Older blog entries for grey (starting at number 15)

11 Apr 2005 (updated 11 Apr 2005 at 20:26 UTC) »

Monday. New Order's song "Blue Monday" I will dig up later today, the title is apropos.

I am having a really really hard time coming up with anything positive that I did today, so all the more reason to do it since this can be part of what I accomplished postively - just wrote. Yesterday went to the beach with the kids, had a lot of fun. I was feeling really tense in my shoulders and did some stretching exercises. It was nice to walk on the rocks and feel the sand and seaweed beneath my feet along with the feel of the large stones/rocks I walked along.

Not to focus on the negative but I slipped on a rock, fell flat on my ass and banged up my tailbone rather good. This morning it feels a little better, but unfortunately a wave crashed on me right afterwards and trashed my new cell phone from work.

I'm getting my ass kicked in the game of life, literally right now with that event. I'm working on patience, right now. And fortitude, that I won't give up on my hardships but rather carry on and work to resolve them.

Leaether Strip albums have been great to hear the same agony and agression I'm feeling, but let's me get through some of it non destructively. I am working to come out of this intact, I do not want to live a life filled with resentment and anger, so using outlets to express those non-destructively is helpful. I think I will get a punching bag. I think it's time to get some creative juices flowing again, write some music, paint, program, whatever.

Let's see, Sunday morning. I made some waffles for the kids, and did some more cleaning around the house. My plans for today are to sort through clothes and toys to set aside for donation pick up on Tuesday. A lot is done already actually, but I will try to rebag/rebox some of them better. I sure hope it doesn't rain on Tuesday so that everything will be dry for pickup. Doing the preparations should help keep my busy and organized, even if the pick up becomes problematic.

Yesterday I went to Big Brothers Big Sisters bowling for kids sake event with the family. My wife is on their board and helped organize the event, although my company had about five lanes all together. It was a lot of fun, the whole family (even my 13 year old daughter) seemed to have a good time. We also went to a City of Santa Cruz planning event, where they had various exhibits discussing the General Plan and were soliciting ideas. Lots of tough problems, and some good proposals for solutions. I wrote down a few of my own. I'm hoping that they take to heart more diverse building styles (encorporating living&working space), as well as some of the traffic proposals seriously. Even something as simple as enforcing no left turn on Mission St. intersections unless there's a turning lane could really help with rush hour congestion. I also hope that they take seriously the suggestions to keep away WalMart and other big box corporate stores. Though I'm sure half the city of SC would be up in arms if they tried, at least that's been the case in the past when they've made such attempts.

In the evening I went for a walk with my son and our neighbour's dog through Lighthouse Field and down to watch the surfers in The Lane for a bit. The dog's leash broke about halfway through and I didn't even notice for a while because he was carrying the end in his mouth. It wasn't until the second person commented, "What a cute dog! Taking himself for a walk," that I noticed what had actually happened. Talk about well behaved, I had a good laugh over it. Of course -after- I noticed, then he stopped carrying his leash in his mouth, and later even jumped in a big muddy pound that appeared from the recent rains. I felt bad about returning him dirty and with a broken leash, but our neighbours seemed OK (apparently it wasn't their main leash anyway). I'll think of something to make it up to them.

Kept it mellow for the evening as I was still pretty tired from a23 the night before. That was fun BTW, great to see Kevin and catch up. He's really a top notch guy. I felt honoured to be seen with him by the time we got to the club and Da5id Din, a fellow from Battery Cage and others all came up to him to see how he'd been and what he was up to. He and I have both been away from the scene for a while, but the contributions he made, obviously left a lasting impression. Dinner was great too, I didn't catch the name but we went to an Ethiopian joint in SF. The okra dish as well as their variation on samosa (sambosa?) were great, the sambosa had a very dark spicy sauce that was awesome, reminiscent of a mole' almost.

What else? Oh right, the mellow evening. I read to my son and got him asleep a bit later than usual ~10pm, he had a long day but I think a late day donut treat kept him hyped up (even after our long walk and lots of running). My daughter was at a friend until late, but happy when she got home, I had done some laundry (which is her chore) and she was totally cooperative when I asked her to fold clothes I think because she appreciated the helping hand.

Anyway, once the kids were asleep I finished reading one of Michele Davis' books on marriage. The Sex Starved Marriage for those curious, as it was the only one I could find at the bookshop by her. The framework in her books I think is similar regardless, and just puts it in different contexts. While the context of this I think has applied at different times to my marriage, right now it's a little different I think. Still, I guess I'll see if any of the suggestions help out, but the one of the best things for me were her examples of other couples' problems and reading ones that were similar as well as what techniques helped them out positively.

Anyway, I want to keep this exercise in blogging focused mostly on the positive, and not detail too many personal things beyond myself. But that said, the last thing I did was write a list of things that I have really appreciated from my wife in the past few days. That was good to focus on the positive in our relationship, just like I'm working here to focus on the positive in my life.

Oh, and undeadly turned 1 year old yesterday! I feel a little bad since I have been slacking a bit on it the past week or two with everything else that's been going on. But I told everyone on the editors list that I would be busy, so they can pick up the slack (of course they always can). Jose left a really nice comment too. I really appreciate his lending an ear, as well as his links and useful suggestions, it's helped me a lot in keeping motivated on the site, as well as provided some kind of consistency maybe? Anyway, since he aggregates this blog and might end up reading it (and all the lengthy babbling). Thanks Jose!

Outside of general accomplishments at work, not much positive to reflect on yesterday. Speaking of work, I just got another raise, and a favourable review. It's a good company, just not the most fulfilling for my career path, but it's nice to have their stability when everything else is not that right now.

Anyhoot, I did get work to replace my cell phone, and spent part of the evening moving contacts over, testing a bluetooth headset my wife got for free from some Plantronics dinner a month back. That's positive! Those who know my opinions on cell phones, just go along that that was positive. Oh, and I had a great lunch in Monterey at veg2u (weird name, but vegan/raw foods - very wholesome)

Tonight I'll be heading up to see Assemblage 23 with my friend Kevin whom I haven't had a chance to spend much time with in a couple years. Looking forward to catching up, and eating some good vegan cuisine, whereever that happens to be (Kevin is also vegan).

Been a few days, slow start to a new activity. I sorted through all my CD's yesterday and dug up the Leaether Strip disc with the quote I tried to paraphrase yesterday, here it is (from the liner notes of Underneath the Laughter):

"This album is the most demanding thing I've ever done yet. Like it or not. If you don't like this album, well I did it for my own pleasure anyway."

So, that's the intention I had with these entries a bit, just substitute 'diary' for 'album.'

Cleaning up was nice, also spent a lot of time with my son this weekend. Spending two days straight with him without breaks made me marvel at how talkative he is, energizer bunny not just in activities at the park and out and about but verbally too. He's firing on all cylinders. It's a real pleasure to spend more time with my family. I'm grateful that work and my schedule are being permissive of that.

Took my car in to get serviced this morning, it was nice of them to pick me up and drop me off - definitely great service, especially since the whole thing was free (the dealership gives free oil changes, car washes, basic services for the first 60,000 miles).

Met up with my wife afterwards to look at some houses and have lunch. While I was out of the office for about 3 hours, it was nice to spend some time with her without constant arguing. Bought some roses, smiled a lot at each other and talked a lot. Oh, and had a great meal. We also looked at a few homes. Of course, now we're both a bit torn about homes, but we've got options at least. And since lunch I've been thinking about it more and feeling calmer about that decision.

(got a call in the middle of writing) In fact, she went to see the planning department, about the two homes we're eyeing. Turns out one that I thought would be a better fit at first would be a pain to fix in the ways we needed. The other, which needs a lot more work, and it's harder for me to see the potential in however, is actually much better suited for getting permits and the like for the types of improvements we need. I think we're going to make an offer on it tonight. I am excited! It is encouraging that we're on the same page about something important and current, with neither one compromising for the other. I hope I have more successes to report in that light soon.

I was planning to go out tonight to a local elektro/ebm/goth club but I'm not sure I'll manage to stay awake at this rate with the time change. However, on Friday - Assemblage 23 is playing up in SF. It's been a long time since I've gone to a concert, and I'm looking forward to the experience. Maybe see some friends I haven't seen in years, and maybe make some new ones.

Also I've just been getting lots of organizing, cleaning and project prep done. Feels good to dig through old crap & discard a lot of it. I've also ordered a new hdd and some components for the home computer, time to do an overhaul of that, with my daughter I think she'll get a kick out of it.

And speaking of my daughter, I signed her up for a shadow at a local private school she's been interested in. Also did some hunting for a sewing class as she's expressed an interest in owning a sewing machine for a while. She started going to a knitting club at her school, but kept asking for a sewing machine anyway. After trying unsuccessfully at some sewing (and vacuum?) shops, I called a fabric store locally which has a four week class on Thursday nights. Sounds perfect, and the woman on the phone even offered to let my daughter borrow her spare sewing machine. I hope she'll get a kick out of that. Also gives her a chance to see if she likes it before we shell out a lot for equipment and fabric, not to mention try to find space for that.

Filling in some blanks from last week: had my first experience with acupuncture thanks to my sifu, Charles, it was really nice. The kwoon has been immensely supportive. Offering me good advice, and better than that - good practice. Be it sparring more to release tensions or healing techniques to do the same, I really appreciate it.

I've been going through quite a bit of turmoil in my personal life, namely with my family. Initially with my 13 year old daughter (I guess that's expected to be a challenge ;), but it seems to be rippling out to my relationship with my wife as well. It feels like my life is crumbling around me a bit, and the counselor, trusted friends and part of me has been telling me to do things for myself right now. That alone is really hard for me since I want to focus on repairing the damage with others. Others have warned that if I do not focus on myself, then at the end of this I will be an empty shell, worse off for healing. Whereas, if I do do things for myself, I will improve as a person regardless of the outcome, I'm up for that! Giving others something positive to look at instead of an empty husk I guess will help me in the long run too, but I really can't worry about my actions evoking a desired reaction from others. It's tough letting go, emptying my cup as they say - but I'm working on it, and looking forward to seeing what comes in to fill it.

At any rate, this morning the point was hammered home a bit, last night after a long talk with my wife, some arguing, some making up, very little sleep and a really nice lovemaking session - I woke up still feeling pretty miserable. It made me realize that even with things nice between me and my wife or whatever, my emotions might still be in the pits, that a lot of the resolution and healing needs to come from within me, not from the actions of others. This whole thing is all new to me, and I feel like I'm learning a lot about myself, but it's also really hard and I am unsure of what I am doing a lot of times.

So, why am I writing this? I've been writing a hand written journal of all my negative thoughts to get them out - I guess it's OK, it's definitely good to get them out, but in the end rather than a healing catharsis response I had been hoping for (though I guess not expected) I pretty much just feel drained. So, instead I thought I would write down the things I am doing for myself, to help me keep track and feel like I am making progress. I plan to use this as a tool to focus on the positive things, maybe it will make me feel better.

Why here? Well, I don't carry the paper journal with me, and if I'm going to focus on the positive, no reason to hide it. My dad always used to tell me things like, "let your light shine" or "toot your own horn" and I have rarely done so. Not that a blog is exactly the best place, but why the heck not. While I'm not doing this for others, perhaps some will see something positive in themselves reflected in my documented experiences that they can related to. While thinking about this I was reminded of Claus Larsen's liner notes (can't remember the album, now I'll have to dig it up and edit this with the album title and precise quote, plus I would enjoy listening to some LeaetherStrip right now), but he said something like:

"This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. If you like it, great - but I did it for myself."

That's kind of how I feel right now, and why I don't mind writing about the positive here even if others might see. I don't really know how many others might read this, and right now I'm not too concerned about how many might - it's just a space for me to get things out. I won't apologize if I ramble on, or if the things I talk about are relatively insignificant, maybe they are to me too - but right now it feels like I don't necessarily have many profoundly positive experiences to talk about, so I will just mention what little things that do come to mind.

With that introduction, I'll begin.


This morning, after dropping off my daughter at school and before going into work, I stopped at Rio Del Mar beach and parked the car. I had just planned to eat my breakfast watching the waves, but couldn't get up the appetite, my stomach was in knots, so I got out and started walking. While walking I came up with the idea that I should document the positive things I'm doing, which is what I'm doing now. :) So there's one. Walking in the sand I was tempted to take off my shoes, but just as the thought entered my mind I walked over a bunch of broken seashells, and thought twice, another time I'll do that. I walked probably a mile or so down the beach before turning around, and as I did, I noticed my footprints and began to step back on them, marveling a little at the ease which with the steps fell into place back where they were, without having to put much intention behind following my path back. After a while of this, and enjoying the waves and air with the sun to my back, a dog walked up to me looked and looked straight into my eyes. I put my hand out to let him smell me, then he smiled and turned to his side and let me pet him for a bit. He dashed off moments later, and as his owner came up and remarked, "He doesn't usually let anyone touch him." I wished them a good day and started walking again, smiling that this dog had seen something in me to come say hi, that I had not asked for at all, then felt some tears welling up as I affirmed to myself that I am a good person deserving love and respect. They didn't come out, not because I held them back, but I quickly noticed that I was no longer following my footsteps back. I snapped out of it and felt that at least metaphorically, I should stop following the same steps back. I didn't want to return to the car along the same path that I left, I wanted to return having walked a new way back, without the same dismay, feeling uplifted. With that I took a deep breath and continued on along a new path back, closer to the ocean. I even saw a barefoot footprint here and there! Next time I'll keep a towel in my trunk so that I can dust my feet off before hopping in the car. I saw a surfer suiting up and was reminded that I should follow my desire to surf myself, and in the front yard of one of the multi-million dollar homes along the beach I heard a child crying, turned to look and saw a young girl maybe 5 or 6 barely older than my son, with a jump rope, bawling like it was the end of the world. It reminded me that even those with all the material benefits one could hope to obtain, that happiness is still found from within and that family life is full of its ups and downs regardless of the family. I returned to my car feeling refreshed, looked for a leaetherstrip CD in my trunk to no avail, and ate a banana, orange and some green tea while watching the waves and listening to the crashing sounds. It took only an hour out of my day but I left in a much better state of mind, feeling calmer and more positive and eager to write here.

There's even more I want to write, about some midnight oceanside walks I've made in the past few days with the full moon, and standing i-chuan exercises I've done that left me feeling buzzing with qi in a way that I've rarely experienced and am so excited to feel after years of wanting to get to that level of skill, it's incredible to be feeling these things with just some time spent working at it. But another time - for now let me just say that the moonlight reflected in the ocean is a gorgeous sight to behold, and that there is a LOT more to internal martial arts practices than I think many believe is even possible, it's amazing to see entire new dimensions of experience open up as I continue to train, and I expect it to be the same with my other endeavours, as difficult as they may feel now.

11 Mar 2005 (updated 11 Mar 2005 at 21:02 UTC) »

(modified somewhat from my undeadly comment to the OpenSSH 4.0 release and Damien mentioning he foobed the md5 on the release notes, wanted this to get out to a wider potential reading audience, I and I don't really have a suitable personal blog so this will do)

IANACBIMPOOF (I am not a cryptographer, but I may play one on fora)

http://cryptography.hyperlink.cz/md5/MD5_collisions.pdf is worth taking a look at. I realize it's recent (March 5th), but gives an example of finding a full md5 collision in 8 hours on a notebook, and they're predicting that time will go down once Wang et al release their actual speed up method (perhaps the prediction of 2 minutes is overstating it, but you never know). That said, getting a collision on meaningful substitutes (e.g. a backdoored OpenSSH) might be another challenge, but I doubt it's going to be too much harder if speed keeps increasing.

At any rate, I was wondering - why provide just one type of hash (e.g. just md5) if you are releasing something? Why not also provide a sha-1, or even several different hash types? As we witness more hashes fall victim to improved collision attacks (and there will _always_ be collisions anyways because that's the nature of a frigging hash), it's understandable that any individual (md5, sha-1, crc32, whatever) hash will have possible meaningful collisions. However, finding a meaningful collision for _several_ different hashes simultaneously, I would posit is probably very unlikely.

It could make a damn fine fun challenge to break or open up a new science problem. I can just envision future math assignments where the teacher is telling their students to find the Lowest Common Denominator for crc32, and md5 values.

Maybe I'm wrong about that in some cases, as I know sha-1 is based off of previous work from md5, so maybe any sha-1 collision also results in an md5 collision. But I highly doubt that, since such a property would undoubtedly have been noticed and mentioned by the researchers breaking this stuff. Or at least one would hope such an obvious check would have been noticed in such research, I haven't seen mention of it. If anyone has examples let me know, by no means have I read every paper on the subject. Regardless, it wouldn't be hard to check, just take an example of a two different files wherein they both have the same md5, and then see if they both have the same sha-1 (or crc32, or ripe-md or whatever-the-hell-hash you want to have as well). Does anyone have two files that have an md5 collision I could test against? Would be simple enough to perform the test if I had the files, but IANAC.... stuff above.

Also, it should be noted (and Jose thankfully reminded me of this at RSAConf when we were discussing hashes briefly) that the OpenBSD ports system already provides several different hashes on distfiles. Just check a /usr/ports/blah/blah/distinfo yourself and you'll see something like this:

$ more distinfo
MD5 (nmap-3.81.tgz) = 9b32f74e2f6999e4f7668a24f2a1ea85
RMD160 (nmap-3.81.tgz) = d57533f1bf614541dd0cdfcf0f14b257d26a28c9
SHA1 (nmap-3.81.tgz) = 9d1ce1ab3e097ce5d61078fd4bc713f9b701fa1c
SIZE (nmap-3.81.tgz) = 1846196

So, since OpenBSD does it in the ports system already, maybe we as an entire security community should look to add it to our release methodologies as well? (See update below on this - while several different hash values are provided, only one is currently checked in the OpenBSD ports system - checking more than one must be done manually).

Put another way - given the properties of hashes, any one hash is likely to fail, but many hashes all failing together in the same way at the same time is very unlikely.

Another proposal for trying to skirt the problems with hashes, rather than just invent a new hash that hasn't been "broken" is to do what bittorrent does. Take _multiple_ hashes over parts of the file rather than just one hash of the whole file. Again, it becomes highly unlikely that one could generate a different file that would be split myriad times and have the same crc's for each split piece.

As an example, a recent torrent of the hitbSecConf2004 vids I leeched had over 7000 pieces - and afaik, in the .torrent each file sub-piece has its own hash value listed. The .torrent files aren't plaintext so I can't verify this easily, I'm basing this understanding upon what I've seen written up about bittorrent. Assuming my understanding is roughly accurate however, in the case of bittorrent in the example provided instead of finding one collision, the attacker needs to generate over 7000, one for each file sub-piece. Even if using something not cryptographically sound or very resource intensive with easily found collisions such as crc32, that becomes a tougher problem.

Of course, this is speculative, maybe it's not that hard. If an attacker is smart enough to put the meaningful change in only a small number of sections, then possibly he would only need to create one CRC collision for that sub-piece, or several for the several sections, and the rest he could leave untouched, and they'll all generate the same hash. I don't know for sure but it's a thought, and moreover already an implementation that I think will prove itself to be rather robust against hash collision attacks that keep improving, even as bittorrent's chosen hash itself will undoubtedly fall prey to smarter researchers over time.

So one problem, two possible ways of dealing with it that can, and are already in use today. In other words - other people should start using these techniques NOW to afford protections, rather than sitting around waiting for some silver-bullet sha-1 replacing hash to be approved, which undoubtedly will also crumble over time. I mean, that's not to say that right now there aren't already other hashes we could be using for which there aren't such attacks for - and by all means we could start using those right now to as a preventative. But given the properties of hashes, it's probably just a matter of time and researcher attention before other algorithms fall victim to more efficient collision generation techniques. So rather than put all our eggs in one basket, or foresake hashes which are still useful the majority of the time, we can just get creative with how we use our existing tools.

Updates and Corrections!

Jolan informs me that even though the OpenBSD ports tree records several different hashes in distinfo, it only checks one. So in order to really make this work for OpenBSD's ports system in the manner in which I'm discussing, the user needs to manually check against the other hash types. Currently that means that the disk would need to be read for each distinct hash as well, so that can obviously be time consuming. In my personal experience, the biggest bottleneck in generating hashes is disk reads - so if one were to check a file with several hash types, it would be wise to design a system in which data is only read from the disk once, even if that data is being fed to several algorithms.

Jolan asks: "got code?"

Chris Palmer correctly points out:"CRC" is not a synonym for "hash", and certainly not "cryptographic hash"

I had some more time sooner than I thought and removed the abusive CRC references Chris mentioned, thanks! I'm not as concerned about the distinction for cryptographically strong hashes actually - just as long as people use hashes that aren't all suceptible to the same collision weaknesses at the same time.

7 Oct 2004 (updated 7 Oct 2004 at 00:15 UTC) »

Been an editor on undeadly.org for a while now. Still amazed at how Jose and dengue kept deadly going so smoothly for so long. Doing my best with limited time to devote to it.

toorcon was nice to attend, got to put some faces to names after many years in some cases. Not sure how attending pacsec is going to work out this year, even if I can pay for the trip - time from work at that point is looking crappy.

About to cut this entry short and go to bagua practice - which has been going really well, extremely fun and helpful. At least that is plodding along at an OK pace, but I want to be spending more time practicing programming still - seeing jsyn again was inspirational yet again, though I can't quite put into words why he has that affect on me, of all people. :)

beginning practice again. Biggest challenge for me is keeping up with it. Less writing here, more practicing elsewhere.

Wow one of the founding principles behind what I want to get out of writing my OS is maybe already being done, and no less, implemented in hardware which is probably the best place for it:


Neato; I just hope it makes it to market and doesn't suck.

If anything, it'll be a huge leap forwards in emu/virtualization, or backward if you keep in mind that many emus in the Amiga days booted straight from hardware w/o loading an OS, thus cutting out a huge amount of overhead that today's popularized emu's and virtualization apps due. One drawback was that you couldn't run say, a Mac emu while running the amiga native stuff; this sounds like it might get away from that. Very neat.

Saw Chuck Palahniukat book shop santa cruz last night. Good talk; some of his comments on community vs. isolation have been on my mind. I have a number of friends, and I feel like I have a community of individuals with whom I interact regularly. But unfortunately, I don't get to do it IRL much anymore. Most of my core friends have moved all over the globe, and the community friends I silc with etc. I basically see once a year at CSW. Day to day human interaction is with my family & wife's friends primarily. On the one hand it's kind of a bummer - on the other - it's the conversations which are the crux of the friendships anyway, and less the in face interactions. Still, it's nice to have both. Part of the frustration with somehow having a liking in things which continually seem unpopular I guess - and then if they ever are popularized, I still feel disassociated, because they change through that process such that they've lost much of what I liked to begin with.


Part of the impetus for that newOS notion is from http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/who/rob/utah2000.pdf BTW. If you haven't read that you should. I think a lot of people who haven't been using computers much in their past, haven't knowingly been exposed to much variety. The Windows & Unix dichotomy is extremely dismal - as I've said to friends before, I feel like the industry has returned to where it was 20 years ago. I only hope that it will start to move forward again somehow. The installed user base is the major pain - it's also why things become less interesting I guess; pioneering stages & players interest me, masses of followers later are usually weak.


In continuing to listen to local pirate radio (www.freakradio.org) you hear a lot of swift people. Some author PhD guy was on a couple weeks ago, I wrote down some books he'd written but seem to have lost the paper. At any rate, he had this great analogy that went a bit like this:

Say you've got a bacteria culture, just sitting there doing its thing. Well, introduce some sugar to the culture, and it begins to grow explosively - population sores, but there are biproducts from this energy source that are detrimental to the health of the bacteria itself. Doesn't matter though, they keep eating this shit up and ultimately die off from the polluted system they've ended up in. (e.g. bacteria that produce alcohol, ultimately die from it once the concentration reached 12%).

So the analogy is to the human population. Judging from his estimates of population growth, mankind was pretty much in a static or steady growth throughout most of history - nothing much doing. Then, enter fossil fuels. Population starts to expand at a huge rate; if humans are equated to bacteria, then fossil fuels would be the sugar. And sure enough, we also have biproducts from using these as a fuel source, which are detrimental, not just to our own health - but sadly to the health of the environment around us as a whole. I find it interesting to see that this energy source analogy extends beyond fossil fuels - what's a bigger producer than that? Atomic, and the biproducts - even MORE of a threat to health. Is there really a high energy clean fuel source? Or is the sustainability & pollution factor tied to the amount of energy that can be derived? I wonder if physics might have some correlations (e.g. energy cannot be created nor destroyed; save for nuclear reaction - similarly, amount of energy transfer is related to a drain from the environment with an equally concentrated polluting factor? Bleh, crap).


Anyway, final bit here. Again, listening to some .mil lecture on the radio about depleted uranium, undetontated cluster bombs in Laos; basically all sorts of military waste left behind after wars. Basically - just all really destructive pollution, long term fallout from weapons.

We're starting to see the same thing on the net, all these worms, mass mailers, etc. After dugsong's last CSW talk ('02) about CodeRed and AN's /8 - this notion of a biological system started to sound more intriguing, as did notions of an immune system (counter worm, e.g. Parc, Max Vision, most recently Nachi/Welchia). Ok, but here's the thing - it's less of a biological system than it is a polluted system. The Biology is active, independent, creative. The pollution is autonomous, without guidance, and just continues in pools of stagnant shit (unpatched systems). Is it really biological in character, or is it an oil spill? I'm beginning to feel that it's more of the latter.

And where's the beef? .mil already works with virus writers on super duper weaponized virii; just as they do in the biological, chemical & explosive realms. As they move away from ammaturish features into more of an industry, the potential damage will increase, and likely the ongoing fallout as well. But why do this? The .mil doesn't necessarily _want_ long lasting damage, just immediate targetted destructions - they want the SKILLS of a true hacker, a true martial artist because of how they can effect change. But they will never get the skills, they only get the prepackaged products of the creators, and put those in the hands of the dumb grunts/politicians/suits. The products are used in situations that the creators would never use personally, and the biproducts and side effects are long lasting and extremely destructive.

There needs to be an effort on the part of those who create, who have imagination - to take a stand against this sort of thing if it's to stop, or if it's to continue along in the right direction. If you, as a creator can't take responsibility for the havoc your work could potentially unleash, then it's probably best to work on something else that you can take responsibility for. Everything is just a tool, right? It is in the hands of a 'good' or 'bad' person that good or bad is done with it. But that's not always true, some creations are predisposed to pollution & destructive natures, and it requires extreme skill to use them appropriately. I'd wager that only the people who have the skill to begin with are really fit to use them.

This is a bit in conflict with notions of openness and freedom, which I think are ultimately beneficial. But you have to put things in context, how much can be open and free will depend on the time period.

Teaching killing techniques in martial arts now doesn't need to be closed off, because guns are so much more pervasive, and require no skill.

If your technique requires extreme skill to even use, then you should have little fear of releasing, discussing, documenting it. If on the other hand it's a braindead technology - you should take extreme cares to insure that chances for failure, fallout, pollution are kept to a minimum - because they will be used extensively.

The biggest problem, is that sometimes you can't forsee whether something will become ubiquitous ahead of time, and so that by the time you realize that you should have revised things before their release - it's too late, and everyone is running around with a gun, or we're stuck with fucking TCP/IP. The energy required to then rectify things is enormous, and it can't supplant the old, without still embracing it - which just makes it more complicated, and often suffers from the same problems as a result. The infection persists - do even thoughts work this way as memetics would dictate? Some thoughts should be guarded closely as a result one would think....

6 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!