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Topics - quadz

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Politics / The Spies Who Hijacked America
« on: August 13, 2020, 07:59:40 PM »

Seems interesting (about 1/4 through the article so far.)

The Spies Who Hijacked America

As a doctoral candidate at Cambridge working under "FBI Informant" Stefan Halper, I had a front-row seat for Russiagate
Steven P. Schrage, PhD

Global scandals now labeled Russiagate, Spygate, and what President Trump calls “Obamagate” shook the political world, but hit me closer to home. I’m the reason the so-called FBI “spy” at the center of Spygate, Stefan Halper, met Carter Page, the alleged “Russian Asset” in Russiagate’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
As I started to piece together what happened over the next few months, I realized something. The stories that The New York Times, Washington Post, and others were pushing didn’t add up.


Not sure how long this video will be freely available.

Despite careening into almost unbearable cringe at points, this appears to be a solid work of investigative journalism: uncovering a brazen hoax perpetrated on both the courtroom and the American public.

(Note: The video's author will opine on a few political views at the conclusion, but I do not believe this invalidates the work he's done uncovering this apparent hoax.)

P.S. for anyone unfamiliar with the events in the weeks leading up to the Zimmerman/Trayvon tragedy, the following investigative piece from Reuters published April 25, 2012 includes extraordinarily relevant context, omitted from most mainstream coverage:

(The youtube video above does also include much of this context, if not quite as thoroughly as the print article.)

Any way one slices it, however, it would appear:

Quake / Speedruns & Defrags
« on: June 26, 2020, 04:36:52 PM »
Damned impressive 100% speedrun of Quake1 (must kill all enemies and find all secrets.)

Politics / On Individualism and Collectivism
« on: June 24, 2020, 02:37:31 PM »
Do you know the difference between individualism and collectivism? Honest question.
Not without googling it.

You'll want to explore the distinction, as it's not possible to reason from first principles about many of the important political issues of the past century, let alone the founding documents of this country without regard for the tension between these opposing mindsets.

English liberalism, from which our country's founding traces its lineage, is distinct from Continental/European liberalism; the former being oriented more toward individualism, the latter more toward collectivism.

It's also crucial to model how systems operate at scale. Because (for example) things that seem like "nice ideas" on a small commune require unavoidably totalitarian repression when enacted on a national scale.

Here's a celebrated treatise on the natural evolution of systems that try to scale up centrally planned economies:

Quote from:
[The Road to Serfdom] is a classic in the history of liberal ideas. It was singularly responsible for launching an important debate on the relationship between political and economic freedom. It made the author a world-famous intellectual. It set a new standard for what it means to be a dissident intellectual. It warned of a new form of despotism enacted in the name of liberation. And though it appeared in 1944, it continues to have a remarkable impact. No one can consider himself well-schooled in modern political ideas without having absorbed its lessons.

What F.A. Hayek saw, and what most all his contemporaries missed, was that every step away from the free market and toward government planning represented a compromise of human freedom generally and a step toward a form of dictatorship--and this is true in all times and places. He demonstrated this against every claim that government control was really only a means of increasing social well-being. Hayek said that government planning would make society less liveable, more brutal, more despotic. Socialism in all its forms is contrary to freedom.

Nazism, he wrote, is not different in kind from Communism. Further, he showed that the very forms of government that England and America were supposedly fighting abroad were being enacted at home, if under a different guise. Further steps down this road, he said, can only end in the abolition of effective liberty for everyone.

Capitalism, he wrote, is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.

The beauty of this book is not only in its analytics but in its style, which is unrelenting and passionate. Even today, the book remains a source of controversy. Socialists who imagine themselves to be against dictatorship cannot abide his argument, and they never stop attempting to refute it.

Here's a quick summary of The Road to Serfdom in cartoon form:

Politics / Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ)
« on: June 10, 2020, 12:32:25 PM »
A comedy in two parts.

Politics / Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread
« on: March 10, 2020, 11:32:57 AM »
[Just wanted a place for posts so they don't get lost in the general Politics thread]

Map: Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University:

Stats & News aggregator:

Once containment fails, the strategy changes to mitigation. A goal of mitigation is to delay the spread to a rate that does not overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system:

Politics / Narrative Driven Media
« on: December 19, 2019, 04:35:55 PM »

Of course we can't eliminate bias.

But narrative-pushing is an abdication of even the attempt at striving for objectivity.

(A thread dedicated to documenting "journalistic" shenanigans, from whichever perspective. It's not a left vs. right thing.)

Politics / Electoral College: States Matter in a Republic
« on: December 19, 2019, 02:10:23 PM »
Not wishing to derail the other thread, figured this topic might benefit from its own.

Here's what I take to be a principled and succinct digest of the arguments for & against the state-centric electoral mechanism:

Quake / Q2VKPT - Quake 2 real-time raytracing using RTX
« on: January 18, 2019, 09:55:27 AM »
As a research project, someone's added real-time raytracing to Quake2.

Q2VKPT is the first playable game that is entirely raytraced and efficiently simulates fully dynamic lighting in real-time, with the same modern techniques as used in the movie industry (see Disney's practical guide to path tracing). The recent release of GPUs with raytracing capabilities has opened up entirely new possibilities for the future of game graphics, yet making good use of raytracing is non-trivial. While some games have started to explore improvements in shadow and reflection rendering, Q2VKPT is the first project to implement an efficient unified solution for all types of light transport: direct, scattered, and reflected light (see media). This kind of unification has led to a dramatic increase in both flexibility and productivity in the movie industry. The chance to have the same development in games promises a similar increase in visual fidelity and realism for game graphics in the coming years.
This project is meant to serve as a proof-of-concept for computer graphics research and the game industry alike, and to give enthusiasts a glimpse into the potential future of game graphics. Besides the use of hardware-accelerated raytracing, Q2VKPT mainly gains its efficiency from an adaptive image filtering technique that intelligently tracks changes in the scene illumination to re-use as much information as possible from previous computations. ↑

The project is released as open source on GitHub, integrating our Vulkan path tracer into the Q2PRO client. The project was spawned by the need for fast-paced test content in computer graphics research, and was motivated by the first intriguing results of an experimental path tracing renderer in 2016.

Why Quake II?

Since Quake II is open source and has a long-standing modding tradition, it is a great sandbox for putting academic research to the test in the real world. Particularly, the game has fast-paced action and is played competitively, setting high standards for the performance and robustness of any implemented rendering techniques.

Why are there no particles? I want my flies and rail gun sparks back!

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to add lights for the rail gun. As to other particles, the decision to fully raytrace everything in the game made rendering particles a bit less trivial. If we find the time, we might fix it in the future!

Note that ray-tracing is not fully realized yet across the board (e.g. reflective glass pane, muzzle flashes, etc.) but, the parts that work are at least intriguing:

Politics / Inside a Public School Social Justice Factory
« on: February 03, 2018, 03:41:07 PM »
Inside a Public School Social Justice Factory

Quote from: Katherine Kersten, The Weekly Standard
For decades, the public schools of Edina, Minnesota, were the gold standard among the state’s school districts. Edina is an upscale suburb of Minneapolis, but virtually overnight, its reputation has changed. Academic rigor is unraveling, high school reading and math test scores are sliding, and students increasingly fear bullying and persecution.

The shift began in 2013, when Edina school leaders adopted the “All for All” strategic plan—a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to “racial equity.”

“Equity” in this context does not mean “equality” or “fairness.” It means racial identity politics—an ideology that blames minority students’ academic challenges on institutional racial bias, repudiates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s color-blind ideal, and focuses on uprooting “white privilege.”

The Edina school district’s All for All plan mandated that henceforth “all teaching and learning experiences” would be viewed through the “lens of racial equity,” and that only “racially conscious” teachers and administrators should be hired. District leaders assured parents this would reduce Edina’s racial achievement gap, which they attributed to “barriers rooted in racial constructs and cultural misunderstandings.”

As a result, the school system’s obsession with “white privilege” now begins in kindergarten. At Edina’s Highlands Elementary School, for example, K-2 students participate in the Melanin Project. […]

Highlands Elementary’s new “racially conscious” elementary school principal runs a blog for the school’s community. On it, […] she recommended an A-B-C book for small children entitled A is for Activist. (Peruse the book and you find all sorts of solid-gold: “F is for Feminist,” “C is for…Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures,” and “T is for Trans.”)

At Edina High School, the equity agenda is the leading edge of a full-scale ideological reeducation campaign. A course description of an 11th-grade U.S. Literature and Composition course puts it this way: “By the end of the year, you will have . . . learned how to apply marxist [sic], feminist, post-colonial [and] psychoanalytical . . .lenses to literature.”

The primary vehicle in the indoctrination effort is a year-long English course—required of all 10th-graders—that centers, not on reading literature and enhancing writing skills, but on the politicized themes of “Colonization,” “Immigration” and “Social Constructions of Race, Class and Gender.”

One student characterized the course this way on the “Rate My Teachers” website: “This class should be renamed . . . ‘Why white males are bad, and how oppressive they are.’” […]

Increasingly, families who are serious about education are leaving the Edina schools. For example, Orlando Flores and his wife pulled their son—an academic superstar—out of Edina High School in his senior year to escape its hyper-political environment.

Flores, who fled a Marxist regime in Nicaragua as a child, had this to say: “Years ago, we fled Communism to escape indoctrination, absolutist thinking and restrictions on our freedom of speech. If we see these traits in our schools in America, we must speak out and oppose it.”

Flores says that when his son was at Edina High, teachers routinely pushed politicians and political positions they favored, shamed and browbeat students with dissenting views, and forced them to defend themselves against baseless allegations of racism. According to his son, he says, classroom discussions were often “one-sided indoctrination sessions,” and students feared their grades would be penalized if they spoke out.

[…] the boy asked to transfer to another English class. There, a student teacher informed the class they would not be reading classic books because “dead white men are boring,” according to Flores.
Like Edina students, the district’s faculty and staff must submit to racial equity re-education.

One such mandatory session for school bus drivers is illustrative. The widow of a bus driver who had been required to attend the training sent the entire 25-page instructional curriculum to Center of the American Experiment, where I am a senior policy fellow.

The training session was entitled “Edina School DIstrict Equity and Racial Justice Training: Moving from a Diversity to a Social Justice Lens.” In it, trainers instructed bus drivers that “dismantling white privilege” is “the core of our work as white folks,” and that working for the Edina schools requires “a major paradigm shift in the thinking of white people.” Drivers were exhorted to confess their racial guilt, and embrace the district’s “equity” ideology.

The result of all of this? […] Black students “on track for success” in reading decreased from 48.1 percent in 2014 to 44.9 percent in 2017. Math scores decreased from 49.6 percent proficiency in 2014 to 47.4 percent in 2017. Black students “on track for success” in math decreased from 51.4 percent in 2014 to 44.7 percent in 2017.

The drop was most notable at the high school level. Math scores for black students in 11th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 31 percent proficiency in 2014 to 14.6 percent in 2017. In reading, scores for black students in 10th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 51.7 percent proficiency in 2014 to 40 percent in 2017.

(continue to full article)


Quake / Quake done 100% Quickest
« on: June 03, 2017, 06:50:32 PM »
"'Quake done 100% Quickest' is a run through all of Quake on Nightmare skill, going through the levels as fast as possible, killing every single monster and finding every single secret in every single map of Quake."
<span data-s9e-mediaembed="youtube" style="display:inline-block;width:100%;max-width:640px"><span style="display:block;overflow:hidden;position:relative;padding-bottom:56.25%"><iframe allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" style="background:url( 50% 50% / cover;border:0;height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;width:100%" src=""></iframe></span></span><br /><a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

Only takes them 9 minutes to get through the original shareware campaign maps.

:ubershock: :notworthy:

Science / "What is Technology Doing to Us?"
« on: April 30, 2017, 12:18:20 AM »
"What is Technology Doing to Us?"
<span data-s9e-mediaembed="youtube" style="display:inline-block;width:100%;max-width:640px"><span style="display:block;overflow:hidden;position:relative;padding-bottom:56.25%"><iframe allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" style="background:url( 50% 50% / cover;border:0;height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;width:100%" src=""></iframe></span></span><br /><a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

[talks about an insider perspective on competing armies of behavioral sociologists in a corporate arms race (to persuade us for every ounce of our available attention)]


<span data-s9e-mediaembed="youtube" style="display:inline-block;width:100%;max-width:640px"><span style="display:block;overflow:hidden;position:relative;padding-bottom:56.25%"><iframe allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" style="background:url( 50% 50% / cover;border:0;height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;width:100%" src=""></iframe></span></span><br /><a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

This lecture really took off for me about 30 minutes in, around the point Prof. Krauss was explaining how Maxwell had calculated the rate of electromagnetic propagation, based on the both the measurement of the strength of two electric charges and the measurement of the strength of the force between two magnets; the speed of this propagation calculated by Maxwell being the speed of light!

A lot of good stuff. (Some audio issues early on eventually get ironed out.)

Politics / Cold War 2.0 ?
« on: October 13, 2016, 12:21:00 AM »
I've been following the writings & tweets of a couple National Security analysts [1] [2] for a little while. Over the past few months, and especially in the past week, there's been a marked increase in the number of alerts about potentially destabilizing actions Putin is taking.


"It’s long been obvious that Vladimir Putin and his inner circle view Barack Obama with utter contempt. … As our president winds up his second term and prepares to move out of the White House, the Kremlin simply isn’t bothering to hide that contempt any longer, even in high-level diplomacy, where a modicum of tact is expected."

"The Kremlin has made it indelibly clear that it has no interest in further parley with Washington about Syria: 'We won, you lost, get over it.' … We gave Putin what he wanted in Syria—preserving his Assad client regime while demonstrating Russian resolve and power—and for that we have nobody to blame but ourselves. This has become deeply embarrassing as the Syrian nightmare has descended into war crimes and even genocide on a truly horrifying scale. For an administration that prided itself on its alleged humanitarianism, this is an appalling ending which the world will not soon forget. The Russians, of course, have acted like Russians, bombing and shelling haphazardly, adding impressively to the death toll among Syrian civilians."

"Russia has just sent more late-model anti-aircraft missiles to that country—an odd choice in weaponry given that the Islamic State, which the Kremlin boasts of fighting energetically while accusing Washington of collaborating with it, has no aircraft. Just in case anybody in the Pentagon missed that unsubtle move, Russia’s defense ministry this week bluntly stated that any effort by American airpower to change “facts on the ground” in Syria will be countered with live fire."

"Responding to rumors that the U.S. military wants enhanced airstrikes against the Assad regime, the Kremlin spokesman minced no words: “I would recommend our colleagues in Washington to carefully weigh possible consequences of the fulfillment of such plans.”"

"Ever an opportunist, Putin is simply running the table in the waning months of Obama’s presidency. The Kremlin may never see an American president this weak-willed again, so the Russians are making the most of this undeserved geostrategic gift while they still can. Signs of this aggressive opportunism are everywhere."

"Reports that the Russian navy has created a new strategic bomber division in the Far East to monitor and harass the Americans across the Pacific region … Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers, long-range carrier-killers, will be shadowing the U.S. Navy as far east as Hawaii, in a manner not seen since the 1980s."

"Obama has gone to great lengths to deny that we’re in Cold War 2.0, as I explained after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, but Putin isn’t playing along with that script. This week, his defense ministry announced that it’s considering re-opening military bases in Cuba and Vietnam. These were shuttered after the last Cold War, and any indications that the Kremlin wants them back, particularly in Cuba, conveniently close to Florida, likewise indicate where this is headed."

"… some of the Kremlin’s current military moves are deeply alarming and indicate a risk-taking mood in Russia’s leadership that ought to seriously worry NATO and the Pentagon. Things are getting scary in the tightly packed and jumpy Baltic Sea region, where Moscow is eagerly flexing its military muscle, seeming not to care what anybody thinks or feels about it."

"This week, however, Putin upped the ante by sending armed fighter jets to intimidate Helsinki and Tallinn. Yesterday, two Su-27 fighters of the Russian air force, called Flankers by NATO, overflew Finland. Their incursions were brief but, significantly, the Flankers were armed for combat. Then, early this morning, another Flanker violated Estonian airspace—fully armed and with its transponder turned off. This incident, the fifth violation of Estonian airspace by the Kremlin so far this year, is significant since that country belongs to NATO. None of the Baltic republics have their own fighter jets. That’s handled by a composite Alliance jet squadron. If the Russians keep sending armed jets over Estonia, the odds of a confrontation with NATO fighters rise dramatically."

"[This week's] biggest news, however, comes from Estonian reports that the Russian military is sending Iskander-M missiles to Kaliningrad on a civilian freighter. … The Iskander-M system, called SS-26 by NATO, is the replacement of the Scud missile of American Gulf War memory. It has a range of 300 miles and can carry either a conventional or a nuclear warhead. An Iskander-M based in Kaliningrad can strike targets deep in Poland and across the whole Baltic region. Make no mistake, this is primarily an offensive weapons system."

"There’s a reason that the Kremlin promised to not ship this missile system to Kaliningrad back in 2009, in exchange for President Obama’s scuppering of missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic. Activating an Iskander-M unit in Kaliningrad, west of the Baltic republics, is rightly seen as destabilizing by NATO’s whole eastern flank which, despite security promises by the White House, remains vulnerable to Russian attack. For Warsaw and several other NATO capitals, this move resembles a Baltic version of the Cuban Missile Crisis."

Related article:

Related commentary, all this week:

"Labor conflicts in Russia have doubled in 3 months; Primorye coal miners begun hunger strike. Clock is ticking for Putin. Even military has repeatedly failed to pay gas and electricity bills."

"Russia's pres admin telling gov officials w/kids studying abroad to bring them home"

"In Moscow local authorities collect money for bomb shelter constructing due to 'imminent threat of nuclear war with the West'."

"#RuNavy NORFLT launched another SLBM from Barents Sea … Third launch of a ballistic missile today!"

I get that a lot of this is saber-rattling, and I don't imagine Putin wants a war. But as was also pointed out:

"Hitler invaded Poland in Sep 1939 because he knew the German economy was on the ropes and he had nothing left to lose."

"What would your best (educated) guess be he just posturing & flexing or is a military action coming?"

"I think the former, which regrettably can lead to the latter."

Meanwhile, most of our news media is flooding the airwaves regurgitating inane trivia about one candidate or the other in the general election.

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