Russian speaker claiming Ukrainian identity speaks Russian with a Russian in Canada while both speak English and the third party is English speaking, and insists that an ongoing covert war is between governments, not people

At X Lambert St, near Lawrence and Yonge in Toronto, there is a Ukrainian landlord who rents out in a rooming house. The long-term tenant is Russian, and it appears that others are highly transient.

The landlord speaks very fluent Russian with the Russian tenant. This is not strange because many Ukrainians speak Russian rather more so than Ukrainian.

The interesting part starts with her identifying as Ukrainian AS OPPOSED TO Russian, whereas, according to my limited knowledge of Ukraine, the self identification of a Russian speaker in Ukraine is not Ukrainian. A Canadian might believe the statement “I am Ukrainian, he is Russian” for the fact of which country name appears on a passport. But to listen to them speak so fluently together, and then for her to INSIST on this point?

I then joked that, since they were Ukrainian and Russian, they must talk politics together a lot. She laughed, saying no, with a line I recognize as having heard many times before, an often very wise statement to point out that “the differences are between governments, not people”. (This is a common line in defending Americans as decent despite the actions of their government. Thus, it seems particularly likely that an individual from a former Soviet state might take special pleasure in using such a line – although, it would be nice if in fact her intent and meaning were well placed.)

Yet, the revolution in East Ukraine precisely involved mostly people, not government. Especially if you buy the line of the Russian government, which tries to claim that it is people, not governments, involved.

The Russian government says it’s people, not government. The Russian speaking Ukrainian insists that it’s governments, not people. Both are highly contradicted by facts, despite the two statements both themselves being a contradiction.

I also received the thickest, most colourful and glossiest business card I’ve seen in my entire life to rent from a rooming house.

Before leaving, I was enquiring about 100% paper non-digital means of payment. Namely, cheques. I did not want to do an e-transfer. Upon leaving, by the time I got to the corner about 20-30 m away, I heard call of “noia”, intended to be short for “paranoia”.

Russian speaking Ukrainians who insist upon their Ukrainian-ness, while insisting that an underground people-operated discord is between governments, not people (fine, the situation is quite muddy enough to make it unwise to read into it too much), where paranoia is proposed as an explanation for preferring non-hackable and secure means of payment?

Ukraine was a Soviet Republic. As a Soviet Republic, Russian speakers in the provinces were Soviets, even more so than Russian, etc. I am not aware of any specific campaign of nationalization, storytelling, myth building, nation building, etc., since Ukrainian independence, that would explain any notion of a genuine “Ukrainian” attachment on the part of Russian speaking populations in Ukraine. (However, many may see a future in Ukraine as better than, say, Ukraine becoming part of Russia again, even while maintaining essentially Russian identity.)

So, the fact of playing on presumed Canadian ignorance about Ukraine and Russia to suggest that a fluent Russian speaking Ukrainian and a Russian a) are to be highlighted as separate and different and b) the conflict to be specified as between governments, not people, which contradicts facts on the ground …. I dunno, it’s really suspicious. I don’t know what they’re up to, but there is very much a sense of something to hide. I do not think they have enormously MUCH to hide, but the way in which they have this sense to hide something … I think is conducive to concerns about certain possibilities relating to individuals from former Soviet States.

As opposed to Muslims, who may have some loose notion that Allah will win everything for Islam one day, the Soviets have a history where much of the last 100 years was preoccupied with various efforts to bring down rivals. However, “Soviets” is no longer the correct term. It is not clear to me that “Russia” or “Russians” necessarily would be either.

Something to the effect of “post-Soviet manifestations of unlocked loyalty-adherence “preference” “.

This (as a general matter) is not the kind of thing that should distract (excessively) from other things, but reports in the media that some tens of thousands of former “blackmail and brainwash experts” from the former Soviet Republics of Eastern Europe may have been dispersed to the winds tend to legitimize expression of such concerns.

Anecdotally, I tend to observe that those with Eastern European accents tend to be particular overt (nearly as much so as some of the clearly brainwashed youth that “roam” the streets in uncomfortably high numbers) in manipulations in public. There appears to be a belief that the worst that can happen is that they will be sent “back to the home country”. But, these people aren’t like embassy staff who maybe get kicked out for poking their noses where they don’t belong. These are citizens who are committing crimes.


I could share a number of similar stories while looking for an apartment in Toronto. Say, about 50% at least. The vacancy rate in Toronto is 1%, and 45% of the population is foreign born.

The goal may be to cause sufficient disturbance in Canada (and elsewhere) to distract from expansions in regions that have preoccupied Russia for hundreds of years already. The same strategies which are likely to consolidate authority related to personality cults or generally authoritarian systems cannot be expected to have such consolidation effects in freer countries.

Canada has sent several hundred additional troops to Eastern Europe in recent months.


In the meantime, some of the ploys are so patently overt, and amenable to collecting court-relevant evidence against, that I do wonder the extent to which the situation must also be getting played somewhat in the opposite direction, by darker internal forces, those who would have little or no regard to the lives negatively affected by their manipulations, whether targeting domestic or other sources of opposition, towards their expansion of influence in countries which pride themselves on a long history of fighting for freedom.

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Charges pressed for the hackers of 500 million Yahoo passwords

They were Russian agents, according to the US Department of Justice (NYT).

The Russian government used the information obtained by the intelligence officers and two other men to spy on a range of targets, from White House and military officials to executives at banks, two American cloud computing companies, an airline and even a gambling regulator in Nevada …

Therefore everything is Russian agents?

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Winning by regression to toddlerhood. A “would do” and not a “skilled player” sort of situation

When basically everything you do to try to control people is more or less the same as things that children do at the age of 3 or 5 or maybe 8, but which we teach them not to do …

… Maybe it’s more of a “would do” kind of situation than any special sort of skills.

So, with children, we take away their cookies or make them sit in the corner. After all, they were probably just agitating for some attention, or maybe the cookie that you already took away.


But when it’s adults who essentially want to dominate and enslave people, as compared to young children who want attention or cookies?

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Highly effective ways to promote the diffusion of good ideas

For fear that people who you disagree with will steal your ideas, make sure never to share ideas that you think are better.


(A question to be considered separately from questions of IP rights, patent rights, etc., which underlie protection to uphold incentives to achieve more innovation in an economy … )

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Winning logic: Do not take advice from people unless you know they have blackmailable information on you

Why would I ever take a lead from someone who’s not trying to blackmail me?

I mean, they don’t even have power over me? Why would I want to have anything to do with people who are not trying to get power over me and control me?

Retards. They think I’m going to take advice from someone who doesn’t even have power over me.

I will not be fooled.

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Protestations of innocence that would not go over well in court

“I’m innocent. Someone else told me to do it and I did it.”


(About a minute after posting this, a “They protest me” comes from the other side of a wall.)

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Sound waves can be used to hack phones, fitness devices and cars that have accelerometers

NYT reports how sound waves can affect accelerometers in phones, fitness monitoring devices and cars. This provides a pathway to hacking the devices by use of sound waves. The term “musical virus” is suggested.

The researchers did not actually compromise the car’s microprocessor, but they controlled the car by forcing the accelerometer to produce false readings

Such sonic attacks can also be used for denial of service attacks on devices which have accelerometers.

Good to know.

Not a big deal for me, since I’ve always been leery of carrying wirelessly connected communications devices which produce information like …. my every movement. But if that wasn’t enough to make you cautious, maybe this is? (Perhaps an appropriate time to link to the concept of learned helplessness?)

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MIT establishes $250,000 prize for disobedience

Via Quartz, CNN reports that MIT is establishing a $250,000 prize for disobedience.

CNN quotes the director of the MIT Media Lab, who says “You don’t change the world by doing what you’re told”. The MIT Media Lab homepage states:

This idea came after a realization that there’s a widespread frustration from people trying to figure out how can we effectively harness responsible, ethical disobedience aimed at challenging our norms, rules or laws to benefit society

One Fox News channel (Q13) has some hits for having reported this last week. Breitbart does not seem interested in the story.

The prize was conceived last summer and is not related to the current presidency.

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Dual meaning of “I pay taxes”

“I pay taxes.”

Implicitly, if you don’t pay a lot of taxes, you don’t deserve a say. (Also, then, implicitly, “work harder”, i.e., it’s the government or entrenched business interests ‘doing it’ because they want more taxes or people who work harder for less money. Also, then, implicitly, ‘be angry’, because you tried hard and got ‘promised’ stuff, and all you get is “work harder so you can pay more taxes to the government, who you blame for your problems”.)

Also, if you’re wealthy and pay lots of taxes, you’ve already done your bit. Whatever else there might be to do in addition to paying taxes? “Not my job”.

The first is a demotivational middle finger raised against those who could benefit most from some genuine motivational support, and the second is a call to inaction on the part of those best poised to ‘do something’. (This may not resonate if you’re among people who think that “suck it, bitch” is one of the main features of the natural order of things in pre-civilized states.)


(Little known but relevant information includes a) the fact that renters also pay property taxes because this is built into rental prices – as per econ 101 on supply and demand – and b) the fact that lower income people also pay taxes on many types of goods. In fact, it is possible to be poor AND to receive less benefits from government than you pay in taxes, although this might require ignoring fully amortized and socially distributed costs of universal health and education.)

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The relevant part of Trump’s claims that Obama was wiretapping him

Trump doesn’t know the difference between a microwave oven and a “microwave” (generally defined as about 300 MHz to 100GHz or so frequency band of photons.

The first of these is used to cook food.

The second of these includes the wavelengths which are bioeffective (including neural and physiological effects) in humans, and which carry the potential to basically hack people.

The US president does not know the difference between these two things. Or, maybe he’s getting onto the notion that the word “microwave” is important, but is both a) advised on security matters at the highest level AND b) doesn’t know the difference between a microwave oven and a microwave.

He could also be playing dumb. Maybe as part of a way to open up some conversations? But as much as previous statements of his demonstrate a willingness to talk about certain related issues (his claims of “projections” having led to something dumb he said about six months ago, for example), it really just seems to me like the president of the USA is not getting the information he needs to be able to do his job, specifically with respect to being the only individual who can personally authorize basically any disclosure whatsoever, and being very ‘obviously’ misinformed with regard to technologies which are of critical important to national (and international) security.

Whatever the situation, that’s not Obama’s fault. Making this a partisan issue is the worst possible approach. And therefore it is the one I expect.

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