Thank you, Jack Poulson

Jack Poulson, a senior Google scientist, recently resigned because of the work Google is doing on censorship. Here’s from The Intercept:

Jack Poulson worked for Google’s research and machine intelligence department, where he was focused on improving the accuracy of the company’s search systems.

In early August, Poulson raised concerns with his managers at Google after The Intercept revealed that the internet giant was secretly developing a Chinese search app for Android devices. The search system, code-named Dragonfly, was designed to remove content that China’s authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

After entering into discussions with his bosses, Poulson decided in mid-August that he could no longer work for Google. He tendered his resignation and his last day at the company was August 31.

He told The Intercept in an interview that he believes he is one of about five of the company’s employees to resign over Dragonfly. He felt it was his “ethical responsibility to resign in protest of the forfeiture of our public human rights commitments,” he said.

In his resignation letter, Poulson told his bosses: “Due to my conviction that dissent is fundamental to functioning democracies, I am forced to resign in order to avoid contributing to, or profiting from, the erosion of protection for dissidents.”

“I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe,” he wrote, adding: “There is an all-too-real possibility that other nations will attempt to leverage our actions in China in order to demand our compliance with their security demands.”

The Intercept also published Poulson’s full resignation letter at the bottom of that article and it’s an interesting read.

Poulson is one of a couple of other Google engineers who have recently resigned because they didn’t want to continue contributing to Google’s immoral practices. I’ve recently also blogged about engineers at other companies such as Microsoft and Amazon refusing to go along with immoral business decisions.

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I don’t trust Cloudflare with IPFS

Cloudflare recently announced their own IPFS gateway:

Today we’re excited to introduce Cloudflare’s IPFS Gateway, an easy way to access content from the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) that doesn’t require installing and running any special software on your computer. We hope that our gateway, hosted at cloudflare-ipfs.com, will serve as the platform for many new highly-reliable and security-enhanced web applications.

See that? “Highly-reliable” and “security-enhanced”. Riiiiight.

After their CEO recently decided to take down a website that they were supposedly “protecting” against attacks, anyone who trusts Cloudflare today has got to be a fucking idiot. Like I discussed in a previous post:

[…] about a year ago, Cloudflare, a company whose goal purportedly and ironically is to “help build a better Internet” and “protect websites from all manner of attacks,” itself took a website offline after it’s boneheaded CEO Matthew Prince thought “they are assholes.” Here’s what he had to say about it:

Earlier today Cloudflare terminated the account of the Daily Stormer. We’ve stopped proxying their traffic and stopped answering DNS requests for their sites. We’ve taken measures to ensure that they cannot sign up for Cloudflare’s services again.

This was my decision. Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I’d had enough.

Let me be clear: this was an arbitrary decision. […] I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. […] It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company.

Having made that decision we now need to talk about why it is so dangerous. I’ll be posting something on our blog later today. Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power.

Yes that’s right, you fucking moron, you should not have that kind of power and nobody else should either. Centralized power corrupts, and this much centralized power corrupts absolutely as we’re seeing every day now. And it’ll only get worse if this is allowed to continue.

Remember the saying, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”?

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I’m very disappointed in Linus Torvalds

Update 24/9/2018: This post got banned on “Hacker” News. Politically correctness and “diversity” man, that shit is like cancer. Most tech people in Silicon Valley appear to be braindead.

Linus Torvalds, inventor and lead developer of the Linux operating system, recently stepped down “temporarily” from his role in the Linux project due to controversy surrounding his management style. The New Yorker published an article (archived) about it right after Torvalds’s announcement. Torvalds’s decision to take some time away from his project had a lot to do with questions asked by The New Yorker in the days prior to his announcement. Either Torvalds was planning “his decision” in advance together with others, possibly including the Linux Foundation, or, Torvalds got afraid of the possible negative reactions that an article by The New Yorker would produce, and decided to preempt their article with his announcement.

I’ve always been a fan of Torvalds’s highly critical and no-nonsense management style, and I believe that it’s that management style that contributed the most to the success and quality of Linux. In fact I think that if I had the privilege of working with Torvalds I would have become so much better at programming. It’s very much comparable to Steve Jobs’s management style at Apple. Here’s Torvalds explaining why he has this specific management style, quoted from The New Yorker:

Until this weekend, Torvalds had not only defended his aggressive behavior but insisted that it contributed to Linux’s runaway success. “If you want me to ‘act professional,’ I can tell you that I’m not interested,” he wrote in 2013, in response to a prominent Linux contributor, Sage Sharp, who demanded on a public e-mail list that Torvalds stop using “physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse” in his e-mails. “I’m sitting in my home office wearign [sic] a bathrobe,” Torvalds wrote. “The same way I’m not going to start wearing ties, I’m also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what ‘acting professionally’ results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.”

“Acting professional” is really just another way of saying “act politically correct.” It’s manipulative, deceptive, disingenuous, fake and it leads to all kinds of trouble as Torvalds mentions. The real question everyone should be asking themselves is how Torvalds went from that statement in 2013, to the one below a few days ago:

This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely.

So all of a sudden Torvalds decided that being “professional” is desirable knowing full well what that actually means?

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QuantumGate source code published

I’ve published the latest version of the QuantumGate source code to the GitHub repository. From now on that repository is going to receive frequent updates as I continue to work on QuantumGate.

You can download the source code and follow the build instructions in the README file if you’re interested in trying it out. After a successful build, you can try out the TestApp to get a general idea of what’s possible and take a look at some examples. The TestApp’s purpose is to test most of QuantumGate’s functionality during development, but at the same time it can also show interested developers what features are available and how to use them.

I’m still working on providing more examples demonstrating what can be done with QuantumGate. I’ll also be providing pre-built binaries soon with an official initial alpha release, so that people can download and try out the examples quickly without having to build everything themselves.

For more details about QuantumGate you can check out my post “Introducing QuantumGate”.

Cactus RQ250 TTL Wireless Monolight

Cactus RQ250

Harvest One Limited recently announced the new Cactus RQ250 Li-ion battery-powered wireless monolight and currently have a Kickstarter campaign running where you can get one for a reduced price. It’s a really compact flash, roughly as big as a Canon Speedlight 600EXII-RT flash, but has a lot of interesting features and useful accessories. At a retail price of US$700 it’s not cheap, but it’s trying to be “like a compact sports car” offering advanced functionality in a small package.

Click here for details about this shoot. Model: Zurina Williams.

For my studio photoshoots I’ve been using a couple of Canon Speedlight 600EX-RT flashes for a few years now and I’ve been very satisfied with them. For example, my shoot with model Zurina Williams was done with those. However I find that sometimes I need more light output especially if I want to use certain modifiers. So far I’ve not invested in the bigger lights from companies such as Elinchrom and Bowens because of the small space that I usually work in, and those lights would be overkill for me. The RQ250 having 3.5 times the power output of a speedlight while being roughly the same size looks like a nice option for the future.

I’ve previously done reviews of the Cactus V5 Transceiver and the Cactus Laser Trigger LV5 and have been very pleased with the quality of the Cactus brand. Visit the campaign page on Kickstarter for the details about the RQ250 including a video showing off its features.

The QuantumGate logo

When I first got the idea to develop QuantumGate back in 2006 I designed a logo for it that I could use in communications and in the software that I began working on at the time. The idea I had was that I wanted to show a couple of connected peers in the logomark, and the image that came to mind was what you can see on the right. There was no process behind it and no reasons for the proportions used. I just had the strong intuition that I had to use three circles connected to each other in that triangular arrangement. I wasn’t satisfied with it but I used it and figured I would revisit it again in the future.

Fast forward to 2018, and now I know where the original idea came from. It turns out that the arrangement I used very closely resembles the fundamental geometry behind our reality which I described in details in my 2015 post “The Cycle of Life”. Back in 2006 I couldn’t tell why I wanted to use a design as seen above; it just came to me intuitively and I knew that this is approximately what it should be. But now I know exactly why.

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Introducing QuantumGate

For the last twelve months I’ve worked almost fulltime on one of my projects that I started in 2006 and have been postponing since 2007. I’m now in the final stages of preparing for an alpha release of the source code and accompanying documentation. It’s one of the most ambitious and complex projects I’ve worked on up until now, especially considering the goals that I have for it.

Back in 2006 around the time when I wrote my post “P2P is the Future of the Internet” I set out to develop a new peer to peer (P2P) software platform. I noticed that the existing platforms were vulnerable and had all kinds of issues that needed to be solved, and I wanted to build something that would solve most, if not all, of those problems. I wrote a document outlining what I wanted to build and started coding in my free time. I was already working as a freelancer back then, and I had to give priority to projects from clients so that I could pay the bills. Sometime in 2007 I got so busy that I couldn’t work on my P2P project at all. Life happened and it wouldn’t be until 2013 when I would finally pick up where I left off and start coding again, but not for long because other projects got in the way again.

In early 2017 I finally started working again on my P2P project, and this time I mostly started over from scratch. I decided to discard almost all the code I had written in an older version of C/C++ and started fresh in C++17. I was thinking about the fact that it took over 10 years for me to actually start working on this project again with significant results, and for certain reasons I’m glad it went like this. I now know a lot more about life and the reality that we find ourselves in than I did 10 years ago (I’ve learned a lot), and I feel better prepared than I was back then. I now know and realize in so much more depth why I should be working on this project. It’s been a very interesting twelve months so far and in the coming period I’m going to be blogging about various aspects of the project.

So what is it?

Continue reading “Introducing QuantumGate”

Bankers fear cryptocurrencies while developers don’t understand the problem

Central bankers worldwide can already see the end of their exploitation coming thanks to cryptocurrencies. The head of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Agustín Carstens, now wants programmers to stop trying to create money:

In an interview with a Basel-based media outlet on June 30, Agustín Carstens took aim at cryptocurrencies and reiterated his belief that they represent “a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster,” according to a transcript published by the BIS on Wednesday.

Asked whether he agrees that cryptocurrency has had a positive impact by making young people think about money, Carstens asserted that cryptocurrencies don’t have the core features to be a currency. As such, the BIS head contended that the activities associated with cryptocurrency represents an effort to create money out of nothing.

“Young people should use their many talents and skills for innovation, not reinventing money. It’s a fallacy to think money can be created from nothing,” Carstens said, adding:

“Glance back into the past and you will see that creating gold or money from nothing has been a regular obsession. It never worked. … So my message to young people would be: Stop trying to create money!”

Carstens’ remarks about money not being able to be created from nothing is hilarious when you consider the fact that the central banking system that we have worldwide today has been doing exactly that for centuries — creating money out if thin air, while robbing the people of their wealth via inflation and usury, and keeping them in perpetual debt-slavery. So fuck you Carstens, you fucking hypocrite.

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Censorship on the Internet getting worse

Alex Jones became the victim of censorship on the Internet this week when a few big companies ganged up on him and took his content down. Apple, Facebook, Spotify, Pinterest and YouTube took down his pages, podcasts and live streams:

Apple confirmed Monday that it had removed five out of six of Jones’ podcasts, including the infamous “The Alex Jones Show.”
Facebook has also removed four pages that belong to Jones.
Apple and Facebook said Jones violated hate speech policies on their respective platforms.
YouTube then removed Jones’ official channel because he continued to livestream on other channels despite a 90-day ban.
Pinterest also removed the InfoWars board, while Spotify took down his most well-known show completely.

This seemed like a coordinated effort by these companies to censor Jones for what they call “hate speech.” These days it’s very easy to block and ban people on social media for “hate speech” as what is considered to be “hate speech” is very subjective which allows for arbitrary rules (“community standards”) to be defined. Anyone who doesn’t conform to the thoughts and ideas that these companies want to promote gets censored and kicked off of their platform:

[…] Silicon Valley big-tech companies made themselves the gatekeepers of ‘goodthink,’ de-platforming anyone who runs afoul of their arbitrary ‘community standards.’

Alex Jones, the host of InfoWars, has often been derided by establishment media as a conspiracy theorist. Yet on Monday, Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Facebook proved right the motto of his show – “There’s a war on for your mind!” – by blocking or deleting InfoWars accounts from their platforms, saying he allegedly engaged in “hate speech” and violated their “community standards.”

Simply put, these corporations appointed themselves arbiters of acceptable political thought, and censored Jones for failing to comply with arbitrary political standards set in Silicon Valley boardrooms, not at the ballot box.

I have a lot of experience with being censored and blocked because of those so called “community standards.”

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More analysis of Akkadian Seal VA/243

Akkadian Cylinder Seal VA/243

A few years ago I posted my analysis of Akkadian Seal VA/243 showing that the ancient Sumerian/Akkadian civilizations probably knew about all the planets in our solar system thousands of years before we did.

Jim Branson has recently done his own analysis, some of it based on my work, and came to similar conclusions. In addition, Branson goes a little further than I did, also analyzing the positions of the planets on the cylinder seal trying to find out why they were positioned that way. Like I mentioned before, if the relative sizes of the planets were drawn on the seal in that way on purpose, it’s likely that the positions were also chosen on purpose and might convey some important information.

If you’re interested in this subject, you might also want to check out Branson’s work and thoughts. As he mentions:

There is evidence that this image not only was perfectly executed but that it also contains information far beyond what we have command of today.

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