Spam and freenet

10.1.10 by Tim + 86 comments!

There are so many spam comments. I’m coming around every once in a while to mark them all as spam, let me know if I mark anybody’s comment as spam accidentally and I’ll put it back. Incidentally, my favorite spam comment: “Keep up the amazing work!! I love how you wrote this and I also like the colors here on this site.” I’ve got these in an rss feed so I’ll see if anybody else writes anything, but just out of curiosity, is anybody seeing these?

I’ve been tinkering with freenet recently- not the internet service in town (”it’s not really free”) but a network designed for complete anonymity. the concept, as well as i understand it, is that every computer with access to it runs a node, which stores a certain amount of information (websites, media files, all sorts of things) encrypted on the hard drive. When someone wants to add something to the network, it’s “injected,” and stored on many computers. When they want to retrieve it, it’s searched for (by it’s decryption key) on the decentralized network. The encryption uses public and private keys, so that once something is posted, anybody can read it and verify which user posted it (if they want that to be known) but ideally it’s impossible to identify what real person corresponds to which user.

for people in countries with more oppressive governments, it’s been used as a communications network, or as a way to secretly mirror websites that their access to is blocked. It’s been used as a way to host animal and earth liberation front texts. and it’s also been used for hosting even more questionable materials, such as child porn, and countless guides on how to create explosives, poison people, and coordinate arson using timed devices. But I like it. the incredible search process and the paranoid encryption involved in any network request makes even css difficult, forums nearly impossible, and embedded flash absolutely out of the question. every page is reduced to a simple ’90s-esque style. most pages you find have been abandoned in the last few years, but if you look for a while you might find one that’s still active.

Anyways, privacy blah blah blah no government monitoring blah blah blah pretty sweet. If anybody posts anything up on it, let me know (in person or encrypted of course!)

“mostly dead” might even be a stretch

7.31.09 by Tim + 73 comments!

New Plan: I am going to try to write something poorly written every week or so, and if that means that all of the posts are mine because nobody noticed, well too bad, someone will just have to start writing in between.

“security through obscurity” is pretty self explanatory but i’ll describe it anyways. it means that you try to keep some kind of system (usually a computer) secure by keeping the way it works as secret as possible. the reason why this is lame is that if your security relies on something being a secret or hard to understand, as soon as someone figures it out, it makes it very easy for them to mess with your computer/program/server/bureaucracy/what-have-you- and then only the people who wrote it in the first place know what went wrong and how to fix it. that’s one reason why i really like open-source things. if you freely distribute the complete blueprint for something, you can hardly expect to keep anything secret, and you’re forced to use something that holds up even when EVERYONE knows how it works. THEN it has to pass through the scrutiny of many many individuals, and if one of them finds something wrong or just something that could be improved, its easy to get it out in the open, where anyone can fix it. tah-dah! open-source makes it magically better.

on an entirely unrelated note, lichens are pretty fantastic. it’s a combination of fungus and (usually) algae, which survive only because they’re in a symbiotic relationship where the algae does photosynthesis and the fungus retains extra water (more or less, it’s more complex than that, that’s just as i understand it at this point). they are also often incredibly hardy. in fact, there was an experiment conducted where they orbited lichens around the earth on a satellite and exposed them to open space for two weeks, before bringing them back down to earth, at which point they essentially recovered entirely within 24 hours, with minimal damage.

i don’t know if Cypress ever set up anything for rss feeds (did you?) but you can definitely subscribe to “” on google reader. if anyone writes, i’ll know about it pretty fast, and i think it’ll help me remember to write every once in a while. but someone else needs to write, so the people who aren’t reading this don’t get tired of me. come on, you know you want to!

It just so happens that your blog here is only MOSTLY dead

7.22.09 by Tim + 112 comments!

I think my problem is that I expect coherent thoughts that take more than a paragraph to express, and I expect to get them expressed well before I publish. This generally just prevents me from posting anything at all. So. No more attempts at coherent posts.

The moon really fascinates me. Everyone knows what it is, but it’s one of these things that we just can’t comprehend. Next time you notice the moon’s around, stare at it and comprehend the fact that what you’re staring at is 238857 miles away. Think about how HUGE it’s got to be. (can i make “that’s what she said jokes” on this blog?)

I am vaguely reminded of an incident at Boys State, when we were waiting in the basement of the cafeteria for the hail to stop, and I found myself conversing with someone about climate change, the environment, and natural resources. he explained to me his really interesting view of space exploration- eventually humanity is going to grow off of the planet earth and into colonies on other planets, first in our solar system, and then beyond. He thought of it as a magnificent destiny for us, but I thought it seemed kind of sad, relying on being able to leave behind planets which we’ve effectively destroyed or which have no more resources that hold value to us.

I like to read anti-civilization books sometimes. Anarcho-primitivism is pretty cool i think, even if it’s not ever going to happen just because we want it to. Derrick Jensen in “A Language Older Than Words” wrote an interesting passage i thought… something about how every day he gets up and wonders if instead of writing the next chapter, he should blow up a dam. I’m afraid I’d lean more towards the blowing up a dam side.

suggested anti-civilization reading: Ishmael, and Beyond Civilization (Daniel Quinn), A Language Older Than Words (Derrick Jensen), this one pamphlet I found downtown about how agriculture is bad.

Freenet is a weird concept. First off this is not the Freenet which has wireless hotspots around town (”they’re not free”) this is a network designed to give total privacy to its users. I really think I believe in privacy, but I wasn’t happy with it. Because it was pulling everything off of random other computers, in random pathways where everything is encrypted, it was almost unbearably slow, even for pages that were purely text. what was interesting was what it was used for. A significantly large amount of the websites were either: porn, in french, or about ecoterrorism. So you know, if you ever need information about blowing up dams or monkeywrenching, i can totally show you where to go.

I’m pretty confident in that stream-of-consciousness kind of organization. this was a triumph. just as a test, anyone who reads this should comment so we can get an idea of how often anybody’s checking the blog at this point. THE END

A Pattern

5.15.09 by Ben + 87 comments!

And I don’t mean like fractals. No, this is a pattern of a more distressing sort.

All the blogs that I have been a part of (2) have ended up ignored and have faded away into obscurity.

Point-in-fact; the last post was made nearly a month ago.

Perhaps the upcoming journalism club will help, but I think that we need a more immediate solution! Unfortunately, I’m all out of ideas (lame, I know). When I think of some, I will be posting them below, and then telling you all at school. You should follow suit.