Stripe cuts off Freestartr and Bitchute

So much for Stripe as a Paypal alternative.

I thought I might share a few thoughts with you on what I regard as the biggest issue of our time: tech apartheid.

Silicon Valley wants you to believe that it is a force for good but the evidence of its bias and fraudulent dealings couldn’t be more obvious even to a fair, impartial observer.

Most recently this duplicity concerns payment processing, namely the fraudulent company Stripe which canceled FreeStartr’s account despite record low chargebacks. FreeStartr wasn’t alone. All of those companies who had their accounts suspended — Bitchute (a YouTube competitor), MakerSupport (a Patreon competitor), and (a Patreon, Kickstarter competitor)– were created by Trump supporters.

This canceling of our business was done for political reasons by Edwin Wee, a Democratic political operative turned Stripe employee, and it exposes the libertarian lie that one can simply just go and create a competitor if one dislikes Silicon Valley ventures. You can’t. We need to get over that canard.

I’ll delve into the parochial issues concerning FreeStartr’s banning from Stripe later, but I am thoroughly convinced that if action isn’t taken in the very near future, our politics will be permanently titled to the far left for the foreseeable future. Ask your congressmen, your friends, to speak out on this issue and take necessary corrections.

We’ve had other discussions about the censorship and Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and yes, those trends are extremely worrisome. But what I’m talking about here as concerns Stripe and PayPal is far more dangerous both for politics and for our society writ large.

Every regime has scapegoats, and ours is no different. Whether you’ve participated in a Twitter mob and/or been its target, you know its power. Ours is a herd based species, and it is quite disturbing the speed with which mores can shift. What was once commonplace — big game hunting, smoking, corporal punishment, etc., — become frowned upon, then the province of cranks, and ultimately unthinkable. There is increasingly good social science evidence for how this process unfolds — where a small minority changes the standards of behavior in a population. Sometimes these changes are so abrupt as to be jarring and yes, even violent. Twitter mobs force you off of their platforms and begin the practice of targeting your employment, your spouse’s employment, etc. until you are ruined. There is no due process here.

One has to wonder what the people at Stripe are thinking. If they’re just going to be another arm of SJW enforcement, there is simply no need for their services. One might as well not use Paypal as not use Stripe, after all….

Voxiversity supporters, I think the smart move is to wait and see how Freestartr handles this before we come up with any alternative plans in order to keep the video offensive going.

That awkward reality

It always catches up to SJWs, sooner or later.

IN 2015, A black software developer embarrassed Google by tweeting that the company’s Photos service had labeled photos of him with a black friend as “gorillas.” Google declared itself “appalled and genuinely sorry.” An engineer who became the public face of the clean-up operation said the label gorilla would no longer be applied to groups of images, and that Google was “working on longer-term fixes.”

More than two years later, one of those fixes is erasing gorillas, and some other primates, from the service’s lexicon. The awkward workaround illustrates the difficulties Google and other tech companies face in advancing image-recognition technology, which the companies hope to use in self-driving cars, personal assistants, and other products.

WIRED tested Google Photos using a collection of 40,000 images well-stocked with animals. It performed impressively at finding many creatures, including pandas and poodles. But the service reported “no results” for the search terms “gorilla,” “chimp,” “chimpanzee,” and “monkey.”

In a third test attempting to assess Google Photos’ view of people, WIRED also uploaded a collection of more than 10,000 images used in facial-recognition research. The search term “African american” turned up only an image of grazing antelope. Typing “black man,” “black woman,” or “black person,” caused Google’s system to return black-and-white images of people, correctly sorted by gender, but not filtered by race. The only search terms with results that appeared to select for people with darker skin tones were “afro” and “African,” although results were mixed.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that “gorilla” was censored from searches and image tags after the 2015 incident, and that “chimp,” “chimpanzee,” and “monkey” are also blocked today. “Image labeling technology is still early and unfortunately it’s nowhere near perfect,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

Google also can’t tell the difference between black people and white people. This is the first image result for “white couple”. The second is literally entitled “Black And White Couple Stock Photo.”

And this is the third. Wowjustwow, Google clearly still has a long way to go!

The GitHub purchase

It’s not as if GitHub isn’t already moderately converged, but the Microsoft acquisition of it is unlikely to make things any less subject to converged policing:

AFTER A WEEKEND of rumors, Microsoft officially announced Monday that it will acquire the code repository site GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock. The platform is an important resource for some 28 million developers and home to billions of lines of open source code. It’s in many ways a natural fit for Microsoft, which has in recent years warmed up to open source.

But the beloved developer platform may also introduce moderation headaches. Microsoft will soon need to formally decide what will happen to the many GitHub repositories that conflict with its own interests. The tech giant will face similar content moderations challenges that peers like Facebook and Google have, but with code instead of speech.

Created over a decade ago, GitHub is where developers at nearly every major software organization, from Google to NASA, collaborate. It hosts projects as diverse as Bitcoin’s code and all of the German government’s laws and regulations. The platform functions as a kind of social network for coders; their contributions to the site can serve as a stand-in for a traditional resume. Anyone can publish open source code to GitHub for free; the platform makes money by charging individuals and corporations to keep their code private.

GitHub’s 85 million repositories help to make it one of the world’s most popular websites. They include, however, projects that GitHub’s new owner might take issue with…. “GitHub isn’t a perfect defender of censorship, but they still host Tiananmen Square stuff. That’s likely to disappear under Microsoft,” says Rob Graham, CEO of Errata Security, who helped trace the 2015 DDOS attack to China. GitHub has also been censored in a number of other countries where Microsoft has business interests, including Russia and India.

This is one of the challenges facing Alt-Tech. The conventional startup objective of selling out to a tech company for billions conflicts with the objective of creating something that is not subject to corpocracy and convergence. On the plus side, it should mean that there will tend to be fewer Silicon Valley snake oil salesmen pushing their sites on the Right.

Chinese lasers already have impact

They can’t actually take down a fast-moving fighter yet, but Chinese lasers are already inhibiting US aeriel movement:

Chinese company Poly Technologies showed off its new bit of next-age tech at a military exhibition in Kazakhstan this week. The “Silent Killer” laser is able to obliterate unmanned drones from about 328 yards away. It is, however, only able to target slow-moving, low-flying, and small-sized targets.

Silent killer’s lasers are also able to jam incoming electronic attacks, effectively making an hack attempt impossible. The weapon is capable of being mounted onto mobile vehicles as well as warships, according to its developers.

The advancement in laser technology comes just weeks after US military chiefs warned fighter jet pilots to “use extreme caution” near a Chinese base.  It later emerged high-powered lasers were in operation at the facility.

As I have repeatedly pointed out since we published Riding the Red Horse, US air supremacy probably has less than a decade left. This will have considerable implications for US foreign policy, and likely explains the push for obtaining military superiority in space on the part of both the US and the Chinese militaries.

Break up Facebook

Even the EU Parliament is skeptical of Zuckerberg’s Monster:

Zuckerberg responded after the questioning, addressing the issue of political bias.

“We are committed to being a platform for all ideas,” he declared. “It’s very important to me that we’re a service that allows a wide variety of political discourse.”

“We have never and will not make decisions about what content is allowed or how we do ranking on the basis of a political orientation,” Zuckerberg said.

“We’ve made a number of changes this year to make sure we’re showing people’s friends and family and community content,” he said, citing the “well-being” research the company has done to make sure that the technology is helping people. All the research, he said, shows that connecting with people you care about is “good for your well-being.” He explained that news “isn’t correlated with those same benefits.”

He reiterated that Facebook is “not targeting any specific political ideology.”

I’m dubious that such shameless lying is going to help his cause much.

Twitter Purgatory

Twitter has taken the Twitter Jail concept one step further:

Are you the sort of person who annoys, frustrates, and offends lots of people on Twitter—but manages to avoid technically violating any of its policies on abuse or hate speech? Then Twitter’s newest feature is for you. Or, rather, it’s for everyone else but you.

Twitter is announcing on Tuesday that it will begin hiding tweets from certain accounts in conversations and search results. To see them, you’ll have to scroll to the bottom of the conversation and click “Show more replies,” or go into your search settings and choose “See everything.” Think of them as Twitter’s equivalent of the Yelp reviews that are “not currently recommended” or the Reddit comments that have a “comment score below threshold.”

But there’s one difference: When Twitter’s software decides that a certain user is “detract[ing] from the conversation,” all of that user’s tweets will be hidden from search results and public conversations until their reputation improves. And they won’t know that they’re being muted in this way; Twitter says it’s still working on ways to notify people and help them get back into its good graces. In the meantime, their tweets will still be visible to their followers as usual and will still be able to be retweeted by others. They just won’t show up in conversational threads or search results by default.

I’d pretend that I care, but they suspended me for good back in November. Of course, it’s just a matter of time for most of the rest of you. In the meantime, give Idka a try; many of the Daily Meme Wars memes are posted there on a regular basis.

The costs of a Code of Conduct

It will probably not surprise anyone who has read SJWAL or SJWADD to learn that Codes of Conduct chase off the evil male programmers who built the project.

Rafael Avila de Espindola is the fifth most active contributor to LLVM with more than 4,300 commits since 2006, but now he has decided to part ways with the project. Rafael posted a rather lengthy mailing list message to fellow LLVM developers today entitled I am leaving llvm.

He says the reason for abandoning LLVM development after 12 years is due to changes in the community. In particular, the “social injustice” brought on the organization’s new LLVM Code of Conduct and its decision to participate in this year’s Outreachy program to encourage women and other minority groups to get involved with free software development.

The reason for me leaving are the changes in the community. The current license change discussions unfortunately bring to memory the fsf politics when I was working on gcc. That would still not be sufficient reason to leave. As with the code, llvm will still have the best license and if the only community change was the handling of the license change I would probably keep going.

The community change I cannot take is how the social injustice movement has permeated it. When I joined llvm no one asked or cared about my religion or political view. We all seemed committed to just writing a good compiler framework.

Espindola was one of the most prolific LLVM contributors.

What a lot of people still don’t understand is that the Code of Conduct is working as designed when it chases off the productive members of the project.

Big Brother’s retarded little brother

If I was not married, Mark Zuckerberg is literally the last person on Earth I would want knowing about my dating habits:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the keynote address at the F8 developer conference in San Jose on Tuesday, introducing, among other innovations, the company’s new dating features.

“We are announcing a new set of features coming soon around dating,” Zuckerberg told conference attendees, lamenting that his company has been late to the dating game.

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups,” he declared.

Zuckerberg didn’t explain how he plans to prevent “hookups,” but he did say that the dating service will be “opt-in” and “if you want you can make a dating profile. We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” he assured conference attendees. “We’re excited to start rolling this out soon.” He assured users that no one will see their information without express permission. Instead, he said, Facebook will suggest possible dating prospects.

I’m too old and too-long married to have any experience with online dating of any kind, but I do know that the more sensitive the data is, the less I am interested in making it available to Facebook. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was already selling the information on status updates to divorce lawyers and the IRS.

Meanwhile, Facebook is also implementing a system to better suppress the public’s access to the news it does not want them to see.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that the company has already begun to implement a system that ranks news organizations based on trustworthiness, and promotes or suppresses its content based on that metric.

Zuckerberg said the company has gathered data on how consumers perceive news brands by asking them to identify whether they have heard of various publications and if they trust them.

“We put [that data] into the system, and it is acting as a boost or a suppression, and we’re going to dial up the intensity of that over time,” he said. “We feel like we have a responsibility to further [break] down polarization and find common ground.”

Digital Maoism

This is a really good interview with Jaron Lanier which hits on three important concepts:

This dovetails with something you’ve said in the past that’s with me, which is your phrase Digital Maoism. Do you think that the Digital Maoism that you described years ago — are those the people who run Silicon Valley today?

I was talking about a few different things at the time I wrote “Digital Maoism.” One of them was the way that we were centralizing culture, even though the rhetoric was that we were distributing it. Before Wikipedia, I think it would have been viewed as being this horrible thing to say that there could only be one encyclopedia, and that there would be one dominant entry for a given topic. Instead, there were different encyclopedias. There would be variations not so much in what facts were presented, but in the way they were presented. That voice was a real thing.

And then we moved to this idea that we have a single dominant encyclopedia that was supposed to be the truth for the global AI or something like that. But there’s something deeply pernicious about that. So we’re saying anybody can write for Wikipedia, so it’s, like, purely democratic and it’s this wonderful open thing, and yet the bizarreness is that that open democratic process is on the surface of something that struck me as being Maoist, which is that there’s this one point of view that’s then gonna be the official one.

And then I also noticed that that process of people being put into a global system in which they’re supposed to work together toward some sort of dominating megabrain that’s the one truth didn’t seem to bring out the best in people, that people turned aggressive and mean-spirited when they interacted in that context. I had worked on some content for Britannica years and years ago, and I never experienced the kind of just petty meanness that’s just commonplace in everything about the internet. Among many other places, on Wikipedia.

On the one hand, you have this very open collective process actually in the service of this very domineering global brain, destroyer of local interpretation, destroyer of individual voice process. And then you also have this thing that seems to bring out this meanness in people, where people get into this kind of mob mentality and they become unkind to each other. And those two things have happened all over the internet; they’re both very present in Facebook, everywhere. And it’s a bit of a subtle debate, and it takes a while to work through it with somebody who doesn’t see what I’m talking about. That was what I was talking about.

But then there’s this other thing about the centralization of economic power. What happened with Maoists and with communists in general, and neo-Marxists and all kinds of similar movements, is that on the surface, you say everybody shares, everybody’s equal, we’re not gonna have this capitalist concentration. But then there’s some other entity that might not look like traditional capitalism, but is effectively some kind of robber baron that actually owns everything, some kind of Communist Party actually controls everything, and you have just a very small number of individuals who become hyperempowered and everybody else loses power.

And exactly the same thing has happened with the supposed openness of the internet, where you say, “Isn’t it wonderful, with Facebook and Twitter anybody can express themselves. Everybody’s an equal, everybody’s empowered.” But in fact, we’re in a period of time of extreme concentration of wealth and power, and it’s precisely around those who run the biggest computers. So the truth and the effect is just the opposite of what the rhetoric is and the immediate experience.

A lot of people were furious with me over Digital Maoism and felt that I had betrayed our cause or something, and I lost some friends over it. And some of it was actually hard. But I fail to see how it was anything but accurate.

This guy is sharing some important insights into the intrinsic danger of centralization, even when it is unintentional and inadvertent. It also underlines the importance of the Infogalactic approach, which rejects the concept of the One True Page that defines objective reality for everyone on the basis of the opinions of the information gatekeepers.

Back to the balance of power

Russia now has the ability to drown the US coasts:

Russia’s new nuclear drone submarine could be capable of causing 300ft-high tsunamis, able to wipe out coastal cities, experts say. The existence of the drone, believed to be the Status-6 system – also known as ‘Putin’s doomsday machine’ – was confirmed by the Russian President himself in his annual state-of-the-nation speech in Moscow last month.

Experts say a 50 megaton underwater nuclear bomb would be able to create tsunami waves reaching more than 320ft – the ‘Status-6’ is allegedly able to carry a 100 megaton warhead.

Perhaps the neocons should stop trying to throw the US weight around and interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations. On the plus side, the prospect of having both coasts submerged underwater is considerably better than thermonuclear war. Indeed, one could quite credibly argue that the American nation would be better off without either of them.