Tech Monday.

The big thing this week has been modifying the server to get it stable, usable, and mozilla free.

  1. The first problem was that there was an LVM that we could not boot from. I removed all the hard disks from this, reparticitioned, and reformatted. The Debian 10 advanced installer helped as there were far more options to use. In my hands, LVMs don’t work: eventually I’ll set up a system that is nothing but SSDs but not as yet. I now have swap and root on one hard disk, and home on another, with a back up disk I can access to back everything up. And two, larger, USB disks I use to backup that are normally not attached to the system
  2. I prefer to use Cinnamon. This is much better if you use the ATI or Nvidia drivers. I have a Radeon Video card, so added the requisite non free drivers.
  3. I don’t like Mozilla prooducts.
    • I have installed Pale Moon for when I need something that works with old firefox
    • I have also installed falkon — which is fast, avaiable, but is very much a browser
    • And I’ve installed Opera, which is not as simple
  • Evolution understands gmail, but not (quite) my work email system. It handles calendars well. I’d recommend it as good enough, and am using it instead of thunderbird
  • For photo editing, installed rapid photo downloader and darktable.
  • Abiword has improved, and can handle complicated documents. It’s good enough for generating drafts — though I have to use endnote/microsoft word (main reason for a mac at work) to collaborate on some stuff.

The main problem with the install is libreoffice: it is not working at all, though Abiword does. I’m not having the same problem on the laptop — running debian testing — and this may relate to testing running a more recent version than stable. Reading the bug reports, the issue was solved an update or so ago.. Next jobs are to (a) upgrade the server to testing and (b) get Bibus working so I have an open office stack for writing — knowing that I will have to export to word and endnote to collaborate: this at present is very hard to do on a mac, but the main reason for the mac is microsoft word and endnote — both are needed for collaboration, sadly.

(Update: moving to Debian Testing on the server solved all the problems. Debian Testing is probably the most stable rolling release out there and is highly recommended)

However, collaboration has its limits.

In God I trust. Everyone else better publish their data.

Via Mr Muldoon, a peek into the comment pages of the Guardian, where Ms Ngaree Blow attempts to sell the merits of prehistoric healing:

Healthcare systems in Australia that are considered “mainstream” are fundamentally colonial organisations: designed, established and informed by Western paradigms and biomedical models of care.

Going with what works and works reliably. How very dare those damned colonials. With their Western paradigms.

At present, the norm is those who will fit within the constraints of the Western worldview of health… Ultimately, this results in a health system which is not fit for purpose,

The term fit for purpose is one to keep in mind. But first, some self-flattery – the urge to self-inflate being a Guardian staple:

First Peoples are the antithesis of colonial; we are inherently disruptive to how the healthcare system (and many other systems in fact) operate in Australia… As a doctor, I have embraced disruption and have chosen to reject conventional medical training pathways.

How terribly daring. With other people’s wellbeing.

Our disruption has historically been, and continues to be, rejected by the mainstream.

Intimations of victimhood being another Guardian staple. Apparently, modern medical science, with its oppressive Western paradigms, is insufficiently deferential to “our ways of knowing, being and doing.” We must, says Ms Blow, “embrace all knowledge systems.”

Our unique lens, which views health as holistic and all-encompassing, has often been ignored or worse, considered inferior, as evidenced by a lack of traditional practices in these services.

Well, not everyone is happy trusting their recovery to healing songs and delusions of aboriginal sorcery, and there’s only so much you can achieve by pushing crushed witchetty grubs into a person’s ear. Likewise, the restorative properties of bush dung, as used in many of the practices invoked by Ms Blow – those “ways of knowing” – are somewhat unclear.

With a glorious lack of irony, Ms Blow then denounces “outdated approaches to health” and insists that medical treatment must be “culturally appropriate.” If not, one assumes, optimal or even efficacious. Still, if patients aren’t recovering as rapidly as one might hope, or indeed recovering at all, at least those Western paradigms will be “decolonised” and righteously disrupted:

There has never been a more exciting time to be disruptive.

A term Ms Blow deploys no fewer than eleven times.

I have seen such. It is a very easy way to make a career, and if confined within the senior common room it does little damage. However, these people tend to influence policy. I have no problems with people repurposing old medications and consulting with traditional herbalists to find new compounds. But rejection of controlled trials for disruption is a step backwards. Similar to Twitter employing a intelligence officer still on active duty.

Note this: I gave up Twitter and Facebook a while ago. Don’t miss them — and Kea tells me that she’s not seeing her friends posts because everyone has gone back to email or telephones or (horrors) meeting face to face, which cannot be monetised or turned into a neat narrative.

The well is poisoned. I expect both will implode.

The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to wage what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as “information warfare”.

Carter says the 77th Brigade is giving the British military “the capability to compete in the war of narratives at the tactical level”; to shape perceptions of conflict. Some soldiers who have served with the unit say they have been engaged in operations intended to change the behaviour of target audiences.

What exactly MacMillan is doing with the unit is difficult to determine, however: he has declined to answer any questions about his role, as has Twitter and the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Twitter would say only that “we actively encourage all our employees to pursue external interests”, while the MoD said that the 77th Brigade had no relationship with Twitter, other than using it for communication.

‘Using non-lethal engagement… as a means to adapt behaviours of the opposing forces and adversaries’
– The British Army
The 77th Brigade’s headquarters is located west of London. It brought together a number of existing military units such as the Media Operations Group and the 15 Psychological Operations Group.

At its launch, the UK media was told that the new unit of “Facebook warriors” would be around 1,500 strong, and made up of both regular soldiers and reservists. In recent months, the army has been approaching British journalists and asking them to join the unit as reservists.

While clearly engaged in propaganda, the MoD is reluctant to use that word to describe the unit’s operations.

Instead, the British army’s website describes the 77th Brigade as “an agent of change” which aims to “challenge the difficulties of modern warfare using non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours of the opposing forces and adversaries”.

MacMillan, whose editorial responsibilities at Twitter also cover Europe and Africa, was a captain in the unit at the end of 2016, according to one British army publication. The MoD will not disclose his current rank.

There is much more happening, but this blog must remain anonymous. The fact that the vectors for doxxing and virtue signalling are infested by intelligence and will implode makes me smile.

Let us enjoy their decline.