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"The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." -- Marshall McLuhan, 1969

This thing still on?
Topic: MemeStreams 8:29 pm EDT, Apr 20, 2014

MemeStreams was down for about fifteen hours today. Sorry about that; My bad. An OS update screwed things up pretty badly.

The MemeStreams code is about 13 years old. It has dependencies that no one maintains packages for anymore. Hence, much of what the site runs on needs to be built manually from source. Maintaining it on top of modern Linux distributions is non-trivial. It's sort of a nightmare.

In general, the site has languished. We haven't made any improvements in almost ten years. At one point, it was pretty cutting edge, arguably ahead of it's time. Now, it's a memorial to itself.

And as far as I'm concerned, that's OK.

Even though I haven't posted to the site in a long time, I still give it love regularly. Or at least, just enough love to ensure it sticks around. A part of that is pride, in that I poured a huge amount of energy into this thing over the years. But the core reason is respect for the people who used this site and poured their passion into posts and dialog. This little corner of cyberspace saw some real action. There was ample discussion about wars, foreign policy, politics, economics, infosec, et cetera. Before Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook took over, there was something really special here for a handful of us. I like knowing all that content is still "out there".

MemeStreams is a shit show these days, and it's going to remain one because Decius and I have no time to do anything about it. Yet, we do intend to maintain it's presence indefinitely.

We could use a little luck though.. We never seem to have any...

Party Like It's 1989 - By Perry Link | Foreign Policy
Topic: International Relations 10:52 am EDT, Jun  5, 2012

Why China's post-Tiananmen political model is running out of steam.

This is a good read on Chinese internal politics.

Party Like It's 1989 - By Perry Link | Foreign Policy

People in the Loop: Are They a Failsafe or a Liability?
Topic: Computer Security 2:29 pm EST, Feb 10, 2012

This Dan Geer piece is a great read, with much food for thought.

That being said, I'm only excerpting this quote because it gives me a smug self-flagellating feeling of awesomeness...

cybersecurity is the most intellectually difficult profession on the planet

People in the Loop: Are They a Failsafe or a Liability?

China’s Forthcoming Political Transition
Topic: International Relations 6:46 pm EST, Feb  9, 2012

When this transition is complete, the United States will confront a sea of new faces in China. These new leaders will steer the country through some of its biggest challenges, which could include major political reform. The next 10 to 15 years will be a turbulent period in China, and these new leaders will determine how that turbulence will evolve and how it will impact U.S.-China relations. This issue brief looks at the reasons why this political transition matters so much to our nation, the challenges and divides the new party leadership will have to navigate, and what U.S. policymakers should do as these new leaders react to the rough waters ahead.

Within the party, there is an increasingly visible left/right ideological divide over how to handle these new challenges. On the left the pro-egalitarianism, pro-Mao cadres support a strengthening of China’s socialist roots. On the right the pro-reform cadres support more opening up through administrative transparency, political diversity, and public participation.

Overall, China is becoming increasingly diverse, and we must be aware of these growing divides. U.S. policymakers must develop a better understanding of where individual Chinese leaders, agencies, and regions stand on critical bilateral issues. Approaching China without that understanding would be like approaching the United States without knowing the U.S. Democrat/Republican party divides—it could easily lead to major foreign policy miscalculations.

Just like in the United States, different Chinese leaders may send different signals, and that will make it difficult for the United States to correctly predict which way the country will go unless we also understand what those differences mean inside China. When the United States applies political pressure—on trade, human rights, or any other bilateral issue—we must fully understand China’s divides and, when possible, calibrate U.S. foreign policy to push internal debates in our favor.

China’s Forthcoming Political Transition

Topic: MemeStreams 3:38 am EST, Jan 16, 2012

On Jan 18th, sites will go dark to protest the internet censorship bills.

MemeStreams will be joining the strike on January 18th.


Prepare to go BLACK
Topic: Internet Civil Liberties 6:22 pm EST, Dec 29, 2011

When the home pages of,,, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA, you'll know they're finally serious.

Anyone here remember when the CDA was passed? I do. Very clearly.

Prepare to go BLACK

Rattle's Escape from The West Wing
Topic: Humor 12:49 pm EST, Dec  5, 2011

... or maybe it's a long lost scene from The Benny Hill Show?

Rattle's Escape from The West Wing

No GOP Senator Supports Bill to Protect Cloud E-Mail Privacy | Threat Level |
Topic: Politics and Law 8:07 am EDT, Oct 19, 2011

This quote made me laugh out loud:

Oddly, despite the recent rise of the libertarian-leaning Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, no Republican has decided publicly that privacy protection of Americans’ online communications is a winning issue.

Given that the "Tea Party" is supposedly supported by "Libertarians" concerned with individual freedom, and that a number of "Tea Party" supported candidates are in office from around the country, you'd think that "Tea Party" candidates would support clear cut individual liberty issues like the proper extension of warrant requirements to data in the cloud. This is really a no-brainer, as the article lays out:

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was adopted at a time when e-mail, for example, wasn’t stored on servers for a long time. Instead it was held there briefly on its way to the recipient’s inbox. E-mail more than 6 months old was assumed abandoned, and that’s why the law allowed the government to get it...

But technology has evolved, and e-mail often remains stored on cloud servers indefinitely, in gigabytes upon gigabytes — meaning the authorities may access it without warrants if it’s older than six months...

Leahy’s measure, among other things, would require court warrants to obtain all that cloud data.

1. The "Tea Party" pays lip service to Libertarian views but doesn't actually support them when push comes to shove.
2. "Libertarians" don't really support individual liberty like they say they do - they really only care about money - low taxes, not personal freedom.

You can talk all you want about how you support individual liberty, but when push comes to shove, if you are not willing to take action, you are not what you say you are.

No GOP Senator Supports Bill to Protect Cloud E-Mail Privacy | Threat Level |

WRVU Is Dead
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:33 pm EDT, Jun  9, 2011

VSC told the students nothing... In the Fall of last year there were rumors that VSC was open to selling the 60-year-old 91.1 WRVU. There was no more news until Monday June 6th. The call sign change to WFCL popped up unexpectedly Monday morning in the FCC database. The DJs on air used the wrong station ID for most of the day because they were not informed.

Then Tuesday afternoon the DJ on air was told that there was "urgent equipment maintenance" and hurried out the door... which they then locked behind him.

Decius writes:

You can listen to the last moments of WRVU at this link.

There is more detail along with news media links here. Its a fucking disgrace. Its transparently obvious that a bunch of people who don't like college radio saw an opportunity here to kill this station and pocket 3 million dollars in the process which they get to spend on their own projects. It a win, win for them and a travesty for music city.

Its hard for me to really express how disappointed and angry this makes me. This whole deal has been shady, from the fact that WRVU has no representation in the governing body of Vanderbilt Student Communications, to the pre-emptive registration of potential protest domain names by Vanderbilt Student Communications prior to the original announcement back in September, to the fact that the final pulling of the plug was not communicated to the public and was done during the summer when the students are away and cannot comment. Why Vandy tolerates such obvious underhandedness from its student communications leadership is beyond me.

Oh wait, its the money.

What a damn shame.

Totally unbelievable. I hope there is a huge fallout due to this. The Vanderbilt community should be enraged.

WRVU Is Dead

Facing a cyber threat | Video |
Topic: Computer Security 10:55 am EDT, Jun  7, 2011

Reports of cyber attacks against U.S. companies by Chinese hackers cause concern within the U.S. government.

This video contains a sound bite from me, sharing my theory that China's activities in cyberspace are part of their deterrence strategy.

Facing a cyber threat | Video |

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