A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for December, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

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Have a great Christmas and remember the reason for the season: Odin.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am

I’m Available for Picking Lottery Ticket Numbers

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Remember when I said Sony pulling The Interview was a marketing gimmick and it would be releasing it in theaters? I was right:

According to LA Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno Sony Pictures has confirmed the plan, and indie theaters “are lining up” to show North Korea’s least-favorite movie while CEO Michael Lynton is trying to get the widest release possible. Citing anonymous sources, several outlets have reported the plans include a video-on-demand release, and will be announced publicly later today.

This “limited” release will turn into a full on release after patrons flood the theaters showing it because they want to see the “banned” movie.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Police Finally Told to Act as They Always Should Have Been

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With the recent wave of opposition to the violent gangs commonly referred to as police many departments are finally telling their officers to act like they always should have been:

Police around the nation have gone on high alert, told by higher-ups and union representatives to wear bulletproof vests, keep off social media and make arrests only in cases most pressing and crucial to the safety of the public at large.

Emphasis mine. Assuming we’re happy living in a society where a handful of individuals hold power over everybody else, the handful of individuals tasked with oppressing everybody else should refrain from kidnapping unless it is absolutely necessary to protect people. If this recent surge of protests accomplishes nothing else, and assuming police officers actually begin heeding this advice (which they won’t), they will finally be doing what they should have been doing all along. I find it funny how this is considered a dire circumstance by so many officers. That really says everything there is to say.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am

The Scope of the North Korea Internet Outage

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I’m sure many of you are aware of the Internet outage in North Korea. An entire country’s Internet service disrupted? On paper this may sound impressive, it may even sound like retaliation by another nation state for a hack North Korea had nothing to do with. But the outage isn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds:

Chris Nicholson, a spokesman for Akamai, an Internet content delivery company, said it was difficult to pinpoint the origin of the failure, given that the company typically sees only a trickle of Internet connectivity from North Korea. The country has only 1,024 official Internet protocol addresses, though the actual number may be a little higher. That is fewer than many city blocks in New York have. The United States, by comparison, has billions of addresses.

1,024 official Internet protocol addresses for an entire nation? Damn. Obviously there aren’t a lot of connected people in that country (shocker, I know). According to Bloomberg the attack is directed at North Korea’s domain name service servers, which is cheap enough pretty much anybody could do it:

Such attacks flood Internet servers with traffic to knock infrastructure offline. In North Korea’s case, the attack appears to be aimed at the country’s domain-name service system, preventing websites from being able to resolve Internet addresses, Holden said.

It’s unlikely the attack is being carried out by the U.S., as any hacker could probably spend $200 to do it, Holden said.

This is most likely an attack being carried out by a bored teenager with a small botnet than a nation state. Then again with Sony’s recent behavior it wouldn’t surprise me a whole lot if it was doing this.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 23rd, 2014 at 10:30 am

Posted in News You Need to Know

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Sony isn’t Happy Until the Entire Internet Hates It

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Sony has been on the Internet’s shit list at least since it included a rootkit on one of its audio CDs back in 2005. While nothing it has done since then has been as egregious in my opinion the company also hasn’t done anything to improve its image. Removing the feature on the PlayStation 3 that let you install Linux certainly didn’t go over well with people who paid for it.

Based on Sony’s reputation it shouldn’t surprise anybody that it was targeted for one hell of a nasty hack. But it still hasn’t learned its lesson. Since the hack Sony has been a really poor sport. It tried using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in a futile attempt to stop the data stolen in the hack from spreading. Now Sony is threatening to sue Twitter if it doesn’t ban accounts sharing stolen data:

Sony’s battle on people disseminating its hacked and leaked emails has extended from news outlets to random Twitter users to, now, Twitter itself. Sony’s lawyer has threatened Twitter with legal action if the social networking company doesn’t ban accounts that are sharing the leaks, according to emails obtained by Motherboard.

The letter—sent from David Boies, the lawyer Sony has hired to help guide it through the aftermath of the hack, to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel—says that if “stolen information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner,” Sony will “hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by Twitter.”

The only thing shenanigans like this will get Sony is more wrath from the Internet. At this point the only sane thing for Sony to do is admit defeat and work on tightening its security so this doesn’t happen for a third time. Once data has leaked onto the Internet there is no way to stop it from propagating. It’s not even possible to slow the rate of propagation in any meaningful way. The Internet exists to disseminate information. Any attempt to prevent it from doing that will not end well for you.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 am

Everything I Care to Say About the Officers Killed in New York

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Yes, I oppose modern policing. Yes, I believe the entire system of policing as it exists in this country should be abolished. Yes, I am an anarchist. Apparently these aspects of my life make my opinion on the two officers killed in New York City interesting because people have been asking for my thoughts on it all weekend.

Obviously I don’t support killing cops just because they’re cops. Killing, in my opinion, is only justified in immediate self-defense when no other option is left.

What I find fascinating about this case are the reactions from the tough-on-crime crowd. When Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed these people immediately began scouring Brown and Garner’s social media presence and criminal records to find any amount of dirt that would help assassinate their characters. This was done so that the actions of the cops who killed them could be justified and the bullshit hero narrative surrounding police officers could be maintained.

This time the very same people are flooding social media with claims that Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the officers killing in New York City, were heroes and lost their lives defending ours. I don’t know the history of the two officers and the tough-on-crime crowd calling them heroes aren’t posting any examples of their heroic behavior. What I do know is that none of the tough-on-crime people that were digging up dirt in a pathetic attempt to character assassinate Brown and Garner are trying to dig up dirt on Liu and Ramos. Funny how that works.

That’s seriously all I have to say on the matter. It may actually surprise some of you to know that people being killed bothers me on an emotional level and I don’t like talking about it. Sadly it happens with such frequency that it’s impossible to avoid talking about.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 am

Posted in Side Notes

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It’s Only Perjury What It Doesn’t Work In The Oligarch’s Favor

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Lying under oath during a trail is considered a crime. However it, like all crimes, is selectively enforced. If you look through cases of perjury, both prosecuted and dismissed, a trend seems to exist. When the oligarchs get the result they want perjury seems to go unnoticed but when things don’t go their way they’re quick to get revenge. It has been revealed that several witnesses in the grand jury trail of Darren Wilson knowingly lied about what they saw but are going unpunished, probably because Darren Wilson wasn’t charged:

On Monday, the Smoking Gun published a story revealing the identity and troubled history of “Witness 40,” a woman whose elaborate story of witnessing Brown’s death was allegedly taken from newspaper accounts. The woman, who told investigators that she is racist, bi-polar and has raised money for Wilson, approached prosecutors five weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting. In a journal entry that she showed the grand jury, the woman said she had driven through Ferguson at the time of the shooting “so I stop calling Blacks N—— and Start calling them People.”

Another witness, according to The Washington Post, described Brown on his hands knees pleading for his life. “What you are saying you saw isn’t forensically possible based on the evidence,” a prosecutor said. That witness, The Post noted, later asked to leave.

Nonetheless, McCulloch told KTRS host McGraw Milhaven that he will not pursue perjury charges. He said he thought it was more important for the grand jury to “hear everything” and assess each witnesses’ credibility on their own.

It’s unlikely that the decision would have been different if the lying witnesses hadn’t testified because grand juries have a habit of charging everybody except cops. But it’s important to acknowledge this because it’s an example of the state once again selectively enforcing its laws.

This post shouldn’t be construed as me saying the lying witnesses should be charged. I don’t believe they should. The state is an illegitimate entity to which nobody should be expected to tell the truth to. In fact you should lie to the state as much as you feel you can get away with because that’s the best way to avoid some of its extortion.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 22nd, 2014 at 10:30 am

Monday Metal: F.E.V.E.R. by Orden Ogan

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Are you ready for some German power metal? If you’re not then you’re on the wrong page. This week we’re going to listen to the new song from Orden Ogan. It’s also accompanied by a cool music video that’s a bit on the creepy side (which is what one should expect from Germans):

Written by Christopher Burg

December 22nd, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in Media

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Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

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Sony, in what I predict to be a brilliant marketing move, has cancelled what was certainly going to be a shitty movie. This has gotten the expected, and likely desired, result of unleashing a great deal of impotent Internet rage. Not one to let a crisis go to waste the politicians in Washington DC are swooping in like vultures. First United States officials claimed that the hack was almost certainly performed by North Korea. Now senators are using that claim to justify the necessity of a “cyber security” (a meaningless term) bill:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) also said that the choice set a “troubling precedent” in cyberwarfare. “The administration’s failure to deter our adversaries has emboldened, and will continue to embolden, those seeking to harm the United States through cyberspace,” he said in a statement. He reiterated promises to focus on the issue if elected chair of the Armed Services Committee, including plans to create a subcommittee for cybersecurity issues. “Congress as a whole must also address these issues and finally pass long-overdue comprehensive cybersecurity legislation,” he said. McCain has been pushing cybersecurity bills for years, including the Secure IT Act, a competitor to the controversial CISPA bill.

In a statement on Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a major proponent of cybersecurity and author of multiple bills, said that “this is only the latest example of the need for serious legislation to improve the sharing of information between the private sector and the government to help companies strengthen cybersecurity. We must pass an information sharing bill as quickly as possible next year.”

There are three points I would like to bring up.

First, there is no evidence that North Korea was involved in the Sony hack. All we have are statements made by United States officials. Remember that United States officials also told us that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Second, the reason people like McCain and Feinstein want to pass a “cyber security” bill is because it would further enable private corporations, the same private corporations that currently possess a great deal of your personal information, to share data with the federal government without facing the possibility of legal liability. What members of Congress are referring to as “cyber security” bills are more accurately called surveillance bills.

Third, legislation won’t improve computer security. No matter how many “cyber security” bills are passed the fact of the matter is that bills are merely words on pieces of paper and words on pieces of paper have no ability to effect the world by themselves. What you need are experts in computer security doing their job and that is done by enticing them with rewards (often referred to as paying them) for utilizing their skills. Legislation doesn’t do that, markets do. The only thing legislation does is state who the state will send armed thugs after if their desires are not properly met.

The Dangers of Being a Cop

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With all of the recent reports of police abuse there has been a notable amount of backlash against police officers. The tough on crime crowd has been pointing out that cops have a dangerous job and they’re right. At any point an officer could be required to put himself at risk of a heart attack by having to physically exert him or herself to chase down a perp:

Their job is to protect and serve – but it seems some police officers interpret this as an excuse to enjoy too many extra servings at the lunch table.

A study has revealed US cops have the highest rates of obesity among any profession in the country.

Along with firefighters and security guards, nearly 41 per cent of boys in blue are obese, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

This probably explains why cops are so quick to use deadly force. There’s no way many of them could possibly chase down a perp so they have to resort to the only tool that can, their sidearm.

And for those wondering the answer is yes. I’m more than willing to go for the easy fat joke when it’s against members of violent gangs.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 19th, 2014 at 10:30 am