Whistleblower States that Cambridge Analytica, Subsidiary of British Defence Contractor to the Ministry of Defence and US DOD, Was a Bridging Node to the Russians

This was a joint appearance event, including Q&A, held today in London. A lot of important news was made:

Chris Wylie’s answer here, if it is borne out, clearly places Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary of the defense and intelligence contractor SCL, doing work for Russian interests. This is noteworthy for two different, but equally important reasons. The first is that it provides some of the first direct evidence, by direct statement of one of the principles and founders of Cambridge Analytica as a subsidiary of SCL, that Cambridge Analytica had concrete, for profit ties to Russia. Making it a bridging node in the network of groups, people, and organizations involved in the US 2014 and 2016 elections and the Russians. The second is that a subsidiary of SCL, which is essentially a private, for contract intelligence company, was doing work for Russian interests at the same time that the parent company was doing work for the British Ministry of Defence and the US DOD.

I’ve been a defense contractor off and on for over a decade. This included doing what is essentially a niche form of  intelligence work for the US Army. I have also served on two different term appointments as a senior civil servant under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. One of my biggest concerns as a national security professional has always been about the privatization of intelligence work. I’ve had the pleasure of working for an excellent, small defense contractor (who I’m currently still with) that appreciates professional ethics, providing quality work for the governmental client, and has my back. This was also the case for the not for profit sponsoring agent for my Intergovernmental Personnel Appointment. Unfortunately, I’ve also worked for a terrible business development unit (BDU) of a very large multinational defense and intelligence contractor that, through hard experience, I trust to do what is best for their bottom line to the exclusion of all else – including the right thing. So I can say I’ve experienced the best and worst of the contractor world. Having a subsidiary of a defense and intelligence contractor that is doing political intelligence work for Russian interests at the same time that the parent company is doing intelligence and/or intelligence related work for the MOD, the DOD, and NATO should be raising red flags in DC, London, and Brussels. Given what we know of how Nix and his partners conduct business, national security and counterintelligence professionals in the US, the UK, and at NATO HQ should be very, very, very concerned that whatever they were paying SCL to do has managed to make its way to Cambridge Analytica’s Russian clients.

Other important news was also made at this event about Steve Bannon, Robert Mercer, and their interest in the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Brexit:

You’ll notice that Andrew Breitbart’s “politics is downstream of culture” concept was in play here.

Finally, some absolutely revolting news was also broken at this event pertaining to Shahmir Sanni. If there is any justice left in Her Majesty’s kingdom, it will be the end of Theresa May’s political career, as well as the two lowlifes on her staff responsible for outing Sanni and placing his family in Pakistan in jeopardy:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation provides us with some interesting information about Wylie:

A Canadian data expert who set off an international uproar over the alleged leak of private Facebook user data lost his job years ago in the office of former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, in large part because he was pushing a nascent form of the controversial data-harvesting technique, says a former senior party insider.

Years ago, when he was working in Ignatieff’s office, Wylie had already begun to develop strategies on how politicians could capitalize on data collected through social media, said a former senior Liberal insider who spoke on condition of anonymity.

At the time, the idea was viewed as too invasive and raised concerns with the Liberals, who declined to have anything to do with it, said the insider: Wylie’s recommended data-collection approach spooked party officials to the point that it became an significant factor behind their decision not to renew his contract in 2009.

“Let’s say he had boundary issues on data even back then,” said the source, who noted that Wylie’s recent descriptions of his methods in media reports sounded familiar.

“He effectively pitched an earlier version of exactly this to us back in 2009 and we said, ‘No.”‘

Some of his ideas may not have even been fully possible at the time, but the “whip-smart” Wylie appears to have continued to pursue them, said the insider.

Wylie, who left Cambridge Analytica in 2014, has not responded to repeated interview requests from The Canadian Press.

There is clearly more to Wylie, or rather the story that is Wylie, than what he is promoting as the righteous whistle blower against Cambridge Analytica, SCL, Aggregate IQ (AIQ), UKIP, various pro-Brexit front groups, numerous GOP campaigns and conservative Super PACs, Steve Bannon, and the Mercers. Tonight’s revelations, however, provide greater clarity to our understanding of just what Cambridge Analytica was and who it was connected to.

Finally, tomorrow should be a wild ride in Britain:

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

241 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Whistleblower States that Cambridge Analytica, Subsidiary of British Defense Contractor to the Ministry of Defense and US DOD, Was a Bridging Node to the Russians

    Means nothing.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Excuse me?

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    if it is born out

    borne

    /pedant

  4. 4
    Fair Economist says:

    It was pretty obvious CambAnal was a bridging node to the Russians but I am boggled proof came out so quickly. I think this is what made the Russians get so aggressive with their butchery lately. The threads from this will probably lead to the bridging nodes for all the other elections they have been meddling in.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: No, born. I reckon it’ll take 9 months to fully investigate it.

    /smartass that can’t spell.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L.Silverman

    That qualifies as “jestation.”

    File has been updated.

  7. 7
    Gvg says:

    So the guy blowing the whistle now was in the past pushing the bad behavior? I need a score card. Always had a bad memory for names.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    The Canadian information makes me a little wary of Wylie as a “whistleblower.” It makes him feel a little Snowden to me, if you know what I mean.

  9. 9
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Conservatives are the same everywhere: cruel, selfish and criminal. Their universal language is hate.

  10. 10
    GregB says:

    Apparently fascist globalism is just fine with all of these nativist assholes.

    Let’s not forget that Fuckface Farage was seen waltzing out of the Ecuadoran embassy at one point in 2017.

  11. 11
    Mary G says:

    Wow. And I thought Republicans were assholes. This is on a whole ‘nother level. British politics is as big a mess as ours is. Theresa May should resign, call an election, get Shamir’s family the help they need yesterday, and the new Prime Minister needs to start a truth and reconciliation commission, to uproot all the collaborators with Russia in England. Doubt any of it will happen, but what a bombshell. Hillary was right again. Deplorable is the only word.

    The Mercers can probably buy their way out of trouble, but I want them exposed and shamed. Bannon will be the scapegoat and I can’t find myself to feel a bit sorry for him.

  12. 12
    Ryan says:

    There’s a vast right wing consipiracy…

  13. 13
    Jay says:

    In his interviews, Wylie comes “out” as an “autistic gay vegan” who was chasing the math, the data, the possibilities, the science,

    Right up until he realized what he had done.

    The Oppenhiemer Effect.

    Kozinski spent the last 4 years touring the world and giving acedemic lectures warning that the junction of Big Data, and OCEAN, could be “weaponized”, but nobody listened.

  14. 14
    p.a. says:

    Putin and Western crypto-fascists (some not so crypto) playing Jenga with the western alliance. Now the mask is tearing, their tower is in danger too. US Rethugs protecting that one, not US’s or NATO’s. Hang ‘em high.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Fair Economist: We do now know about the connections going back to the initial 2010 tea party wave of Cambridge Analytica and GOP candidates, campaigns, and conservative Super PACs. So I think you’re correct that we’re going to learn a lot more in short order. Carole Cadwalladr and several other British journalists have their teeth into this and aren’t going to let go until they’re good and ready.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gvg: Chris Wylie.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not really Snowden like. More self interested/self profiting mercenary.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ryan: Who knew?

  19. 19
    Tokyokie says:

    @Mary G: Fuck ’em. Go after the Mercers under the RICO statute and confiscate everything they own, then sling their asses into federal lockups for the rest of their miserable lives. And do the same for the whole sorry lot of these Russian toadies.And if you think I’m being too harsh, just consider that these obscenely wealthy ass pustules were happy to usher in a worldwide fascist empire headed by Putin just so they could become even more obscenely wealthy.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ryan:

    Be prepared — the next wave of “left wing” propaganda will say that this was all Obama and Hillary’s fault for not warning us hard enough and/or not doing enough to protect us. And a lot of Democrats will fall for it, because we’re accustomed to blaming our politicians for the bad actions of the Republicans.

  21. 21
    debbie says:

    @Tokyokie:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Trump administration was doing all they could to stop that or at least slow it down until after the midterms.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Not really Snowden like. More self interested/self profiting mercenary.

    That’s kind of what I mean. How many different people are paying him to do this, and why? I don’t believe the sudden attack of conscience.

  23. 23
    debbie says:

    Not to mention this shit also.

  24. 24
    terben says:

    A lot of people jumping on born/borne quite oblivious to Ministry of Defence/Defense.

  25. 25
    Mathguy says:

    Funny how the FTFNYTimes seems to be ignoring all of this. Checked the website and….nada on the front page.

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Unfortunately, we have a segment of people here who think the skirt chasing aspect of CA is what they did. And not the larger picture of what we see unfolding.

  27. 27
    sdhays says:

    Holy crap. SCL should lose its western contracts immediately. I wonder what this information about the Leave campaign means for Brexit. From what I’ve been reading, it’s a complete loser for the UK (on top of just being nasty), so they would do well to take any opportunity to pull back from the ledge. But will the public demand it?

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is a sad take.

  29. 29
    sdhays says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m not commenting on whether his change of heart is or is not genuine (skepticism is definitely warranted), but it does happen. The guy at Media Matters is a big example.

  30. 30
    Fair Economist says:

    @debbie: Wow, somebody really needs us distracted from something. Probably the CambAnal connection.

  31. 31
    Mary G says:

    Too bad Maggie and the rest of our media are too busy covering the horse race and gossip, afraid to jeopardize access, to do this reporting. I already give to the Guardian monthly and wish I could increase it.

  32. 32
    Tokyokie says:

    @debbie: Slow down the investigation until after the midterms? Hell no, he wants to scuttle the whole damn investigation even if doing so means laying the entire history of Anglo-American jurisprudence in ruins. Because his sense of self-worth is the most important development in the history of mankind.

    There are but four issues on the November ballot: Impeach. Remove. Indict. Imprison. Every last fucking one of the GOP traitors.

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: That wasn’t my point. The migrating material he thinks would be useful/profitable to himself later from one job to another is what I meant by mercenary.

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: God. Another pathetic take.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: Fortunately, every military base and intel installation in the US was hardened against this type of thing after 9-11 and the subsequent anthrax letters.

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @terben: I lived in Scotland for three years. The verdammt autocorrect fixed that one on me.

  37. 37
    tobie says:

    I’m still of the opinion that both CA and parent company SCI fed information to the Russians to do the really sophisticated data mining stuff. The kind of infrastructure you would need to do the micro-targeting CA supposedly did is huge. I just don’t see how the company alone would have been able to do everything from the market testing to the delivery of targeted messages and whatever else without outside help.

    On the other hand, maybe I’m overestimating the difficulty of targeted ad campaigns when you have access to 50 million Facebook accounts.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: This is true. But I also think it is because there are too few folks like me being consulted by the broadcast and cable news and print news media who actually understand how this stuff works. So they follow the parts of the story that make sense to the reporters.

  39. 39
    Raoul says:

    The Mercers are some seriously, seriously f’ked up rich people.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m beginning to think there might be something wrong with the President’s judgement:

  41. 41
    Another Scott says:

    Finally, tomorrow should be a while ride in Britain:

    “Curse you Autocorrect!!11”

    :-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  42. 42
    Jay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Wylie’s whistle blowing, Kosinski’s been trying to warn people for years,

    Kogan aka Dr. Spectre’s denying it had anything to do with him or his work,

    Chancellor, Kogan’s former partner, and Stillwell, Kozinski’s former partner, work for Facebook now.

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sdhays: Exactly. And a full CI investigation needs to be opened and a full CI scrub conducted on everything they’ve worked on, had visibility on, touched, seen, etc.

    As to the UK issues regarding Brexit, tomorrow’s Common’s debate should get that ball rolling. Brexit has been embarrassingly expensive enough so far as it is. Since they’re learning they were manipulated into Brexit by Americans who could have cared less about the British, but wanted to use Britain and Brexit for their own purposes in the US, that should change the debate over how to proceed. It’ll be politically embarrassing and there will be political pain as a result, but what is coming out is clearly demonstrating that a lot of the support for Brexit was artificially created for the benefit of people who weren’t British.

  44. 44
    oatler. says:

    Colbert should have fun with “bridging node”.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @tobie:

    I’m still of the opinion that both CA and parent company SCI fed information to the Russians to do the really sophisticated data mining stuff.

    I would suspect that you’re right — CA took the Facebook data, sent it to the Russians to do the actual work, and then sent it back to the Republicans to place the ads. And I think the odds that the Republicans didn’t know about the Russian connections are very, very low at this point.

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m always suspicious when a mercenary claims he’s had a sudden attack of conscience. YMMV.

  46. 46
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Good, but my first thought was to wonder whether this was a militia-type operation or a Russian operation parading as a militia-type operation. I’m afraid I’m going to start seeing Russians everywhere.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @tobie: That would not surprise me either.

  48. 48
    piratedan says:

    so its means that Vladdy has been working at this a looong time, splitting off the UK from Europe, helping to bankroll and coordinate the racism and tea party in the US.

    Will take a very tiny leap here and going to go on the record here and state just how much cahooting is in place between the Russians and Fox News and the rest of Rupert’s empire and say that this is looking extremely sinister.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: That one was all me!

  50. 50
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @sdhays:
    so they would do well to take any opportunity to pull back from the ledge. But will the public demand it?
    Unfortunately all the top candidates to take May’s place as PM have pinned their careers on pursuing Brexit. What might be good for the UK, and what the public actually prefers at this point, are irrelevant.

    There is a kind of institutional cognitive-dissonance-reduction in progress. “We have decided to do it, therefore all those reasons why we shouldn’t do it are suddenly unimportant.”

    It is as if the British governing establishment read Tuchman’s “The March of Folly” and decided to take it as a guide.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @piratedan:

    Don’t forget the NRA. Indications are that they’ve been laundering a lot of Russian money, but they refuse to open their books for examination.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: Let me now if they set up blintz trucks on the corner!

  53. 53
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Wylie was always a Contractor, so the toolset he used job to job, was his toolset.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    but they refuse to open their books for examination.

    From their cold dead hands!

  55. 55
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: I’m not just talking about the toolset, but also migrating data and other information he thought might be of use at a later date. Which is what the Liberal Party official is alleging in the CBC piece.

  56. 56
    Anne Laurie says:

    Thanks for this, Adam!

    I’m willing to believe — given the info we’ve gotten so far — that Wiley really is an “on the spectrum” (self diagnosed?), socially inept young man who just didn’t realize the implications of his “what’s mine is mine, and what I can pry away from ‘the commons’ is mine too” mindset. If only because I’ve known so many of that ilk, in the considerable crossover between infotech-engineering and sci-fi fandom, over the last forty years. They learn, if they ever do, solely through personal experience; it was pointed out to me many years ago that sf is particularly attractive to smart people who don’t “intuit” human behavior naturally — the spell-everything-out quality of world-building comes easier to some of us than the behavior of “ordinary” characters in “normal” fiction…

  57. 57
    GregB says:

    It is almost as if there is a global cabal of rich plutocrats who abhor democracy and self determination among the world’s citizens and have used their money to help destroy those causes.

  58. 58
    Feebog says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Trumpov is at least supposed to be “media savvy”. If he tries to bring Porter back on staff that particular myth will burn faster than the Hindenburg.

  59. 59
    Mike J says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    he thinks would be useful/profitable to himself later from one job to another is what I meant by mercenary.

    Consultants who don’t actually join the orgs they work for are “mercenaries”. A military consultant is telling us this.

  60. 60
    Fair Economist says:

    As so often, Hillary figured it out first.

    (Wishes and sighs for what could have been)

  61. 61
    Another Scott says:

    Twitler earlier tonight:

    Trade talks going on with numerous countries that, for many years, have not treated the United States fairly. In the end, all will be happy!

    5:44 PM – 26 Mar 2018

    All the numerous countries that have treated the US unfairly are having trade talks? Talks that will make all of them happy?

    Based on his foreign policy “achievements” it does seem like he’s working against the interests of the United States. Kinda interesting to see him admit it. (At least one can read it that way…)

    Seriously, what’s with the weird passive voice in that Tweet?!? Is he doing anything at all except watching TV, Tweeting, and playing golf on the weekends??? Does anyone really think that he personally signed off on kicking the Russian spies out today????!

    (sigh)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  62. 62
    piratedan says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m not, those tendrils extend into the evangelicals too, the NRA, the nazi’s, the loony left, the sovereign citizen crew wouldn’t be surprised to see the ant-abortionists on that list too… namely anyone who’s a one-hit wonder off the mainstream gets to be radicalized and roped in it seems…

    it’s a wonder that Obama didn’t try to Seal Team Six Putin’s ass, but it’s not as if he wasn’t fighting on all of these other fronts (courtesy of Vald’s moneyed friends in Russia and the US)

  63. 63
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike J: I have done two stints inside the government on term appointments. I’ve also worked as a full time equivalent contractor and in both cases was willing to migrate to civil service had that been an option. That wasn’t. Since that most recent assignment I’ve worked as a consultant because that is what it takes to pay the bills. But I have raised my hand and taken the oath and have always put that above everything else. My current boss (CEO of the company I’m with) appreciates that. The first company I worked as a contractor for didn’t.

    On a more personal note: I’ve had two term appointments, as well as three full time equivalent contract positions disappear on me since 2014 because of the sequester, the failure to actually produce proper appropriations, or a combination of the two. At this point the key is to survive while not violating the oaths I’ve taken until I can get back onto the type of assignment I prefer.

  64. 64
    Fair Economist says:

    @tobie: My impression is that CambAnal *was* doing the microtargeting. Russia provided money to pay for it, hackers to get the blackmail, and trolls to spread the messages. There has been a lot of discussion about the Russian troll farms saying somebody in the West must have been guiding them.

    I think that CambAnal may have helped guide the hacking, directing it at things that could have the most influence.

  65. 65
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    As we have seen, there seems to be a Tech Ethic’s Fail over data ownership.

    At this time, it’s not clear that Wylie “took” any data, Canadian Liberal Party datasets would be useless in Brexit, and Brexit dataset’s would be useless in Trump/Russia.

    Wylie’s “toolkits” were his algorythm’s, which appear so far, to be his IP. Working as a contractor with larger and larger data sets, allowed him to hone his algorthm’s and develop new ones.

    Almost all the AI guy’s say that one of the first things a fully sentient AI will do is try to kill all humans, but they keep working at it.

  66. 66
    Raoul says:

    @debbie: FEC is already warning that they won’t likely release any reports on the Stormy campaign finance allegations for a year. In other words, no reports of possible repercussions for finance rule violators till after November 2018. Hmmmmmmmm.

  67. 67
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Adam, any thoughts on this? Just keeping the petroleum team together?

    Oh, nothing to see here – just an entire magazine of Saudi Propaganda, published by National Enquirer, on a drugstore newsstand in Oklahoma.There are NO ads in the magazine. pic.twitter.com/vvnJwsAght— Rev. R. E. Zed (@postordinary) March 25, 2018

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Maybe the trade negotiators will get a puppy or a kitten and cupcake with sprinkles and that’s why they’ll be happy.

  69. 69
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Raoul:

    The Mercers are some seriously, seriously f’ked up rich people.

    To quote Terry Pratchett, concerning a particularly effective assassin: He saw things differently than other people, and part of that was seeing other people as things.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Sounds about right.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: My guess is that the Crown Prince purchased that edition, so to speak. Paying for it out of his own accounts or via one of the Saudi sovereign wealth funds.

  72. 72
    Raoul says:

    @Mary G: I did a one-off donation to the Guardian recently, when I realised I was visiting them more than I’d have thought I might. And that was all before CA. I need to do more.

  73. 73
    dm says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m going to say that this behavior isn’t that surprising to me — particularly in the 2009 time-frame, as there spectrum of ethics about that kind of data was still pretty broad, especially if you didn’t think those ethical concerns applied to you or the ways you intended to use the data.

    That data is hard to come by, so of course he kept it — who knows what techniques he’ll learn next week or next year to extract new, interesting patterns in the metadata. Of course, he can’t publish, because the data is tainted, but he can hone his skills, and maybe polish a few tricks he can apply later in his work.

    But then, I’ve known a few data pack-rats. (ETA: see Jay’s remark about “Tech Ethics fail about data ownership”.)

    I’m a bit puzzled about the timeline of the explosion of Cambridge Analytica stories. Wylie can’t be the ultimate cause, can he? BBC4 had been working on their sting for months. I suppose Wylie’s story may have prompted BBC4 to release their story (or news of the impending BBC4 story prompted Wylie to act).

  74. 74
    Raoul says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Since they’re learning they were manipulated into Brexit by Americans who could have cared less about the British, but wanted to use Britain and Brexit for their own purposes in the US, that should change the debate over how to proceed.

    Given the ties between the Mercers and so many in the GOP, our special relationship — already quite strained by Trump — will take another big hit this week. No wonder we expelled a bunch of Russians today, we have to do some face-saving with our UK friends (and I am glad we’ve done this expulsion — or announced it, I think it takes a few days to be in full effect, tidy up, boys!)

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dm: That sounds about right.

    As for the timeline, my understanding is that Carole Cadwalladr had been cultivating him as a confidential source in her reporting at The Guardian for about a year or so. Why he decided to come out of the shadows at this point, I do not know.

  76. 76
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    and cupcake with sprinkles and that’s why they’ll be happy.

    Do the sprinkles come from Mokva?

  77. 77
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Raoul: The expulsion of the Russian for covers was basically forced on the President by the intel community. We basically have two different foreign policies running at the same time. One of them involves the President and what he either says to the press off the cuff or tweets.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: I do not know. Nor do I get that reference.

  79. 79
    tobie says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Adam L Silverman: @Fair Economist: I have no idea what Wylie’s motivations are. Like all human beings he’s a bundle of contradictory emotions. I suspect he’s both terrified and thrilled at the power he thinks he had. I know lots of guys who’ve been working for years on machine translation. They are all guys, all PhDs, all with significant training in probability theory and advanced mathematics, all devoted full-time to research, and I don’t think a single one of them would say they could do what they do without a massive team, an open research community where idea are exchanged and debated and peer reviewed. Wylie as far as I know studied law for a time at LSE but not math or computer science. Could he have stood at the forefront of the largest and most successful data mining operation in history? Possibly, but color me skeptical. One day we will know the full division of labor. Right now we’re just getting bits and pieces.

  80. 80
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The Great Brexit Train Robbery, published in May last year, started the thread pulling, that lead to AggregateIQ in Canada, and Wylie, although Wylie had left AggregateIQ in 2016 after Treason Tribble’s “election” and was laying low in Edmonton Alberta, trying to figure out what to do.

  81. 81
    rikyrah says:

    That young man being outed like that 😠😠😠

  82. 82
    Spc says:

    @tobie: you are; micro targeting is easy when you have good data and is standard practice for experienced digital marketers. The bigger story here is the acquisition of the data itself, the election laws broken in its deployment, and the paymasters behind these efforts.

  83. 83

    @Adam L Silverman: And it has to have been the State Department, probably Defense as well, that coordinated the expulsions with the other countries. So they’re not totally out of the picture yet. It’s the President on one side and the rest of the government on the other.

  84. 84
    cain says:

    @Tokyokie:

    There are but four issues on the November ballot: Impeach. Remove. Indict. Imprison. Every last fucking one of the GOP traitors.

    My fear is that the Democratic party will not have the will to put these fuckers in jail. They need to convict all of them. I was just looking through all these Republican politicians in the white house and it seems like almost all of these fuckers came from the Nixon era. That administration seems to have created all these devils.

    The only cure is to throw their asses all in jail. One thing I’ve noticed is that any kind of emphatic response will have the right take advantage of them. We cannot fear them and their anger. Let them riot. We’lll put them down like the dogs they are and toss their asses in jail. It’s the only way to get rid of this sickness.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @tobie: He’s made out to be an autodidactic savant at this stuff. I have no way of knowing if that is, in fact, the case.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Yep. I’m pretty sure I linked to it in a post here, but I’ve (unfortunately had to) done so many posts on this stuff, I’ve begun to lose track.

  88. 88

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m always suspicious when a mercenary claims he’s had a sudden attack of conscience. YMMV.

    It’s those Soros bucks.

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: As the British say: that’s just not cricket!

    Completely unacceptable.

  90. 90
    rikyrah says:

    @Tokyokie:
    Tell it.
    Preach it

  91. 91
    Mary G says:

    Super excited for this!

    “It’s a show about people trying to get love, and shit gets in the way.”

    That’s how the late Garry Shandling described his groundbreaking sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, an inside-showbiz series about the office culture surrounding a talk show. But the line also sums up the life of Garry Shandling as described by his friend, collaborator, and showbiz pupil Judd Apatow in his two-part documentary The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, premiering Monday night on HBO.

  92. 92
    Chet Murthy says:

    @tobie:

    maybe I’m overestimating the difficulty of targeted ad campaigns when you have access to 50 million Facebook accounts.

    Something to keep in mind: this isn’t actually a lot of data. 50m voter files …. well, let’s assume we have a megabyte of data per voter (wildly large[*]), that’s 50TB, and these days, you can buy single machines with that kind of RAM capacity …. if you needed it. Which you don’t. Basically, you’re still in the range of single computers (admittedly beefy servers, but still). There’s a big difference between this, and the kind of data-mining/analysis that FAANG do — there, they’re analyzing click-logs, ad-impressions, stuff that is 100-1000x more voluminous. I’m not exaggerating when I say that individual data-sets can be multiple PB in size. So by comparison, this is just …. small beer.

    One wonders who did what in this criminal conspiracy . It seems like CA had data-mining/analytics. Maybe Russia had the bots & delivery channels (run the ad campaigns, etc)?

    [*] it’s certain that each user’s FB file is much bigger than a megabyte. But the way you do machine learning, is by extracting relevant “features” from the data, and then running your algorithms on that. You don’t train on full data-sets, b/c there’s too much noise in there, and all ML algiorithms are weak/finicky. Feed ’em too much noisy data, and they fall down.

  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Exactly. We are in 100% agreement.

  94. 94

    @Jay:

    In his interviews, Wylie comes “out” as an “autistic gay vegan” who was chasing the math, the data, the possibilities, the science,

    Right up until he realized what he had done.

    The Oppenhiemer Effect.

    Don’t insult Oppenheimer. It doesn’t take a genius to notice these gaping privacy holes, do some mining, and run some regressions.

  95. 95
    cain says:

    @Raoul:

    @debbie: FEC is already warning that they won’t likely release any reports on the Stormy campaign finance allegations for a year. In other words, no reports of possible repercussions for finance rule violators till after November 2018. Hmmmmmmmm.

    That’s fine, by then we’ll have congress (and we are going have congress) and we’ll nail Trump’s ass to the wall when it comes out.

  96. 96
    Raoul says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That definitely makes sense. I guess there are still some ways that he can be gotten to (or worked around) to preserve some of our relationships.
    I hope it’s true that the Mercers and their utterly amoral, self-absorbed goals in pushing Brexit redound very, very badly for them in the British Parliament and press. They deserve plenty of blowback for it. As do all the GOPers and GOP-tied groups that take their filthy lucre.

  97. 97

    Semi-related:

    Tech buzzwords explained:

    AI—regression
    Big data—data
    Blockchain—database
    Algorithm—automated decision-making
    Cloud—Internet
    Crypto—cryptocurrency
    Dark web—Onion service
    Data science—statistics done by nonstatisticians
    Disruption—competition
    Viral—popular
    IoT—malware-ready device

    — Arvind Narayanan (@random_walker) March 22, 2018

  98. 98
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    There’s no shortage of self taught coders who have had huge impacts with no formal degree’s.

    Our two “go to” tech guys, are a Journalism and Marketing major, and his younger autistic brother, who’s studying acting. Neither of them has taken a Computer course or math course outside of High School.

    Both are self taught coders, and the younger one writes FPS Japanese Monster Anime games for his own amusement, in Japanese.

  99. 99
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Oppenhiemer willingly built nukes.

  100. 100
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Raoul: The British justice system is not going to take this lightly. I am also sure that both Special Counsel Mueller and NY State AG Schneiderman are also paying close attention to all of this, including the stuff involving the Mercers and their money.

  101. 101
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Another Scott:
    There is no passive voice in that tweet.

  102. 102

    @Jay: Yes, and comparing Wylie to a man of his brilliance is an insult to Oppenheimer.

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Apparently Fox News discovered a stable wormhole back to the mid 1990s:

  104. 104
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Wouldn’t that be something? If there was evidence of foreign tampering in elections going back to 2010. That would invalidate most of the GOP gains made…everywhere. No wonder they’re doing ostrich impersonations.

  105. 105
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Yup, it’s not like a game of Treason Tribble bingo,

    Or even Russian Usurper Nesting Dolls.

  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    She will cut him long, wide, and deep!

  107. 107
    Raoul says:

    @Amir Khalid: Right. But it is meant to feed the passive dolts who voted for Trump.

  108. 108
    Another Scott says:

    @Amir Khalid: Hey, cut me a break! I’m still sick!! (But was better today – well enough to return to work.)

    Maybe it could better be described as “Passive Trump”, perhaps?

    ;-p

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  109. 109
    Mary G says:

    I’ll just leave this here:

    Facebook—even as it apologizes for scandal—funds campaign to block a California data-privacy measure https://t.co/6rMVJX9MaT— Jason Kint (@jason_kint) March 27, 2018

  110. 110
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    It’s not a comparison of their brilliance, it’s the fact that both seem to have “oh, fuck, what have I done!” moments right after the big reveal.

    Just like the AI guys are going to have their own Oppenheimer Effect.

  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Those are the claims that have come out in Cadwalladr’s and Channel 4’s reporting on Cambridge Analytica over the past week or so. From the follow up reporting it appears that Cambridge Analytica was retained by a number of GOP campaigns and conservative Super PACs, almost all of them who were being heavily funded by the Mercers, going back to 2010. So you have the foreign influence/foreigners working in/on behalf of US candidates and campaigns for the better part of a decade. This is illegal. Then you have the related issue that it appears that the Mercers were using these donations to Republican campaigns and conservative Super PACs, which are tax deductible donations, to require these campaigns and super PACs to hire Cambridge Analytica, which is partially owned by the Mercers, thereby paying a Mercer owned company for campaign services. This looks an awful lot like a money laundering scheme to lower one’s tax burden at the state and Federal level. As well as to enrich oneself from the profits of Cambridge Analytica.

  112. 112
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Yahtzee!

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: I feel your pain. I have a nasty sinus infection.

  114. 114
    rikyrah says:

    This thread has been good to read

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: Here at Balloon Juice we only provide the best bespoke posts and comment threads!

  116. 116
    Raoul says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think Hannity is just Fox’s Max Headroom. He’s stuck in an Apple IIc and can only talk about the 1990s.

  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Raoul: It would explain a lot.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Be sure to set your DVRs!

  119. 119
    Ruckus says:

    @Raoul:
    You are way, way too nice to that sack of phlegm

  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Anne Laurie: You’re welcome!

  121. 121
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Is there any chance of any legal trouble for those involved in the campaigns that benefited from the data from CA?

  122. 122
    Tom Q says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah, Paula Jones was WIDELY ignored. Why, I can barely remember her name.

  123. 123
  124. 124
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tom Q: This was, apparently, part of a set of talking points that were circulated today. The guy who runs Brent Bozell’s media watchdog group was tweeting about how come Wiley was never on 60 Minutes back in the day. This led Jake Tapper and several others to tweet the link to the Barbara Walters prime time interview with her. It’s like there’s one shop that coordinates messaging across the conservative movement, Fox News and talk radio, the White House, elected GOP officials in Congress. And that these messages often seem to be the exact same ones coming out of Russian state backed media like RT and Sputnik and amplified on social media by the Russian trolls and bots.

    It is a puzzlement!

  125. 125
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Goody.

  126. 126
    jonas says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Juanita Brodderick? Paula Jones? Clinton sex? Why, I had never heard of those individuals or stories! Must be because the “mainstream media” forgot to cover them!

    FFS, he’s not even trying anymore.

    ETA — and if they want to go there, I’ll see his Paula Jones…and raise him an Anita Hill. Hm?

  127. 127
    sukabi says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m getting some formatting issues in your post…starting at this point:

    clearly more to Wylie, or rather the story that is Wylie, than what he is promoting as the righteous whistle blower against Cambridge Analytica, SCL, Aggregate IQ (AIQ), UKIP, various pro-Brexit front groups, numerous GOP campaigns and conservative Super PACs, Steve Bannon, and the Mercers. Tonight’s revelations, however, provide greater clarity to our understanding of just what Cambridge Analytica was and who it was connected to.
    Finally, tomorrow should be a wild ride in Britain:

    I get a small blue box on the left with the bit about more to Wylie…most of the blockquoted stuff isn’t showing up, although I can copy & paste it.

    Formatting issues continue thru the rest of the post.

    Mobile android, adblocker browser,…

    It’s the first post today that’s been borked. ☺

  128. 128
    Yarrow says:

    Thanks for this thread. Can’t wait to connect with the folks I know in the UK who even as late as December were telling me I was wrong and that Russia had nothing to do with the Brexit vote. The one I really need to talk to, who was completely despondent after the Brexit vote, is on a week long holiday and I can’t reach him. Oh, well. It can wait. The story will probably be even more interesting by the time he gets back!

  129. 129
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sukabi: It’s not showing up on my desktop (MacBook Pro with up to date Chrome and Safari – looks fine in both) or my iPad (Safari, also up to date). I did have to reformat that section during drafting. When I closed the quotation offset, WP’s dashboard compressed everything, which it sometimes does. Once I reformatted it back to “paragraph” it appeared fine for me in preview of the post, as well as in the final post on my MacBook and iPad. I don’t know why WP does this. It seems almost random. I can do a week’s worth of post without it doing it at all when I end a quotation indent/offset. And then it will just suddenly do it for a couple of posts at a time. Alain is aware of the issue and investigating it.

  130. 130
    SFAW says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It’s not for nothing that he’s earned the nickname “The Stupidest Person on TV.”

    I guess we should be glad that he wasn’t including an expose (MUST CREDIT DRUDGE!!!!!) of Hitlary’s murder of poor Vince Foster. In the West Wing. With the Candlestick. And then she dragged his corpse to the copse in Fort Marcy Park.

    I keep hoping that he’ll suffer the same fate as Grunthos the Flatulent, but alas! It is not to be.

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: You’re welcome.

  132. 132
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Raoul:
    As a pedant, I get just a little ticked off when a sentence that describes someone being passive is mistakenly called a sentence in the passive voice. People, those are two completely different things!

  133. 133

    @SFAW:

    “The Stupidest Person on TV.”

    …unless an administration representative is on.

  134. 134
    Steeplejack says:

    @dm:

    Channel 4 is not part of the BBC.

    Channel 4 is a publicly owned and commercially funded U.K. public service broadcaster, with a statutory remit to deliver high-quality, innovative, alternative content that challenges the status quo.

    Channel 4 was set up with a unique model as a “publisher-broadcaster,” meaning that we do not have any in-house production, but instead commission content from production companies throughout the U.K.

  135. 135
    Amir Khalid says:

    If all this leads to Theresa May’s downfall as Tory leader and PM, who from the Conservatives’ clown-car leadership is going to succeed her? She is in the jobn only because she was somehow the last one left standing in the party’s post-Brexit circular firing squad.

  136. 136

    @Jay: more anecdotal evidence for you, my degrees are in Criminal Justice but I’ve done quite well for myself as a computer programmer for 20 years now–all self taught.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    From the follow up reporting it appears that Cambridge Analytica was retained by a number of GOP campaigns and conservative Super PACs, almost all of them who were being heavily funded by the Mercers, going back to 2010.

    Well, this can’t possibly be true, because it would mean that all of the trolls who have been whining about the feckless Democrats having a losing message would be wrong. //

  138. 138
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mary G:

    I’m excited too! I missed the premiere tonight, but I’ll catch both parts later this week.

  139. 139
    Jay says:

    @Amir Khalid:


    The great achievement, and the great lie, of the Leave campaign was to make voting leave mean all things to all people. It could mean soft or hard Brexit; liberal or illiberal Brexit; Nativist or Globalist Brexit; a vote against the neo-Communist ‘EUSSR’ or against neo-liberal Capitalism. As a vote-winning strategy, that got Leave over the line – just. Since then, the chickens of ambiguity have come home to roost. That’s most obvious in the still ongoing conflict over soft versus hard Brexit. But the passports and fisheries rows expose the nativist-globalist dimension of the dishonesty. What is politically important now, in the very few months left, is whether leave voters come to see that all the contradictory things they were promised cannot and never will come true. And, if they do, who they will decide to blame”

    http://chrisgreybrexitblog.blo.....e.html?m=1

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:
    @Steeplejack:

    G has already watched it twice. (No, seriously!) It’s very good.

    However, note that the stuff about “The Larry Sanders Show” is in part two, which doesn’t air until tomorrow. The firat half is his early career, “The Tonight Show,” and “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”

  141. 141
    Jay says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Yup, back in the day I taught myself SQL to get data reports custom formulated from Baan Trition datafiles and indexes, then have the data dumped to Excel.

  142. 142
    danielx says:

    @Corner Stone:

    skirt-chasing aspect? Help me out here….

  143. 143

    @Jay: I started out in customer support but the coders didn’t roll in until noon AZ time. Our customers were on the East Coast and the app was law enforcement related. The time gap and lack of urgency on their part was maddening. So I started debugging their FoxPro code and SQL queries and would make them fix the error as soon as they came in. After a while I started fixing their errors and then I said, screw it, and went out on my on as a programmer for hire.

  144. 144
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:

    I loved FoxPro! That last MS-DOS version, before Windows (and before acquisition by Microsoft?) was the bomb for in-the-trenches database and SQL development. Good times.

    Self-taught programmer here too. Degree in journalism. Worked in marketing at a company that did some of the first products for the IBM PC (1981). Got pissed because I could never get any of our developers to do in-house apps for us, so I learned programming myself, starting with dBASE II, and progressed from there. Left that company when it was acquired (and run into the ground) by a bigger company and moved over to software development for most of the rest of my checkered career.

  145. 145

    @Steeplejack: wow, when was the last time I heard about FoxPro.

    I think I had to work with one of the databases in an archive project a few years ago.

  146. 146
    Jay says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Yup, at my Company they borked the ERP installation, ( twice) used fields for some types of data that wern’t meant to be used for that data, and whole modules not for their intended purpose. So the canned reports were borked, and sometimes “you couldn’t get there from here”. Subsequent upgrades and new versions just got more and more borked.

    At my next Company, yup Baan was borked, mostly because the Consultant’s hired to manage the install, were the same cluster of morons,

    Next Company, Baan was borked too, same Consultants, who had assured them that the Engineers didn’t have to use Baan. So, as a Engineer to Order Company, we had to do “everything twice”, once manual, once in the ERP system.

  147. 147
    John Revolta says:

    OK a post just disappeared. Does anybody smell borscht up in here?

  148. 148
  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:

    @John Revolta:

    Nyet, comrade. Only Amerikan here. 🤪

    (The site’s been a lititle weird since Tom Levenson borked it earlier today.)

  150. 150
    Jay says:

    @John Revolta:

    It was probably pulled.

  151. 151
    Steeplejack says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    That last version (mid-’90s) was a great development system. Easy hookup to all sorts of database formats, big and small, including the then new (to microcomputers) SQL, and FoxPro’s native database was pretty good.

    The two things I loved the most were:

    ♦ The line-by-line debugger. Standard DOS screens were 80 characters by 25 lines, but there was a “special” 80-by-50 mode you could invoke. It looked like crap—tiny text—but it allowed you to see your code in the bottom half and run it line by line or to break points, while seeing the results—the program’s user interface—in the upper 80-by-25 “window.” F’mazeballs. Really cut down on development time.

    ♦ The built-in SQL interpreter. FoxPro always had a command-line interface to dick around with reports and tables, etc., and the last few versions had a pretty complete SQL interpreter under the hood. I went from zero to SQL meister in an incredibly short time. “Okay, that was an inner join . . . that was a reverse boar-hog outer join . . . and that—oh, yeah, I just stepped on my dick.”

    It took years to get a development system that good anywhere in the Windows zone. And, believe me, I looked.

    Thanks for indulging my geezer reminiscence.

  152. 152
    Anne Laurie says:

    @John Revolta: Nah, that was me — I pulled my own post because I decided it wasn’t worth it. (Unless, of course, the foodfight escalates overnight.)

  153. 153
    Steeplejack says:

    Food fight? I had extremely good chicken egg foo yung for dinner from my second-favorite Chinese restaurant (Hunan Village). My favorite Chinese restaurant (Fortune) doesn’t do egg foo yung. When I asked about it once they went all food Nazi on me and suspended me for a month. Maybe ’cause they’re Cantonese? Dunno.

  154. 154
    joel hanes says:

    @Jay:

    There’s no shortage of self taught coders who have had huge impacts with no formal degree

    or a non-ComSci degree.

    Bill Gates prominent among them — self-taught, and boy does it show in MS/DOS and Windows up to 98 SE.
    Microsoft had so little familiarity with the state of the programmer’s art that they had to hire from Digital Equipment a bunch of the guys who did VAX/VMS to do the first Microsoft attempt at an actual “Windows”-branded operating system, Windows NT. Barely usable. NT begat Windows 2000 – usable but really really slow. Win 2000 begat Windows XP, the first acceptable operating system MS ever produced.

    Real computer companies had been offering real operating systems (with real support) for at least 30 years at the time that Win XP was released. Much had been long known about what was to be done, and how to do it right. The early MS Windows products simply ignored most of what was known.

    OTOH, had the MSFT founders been technically competent, I suppose that they’d probably not been audacious enough to sell IBM the rights to a floppy-disk system monitor that they didn’t exactly own quite yet. Fortune favors the bold, and as Joey Ramone remarked, “Lack of skill dictates economy of style.”

  155. 155

    @Anne Laurie: Hmmmm, a foodfight.😎

    (Throws taco @ Steeplejack.)

  156. 156

    @joel hanes: Windows SE was paradise compared to Windows ME.

  157. 157
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    You have to remember that the computers running MS-DOS, and even the first versions of Windows, were extremely underpowered by today’s standards—less than toys today. So the operating systems were constrained and pared way down. But a lot of stuff got done.

    And OS/2 was a pretty good OS, but it never caught on. Somewhat deliberately, perhaps. (Weird politics between Microsoft and IBM.)

  158. 158

    @joel hanes: NT 4 was actually pretty robust. The problem earlier versions of Win/NT had was that they placed the graphics at kernel level and a bad driver could really ruin your day(and night). Having the graphics out of the kernel made things a bit slower, but really increased reliability.

  159. 159
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I guess it is now Taco Tuesday.

  160. 160

    @Steeplejack: OS/2 was designed by committee, it showed.

  161. 161
  162. 162
    joel hanes says:

    @Steeplejack:@Steeplejack:

    OS/2 was a pretty good OS, but it never caught on.

    Microsoft, the brilliant business strategy company, knifed IBM, the technological mother of us all, right in the back.
    Twice.
    As they knifed every other company that partnered with MSFT before Gates got married.

  163. 163
    Chet Murthy says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Well, you know why they did it, right? NT started with the graphics driver outside the kernel. But was unacceptably slow. So they moved it inside. Of course, by that time X-windows had been running for years and years (since 1986) and on the same hardware, without problems and quite snappily …. with the graphics server outside the kernel.

    Those Real Geniuses at MSFT. Feh. Also, the first Intel machine that Win3.11 worked acceptably on was the 386. Which ran BSD Unix (and X-windows) like a champ. There’s a reason that one of the standard ways of taking an underpowered old machine and making it usable again, was to install Linux on it: b/c Windows sucked like a gaping chest wound – fat, slow, buggy.

  164. 164

    @joel hanes: OS/2, while written by MS was written to IBM specs to run on their PS/2. Gates wanted a OS without the compromises that IBM insisted on with OS/2 and hence NT.

  165. 165

    @Chet Murthy: I ran Windows 1.01 on my IBM PC and it ran just fine.

  166. 166
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    As they knifed every other company that partnered with MSFT before Gates got married.

    No argument here. I think every major product they ever had was bought or (discreetly) stolen from someone else.

  167. 167
    Chet Murthy says:

    @joel hanes: Eh,I worked at IBM 1995-2013. I saw IBM completely fuck up OS/2[*]. They had this insane project to port it to run on PowerPC as a task under (wait for it) Mach! Insanity. Sheer insanity. I could go on and on about the ridiculous designs & even -worse politics they had for everything including their version of Microsoft COM. It was all ridiculous. IBM wasted billions of dollars in labs all around the world (I was helping guys debug code in Germany from my office in NY), and by the time they woke up and decided to cut their losses (they put out a “Limited Availability” release — press one DVD, stick it in a safe, spin the dial, and burn the combo; if the customer can guess the combo, they can buy the product *grin*) MSFT had complete dominance of the desktop, which wouldn’t change until Apple and Linux rose up.

    Yeah, MSFT were assholes. But IBM was very, very busy gutting itself like a fish.

    [*] And I the above, noting that I *hate* OS/2. I used to call it OS/Lose. B/c I’m an old-skool UNIX jock. Period. Notwithstanding, IBM completely fucked that up.

  168. 168

    @Steeplejack: I believe that Word for MS/DOS was homegrown.

    (Hey, AL asked for a food fight.)

  169. 169
    kattails says:

    Couple of days ago I was heading home when a very large, fancy SUV approached from the opposite direction, blinker on. I realized it was turning onto the driveway to the Mercer’s hilltop compound. I debated on whether to roll down the window and display an upraised middle finger, but not quite fast enough. Was this thought childish? (The hesitation was probably rational, they have armed guards.)

  170. 170
    Chet Murthy says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I have no quibble with Windows & DOS on pre-386 hardware. Xenix & freres barely worked there. But my point really is, that with the 386, you had hardware capable of running an OS that was immune to BSOD — so no process could cause another process to die by stray memory diddling. And so, BSD ran like a champ. But MSFT still managed to make that BSOD-loving Win3.11. BTW, at the same time, Apple OS9 was “one big address-space, using no memory-management hardware”, and they were markedly more stable than Win3.11.

  171. 171
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    And it sucked! Word went nowhere until the Macintosh and, later, Windows, and even the Windows version sucked for a long time.

  172. 172

    @Chet Murthy: That’s because they needed to have DOS compatibility, because the existing software required it.

  173. 173
    joel hanes says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    homegrown.

    Nah. “hobby-shop”
    The programming equivalent of ditchweed. Nearly free, and almost worth it. Almost.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    joel hanes says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Apple OS9

    co-operative multitasking only works so long as every single app co-operates.

  176. 176

    @joel hanes: Did you ever use Word for MS-DOS? I did, it was pretty innovative for it’s time.

  177. 177
    joel hanes says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    In 1983, compared to what?

    RT/11, DEC
    RSX/11M, DEC
    VAX/VMS, DEC
    TOPS20
    VM/CMS IBM
    Unix [TM ATT]
    BSD

  178. 178
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    WordStar, WordPerfect, even PeachText/​Magic Wand from Peachtree Software.

  179. 179
    joel hanes says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    You’ve mistaken your audience.

    I think WYSIWYG is a mistake.
    I like markup languages.

  180. 180
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    He’s talking about MS-DOS word processors, if you can clear the red rage from your eyes.

  181. 181

    @joel hanes: What are you talking about, those are OS’s. Word was a word processing app.

  182. 182
    Chet Murthy says:

    @joel hanes: *Precisely*. And *yet* Macs running OS9 were routinely more stable running multiple unrelated apps, for long, long periods of time (days and says) than Win3.11 was. That’s really my point — even though it was “we’re all nekkid here”, it was quite robust and stable.

  183. 183

    @joel hanes: Markup languages are nice for programmers, for folk doing word processing, not so much.

  184. 184

    @Chet Murthy: I’ve seen my share of bombs on Macs, even from limited use.

  185. 185
    joel hanes says:

    @Steeplejack:

    yes, I misthreaded, which is fancy-talk for I fucked up and I regret it.

  186. 186
    Chet Murthy says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: @joel hanes: *grin* Oh, the perennial argument! I prefer markup languages (LaTeX, pls) but hey, I get that most humans can’t grok it.

    ETA: and regardless of how much we try to convince ’em, they never will.

  187. 187

    @Steeplejack: I think Wordstar and Peachtree were the only ones around in 83. They were also very expensive(too much for a poor grad student).

    ETA: I’ve used WordPerfect and hated it.

  188. 188
    Chet Murthy says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Running OSX? Or are you referring to “back in the day on OS9”? My sis once told me that her OSX Mac was … quite unstable. Which I found surprising, b/c after all it’s BSD-on-Mach at the bottom. I run Linux on my lappie and only ever reboot when it’s time for a kernel upgrade. Been that way for 20yr on lappie-after-lappie. So the instability in OSX these days is ….. surprising to an old UNIX head.

  189. 189

    @Chet Murthy: OS9, our Alaska subsidiary ran Macs.

    ETA: I have a triple boot machine with Windows Insider, MacOS(it ain’t OSX anymore) and Linux Mint.

  190. 190
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    WordPerfect came out in ’82. I don’t remember how good it was in ’83. There was a period of about a year somewhere in there when they had a lot of upgrades and the program improved exponentially.

    I just remember DOS Word as being criminally slow.

    And I can’t believe we’re talking about minutiae from 35 years ago. How do you feel about ham radio?

  191. 191

    @Steeplejack: My dad(WA6JBE) was a ham.

    ETA: I just used the wrong solution to rinse my contacts, I used the cleaning solution as opposed to the saline rinse.

  192. 192
    different-church-lady says:

    Bah. BASIC on punch tape.

  193. 193
    Jay says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I don’t listen to talk radio, other than the CBC.

  194. 194
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I seem to remember that. Joke!

    @different-church-lady:

    Piss off, you aging harridan!

  195. 195
    Chet Murthy says:

    @different-church-lady: RPG II on a System/3: 96-column punch-cards. Not that I actually understood it. It was 8th grade, and more engaging than science class.

  196. 196

    @Steeplejack: You must of caught Oppiejeene and I talking about our dads.

  197. 197

    @Chet Murthy: You could always ID the CS majors at UCLA by the boxes of punch cards they carried around. The punch card machines didn’t usually have fresh ribbons on them, so you couldn’t read the text at the top. I saw one girl drop her box of cards during a Santa Ana wind, she just sat on the curb and cried.

    ETA: If you did drop your card deck you had to run it though the reader and get a listing so you could re-order your cards.

  198. 198
    patrick II says:

    If we are going to talk about old time desktop operating systems — Amiga running on the Motorola 6800 was light years ahead of dos. It actually could open windows (I think 32 of them) and had 4800 colors, and the graphics were great for their time. Amigas were even used for graphics on the early Babylon 5.

  199. 199
    joel hanes says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I saw one girl drop her box of cards

    hand-numbered in pencil in decimal so you could always interpolate was the Only Safe Way to deal with cards.
    I did all my ComSci data structures courses on cards in PL/1.
    Wasn’t until I learned C that I actually grokked pointers.

  200. 200
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Probably.

    I am tapering off toward bedtime. But if someone starts an unseemly dispute about vi vs. EMACS I am right out.

  201. 201
    different-church-lady says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Didn’t they have a trick where they ran a marker diagonally across the tops of the cards? Seem to remember that. We used to do it with slides too.

  202. 202
    Chet Murthy says:

    @patrick II: Uh, 68000, yes? real 32-bit machine. Though didn’t have support for page-faults, so you couldn’t actually get virtual memory. But it was a real machine, yeap.

  203. 203
    joel hanes says:

    @different-church-lady:

    BASIC on punch tape.

    My first programming course. Math 405, elective, “Numerical methods in computation”, taught by a math adjunct.
    BASIC on actual teletypes, with MVS/TSO on the other end.

  204. 204
    Mike in DC says:

    The obvious question, if the legitimacy of the vote is now dubious, is why not have a do-over? Leave would likely lose in a fair contest, seems to me. Alternatively Parliament could vote on whether or not to proceed.

  205. 205
    different-church-lady says:

    @joel hanes: Yeah, I think it was something like that. Definitely a teletype interface. I never even saw the actual computer — it was in another town at the regional vocational school!

  206. 206
    joel hanes says:

    an unseemly dispute about vi vs. EMACS

    versus a seemly dispute ?

    The young programmers I work with now seem to want the “sublime” editor integrated into their IDE.
    It’s probably a good thing, but who can be bothered to switch editors ?

  207. 207
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    Pointers are of the devil.

  208. 208
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    Versus a seemly dispute?

    Touché.

    Sublime . . . hmm, interesting. I wonder what Major^4 uses as a text editor. For that matter, what do you use currently?

    I haven’t done any large-scale development in, jeez, 10 years.

  209. 209
    Jay says:

    @Mike in DC:

    There won’t be a do over of the 2016 US Elections either.

    May’s Government is dominated by differing cliques of Brexiteer’s,

    and Brexit’s a mess because the Brexiteer’s are living in a bubble reality where anyone who grasps the difficulty, complexity and technical issues of a Brexit is derided as an elitist technocrat.

  210. 210
    joel hanes says:

    what do you use currently?

    vi
    all features turned off: no auto-indent, no syntax coloring, nothing.
    flat ASCII As God Intended

    I haven’t thought about editing in decades.
    My fingers just do it, with indentation and bracing in the current local style
    on cards I was a three-indent
    much of my career was spent in four-indent
    where I’ve been for a decade it’s two-indent. Your eyes adjust.

    The editing is the easy part.
    The thinking is the hard part.

  211. 211
    joel hanes says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Almost every problem can be solved with one more level of indirection.
    Correctly typed pointers in C, with judicious use of const, can be a lovely exercise in form.
    Ever look at the source for a linking loader for ELF32 ?

  212. 212
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    I was mostly a four-indent guy. Two doesn’t seem like enough.

    @joel hanes:

    Systems-level buggery. I was (am) an applications guy. High priority on readable and maintainable code, not so much on lovely exercises in form.

  213. 213
  214. 214
    patrick II says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Yes, 68000, not 6800. Another nice thing is that it had its video card separate — a novelty in the day. If I was investing I would have invested in the machine that had windows and colors and a mouse and better graphics that the four colored dos machine. Which is why I don’t do well in the market.

  215. 215
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    Argument undercut slightly by totally fucked-up link.

  216. 216
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mike in DC:
    As I understand, the Brexiteers are screaming, “No! We won fair and square!”

  217. 217
    cosima says:

    There’s a case to be made for the Mercers being some of the most evil people in the world, imo. As someone above rightfully notes, it appears as though all of this messing about in politics was with the intention of acquiring more money. Why? Don’t they already have more than they can possibly spend in their lifetimes? Their sheen of respectability, and disavowing certain acts makes them worse. Putin has always been a venal & corrupt & dangerous man with very clear aims that he telegraphed to the world. The Mercers have been shadow people for most of us, and not unmasked until recently. I’d never heard of them before this election, but they’d been adversely affecting my life (and the lives of billions of others) for years, if not decades.

    I’m not angry with FB about sharing my data — I’ve never been so naïve as to think that my online presence &/or data was sacrosanct &/or private. Everything we do that is connected to the internet is available to someone, somewhere, if they want it badly enough. Mr C had a security expert do a ‘dark web’ presentation at work, and he said it was illuminating and terrifying — that was years ago. I’m angry about how they shared the data, their carelessness in following up on the data that they knew had been illegally acquired and shared, their blatant lying, etc. People have died over this, and, if the current squatter in the WH & his enablers & staff have their way, millions of people may die due to war, famine, lack of access to health care, etc — in the US, the UK, in every corner of the world. That is why I’ll delete my FB page. Breach of trust, my arse. It’s so much bigger than that. Let the heads roll.

    I’m still waiting to see what the headlines say about this here in the UK, how long before there’s a call for a second Brexit referendum. When the poisonings happened I commented here asking if Putin had overplayed his hand with that sloppiness. Unintentionally or intentionally. Warning shot or mistake? Hard to say, but at the same time this CA stuff is shoring up resistance to Putin and anything that might be perceived as supporting his aims, directly or indirectly. I hope it gets a lot noisier here, and that they get a bit rowdy by British standards.

  218. 218
    Jay says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Some are, but most still havn’t figured out what Brexit “means”, what the EU does, or what the UK’s membership in the EU consisted of.

  219. 219
    Jay says:

    @cosima:

    The Brit’s arn’t going to get rowdy over Brexit, there won’t be a second referendum.

  220. 220
    cosima says:

    @Jay: Some may hope that’s the case, but it’s ugly enough, and Brexit unpopular enough, for it to happen. We’ll see.

  221. 221
    cosima says:

    @Amir Khalid: And if they won fair & square they won’t mind having another vote to underscore that point.

    One of the issues, similar to that of the US, is that if you don’t fully investigate and explore the issue, and the integrity of the vote, the process, you leave yourself vulnerable to future attacks. Who is determining the future of the country — its voters, or some billionaires &/or evil autocrats/plutocrats (not mutually exclusive)? Here in the UK we may have voting levels that are pathetic, similar to that of the US, but for those who can be bothered to vote, I do think there’s a belief in the process that is slightly great than exists in the US. Apart from Brexit and the Indy ref, there really are not the unbridgeable political chasms similar to those that exist in the US. Whether one supports Labor or Tories, or Green, there is a belief in the social contract by all save the deplorables of the UK (to use Hillary’s term — not as a classist term); it is only the most racist/xenophobic/etc of the citizens here who would burn it all down, whereas in the US you see there are about 30% of folk who are quite happy to see it all burn to the ground if it means they can have their guns/pro-life stance/immigrant-bashing/etc.

  222. 222
    Jay says:

    @cosima:

    May’s Coelition consists of varying shades of Brexiteers, ranging from the merely deluded, to the batshit crazy.

    Labour hasn’t taken a position.

    The Remainer’s knew what was happening, a handful of Leaver’s have since changed their minds,

    But most Leaver’s are wallowing in ignorance.

    https://jonworth.eu/lemons-and-landing-rights-the-uks-relations-with-the-rest-of-the-world-post-brexit-is-the-issue-that-cannot-be-kicked-into-the-transition-period/

  223. 223
    cosima says:

    The Guardian is the only publication that I subscribe to, and I don’t spend time fishing around at other sites/publications. They have an excellent section that is specifically related to this scandal, and all of the related articles can be found there: https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/cambridge-analytica-files

  224. 224
    Jay says:

    @cosima:

    While the Leaver’s in the UK hold to a less racist racism, they cling to their ignorance as hard and fast as the Deplorables. “Immigration” was and still is a big issue for Leavers, but they were/are too ignorant to understand that the UK wasn’t part of the Schenigen Area, that the UK’s Parliement fully controlled legal Immigration and Refugee’s under UK Law, and UK Border Services was responsible for manageing illegal Immigration.

  225. 225
    cosima says:

    @Jay: I live here in the UK, so I am following the Brexit issue quite closely, and have had many discussions about it. Many. Some with leavers. Had a long one this weekend, actually. Related to how horrible May is, how awful the Tories are, etc., will things stay the same, or will they finally change, and how to get more people voting. As with the Mueller investigation on the US side, this far from over. I think the CA revelations have pushed Brexit that much further away, and I would not be surprised if what comes out of the CA story will push either a second referendum, or a vote blocking it, but that will not happen until everything comes out — and that may take much longer than we’d like. I’d personally hoped we’d somehow have a magical resolution of the Putin’s puppet issue before Jan 21, 2017, and yet here we are, over a year into his reign of terror, and Mueller still working away building his case(s), and the orange fart cloud still squatting in the WH, while horrible things happen specifically because he’s in place. There will be no immediate gratification on either side of the pond, but none of us have any idea what other revelations are in store.

  226. 226
    cosima says:

    @Jay: I agree, but they are not a large part of the citizenry. They are fringe, and treated/viewed as such by a huge majority. Even many of the ‘leavers’ — a lot of those who voted ‘leave’ thought they were doing so for sound economic reasons (that of course turned out to be total bullshyt), and are not virulent racists &/or nutjobs. Particularly here in Scotland. Boris may find himself again a pariah — fingers crossed — over this. As I said — it’s the long game at this point.

    And, as I’m on a quite different time schedule than most BJ folk, it’s now time for me to get the dog out for her walk, and get on with the productive part of the day before Little C comes home from school.

    To end on a positive note (and given that there’s no open thread up as yet) — I’ve been combing through my likes/saves on my FB page in prep for deletion (time-consuming, but has been productive — I saved a lot of great stuff), and got off on a music tangent, which led me to some excellent non-FB places for music. So, my new music channel discoveries (I’ve already shared Mahogany Sessions here, and if you haven’t already gone there, do it!) are the youtube channels MOSTLY Strings (which is perhaps called that because a lot of the songs are acoustic? it’s not string music), and SleepMusic. I had to buy a lot of new music last night after stumbling on those.

  227. 227
    Jay says:

    @cosima:

    Pete North, a pro-Brexit blogger, once upon a time, isn’t even mentioning Anal, the Mercers or Putin.

    “Ultimately we wanted this revolution and now we’ve got it. What we end up with really all depends on what we say and do now – and choosing allies with care. Right now all we’re doing is handing the keys to the country to the disaster capitalists on the Tory back benches and their useful idiots in the Westminster bubble. I guarantee you that is not the Brexit any of us voted for.”

    http://peterjnorth.blogspot.ca.....w.html?m=1

    768 Regulatory and Trade agreements that effect the UK are through the EU, most Leaver’s don’t know, don’t care, are too lazy to look it up, and don’t know that all that trade stops, March 19, 2019.

    They voted to leave the EU with no idea what the EU did or what it was, other than it was European and “responsible” for everything “wrong” in the UK, from the appearance of curry take out to the closing of coal mines.

    They arn’t going to get any smarter or more engaged when their pensions get cut, the NHS get’s privatized, or their kids flee abroad.

  228. 228
    cosima says:

    @Jay: Again — that is a small percentage of the citizenry/electorate. Many who voted to leave (and yes, I know some) voted for delusional magic economic reasons, and have since seen how they were manipulated. There was a lot of scary NHS talk that drove many voters, and that has since been outed/debunked. The hard-core deplorable Breixteers are not as numerous as the deplorables in the US (proportionately). The fight is not over. Been good discussing with you!

  229. 229
    Barry says:

    @Gvg: “So the guy blowing the whistle now was in the past pushing the bad behavior? I need a score card. Always had a bad memory for names.”

    There is a distinct shortage of saints who just happened to be walking by at the right time and place to witness bad behavior…

  230. 230
    JR says:

    @Major Major Major Major: also Oppenheimer is one of the most important scientists in history. You don’t come across folks like that all too often.

  231. 231
  232. 232
    Anonymous At Work says:

    NEW NARRATIVE: Nationalism cannot win legally

    That needs to be promoted, if not the least to get under Trump’s skin. At most, this would reinforce the disdain for the Rule of Law that nationalists feel and fuel the counterinsurgency. Linking this to gerrymandering by state leges would also be beneficial, especially if Justice Weathervane Kennedy decides that his legacy is better served.

  233. 233
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Chet Murthy: My housemate used to pronounce OS/2 as “OS Half”

  234. 234

    “… they apparently panicked because “This was the first campaign they’d worked on where they couldn’t leave the country immediately afterwards”.

    Fun fact: before they found work with Analytica, the pair were monorail salesman.

  235. 235

    I am surprised that people here are surprised that British politics is run like a criminal cabal. Surely they didn’t control a global empire by being angels. This is who they are and always were. The veneer of civilization is just that, a veneer.

  236. 236
    Glidwrith says:

    @Mary G: Saw the Saudi propaganda in the Von’s here in San Diego and pointed it out to my little dragonet as such.

  237. 237
    Ab_Normal (at work) says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:
    Criminal Justice major turned programmer fist-bump!

  238. 238
    AlienRadio says:

    What do you think happens when this reaches Deutsche Bank?

  239. 239
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @AlienRadio: The President’s business gets a loan…//

  240. 240
    joel hanes says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Yah, it’s late, one too many beers.

    The link was supposed to be
    http://www.mit.edu/~xela/tao.html

  241. 241
    moops says:

    Given that Brexit, and the Trump election both benefit an ascendant USSR, and enable domestic fascist uprisings, it is easy to understand the common cause and alliances at work here.

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