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Atomized junior

Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas Mini

It's time again for pixel Santas.  This year I have attempted a double image pixel picture where one image swaps place with another on a mouse over/mouse off. I'm not sure I have this script exactly right unfortunately my big book of java script is back at my place and I'm at my sisters house so it will have to do for now. The concept is and east coast white Christmas balanced against a southern California beach front Christmas.  As I imagine it (I know nothing of California except for the movies and three days in North Island (Coronado) with the Navy deep in the last century).   All this packed into an image the size of a postage stamp.


The idea here is to not think about rain mudslides, or massive snow delays at your local Heathrow. But to sit back with a rum and coke and let Little Saint Nick do the heavy lifting. As always though, all things in moderation.  If you ask too much of Saint Nick he'll be back  -- with some Rare Exports in tow.

11:30:41 PM    ;;

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Stick-esque, or a Poke in the Eye

 There is, or rather was, a stick I used to see every day along the bike path as I headed home.  Until a summer rainstorm led the creek to finally wash it away. It was stuck in the ground - literally a stick in the mud. More of a branch really about six or seven feet long, a foot around, projecting out of the ground at a very shallow angle. Rising to only two feet or so above the ground at the end of its run. It also tapered along its length so that end-on it gave the appearance of being of uniform width when coming upon it.

 This was the problem; the stick was parallel to the creek, parallel to the bike path so that I always came upon it head on, every day on the way home for a year. And every day for a year when I came up to it I was momentarily sure I was looking at an animal, a small dog, a fox, a beaver, or a groundhog. Certainly something small and of mammalian nature. There were of course twenty-four or more hours between each occurrence and inevitably my mind was elsewhere, but still it required effort every time to fight down the initial apprehension that I was looking at something alive. There was always something about it that seemed to be shimmering intelligently in some way.

 Earlier this week I read an article that reminded me of this set of incidences:  A Real Science of Mind - The author, Tyler Burge, dubious of the notion that MRI pictures of brain states - brain activity states - show us actual processes of human consciousness and emotion. A resoundingly over-baked claim he thinks. He instead offers generative and perceptual psychology for insights into these questions. Perceptual psychology,  as nearly as I can understand it is a mathematical rigorous window into a "representational accuracy" depiction of a being-needs-state correlation. The path to consciousness lay in life forms mapping the outside into the inside. Here the senses, vision, are paramount. He gives the example of Euclidian depth perception and convergence. Burge, following Descartes states: The distance between the eyes in many animals is constant. Suppose that distance to be innately coded in the visual system. Stereoscopic vision's ability to give us distance information depends on part of the brains existing to wring out a bit of geometry. Perhaps one reason why nature produces so many "faces" particularly in mammals the same way, with the same proportions to the sensory organ groupings. Especially the distance between the eyes. He goes on to talk about Contour Groupings. This is the role of outline, color and texture boundaries to Object and pattern recognition. 

  I wrote once before here on Atomized Jr. on the behavior of squirrels. Musing on their inability to make up their minds which way to run when crossing a road and encountering a car -- or a bicycle in my case. At the time I concluded that squirrel brains only had the ability to make good timing and vector decisions about moving objects when they moved at roughly that of a falling body under the acceleration of gravity. Things they judged to be animate I think they put in a different category (different part of the brain) altogether. When things come at a squirrel at a different rate of motion than gravity, I think it simply makes no sense to them. They don't know what to make of it, how to react to it. It is as if they encountered a fourth dimensional object.

 What was going on between me and that stick was something similar. It was something in its spatial dislocation that it gave the appearance of being a unitary squat thing subsumed in a single even contour, while its top and bottom haves were actually many feet apart. This led me, in my perception of it to conclude that it was moving. And if moving then alive.

 Eventually I worked out that this was not some new top part of my brain ruminating on this problem and working out that solution, but a very old inclusion linked to hard-wired processes deep in the brains evolution. My familiar was an optical illusion but not one I had any defense for. The apprehension always hit me conclusively, even after months when I knew what I was looking at. It was always hard, if only for a brief moment, to shake the feeling and see the stick. Even as I remember it now, I find I don't recall it inanimately.   

11:36:22 PM    ;;

Saturday, December 11, 2010
Leak in the Bucket, the bucket a hole

  All this prosecution and really persecution of Wikileaks, not to mention the perverse no-read decrees aimed at federal workers is a little over the top BBC News - Wikileaks diplomatic cables release 'attack on world':. The Air Force has directed that their personnel cannot even access newspapers such as the New York Times or Guardian Air Force Blocks Sites That Posted Secret Cables - These don't look decrees are increasingly aimed even at ordinary citizens by universities cautioning students that even those simply interested in government work ought avoid viewing material in these Wikileak dumps or risk destroying potential careers before they start. Many out there in the academy must believe in a truly bilious level of regime vindictiveness. They may be right in that assumption, or together they may be chasing some obscure prize in absurdity Federal guidance on WikiLeaks raises legal questions - Nextgov.

 All this not even involving highly sensitive military grade secrets, but diplomatic cables at the secret level. I would have greater concern if I read that Assange were releasing Aircraft Carrier PIMs.  The legal apparatus for classification in the US allows for data to be classified at three levels : Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. There really is a fourth level, riding over the latter is the concept of Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) where Top Secrets are restricted to "briefed-in" "need-to-know" communities  Classified information in the United States - Wikipedia. There is a world it is no longer possible to make assessment or judgment of.

  There is an invitation in this to reflect on the meaning of secrecy. Or in Wikileaks antithesis: the trade in non-secrecy. The reaction of the US Government so far has had the characteristic of closing the barn door after the horse has fled. This may reflect no more than the inability of the bureaucratic mind to comprehend the futile non functionality of such a thing as guarding an empty barn. It may make a limited amount of sense as show of discipline done in the name of the principle of order. It may be that the barn isn't empty yet.  There may have been something significant released that hasn't been noticed yet. The meaning of secrecy whatever its original justification becomes the enabling of the unsanctioned, of criminality. A power-game that in its play establishes roles of dominance and subjugation. It isn't going too far to say as Umberto Eco did that the very mundaneness of the majority of these secrets, the obvious and transcendently open nature of the actual information was the most damaging and unforgivable revelation of them all Not such wicked leaks | Presseurop - English. The nakedness of the imperium.

 Wikileak's 2010 leakings have involved the US government almost exclusively. There could be a number of reasons for this. I doubt the US is singularly easy to extract information from, the real answer lies beyond least resistance. Perhaps Wikileaks offers a grudging respect for US rule-of-law. Russia Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, even  Israel,  a short but lively list, a document dump of their national secrets would shorten Assange's life. And that of his associates. So they don't trade in those secrets.

Some will say the US-centric aspect of this indicates the US let some information go, to put disinformation in play. This is unlikely the information leaked made a great deal of difficult, unsatisfactory work for the foreign service. Still while intrigue would not have been the cause, not all of this information may be of the same cloth.

 Assange likes to speak nobly about his imposing the cost of a reputational tax on folks WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: What does he want? - Open societies already grasp the concept, it's just keeping in practice with what's accepted as best.  Glasnost is only a value for those that value Glasnost. For much of the world this would not prod, only provoke.


 Amidst a great wave of pressure governments and corporations are shedding association with Wikileaks faster than you can say pariah. Invoking a weasel layer of differentially applied rules as they do so. In retaliation Wikileaks' roving partisan bands placed Wikileaks into a hall of mirrors WikiLeaks avoids shutdown as supporters worldwide go on the offensive  and launched Operation Payback. An example of large scale hacking (DDoS) attacks moving beyond individual pique and organized crime corporate shakedowns Cyberattackers Focus on Enemies of WikiLeaks's Assange - This is being called the Info Wars, often in terms of advising we are entering an era of info wars WikiLeaks and the Internet's Long War. This certainly is true, although my feeling is the battle will rarely be overt enough to be noticed. These highly public civil disobedience styled attacks are a a dubious rabbit hole. They may be largely ineffective or at most only annoying to an enterprise with an effective IT security section Operation: Payback changes course, may be fizzling out:.

 Broadening this from Wikileaks' alleged sins, to the needs of whistle-blowers or the casting of cleansing light into dark corners in general. What the internet needs is a reliable refuge, a New Hole in the Wall. There were doubts about hosts, revelations on the emptiness of the clouds, concerns regarding the weak link of ISPs. The speed with which the corporate internet has caved to various forms of government pressure and interference in this case and others was notable. The surety of internet resilience against reactive behavior is no longer taken for granted.  Dave Winer, originator of the Userland web logging service, co-developer of RSS, had a couple of posts on Scripting News web log Request for feeds: News orgs with WikiLeaks feeds. the week following the Flash conference How to follow the WikiLeaks story. First for an -like idea for blogosphere permanence and bulwark against intimidation and takedown A Web Trust to publish and store our creative work. Perhaps  as Pirate Bay has considered the internet may even need a new independent root server to continue to fulfill its promise.

 Much of the commentary on Wikileaks descends quickly to commentary on Julian Assange the person. He seems from all evidence to be clever, and given to manifestos. He has his own set of deeds and misdeeds Just What Did Assange Allegedly Do? Details Of Accusations Emerge : The Two-Way : NPR. If he is a lightening rod its that his ego demands it.  His anti-secrecy is a moral stance. Secrecy equals deception deception equals depravity. As the Fortean Times sees it, this world view is even anti-state, anti structure WikiLeaks | Strange Days | Fortean Times. I wouldn't dispute this, at the least I would be surprised to to find he was a poker player, but you never know WikiLeaks Taps Power Of the Press The Media Equation - Cards held close to vest ignite his reason. His passion is an anarchism that approaches nihilism.  

 Moving from ad hominen to ad corpus. Wikileaks own penchant for secrecy is a perverse irony. Their entirety is obscurity and operating from the shadows, with double proxies and full encryption. And because of this, at the end of all the finger-pointing and virtual pushing and shoving. Beyond the accusations, incarcerations, and data blockades the meaning that can be taken away from all this, the only principle that can be extracted from this is nothing. Nothing at all

11:14:23 PM    ;;

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Last update: 12/25/10; 2:04:04 AM.