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Hackers' Next Target — Your Brain?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the true-tongue-in-cheek dept.

Security 295

Hugh Pickens writes "Wired reports that as neural devices become more complicated — and go wireless — some scientists say the risks of 'brain hacking' should be taken seriously. '"Neural devices are innovating at an extremely rapid rate and hold tremendous promise for the future," said computer security expert Tadayoshi Kohno of the University of Washington. "But if we don't start paying attention to security, we're worried that we might find ourselves in five or 10 years saying we've made a big mistake."' For example, the next generation of implantable devices to control prosthetic limbs will likely include wireless controls that allow physicians to remotely adjust settings on the machine. If neural engineers don't build in security features such as encryption and access control, an attacker could hijack the device and take over the robotic limb." Relatedly, several users have written to tell us that science may be closer to the science fiction "mind wipe" than previously thought. Put this all together and I welcome the next step in social networking; letting the cloud drive my limbs around town via a live webcam and then wiping the memory from my brain. Who has MyLimb.com parked and is willing to deal?

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295 comments

No... not buying this at all (-1, Flamebait)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682089)

Okay, this only holds true IF we are truly biological machines with advanced programming. If we actually do have a soul, then this whole idea goes out the window (and a whole lot of other, much bigger problems come in).

Re:No... not buying this at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682167)

please define 'soul'

Ack, should have aimed this at 'Snow Crash' (2, Interesting)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682169)

Brain Hacking I can see happening (taking control of someone's bionics), but doing the mindwipe is what I was taking aim at. TFA talks about rats getting their memories wiped, but I'd want to know more. Does the rat's basic personality stay intact? Did the rat relearn? Did the rat display the same actions after the removal of the enzyme? (That'll teach me to take a moment and think before typing - let this be a lesson to you!)

Mind wipe (2)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682557)

Even if your personality remained intact, if the memories responsible for learning skills, values, and relationships were wiped, at best you'd be like a complete amnesiac, at worst, like a young child but without the fast-developing brain of a child.

If your moral values were gone, someone bent on evil could teach you the values he wanted you to have. If your relationships were forgotten you might latch on to anyone who gave you love and attention.

Re:Mind wipe (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682843)

>If your moral values were gone, someone bent on evil could teach you the values he wanted you to have.
.
Wow! A talk radio revival could be in the works.

Re:Ack, should have aimed this at 'Snow Crash' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682671)

Here's what I haven't figured out yet: Will the geeks be at the forefront of brain hacking, experimenting with drugs and electrodes, or will they be the ones who treat their brain like a temple, forgoing boosters and "mindless" fun, because they know the risks? You know, like geeks hardly ever get viruses and worms on their computers, while other people seemingly can't open a browser without catching a couple of bugs.

Re:No... not buying this at all (2, Funny)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682189)

you might be right, but I am building a new tin foil hat just to be sure.

1. after all in Soviet Russia tin foil makes people into hats 2. 3. profit!

you must be new here, and so on.

Re:No... not buying this at all (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682199)

Unless your soul is akin to say, Symantec or Norton's virus protection for your brain.. there to make you feel good, but utterly useless for real world application.

Re:No... not buying this at all (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682653)

Some anti-virus might actually be useful [eurekalert.org] here. Cats [bbc.co.uk] been hacking humans for centuries.

Re:No... not buying this at all (5, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682211)

Okay, this only holds true IF we are truly biological machines with advanced programming. If we actually do have a soul, then this whole idea goes out the window (and a whole lot of other, much bigger problems come in).

I don't see how the soul comes into play here.

Correct me if I'm wrong (I have ZERO medical background), but throughout the years there have been examples of conditioned responses and hypnotism. Then there is shock therapy and some drugs to help wipe some thoughts and memories, and let's not forget about sleepwalking and sleepdriving.

If a person gets amnesia, does that mean the soul has left the body?
If a person sleepwalks due to a personal problem or a medication reaction, does that mean during that time there is no soul?
etc

Given enough time and advancement, who's to say that in 100 years that either a combination of the above couldn't take control of a person and wipe their memory afterwards. Especially once we start wiring hackable devices into our nervous system.

Re:No... not buying this at all (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682567)

If I read this correctly, you are suggesting we wait for a cron jon with sufficient security access, hit it with a buffer overrun, and then wipe the logs after we are done? 0day is going to be the most popular RSS feed on the web!

Re:No... not buying this at all (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682713)

Yeah, I agree with you. I believe in souls, but that soul is in a physical body, and that body is definitely a biological machine that can be altered or manipulated. The evidence of this is simply overwhelming -- look at mental illness. A person's "spirit" overcoming psychological brainwashing or even more advanced technological control is a nice device for fiction, but in reality we have no reason to think that's the way it will work.

Re:No... not buying this at all (2, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682875)

Why would you believe in souls? Where does the program go when you turn it off? That great hard drive in the sky?

Re:No... not buying this at all (1)

tisepti (1488837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682403)

About the only situation i can see such a thing mattering one way or the other is in the situation where you are attempting to control what the target thinks given some input. However even without controlling the 'biological machine' said 'brain hacker' would have access to input (Cochlear Implants) and output (prosthetic limb).

Given enough i/o - controlling the actual machine doesn't really matter.

Re:No... not buying this at all (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682521)

http://www.bing.com/ [bing.com] Use it, live it, love it. Bing! For all your searching needs.

Encryption (5, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682095)

Go insane. It's the new encryption.

Re:Encryption (2, Funny)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682243)

I was just thinking the good news is that if somebody hacks my brain, they will just find all the information from the internet that I have filled it with.

goatse,
eel soup,
two girls one cup,
kids in sandbox,
dump.jpg (ok that one was off of a Hermes II bbs back in the day, not the internet)

I mean if they want that stuff... they can have it.

Re:Encryption (1)

DarkMage0707077 (1284674) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682463)

Alread did. Let's see them hack into my "2 + 2 = pie" algorithm! Of course, they have to figure out if I'm thinking of cherry of banana cream, first...

Suddenly a Tinfoil hat seems like common sense. (3, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682105)

Goddamned, the unintended consequence of techonological evolution is that it makes every conspiracy theory ultimately more likely to do in the future.

a risk I'm willing to take (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682107)

If it means that in the future our government will employ cyber-babes in ridiculous fuck-me outfits to fight crime.

(Still finding it ridiculous that the Major was essentially wearing a one-piece bathing suit and leather jacket as her uniform in the GITS tv series.)

Re:a risk I'm willing to take (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682271)

"Still finding it ridiculous that the Major was essentially wearing a one-piece bathing suit and leather jacket as her uniform in the GITS tv series."

But we're talking about fantasy here and money, the outfit was to draw attention and $$$. Anything to get the biggest audience possible. Doing a movie/story for ones art and vision is not appreciated by everybody and therein lies the rub.

Re:a risk I'm willing to take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682635)

(Still finding it ridiculous that the Major was essentially wearing a one-piece bathing suit and leather jacket as her uniform in the GITS tv series.)

I think it was appropriate. After all, she ran a virtual brothel out of her internal servers in her off hours.

Targeting MY brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682125)

HA! They'll have to FIND it first!

Don't they know?!? Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

HA! HA HA! HA!...

awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682141)

God you guys are predictable and boring. "Security issues".
Never mind the security issues, look at the comedy potential for the Nelson Muntzes of the future!
"Hey prosthetic boy, stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!"

Here's a question... (2, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682159)

If everyone could hack into any person's brain and have sex with whoever they want, then what kind of society would that be like? On one hand, some super hot chicks are going to be pretty busy, but on the other hand, you would be reprogrammed periodically to think that bigfoot was hot.

Re:Here's a question... (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682279)

If everyone could hack into any person's brain and have sex with whoever they want, then what kind of society would that be like? On one hand, some super hot chicks are going to be pretty busy, but on the other hand, you would be reprogrammed periodically to think that bigfoot was hot.

If you're having sex with someone's brain, wouldn't that make the intelligent, clever, funny, and/or witty people of the world (not necessarily those with physically attractive shells) the more likely candidates for sex?
Logically this would be the case, as now the attraction would be at a level beyond the flesh.

Finally, a way to get geeks laid! (except, of course, for the ones that are socially inept, they're still (not getting) screwed...

Re:Here's a question... (1, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682283)

If everyone could hack into any person's brain and have sex with whoever they want, then what kind of society would that be like?

A society of puppeteering sociopaths. Not too much different from what we have today, except that everybody would be equally powerful.

Re:Here's a question... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682335)

on the other hand, you would be reprogrammed periodically to think that bigfoot was hot.

Of course bigfoot is hot - have you ever been inside out of those costumes?

Personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682163)

.. given human history the fall out of mind hacking may be a good thing, all of our problems come from human beings not being able to seperate truth from falsehood.

Here's a better idea: +1, PatRIOTic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682213)

Richard B. Cheney [guardian.co.uk] .
Surely, you hackers are able to find, detain, and deliver Cheney to The Hague.

Yours In Democracy,
Kilgore Trout

Spam (2, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682237)

The big worry is not hacking, after all I am sure that there will be plenty of security software you can download, but rather the effects of spam.

Re:Spam (4, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682307)

I think this was put in as colour in one of Neal Stephenson's novels (I think it was the Diamond Age) ; aha

Bud knew a guy like that who'd somehow gotten infected with a meme that ran advertisements for roach motels, in Hindi, superimposed on the bottom right-hand corner of his visual field, twenty-four hours a day, until the guy whacked himself.

Re:Spam (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682729)

Man, The Diamond Age was seriously one of the best visions of the future I've seen in a while. If our world ends up like that - even with the slummy, cyberpunkish underbelly Stephenson describes - I don't think we'll have done too bad.

Raise your hand (1)

Hurshai (979345) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682251)

if you tried to register mylimb.com?

Re:Raise your hand (3, Funny)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682393)

While mylimb.com is parked, mydick.com is available. Many guys already claim that their dick has a mind of its own.

Re:Raise your hand (2, Funny)

Gravedigger3 (888675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682685)

That's preposterous, Megahard doesn't have a mind of his own, he does what I tell him. Wait a second.... Either your username is coincidentally what my dick's name is, or he has developed a mind of his own and has begun to frequent slashdot.

OK, tell the truth (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682253)

...an attacker could hijack the device and take over the robotic limb."

Who else has a clear mental picture of Dr. Strangelove being choked by his own (gloved) hand?

Re:OK, tell the truth (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682443)

Personally I was thinking Ash.

"Then it came after me, it got into my hand and it went bad, so I lopped it off at the wrist."

Re:OK, tell the truth (2, Funny)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682499)

I actually thought of that scene in Evil Dead 2 where Bruce Campbell's possessed hand starts beating him senseless...

Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (4, Interesting)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682313)

Someone at work mentioned to me recently that it will be a scary day when someone can program your brain. Well I've already seen it happen. My local Walmart is in sort of a high-risk part of town, so the "greeters" will ask to see your receipt if you have any bulk items in your cart that aren't in bags. So people get used to having their receipt handy when they walk out the door. Now yesterday it was kind of busy, and one greeter to check receipts. Guess what I saw? A line of about 10 people waiting to show their receipt before leaving the store. Meanwhile I push my cart right around them (I've already waited in line for 25 minutes just to pay, I'm not going to wait again to leave the store). It appears that those in line were robots that have been programmed (conditioned) so much that they couldn't think of leaving without waiting to show their receipt. Keep in mind that there is not sign saying you have to show your receipt.

Re:Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (1)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682347)

IIRC, they technically can't make you show them your receipts either...

Re:Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (0, Offtopic)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682419)

You remember incorrectly. The purpose of receipts is so that they can verify that you have purchased the merchandise in your cart on exiting the store. Forcing you to do so before exiting is rather draconian, but they have every right to do so, should they choose.

Re:Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (1)

chonglibloodsport (1270740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682619)

No, they don't. No store has the right to detain you. They have the right to call the police, but you will be long gone by then.

If the police show up at your home, you show the police your receipt. If this happens often enough, the store will look really bad and the police will not appreciate the superfluous calls.

Re:Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (3, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682485)

Nope, they can't. The question, "can I look in your bag?"

is replied, at least by myself, with, "are you a police officer with a warrant?"

I've worked retail. You can't catch good shoplifters. You just have to let them go, focus on the paying customers, and accept the losses as the cost of doing business.

Not quite true (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682645)

If a person is being uncooperative, you may have to "let them go" but you can make a note of who they are then ban them from the store and possibly the entire chain "just because" you don't want their business. "This store reserved the right to not do business with any person" is legal in the USA, unless it's used to discriminate against a group.

If you have cameras blanketing the store and are bored, you can check the security cameras to see if he was just being an ass or if he really did have something (stolen) to hide. If he did steal something, your outdoor video cameras should have his license plate.

Re:Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682591)

That kinda was the point of the argument, yes.

Re:Don't need electronics to hack someones brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682789)

To be fair, this IS Walmart you're talking about. Still, your observations made me think of that story with the monkeys in a cage (not sure if this was ever done, but it makes a good thought experiment). There is a banana hanging from the ceiling and a ladder lying on the ground of this cage, and a group of monkeys is placed into it. If a monkey tries to use the ladder to get the banana, these researchers hose them all down with cold water. Monkeys are rotated in and out of the cage; every few days, some go in and some come out. After a few rotations, when a new monkey tries to get the banana with the ladder, the other ones all rush to stop it. The researchers don't even need to break out the hose anymore; social engineering has taken effect, and none of the monkeys in the cage have even seen the hose or know why they're stopping the new guy from getting the banana.

You should consider yourself lucky that the consumer-drones didn't all swarm on you and force you into line with the rest of them. I'd guess that the amount of social engineering involved with the receipt check might just cause that behavior in some people.

Jokes in Summaries (1, Informative)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682317)

Who has MyLimb.com parked and is willing to deal?

Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I the only person who notices that every single summary submitter tries to show off his nonexistent ability to be funny? This doesn't help the summary and every time I read a stupid joke in the summary like that, I have a mental facepalm. They make me feel embarrassed for the thread submitter, and it hurts; kind of like watching a really bad performance at a talent show.

Seriously, if you submit a thread, don't put a joke in it, because chances are your joke sucks and isn't funny. There are PLENTY of funny people on Slashdot, but you are not one of them.

Re:Jokes in Summaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682389)

The submitter didn't add the joke, the Slashdot editor did.

I for one (1)

polymerousgeek (1196703) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682327)

welcome our new wireless overlords.

Ghost in the Shell (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682329)

Oh come on, am I the first pathetic anime geek to mention Ghost in the Shell?

Re:Ghost in the Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682431)

no

Re:Ghost in the Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682441)

no dude, first thought I had was "sweet, ghosthacking like a motherfucker"

Re:Ghost in the Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682509)

You beat me to it!

Re:Ghost in the Shell (1)

galfridus73 (873250) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682647)

First to mention it, yes, but I immediately thought of ghost hacking when I read the headline. When external memory is feasible then I'll start wondering where my electronic eyes and basset hound are.

ALREADY HAPPENED (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682353)

That would be the election of the closet marxist socialist militant afrocentrist obama who is now working to make the world a "better place".

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682359)

Neo will swing in at the last moment and prevent the hack... or is that Wintermute..

No matrix for me thankyou (2, Insightful)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682367)

Which is why if/when direct brain IO is developed, you won't find me anywhere near it, unless I am in a situation where it is the only option to restore normal faculties (ie: injury or illness). Currently, when a power surge or an attack occurs against my device/computer the damage maxes out at the value of the device (assuming I'm backing up data). If a power surge or an attack occurs via a direct link hooked up to my brain, the damage is total.

That said, the article is still relevant because neuro-tech has great potential to increase the quality and length of life in ways currently not possible. As always, it's important to stop and think about the short/long term consequences of actions (novel thought).

Future FUD Fantastic (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682407)

Realistically, how hard would it be to include an OFF switch on the external interface used for doctor diagnostics?

I mean, for pete sake people, what possible gain would there be in trying to break into a mechanical leg?

Can you take any part of that to the bank? There is no money to follow. There is no information to gain.

Do you see anyone hacking your IP Oven, or you IP Coffee maker? http://workingmomwa.blogspot.com/2008/06/coffee-maker-needs-security-update.html [blogspot.com]

How does an interface to a prosthetic limb somehow suggest a "mine whipe". Does my pedicure predict a lobotomy?

Come on, people. There is some fool snickering somewhere that the drunken brainstorm he posted somewhere has actually morphed into a story on Slashdot.

Re:Future FUD Fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682693)

as user kicks self in ass,and smacks self in head repeatedly

Re:Future FUD Fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682699)

A hacker will gain root to your leg, grab a pen with it and write a threatening message that if
you don't comply, it will kick you in the nuts with its heel.

Re:Future FUD Fantastic (3, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682725)

What money is there in vandalism? None.

The answer of your question of why anybody would do this: because they can.

Hacker Bullies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682423)

...taking over some wimpy kid's prosthetic arm..."Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!..."

Brain Haching with Rupert Murdoch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682427)

Hasn't Rupert Murdoch been hacking into people's brains for years?

The CIA has had this tech for years (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682439)

They've found through extensive research that a bullet to the back of the head affects a very thorough mind wipe.

effects (2, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682673)

there, fixed that for you.

Well, it probably affects a previously-done thorough mind wipe too but I don't think that's what you meant.

sigh (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682445)

really? Are people this bored from being unemployed that they need to work on articles like this to pass the time. I'm disappointed with a side of disgruntled.

Just don't let Nelson Muntz get a hold of this (1)

mattlmattlmattl (229778) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682503)

Stop hitting yourself! Why are you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself!

(For The Simpson's impaired, Nelson is a bully, prone to making people hit themselves.)

Ultimate slaves? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682527)

Sooner or later someone's going to figure out how to manipulate desire and loyalty at the molecular level.

Then all bets will be off.

Imagine if someone could kidnap you or your family members, implant a device in their brains that would make them forget their previous life and love and serve the kidnapper and do his bidding.

Or maybe I've been reading too much science fiction.

Re:Ultimate slaves? (2, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682915)

By the time you have decent neural I/O, you'll have a world of simulators to choose from. Nobody's going to kidnap anybody if they can experience the same thing with a cheap simulation.

I can't wait ... (1)

Sepiraph (1162995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682535)

I always wanted to do some "ghost-hacking" and "stealing someone's eyes" like they did in Ghost in the Shell SAC!

Limb hacking has been done before: (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682555)

I point you to Idle Hands [imdb.com] and what we can expect when people start hacking limbs.

FYI- Some great shots of Jessica Alba...

Why bother? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682561)

It's not worth hacking.

We talk a lot here about how Windows gets hacked more than Linux or Mac because it has a higher market share.

What's the market share on a prosthetic limb?

By the way, the style sheets are totally fucked up on IE6. Some of us aren't running nightly Firefox builds, morons. Try testing your code on various paltforms.

What? It's a managed work computer. It is what it is.

No, USB devices aren't permitted either, so Portable Firefox is out.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682903)

Beardo, I'm truly sorry that your workplace forces you to run IE6. But at some point that has to be their problem instead of everyone else's. Eventually they are going to have to migrate or deal with the fact that many web sites won't load for them.

If any site should be able to drop IE6 support, it's Slashdot.

can you say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682607)

These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Thia week on sci-fi brain hacks (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682637)

Thia week on sci-fi brain hacks.

This sounds like something out of a b-movie and it seems like stuff like this has been done / done in parts in many b movies.

Likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682651)

the next generation of implantable devices to control prosthetic limbs will likely include wireless controls that allow physicians to remotely adjust settings on the machine.

Yes, that is indeed likely. Especially since wireless controls are used in the current generation of implants, too. And those are hackable [slashdot.org] .

Slashdot: News For Fascists Stuff That Represses (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682677)

On behalf of several members of the community, I would like to express my shock and disappointment at some of Richard B Cheney's epigrams. For openers, Cheney has no fixed ethical principles. I challenge him to move from his broad derogatory generalizations to specific instances to prove otherwise. I try never to argue with him because it's clear he's not susceptible to reason. I am hurt, furious, and embarrassed. Why am I hurt? Because Cheney frequently engages in violent fantasies involving abysmal ninnies. That concept can be extended, mutatis mutandis, to the way that if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem. Why am I furious? Because I've heard him say that children don't need as much psychological attentiveness, protection, and obedience training as the treasured household pet. Was that just a slip of the lip, or is Cheney secretly trying to permit nettlesome ratbags to rise to positions of leadership and authority? I'll tell you what I think the answer is. I can't prove it, but if I'm correct, events soon will prove me right. I think that he is careless with data, makes all sorts of causal interpretations of things without any real justification, has a way of combining disparate ideas that don't seem to hang together, seems to show a sort of pride in his own biases, gets into all sorts of unpleasant speculation, and then makes no effort to test out his speculationsâ"and that's just the short list! And why am I embarrassed? Because his prophecies are geared toward the continuation of social stratification under the rubric of "tradition". Funny, that was the same term that Cheney's lackeys once used to cause an increase in disease, nepotism, crime, and vice.

By writing this letter, I am really sticking my head far above the parapet. The big danger is that Cheney will retaliate against me. He'll most likely try to force me to have a nervous breakdown although another possibility is that he is secretly planning to cause unholy subversion to gather momentum on college campuses. I realize that that may sound rather conspiratorial and farfetched to most people, which is why you need to understand that if Cheney thinks that he can make me lose heart then he's barking up the wrong tree. It is no accident that the cure for corruption, conspiracy, and treason must start by exposing the problem to people who care and are not themselves corrupted. History offers innumerable examples for the truth of this assertion.

Cheney will spew forth ignorance and prejudice long before he can convert me into one of his zealots. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Of course, if Cheney had learned anything from history, he'd know that if I withheld my feelings on this matter, I'd be no less tactless than Cheney. We can say that a necessary first step towards recovery is to look at Cheney with new eyes, unclouded by a lifetime of false information and deception propagated by picayunish drug lords, and Cheney can claim the opposite, and it won't make one bit of difference. I want to give people more information about Cheney, help them digest and assimilate and understand that information, and help them draw responsible conclusions from it. Here's one conclusion I undoubtedly hope people draw: Cheney's allegations are like a Hydra. They continually acquire new heads and new strength. The only way to stunt their growth is to strip the unjust power from those who seek power over others and over nature. The only way to destroy his Hydra entirely is to provide more people with the knowledge that Cheney is totally reprehensible. We all are, to some extent, but he sets the curve.

In a sense, if we are to place a high value on honor and self-respect, then we must be guided by a healthy and progressive ideology, not by the churlish and heinous ideologies that Cheney promotes. We must provide a trenchant analysis of his conclusions. This is a terrible and awesome responsibilityâ"a crushing responsibility. However, if we stick together we can can show the world that I do not propose a supernatural solution to the problems we're having with Cheney. Instead, I propose a practical, realistic, down-to-earth approach that requires only that I find the inner strength to solve the problems that are important to most people. All this aside, he doesn't use words for communication or for exchanging information. He uses them to disarm, to hypnotize, to mislead, and to deceive.

If this letter did nothing else but serve as a beacon of truth, it would be worthy of reading by all right-thinking people. However, this letter's role is much greater than just to rake Cheney over the coals for challenging all I stand for. He supports a wide variety of editorials. Some are atrabilious; others are immoral. A few openly support factionalism.

I feel funny having to tell readers whom I presume are adults that I hate Cheney's constant misuse of historical analogies. I bring that up solely to emphasize that every time Cheney tries, he gets increasingly successful in his attempts to make my stomach turn. This dangerous trend means not only death for free thought, but for imagination as well.

Cheney's goals are precisely the kind of thing that will caricature and stereotype people from other cultures before long for a variety of reasons. For instance, those of us who are still sane, those of us who still have a firm grip on reality, those of us who still think that Cheney's sense of humor runs the gamut from rude and crude to mendacious and pushy, have an obligation to do more than just observe what Cheney is doing from a safe distance. We have an obligation to shield people from Cheney's confused and beastly deceptions. We have an obligation to eschew muddleheaded, pertinacious wowserism. And we have an obligation to purge the darkness from his heart.

Cheney believes that human life is expendable. Sorry, but I have to call foul on that one. Truth be told, one could truthfully say that by preventing people from seeing that the real problem is the complexity of a changing national and world economy, his spin doctors, who are legion, can attack my character. But saying that would miss the real point, which is that discrediting ideas by labeling them as unpatriotic is an old tradition among his cohorts. Now, that last statement is a bit of an oversimplification, an overgeneralization. But it is nevertheless substantially true.

As stated earlier, teenagers who want to shock their parents sometimes maintainâ"with a straight faceâ"that Cheney is the ultimate authority on what's right and what's wrong. Fortunately, most parents don't fall for this fraud because they know that if I wanted to brainwash and manipulate a large segment of the population, I would convince them that insensate deviants have dramatically lower incidences of cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, and many other illnesses than the rest of us. In fact, that's exactly what Cheney does as part of his quest to increase alienation and delinquency among our young people. To simplify, all of his fibs share elements of traditional, malicious conspiracy themes in which subhuman adolescents secretly destroy the natural beauty of our parks and forests. (The merits of his arguments won't be discussed here because they lack merit.) I, not being one of the many illogical mountebanks of this world, find Cheney's paroxysms rather humorless, don't you? I need your help if I'm ever to foster mutual understanding. "But I'm only one person," you might protest. "What difference can I make?" The answer is: a lot more than you think. You see, if the past is any indication of the future, Cheney will once again attempt to operate in the gray area between legitimate activity and ill-bred, whiney statism.

So what if Cheney hates me for pointing out that mudslinging is his forte? Let him hate me. I consider such hatred a mark of honor, a mark of distinction. I want to make this clear so that those who do not understand deeper messages embedded within sarcastic ironyâ"and you know who I'm referring toâ"can process my point. To be fair, it's easy for us to shake our heads at his foolishness and cowardice. It's easy for us to exclaim that we should speak out against behavior and speech that is intended to shower rancorous prophets of sectarianism with undeserved encomia. It's easy for us to say, "The moral devastations that accompany Cheney's soulless tactics suffice to slowly but surely sully a profession that's already held in low esteem." The point is that it's easy for us to say these things because Cheney's crusades are destructive. They're morally destructive, socially destructiveâ"even intellectually destructive. And, as if that weren't enough, if Cheney got his way, he'd be able to inspire a recrudescence of catty fatuity. Brrrr! It sends chills down my spine just thinking about that. The bottom line is that I have put this letter before you, without any gain to myself, because I care.

Hacking your brain is called hypnosis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682773)

and has been known for hundreds of years

Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28682911)

"John, *punch* this is Jane, get over here,*punch* NOW!"
"What's going on?!"
"*punch* I can't stop punching myself! *punch*"
"Uhh... what?"
"I *punch* think my arm *punch punch* has a virus!!"
"*sigh* You should've switched to Firefox, like I told you. I'll come fix it."

Brain hacking (1)

hessian (467078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28682917)

Brain hacking has been around for a long time. Its primary vector is language.

Marketing, peer pressure, memes, prophecies, and rumors are all brain hacking.

It's just not a direct connection, but given how badly so many things have turned out at the hands of a large informed group, it looks like it succeeds most of the time.

There is only one solution: learn philosophy and critical thinking.

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