American Elephants


The Magic of the Paper City by The Elephant's Child

Here is paper folding and pop-up paper gone wild. Beautiful and magical.



The National Security Agency: Cryptoanalysis Is What They Do by The Elephant's Child

Don’t you people read thrillers? The NSA. the National Security Agency ( I’m quoting from Wikipedia here) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography.

The NSA is directed by at least a lieutenant-general or vice-admiral. NSA is a key component of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which is headed by the Director of National Intelligence. The Central Security Service is a co-located agency created to coordinate intelligence activities and co-operation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis agencies. The Director of the National Security Agency serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service.

The National Security Agency is divided into two major missions: the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which produces foreign signals intelligence information, and the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) which protects U.S. information systems.

Surely you know about Bletchley Park and Enigma and Lorenz? Codename Ultra? You have heard of Alan Turing, the father of the computer. How about Magic?

Trying to find patterns in the megadata culled from millions of phone calls, emails and radio messages is what NSA does. Has always done. They really aren’t interested in your illicit phone call to your friend’s husband. If it’s true that agents have logged the phone sex between troops in harm’s way and their wives back home, they need to be disciplined. It’s not their business. If these departments are hiring high school dropouts who have no sense about what is secret and why it is secret, they need to fix their hiring practices.

Again, it is the extraordinary abuse of power demonstrated by IRS intrusion into politics and the written requests of party leaders  to use FBI access to private information for political purposes — including affecting the outcome of the 2012 election, that has cast suspicion on everything done by the federal government. This is pure abuse of power, and those acts destroyed whatever trust existed between American citizens and their government. The senators involved know who they are and their actions should be formally condemned.

Some out there are braying about “secrets,” assuming that we somehow don’t need any secrets. That we shouldn’t be trying to find out the secrets of others, and just mind our own business. The world was never that naive or stupid, fortunately, or we wouldn’t be here today.



My Tuesday Rant About Spell-Check by The Elephant's Child

I have emerged from another battle in my ongoing war with spell-check. It knows a bunch of words, but is totally unfamiliar with plurals or possessives.  It is madly in love with hyphens and wants to insert them everywhere. English spelling in quotations from English sources— fugeddaboutit. We will have no truck with that extra ‘u’ in harbour, or Labour, though it is not up to me to correct a Brit’s spelling in a quotation. And I do like compound words like ‘whistleblower”. If I started using a lot of German words, maybe the damn thing would explode.

When you click “add to dictionary” it only works temporarily, and flags every word added to “the dictionary” which is apparently non existent. Other than that, it poses illogical suggestions to my choice of words, assuming I don’t know the difference between hoar and whore, vain and vane, and other far less logical suggestions. Seems as if they, whoever “they” are could at least fix the possibility of plurals.



The Alinsky Expert: Sophisticated, Patient, and Practical. by The Elephant's Child

I ran onto this quotation from Andy McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad, which seemed helpful:

It is vital to remember that the president is an Alinskyite, so steeped in the ideology of the seminal community organizer that he became a top instructor in Alinskyite tactics for other up-and-coming radicals. Alinksyites are fifth-columnists. They have, in substance, the same goals as open revolutionaries: overthrowing the existing free-market republic and replacing it with a radical’s utopia. That is why Obama could befriend such unrepentant former terrorists as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and take inspiration from Jeremiah Wright, a black-liberation theologist.

Alinskyites, though, are more sophisticated, patient, and practical. They bore in, hollowing out the system from within, taking on the appearance and argot of the heartland. Their single, animating goal is to overthrow the capitalist social order, which they claim to see as racist, corrupt, exploitative, imperialist, etc. Everything else —including the cultivation of like-minded Islamists—is negotiable: They reserve the right to take any position on any matter, to say anything at any time, based on the ebb and flow of popular opinion. That keeps them politically viable while they radically transform society. Transform it into what, they haven’t worked out in great detail… except that it will be perfect, communal, equal, and just.

Well that clears up the matter of Obama’s words, where what he says today doesn’t match what he said yesterday, and will not match what he says tomorrow, and nobody ever calls him on it. He is very skilled at the use of straw men (answering questions nobody asked), logical fallacies, and blame shifting, but who notices?




%d bloggers like this: