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Messages - jax

Browsers & Technology / Re: What's going on with Vivaldi Technologies?
I have been browsing the W3C ActivityPub spec. Basically Twitter/Mastodon, and while there is a inReplyTo field (taking a URI), not really a forum gateway. Sure a post can turn into a tweet or a toot or what have you, and the other direction could be finagled. But that is still not a forum. A forum would focus on the discussion, the topic, the thread, not the individual contributions of the participants.

Haven't seen if there is any meaningful discussion on what a forum gateway should be, how to manage it, and how to convince forum software makers to support this.

Vivaldi have had similar thoughts, with a bridge between Vivaldi users and their Mastodon server. Assuming you still have a Vivaldi account, you will also have another Mastodon user
DnD Central / Re: Doesn't matter who wins the USA Elections the hypocrisy will continue
Oh, while US elections are mostly free (not always been the case), they are definitely not fair. While there are constraints on how fair any election system can be, it is very hard to make a First Past The Post system work reasonably well. And most of the time the US election system is manipulated in the other direction, like with gerrymandering.

Generally the parties in power will have little incentive to change an unfair system, as it is that system that put them into power In the first place. In particular Democrats would win most election (there are thousands) most of the time this century, if all else were the same. Of course all wouldn't be the same, Democrats would be in power much more, which would lead to different dynamics. More importantly, if FPTP were scrapped, there would be more parties than two with winning chances.

While the system as it is gives a net disadvantage to Democrats currently, that aggregate is hiding that there are Democrats in power because of the system, just not as many as those that are in power in spite of the system. And in the past, and quite likely in the future, the Democrats have been net benefactors relative to the Republicans (in the greater perspective both benefit from the system, the electorate is the losers).

So Democrats are absolutely correct to gripe about the election system. Republicans are quiet about it, or invent spurious reasons to support it, because currently it benefits them. When that flips, expect their roles and attitudes to flip as well.

Still, elections, fair or not, have rules. If unsupervised those rules are likely to be broken, which is why they are supervised and audited. A recount isn't challenge to the rules as such, counting has a margin of error. Automated recount is a good idea.

Making clearly spurious claims is not. There was a slight tendency from both parties to weaponize challenges, not because they believed in them, but for political advantage. That went into complete overdrive with Trump.

Money and media, and the implicit lobbying is more important. Americans care more about outside influence, because that is illegal, mot most calls come from inside the house. Republicans used to have a money advantage, especially from fossil and finance, but that is evening out. Democrats on their side had good Silicon Valley relationships, but they are souring. Republicans do have a media advantage, and will probably retain that ahead.

US intelligence document describes
UAE efforts to influence American politics – report

DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
I have been browsing the W3C ActivityPub spec. Basically Twitter/Mastodon, and while there is a inReplyTo field (taking a URI), not really a forum gateway. Sure a post can turn into a tweet or a toot or what have you, and the other direction could be finagled. But that is still not a forum. A forum would focus on the discussion, the topic, the thread, not the individual contributions of the participants. 

Haven't seen if there is any meaningful discussion on what a forum gateway should be, how to manage it, and how to convince forum software makers to support this.
DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
Easily, or too quiet. But with the right gate could be about right, perhaps.

I like forums. I don't like blogs much. And while microblogs like Twitter and Mastodon are OK, they are not really forums.

Forums worked when there was some site filtering right amount of people, Opera in our case. RSS kind of worked when there was a blogosphere. For fun, I checked the Wikipedia entry, last non-vandal edit was exactly one year ago. Not dead, but not very much alive either.
DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
Now we're three, basically.

Was setting up escape plans for Twitter, expecting a slow Sanctuary-like decline over years. Like real-life events, things may unravel much sooner than that. Anyway, I came across Bridgy (Fed), and got me thinking whether we would want something con-federated or otherwise connected, or just slowly fade out.

This particular software doesn't connect this with that (yet?), but would there be something we wanted if such software existed?
DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Scandinavia, North Atlantic, Baltic States and Scotland?
University of Tromsø, Norway snagged themselves a Brazilian researcher on hybrid threats. He is not working there anymore.

Norway’s Russian spy scandal should be a warning to all universities
Until last month, not many people were aware of the political warfare programme at Norway’s Arctic University in the northern city of Tromsø. But then, officers at the Norwegian Police Security Service arrested one of the researchers, claiming he was a Russian spy.

There is a striking irony in the fact that Moscow may have successfully infiltrated the very programme that investigates so-called “greyzone” activity — subversive actions by hostile states that fall below the threshold of formal conflict. But this arrest should also serve as a warning for academics across the world, whose work across borders and collaborative instincts make them particularly vulnerable at a time of rising geopolitical tensions.

José Assis Giammaria, purportedly a Brazilian citizen who has a masters degree in strategic studies from the University of Calgary, had specifically requested to work on the greyzone programme. It is also likely that he was interested in Tromsø as a centre of research on the High North, an increasingly contested region on Russia’s doorstep where melting Arctic ice is opening new sea routes and allowing access to rare minerals.

Giammaria gained a position in much the same way academics usually find employment: he was recommended to Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, professor of security studies who leads the greyzone programme, by colleagues in Canada. She scrutinised his references and his University of Calgary credentials, which all seemed entirely in order.

“He got a lot of praise when I checked references,” Gjørv told Norwegian media. “He expressed an interest in the security policy situation in the north”. She described him as a quiet and slightly shy man who did not share much information about himself. Now Giammaria is being held by Norwegian security services, who say he’s a Russian illegal — a spy operating under deep cover, rather than posing as a diplomat. The investigative network Bellingcat has already alleged that he is actually Colonel Mikhail Mikhushin of the GRU, Russia’s foreign intelligence service. He has denied all the accusations against him.

Norwegian media followed the tracks of a Russian spy to Lithuania: it turned out that he studied in Vilnius

A Twitter photo from the Mykolas Romeri University shows one of the suspected spies with his colleague Marc Lanteigne, an associate professor at the Arctic University of Norway. It was the two of them who came from Tromsø and were supposed to represent the university.

The conference on hybrid threats took place on September 29 and 30 in Vilnius. The suspected spy was trained to find weaknesses in hybrid threats such as pipeline sabotage. The EU-Hybnet conference project is financed by the EU.

Among the main objectives of the conference was to find out what to do if the country’s gas pipelines are blown up or the entire electricity grid is paralyzed. The lawyer of the suspected spy, Thomas Hansen, told the daily “VG” that the suspect is in shock and does not understand the accusations against him.
DnD Central / Re: NATO nonsense

The Baltic States are in a category of their own, measured in percentage of military budget. But it makes perfect sense, considering this: 

12,000 Russian Troops Were Supposed To Defend Kaliningrad. Then They Went To Ukraine To Die.

The formation, deployment and destruction of the 11th Army Corps tell a story that’s bigger than the tragic tale of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The corps, sandwiched between two NATO countries along a strategic sea, was supposed to give Russian forces an advantage in a global war.

Instead, it became cannon fodder for a Ukrainian army that, on paper, was weaker than the Russian army was. Now Kaliningrad is all but defenseless, and the threat the oblast’s troops once posed to NATO … has evaporated.

The 11th Army Corps isn’t really a new formation. It’s a new grouping of existing formations under a single headquarters that itself answers to the Russian navy’s Baltic Fleet. The corps oversees a motorized division, a separate motorized regiment, artillery, rockets, air-defense troops and supporting units.
Before Russia widened its war in Ukraine starting in late February, there were no fewer than 12,000 Russian troops in Kaliningrad with around 100 T-72 tanks, a couple hundred BTR fighting vehicles, Msta-S howitzers and BM-27 and BM-30 rocket-launchers. The 11th Army Corps oversaw most of these forces.

Looming on the western border of Lithuania, one of the weakest NATO member states, the 11th Army Corps was the anvil for a possible Russian invasion of the former Soviet republics Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The hammer was the 18,000-strong ground force in western Russia on the eastern border of the Baltic states.

If this war lasts much longer the deterrence countermove to invasion/hybrid warfare in Baltic States would no longer be occupying Kaliningrad, but occupying St. Petersburg.

Speaking of the Russian western border, Finland, Sweden: No preconditions on nuclear weapons ahead of Nato membership

Makes sense in its context, but long-term the greatest risk of nuclear weapon use in Europe, even with Putin waving them around like now, is "accidental" use (i.e. misjudgement). Actual storage of nuclear weapons nearby Russia would increase that risk.
DnD Central / Re: The world in 2030
Looking up the original predictions, the link rot has spread widely.

It seems time to repost the reminder from the original thread. It had a lot about Muslims, Vivaldi is still running on beer, and this thread has taken an environmental turn. All fine, but it should be about the world starting 15 years 11 months and 3 days from now.

Opera forums are partially covered by the Web Archive, including this thread. The newer Vivaldi threads are not, so the Vivaldi 2030 thread seems gone. This one is still here of course.

Saw there a group I had completely forgotten about, with reason it seems, The Next Eleven.

The Next Eleven (known also by the numeronym N-11) are the eleven countries – Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam

The ones that could be said to have done reasonably well are Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea and especially Vietnam. Rest middling or worse.
DnD Central / Re: The world in 2030
And to answer the burning question in topic start, we seem to have reached (at least temporarily) peak beer in 2013. Higher likelihood of less beer than more beer, but not definitive yet.
DnD Central / Re: The world in 2030
This thread has now crossed a half-way point. It was created 2014-01-24. Today is 2022-11-01, 3203 days later (or the thread was created 8 years, 9 months, 8 days ago).

2030-01-01 will come in 7 years, 2 months (or in 2618 days).

Going back to the original Opera forum, it was created 2001-09-11, 7721 days ago. 7721 days from now will be the date 2043-12-22.
DnD Central / Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Biggest remaining issue is if Bolsonaro wants to do a Trump.

Congratulations to da Silva and to Brazil. I would not say da Silva is my favourite politician by any means, but you could do far worse, and very nearly did this election.
DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Italy?
The Italian code seems to indicate fine and/or confiscation. Possibly, eventually.

The violation of financial sanctions adopted either by the EU or Italy implies the application of administrative fines and may also imply criminal liability (for individuals only), to the extent that the Public Prosecutor finds that the violation is also of a criminal nature. As to the relevant administrative fines, the following penalties apply:
  • violating the prohibition of using/disposing of frozen assets or of making, directly or indirectly, funds/resources available to designated persons is punishable by a fine of Euro 5,000 up to Euro 500,000; the same fine applies in case of a deliberate participation in activities whose objective is to circumvent, directly or indirectly, an assets freeze;
  • breach by institutions and entities subject to anti-money laundering obligations of their duty to communicate details of the assets freeze measures adopted and of the amount and nature of frozen assets is punishable by a fine of Euro 500 up to Euro 25,000;
  • any other violations of EU Regulations imposing restrictive measures or economic sanctions or the violation of the reporting duty/request of authorizations by member States is punishable by a fine of Euro 5,000 up to Euro 500,000.

The above-listed administrative fines can be increased up to three times for serious, repeated and/or systematic violations. Moreover, as said above, the relevant conduct may be prosecuted as a criminal offence to the extent that it falls within the scope of one of the offenses set out in the Italian Criminal Code. In particular, providing financial resources to persons/entities designated under the sanctions regime targeting terrorism may ultimately lead to a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment, regardless of whether those resources were used for terroristic acts.

In addition, the Ministry of Economy and Finance can order the seizure of the items used or intended to commit the violation.

Legislative Decree No. 109/2007—in connection with Law No. 689/1981—also provides that in the event that the above mentioned violations are committed by a director/employee of a legal entity, both the individual and the entity are severally liable, even where those who materially committed the violation are not univocally identifiable.

Administrative fines applied according to Legislative Decree No. 109/2007 can be challenged according to Law No. 689/1981.
DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Scandinavia, North Atlantic, Baltic States and Scotland?
These are oligarchs by themselves, not agents in somebody else's pocket.
Someone like Musk does have massive business interests in China. I'd imagine he wouldn't want to rock the boat too much if he can help it.
Sure. Being an oligarch does not necessarily mean being completely sovereign, even though some oligarchs imagine themselves to be such. Musk (and more so Murdoch) is a businessman, some moves a are bad for his business so he either does not do those moves or attempts to undo them when he discovers it was a mistake.

Ever since Berlusconi pocketed enough telemedia he thinks he is invulnerable, which is quite justified thinking on his part, because he has really been through everything basically unscathed, retaining all the liberties and access to power, and is now 86 years old, i.e. a life lived merrily and still ongoing.

In contrast, all Russian oligarchs are Putin's vassals who must sacrifice own wealth for him when the time is at hand, which is right now. The most sovereign oligarch is Putin himself. Schröder is a well-paid foreign agent, not some unwitting useful idiot. Schröder's case qualifies for treason 100%.

Question is, does Musk do Putin's bidding, or does Putin do Musk's bidding?

Things keep happening to Starlink competitors like underseas communication cables.

Damaged cable leaves Shetland cut off from mainland

DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Italy?
Nothing Schröder has done (that we know of) in government or after is illegal in any jurisdiction. Sure there has never been a fossil fuel project he didn't approve of or pushed for, but whatever the views we might have on that, shilling for the fossil industry is perfectly legal.

Orban hasn't broken any Hungarian laws either, again that we know of.

We cannot stop lobbying in general, that would mean preventing politicians and decision makers from talking to anyone. We can make it more transparent, registers and the like, and prevent some from lobbying. Bribery is illegal of course, and if Berlusconi was Swedish, those bottles of vodka would become property of the Swedish government.

Blocking based on nationality doesn't work. Clearly Putin has agents of influence in the US, in Europe, in the rest of the world, and they are not Russian. "Influence washing" is easy. You could easily get someone to influence a news medium/social medium and they could do on their own accord and for their own interests. That medium in turn could influence/blackmail the politician. Murdoch is an agent of influence, with massive influence in the English-speaking world. Or for that matter Musk.

Berlusconi is example good enough. Media power led to immense wealth and political power. What's in his interest is not in Italy's interest, but it is what is in his interest that counts when he is in power.
DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Italy?
Schröder seems to be in company with Tony Blair, with what seems to be the harshest punishment available for politicians: Ostracism. Blair was arguably the most successful British Labour politician since forever, until he joined forces with Bush. He makes plenty on the Circuit, but politically speaking he's dead.

Likewise expect Trump to spend 0 days in prison, and while the accumulated years in prison from the occupation of Congress last year can be measured in lifetimes, expect no politicians and nary a henchman to spend any time among them.

Berlusconi did end up having to do four hours of "work" as community service for a year. Heinz-Christian Strache, on tape actually planning crimes, ended up having to resign, later working as a Putin intermediary. Netanyahu's case is ongoing, but seems headed for a Berlusconi-like community service. Speaking of Israel, ex-president Katsav did end up with five years in prison for rape in the second round, thus avoiding the dreaded community service of the first round. In France Chirac got two years suspended prison, Sarkozy is facing two years suspended, one year not. That case is ongoing. While in Malta Joseph Muscat had to resign. North Macedonia's Nikola Gruevski is convicted to prison, but he has to be extradited from Hungary first. For US Americans, Wikipedia made a list.

Schröder clearly hasn't done anything illegal, that we know of. Beijing a lobbyist isn't illegal. Being paid by Putin (or Kim og Xi or whoever) isn't illegal. Should more be done to uncover illegal activities by politicians and other PEPs, or should we instead restrict which activities can be done legally? Not against either, but I don't think in that case we should repeat the US mistake of criminalising foreign agents of influence, while the domestic ones are scot-free. 
DnD Central / Re: A blast from the past… :)
Accurate anyhow, not so sure how amazing it was. An invasion at any scale would drive the wedge deeper between Russia and Ukraine, and further shift public opinion in Ukraine. Of the three camps, Anti-Russian, Pro-Russian, and don't care, the third may have been the largest, and it has now withered, Pro-Russians have weakened even in previously occupied territories, and Anti-Russian sentiments are now presumably persistent, even after Putin. People who used to identify as Russian now identify as Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

As for Turkey, the Azerbaijani attack on Armenia,, just like the 2020 war, had to happen with the support of Erdogan.

That may have been that. Aliyev may have believed his star to be rising, with Turkey more influential, Russia preoccupied in Ukraine, and EU desperate for Azerbaijani gas. But the pointlessness of the Azerbaijani attack combined with curiously timed trouble in Central Asia, leads to the theory that Putin may have been in on it too.

DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Italy?
Obviously "politically correct feminists" are not thrilled with Meloni (nor obviously Berlusconi nor Salvini).

SD will not be "in government with" M (the Swedish conservatives), KD (Christian Democrats) and L[iberals], they will be the parliamentary base for that putative government. Which may not sound as such a big deal, but the leader joined when SD was a tiny Nazi parti decades ago, and changed it to a denazified and more electable one, though doubts remains about their honorable intentions. Sweden and Swedes are not really under threat, but the party is big enough to make once orderly Swedish politics a mess. Since they cleverly avoid being in power, they probably can avoid any disastrous blunder and remain big enough to keep Swedish politics messy. (And today the SD-supported three party coalition agreed to agree, so if things go well for Kristersson, he'll be the next PM on Monday.)

Not on an Italian level though, where the politics is messy both in the orderly North ("Germany with good food") and the more idiosyncratic South.

Putin is indeed the biggest question mark. Bit like the "now Nazi are the SD leaders really?", how anti-Putin is Meloni when it comes down to it? The other two definitely aren't.
DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Countries don't have to join the EU if they don't want to, but there is no reason to exclude them if they do fulfil the requirements, and those requirements are not lower than they were when earlier entrants joined.

And there would have to be different rules when the EU approaches 40 members than when it had 6 or 12. The greatest problem isn't the threshold to join, but what happens after, as Poland and Hungary have shown.

There are many potential Hungaries, particularly among the candidate countries, but also the existing members.
DnD Central / Re: NATO nonsense
Thanks to Germany Estonia will not be taken.

NATO and EU are merging in Europe. Norwegians are more seriously considering joining EU (though there is still a solid majority against). NATO is effectively "EU light" or "EU plus". How that merge actually will progress depends on external factors.