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Ferdinand Zebua
Internet adventurer extraordinaire! :P
Internet adventurer extraordinaire! :P
Ferdinand's posts

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Shava reviews Snowden (draft)
spoilers, if you can have spoilers in a biopic

OK, it's Hollywood...

Snowden was selected, best I know, for training as a CIA operative despite having no degree because he was 1337. This included physical training. My understanding is that he broke both his legs in a bad landing from a training parachute landing, but that isn't nearly going to go off as sympathetic as a struggling pale pencilneck geek getting yelled at by a basic training sergeant as others pass him in physical training, and then breaking his leg and needing pins in it jumping out of the top bunk.

White boy geeks can't be in good tone, and be sympathetic characters, I guess. They have to be pale, skinny, and out of shape. Clue: you do not get selected for training in a CIA ops program if you are not in at least marginally good physical shape going in. Like, seriously. You have to be the sort of material they would take for one of the academies, not for infantry basic. You especially do not if you don't have a degree, or some other exception that means someone had to vouch for you and get you in as a favor, patronage, or protege pick.

I expect that Snowden, something like me, was selected for his strategic brain. His ability to take things apart and put them together -- to solve intelligence problems and hacking issues faster than a Rubic's Cube. This is not a job that is reduced to SIGINT, but includes HUMINT -- social engineering, physical security, the whole range. Media. Psyops. Everything he used later in helping craft the international response to the information that Binney, Weibe, Stark, EFF and everyone else had never gotten people to pay attention to, that he created his drama around, that couldn't be ignored.

Narrative Intelligence, just as surely as Trump. He went for the heart and the gut of the American and international audience, with an idealistic (I think...) idea that people would clean house if they were really made aware.

Fundamentally, he didn't quite do enough, I'm afraid.

Anyway, Stone did us no service. He painted a character who was just a nice guy caught in a bad system, and at the end of the movie, there is NO CALL TO ACTION. None. He fails everyone involved in the movie.

If his goal is to show Snowden is not a traitor, maybe he does that to a small number of people on the fence.

If he meant to show Snowden's goals, he failed. It isn't even clear from the movie how you would really find out more, unless you read fast.

I have had people come up with really warped interpretations of what the movie is about and who certain characters in it were, and now I understand better why.

I'll probably refine this review later, but this is a first pass. Need to get some food, and mull more.

It was certainly worth the 99 cents I paid to watch it, lol, even as a percentage of income, and fun to go "Look, look, there's the Tor sticker that got us in so much crap!" My friend Woody and I stopped the stream many times for "historical commentary," and that was big fun.

You comment on the comments section of someone else's socmed post, you're a guest at someone else's house. Similar rules & social norms should apply I'd say. And the host always has the right to kick out the guest at any time...

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From Quora: An aspie's guide to small talk
this is how my dad taught me to understand people, lol

Someone upvoted an old answer from 2015 I wrote on Quora on "icebreaker" questions. Most aspies and geeks suck at this because of the lack of authenticity involved -- the advice we get is the rough equivalent of the long despised journalism interview question, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be," which haunted Barbara Walters unjustly for the rest of her career.

But for anyone who's ever watched the BBC production of Sherlock, this is how I take in people -- they are not visual, they are multimedia creatures. They are stories. They are masses of inter-related symbols, which tentatively telegraph meaning. It's for this reason, I've been able to float from fashion to politics to media to entertainment to management and sales/marketing and so on.

People are nexi of denotation and connotation, as individuals and as groups, and whether or not you consciously understand that you think about them in this way, you are doing so all the time. We are meaning-making mammals.

Cultivating conscious control of it is an art, and the center of perennial philosophy, a great deal of political practice, and a million sorts of mechanical schools of sales and marketing self-help books and programs that don't teach anything more than the read-and-manipulate parts.

On a mystical level, when we blend this consciously with love of creation and humanity, we grow closer to God/the divine/enlightenment through compassion. When we use this capacity for personal gain, um, we miss that target -- "missing the target" being the literal translation of the term we translate as "sin" into English. It's phenomenal how easily this basic rule maps across traditions.

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The dynamics of disinformation, propaganda, "fake news," and conspiracy theories can be studied by watching how they spread. This is a summary of a scientific study (by one of its authors, who links the full paper) into this, and it's chock-full of fascinating results. They focused on responses to mass shootings in particular, as these are a favorite target of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy stories, it turns out, spread with a very different pattern than other types of story - and botnets, quasi-replication of stories between sites, and similar patterns of signal manipulation are key to them. This (as well as other interesting commonalities between the sites which propagate these) suggests that there is something systematic and intentional behind these theories: they aren't emerging organically, they're being curated. 

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Unprecedented number of young Russians who've known no president but Putin came to protest him today.

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Washington, of course, has denied any such "invoice" was ever invoiced...

(Yeah, and the ACA is not getting repealed any time soon.)
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