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CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

Torodung Congressional Authority: Smoke and Mirrors (772 comments)

No half-assed bureaucrat at the CIA wipes his nose without the authority of the US Congress. The authors of this report should be looking in the mirror. The Congress of the United States has completely failed this country. Both parties. They all knew it, they represent us, and they did nothing but for half of them writing a report pointing the finger at the other party, leaving out the obvious fact of their complete dereliction of their duty. They should have all resigned in ignominy when they published this. Right after the War Crimes tribunal for both sides. That would be justice.

about 2 months ago

How To End Online Harassment

Torodung Re:What? (834 comments)

This. Someone forgot that troll protocol 101 is to ignore the troll. No matter how outrageous the slur. Someone is equating internet trolling with credible threats. The silence is therefore not misongynic assent, it is years of Internet culture training.

I'm a man, I've been threatened directly by trolls, and the only way to make them go away was to set up a kill filter and forget what a remailing bastard's ethics eventually spiral down toward. The severity of the outburst is belied by its impotence. CF: Gabriel's Internet Fuckwad Theory.

Things also tend to get exaggerated in text forums; this is a natural symptom of text medium discussions. A mildly worded response of displeasure is not enough to express severe displeasure in text. So things get "fuckity," at the very least. Nobody thinks it should get to the level of death threats, but sometimes it does, because someone wants to get a rise out of someone in text.

Now what gamers, and other internet board goers, have to understand is that feminist protocol 101 is go after anyone who threatens a woman, no matter how non-credible the threat, in order to silence her. This is a foregone conclusion to anyone who is a feminist. They are doing what their culture indicates they should do, as an automatic reaction. In face-to-face, physically close communication, it is a foregone conclusion. You must not back down from it, because historically women have been intimidated out of social spaces in exactly this way. It is part of making the world a safe space for women. The record is a winning one, and isn't about neutering men, it's about fighting gender based domination plays.

What we have here is a culture clash. Internet 101 meets feminism 101. Both views work in different ways that are fundamentally in conflict. The only way it goes away is to stop telling the women to "toughen up," take them seriously by their cultural touchstone, and tell them personally that physical threats are intolerable, but best ignored on the Internet. If a threat is viewed to be particularly credible, it is better to go to the police than to petition the greater Internet community to "shame" them, as if shaming would stop a credible threat in the first place.

And various people have had to go to the authorities over GG. The threats have been perceived as credible, no matter what your opinion. If you cannot wrap your skull around that, sit it out and don't tell people to "get over" what they perceive to be real threats. Support them.

about 3 months ago

Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Torodung Re:It is impossible (1007 comments)

Formally known as argument from authority. Devious indeed. I'll give them this: these folks at least know exactly which authority they have chosen and trust, and have thousands of years of historical evidence with which to judge its fruits, which is more than I can say for a lot of very bright people, who readily trust socially untested knowledge. I find that intelligent people are also very adept at rationalizations that blind themselves to their own authority fallacies, or to even believe that they have not accepted authority in any way.

But the fact is that everyone accepts authority at some point, as you cannot be an expert in everything. The difference between a creationist and a non-expert evolution proponent is their criteria for choice of authority. In the case of creationists, it is the purported age of the authority and the social consequences of the authority (as seen through rose-colored glasses IMHO) that make their chosen authority appealing. In practice, they're trusting traditional wisdom, handed down tribally. It is perhaps old-fashioned, and outdated, but not entirely without benefit. It just isn't very useful for the furtherance of scientific knowledge. It is not useless, however. It gives them social benefits which the less socially attuned lack. You find very strong communities amongst the faithful, with a well known set of social pitfalls.

Evolutionary theory did in fact lead to social Darwinism, and the only argument against that is a no-true scottsman claim that it wasn't "real" evolution. The idea that the superior are wealthy and/or more successful, and should pass on that success only to their progeny, directly follows the logic of the original theory of natural selection. The theory had dangerous social consequences, that have, to my opinion, never really been fully debunked. We just looked at the results of it, and decided it was a misapplication on moral grounds, not logical ones.

about 3 months ago

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Torodung Re:We like to feel smart (795 comments)

Watch his worshipful reboot of Cosmos, and you'll see plenty of it. Hero worship does not belong in a science class, even though that was the purpose of establishing Newton (and others) as an authority for the modern science movement (authority was a requirement for any field of study to be taken seriously in universities at the time.) This is where the concept of "scientific laws" comes from. The antiquated need for authority to please 19th century universities.

And why people who don't understand science, and that the whole "law" thing is mostly an anachronism, spout that, say evolution, is "just a theory." It's all a theory, and some of them are very well developed! There are no laws in science. None. It's baggage from the birth pains of the 19th century.

Science is ultimately anti-authoritarian, anti-heroic, or it doesn't work. Turning a "scientific genius" into a superman is right out. Science has no heroes, and hero worship has no place in science. Respect for the elegance of a theoretical framework is the closest we should come.

about 4 months ago

Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Torodung Re:Really? (353 comments)

I always thought of "witch hunt" not as referring to the actual pursuit of those engaged in witchcraft (which is not imaginary, btw, only the idea that it works is imaginary, IMHO), but rather as referring to the drive to utterly crucify the subject of the hunt. BURN THEM, do not treat them as a human being, subject them to cruel and unusual punishment.


about 6 months ago

Protesters Launch a 135-Foot Blimp Over the NSA's Utah Data Center

Torodung R.I.P. (104 comments)

Better that it should read "U.S. commerce R.I.P. No one will use our products again."

But that would mean one of those scrolly signs and a big-ass battery.

about 7 months ago

How Tim Cook Is Filling Steve Jobs's Shoes

Torodung Re:Lets not rewrite history here (209 comments)

Could it have been the state of capacitive touch-screens at the time, and the failure to recognize the leaps those devices made since the release of the iPad.

It's possible they tested bleeding edge tech, and at the time the displays really weren't up to snuff yet for a smaller form factor.

I'm just speculating. Maybe someone who knows will reply. Touch has gotten a lot better, very quickly in my opinion.

about 7 months ago

How Tim Cook Is Filling Steve Jobs's Shoes

Torodung Re:He's not filling Steve Jobs' shoes ... (209 comments)

Jobs made one good decision. His genius was in co-opting the music distribution business, when the traditional publishers had refused to budge on their outdated business models. He even served them a little DRM sandwich, knowing full well that the approach was doomed. Apple's entire success is based upon the well-established success of popular music, built by others, and the hidebound, half-witted way traditional music publishing approached it. The iPod was the gateway device. It lead directly to the iPhone's success, and through a superior iTunes performance, helped as a wedge to get people to buy Apple's overpriced computers. Without the iPod, iLife doesn't happen. Without its strength amongst actual musicians, and the knowledge that came from dealing with them, Apple's turnaround doesn't happen.

As an analogy, he's Bill Gates and IBM. He provided a market solution for a huge market someone else built, when the traditional industries were too inflexible to read the obvious writing on the wall. Just like IBM, and the PC clone revolution. And he was the only one with the insight to pursue it.

Was it genius? You decide. I think what he did was to beat out Microsoft, which actually believed in DRM solutions for content. They too, were affected by the music industry's stupid assumptions about the distribution of content in a digital age, and the ability to control it. Jobs realized DRM was doomed from the get-go.

He also got lucky with the timing, as mp3 players went from 32MB affairs to 2GB+ devices. Without that leap, the iPod would have been doomed.

Jobs knew music aficionados and producers (the real creative talent, not publishers) and acted upon that knowledge. He got lucky with the timing. That's about all he did. In my mind, everything else is fluff. Especially the bits about his brilliance in design. They're not very big shoes to fill.

about 7 months ago

America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Torodung Excellent (875 comments)

I really want to see the new Blues Brothers movie that comes from this, where they combine the Illinois Nazi scene with the police chase, all set in Indiana!

Better yet, I want to see Elwood get one of these on police surplus.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

Torodung FORTRAN Super Star Trek (153 comments)

I had a green bar LPT printout of Super Star Trek in mf-ing FORTRAN that ran on a Prime minicomputer. I went to sleep studying that stack of paper.

Later on I got a C=64.

Modular grid based electronic sets, too. The kind where you could make your own radio by plugging in component cubes. I don't know what you'd actually call them so I made up a name.

about 7 months ago

NSA Surveillance Reform Bill Passes House 303 Votes To 121

Torodung Deja Vu (208 comments)

This reminds me of the CAN SPAM act. Can our congress do nothing to control the smoke filled room policy making? I'm disgusted.

about 8 months ago

The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say

Torodung Re:Glad to hear ... (373 comments)

I think that statement would get through legal.

about 8 months ago

The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say

Torodung Re:Common sense in email (373 comments)

Bring on the "right way." Please.

- Your Personal Injury Attorney

about 8 months ago

What Was the Greatest Age For Indie Games?

Torodung Re:"Game as Art" (92 comments)

Osmos? That was a fascinating game based on fluid dynamics and orbits.

about 9 months ago

XP Systems Getting Emergency IE Zero Day Patch

Torodung Re:WTF (179 comments)

Windows XP: Zombie Edition lives! IT'S ALIVE!

Either that or it's only "mostly dead" and MS is giving it a miracle pill.

about 9 months ago

Zenimax Accuses John Carmack of Stealing VR Tech

Torodung This is how we lost "force feedback" (148 comments)

This is exactly the way "Force Feedback" products got thrown to the wolves. I hope it isn't a similar ending for VR headsets. This stuff has been tried for over a decade.

about 9 months ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

Torodung Re:Ah, antimatter (393 comments)

That brings to mind an idea: Maybe dark matter is antimatter, and the universe isn't as inscrutable as we think.

about 10 months ago

NSA Confirms It Has Been Searching US Citizens' Data Without a Warrant

Torodung Re:This is (274 comments)

I think it's hilarious, because it's someone reading in a robot voice, not a robot voice. I am gleeful imagining the staff recording every single submission for a dopey 401 joke.

Somebody submit a manifesto, or something similarly huge.

about 10 months ago

OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

Torodung Re:April Fools stories are gay (1482 comments)

"Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions or beliefs, especially religious beliefs."

The American Heritage Dictionary

I'll see your dictionary, and raise you a politically motivated reference volume decided by fiat. The original "intolerance" was religious intolerance. Easy to forget, I suppose.

If you believe words have only one definition and you command it in a given discussion, you may be gravely mistaken. You are certainly not a useless human being, because there is no such thing outside of the confines of utter bigotry.

about 10 months ago



Duke University leaves Usenet for good

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "

On May 20, Duke will shut down its Usenet server, which provides access to a worldwide electronic discussion network of newsgroups started in 1979 by two Duke graduate students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis.

Given the size and scope of Usenet, this is more of a footnote, but the article at Duke Today online has all sorts of interesting trivia, pictures, and an homage to this vibrant but ailing medium, including a brief trivia quiz about the Usenet."
Link to Original Source


'EULA-like' Issues Extended To Medical Forms

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "In his InfoWorld 'Gripelog,' Ed Foster tells an interesting story about medical privacy. A colonoscopy patient is given a form with fine print that implies a contractual agreement, which Foster compares to click-agreement EULA's. 'The [patient] decided not to submit the form.'

'The more the reader thought about the form (along with all the worries and stresses of prepping for a colonosocpy) (sic), the less he liked it. "Why would they need my Social Security number?" he wondered. "Is this a genuine request for medical information or some kind of marketing thing or even an identity theft scam? To have my SSN, date of birth and all this other information on a form that will be passed from hand to hand around a hospital and who knows what other organizations is VERY questionable."

To summarize: The only reason the patient knew there was a privacy concern at all was because the HIPAA act required boilerplate text stating that he was entering an agreement, but the terms of his agreement, and indeed that it was not mandatory, was left ambiguous."

Comcast takes high road - proposes self regulation

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "In a recent move, Comcast has proposed a 'P2P Bill of Rights,' joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior. They have instead proposed comprehensive industry self-regulation and cooperation with major P2P software vendors as a lesser evil:

Comcast is looking to further position itself as proactively — and responsibly — addressing the issue of managing peer-to-peer traffic that traverses its network, announcing Tuesday it will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for users and Internet service providers.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops."

Warning: Vista gadgets a potential malware vector

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "This in, from the Microsoft Technet Flash newsletter:

A final security note: If you are running Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, they are subject to cross-site scripting style bugs. These bugs are extremely serious because script in the Sidebar is capable of running arbitrary code in the context of the locally logged-on user. This article outlines some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets. Check out Inspect Your Gadget for some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets.
In summary, badly coded Gadgets are a potential spyware/malware vector in the Windows operating system, as ActiveX and BHO's were previously, and Gadget input needs to be scrubbed for the same URI problems that Firefox recently fixed in v2.0.0.6, amongst other pitfalls. If you use Vista, you need to keep a careful eye on your Gadgets, and if you code a Gadget, the linked article gives some "best practices" to avoid becoming part of the problem."

Crewmen 3 Sheets To the Wind Before Entering Orbit

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "The BBC (and many others) reports that, on at least two separate occasions, astronauts were cleared for shuttle launch while "so intoxicated... that flight surgeons and-or fellow astronauts raised concerns... regarding flight safety." Not good.

In other news, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton's applications to NASA were flatly rebuffed. Sorry, it's a cheap joke, but NASA coverage is starting to look less like the science page and more like the entertainment page these days."

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung writes "Well, some more grist for the mill in the Apple iPod/Vista story. ComputerWorld reports that Microsoft just released a patch to keep Windows Vista from scrambling users' iPods and addressed some similar issues with Cannon cameras as well. From the article:

Earlier this month, Apple updated iTunes to Version 7.1.1 to patch several Vista-related problems, but left others — including the Safely Remove Hardware bug — unfixed. At the time, Apple said it was "actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues." It had also recommended that users select the Eject iPod option on the iTunes Controls menu to remove an iPod from a Vista PC's USB port.
(Be the first to tag this "defectivebydesign" and win a free lollipop!)"

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Torodung writes "*NOT FOR PUBLICATION* 6:26GMT 11/08/06 IE Tab extension is suddenly running very slowly on my computer for no apparent reason on every site. I downloaded an update as a result (v1.20.20061106). Same issue. When I use the function to launch IE in its own browser from Firefox, it is quick as ever. It only happens when I launch it in embedded in Firefox Embedded IE works *fine* elsewhere, in my Weatherbug window, for instance. I suspect Microsoft is at the heart of this (in fact, I was wondering when they'd get around to it) and am wondering if anyone else has reported this issue, or if someone has a link to an article about it. Didn't know how to get in touch with you guys otherwise, but it's definitely a scoop if my suspicions are correct. I'm sorry I don't have a link or anything substantive to add. Consider this a "tip" instead of an article. If there's a good email addy I can use to get in touch with the community to report such things, rather than the story submission channel, please accept my apologies for being a moron and direct my tired eyes to the appropriate place. Thanks. — Toro"



Virtual Law - Common Law Does Not Apply On Your Computer

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 6 years ago

IANAL, but I know a lot about copyright law, because I am an avid PC gamer. I'm no expert, but it's more than I want to know. Perhaps I'm too inquiring, but it seems to me that it's impossible to be a computer gamer these days, whilst remaining a thinking, independent American (I'm a citizen), without running up against this aspect of law every day.

The problem is, it isn't U.S. law that's reflected on my machine. It is virtual law, and the legislation comes in the form of whatever arbitrary certification and copy control software publishers and software makers choose to saddle me with. I don't have a choice, nor representation (unless I buy their stock), and it doesn't conform to consumer law in the real world in the slightest.

[this is a stub for an article I'm working on]


What does Torodung mean?

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

What does Torodung mean? Ostensibly, it means "bullshit." It was a joke god I had invented for Dungeons and Dragons, but I never sent it off to Dragon magazine.

Torodung was the god of bullshit, and his clerics could cast great boons like "Check shit out," "Pinch Loaves and Water," "Crap, 10' radius," "Brownstorm," "Hit the fan" or the ominous "Powerful shit." They were all Chaotic Neutral, and behaving like you were bonkers was a requirement of the Cult of Torodung. It was low brow humor to be sure, and more quirky than funny.

I took the name, because I was creating a sample account, but somehow wound up actually using it. The avatar I choose when I am Torodung is the nether half of a cow.

I am a technologist and an operator, a person who couldn't stand the idea of poring over pages of code just to find the semi-colon that was out of place. I decided to work on making computer software work , even though I was a promising coder. I just couldn't deal with debugging. Too much fine print.

I am an amateur linguist, and describe myself politically as a "liberal conservative." If you consider that an oxymoron, you should consider looking at a dictionary, because the two are not mutually exclusive. For most intents and purposes, the simpler description is that I am a libertarian, with no particular party affiliation, though I loathe the Republicans more than I loathe the Democrats. That is faint but damning praise. I don't think either party represents anything but their own interests any more.

Oh, and yes, I'm an arrogant American who didn't think of mentioning that until this point. I reside in the Chicagoland area (Illinois).


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