A blast from the past: Fox News got 4channed. Beware the Pedobear, kids! Ah, it's 2011, Year One of the post-4chan era:
(thanks to, ahem, amadeupfakename)
KILLING FROM A DISTANCE: I sent a copy of my juvenilia The Crime Studio to William Burroughs – a week later he was dead. I sent a copy of Bigot Hall to Stephen Fry and he went temporarily insane. It really began when I got a copy of The Crime Studio into Broadmoor to get a blurb remark from Ronnie Kray. He didn’t provide a blurb remark but decided he wanted to be a writer, and sent me a story about a young man on the way to be hanged, a tender bloom to be cut down like a flower. Fearing reprisals if I said it was crap, I decided to ignore the entire situation.
Wikileaks and many Infocult obsessions are brought together here. Magister Hipbone dives deeply into crypto, occult history, ancient myth, jihadist steganography, and HP Lovecraft.
The third name is MARUTUKKU, Master of the arts of protection, chained the Mad God at the Battle. Sealed the Ancient Ones in their Caves, behind the Gates
A fine glass bead game, well played.
Perhaps Assange will be compared to Bruno, before he turns into Blofeld, and gets assassinated.
Read and enjoy, while the stars are right!
It's classically insane stuff, with "Yes we can" becoming a polite "Thank you Satan". There's a Lovecraftian surrealism with lines like "Sub-Earth - the mark that's now sooner". Don't miss the revelation of the Greek/Egyptian/posthumanist axis in "Hear my composite self for the Pharoah Zeus."
I still think it was The Exorcist (1973) which kicked off the great wave of backmasking madness, with that terrific "IAMNOONE" scene.
(thanks to gimlet-eyed Jesse Walker)
Is it a prank, an editing mistake, or a subversive maneuver? Is it a rabbit hole, or a really obscure bit of informatics? Is it a relic of a deleted exchange, or a glimpse of something to come? Is it internet chaff, or something sinister?
What is malin-grey literature?
I discovered the topic over the weekend when exploring the Wikipedia page on gray literature. That term refers to scholarly ephemera, informal communications beyond peer-reviewed journals and monographs: memos, letters, old drafts, etc. I find it an interesting, minor facet of scholarly communication. A tangent for a project I'm working on.
Reading into the Wikipedia page, I found an odd section halfway down the page. It's an innocent-looking subsection, two paragraphs long, set off by a header and dividing lines, and referring to a sub-type of gray literature. Here's the first paragraph:
By contrast, 'malin-grey literature' refers to publications whose self-referencing and dissemination are actively construed to avoid the attention of information professionals. Examples include classified or confidential scientific documents. Malin-grey literature should not be confused with samizdat or underground literature per se, as these publications often are only concerned with disguising the author and distributor's identities, not preventing dissemination.
[links in original]
I thought this was an interesting concept, a kind of stealth communication different from crypto or steganography. So, as usual, I checked the entry's citations to find out more... and saw nothing. No references. Nothing appeared on the page's discussion tab, either.
This did not strike me as a problem, since many chunks of Wikipedia lack support, and evade editorial scrutiny for a while. So I opened a new tab, launched a quick Google, which turned up... nothing, except copies of the same text. Word for word. Places like Blurbwire just copied the malin-grey material.
Digging further into the Google results, messing with keywords, I came across one variation: a writer by that name, Anne Marie Malingray, a French historian. Very little to be found online about him/her.
That struck me as a bit odd. A passage describing hiding information has no confirmation on the Web? It's appropriate, but to what end? Is malin-grey a game, or a kind of self-referential hoax?
Turn back to the Wikipedia entry. In this light its second paragraph looks stranger still, and even a bit ominous:
Some commentators have suggested the name derives from the French for 'deceptive ingenuity', others - less convincingly - that it is a reference to the Malin shipping area which contains the HMNB Clyde base, home of Britain's nuclear arsenal and place of authorship of many such confidential documents.
Is someone joking about nuclear weapons and/or secrecy? Or is this something deeper, a sign of something serious and sneaky, the Wikipedia's version of numbers radio?
I came across another clue when I tried Bing as a search alternative. Someone else had been intrigued by the cryptic malin-grey, over on the wonderfully named Perugia Murder File board. In August 2010 one "Catnip" contemplated a kind of questioning designed to introduce (or test) newcomers to their community (I think). Catnip thought through asking questions in a revealing way, then found our topic: "I learnt a new word today: this withheld information is malin-grey literature." Catnip quotes, and links to, the same Wikipedia entry.
Nobody else responds to Catnip's post.
Even more mysteriously, Catnip concluded: "Now, there only remains the meaning of malin to find out."
Then - nothing.
"malin" is a French word, meaning clever or cunning. There's also a hint of the English "malignant". Even better.
Interestingly, the splendidly named Orthorhombic also slightly edited this Wikipedia page about the mysterious Chouchani, teacher of Wiesel and Levinas.
So what is malin-grey? Is it a placeholder for a project to come, a starting work by the Chouchani-like "Orthorhombic"? Perhaps malin-grey is an in-joke among several game-players? Is Catnip one of those players? What else could Orthorhombic have been working on? Why didn't Wikipedia's editor swarm check into those over the past year? Is this a serious or real thing?
I have no answers.
Apparently one man has seized hostages in the Discovery Channel's main offices in the Washington. DC area. A single Web page has been bruited about as the alleged gunman's list of demands.
I hope these really are the guy's demands, because this document is terrific. (Link to our copy, because that site seems to be down) Reading this out loud I caught myself unconsciously imitating the voice of Invader Zim.
Here are some highlights, quickly assembled:
These are the demands and sayings of Lee...
Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.
The humans? The planet does not need humans....
Yes, "and, of course, the Squirrels."
"My Demands" is also supreme fan fiction, or at least the most creative boost to reading we've seen all year:
"The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212...
Which doesn't mean the author isn't a critic:
"Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order... Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!"
I would gladly pay to see that game show, anywhere.
Other passages are furious, reminiscent of the mad prophet tradition:
Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil!
Filth is quite the focus:
At times Lee (or whoever the author is) sounds like a grumpy old man, furious at the fallen state of this kid-ridden world:
Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that...FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH!
Also, war must be halted. Not because it's morally wrong, but because of the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!...
Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy.
Emphases added. Caps and exclamation marks are all in original.
Here's the text of the Discovery gunman's alleged site, "My Demands." It's from http://savetheplanetprotest.com, but that's apparently been hit hard.
All formatting is from the original, after the asterisks. Text was black, background white. No images or other media.
The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other's inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!
Every so often some Web content describes complex situations with breathtaking simplicity. For example, the Great Recession in mid-2010 is brought to a single point by this Wall Street Journal article's sidebar/photo caption:
In the wake of Friday's disappointing jobs report, Neal Lipschutz and Phil Izzo discuss new predictions that it could be many years before the nation's unemployment rate reaches pre-recession levels. Plus, test-driving the new Porsche Hybrid SUV.
There it is, then, as the emperor says in Amadeus: the unemployed, and the wealthy. It's like a cartoon for a class warfare argument, pairing up the working class, unemployed or scared of being so, alongside their corporate masters. Or it's a guide to market reach for a marketing textbook - appeal to as wide an audience as possible!
And it's simply 2010: persistent, bad unemployment; technological innovation; the continued appeal of cars in an age supposedly moving away from carbon.
So what happened today? A combined attack on several major social media services.
Twitter was attacked by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack this morning (eastern time).
(via Arbor Networks)
Facebook was also hit, possibly twice. First, by another DDoS. Second, by a sudden stream of Twitter refugees. How many crossed from microblog to status window, a million?
Livejournal was the third target. According to their status blog, LJ joined in the suffering, with "an ongoing attack against our network and servers."
Desktop apps and services drawing on Twitter or Facebook through APIs also endured outages, as their feeding tubes closed up.
what appears to be a single, massively coordinated attack. As to the motivation behind this event, we prefer not to speculate.
Who could be responsible? We can only speculate at this point. Here are some ideas, and we welcome more:
(thanks to Steve and the manic, twitching stream of Facebook and Twitter commentators)
It looks like several Web 2.0 services are having problems now.
Twitter is down. According to their status blog, it's a denial of service (DoS) attack. "We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly." Some say Twitter Search works, but I can't get it to load.
Facebook is experiencing intermittent outages. Error messages like this:
But there's little evidence of a DDOS aimed at FB. Overflow from Twitter could be partially to blame.
Livejournal is also going on and off. Their status blog claims a DOS earlier this morning.
Updating as news comes in.
Possibly overflow from Twitter is hurting the others. I've already used Facebook to post about Twitter.
Infocult angle: these outages, especially coming at the same time, could be the basis of a series of rumors and fears.
(thanks to Steven Kaye, ReadWriteWeb, and everyone feeding me info)