Technolotics #32 – Pathological Scrupulosity


Listen: Episode 32
Watch: Youtube
Feed: RSS


Digg hits a gas main

Social bookmarking phenomena Digg is in trouble this week, after being accused of the blogosphere’s greatest sin – censorship
Slashdot have posted a story – in Taco’s mangled grammer ‘submitted so numerous that I had little choice but to post’ – accusing dig of a variety of heinous crimes

The allegations

    Stories put onto the front page by the editorial staff, rather than the community
    Site which reports this banned from being dug
    Stories which report site which reports this disapearing
    Users who submit stories which report site which this disapearing, being banned by name and IP
    Other stories being removed for being critical of ‘Go Daddy’, a Revision 3 Sponsor

Digg’s Responce

It’s the system man!

    Kevin Rose say’s the stories removed we taken down due to user reports
    No response on the front page editorial control
    Users who report this are being banned, because accusing other users of gaming the system ‘violates digg’s terms of use’ (paraphrase) – even if the accused is digg itself!


Slashdot Story
Splasho Story
Forever Geek Story
Kevin Rose’s Responce
Another ‘Digg bullying’ example

The RIAA vs the EFF

Ars Technica have an article on the Internet culture wars – the RIAA vs the EFF
Elektra v. Barker – one of the thousands of frivolous RIAA lawsuits – if the RIAA win, the repercussions could undermine the very nature of the internet.
RIAA state sharing a folder constitutes infringement – even if files are never accessed
RIAA attempting fundamental changes to copyright law through courts
RIAA is argue copyrighted uploads to P2P infringe as much as downloads
Current law: to “distribute” a copyrighted work – physical exchange of a material object must take place – law doesn’t take account of the digital distribution of copyrighted works.
Ars Technica say – ironically EFF are arguing for pre-internet disribution model
We say – hooey – this mearly points out the absurity of applying arbitary legal weight of theft to duplication => makes sence from a commercial perspective, insanely fascistic if actually applied on individual scale => this is not how information works


Ars Technica – The RIAA vs the EFF

The Flaws of HDCP

HDMI is a technology that restricts the availability of high-def TV content.
Devices carry out a HDCP handshake before sending HD video over a connection.
Handshake authenticates devices & computes secret key for encrypting video between them
Each HDCP device is given two things: a secret vector, and an addition rule (not secret.)
A device uses it’s own vector and the other device’s addition rule to compute the secret key.
Vector and key are set so that both devices end up with the same key.
Problem is that conspiring devices can break the system and discover the secret vectors, thereby impersonating any HDCP device.
They came up with their own rather than using established handshake protocols such as Diffie-Hellman.
Reason for custom protocol seems to be to accomodate reduced computational ability, protocol is a simplified and less secure version of Diffie-Hellman.


Freedom to tinker
Diffie Hellman Key Exchange

The ignorance of crowds

This is a question we tacked back in show 2
Do folksonomy sites like Wikipedia lead to a better ‘infosphere’, or just a noiser and more confusing media landscape
WikiTruth ( charts the inner machinations of wikipedia.
Creators of the website (who claim to be wiki admins) say the increasing banality of entries and decrease in the quality is self-inflicted.
Essentially, the more edits by more people is decreasing the quality of the information.
Problems with the homogenity of information,
Diverse views become suppressed, denying the viewer the ability to see an issue from multiple viewpoints.
Options for the administrators include restricting access.
This risks driving away contributors.
Raises the question of whether traditional sources such as encylopedia Britannica are better due to an editing process.


Guardian Article
Acerbic comments from Lore Sjöberg
Wiki Truth

The latest on bionics

Super vision

Scientists are concentrating on restoring sight to blind people.
Daniel Palanker, a physicist at Stanford University in California has created a bionic eye.
Dead cone and rods are bypassed and the cells of the inner retina are stimulated with electrical signals directly.
Dr Palanker believes the system will provide a human user with 20/80 vision, enough to read large fonts and recognise faces.

Super strength

The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (Bleex) fits along a user’s legs and allows the carrying of 90Kgs with no strain on the user.
Made up of 40 sensors, a hydraulics system and a central controller that decides how to distribute the weight so the user feels none of it.

Bionic limbs

Modern artificial hands, give wearers a better quality of life but they have little of the functionality of the real hands they replace.
William Craelius of Rutgers University in New Jersey has developed Dextra.
System can be trained to recognise muscle movements in user’s arm and then carry out a corresponding action.
Dextra can control up to three fingers, one user even could play the saxaphone with it.
Future work will concentrate on many types of hand motion – grasping a key, opening a door, holding a hammer.


Guardian Science Article

Another Front in the Global War on Islam

Bush will attack Iran
Because it’s about the dumbest thing he could do.

Why Iran is a much worse place to invade than Iraq

It’s geographically 3 times larger.
It’s population is approximately 3 times larger.
Population is a military strategists dream: a large number of fighting age men ~ 18 million with few very old or very young.
The failure to “win hearts and minds” in Iraq when you are replacing somebody like Saddam is not much encouragement that it can be achieved in Iran.
It will be another muslim country invaded within a few short years.
Iran has strong links to terrorism.
Shia Islam is the state religion, an attack on the country may be used by terrorists to claim the US is attacking Islam.
Current rumours indicate that the US will carry out airstrikes and limited special ops raids on the nuclear sites to disable them.
This may be difficult as the sites are spread thoughout the country to make such a task more difficult.

The New Yorker allege

Special Op’s Troops are already on the ground
Airforce planners drawing up target list
Disagreement between Europe and US over how long it would take for Iran to build a bomb
Bush’s white house refer to Irans president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as another hitler – clearly violating Godwins Law
‘Saving Iran’ will be Bush’s legacy
Administration purport to believe – “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.”
Only alternative administration will consider – campaign of coercion
“The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.”
administration wants to change to power structure of Iran
senate is being selectively briefed on the plans
no one is ‘really objecting’
Special Op’s on the ground would be needed to knock out nuclear and chemical factories
Administration considering ‘tactical use’ of nuclear weapons
Joint Chiefs of staff want to take nukes of the table – administration refuses
Pentagon advisor – “The problem is that the Iranians realize that only by becoming a nuclear state can they defend themselves against the U.S. Something bad is going to happen.”
Case for a near and present danger is being built on unreliable evidence – A. Q. Khan, the so-called father of the Pakistani atomic bomb
I.A.E.A – Iran 5 years from bomb – “the Iranians want confrontation, just like the neocons on the other side”
“there’s nothing the Iranians could do that would result in a positive outcome. American diplomacy does not allow for it.”
Flynt Leverett (european diplomat) – Europeans want sanctions & diplomacy – US & Isreal want bombs – “There may be a military option, but the impact could be catastrophic.”

Unanswered Questions

Who is the rogue regieme here? The ones who want a bomb, or the ones who want to use the bomb?
How will Russia and China react to an attack on Iran – nuclear or conventional
What chaos will erupt, if the heart of the muslin world is invaded (remember ‘regime change’) by a western millenarian christian conservative nation


New Yorker Article
Justin Gauvin excellent blog
Godwins Law
International Atomic Energy Agency


Addendums to last weeks show

FYI, not sure if Rowan mentioned this – but the creator of comment cast Robin Blandford is his cousin
LASIK@Home is a joke site


Media Pimp


Negative Pimp – Freaky Ajax Hell Hive 7
Mark Echo Tags Airforce One [1] – or does he [2]
The iPod Box, MS Style [3]
Quake3 in a browser [4] – huge searchable archive of a variety of British poetry magazines [5]
David Elsewhere (worlds best dancer) [6]


Help me win my Bet [7]
Lost Episode 17 related map [8]

One thought on “Technolotics #32 – Pathological Scrupulosity

  1. Damn good show. Vintage technolotics. If you are waiting for people in the U.S. to “wake up” then I can only assume you’ve never been. Watch this video:

    They are waiting for you to wake up. 🙂 Ergo all the bullets. Anyhow it’s not a U.S. thing. Russia, UK, China, whoever. Same shit different pile. Anywhere you go in this world, old people and politicians support egregious policies in the name of whatever cause they claim to be helping, even Ireland. The Clash said it best:

    If you can find a Afghan rebel
    That the Moscow bullets missed
    Ask him what he thinks of voting Communist
    Ask the Dalai Lama in the hills of Tibet
    How many monks did the Chinese get?
    In a war-torn swamp stop any mercenary,
    Check the British bullets in his armoury…


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