or even the Washington Post?

      • Fox was literally created in the belief that criminal president Richard Nixon was treated unfairly by the “mainstream” media while committing crimes as president. That’s their audience. To use your analogy here, going against Trump at the 11th hour would have been like Disney releasing a “Beauty at the Beast” cut that said it was rated G but was actually an NC-17 version that would have freaked the core audience out so much that they would never come back. Nobody’s suggesting they’re a helpless victim here. But they don’t have room to diversify because that isn’t what they are. (The NYT, on the other hand, absolutely could. It’s why I’m much more annoyed by their general refusal. Fox can’t be saved and wouldn’t want to be, anyway.)

  3. When Trump announced on March 23 he would be indicted by Bragg, there was an immediate wave of horror in the press about how “divisive” this would be.

    And now it turns out that Bragg’s indictment made Americans more unified, not less.


    Trump’s approval rating has dropped and independents are less likely to back him, not more, despite a huge wave of press that this was small potatoes and lots of amplification of GOP claims that this was pure politics.

    Short term results like this are notoriously fickle, and opinions may well change over time. But pundits really should start asking themselves why they felt so sure this was a fact.

    They made a basic mistake of assuming the coordinated attack from GOP talking heads reflected what Americans thought.

    This doesn’t mean that establishment Democratic talking heads are any more reliable, and it does reinforce reporters should stop taking their ledes and headlines from any talking heads. Not that they will.

    • It’s like I said yesterday.  20% of the electorate may vehemently and very vocally hold a particular belief.  That doesn’t mean the country is “divided.”  It means someone is giving voice to a loud, small minority so as not to appear “biased.”

  4. …so…at the risk of looking like I’m trying to start putting together some sort of DOT 2.0…one of the links in that block towards the end that didn’t get a matching quote was this one:


    …&…well…it’s a lot…& some of it seems pretty relevant to some of the stuff one or two of us were speculating about later in the day yesterday

    U.S. doubts Ukraine counteroffensive will yield big gains, leaked document says [WaPo]


    …but…some of what I’ve read about this shit is…crazy…like…at one point I heard that it first surfaced in a minecraft chatroom…& I figured…as jack carter might have it…stroll on…but…what can I tell you folks…the world is one batshit crazy place…& the internet even more so

    A damaging batch of documents leaked from the Pentagon appears to have been initially shared on the video game chat platform Discord in an effort to win an argument about the war in Ukraine, according to open-source intelligence analysts.

    The bizarre provenance of the leak may seem unusual but it is far from the first time that a dispute between gamers has sparked an intelligence breach, with the overlapping communities causing problems for military and gaming platforms alike.

    Two versions of those documents, one of which had been crudely digitally altered to understate Russian casualties and overstate Ukrainian ones, were passed around among observers of the war. One, with the correct figures, stemmed from a leak to 4chan, the chaotic image board best known for birthing the “alt right” movement.

    At the same time, a second set of documents, including the edited image, were being passed around pro-Russian Telegram channels.

    Neither was the original source, however. Before they emerged on to the public internet, the documents had been shared on closed chatrooms hosted by Discord, a gamer-focused chat app. In one server, called “Minecraft Earth Map”, 10 of the documents were posted as early as 4 March, a month before they appeared on 4chan.

    “After a brief spat with another person on the server about Minecraft Maps and the war in Ukraine, one of the Discord users replied: ‘Here, have some leaked documents’ – attaching 10 documents about Ukraine, some of which bore the ‘top secret’ markings,” said Aric Toler, an analyst at the investigative research group§ Bellingcat.

    That user had, in turn, found them on another Discord server, run by and for fans of the Filipino YouTuber WowMao, where 30 documents had been posted three days earlier, with “dozens” of other unverified documents about Ukraine. However, even that did not appear to be the original source: a third Discord server, named “Thug Shaker Central”, among other titles, may have been where the documents were originally posted as early as mid-January.

    “Posts and channel listings show that the server’s users were interested in video games, music, Orthodox Christianity, and fandom for the popular YouTuber ‘Oxide’,” Toler said, referencing the military-themed YouTube channel. “This server was not especially geopolitical in nature, although its users had a staunchly conservative stance on several issues, members told Bellingcat. Racial slurs and racist memes were shared widely.”

    Although the scale and sensitivity of the leaks are significant, this is not the first time that an intelligence breach has been traced back to an argument about video games. One game in particular, the vehicular combat simulation War Thunder, has become notorious for the sheer quantity of leaks linked to it.

    In October 2021, for instance, classified design details about the French Leclerc tank were posted to win an argument about turret rotation speed. In July 2021, a user claiming to be a tank commander in the British army posted documents about the armour structure of the vehicle to win an argument. In January this year, design documents covering at least five separate fighter jets were posted by four different users.

    In October 2021, for instance, classified design details about the French Leclerc tank were posted to win an argument about turret rotation speed. In July 2021, a user claiming to be a tank commander in the British army posted documents about the armour structure of the vehicle to win an argument. In January this year, design documents covering at least five separate fighter jets were posted by four different users.

    The game has become such a shorthand for intelligence failures that the military contractor Raytheon was forced to deny reports that it specifically asked about War Thunder as part of a security clearance process.

    • …you’re right…it’s not news in that sense…but in the sense that there’s been a new set of PSA-type announcements about it as a “threat vector” it was in the mix of recently-timestamped things I saw floating about that were drawing attention to it

      …iirc a year (or possibly several what with the lockdown/pandemic time-dilation factor) or so ago the NSA offered a “no cost” charging option to a mostly tech-savvy crowd…& there was at least one or two fairly illuminating write ups of how that went?

      • Ah, that makes sense.

        And also I definitely think there’s situations where it’s just the only option. Like if there were some disaster and that was the only way to charge devices? You bet your ass I’d be like shrug hope this works out since I don’t have a plug with me.

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