Rumor Monger

I’d thought of building this particular App myself, but times are moving faster than I am, so time to set another idea free to grow where it will.

In response to a movement to impose censorship in Australia as described in the article here:

I made a comment, that pretty well sums up the idea. So I’m just going to put that text here, too.

E.M.Smith says: March 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Wonder how many folks it would take to “police” an entire world full of blogs?

I figure I can create about 3 new sites per day, and automate the loading of stories onto them. With some careful ‘anonymizing’ I think I can tie up about a dozen folks trying to sort it all out. And if two people did it, in harmony,…, and if fifty people did it,…, they might call it a movement…

As the saying goes “Good luck with that”…

Then there is the unlimited potential for emailed news letters. I can easily see a hundred different iPod apps showing up that encrypt and circulate emails of newsletters… Frankly, given how the “War on Drugs” got an entire generation to go try them, a “Ministry of Truth” could have untold effect generating fertilizer for liberty…

FWIW, at one time, at Apple, there was an application named Rumor Monger. You installed it on your Mac and it would find OTHER Rumor Mongers on the network. All distributed. Folks would type a ‘rumor’ into it, and that rumor would spread to any other other machine via a semi-random stochastic sharing.

It became so popular that we were mandated to ‘take it down’ – as the network was filling with Rumor traffic and The Powers That Be didn’t like some of the rumors… which implied they were running it too.

In the end, the only way we got it to stop was via floating a couple of New and Improved versions. Once they had displaced all the old ones, the built in timer expired them… Yes, they were suicide trojans. Now, knowing that’s the ‘kill method’, a future “Rumor Monger” app will be very hard to kill… We also had control of the backups, so could prevent restoration of ‘old versions’; not possible in a broadly shared system.

So, all you Aussie Hackers, I suggest you start writing your Rumor Monger applications now…

I would enhance it, though, to allow setting topics of interest and to allow setting a ‘trust level’ for individual “rumors” (and originators).

Have each article tagged with an ‘origin code’ based on an encryption of some internal datum and then you can just tag articles that you find ‘junk’ and decline more from that source. Would also dampen spam.

At that point folks will have to admit that they are trying to censor Individual Speech if they try to prevent folk from ‘sharing’…

Oh, and if that ‘signature’ encryption is done with a public / private key method, it can be made impossible to show that a given person originated it without the private key. I’d put the whole message inside another layer of encryption, so each recipient would present their public key, then get an encrypted set of ‘rumors’, for private decryption. Now you know who shared the rumor, and you know that the rumor was tagged by ‘someone in particular’, but do not know if the two are the same… If needed, you can add the finesse of having some or all rumors shared prior to decryption for personal use, so the sender has deniability that they knowingly shared a particular story.

I’d thought of making this app myself, but it looks like the flow of events is demanding the idea be set free.

What folks who want a little bit of tyranny forget is that it just grows until the Totalitarian phase results in the death of the organism…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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14 Responses to Rumor Monger

  1. adolfogiurfa says:

    Hey E.M., what are you waiting for? With your skills I could´t help to include that old basic order: “poke”

  2. Doug Cotton says:

    Censorship in Austalia because climatologists got it wrong – and want to save face ????

    Climatologists love to talk about energy being trapped by carbon dioxide and thus not exiting at the top of the atmosphere (TOA.)

    It is nowhere near as simple as that. All the radiation gets to space sooner or later. Carbon dioxide just scatters it on its way so you don’t see radiation in those bandwidths at TOA. The energy still gets out, and you have no proof that it doesn’t, because you don’t have the necessary simultaneous measurements made all over the world.

    In the hemisphere that is cooling at night there is far more getting out, whereas in the hemisphere in the sunlight there is far more coming in. This is obvious.

    When I placed a wide necked vacuum flask filled with water in the sun yesterday (with the lid off) the temperature of the water rose from 19.5 deg.C at 5:08am to 29.1 deg.C at 1:53pm while the air around it rose from 19.0 to 31.9 deg.C.

    What did the backradiation do at night? Well from 9:15pm till 12:05am the water cooled from 24.2 deg.C to 23.4 deg.C while the air cooled from 24.2 deg.C to 22.7 deg.C.

    According to those energy diagrams the backradiation, even at night, is about half the solar radiation during the day. Well, maybe it is, but it does not have anything like half the effect on the temperature as you can confirm in your own backyard.

    This is because, when radiation from a cooler atmosphere strikes a warmer surface it undergoes “resonant scattering” (sometimes called pseudo-scattering) and this means its energy is not converted to thermal energy. This is the reason that heat does not transfer from cold to hot. If it did the universe would go crazy.

    When opposing radiation is scattered, its own energy replaces energy which the warmer body would have radiated from its own thermal energy supply.

    You can imagine it as if you are just about to pay for fuel at a gas station when a friend travelling with you offers you cash for the right amount. It’s quicker and easier for you to just pay with the cash, rather than going through the longer process of using a credit card to pay from your own account. So it is with radiation. The warmer body cools more slowly as a result because a ready source of energy from incident radiation is quicker to just “reflect” back into the atmosphere, rather than have to convert its own thermal energy to radiated energy.

    The ramifications are this:

    Not all radiation from the atmosphere is the same. That from cooler regions has less effect. Also, that with fewer frequencies under its Planck curve has less effect again.

    Each carbon dioxide molecule thus has far less effect than each water vapour molecule because the latter can radiate with more frequencies which “oppose” the frequencies being emitted by the surface, especially the oceans.

    Furthermore, it is only the radiative cooling process of the surface which is slowed down. There are other processes like evaporative cooling and diffusion followed by convection which cannot be affected by backradiation, and which will tend to compensate for any slowing of the radiation.

    This is why, at night, the water in the flask cools nearly as fast as the air around it. The net effect on the rate of cooling is totally negligible.

    The backradiation does not affect temperatures anywhere near as much as solar radiation, even though its “W/m^2” is probably about half as much.

    And there are other reasons also why it all balances out and climate follows natural cycles without any anthropogenic effect. This is explained in detail in my peer-reviewed publication now being further reviewed by dozens of scientists.

    Click to access psi_radiated_energy.pdf

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    I don’t have the time to get to it soon enough, and my skill at writing apps would be used to automate some trade craft first… Gotta eat…


    About sums it up. Not unexpected (at least not by me) but a couple of years quicker.

    BTW, that’s why when DES 56 bit came out I used it, but realized it would be broken in decade scale time. Really important stuff got stronger encryption. It’s also why I mostly pay cash, and let my cell phone battery go dead most of the time ;-)

    BTW, I don’t have a computerized appliance of any kind and the only thing internet connected is a computer that changes periodically…. Don’t have a library card (gee, thanks Bush…) and drive Old Cars without computers or GPS. If we ever have to put toll reading transponders in to use “freeways”, then it’s surface streets for me…

    Whenever RFID becomes common in things like clothing, mine will get microwaved.

    I’ve not (yet!) started making my own clothes with metalized layers in them (don’t have a way to test the ‘millimeter wave opacity’ yet.. and such sensors are not common…yet…)

    I lived most of my life devoid of ‘connected’ devices and I’m quite comfortable to do it again. It’s the next generation that’s got “issues” to deal with.

    Don’t use an ATM most of the time either. Just stand in line at the bank and get cash from my account at the teller.

    (I’m not paranoid, I’m just a SysAdmin who worked on security at too many places ;-)

  4. Another Ian says:


    Back from T4. On the way I got a message that a script was making things run slowly. Axed that and had to restart. Still slow.

    Re rumours check out

  5. Another Ian says:

    E.M. Very slow, can’t paste.

    Check out Steve Goddard “Another smoking gun” 17 Mar re Briffa and other arrangements

  6. Another Ian says:


    Tried you again, comment box didn’t want to. Backed out and relogged. Got straight into comments. Started text. Changed site to try paste and ended up back here in a blank comments box.

    Ain’t computers wonderful?

    FWIW Jo Nova is a wordpress site and it seems to work fine.

  7. sandy mcclintock says:

    Remarkably little has been said here in Australia about the proposed new moves to impose press censorship. . Perhaps the press are intimidated.
    I saw part of a good discussion on Public Affairs TV (APAC) and hoped to find all of it here
    There should be a link to a recording in the blank space; either its been self-censored or has not yet been uploaded.

  8. Pascvaks says:

    Thoughts –

    Anyone else in this Insane Asylum getting a little paranoid by the way the doctors and staff keep looking at us and sticking things in us and asking us all kinds of personal questions and telling us what we can and can‘t eat, and do, and make our weekly living sacrifice to? I just know they have my room and bed bugged. And the food, the food has definitely got something in it that Mother Nature didn’t add. We have to work together. We have to protect ourselves. But how? Any one of you can be one of them and we wouldn’t know it until it’s too late. Password? No! Handshake? No! Nothing seems to work, they have everything covered. Maybe we can fool them into thinking that we’re harmless and then move somewhere that doesn’t have electricity, or any of that putrid water they serve up in those plastic bottles that has all those ‘chemicals‘. I’m telling you guys what they’re doing is enough to make folks go postal. H E L P !! IS ANYONE OUT THERE? HELP, WE’RE BEING HELD CAPTIVE!!…. (pause)…. Damn! That doesn’t work either!

  9. Pascvaks says:

    PS: I think most of you ‘know’ me well enough to know that I’m not calling any of you paranoid or crazy; I have a feeling I take more meds than any of you. What I’m being sarcastic about is “who we seem to have become as a civilization”. Or, perhaps more accurately, what we seem to be becoming. Strange how there always seems to be this ‘Thing’ out there, something in the shadows just beyond the firelight, something we dare not speak of or it will surely ‘get’ us all. Something that drives us on to the next level where we finally feel a little more secure and then, out of nowhere, it appears once again and we must find a new ‘something’ to create more light so we can see a little farther into the mist. Life’s a real beach! ;-)

  10. Chuckles says:

    ‘(I’m not paranoid, I’m just a SysAdmin who worked on security at too many places ;-)’

    Amen to that. I’m told by usually reliable sources that 97% of SysAdmins feel that way.

    And regarding you app generator, don’t forget that there are such things as Alternate Roots –

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks. Don´t worry!, I have arrived at the conclusion that when all this movement started, back in the years of the “Illustration” or the French Revolution, what really happened was a very contagious “revolution” of those incapable of reaching knowledge through birth right, against those who inherited the possibility of acquiring that objective knowledge by having a direct connection with the ultimate source of such knowledge, as a consequence of the labors and works of their forefathers. Such a “revolution”, such a populous “cry” could be translated as “Why they, not we?!
    Then, they, not having such higher frequency as to see and hear what they did not see or hear, began concocting a mockery of the universal laws (which we know there are only a few) and created an inextricable confusion of words, non existing pseudo “laws” and, of course, naming them after their personal names (Newton´s laws, etc.,etc.).
    An example of this fruitless effort is the known case of “Al Baby”, a pathetic case of ignorance disguised as objective science, which consequently, has fallen in the most laughable and sad ridicule.
    In the times running, in these “interesting times” of the Apocalypse (the revelation from above), things will return to its traditional order.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    You might want to try a different browser…. I’m quite fond of FireFox and Opera, Safari (on the Mac) is pretty good too. Only use Internet Exploder when forced to by stupidity coding sites that only work on it (instead of coding to standards). Haven’t tried many others. (“IceApe” is a FireFox / Mozilla clone of sorts) Chrome I refuse to work due to the heavy handed promotion and the Big Brother data collection behaviours that can not be turned off…

    The problems you are having have not shown up for me, so do not seem site related.


    The recent hub-bub over “pink slime” in beef and the USDA “approving” that schools can opt for Non-pink-slime beef (but only in non-patty bulk form) has we a bit concerned. An “ammonia based additive”? AND what in the hell is the USDA doing telling local schools how to cook? Smells like a big “safety excuse power grab” to me with the intent to condition folks to the Feds controlling food.

    Bugging? Who needs bugging when you can turn on camera and microphone remotely on just about every computer and cell phone on the planet? You are thinking so “last millennium” …

    What can you do? Well… eat natural unprocessed foods, run your water through a purifier, and I’ll contact you about the Secret Handshake… Oh, and you won’t mind if I bring a few friends along, will you? Don’t worry about the suits and the dark Suburban with the motor running out front. It will only take a moment for The Doctor to make you feel MUCH better. Just send your address and bank account access code to the special address…. ;-) (Yes, sarcasm and humor for anyone wondering…)

    Per the human tendency to be ‘on guard’ against the unknown monster:

    I’ve observed this in bunnies (in very strong form). It is innate in prey species. We are closely related to bunnies (both can eat onions when many other linages are poisoned by them; our appendix is a vestigial form of their ‘hind gut fermenting organ’, etc. so on my someday list is find out just when bunnies and primates split from each other). For most of our evolution we were frequently eaten by large cats (bones with tooth marks found in archaeological digs, only ending recently in evolutionary terms… or not… a lady was killed by a Mountain Lion in Palo Alto in the last couple of years…)

    So it is built in to our DNA to be afraid of the dark and the unknown things in it that want to destroy us. I suspect that’s a good thing. The bad thing is how that is being exploited by our “fellow humans” who have become more predatory in character to herd the rest of us off the cliff… the easier to pick our bones at the bottom of the fall…


    It comes with the turf. Every Single Day for over 7 years at Apple alone, we had systems logs of dozens of attacks. Those where the ones so stupid we didn’t even care. There were frequently much more subtle attacks taking some action (about once a week we had an actionable event – and THAT was after we had hardened the site more than just about anyone else in the industry…) then there were the ‘inside jobs’.

    Most security is predicated on the notion that folks inside are trusted. At least once I had to crash a main server because an inside person had ‘captured root’. We had discovered it in the middle of his ‘take’, and immediately reacted. As he was in the middle of swapping privs, we could not become root. At that point I walked into the computer room and pulled the plug. If I don’t have root (God Privileges) nobody does… We then consulted our paper logs and I went to visit his desk. He didn’t know why things had hung, so went to get a coffee/snack, leaving his screen up. When he returned, his boss and I were waiting at his desk…

    (There was a ‘known exposure’ on the box. He had complained about it, and since we had not fixed it as fast as he wanted, said that was ‘tacit approval’ for him to take root. That the box was so secured by other layers of security that nobody outside the approved users could get to it nor could they get ON it to do the exploit – and we had more important fish to fry – did not penetrate his skull… But his boss agreeing with me that “do it again” meant “show you the door” did… About 2 weeks later we had time to patch that particular exploit.)

    So when you are talking “incoming” all the time and MOST of it is stopping in your kevlar; yeah, you come to suspect that maybe someone has it “in” for you…

    I have a Unix box that I historically have used as my own caching DNS with “special” entries for things I wanted to block. Took it down a couple of years ago (as the space it was in was going away) and probably ought to bring it back up. But yes, rooting your own DNS is a useful trick…

    BTW, the 3% that don’t feel that way are the new hires ;-)


    There are times that I suspect that the swap to metric and the swap from functional names to given names was done for purposes of distraction and confusion. (Like hiding the curious relationship between the foot and the equatorial length…) A “Cycle Per Second” is obvious, a Hz is meaningless unless you are ‘inducted’… Similarly a “pound per square inch” is self explanatory, but what is a Pascal? Perhaps a painfully restrictive computer language? ;-)

    Somewhere along the line I was trying to find out how they properly located things on the planet, that led to geo – metrology, that lead to the fact that the Greeks and Egyptians had a measure named a ‘foot’ (pous) that is almost the same as the English foot. (Within a couple of mm 304.8 for the Engish, 304 mm for the Minoan, 308.4 for the Attic, 300 for the Egyptian and Phoenician, etc.)

    This lead me to the factoid that if you take the earth’s equatorial circumference in ‘feet’ (English) as 131479724.6 (from the wiki metric number, converted) and divide it by 360 x 1000 (call it 60 minutes x 60 seconds x 100 or call it 360 degrees x 1000) you get: 365.2214573

    Gee, that looks familiar, I think… Dividing by ‘tropical year days’ of 365.2422 gives 99.994% agreement. Hmmmm….

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