Malware on Google Scholar

July 31, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Scams and Malware | Leave a comment
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Centipede Scolopendra cingulata - Ventral side of head, showing mandibles. Frouzet, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, photographed 31 May 2006 by Fritz Geller-Grimm.

Centipede Scolopendra cingulata – Ventral side of head, showing mandibles. Frouzet, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, photographed 31 May 2006 by Fritz Geller-Grimm.

On 2018-07-30, I used Google Scholar to see what had been published on a rather specialized topic in physics.

The web page of results was useful, so I tried to save it into my folder on that topic.

But the anti-malware program on my computer refused to place a copy of that web page into that folder. Instead, the anti-malware program said that the web page of results carried malware, and would be placed into a quarantine folder. So malware can lurk even on a scholarly site such as Google Scholar.

The users of Google Scholar are few, so it is unlikely that they would be the target of the type of malware motivated by omnivorous greed. The users of Google Scholar are more likely to be the target of those who want to pilfer research techniques, computer codes, and unpublished results, or who want to pretend to be personnel at academic or industrial research institutions, or who want to obtain entry into the specialized computer networks that some researchers use, possibly to seize immediate or future control of those computers, or to hold for ransom the data and codes that reside on them.

Centipede, rear pair of legs (in Greece), photographed 6 August 2009 by NNeilAlieNN.

Centipede, rear pair of legs (in Greece), photographed 6 August 2009 by NNeilAlieNN.

If malware can lurk in Google Scholar, it can also lurk on Google maps, Facebook, YouTube, and on other social media. The only time my computer was infected by a virus was when I downloaded classical music from YouTube.

It would be cumbersome for individual users to have to scan for malware every web page they visit, every email, and every tweet.

It would be much more feasible, and much more efficient, if Google, Facebook, YouTube, and the like frequently ran disinfecting scans over their entire content files. The disinfecting would be most effective if it occurred at random times.

Malware statistics on 2011-03-16 (Panda Security), 21 March 2011, translated to English by Kizar,  from 'Malware statics 2011-03-16-es.svg'  .

Malware statistics on 2011-03-16 (Panda Security), 21 March 2011, translated to English by Kizar, from ‘Malware statics 2011-03-16-es.svg’ .

Did Bannon Suggest Trump’s Concentration camps for Kids? #128

June 23, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Judicial Injustice | Leave a comment
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Detained children in a wire mesh compartment, showing sleeping mats and thermal blankets on floor. Photo provided by Custom and Border Protection to reporter on tour of detention facility in McAllen, Texas. Reporters were not allowed (BY WHAT RIGHT!?!) to take their own photos. Photo on 17 June 2018, provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Control.

Detained children in a wire mesh compartment, showing sleeping mats and thermal blankets on floor. Photo provided by Custom and Border Protection to reporter on tour of detention facility in McAllen, Texas. Reporters were not allowed (BY WHAT RIGHT!?!) to take their own photos. Photo on 17 June 2018, provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Control.

Not all concentration camps are death camps. But they all concentrate people who are considered to be unwelcome, and they all are miserable places to inhabit.

Listen to this audio recorded by ProPublica, and accessible via Wikipedia.

So Trump’s camps for kids who were forcibly separated from their parents are indeed concentration camps.

Did Steve Bannon suggest Trump’s concentration camps for kids?

Bannon was responsible for suggesting Trump’s failed ban on visitors from particular predominantly Muslim countries.

Bannon is also known for suggesting actions that will excite Trump’s “base”.

Bannon also thinks strategically, and Trump has stated that one goal of ripping kids from their parents was to force Democrats to vote for funding his base-pleasing wall.  (Extortion!)

So the idea of concentration camps for kids smells like Bannon.

Like Bannon’s suggested ban on visitors from Muslim countries, the executive order for concentration camps for kids has produced a dramatic defeat for Trump.

If Bannon is indeed responsible for it, he will have been responsible for both of the major defeats so far during Trump’s presidency.

Bannon also boasted of having made Breitbart into a vehicle for spreading the ideas of the racial-ethnic supremacists. That problably led to Trump’s claim – after the debacle in Charlottesville – of moral equivalence between the supremacists and their opponents, a claim that shredded Trump’s reputation.

Bannon is a font of bad advice.

What was said of Lord Byron applies even more strongly to Bannon: he is mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland.  Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

 

Posters and Chants Against Depravity

June 21, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Climate change, Conceited, Crime and punishment, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Fairness, Global warming, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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President Trump = President Chump

Dump President Chump

No More Concentration Camps for Kids

                 Trump
Made America Ashamed Again

Trump the Chump
Toxic for America

Fox News
Fux News

Murdoch of Mordor
Murders the News

Fox and Fiends
Font of Fake News

Hannity Is Insanity

              Disloyal Donald
Putin’s point-man in the White House

    Trump is Cruel and Unusual
Punishment for the United States

Trump is Evil

President Chump Undermines America

                  President Chump
Inadvertent Agent of a Hostile Government

The Soviets had a name for people like Chump:
                     Useful Idiot!

            Rupert Murdoch
America’s Most Toxic Immigrant

 

These slogans were all created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com,
who hereby declares them to be in the public domain.

Canada, Mexico, and NAFTA

June 7, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Fairness | Leave a comment
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In the San Juan de Dios Market in Guadalajara, Jalisco, MEXICO. Photo by Christian Frausto Bernal (Tepic, Nayarit, MEXICO), on 26 June 2006.

In the San Juan de Dios Market in Guadalajara, Jalisco, MEXICO. Photo by Christian Frausto Bernal (Tepic, Nayarit, MEXICO), on 26 June 2006.

It is possible to preserve NAFTA in effect, if not in name, despite Trump’s attacks and despite his divide-and-conquer tactics.

President Chump is a more accurate terminology than President Trump, so that is what he will be called in what follows.

To preserve NAFTA in effect, the most important thing is to forestall President Chump’s divide-and-conquer tactic.

Chump prefers one-on-one negociations, because in one-on-one negociations he is better able to bully and to lie.

Canada and Mexico should agree beforehand that in all negociations on trade with the US, their positions will be coordinated, even during negociations between the US and only one of those countries.

Before any further trade negotiations with the US, Canada and Mexico should agree on an initial combined list of features that they want to have in their agreements with the US. They should jointly announce those initial goals, while stressing their understanding that the list may be revised as a result of the negotiations with the US.

They should then announce that even during any one-on-one negotiations with the US, the currently-negociating non-US negotiator will accept only what is also accepted by the not-currently-negotiating non-US negotiator. It should be explicitly announced that the two countries will always synchronize their agreements with the US, much as a person’s smart phone and computer are often kept synchronized even when each is used separately.

Let A and B be abbreviations for the two non-US negotiators.

During all trade negotiations with the US, A should insist that it will accept only changes that are also accepted in side-discussions between A and B, even if that forces a prior agreement between B and the US to be updated before A‘s negotiations with the US can continue.

Britain and the EU can similarly defeat Chump’s divide-and-conquer attempts in negotiations with with them.

At all times, keep in mind that Chump wants to bully you, that he is psychopathic liar, famous for falsely promising whatever his target wants to hear, and that divide-and-conquer helps him to get away with both bullying and with lying.

To counter a would-be-bully, remind him of his inadequacies and insecurities. Do so at every opportunity.

Practice, so that whenever you shake Chump’s hand, you have grip of steel. With his small hands, Chump won’t be able to exert as much force. The goal is to make his orange face turn red, and then white.

Ask Chump whether he admires his brother, and wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps. (On second thought, research that topic before deciding whether to ask those questions. But there are other ways of keeping him off balance.)

By limiting the damage that flea-brained Chump can do to international trade, you will be doing a great service to the US and to the world, as well as to your own country.

“Flea-brained” is a precise description in Chump’s case, because a flea hops first here, then there, and never thinks carefully before the next hop.

Trump Has Admitted His Guilt

June 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Crime and punishment, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Men in Bramhall stocks, Bramhall, England, 1900, unknown photographer.

Men in Bramhall stocks, Bramhall, England, 1900, unknown photographer.

Trump has admitted his guilt, without realizing that he has done so.

This point was made recently by Paul Waldman, in an article in the Washington Post.

Quoting from that aricle, “According to a January New York Times story, when Sessions decided to recuse himself, “the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him.” (Emphasis added.)

There would be no need for the Attorney General to protect Trump from the investigation of Putin’s interference in the the Presidential election in 2016, if Trump had not done something illegal in connection with that election.

The Attorney General’s job is to protect the American people from crime, not to protect the President – or anyone else – from the consequences of illegal actions.

About the nature of Trump’s crime, we know only that it pertains to Putin’s interference in the Presidential election in 2016. That is the topic that always presses Trump’s buttons, and elicits his most feverishly desparate reactions.

Further evidence of Trump’s knowledge of his own guilt occured in Trump’s meeting with Sessions in March 2017. According to Paul Waldman’s article, “[Trump’s] grievance was with Mr. Sessions: The president objected to [Session’s] decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump, who had told aides that he needed a loyalist overseeing the inquiry, berated Mr. Sessions and told him he should reverse his decision, an unusual and potentially inappropriate request.” Why would Trump need “a loyalist overseeing the inquiry”, if he wasn’t scared about some fact connected to this particular topic?

See also the previous post on this blog.

I know it won’t happen, but for such a hypocrite I cannot resist: “Lock him up!

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Trump Is Guilty

May 4, 2018 at 7:38 am | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Crime and punishment, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | 1 Comment
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Old gavel and court minutes displayed at the Minnesota Judicial Center, photographed by Jonathunder, 2008-04-17.

Old gavel and court minutes displayed at the Minnesota Judicial Center, photographed by Jonathunder, 2008-04-17.

Trump is guilty of something that causes him to frantically impede the investigation of Putin’s interference in the American election in 2016.

Trump is so guilty, that he opposes an investigation that every patriotic American would want to succeed, because the legitimacy of elections underlies the legitimacy of the American government.

Trump is so guilty, that he seeks to terminate the only activity that would exonererate him if he wasn’t guilty.

Trump is so guilty, that he seeks to terminate the only activity that would remove the cloud on his legitimacy.

For a summary of the issues, see the New York Times article on Robert Mueller’s questions to Trump.

Robert S. Mueller, III, director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013

Robert S. Mueller, III, director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013

A Fallacy About Guns

March 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics | Leave a comment
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In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Marc A. Thiessen recounted an incident in which a private citizen, Stephen Willeford, used his own AR-15 to interrupt Devin Patrick Kelley from continuing a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas, on November 15, 2017.

The AR-15 is the same type of assault rifle that Nikolas Cruz used to massacre students and teachers at the at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.

Thiessen uses the incident in Sutherland to argue that it would be perverse to conclude from the incident in Parkland – and from the many other incidents – that access to assault weapons should be restricted.

Thiessen’s argument rests upon a fallacy of omission. He does not mention that Willeford’s gun-assisted intervention would not have been necessary if Kelley had not had access to an assault weapon.

In fact, that would have been a better solution, because it would not have relied on the rare circumstance that a neighbor had an assault weapon, and was at home at the time, and was willing to engage the shooter.

Looking for the best solution to a problem is mathematically equivalent to trying to identify the tallest peak in a region that hosts many hills and mountains.

A mathematician, a scientist, or an engineer would say that Thiessen identified what was merely a local maximum, but didn’t notice the global maximum nearby.

Thiessen spotted the crest of one of several foothills, but failed to notice the mountain that towered in their midst.

To see more clearly why Thiessen’s argument is incorrect, imagine his argument being applied to cars. Someone in a car can pursue a criminal who used a car to commit a crime. Applied to cars, Thiessen’s logic would imply that driving a car should be unrestricted, and shouldn’t require a license.

In fact, the issues in gun control are closely analogous to those in automotive and aeronautical control:

As was noted in a previous blog, and as has recently been noted by others, the argument for restricting acess to assault weapons is the same as the argument for requiring a license for driving an automobile, and for requiring a more restrictive licence for driving 18-wheelers, and for requiring a still more restrictive license for piloting an aircraft.

Freedom to travel within the United States does not mean unrestricted freedom to travel by driving a car, nor by driving a truck, nor by piloting an aircraft. It also does not mean that access to particular locations cannot be restricted to only particular people.

Analogous statements should apply to guns.

A recent very enlightening article by Mike Spies in the New Yorker magazine describes how we started from a reasonable, rational approach to gun laws, that had lasted for at least a century, and how the discussion was perverted into the present frenzied, dysfunctional tug-of-war.

Gun laws today

Gun laws today

Unpatriotic Devin Nunes, Unpatriotic Donald Trump

February 28, 2018 at 9:41 am | Posted in Abuse of Office, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom | Leave a comment
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Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California

Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California

Every loyal American would want the investigation of Putin’s interference in the 1916 election to get to the bottom of what Putin’s minions did, and how they did it. Every loyal American would want to refute Putin’s lies, and would want America to have the information it needs to craft defenses against Putin’s future attempts, both on this country and on its allies.

It is iron-clad logic, a simple syllogism: if every loyal American would want those things, then any American who obstructs those investigations and defenses is not a loyal American.

Devin Nunes is not a loyal American.

Donald Trump is not a loyal American.

Devin Nunes is not a patriotic American.

Donald Trump is not a patrotic American.

Devin Nunes is inadvertantly an agent of Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump is inadvertantly an agent of Vladimir Putin.

Neither should ever have had access to classified information.

Neither should have future access to classified information.

Trump’s primary loyalty is to himself and to his “brand” – not to America, not to freedom, not to fairness, not to honest elections.

There are indications that the same is true of Devin Nunes.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution begins, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, …”

The writers of the Constitution never anticipated a President who favored an opponent of the United States.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit.  Photo by www.kremlin.ru.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit. Photo by http://www.kremlin.ru.

What about Paul Ryan?

Donald Trump shaking hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at his February 28, 2017 address to a joint session of Congress.

Donald Trump shaking hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at his February 28, 2017 address to a joint session of Congress.

Surely Paul Ryan had some sense of Devin Nunes’ personality and character before appointing him to the House Intelligence Committee.

Why then did Paul Ryan appoint Nunes as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee?

Why did Paul Ryan even allow Nunes to be on that Committee?

Paul, please explain to the American people why you appointed Nunes as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Paul, now that you cannot miss seeing that you introduced a worm into the apple, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to re-assign Nunes?

Paul, are you, too, not a loyal American?

Paul, are you, too, inadvertantly an agent of Putin?

Paul, where are your primary loyalties? They seem to be to the Republican Party in its current debased form, not to America, not to freedom, not to fairness, not to honest elections.

As noted by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post:

“Real patriotism would be not to denounce the “Russia hoax” but to insist that Congress — and for that matter, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — get to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 election and, even more imperative, that the United States strengthen its defenses to prevent future meddling.”

#hashtagDonaldTrump

July 7, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Climate change, Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Artwork by Charles Raymond Macauley for the 1904 edition of The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Publisher: New York Scott-Thaw

Artwork by Charles Raymond Macauley for the 1904 edition of The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Publisher: New York Scott-Thaw

 

failing
lying
corrupt
fake
ignored

These are some of the adjectives that Trump tries to attach to the names of persons and organizations that he want to disparage.

He repeats these derogatory linkages relentlessly, trying to embed them into the public’s mind. After all, the one aspect of business that Trump has mastered is marketing.

Trump’s disparaging adjectives actually name his own deepest fears and guilty feelings about himself. They list his vulnerabilities.

That is why his menu of derogatory adjectives is so well-defined.

It is also the reason – besides marketing – why he uses them so obsessively.

Since these adjectives accurately describe Trump himself, it is easy to list what could become the most popular hashtags on Twitter. Here is such a list, expanded to include additional adjectives that accurately describe Trump, even though he does not habitually try to pin them on his enemies:

#failingDonaldTrump
#lyingDonaldTrump (see here )
#TrumpTowerOfLies
#corruptDonaldTrump
#fakeDonaldTrump (see here)
#ignoredDonaldTrump
#deceitfullDonaldTrump (see here and here)
#greedyDonaldTrump
#conartistDonaldTrump
#shallowDonaldTrump (see here)
#simplisticDonaldTrump
#ignorantDonaldTrump (see here)
#incompetentDonaldTrump
#inadequateDonaldTrump
#fragileDonaldTrump
#defectiveDonaldTrump (see here and here)
#unhingedDonaldTrump (see here)
#insaneDonaldTrump
#DonaldTrumpAtMar-a-Loco
#disastrousDonaldTrump (see here)
#dangerousbuffoonDonaldTrump (see here)
#PresidentChump (see here)
#AmericasMisfortuneDonaldTrump


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Who Should Squelch Lies and Trolls on Social Media?

June 30, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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John Bauer (1882-1918), artist, in 1915: "Look at them," troll mother said. "Look at my sons! You won't find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon."

John Bauer (1882-1918), artist, in 1915: “Look at them,” troll mother said. “Look at my sons! You won’t find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon.”

By now you have read and seen the damage caused by the flood of misleading or harassing material on social media. Vulnerable teens have committed suicide, ordinary adults have become fearful and intimidated, fools have become enraged vigilantes, racists have infected those with weak mental immune systems, and President Chump has been elected.

Elizabeth Dwoskin’s recent article in the Washington Post describes how Twitter and Facebook and Google are trying to weaken the flood.

Colin Crowell is the Vice President of Policy at Twitter. Dwoskin’s article quoted something that Crowell had written recently, and it is worth discussing here, because it states a misunderstanding that is prevalent in all of the major social media companies.

Dwoskin wrote, ““We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth,” Crowell wrote earlier this month. He emphasized that Twitter users — “journalists, experts, and engaged citizens” — tweet side by side to correct public discourse every day in real time.”

The fallacy in Crowell’ argument is that the corrections are not really in real time. They are never soon enough. The misleading material reaches the public before any retractions or corrections appear, and sits out there, at least briefly unopposed.

Correcting misleading material is like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

Only a tiny fraction of those who see the misleading material will ever see the retraction or the correction.

Even among those who do see the correction, the first-seen version often makes the deepest impression.

The timing is such that most of the simple-minded and all of the malicious will propagate the uncorrected version.

Sociopathic liar that he is, Donald Trump regularly exploits this weakness of all of the media: public appearances, TV, the print media, and the social media.


That the misleading material is seen first, and the stickiness of first impressions – those are inconvenient truths for the social media giants. The social media giants do not want the expense that would be required to pre-disinfect the stream that flows onto their platforms, nor do they relish the potential legal battles that any gate-keeper may face.

Good technical and legal solutions are not yet known. But at least the social media should drop the self-serving illusion that they can evade at least some gate-keeping role.

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