FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has telegraphed an aim to end net-neutrality December 14th with a ‘Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order’ (WC Docket No. 17-108) that insists on promoting the future of internet “innovation” and “investment” while simultaneously censoring the internet and and adopting “transparency requirements that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission”. Their words, not mine.

 “Restoring Internet Freedom”, the title of Pai’s order, educes a sardonic irony when one realizes that, under its purview, a free and open internet will be attacked. The soon to be challenged FCC rules regarding net-neutrality that are currently within place stand on a rhetoric which asserts that “broadband providers hold all the tools necessary to deceive consumers, degrade content, or disfavor the content that they don’t like.” In other words, the internet can be censored, and Pai’s new order will facilitate this insult to internet liberty.

 

Perhaps phoning or emailing your Representatives, now, would be a prudent decision. Tell them to safeguard internet freedom.

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Should a massive asteroid be on a trajectory to impact the Earth, there wont necessarily be any warning.

DailyStar reports that asteroid 2017-VL2 zipped past the Earth on November 9th, and NASA didn’t even notice.

While the size of the asteroid seems unintimidating, measured 12-36 meters wide, a direct impact could have annihilated an area the size of New York city. 

The space-rock came within 76,000 miles of Earth, a very near miss given the astronomical metrics used to measure space.

And NASA didnt see it coming.

This post is for Informational Purposes Only

If you are familiar with my perspective on ninjutsu, you know that “ninjutsu” dojos can teach only a diluted form of the dark art. The reason is rather simple. Among the sundry skills of a shinobi are activities that certainly would be considered highly illegal (i.e. arson, how to decapitate someone, how to carry the head, breaking and entering, manufacturing explosives, assassination, etc.).

For a business dojo then, to operate in compliance with the law, certain shinobi skillsets must be omitted from the publicly available curriculum. Dojo owners can’t have their students wandering around the country surveying public officials, they can’t show their students how to break into a residence, compound, or castle, and they most certainly can’t exhibit to their students proven methods of conducting psychological operations against a state or how to burn an entire village to the ground. These obscurities of ninjutsu cannot, will not, be disseminated via any contemporary training method of a dojo that operates within the confines of the law. Period.

But on the contrary, I am sure some of you might be thinking that learning the darker aspects of ninjutsu while maintaining a law-abiding dojo is achievable, if only the training is modified to respect the laws. If this is your line of thought, then prepare yourself for a reality check.

Realism Makes Good Training

Practicing skills, under realistic conditions, is about the only way to ensure that what you learn is transferable to a real-world scenario. Any lesser substitute will only prepare your confidence, which is bound to be shattered once you come face to face with an enemy that reacts, responds, and attacks in a manner nothing like what you have experienced in your dojo.

This principle is applicable to training in anything. If you want real skill with using a fire-extinguisher, you are going to have to taste the smoke and feel the lick of flames as you spray the fire down. If you want to get good at riding a bike, the training wheels have to come off. If you want to learn to parachute, at some point you are going to have to jump out of the plane.

Learning ninjutsu then, requires a similar degree of reality that cannot be found in a dojo.

But what if?

What if you had a means of training in all the sub-disciplines of ninjutsu? What would be illegal, and what might you be able to pass off as a legitimately law-abiding activity?

Legal Ramifications of Training in Ninjutsu: A Few Examples

To begin we must first delineate which aspects of ninjutsu we want to assess for their functional import to modern society. Because we do not dwell in feudal Japan, some specific traditions of ninjutsu adjuncts must be discarded as they have no modern parallel (speaking regional Japanese dialects for instance).

Using ninjutsu realistically means to apply it to our temporal context. Realistically, you will not find yourself in a situation requiring that you speak a dozen different Japanese dialects, but you may have to pick a lock or fake an illness. Peruse your texts, watch some videos, and talk to your teacher. Ask yourself what ninjutsu skills you would really like to learn and compile a list. After you have done that, you may begin assessing what you can legally learn, and what would be illegal to learn, and how you can learn it.

Today I will focus on a few of my favorite ninjutsu sub-disciplines:  lockpicking, taijutsu (body movement/ techniques), shadow surveillance (following a target), and ka-jutsu (art of making fires and incendiaries).

Lockpicking: This skill can be learned legally. You must purchase or manufacture the required equipment (i.e. picks, bolt-cutters, tensioners, locks, etc.) and have a place to position the locks to simulate a real-world situation that requires you to bypass the lock. If you have a willing friend, you can opt to take turns infiltrating a room that has a door fitted with a lock. The legal line blurs once you begin picking locks that do not belong to you. I started practicing lock-picking with a pair of Smith and Wesson handcuffs and a variety of cheap padlocks. Locksmithing in general is a vast discipline that will require much research and effort on your part to gain any appreciable skill.

Taijutsu: Taijutsu can essentially mean any technique of the body executed with agility and finesse be it for defense, offense, or general movement. I like to run up walls and get onto buildings. For the most part taijutsu is legal and is going to comprise the bulk of what is encountered in modern ninjutsu dojos. To train taijutsu, attend a dojo or identify the specific techniques you want to learn. I have taught myself back-flips and wall-runs (the former is not functional but looks cool) by using trees. If you want to learn how to break someone’s neck, you will be pushing legal boundaries and safety unless you attend a dojo.

Shadow Surveillance: Following around people you don’t know on foot is called stalking and, if caught, can bring on legal consequences. Unfortunately, this is the only way to get good at foot surveillance unless you have a friend who has agreed to allow you to pursue him/her from time to time without their knowledge.

Ka-jutsu: for the most part this art is illegal to learn. In the US, the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol Tabacco Firearms and Explosives) enforces laws against manufacturing your own explosives, fireworks, incendiaries, etc. without a proper licence. Deploying any of the above is highly illegal, therefore realistic training is not possible (why do you want to burn down a village?). However, ninjutsu manuals are replete with recipes for legitimate shinobi fire-devices and you may be able to find a few you can construct legally, though, once again, tactical use of them is likely illegal.

I hope this post gets you thinking about why so much is omitted from modern “ninjutsu” dojos.

 

 

In an effort to “enhance user security”, the social media giant Facebook will begin using AI to peruse through user content and judge whether users exhibit signs of potential suicide.

“This is software to save lives. Facebook’s new ‘proactive detection’ artificial intelligence technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, and when necessary send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders.”

So speaks the latest piece from TechCrunch about the controversial AI.

While the move to monitor mental health seems to cater to principles of safeguarding the public, it is not difficult to see it for what it is – an extension of surveillance over social media users.

If Facebook personnel were really concerned with the public’s mental health, perhaps a more productive investment of their time and resources would be to examine the nature of addiction and its relation to their blue-thumb service which has been shown to be more addictive than tobacco and alcohol while also producing changes in the brain similar to those observed with cocaine use.

An even more philanthropic action would be to look at the whole slew of negative impacts their service has had on their users:

“Prior research has shown that the use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen time, lead to internet addiction, and erode self-esteem through unfavorable social comparison.”

That last one, unfavorable social comparison, is highly associated with depression and suicide. Here is another story relating how social media and screen time is associated with a higher suicide risk.

Are there people at Facebook that genuinely care about the well-being of public? Sure there are. But to believe that this giant data-collection apparatus is somehow imbued with a cultural imperative to decry surveillance on the behalf of corporations, the state, and its agencies is unreasonable.

Facebook became the company it is by selling its users out to third-party interests. This is undeniable.

What is also undeniable is the CIA’s interest in utilizing the information Facebook compiles on users (most of which users hand right over) for its own purposes of surveillance.

 

 

 

August 1, 1548

Decryption

The outsiders have entrenched themselves behind well-fortified walls. Though their objectives are not yet known, their presence is nonetheless to be considered a threat to regional stability. We are to not allow them to advance. Our orders are to estimate the number of men, their dispositions and constitutions, who they serve and what their orders are. Heaven has given blessing to our operation. A storm approaches. Ride the wind and conceal your heart among the thunder and rain.

 

See Journal of a Watchman August 1, 1548

The asteroid dubbed ‘3200 Phaethon‘ is poised to come within 2 million miles of Earth around X-mas time. It is reported that this particular space-rock is about half the size of the asteroid that wiped out Earth’s ecology eons ago. 

While the current trajectory of this rock does not pose a high impact risk, it is humbling to acknowledge that the disposition of our existence is one of serendipitous statistical luck. The Earth has been pummeled in the past by cosmic projectiles. It is thereby reasonable to expect our luck will run out given enough time.