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The Risks Digest (ncl.ac.uk)
34 points by nz 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

"Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD have provided the FBI with crucial information about Russian interference with the American elections."

I call total balony on this. Attempting to give it some credence by accrediting the source to AIVD. How sad to see Risks Digest reduced to repeating neocon waffle.


On the other hand at the risk of pointing out the obvious Risks Digest is exactly that. It's a digest of postings on comp.risks which is open to the world. And here is the link which is in English from a Dutch newspaper if you'd like to engage with the specifics of the story. https://www.volkskrant.nl/tech/dutch-agencies-provide-crucia...

> if you'd like to engage with the specifics of the story ..

The main stream media arrogantly assumed The Presidency would be a shoe-in for Clinton. Trump was good-for-ratings but no-one seriously expected him to actually win. This Russians-influenced-the-election narrative is a ruse thought up by the media to excuse their failure to present the correct candidate to the American electorate.

What would be interesting to know is just who is leaking against both 'Hillary' and Trump and what their motives are. I suspect the leaks are coming from factions in the Washington establishment and elements of the state security apparatus. The Golden Shower dossier being a prime example, also provided by a foreign intelligence organization. Incidentally, the same people who provided evidence of Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction. This Russian hackers story and similar, part of a conspiracy to get Trump deposed, nothing short of a palace coup prosecuted against an elected President.

Who is going to "depose" Trump? That would require impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by 2/3 of the Senate. Both now have Republican majorities. Considering the way Trump went through J. Bush, Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, etc. in the Republican nomination process of 2016, the Republican legislator who votes to impeach or convict would have reason to believe sawing off the limb he sits on. As for the Democrats, what would they get if Trump disappeared from Washington tomorrow--resigned to play more golf, say? President Pence, much more experienced in the mechanics of government, better able to organize and lead an agenda, eligible to run not only in 2020 but 2024. Given the absence of an obvious beneficiary here, I don't see a palace coup in the making.

I don't work in the media, mainstream or otherwise. Until Trump was nominated, I thought very poorly of Clinton's chances.

Whichever side you are on, if everyone believes in one vast and unlikely conspiracy or the other, it no longer means much to accuse your opponents of being crazy conspiracy theorists, it seems to me.

I can't see how a priori Russia conspiracy theories are more implausible than the FBI, CIA, DOJ, State Department, OPM, and all the Republicans and Democrats investigating the administration being part of the "palace coup" attempt.

Ex-administration people are now saying that the security clearance process is run by people trying to subvert the President and his administration.

At some point, doesn't Occam's razor suggest that the administration really is trying to destroy the government for whatever reasons, and the "Deep State" is simply composed of everyone trying to keep it functional?

I don't have any bumper stickers on my car, but I was thinking of looking for one that says "I support the Deep State".

> This Russian hackers story and similar, part of a conspiracy to get Trump deposed, nothing short of a palace coup prosecuted against an elected President

The Russian hacking story broke well before Trump was elected. Your elaborate fantasy requires retrocausality.

> The Golden Shower dossier

Wasn't it originally a 4chan invention?

The so called "dossier" was a series of memos produced for a company called Fusion GPS that does things like opposition research, for both parties, using ex-journalists and intelligence agents.

If you are so far out of the loop as to think it originated with 4chan, I'm not sure where to start, but perhaps it might be edifying to read Glenn Simpson's testimony to the Senate.

One place it's available is https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/read-th...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this thread took a political tone very quickly, given that the recent issues of the digest contains reports and speculations of a political nature. It makes sense that people's attention would get consumed by these more recent speculations. After all the digest covers risks that reside in the intersection between politics and technology, meatspace and cyberspace.

However, I would like to try to gently nudge this thread more towards the technological side of that intersection. A long time interest of mine has been technological failure: things like nuclear reactor meltdowns, airplane crashes, bridge collapses, and so forth.

For example, jhere is a link to a piece of the digest that covers exactly this kind of stuff:


Sure, it's from '84, but as a software engineer I empathize with all of these (mostly) software related failures, as I have to deal with similar failures on a daily basis -- though thankfully they don't involve and fatalities or injury.

Furthermore I find this digest to be very helpful as an archive of safety related issues over a large span of the history of our field, than of current risks which you can find trending on HN and reddit. I suspect the former is much more instructive since most of that stuff happened before many of us were born -- thus giving us the opportunity to learn from the past with an open mind and free of bias. For example the first few years of the digest covered the SDI which was apparently a hot topic among software engineers in those days, while as present it is (to me) a vague and distant notion barely perceptible -- like a fading transmission.

The digest is heavy with the residue of a rich history, and I hope that we (as in humanity) can give a bit more focus to the past, since it will help us make a bit more sense out of the present.

Other fun things:

John McCarthy of lisp fame was apparently a contributor back in the day: http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/1/7#subj1

Richard Stallman made an appearance in 1990: http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/10/20#subj5

As did Bernie Cosell (form Coders at Work by Siebel): http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/10/20#subj6

And Leslie Lamport, (LaTeX, PAXOS, Turing Award): http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/10/44#subj1

Julian Assange in 1995 talking about LoadDog (the wikileaks guy): http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/17/59#subj9

Doug McIlroy in 2005 (of Unix pipes fame): http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/24/57#subj7

Anyway, hope software engineers on this board will find this historical resource useful, and apologies if anyone got trolled by it.

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