That’s the purpose.

Continuing the theme of previous item, examining modern shit by trying to transpose it to an earlier era.

I’ve got Github updates on my mind today because I just finished shaving an especially dirty yak.

I’m cranking up my courseware-making tools for a new edition. One of my processing programs depends on the PIL image-handling module. I lost PIL from my main Python folder last year when a computer failed, and didn’t need it until now. PIL has now been replaced by a “new” and “improved” module called PILLOW, which doesn’t work with Python 2.7 because EOL or some such shit. PIL has now been memoryholed in all the ‘official’ archives. After figuring this out, I wandered around and found the correct installer for the real PIL in an obscure place.

Everything in every network is updated constantly, and all of the updates are connected. When one item in the chain updates, it effectively DESTROYS all the other members of the chain, which then must revise their own code to fit the new fashion. And every update makes every product WEAKER, not stronger. For instance, every update to the audio editor Audacity restricts the types of audio formats it will handle. When a format goes EOL, it doesn’t matter how many clips are still around using the format; you’re not allowed to touch it.

= = = = =

This concept doesn’t transpose to earlier eras at all. Before the computer age, there were only two common types of updates to an existing product, and neither was automatic or destructive.

[For clarity, updating an existing product is not the same thing as offering a new product. Every product, from wines to books to cars, tries to offer new vintages or editions or models as often as possible. Planned obsolescence makes you want the new, but it doesn’t  alter or delete the old.]

(1) Cars have been updated since the 1930s. When the maker decides that a new car has a SERIOUS bug that will cause quick failure or accidents, dealers receive instructions and parts for the repair, and dealers reach out to the buyers. Recalls were legally required in the ’60s, but the process was already well established.

(2) Catalogs and handbooks issued frequent Supplements of changed product details or prices. This was mostly at the business-to-business level, not retail. If you were a regular buyer of gears or wires or switches, you’d have a big annual handbook from the maker, plus an accumulating stack of monthly revisions. Often the big book was loose-leaf so you could replace old pages with new. (This resembles the pre-Github practice of voluntary updates to software.)

I can only think of one retail relationship involving updated publications. When you bought a complete Encyclopedia, you received annual Supplements or Yearbooks. These included new scientific or cultural developments plus errata for the permanent book.

The B2B nature of older updates gives a clue about the purpose of the new updates. Larger businesses can handle frequent changes in specs or prices. They have clerks and office managers to deal with such crap.

A casual user who isn’t trying to ACCOMPLISH anything may be annoyed by auto-updates, and will have to pay unnecessary money, but he doesn’t have an AMORTIZED TOOLBOX of homemade tools and developed skills. When the current version of his favorite videogame reaches EOL, he buys the new version automatically and goes on playing.

A small business, or an individual trying to get shit done, is SWAMPED by the constant chain of updates. I have to spend about 1/5 of my time figuring out how to keep my TOOLS working despite constant weakening and prohibitions in the chain of subtools.

That’s the purpose. Increasing chaos and complexity is hard for everyone, but it’s deadly for small businesses. This trick has been employed in regulations and tax laws for centuries, and now it’s employed in software.

= = = = =

Just for fun, here’s my unedited worklog for the shaving.

For variety, let's detour to other parts of the project.  Convert some
of the worksheet LSNS to HTML and check them on ScormCloud.

Yak shaving!

Made shortcut for svg-convert.  It needs JPGlist.dat, which must be made
by JPGlist-maker.  And in turn the JPGlist-maker needs to have PIL
installed in the Python27 folder.

This is a huge yak.  PIL won't install on a 64-bit computer, so had to
use the newer Pillow.  It comes close to installing but needs VC REDIST
9.0 or something.

No, didn't need that.  Just needed the trick that I had used earlier for numpy:


The jpglist-maker starts but doesn't do anything yet, for ordinary
non-yak reasons.  There are several specific folder refs that need to be
changed, and the JPGs need to be copied into one of those specific

Filled in those folders.

Now the jpglistmaker py starts, but hits 'imaging_C module not found'
Checking online....

AHA.  Finally found a correct and usable installer for the real PIL, not
the fake PILLOW.  Installed, and immediately the jpglistmaker worked and
generated the Txt and Dat files.  Saved the correct PIL installer to USB
for security.

The URL is

Now return to the main SVG-convert and see what else it needs.  Trying
with 90-01, the first of the worksheets.  It errs at the first ref to a
JPG.  It wants the filenames in the JpgsNeeded folder to be lowercase,
so I changed them and reran the jpglist-maker.

Now the svg-convert works, and made the complete set of htmls and css.
I moved them into a new folder, and now it works fully.

Hmm. My unedited private writing is identical to my edited public writing here on the blog, except that I cuss more in public. So in this context edit means Insert ‘fucking’ in every sentence.

Squirrels all over the place!

As usual we have a clusterfuck of misdirections about inflation.

The media and their DNC bosses are straightforwardly blaming Putin’s reclaiming of Russian territory for our 40-year internal destruction of our own economy. This is so blatantly stupid that nobody is bothering to discuss or refute it. Everyone recognizes that inflation has been rising for many years.

The bitcoiners and Bloomberg are taking a more subtle approach. Bitcoin and Wall Street are the same people, so it’s not surprising that their explanations are similar.

The failing bitcoin “banks” are copying and pasting this line:

The company then posted an announcement that they would be “pausing all withdrawals” due to “extreme market conditions last week and continued uncertainty involving a counterparty”.

‘Extreme market conditions’ means ‘Return to normal market conditions.’

‘Uncertainty with counterparty’ means ‘Our Wall Street investors no longer have free money from the central banks, so they’re absconding with our capital.’

Bloomberg is a bit more detailed and far more arrogant:

Americans are facing a painful drop in the higher living standards brought by ultra-low interest rates and a technology revolution. It had to end sometime.

We shudder to think what life was like in the 1980s or 90s, when air-conditioning was still a luxury, as were dishwashers; people had to defrost their freezers, we were tied to landlines, and homes had only one or two televisions — and they weren’t even flatscreens. The smartphone may not be the game changer that indoor plumbing was, but just stop and count all the ways it’s smoothed out the kinks in your daily struggle.

In the first fucking place they’ve misstated the timeline by 30 years. Air-conditioning was universal in the places where it’s really needed by 1970, not 2000. Autodefrost was also universal by 1970, not 2000. Dishwashers are not universal and not a convenience. I’ve never used one, but apparently they require the same labor as manual washing and far more time. Bigger televisions aren’t better, they just monopolize your visual field more effectively. Landlines have higher-quality sound and more reliable connections than cellphones.

In the second fucking place, American living standards have been dropping off the cliff since 1970 because Wall Street has been SLAUGHTERING US. Wall Street, in league with the government, has been steadily shipping all real jobs to China and removing all investment from real business.

Low interest rates played a big part in destroying real investment. When individuals and businesses are encouraged to save, they can take risks on real business, and maintain a business or farm through lean years. ZIRP pulls all money into the stock market where it serves no purpose except making JPMorgan richer. ZIRP also shapes people toward living on credit, which is infinitely more vulnerable to bad times and bad bankers.

The tech revolution did NOT improve American lives. It improved Chinese lives. Americans switched from TV and radio and newspapers to cellphone-based “information” and “entertainment”. Neither form is superior in terms of life quality. The only real difference is that cellphones make it possible for Deepstate to know everything we’re doing at all hours of the day.

Right fucking now I’m listening to a perfect summation of the problem. A friend of a neighbor is living in his car, parked in front of the neighbor’s house, and using the bathroom and kitchen when needed. He spends most of his time in the car, playing videogames on his cellphone. Beep beep beep bong bong bong.

In the previous “low-quality” life he would have been working in a factory. Not much fun but it would have paid him enough to support a wife and kids in a house. Now a man of his education and intellect has no hope at all.

Brits understand demons 2

Neil Thomas, writing a defense of intelligent design, mentioned the old British satirist Thomas Peacock, who had summarized all such arguments in 1845. I hadn’t heard of Peacock, so found the book Headlong Hall and read the first few chapters. The characters are the best part; the action seemed to get a bit repetitive.

Three characters are riding in a stagecoach toward an invited dinner.

Foster the perfectibilian:

Mr. Foster, who, we must observe, was a thin gentleman, about thirty years of age, with an aquiline nose, black eyes, white teeth, and black hair — took occasion to panegyrize the vehicle in which they were then travelling, and observed what remarkable improvements had been made in the means of facilitating intercourse between distant parts of the kingdom: he held forth with great energy on the subject of roads and railways, canals and tunnels, manufactures and machinery: “In short,” said he, “every thing we look on attests the progress of mankind in all the arts of life, and demonstrates their gradual advancement towards a state of unlimited perfection.”

Escot the deteriorationist:

Mr. Escot, who was somewhat younger than Mr. Foster, but rather more pale and saturnine in his aspect, here took up the thread of the discourse, observing that the proposition just advanced seemed to him perfectly contrary to the case, “For these improvements, as you call them, appear to me only so many links in the great chain of corruption, which will soon fetter the whole human race in irreparable slavery and incurable wretchedness: your improvements proceed in a simple ratio, while the factitious wants and unnatural appetites they engender proceed in a compound one; and thus one generation acquires fifty wants, and fifty means of supplying them are invented, which each in its turn engenders two new ones; so that the next generation has a hundred, the next two hundred, the next four hundred, till every human being becomes such a helpless compound of perverted inclinations, that he is altogether at the mercy of external circumstances, loses all independence and singleness of character, and degenerates so rapidly from the primitive dignity of his sylvan origin, that it is scarcely possible to indulge in any other expectation, than that the whole species must at length be exterminated by its own infinite imbecility and vileness.

Jenkison the status-quo-ite:

“Your opinions,” said Mr. Jenkison, a round-faced little gentleman of about forty-five, seem to differ toto cælo. I have often debated the matter in my own mind, pro and con, and have at length arrived at this conclusion — that there is not in the human race a tendency either to moral perfectibility or deterioration; but that the quantities of each are so exactly balanced by their reciprocal results, that the species, with respect to the sum of good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, happiness and misery, remains exactly and perpetually in statu quo.”

I’m naturally a deteriorationist (note linear vs exponential!), but with advancing age I’m turning more into a status-quo-ite. Peacock’s 180-year-old portraits help us to see that these viewpoints are INNATE PERSONALITY TYPES, not induced by facts; though the facts of various eras do favor one viewpoint or another.

Here’s the best portrait of all, the host Squire Headlong:

The servants, unpacking all these in furious haste, and flying with them from place to place, according to the tumultuous directions of Squire Headlong and the little fat butler who fumed at his heels, chafed, and crossed, and clashed, and tumbled over one another up stairs and down. All was bustle, uproar, and confusion; yet nothing seemed to advance: while the rage and impetuosity of the Squire continued, fermenting to the highest degree of exasperation, which he signified, from time to time, by converting some newly unpacked article, such as a book, a bottle, a ham, or a fiddle, into a missile against the head of some unfortunate servant who did not seem to move in a ratio of velocity corresponding to the intensity of his master’s desires.

All was bustle, uproar, and confusion; yet nothing seemed to advance.

Brits recognize the psychopath type. This description matches precisely the character of the female psychopath in ‘Man from Room 17’ and the male psychopath in ‘Danger Man’. In fact the female version was dramatizing Peacock’s text verbatim. She was unpacking an art exhibit, fermenting against dozens of employees while her obsequious butler followed at her heels.

As mentioned before, these characters don’t appear in American literature and TV. We have grouchy bosses and cruel criminals, but we don’t see the rule-changing chaos-generating torture-loving psychopath. Nurse Ratched comes close, but she’s low intensity compared to the British examples.

Real work vs abstract “work”

One of the many simultaneous and delicious collapses in the bitcoin/NFT world:

After playing up how Axie Infinity had “created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Philippines” and other locations where salaries are low, Axie Infinity has crumbled. Some players had quit their traditional jobs to become full-time Axie players, and for a few months in 2021, some skilled players could make more than the average wage in the Philippines by playing the game. As of May, even top-ranked players were making around $0.68 a day—certainly well below the $41.50 average daily wage in the Philippines

Let’s try a comparison with a much older and much more useful way for youngsters to earn money. One of those obscure old radio programs was listing the previous occupations of well-known actors. Spencer Tracy started work at age 9, as a lamplighter in NYC for 3 cents per lamp. Sounds like no money at all?

First adjust the number for inflation since 1910. It’s 90 cents per lamp now. Already beats the Axie payment per day.

Now a quick guesstimate. The lamplighter obviously had to complete his job within one hour around sunset. Lamplighters in 1910 ran from one gaslamp to the next, using a long pole with a hook on the end to open the valve and trigger the flint. Assuming one minute per lamp and one minute to run to the next lamp, a fast worker could light 30 lamps per night. That’s 27 bucks for an hour’s work. Not bad by modern standards!

Or in strictly 1910 terms, the lamplighter would be bringing home 90 cents per day. His father was probably earning about 3 dollars per day, so the kid was adding a significant amount to the household income.

Universal Carborundum

A new upload at American Radio Library opens up a fascinating Road Almost Taken.

Carborundum is synonymous with abrasives. The brand is still active, still making a variety of papers and grinding wheels. Needless to say, their original factory in Niagara Falls was closed by EPA, like all factories outside of China. The brand is currently owned by Saint-Gobain, an EXTREMELY WOKE company ferociously compliant with all ESG buzzwords. I can’t tell if they have any real factories outside of China. One former Carborundum factory in America seems to be running under a different company.

= = = = =

Long before anyone imagined the nightmares of EPA and ESG, Carborundum tried to become the universal radio material, with some remarkably clever technology. In the depression they retreated to their main skill, which is always the smartest move for a company; but the smart move lost an interesting opportunity.

The alternate road started in 1906 with research at DeForest, which was also developing the vacuum tube. Dunwoody, formerly of Signal Corps, was trying various crystalline materials to find the best detectors. Carborundum is silicon carbide, one atom of silicon and one atom of carbon, and it showed a mixture of the characteristics of both elements. Carbon for resistance and silicon for semiconductance. Dunwoody found that a single Carborundum crystal, not the familiar mass of compacted crystals, worked as a detector.

Carborundum wasn’t the most sensitive material, but it had an interesting conductance curve.

Tanh. Exp at start, then saturation. Familiar semiconductor diodes generally have an exp curve. This tanh curve is an ideal response for an audio limiter or compressor. It’s also Nature’s favorite curve, the response pattern of neurons. Carborundum-based decision modules could have formed a more natural computer, and of course they would be SMALL.

The detector was sold as a module, with the biasing battery and the variable resistor and a bypass capacitor all in one unit. The knob was meant to be a front-panel control along with tuning and volume and bandswitch. Adjusting the bias effectively pulled the start of the curve down toward zero, for increased sensitivity. Adjusting could also move the nonlinearity up or down for different response characteristics.

Here’s the circuit of the detector module.

The whole module would be placed in a receiver in the same place where a conventional diode would normally stand, typically in series between the RF tuner and the audio amp stage.

The module appeared as unidirectional, with an effective cathode and anode, because of the bias. Internally, the crystal itself was bidirectional.

= = = = =

Carborundum also made resistors as tubes of varying thickness, using the carbon side of the material’s personality. These had a clever solder-or-screw connector, making a solderless receiver possible. Hypothesis: These might have failed because carborundum has a negative temperature coefficient. Heat makes resistance decrease, causing more conduction. Most materials have a positive coefficient, so they tend to self-regulate. When increased current warms up the material, resistance rises, counteracting the increased current.

The British branch of Carborundum carried the radio ball longer and farther than the US branch. Several articles in Wireless World were discussing and recommending the detector in the late ’20s, and the British branch made some modules that didn’t appear in the US brochure.

This module included all the resistors and capacitors needed for coupling between tube stages. Note the Big Chief medallion proudly declaring an American invention! Radio parts were openly visible in the pre-streamlining era, so it paid to advertise.


From a review of a new metaverse game:

“Grit is going to be one of the very first [NFT-based] games on the Epic Games store,” Gala Games said at Galaverse. “This is the moment that it’s all gonna start to change, and everybody’s gonna figure out that…why would you play any game where you don’t own what you buy in the game?”

Well, the only thing that’s gonna change is the financial backing for this multi-layered idiocy. Most gamers have figured out already that buying in the game is a bad idea, and “owning” what you buy is logically impossible. When you buy a real tomato or a real refrigerator, you can get real usage from it. A tomato exists after you bring it home from the store. You can eat it and gain real nutrition. A refrigerator exists after it’s installed. You can store the tomato for later use.

The “assets” in games exist solely inside the imaginary world of the game. When the game program isn’t running on your computer, the weapons or land DO NOT EXIST even in imagination, so you can’t own them.

= = = = =

Intelligent animals always play games. The whole point of games is TEMPORARY ownership and TEMPORARY victory. A dog playing tug-of-war owns the blanket after this pull, but he’s going to set it down and relinquish ownership so we can play again.  [And again and again and again…]

Human games have always involved temporary ownership of chips or markers. In chess, I take your pawns, but after the game is done they go back in the box. They’re not mine. That’s the whole difference between play and real.

Monopoly had the first formalized in-game economy that simulated the look and feel of real business. I buy Park Place and build a hotel, and you pay me rent every time you stay at my hotel. Again, the deed and the hotel drop back in the box when the game is over.

The NFT nonsense is trying to create a delusional real-looking “ownership” of a number that refers to the purely imaginary weapon. The number exists after the game is over, but the number is not a usable object like a tomato or a real steel sword. When the owners of the game’s server decide to delete the game, all the imaginary swords are gone. They can’t be called into dream-existence. You’re still holding a very expensive number. Now the number doesn’t even refer to a purely temporary dream-sword. It’s just a number.

Cranking up the old paranoia dial, training youngsters to accept delusional fake ownership is highly advantageous for the robber barons. They’re moving FAST toward total ownership of all land and material objects. “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.”

All the fine old swindles

I enjoy watching the bitcoin idiots “rediscover” and fall for all the old scams. A bitcoin thingy called Solana made a big deal of keeping perfectly accurate time “on the chain”, which is obviously necessary because obviously there are no other clocks in the world. Just like grasshoppers are the only living things that can fly. The computer says it, I believe it, that settles it. Math is the only law.

From Molly White’s wonderful aggregator:

The Solana blockchain clock drifted about 30 minutes behind real-world time on May 26, as a result of slower-than-usual slot times. Solana’s status page read that “this has no impact on performance or network operations”, though The Block noted that this time drift could result in smaller staking payouts.

Blockchain timekeeping is a selling point of Solana, which talks up its “proof of history” algorithm in a blog post where Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko says, “our clocks never drift”.

Note especially smaller staking payouts. I have no idea what staking payouts are, but presumably they’re the only way for suckers to get a return from whatever Solana pretends to do.

Off-standard clocks were a common feature of the more ingenious scams in earlier eras. Example 1. Example 2. The sucker thinks he’s hearing real-time race or game results, but the scammer already knows the results and delays all the clocks and watches visible to the sucker. This trick faded out in the computer era when everyone had direct access to real standard time. Now it’s back, thanks to the crazy ‘private world’ of bitcoin.

Our clocks never drift, so if you’re seeing a different time on some other clock, your other clock must be wrong! Math wins every time!

Polistra and Happystar, remembering that Nature is full of accurate clocks, are especially disgusted by this reliance on fake clocks supplied by obvious fraudsters. Centuries of painstaking work by astrologers and astronomers pinned down the rhythm of the universe. Now we’re letting the algorithm set the “only” clock, just as we let the algorithm jumble up time altogether.

Elon notices detemporation

One of the things that Elon wants to fix in Twitter (if he’s serious, which is still a totally open question) is detemporation.

I’ve been pointlessly whining about detemporation for quite a while. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the worst offenders, but they would be the easiest to fix.

FB formerly showed all threads in time order, which made it easy to track things like police chases and storm fronts and power outages. FB was genuinely useful as a local news source, since the “local” TV and radio stations only carry official commands and screeches.

More abstractly, time sequence allows you to see patterns of participation and persuasion. Now that comments are sorted for “importance” as judged by Zuck, the time sequence is completely lost and jumbled.

Constants and Variables 172, web-to-web edition

The “rights” fans are weeweed up this morning over Biden’s new Disinformation Centre. The director is a former Disinformation Fellowess at the WILSON CENTRE.

Fact: Secrecy and censorship are the defaults. We don’t have the choice of escaping censorship. Given this CONSTANT, there are two interesting VARIABLES, a political timeline and a tech timeline. They overlap partly but not entirely.

= = = = =

The political timeline variable goes like this:

Wilson picked up a mainly commercial Deepstate and made it official, under the evil eye of Lady Edgar. The previous Deepstate had mainly been concerned with our semi-colonies in the Caribbean. We fomented revolutions every time a semi-colony got uppity.

Wilson turned our imperialism westward toward Russia, invading and occupying Siberia along with Japs and Axis soldiers in 1918. Wilson also allowed Lady Edgar to blackmail and instigate and imprison “Reds”.

After Wilson tried to replace Germany as the main controller of Europe, the country soured on imperialism. Harding was able to shut down many of Wilson’s agencies, then FDR completed the turn toward neutrality.

Deepstate was itching and burning with pent-up sexual desire during FDR’s life, and burst out of its richly deserved grave in 1946. Since then, Deepstate has been steadily expanding its “sphere of Democracy” to the whole world, literally climaxing in 2020 with Perfect Democracy as expressed by mass murder + mass torture + mass imprisonment + universal muzzles = universal orgasm for psychopaths.

= = = = =

There’s also a technical variable with a different timeline, which helps to explain why Deepstate’s constant desire for Perfect Democracy wasn’t always able to achieve Perfect Democracy.

In 1918 the world was hardwired by the digital telegraph network, with undersea cables linking the continents. Radio was just barely beyond experimental, mainly serving as ship-to-shore communication for fisheries. Whoever controlled the cables controlled the world.

In 1922 radio started to gain maturity, and Harding took full advantage of it. As I’ve been hammering forever, radio is soft and analog, capable of penetrating through walls and across seas without any firm controls. Shortwave reached maturity in 1933 at the same time when FDR took office. Our own propagandists realized they couldn’t turn off the world, so they had to PERSUADE. We encouraged our own people to listen to adversaries and alternatives, and we had confidence that our PROBLEM-SOLVING PRESIDENT would maintain the loyalty of our own people. FDR explained what he was trying to do, and explained when he needed to try something different because the first attempt hadn’t worked. He created a CIRCLE OF TRUST enveloping the entire country.

After he died, Deepstate recognized that shortwave and confidence and explanation were poisonous to their needs and desires. They replaced SW with TV, which is a vastly tighter pipeline. Then in the ’70s they tightened the screws even more with the Web.

1990 was a significant switchpoint in both politics and tech. Bush Senior invaded Russia again and implanted Our Drunk SOB. Bush Senior also invaded Iraq for fun and profit, breaking out of our post-Vietnam sour neutrality. At the same time, cable TV became universal, spawning the Official Dividers of Fox and CNN, and enabling the rebirth of the hardwired telegraph system.

Now we’re back to Wilson both politically and technically. Spreading Perfect Democracy through a hard-wired digital system with no leaks or skips.

Gets it

The Enid Buzz fb page asked who had CB radios. Here’s a reply that GETS IT:

The FCC did regulate CB indirectly. CB radios had to be prepackaged. The manufacturers had to keep the power below 5 watts ‘gross’, and had to maintain accurate frequency. Homebrewers who built 1 kilowatt amplifiers got caught pretty quickly.

But that’s not what she means. She’s making the same point I’ve been hitting forever. Radio is a soft analog medium, with all radio signals present everywhere. There’s no way for the FCC to isolate and block your signal in the ether, no way to demonetize the signal or place warnings under your signal. They would have to invade your house physically and confiscate your equipment.

Digital signals can be isolated or disconnected or jammed or modified at any point in the web. When you say “water is wet”, the web can autocorrect it to “water is dry”, and you’ll never be able to undo the autocorrect.

No excuse

For a month or two I’ve been pleasantly marinating in UFO discussions, mainly from the mid 60s. Thanks to archivist Wendy Connors, we have a huge well-organized selection of radio programs and interviews.

Earlier today I was reminded of Avi Loeb’s pet UFO, and watched some of his recent interviews. He hits the failings of Experts sharply and accurately.

But the modern discussion of UFOs is frustrating now that I know the history. Loeb and his interviewers are just starting to rediscover the questions and patterns that earlier thinkers had already organized and formalized.

We’re in the Dark Ages. All previous knowledge has vanished. Demonic rulers repeat the tortures that Machiavelli described, and we’re surprised. Bureaucracies replay the destructive games that Parkinson described, and we’re surprised. Elon “invents” electric cars and spaceflight, and we’re surprised. Avi starts to think about UFOs and starts to criticize Experts, and we’re surprised.

There’s no excuse for any of these vanishings. Most of the old material is within living memory, not 500 years old. All of the old material is EASY to access now, thanks to archivers and GoogleBooks. No need to join an obscure tape-swapping club, no need to learn ancient languages, no need to roam the world in search of the best libraries, no need to climb ten flights of narrow stairs in the Old Stacks of the best libraries. It’s all there at the click of a mouse, if you know enough about the subject to search wisely.

Should have stuck with SW

Still on info input and output….

Censorship is all about info inputs, and the criterion is caste, not content. Correct Persons are allowed to insert their info into the closed-circuit web. Incorrect Persons are not allowed to input.

We’ve been conditioned to assume that Twitter and Google and Apple are the ONLY channels. Simply and flatly untrue.

Landline phones still work. Paper mail still works. Shortwave radio still works. Those three channels are NOT strictly moderated by Twitter and Google. Your phone can be tapped and your mail can be intercepted, but those don’t happen automatically and universally. Those interceptions require expensive labor and expensive “legal” procedures, so they’re fairly rare.

It’s especially unfortunate that commercial and national propagandists abandoned shortwave. RT has been totally disconnected by our Deepstate system. Before the web, Radio Moscow was able to blast through our jammers. Shortwave is a ‘soft’ analog system, depending on the vagaries of atmospheric conduction and reflection, and received through real human perception. Thus jamming is never complete and constant. In a digital system it’s easy to block and control all channels, and there’s no way for human perception to ‘look through’ the blockage.

And of course before Deepstate’s 1946 rebirth, WE WEREN’T JAMMING AT ALL. We had confidence in our economy and our culture. We ENCOURAGED ‘informed citizens’ to listen on shortwave and compare Russian and German propaganda with our own propaganda.

When TV was local

Lately I’ve been reading the Enid Buzz facebook page regularly. Enid is still my home, the only place where I felt like a citizen. I’ve never felt like a citizen here in Spokane. After 30 years, still an outsider.

The Enid Buzz page has frequent history features, and I recognize most of them instantly, at least from the 70s and 80s.

Here’s a history feature from before my time. Enid had its own TV station from 1954 to 1963, when it moved to OKC. I’ve read about KGEO but never experienced it. These commenters had personal experiences, inconceivable in the era of total globalism and total monopoly. KGEO presented its own local programs including music and plays, and the commenters remember participating in the music and plays.

= = = = =

Later contrary thought: Lots of people are getting broadcast experience via YouTube and other individual video outlets. A few of them are making money. This is valuable experiential learning for those young podcasters, but it doesn’t have the same effect as local teamwork developing face-to-face civilization.

Statusotopic mapping?

If we start from my unconventional thought that secrecy is the default, what happens? If we treat this as the baseline assumption, what about “innovation” and “robust debate”?

First some clarification. I’m talking about secrecy and language within a family or tribe or guild, not secrecy between all individuals. Language forms the circle and keeps outsiders at bay. Secrecy inside the guild is natural and easy. Secrecy between individuals (within the circle) is not natural and interferes with civilization. Modern technology is designed to break down the natural forms of secrecy. Destroy the workplace, destroy the family, destroy clubs and Mutual Benefit Associations. The state penetrates all boundaries.

I was casting around for a way to organize this random crap, until I read this proposal for breaking an important part of secrecy. “Transparency” is a favorite fake goal of reformers. “Transparency” breaks the privacy of the guild.

“Transparency” in the process of research and development would ruin research, because competing teams with more money would be able to catch the idea and frontrun it.

This was the original purpose of the Web. NSA wanted a way to catch research ideas early in their formation so NSA could get ahead of them. It’s bad enough to have NSA frontrunning all your tentative thoughts and hypotheses, but it would be vastly worse if the team at MIT could see an early form of a brilliant idea or clever experiment at Podunk Community College.

= = = = =

Part of my initial 2016 thoughts on the subject:

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These modern debates about encryption (ie the Bitcoin scam or the fake dispute between Apple and FBI) ring hollow to my ear, but I hadn’t figured out why until just now.

Both sides are missing the oldest and deepest fact.

Encryption is the PRIMARY form of communication. Encryption came first. Publicly readable speech and writing came later.

Most living things communicate through chemical, visual and audio signals. Some fish communicate through AM and FM radio waves. Bacteria and mitochondria communicate electrically via wires. Most of these ‘channels’ are intrinsically and physically private.

Smarter vertebrates turn public audio channels into private channels through individual variations. Why do birds develop special grace notes? So a male can stand out as a mateworthy individual, and so members of a family can recognize each other.

Why did humans take it to the next level with more complex and more articulate syllables? Not so everyone could understand. That’s SUICIDAL. We developed language so OUR FAMILY and OUR TRIBE and OUR GUILD and OUR COMPANY could communicate without OTHER modules picking up the information.

Why did humans later develop ways of recording information on clay or wood? Three semi-separate motivations. (1) The priesthood of bookkeepers (my kind of priesthood!) developed numbers so they could keep track of business transactions. After the idea of visual mapping became familiar, the specific number symbols for One Ox or One House came to represent the ox or house itself, and then the sounds for Ox or House. After that, metaphor expanded or specialized the symbols.

(2) Census-takers picked up the trick, using it to register information about residents for governmental purposes like debts and taxes. (3) Religious priesthoods used writing to keep the scriptures within bounds, so they could gain power and money by renting out little bits of the ceremony. Guilds developed their own special sublanguages to protect their ownership of skill-estate, so they could rent out skilled labor without passing the skills to outsiders.

All of these priesthoods were trying to keep information within their own circles. Otherwise, why bother?

Audio encryption pretty much disappeared after writing became commonplace. It didn’t re-emerge until electronics made tricks like scramblers possible. Later on, DSP made complex audio encryption easier.

And that’s where we are now. The same place we’ve always been…. except that AS FUCKING USUAL we intentionally reverse our understanding.

The initial and permanent purpose of communication is EXCLUSION. DIVISIVENESS. XENOPHOBIA. When communication REALLY MATTERS, it’s coded.

Families no longer matter, so families no longer encrypt. Businesses still need encryption to stay ahead of the competition. Government data-gatherers still need encryption to stay ahead of the citizens. Armies still need codes to protect strategies.

Languages didn’t start from a single universal tongue. Exactly the opposite. Satan doesn’t separate languages; Satan wants everyone to speak the same way so the government can spy more efficiently. God smashed the Tower of Babel because the emperor was trying to force ONE language.

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Now a bit of speculation about innate capacities. We’ve known for a long time that the basics of spoken language are built-in. We’ve known for a shorter time that writing and reading are built-in and hardwired. Recent observations seem to indicate that we have an innate structure for status, which makes sense. Hive structure is innate and permanent, so it must be hardwired.

Status indicators (formal vs familiar) were part of all languages until the Locke-Marat Endarkenment wiped them out of English.


Given that language and status are both hardwired, there must be a MAP of status locations closely tied to the language processors. All languages account for physical location (noun case, prepositions) and all languages account for temporal location (verb aspect and tense). These language structures must connect to the hippocampal maps of space and time. The space and time maps are laid out ‘on the horizon’ of the hippocampus. Where is the status map? I might envision it as two-dimensional. Around the horizon we see the ‘portals’ of our own hive, where it connects to other hives of superior or inferior status. The superior hives are above, the inferior hives are below.


Continuing a vaguely defined theme of obscure and peculiarly clumsy secret equipment.

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Soviet spies were working in Oklahoma and Kansas in the ’50s, as evident in the correct local pronunciations on their maps. Every city and province has its secret shibboleths, its own tests for You’re Not From Here. A spy who wants to survive needs to be From Here immediately.

Let’s imagine Резидентка Полистра ensconced in an unspecified Okla location:

She’s loyally receiving and sending data to the nearest Center with her Тензор spy rig. (The nearest Center is remarkably near!)

Тензор was designed and built by the Russian division of Sylvania. [Sources disagree on this.] Russia, of course, continued making radios and using tubes long after we stopped using tubes and stopped making anything at all.

Interior view:

The excellent writeup at CryptoMuseum mentions the unexpected English labels. They cite two reasons: Russian labels would give away the game immediately, and spies were usually locals who knew English as first or second language.

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Two aspects of this setup are unusually primitive for the ’50s, and seem wrong for a spy rig. But I can’t possibly outthink KGB, so I know they had excellent reasons for each choice. (It’s possible that the seeming wrong itself was part of their brilliance.)

(1) Big metal octal tubes were outdated in portable equipment. Transistors weren’t ready for serious use yet, but Russia made lots of mini and submini tubes. (I own some). Subminis were also available in most target countries. I’m guessing that big COMMON tubes avoided conspicuous consumption. 6J7 and 6L6 were ‘default tubes’, found in most house and car radios. You could buy them in a hardware store or drug store in every town. Subminis were only available through electronics stores in big cities, or through mail-order houses like Allied, which would leave a paper trail.

Good advice for dissidents of all sorts: Try to be a small fish in a big pond. Avoid specialized stores and specialized channels. Even if they’re not provided for you as false flags, small groups are easier to watch than big ‘default’ groups.

(2) Modularity. Radio developed like cars and houses and business machines. All started as a collection of separable modules, then merged inside a streamlined envelope in the ’30s. Exposed tubes were the norm before streamlining, and still a ‘classic symbol’ for tube-loving audiophiles just as free-standing headlights are a ‘classic symbol’ for cars.

A single self-contained transceiver would seem obligatory for a spy who needs to pack up his equipment quickly. These modules fitted into a custom-made travel pack with pouches for each device and antenna and tool, but removing the tubes and taking down the antenna and fitting the modules into the pouches would take a long time.

One possibility: An operating schedule linked at CryptoMuseum instructed the spy to operate in ‘duplex’, transmitting and receiving on separate frequencies. Most transceivers are designed to transmit and receive on the same frequency, with one dial controlling both. Perhaps the separate modules and separate antennas made duplex easier to manage?

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Now let’s look at the modules, assisted by HappyRedStar.

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The filter box is just a box, no knobs or lights or moving parts. It goes between the power plug and the rig’s own power supply. No fun for me to model and animate, but it shows plenty of design savvy. It contains a series of hefty RC filters to block transients in both directions.

Line filters are normal on ham equipment to spare your hearing from the buzz of the neighbor’s washing machine and to spare the neighbor’s TV from your keying.

In this case there’s a more important purpose for the backwash filter. Mains power systems are communication systems. Smart meters are NOT NEW. Power companies have been modulating the AC with their own Morse and data signals for 100 years. If they heard Morse in a neighborhood with no known and licensed hams, they might start investigating.

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The power supply is uniquely flexible. It contains a multi-tap transformer. A rotary switch on the front selects taps for a wide range of input voltages. Presumably the blank tap is the OFF choice, though not labeled. The output provides filament and plate voltages for both receiver and transmitter. The transmit/receive switch, a standard and necessary part of every station, is on the power supply. It trades only the plate voltages, leaving the filaments on all the time. The power supply also has a high/low voltage switch for the transmitter, so you can send at high or low power when needed. The available schematic is for an earlier version with only two tubes. Each is connected as a halfwave, and the second looks like a voltage doubler for the transmitter.

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The receiver has three identical 6J7 pentodes, inside the case unlike the other modules. The first is an RF amp with untuned input. The second is a regenerative detector, and the third is the audio amp. Regen seems an odd choice for a spy receiver, since a regen transmits on its tuned frequency. Regens were famous for interfering with neighbors. You can turn down the regen control so it’s effectively a TRF, but then you would lose sensitivity and lose the BFO. There’s no separate volume control on the audio stage.

The tuning dial is unique. It moves through a full circle and has two separate bands, which are automatically switched when the dial passes the halfway point. (The full circle might imply a butterfly capacitor? Not visible in the pictures.) A fine-tuning knob is on the left, but it’s not a separate capacitor, just a reduction gear for the main dial. Earphones are connected through separate pins for each wire, another ancient feature. Tip-ring phone plugs were standard by 1930.

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The transmitter is straightforward and simple, with one odd exception. A crystal oscillator drives a single stage of amplification, with LC tuning on both stages. The key interrupts the cathode of the amplifier stage. Instead of meters, each stage has a neon lamp to tune for maximum brightness. The oddity is a switch on the front that puts the second lamp in the primary or secondary of the plate tank. In the secondary the lamp would be viewing antenna resonance. Why the switch? Three lamps would be cheaper and less scratchy than two lamps and a switch.

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The antenna matcher / reel is another ancient leftover. It’s a wooden frame with a slide inductor inside. Slide inductors were typical of early crystal radios. The spy would wrap the transmitting antenna around the wooden frame for storage or travel, and would use the slide inductor to tune when the lamp switch was set to Antenna.

The rig covers the usual SW ham and broadcast range, 80 to 20 meters. The linked operating schedule used all the bands at appropriate times and seasons. Max power was about 25 watts, which could span the world on the right band with the right skip conditions. More reliably, 25 watts would travel about 100 miles. So the Centers would need to be fairly dense. If Резидентка Полистра was in Enid, her Center might have been in OKC or Wichita. This dense distribution strikes me as implausible. I’m inclined to think that the rig was meant for more urban areas like Europe or NYC… but again I shouldn’t underestimate KGB.

The receiving antenna came on another wooden frame without an inductor.

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The key is the only ordinary part of the rig. It’s a common Soviet key, and thoroughly familiar to me. I own one and use it daily for a few minutes of code practice along with my kit-built regen receiver. Because it’s instantly recognizable as a Soviet model, it would spoil the ‘native effect’ of the English labels.

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** Footnote: The available power supply schematic is for the Mark I version with only two tubes. This version would handle AC but not DC input. Many parts of the world, including most farms and even one section of NYC, were still on DC power in the 1950s. Many home radios were built to handle both AC and DC. Possibly the third tube in the Mark II version served as a vibrator or inverter for DC locations? I can’t find any better schematics or descriptions, so this is an open question.