Maria Butina Receives Hero's Welcome in Moscow

Valentin Bogdanov pointed out that the Western media no longer dares to call Butina a spy.

"They're being careful," Bogdanov said, speculating that media outlets are afraid of being sued for using the wrong language. In the Kremlin-controlled Russian media, Butina is being described mainly in glowing terms.

Evgeny Popov, told The Daily Beast: "She is a hero! You are not." He could not specify the nature of Butina's alleged heroic deeds but Popov predicted that Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko would soon follow suit and also be released from U.S. custody. Bout is an international arms dealer, convicted of conspiring to sell weapons to a foreign terrorist group and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. [...]

Popov's wife and co-host of 60 Minutes, Olga Skabeeva, claimed that Butina's confessions and her guilty plea should be disregarded, since they were allegedly extracted by "torture" in U.S. custody. Popov lamented: "This person is just a victim! A political prisoner! A victim of the elections! A victim of attacks against Trump and imaginary Russian interference." Skabeeva added: "They suddenly let her go, because the scandal with election interference has ended." [...]

Working at the direction of a Russian government official, Alexander Torshin, Butina infiltrated Republican political circles and the National Rifle Association around the time of the 2016 election in order to promote Russian interests. In September of 2019, an investigation by Senate Democrats determined that the NRA has acted as a "foreign asset" in providing Russian officials access to US political organizations.

Whistleblower Reality Winner's mom 'sick' over Maria Butina's release

The mother of a former US intelligence analyst and the first whistleblower arrested during the Trump era said it made her "sick" that Russian agent Maria Butina was released from a Florida prison Friday while her daughter remains locked up. [...]

Winner, 27, a US Air Force veteran, was sentenced in August 2018 to more than five years behind bars as part of a deal in which she pleaded guilty to leaking a classified National Security Agency document about a 2016 Russian cyberattack on a supplier of American voting software.

In 2017, while working as a federal contractor assigned to the NSA in Georgia, Winner leaked the classified document providing details of the Russian cyberattack. [...]

Her daughter, who worked in the Air Force's drone program, is serving the longest sentence ever imposed on a journalistic source by a federal court, according to the Department of Justice.

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youtubedown bookmarklet

If you've been using youtubedown as a bookmarklet, try the new version. I rewrote the CGI wrapper to be much more reliable, not time out, and display download and muxing / transcoding progress.
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Dear Lazyweb,

It is possible to run OpenVPN Connect on macOS for my outbound connections, and also run a web server on my static IP for inbound connections? Launching OpenVPN seems to prevent any incoming connections.

I'd like to be using Sonic's VPN on my home desktop machine, but I also run a web server on it that I occasionally need to access from the outside world.

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How the Internet Archive is Digitizing LPs to Preserve Generations of Audio

Earlier this year, the Internet Archive began working with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to digitize more than 100,000 audio recordings from their sound collection.

The recordings exist in a variety of historical formats, including wax cylinders, 78 rpms, and LPs. They span musical genres including classical, pop, rock, and jazz, and contain obscure recordings like this album of music for baton twirlers, and this record of radio's all-time greatest bloopers. [...]

Once cataloged, the LP's are then digitized. The Internet Archive partners with Innodata Knowledge Services, an organization focused on machine learning and digital data transformation, to complete the digitization process at their facilities in Cebu, Philippines. An Innodata worker digitizes 12 LPs at a time, setting turntables to play and record by hand, then turning each record over to the next side. Since each LP is digitized in real time, it takes a full 20 minutes to record an average LP side. By operating 12 turntables simultaneously, the team expects to be able to digitize ten LPs per hour.

This is awesome. However, as someone who has put many hours into manually digitizing records using what I think is the very same turntable pictured (they look like Panasonic 1200s to me) this idea that you can just fire-and-forget seems... fantastically optimistic. Perhaps the records in the BPL collection are all of a never-been-played, white-glove level of archival quality, but if these records have ever been owned by a human... no. No, that's just not going to work. It's going to be a wobbly mess of oscillating playback speeds and skips.

Decades ago I read about someone's project to rip vinyl by scanning the disc on a flatbed scanner and then processing the image. Did that ever go anywhere? That would be kind of analogous to the way IA is archiving old floppy disks with flux scans that record a ludicrously high resolution image of the analog waveform rather than the bits comprising the file system.

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California Combatting Wildfire Risk By Shutting Off Oxygen To Thousands Of Residents

SAN FRANCISCO -- With blazes engulfing Sonoma County and smoke-filled skies blanketing much of the Bay Area, officials in California announced Friday they would attempt to mitigate any further spread of wildfires with a mandatory shutoff of oxygen to thousands of the state's residents.

"In order to eliminate factors that could contribute to the fires' growth, we will cut the flow of oxygen in high-risk areas throughout the northern part of the state," California Public Utilities Commission president Marybel Batjer told reporters, explaining that the rolling "air-outs" would last 12 hours on average and residents would need to plan accordingly. "If each Californian can learn to make do without oxygen for just a day or two, we could avoid much of the devastation caused by wildfires. We understand this is a hardship, but it is simply too dangerous to allow open oxygen in fire-prone areas. Those requiring emergency supplies of air will be allowed to offset the shortage by cultivating hundreds of plants inside their home."

Batjer later confirmed that oxygen would continue flowing to all businesses deemed vital, including the headquarters of every major tech giant in or around Silicon Valley.

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Angus man who tried to fly drone into Perth Prison claimed Romanian circus stole his chihuahua

The 33-year-old was heard rustling in the undergrowth after prison officers chased the 70mph drone away from the outer wall of Perth Prison.

Moreton was spotted putting the drone into the boot of his Audi but he drove up a dead end and the officers blocked his escape.

He clambered over a six-foot fence to try to escape and used his remote locking key to deadlock the car with the active drone in the boot.

Moreton claimed he was near the prison in the dead of night because he believed Romanian circus performers had stolen one of his pet chihuahuas.

He said: "We were told the circus left the dogs outside at night. As daft as it might sound, I brought the dog's father, Archie, to see if he could find it."

Moreton then claimed he was found in the bushes because he had downed a litre of vodka and had collapsed in the middle of the dog-hunt.

He said he had been using the drone to search the riverbank for the dog.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein Above DNA turns seven!

Today is the 7th anniversary of the opening of Above DNA! Our first show was Oct 23, 2012 with Happy Fangs and Books on Fate.

Since then we have hosted 4,209 events in that room, 910 of which were live shows, for a total of 1,838 different bands. That's 19 shows per month!

Let's take a look back...

When we first opened, the room was extremely white. That looked pretty cool, but then we let customers in and they got their filthy footprints all over the walls, so we went with the red curtains.

And here's what the Dazzle Room looked like before we dazzled it in 2013:

Before we moved in, that back room had been an illegal grow-house for several years, so it looked like a Dexter kill room in there, except creepier and less tidy.

Something you might not remember is that DNA Pizza was open for about a year and a half prior to Above DNA, and during that time there was no connecting door between DNA Pizza and DNA Lounge. We didn't get the permits to cut those holes in the wall until July 2012. Here's a video of the hole being cut:

You can still see what pre-hole DNA Pizza looks like on Google Street View. Google came through one day in 2012 and took pictures of the interior. They used to do that for free, but now they charge businesses for it, so probably those old views will be there forever.

Hopefully we will be seeing you at an Above DNA show soon. Hey, how about tonight? It's the 3rd and final night of Kristeen Young's residency. Is good show, you come.


Xenomorph Extraction Video Tutorial

Jf Lemay:

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An awesome historical investigation of why terminals were 80×25:

"Because the paper beds of banknote presses in 1860 were 14.5 inches by 16.5 inches, a movie industry cartel set a standard for theater projectors based on silent film, and two kilobytes is two kilobytes" is as far back as I have been able to push this, but let's get started.

In August of 1861, by order of the U.S. Congress and in order to fund the Union's ongoing war efforts against the treasonous secessionists of the South, the American Banknote Company started printing what were then called "Demand Notes", but soon widely known as "greenbacks".

It's difficult to research anything about the early days of American currency on Wikipedia these days; that space has been thoroughly colonized by the goldbug/sovcit cranks. You wouldn't notice it from a casual examination, which is of course the plan; that festering rathole is tucked away down in the references, where articles will fold a seemingly innocuous line somewhere into the middle, tagged with an exceptionally dodgy reference. You'll learn that "the shift from demand notes to treasury notes meant they could no longer be redeemed for gold coins[1]" -- which is strictly true! -- but if you chase down that footnote you wind up somewhere with a name like "Lincoln's Treason -- Fiat Currency, Maritime Law And The U.S. Treasury's Conspiracy To Enslave America", which I promise I am only barely exaggerating about.

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Why Mordor Failed

Sauron's hegemonic collapse holds potent lessons for the Trump administration

Like the United States under the Trump administration, Mordor under the rule of the Dark Lord Sauron, at the end of the Third Age of this world, was a vibrant and unquestioned world superpower suddenly facing threats from various sides. A revived Gondor under King Elessar Telcontar loomed on its western borders. To the north, the Elves of Lothlórien joined with the Woodland Realm and the extranational, quasi-religious White Council to conquer the Mordorian exclave of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. While Mordor, much like the United States with Saudi Arabia, pursued alliances with the nearby Variags of Khand and the Corsairs of Umbar, most of its military and economic support came from more distant powers like Rhûn and Far Harad. [...]

Mordor's second problem was closer to home and one familiar to any observer of American life: political polarization. While Mordor was an absolute theocracy under the iron fist of the Dark Lord, its denizens were sharply divided between those from interior Mordor, like Gorgoroth or Nurn (the Midwest of Mordor), and those from the more cosmopolitan border city of Minas Morgul (the New York of Mordor).

It's now widely believed that the economic and political elite in Barad-dûr, such as the wealthy and well-connected Black Númenóreans, fostered such divisions to keep the populace from uniting against their true oppressors. We see similar tactics in the United States today, as Trump, a New York billionaire, pursues traditional Republican economic policies while stoking the flames of resentment between rural conservative voters and more liberal populations on the coasts.

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