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Kevin C. (KevinC)
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If you're reading this, you're part of the mass hallucination that is Kevin the Blue.
If you're reading this, you're part of the mass hallucination that is Kevin the Blue.

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Wow... Guess we lucked out that a security researcher made that fake not a criminal. Is Equifax even still solvent at this point?

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The Graham-Cassidy ACA roll back bill puts the lives of thousands of people on the line. It really could pass.

Call your Senators: (202) 224-3121.

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I've gotta admit, that's a pretty impressive story. The lack of mountains in the Midwest, and really few portals that are even a long hike, deprives us of a certain element of fielding. We still have boat only portals, some with difficult access restrictions, but at least in my area those are all in one direction, and anything comparable the other direction is much, much further away than the field described here. The Central valley has nothing on crossing the Great Plains for risk of distant blockers.
“The Egg War”

It is a fact well understood that the lines we draw in fielding follow the paths of geography and civilization. Lanes which cut through mountains often follow the lines of tectonic plates; likewise the rivers and valleys which form the geopolitical boundaries of our cities. Less understood is that the lines of the truly great fields are lines through time as well as space; where adventures of the past define the fields of the future in a way that transcends the barriers of simple geography.

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In February of 2013, California Enlightened fielders assembled the first truly ‘hard’ megafield (http://norcalenlightened.blogspot.com/2013/02/operation-redacted_2654.html) composed of remote field anchors with no cellular signal and covering a considerable portion of the northern half of the state. The success of this field raised important questions for the fielding game.

Fields like this required networks of trusted contacts. Who could build the largest of these networks, with the right balance of flexibility and operational security? Blocker elimination had been ad hoc with glacial deltas in clearing. Who could turn this from a craft into project management? Most importantly: who, in the end, would win the arms race for the hardest anchors in the field game?


=

These questions lead the Bay Area’s platinum seer, @technophile, to take a trip by boat to the Farallon Islands [1]. A skilled photographer, his visit was by 400mm lens; the result was two portals on the island, including its historic lighthouse.

Surviving a harrowing journey through the portal appeals community, the Farallons were a tempting target for both field teams -- but with access seemingly only available from the air, it proved elusive as a field anchor for the last three years.

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If the Farallons represented the acme of a difficult portal on the sea, one of the most prodigious mountaineers of the California Enlightened, agent @mercurio chose to apply the same logic to the heights. He summited California’s toughest peaks, including Mt. Whitney (the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states), but also took time to take a seer’s trip to the top of Mt. Russell. A year passed after his trip, and operatives at the NIA agreed that XM readings there indicated the presence of a portal.

With its appearance on the map, he and agent @denoche summited Russell again.

When I asked agent @denoche if he’d be willing to take the trip again, he stated it had tested the limits of his abilities. “I would only again if you told me it was critical.”

@mercurio was more taciturn in his description of the climb:

“Some puckering”

In the years since its capture, the portal remained green, but fielding from it remained an elusive goal. The taller and more easily accessible Mt. Whitney summit portal (less than a kilometer away as the crow flies) became a mainstay of California, Mexico, and Ecuadorian fielding.

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Matters changed this summer when agent @petroholic approached me with an unprecedented opportunity. With deep ties and employment with wildlife programs in California, the wily Blackfish of Tracy had managed to secure a week-long excursion to the Farallons.

“How about a field?” he said.

=

I approached my friend and expected value consultant agent @chipsahoy, and asked if he’d be up for a hike into the Hoover wilderness. Buried there were portals that were one, two, or even three day hikes.They had been used before -- for the longest-standing megafield over the Bay Area.

=

When planning a field, there is a notion of terms in the equation that should be balanced. If you have two challenging anchors, picking a third, easier portal seems to be disharmonious. Easy lanes justify softer anchors, but what lanes might an agent on the Farallons permit?

=

I suggested Mt. Whitney (it has more portals and layers) and the Hoover wilderness as anchors to our field planning team, and was met with some skepticism.


“I don’t think it can be cleared”, doubted @petroholic.
“That’s an … interesting choice”, said someone who looked at the draw and thought I’d taken leave of my senses.
“This is an aggro lane”, said another seasoned veteran.
“That’s straight through San Francisco, and everybody will be out eclipse viewing in Oregon”, warned @katranrocks.
“That’s a terrifically poor lane”, advised Thrakazog, and then added “Sign me up.”

The field was roughly 150 distinct blocker pairs -- at least three times as many as considered sensible to cover this area. Never mind -- @petroholic’s first comment had given me a Kill Bill moment.

Anything is clearable… on a long enough timeline.

Could we clear this field in time?

=

Given the advance notice of the field, we were able to turn our attention to some difficult blockers in the area of the Eastern Sierras.

First was Scotty’s Castle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotty%27s_Castle), a historic tourist destination in Death Valley which had been closed since the “Long Winter” of 2016 had resulted in a once in a century flood which rendered the castle uninhabitable. Closed to the public, local Resistance agents had gotten access through a volunteer program -- leaving the portals potentially blue until the planned re-opening in 2018.

Not to worry -- I knew a guy who knew a guy, and we got a private visit to the castle booked. Agents went on the tour, and were about to capture the portals… when our guide was called away because of a tour bus which had burned to the ground in another part of Death Valley. We wouldn’t have a chance to go back until a month after the Farallons trip.

Not to worry; within a day we were able to crowdfund a flight over the castle with desert hounds @denoche, @phonr, and @booga up in the air -- many passes and just a few Jarvis viruses later, the portals were clear.

=

For Mt. Whitney, I had the formidable @wellhungjury planning a summit the weekend before the Farallons trip. A veteran of ironmans and a survivor of the Badwater Basin ultraman (which takes participants from the lowest point in the lower 48 states to the highest) lined up. A near-perfect specimen of the California athlete, I judged odds of success as very high. Unfortunately, as he neared the summit, his hiking buddy got altitude sickness within 250 feet of the summit.

Choosing safety first, the portals remained blue.

Not to worry; we had another climber summiting on the Thursday of the Farallons trip. Access to camping on Mt. Whitney is the result of a lottery for permits; agent @racer42 was lined up to hit the peak.

The trip was flawless, and all the Whitney portals were returned to Enlightened control.

“Great”, I said, “That solves that problem.”

Mid-day Friday, a Resistance agent appeared at the top of Mt. Whitney. Our bad luck; the random number generators of our universes are fickle and not always kind.

Fortunately, when I had met @petroholic before his trip I had given him keys to Mt. Russell.

A rule of California fielding: always have another mountain.

=

When planning the field, another operator friend of mine mentioned a terrifying fact to me: “Hey, so you know the Farallons? It turns out there’s a Resistance agent who goes out there a few times every year.”

“But if that’s true”, I said, “why hasn’t he capped it?”.

As part of our due diligence, I asked a contact near this agent’s home if he’d seen him active.

“Seen him?”, said @subcmdrtau, on his way to Idaho for the eclipse, “Sure! I just met him in Reno on the way to Burning Man.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Already on the island, @petroholic mentioned, “Hey so they mentioned their networking guy is going to be coming out here for a few days -- and this guy mentioned Ingress just like me.”

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime”, said Petro, “So it’s ok if we don’t field.”

“Look”, I said, “this is a question about the sort of people we are. Who are we if we go to the Farallons and don’t field?”

I re-read the Wikipedia article on the sunk cost fallacy, and thought it was time to roll the dice.

=

Any field op is extremely sensitive to small things going wrong. I was explaining how there could be rare, black swan type events to some people clearing for us, and how any field op was really a gamble.

Our job as planners is to minimize risks.

Even with the harder blockers removed, this field was a terror. We had to shoot straight through the center of San Francisco and through the dense parts of Alameda, Oakland, San Mateo, and the far east bay. For that, we’d need an army of clearers.

Trickier than the city though was the countryside -- the big empty of California’s Central Valley. There we had some of our most dedicated and relentless fielders; but also the most empty terrain across which a blocker could be thrown at any time.

Most critical was the area near Fresno, which was guarded by Resistance agents with hair trigger instincts when it came to linking. Fortunately, there we caught a break; the other team had sewn the lane shut with a spray of links from a casino.

That portal was a bit of a gem; access required signing up for a hand of poker to get access to the wifi network to hit the portal. Agent @triplb described the situation to me, and then volunteered to try his hand. I asked how it had gone on his last visit, and he had pictures of him flashing green bills.

He sat playing hands of cards as we made a bet that our luck would hold out.

On the peninsula, veteran and first time clear teams tore a hole through Half Moon Bay. In San Francisco, SF point of contact agent @katranrocks rallied nearly a double dozen San Francisco agents to drill straight into the densest green links in the city. In the rest of the Central Valley, the rangers of Charlie-08 drove dusty roads and guarded remote towns to keep the lane open. Agents from Southern California had flown a plane and hiked the tallest mountain in the lower 48 to see this field done.

And on the Farallons, agent @petroholic got to close a field from a lighthouse.

It was, after all, California.

=

With less than an hour before checkpoint, we waited with bated breath: would this alleged Resistance player on the lighthouse strike? @Petroholic and the rest of the operator team stood ready, but the agent never materialized.

For now, our gamble had paid off -- literally for agent @triplb, who had tripled his winnings at the table.

=

With a double set of layers up, the next logical step was to add a layer from one of the portals on the way out of the Hoover wilderness -- with a lane barely 80m north of the last, this seemed like the obvious choice. As we watched the Resistance throw small blockers across this narrow patch of ground, we instead turned to the north, and went forward with our plan to field Sacramento.

With resources devoted to the original field, it took up to two hours for our clear teams to re-position on the new lane and get in position. Coming after checkpoint, less attention was paid to the lane, and the situation looked good.

Our next critical issue: dinner time.

After a long day of gruelling physical work, agent @petroholic was on a schedule to eat food on the Farallons, so had a defined time window for dinner. Our teams were in position, and we were left hanging as we wanted for him to get back in touch.

As we did, we watched a prominent Resistance fielder show up at a hike portal in northern California that had been cleared the day before. On low signal, our agents were able to recharge against her for a full ten minutes. Finally with no shields remaining, the portal was lost -- and the tension was palpable as the Resistance agent dropped one reso over a protracted period of minutes.

Would they link and close our lane?

The first mod down was a heat sink; they had come to hack for keys.

Another local operator warned us that this agent actually had a favorite portal to link from -- further back up the trail. Speaking with confidence, she warned us that the chance of a blocker was high. We made the call to throw our own counter-blocker; with other Resistance still trying to block the other layer, we gambled (again) that they would not see our lane and take some more drastic action.

Simultaneously, we awaited word from the Farallons. Had the internet failed? Power outage? Not-so-freak bird attack?

None of these things: Agent @petroholic was buried in deep fog as he walked to the portal, and had been exercising care on his ascent.

He chimed in at what seemed the last possible moment, and we cleared with immediacy and Sacramento was covered.

=

The portal submission and journey to the Farallons, the ascent of multiple 14,000 feet mountains, and the wilderness acumen to spend multiple days in the wilderness were the result of a fielding culture which prizes research, adventurous portals and recruiting the agents who are willing and able to seek them out.

Clearing one of the most torturous lanes in Bay Area fielding history was made possible by a community which believes in tight coordination for fields. Operators from all over the state helped out; One of San Francisco’s anomaly point of contacts lead an entire city to clear, while the other operated all day on the densest lane. Some agents camped overnight; others stood in the pitch dark and cold fog of an island. Wagers were placed, and adventures were had.

It was a new field in California.

=

Where to next?

The same place where we’ve always been going:

The hardest anchors, the unexpected lanes, and the most daring adventures.

=

If you liked this story and we sound like your sort of people, we invite you to join the Enlightened in San Francisco on December 2nd and we’ll finish the fight at the last anomaly of Q4.

http://enl.rocks/sf2017

#farallons #finishthefight #sf #enl #eggwar #sitreps

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farallon_Islands
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_War

+Sarah New​​ +Kate Magary​​ +Paul Woodward​​ +Marc G​​ +Kevin Wojta​​ +Snow White​​ +Christy Kidd​​ +Jeremy G​​ +Darcy Bowen​​ +Bryant Durrell​​ +Pongo Lyn​​

+Andrew Krug​​
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Holy shit... "Virtually any Android, Linux, or Windows device that hasn't been recently patched and has Bluetooth turned on can be compromised by an attacking device within 32 feet."

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Very interesting approach!
Moving Beyond the Turing Test with the Allen AI Science Challenge

The field of artificial intelligence has made great strides recently, as in AlphaGo's victories in the game of Go over world champion South Korean Lee Sedol in March 2016 and top-ranked Chinese Go player Ke Jie in May 2017, leading to great optimism for the field. But are we really moving toward smarter machines, or are these successes restricted to certain classes of problems, leaving others untouched? In 2015, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) ran its first Allen AI Science Challenge, a competition to test machines on an ostensibly difficult task—answering eighth-grade science questions. Our motivations were to encourage the field to set its sights more broadly by exploring a problem that appears to require modeling, reasoning, language understanding, and commonsense knowledge in order to probe the state of the art while sowing the seeds for possible future breakthroughs....Our goal with the Allen AI Science Challenge was to operationalize one such test—answering science-exam questions. Clearly, the Science Challenge is not a full test of machine intelligence but does explore several capabilities strongly associated with intelligence—capabilities our machines need if they are to reliably perform the smart activities we desire of them in the future, including language understanding, reasoning, and use of common-sense knowledge. Doing well on the challenge appears to require significant advances in AI technology, making it a potentially powerful way to advance the field. Moreover, from a practical point of view, exams are accessible, measurable, understandable, and compelling. One of the most interesting and appealing aspects of science exams is their graduated and multifaceted nature; different questions explore different types of knowledge, varying substantially in difficulty, especially for a computer.

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On the Media's Breaking News Handbook, Storm Edition

For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news, because the story arc is predictable, and invariably compelling. In the latest edition of our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks, we examine the myths, misleading language, and tired media narratives that clog up news coverage at a time when clarity can be a matter of life and death.



I'd like to note my own addition to the failures: satire or potentially distracting or unclear items posted. There was an example of this following Hurricane Harvey of an image showing an airport with water surrounding jet airliners. At first glance, it could be taken for an actual image of damage in the Houston area. In fact, it was from a several-years-old warning scenario dramatising what the impact of rising sea levels on what turned out to be La Guardia Airport in New York City might be. Neither the image nor the post contexts I saw this in made that clear.

It took several attempts to draw the attention of one person I'd followed on G+ for some time to make him realise what he was doing wrong. I've unfollowed him as a consequence -- if you cannot post responsibly, I will not follow you.


http://www.wnyc.org/story/breaking-news-consumers-handbook-american-storm-edition

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