Posts Tagged ‘information’

I’d normally post this to the links section on the right, but …

… this is just too interesting not to comment:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/03/the-worlds-most-mysterious-potentially-destructive-malware-is-not-stuxnet/

Basically, this is one of the most well-engineered pieces of malware; so much so that researchers still don’t know how it spreads. I highly recommend you read the whole thing, but some highlights about the malware:

  • Cryptographically obfuscated payload – the key is the configuration of the target machine.
  • Unknown attack vector
  • Well-engineered load-balancing of C&C servers
  • Inexplicable other behaviors, such as installing a new font (?)

The bottom line is this is the most interesting piece of malware I’ve seen in a long time, all seemingly from the authors of Stuxnet (supposedly the US or Israeli government).

Weight Chart!

EDIT:I got the interactive chart working! yay!

On Knowledge and Behavior

So, I’m going to wax philosophical for a bit here and talk about knowledge as it pertains to behavior and life experience. I’ve found that some of the best behavioral changes in my life have come from things I’ve known my whole life, such as moderation in food portions and how to respond to and participate in social situations. Even though these things were in my head and I could recall them at any time, I didn’t change my behavior or even try to after a long time during which they just sat idly, reminding me that I was doing things wrong.

What I try to do however is learn and continually improve myself, so I’ve kind of set out to learn the process of learning and how it pertains to self-modifying behavior and to understand what inhibits it so I can make better progress quicker with behavioral modification.

It’s difficult to explain but it seems there is two kinds of knowledge, external and internal knowledge, that is knowledge that originates from external sources and knowledge that originates internally. These names are kind of misnomers, because you can recall both kinds of knowledge without external assistance, however internal knowledge is things like tying your shoes or what to say when someone greets you while external knowledge is another person’s age or how many million miles the Earth is from the sun. Again, it’s difficult to explain. Internal knowledge is easier to recall but more difficult to update, and in general it can pertain more to one’s behaviors whereas external knowledge is usually things like statistics and facts.

What I have found is even though you have received external knowledge relating to behaviors you wish to modify (such as eating smaller portion sizes or things such as performing hourly reality checks), it is very difficult to modify the behavior, even with good focus, concentration and willpower. One way to successfully accomplish behavioral modification using external knowledge is to constantly focus on the behavior you wish to modify until it becomes second nature, making sure to keep it on the forefront of your mind at all times. Many times, this is what happens to musicians as they may learn a song incorrectly so in order to re-learn the song correctly, they must practice it constantly until the new song is part of internal knowledge.

This approach only works in specific instances because we are not processors and we won’t always remember during our “interrupt times” to check the list of things that need to be checked.
Another way to internalize external information is to consider the new information as deeply as you can, perform self or group arguments against the proposed changes and gradually fade out the old methods. This is one I try to employ but even though it appears more effective than just forcing yourself to always pay attention to behaviors you wish to change, this technique is greatly flawed because sometimes you will arrive at a conclusion but you’ll be unable to internalize it and modify your behavior for a number of difficult reasons; such as the old behavior was easier or the new behavior makes you uncomfortable.

The final method is to internalize the information through experience. This is something I feel most people have issues with because constantly older people will warn younger people about their unhealthy habits or give advice to young couples that the couples can’t follow because they haven’t learned from experience. I feel experience is the major source of internal knowledge, because some things you have to “learn the hard way”.

What I want to do is change that and learn the easy way. One technique I hope to try is to analyze the differences between the behaviors and create small steps that will help bridge the gap but are easier to implement. For example, if I wanted to start working out daily, I would come up with a large number of small changes such as stretching when I remember, then stretching every day, then doing a little more rigorous physical exercise when I feel like it, then exercise on the weekends, then maybe I’d be able to make the jump to daily exercise. It would be more steps than that but hopefully you get my drift. One other large stepping stone in the way is just deciding what you want to do, and if you want to actually make that permanent change.

For example, at my heaviest I rationalized it that I enjoyed food more than I would enjoy being a healthy body weight, so that prevented me from losing weight until that rationale was overthrown.

In conclusion (and I hope to have the time to edit this so it’s more coherent), I think that behavioral modification is easiest when it’s planned out and there’s true initiative behind it. Maybe in a future edit or a future post I’ll talk about the inclusion of external factors such as android apps and other people, but as it is this post is longer than I’d want.

OpenVPN Windows 7 Network Issues

So I spent an hour and a half fixing this, so hopefully someone comes across this post and it helps them.

My issue was that the OpenVPN adapter on my Windows 7 computer was an Unidentified network and I couldn’t change it. Because of this, it didn’t follow the right firewall rules, making it impossible to RDP in over the VPN.

So, after much searching high and low, the fix is very simple, just add the following lines to your client config file:

# NLA issues
route-metric 512
route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0

And restart the VPN connection.

Thanks to this site which was very difficult to find.

Data loss

So, as a result of not understanding Amazon EC2 and not having backups, I’ve lost some months of data and changes to the server.

You can believe I now have backups.

Site Data Loss

So, I experienced quite a bit of data loss and was forced to restore the site from a quite dated backup. I won’t be re-writing the posts that were lost for now, but I will be setting up a more resilient backup solution, most likely off-site.

Sucks.

On Faith

For the uninitiated, I live in the United States of America. This country has a lot of really awesome things going for it, and I wouldn’t want to have spent my life thus far anywhere else, but one thing that gets me riled up is “faith” in this country and in general when it pertains to how people live their lives.

Everyone has the inherent right to live as they wish to live, and I accept fully my selfishness in asking others to live as I wish to live. With that said, I offer evidence that a faith-based life is inherently flawed when compared to a rational and logic-based life.

Firstly, lets remove everything but the ideas of these lifestyles and not their implementations. That is, let’s remove specific examples and talk generally for a while. Generally, faith means you hold to your belief/position even in light of new evidence presented while a logical position weighs all evidence and suggests the best acceptable explanation for the evidence. And generally, knowledge improves over time as more evidence becomes available. But wait, how can I say knowledge improves? How do we measure improvements in what we know?

What is knowledge?

Let’s decide on a test, then. We can say that we know more truth at one time than another time by how interconnected different philosophies of science are and how accurate their associated theories describe the observable universe. Considering that in the last hundred years we’ve gained the ability to accurately model the universe in such finite detail that even our simple video games, such as Half Life 2, have complex physics which are incredibly accurate (there are videos of complex Rube Goldberg machines all over youtube showcasing the incredible precision of the physics in that game.)

So now lets see what has increased knowledge of the known universe more. Consider physics itself. Does physics come from an immutable and unchangeable book written by prophets thousands of years ago and we just have faith that they were spot on with their first try? Consider math. Was calculus available at the same time as the great flood? Should we only have faith in basic arithmetic and trigonometry. Consider morality. Do we just continue to have faith that our morals from thousands of years ago that allow slavery and paying a small penance for raping a virgin while she has to marry you are just?

Okay, so you’re kind of right.

The truth of the matter is a faith-based life in every respect is just not the best approach to any matter in life. You can’t just hold to a belief in disregard of evidence. You are almost guaranteed to be wrong eventually. As science has expanded and forged ahead, long-held beliefs about our universe have been shattered by our insatiable quest for more knowledge. And we’ve adjusted our worldview accordingly.

So please, stop being faithful and start being rational.

What the Hell is Going On?

What the actual fuck?

So, the Senate rejected an amendment to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that would’ve prohibited the Government’s powers to detain, arrest and even assassinate American citizens.  The only reputable source for this news that I’ve found comes from the ACLU.

Two issues I have with this.  First, how the hell did this even pass in the first place?  A rhetorical question, because what lets these bills pass is the fact that they’re added on to something unrelated and is worded in a way that’s not immediately evident what they’re trying to do.  I think the model we use for Government is outdated.

So how do we fix this shit?

I think it would behoove us to switch to an open-source Government.  I couldn’t plan it down all the way to implementation, but the gist of this idea is that all of our laws are posted on a GitHub-like site.  And where each module or subroutine would normally go, we have a law regarding one specific idea.  For example, if you wanted to see what the gun laws are for your state, you go to the main site, then State -> Virginia -> Firearms -> Ownership and then you could also check the box to include federal and municipality laws in it’s search.  Then, right there, you can see all the laws pertaining to firearm ownership that would affect you.

And when we want to introduce a law, there would be a seaparate part of the site dedicated to it that would work like a wiki.  There are moderators of course, and those positions could replace the Senate and Congress, but the content of the law is submitted by the people.  A necessary add-on is that you can vote for amendments and re-wordings, and the moderators have the same power to vote as the people; their job is mostly to keep things organized, easy-to-read and civil.

Then, when it comes down to executing the law, all you have to do is train law enforcement on the most recent version of the law and issue changelogs every now and then. No more Senate, no more Congress.  The “little” people are now 2/3 of the Government’s power.  Sound good?

My plan has issues, I know.

For instance, you’d need a federal ID program that could authenticate people in order to be able to vote and have fair votes.  Plus you’d need funding to implement this, which is of course no small undertaking.  Additionally, everyone needs access to this, regardless of if they have a computer or transportation.  Finally, we would have to import the old laws or start from scratch, which in my opinion it would be easier to start from scratch.

One other thing to consider is what happens when this infrastructure fails, or when we need immediate changes to laws, like in times of war.  I don’t have an answer for these issues.

Remember my plan in the coming months/years, because I think we’re going to see an upheaval.

About the Admin

Greetings, I’m Tyler.  In most things, my user name is InMSWeAntitrust.  I’m new to webhosting and I don’t know how I feel about it.  Links to my pages on various sites below:

Facebook
Google+
OkCupid
DeviantArt

Steam name:InMSWeAntitrust
Name in Minecraft:InMSWeAntitrust

Send me an email about my site at InMSWeantitrust&gmail0com. (&[email protected] and 0=.)

About My Server

For those interested, here is some specs on what’s running the site:

Hardware:

MSI Wind

1.6GHz Dual Core Atom Processor

2GB of RAM

1TB Harddrive

Internal Wireless Card, 10/100 Ethernet

Operating System:

XBMC Live (Ubuntu-based, boots in ~30s)

Software:

XMBC, Mumble, Minecraft Server (more on this below), Deluge, Apache, MySQL

Minecraft Server:

The Minecraft server runs Craftbukkit with the following plugins:

AdminCmd, ChatterCraft, MagicCarpet, MapMarkers, Nanobot, Runecraft, WorldEdit

The Minecraft world is backed up every 30 minutes.  Overviewer is installed at tylerphawkins.com/minecraftmap/ and it updates nightly.

Other Thoughts:

There’s other stuff running on the server and special configurations for different things, but most of it was made only for me.

 

[Update 12/3/11]

I now run the site on an EC2 instance.  This machine now is media-center only.

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Disclaimer

I make no guarantees or warranty of any kind as to the accuracy or usefulness of any information posted here. In addition, all opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of any other individual/entity, including but not limited to my employer, family or friends.