Friday, February 18, 2022

In response to Doc's story of the Story

Doc Searls was at it again back in 2018 doing a Ted Talk. His story rhymes with his overall message, and the things he wrote back then. I think it's time to examine how events have evolved since then.

*This story is me revising and extending my reply on Facebook. (It's buried in the comments, don't bother)

Doc worried about the lost center in coverage of the news, and overall discussion. I too feel the loss. There's an old saying, "The Net treats Censorship as Damage, and routes around it". I think that it takes time in the world of atoms, but that John Gilmore was right.

Communications, Data Storage, and Compute infrastructure have grown exponentially with the commercialized internet. The physical costs of producing and sharing content have fallen to almost zero. It's not perfect, and there are some left out, but for the most part anyone can be online, and have a say in the world.

In response to the visible failure of advertising driven funding, crowd funding now is filling in the missing channel of support to keep those who wish to share on the internet going. A number of new journalists are arising. Some of them cover things traditionally called news. It's not perfect, and there are bits of censorship creeping in around the edges, but it is working.

For me, my most trusted news sources at the moment are spread across YouTube. It makes it possible for me to give authority to my choices, make them my authoritative sources. I'm filling in that lost center with the people who I think can best tell me what I need to know, and why others tell the stories they do.

Now, having a centrist view does make discussions with those entrained in the left/right thought bubbles frustrating at times, but who knows, maybe we'll all pull the center back together?

Here's how I approach news gathering in 2022.

I'd heard from the mainstream that leaks in via friends that there was a ruckus brewing over Ukraine. For this story, most trusted sources were Beau of the Fifth Column, Breaking Points with Krystal and Sagaar, and Robb Law.

To be really sure, I stuck with first hand imaging via a list of live webcams across Ukraine. It was fairly easy to be certain no invasion was feared by the locals as they went about skiing in Ivano-Frankivsk, walking across Sophia Square in Kiev, or Pysanka museum (also in Ivano-Frankivsk).

For practical advice, matters of instruction, the future is really here. You can learn all manner of technical facts and skills. There are some limitations I've noticed, for instance one channel on machining had a really great multi-part series on the intricacies of making a part of a fyre arm, which he was forced to remove. I have no desire to actually do that, but there were a number of creative methods used, like using a quill of a milling machine as a vertical broach, and this was an outstanding example of why you would do it. That knowledge is now walled off, and considered tainted by association.

I've long stated that our computers aren't safe because of a design flaw at their core. I now believe that this censorious tendency in the chain of payment is a similar danger.

It remains to be seen how we'll route around it.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Let's choose a better timeline

 I believe in this causal chain,

  • Computers are insecure
  • Which many bad actors find profit in exploiting
  • Which makes new web sites a risk
  • Which makes users prefer their known "safe" spaces
  • Which leads to walled gardens
  • Which then sell the "users" for profit to advertisers
  • Which incentivizes dark behavior of those walled gardens
  • Which then attract the rentier class
  • Which then leverage control for more power

I believe this causal chain can be broken by fixing computer security. The necessary research was done in the 1970s. The Bell-Lapadula model [1] in 1973 was one of the significant results.

The Principle of Least Privilege [2] was adopted in the Unix system in a weak form. The superuser (root) account was a special privilege, which administrators and code was supposed to use as little as possible.

There were (are???) implementations of a multi-level secure systems, which saw limited application in the military, and briefly elsewhere. However, for general use, the root/user separation was widely seen as good enough.

There are now efforts to fully extend operating systems so that they can provide tools so that the users can also use the Principle of Least Privilege. I believe that eventually it will be as easy to use these as more conventional systems.

In these systems, no default permissions are given when running a program, the allowed resources, also known as capabilities, must be specified. This is similar to deciding which bank notes you are going to hand to a cashier, instead of handing over your wallet. It is up to US to demand that it be as easy for any user to do so, in a transparent way.

It is my hope, that should this model be accepted, a new causal chain will arise

  • Computers will be made secure
  • Which users will grow to trust
  • Which will allow experimentation
  • Which allows new ways of communicating
  • Which don't require corporate sponsorship
  • Which doesn't require the rentier class
  • Which helps innovation
  • Which helps society

1 -

2 -

Sunday, February 06, 2022

My life's principle

 I just watched this --> Brett Victor - Inventing on principle. In this video, he demonstrates some things he's done with computers and programming that are quite impressive to me. He does this as an illustration of the idea of living according to a principle, or more correctly, causing a new principle to be brought into the world.  After explaining with the examples from his own work, he goes on to discuss some other notable people, and the principles they brought to the world.

Watching that video gave me a moment of clarity. I'm writing it up now, and I'll work on the wording over time, but here's a rough sketch of my principle that I intend to bring to the world.

No person should ever be forced to blindly trust a computer to do the right thing.  Computing shouldn't be either blindly trust the black box, or get nothing done.

Nobody hands over their wallet to buy an ice cream cone, you can just take the exact change out and pay.
It would be extraordinary for a competent adult to hand their wallet or purse to a clerk, and trust them to take the correct amount of money, and make the appropriate change.

It should be just as extraordinary to give a program you wish to run access to ALL of your files. You should be able just pick a file, or folder, source, destination, whatever resource you deem appropriate, and let the program have those resources, and nothing else!

You should be able to completely trust that nothing else was given to the program behind the scenes.

This is widely regarded as impossible to do. I intend to change that. I know it can be done. I have to convince everyone else.

I reject the Left and the Right

We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union, recognized that in order to have a well informed population, capable of intelligently governing itself, must have a freedom of the press, and freedom of expression.

We saw the dangers of Nazi book burning, and rightly teach in school that is something that open and free societies do not do.

We saw the dangers of an official press, such as Pravda, in the Soviet Union, and we rightly agree that a free press, and freedom of expression are a cornerstone of the American Identity. They are a foundation of our strength, and not a weakness.

Now I see friends who support one or the other of these forms of censorship. 

Conservatives support the banning of teaching students history and other truths that are hard for their parents to come to terms with.

Liberals who want to set up an official truth, a new American Ministry of Truth, with Fauci at its head, which must never be questioned, lest the plague caused by the unclean, sub-human, enemy be brought to the good, Covid fearing, Woke masses.

I reject both the Woke Left, and the Trump as Fuhrer Right.

Don't you dare call me either, this is MY Country, the United States of America. We're quite capable of sorting out shit on our own through fierce debate among free citizens. It is our duty to stand up, and call out those who would shackle us.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

My reply to a vital but boring Congressional Inquiry

This is my statement in response to


I am Michael Warot, a US Citizen residing in Munster, Indiana.

In regard to question 3:  It is my observation that "voluntary" copyright enforcement mechanisms are being used as a means of censorship by parties who wish to prohibit criticism of themselves or their content in a form.  The fair use exemption of copyright law requires careful consideration, and can not be automated, nor should it be.  

Therefor, as concerns question 7: I believe that legislation should be undertaken to prohibit the automation of copyright infringement claims. While it may be reasonable to automate a screening process, if content is deemed to infringe copyright, the name of a US Citizen who made the decision, their reason for the decisions, and the time/date of their decision, and if they are employed by a corporation to make that decision, the name and contact information of that superior should ALL be part of a public record, to be made available in bulk to the US public to help use provide oversight of the process.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.