Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Thor Ragnarok Teaser Trailer Looks like Big Fun

I am looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok.

It seems the new Marvel/Disney superhero/sufficiently advanced aliens/gods vrs demons movie will combine several of the all-time fan-favorite moments from the Marvel comics universe. Plus we get to see Goth!Cate as the Norse Goddess of Death Hela show us what Galadriel would have perhaps been like if she took the One Ring from Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring.

First, we see Planet Hulk–Sakaar. In the comics that arena fight was between Hulk and the Silver Surfer. In the animated Planet Hulk, due to rights issues, the antagonist role to Hulk was represented by Thor’s horse-headed alien buddy and fellow former Mjolnir wielder Beta Ray Bill. Now Thor himself steps up and that has to be epic.

Seems they have also tried to add more levity like Guardians of the Galaxy and probably that helps the Avengers and Guardians franchises not to have a sudden change of tone and stylistic discontinuity when they eventually come together for Infinity War.

Second, I see Skurge the Executioner with his signature weapon “Bloodaxe” and wielding an M-16. That implies we may see Skurge’s great Last Stand/They Shall Not Pass of “He stood alone at Gjallerbru.”

Third, the arc of Ragnarok in the myths and in the comics is of course archetypal and we may see Surt, the Frost giants, and presumably the great wolf Fenrir and World Serpent Jormangund. Unless something happens to disrupt the attack and it becomes “Apocalypse Later.”

And fourth, Cate Blanchett looks great in black.

A few open questions.

Why is Odin on earth looking like a bum?

What role is played by Dr. Strange?

Will we see the Enchantress or her sister Amora? Perhaps amalgamated into one character?

What role will be played by the Warriors Three? In the comics they are important mediating characters like the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings. Folks who are more close to a power level comparable to mortal humans rather than gods and cosmic powers.

It is a great cast and everyone seems to be having fun.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

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12 April, 2017 Posted by | Disney, movie, Ragnarok, scanlyze, Thor | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Liberals are unconsciously mirroring and enabling Trumps arbitrary skepticism of the media

I’m seeing a lot of my friends who think they are critical thinking intellectuals and think they oppose Trump, falling victim to imitating his tropes and memes.

Let’s take, “You can’t trust the mainstream media.”

I’ve been a thorn in the side of the New York Times and Guardian for decades now. I guess my high point as a loyal opposition came when the then-current editor of the NY Times, Bill Keller, called me on the phone because Art Sulzberger told him to and I got to tell him for three hours what I thought was wrong with the Times and how to restore it to its former greatness of the 1970’s.

It is fine and good to criticize wrong facts. To criticize the framing of a story. False equivalence. Errors in logic. Lack of historical perspective. Acting as stenographers for State and Defense. Paid content. Trivial articles pandering to the rich and privileged. Ridiculous reasons offered for anonymizing sources. Crappy clickbaitish “reviews” of video games which would never pass muster for books, movies or even TV reviews. Lots to talk about and speak to them about.

But what I am seeing now from a fair number of very smart friends who think they are critical thinking intellectuals and think they are opposing Trump is quite concerning.

“You can’t trust the mass media,” which is Trump’s trope, is spreading far and wide. This is the opposite of critical thinking. It is ad hominem argument.

Having so to speak thrown out the baby with the bath water, and arbitrarily rejecting information from the most trusted and reliable news sources, I see many of these folks posting memes and factoids because they agree with them. Many of these are either obviously false on their face from my perspective or have obvious errors in logic or framing and attribution, or lack thereof.

Okay so far not so bad, we all get fooled by trollish disinformation from time to time. Confirmation bias is rife. When I post false/wrong information and I learn otherwise, I acknowledge my error and correct it. If it is egregious, I remove it.

The problem I am seeing is folks who, when given evidence that their post is false, refuse to correct or remove it.

“I didn’t write it.”
“I never said it was true”
“People will be able to tell it is false.”
“I don’t care I like the meme.”
“I think it’s funny.”

No, no, no, no, and no.

This is the opposite of critical thinking. It is “I say it once, I say it twice, what I say three times is true.” It is Trump’s rhetorical answer to facts and logic. Blocking rational thought with solipsism and arbitrary skepticism without a reasonable critique of the facts presented in refutation, ignoring logic and reason because the other fellow is bad. Ad hominem argument. Or they challenge you to disprove their belief. Another fallacy, argumentum ad ignoratiam.

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

–Karl Rove, Republican operative

Is that what its come to? The Nazi Big Lie technique normalized and contextualized for all Americans now

1984 knocking at your door.

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Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

1 March, 2017 Posted by | ad hominem, argumentum ad ignoratiam, disinformation, Nazi, news, Newspeak, politics, scanlyze, solipcism, Trump | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rogue One Rocks!

Okay, anyone who reads this blog, which is admittedly a very small number, knows how much I disliked The Force Awakens, which I called a snide parody of Star Wars.

What follows is a reaction piece and not a proper review.

SPOILERS BELOW

I liked Rogue One very much better than The Force Awakens. It did not suffer the glaring continuity problems of FA. The legacy characters were not prominent enough to raise questions of motivation and continuity as with Han and Leia. I laughed, I cried, I twisted my beard in suspense. I did not facepalm. All unlike FA.

Great special effects, of course. Tons of easter eggs for the fans, with not only many call-forwards to Star Wars (which I refuse to retrocall to ‘A New Hope’) but also a few nice callbacks to Rebels and The Clone Wars animated series. And for aficionados of the Old Republic games and books, there was the heroic role played by the 4,000-year-old design of the hammerhead corvette.

So now to some things I found problematic.

The story is essentially a coming of age story for the protagonist, Jyn Erso. Her name is suggestive of Jan Ors, the Rebel agent in the game Dark Forces. The black clad Death Troopers seem to owe their design to Dark Forces also, but this is due to them both being based on Ralph McQuarrie’s designs for the original Star Wars.

I didn’t feel like they sold the relationship between Jyn and Saw Guerrera. He was a cipher. How did he come from Onderon to Jedha? Why was he huffing on that tube like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet? We don’t find out. And his and Jyn’s reactions to one another seems flat and unconvincing. Very underplayed by the actors. And why, having found him at last, does Jyn just leave him there to die? They could probably throw him in a Bacta tank and fix him up. Or at least get him a better respirator.

Also what’s Jedha? Could they not use Ilum, or Ossus, or Tython, or Dantooine, or Utapau, or some other place where kyber crystals came from the old expanded universe continuity? And why make a demonstration of destroying their own facility and kyber crystal mines?  Missed opportunity there.

The whole thing for the Sith of ‘only two they are’ and ‘the last of the Jedi will you be’ are such straightjackets they should just be decannonized or treated as inaccurate or things which are true ‘from a certain point of view.’

Here we have a blind guy who uses the force to see, Chirrut Îmwe. He fights hand-to-hand better than Obi-Wan or Anakin, and has mad aiming skills and never misses and always crits with his bowcaster. But he’s ‘not a Jedi’ he’s a Guardian of the Whylls. Another mythology gag for the fans btw.

I heard a page at the Rebel Base, Massassi Temple (an old Sith temple, btw) on Yavin IV, for “General Syndulla.” And there was a ship which looked like the Ghost in the Rebel fleet. This raises hopes that maybe someday the Ghost crew from Rebels will cross over into the live action continuity. However, Disney seems to have an aversion for Ahsoka Tano’s character and essentially ordered her killed off in Rebels. Though Filoni and company more like put her on the bus. Ahsoka is so not a Disney princess. She’s austere in her adult appearance, she never needs rescuing even as Anakin’s padewan, and she has no Prince Charming, she is very much a loner. In many ways the good counterpart of Darth Vader as his former apprentice who experienced much of what he did, but came to a different conclusion. But since Rebels spent a season establishing that she was one of the founders of the rebellion along with Bail Organa, it would be weird for her to fall out of continuity in the movies. Of course where was she in Episodes 3-7?

I thought it was odd that the Rebellion fleet commander was a Mon Calamari, but not Admiral Ackbar, but some other dude. I mean, when they found out the planetary shield was up, he could have shouted, “it’s a trap!” which would have got a big laugh.

Anyway, thank goodness the Rebellion *had* a fleet, and not just a few wings of fighters as is ridiculously in FA.

I was okay with the “everybody died” theme, it is canon that many good people died to get us this information. That’s so very not Disney, except for the Disney offscreen deaths for a few of the more marketable characters who might be called back.

Anyway, Rogue One is very enjoyable. It looks and feels like a Star Wars movie, *the* Star Wars movie, and that can only be a good thing.

Five stars. Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

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18 December, 2016 Posted by | Rogue One, scanlyze | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Julian Assange openly working with Russia?

I saw an allegation today that “Assange is openly working with Russia.”

How is Assange openly working with Russia? It isn’t open if it is happening. And how is he going to manage a covert and undetectable channel of communications when GCHQ is on him like flies on a shitwagon?

The FBI or *cough* US Homeland Security I could see letting something get by them. If you read the nytimes article today about the alleged DNC email hacks you can see FBI knew the server was compromised, talked to a low level contractor on the phone who thought they were just trolls and did pretty much nothing. I’ll bet dollars to donuts it was an ip based phone system using SIP and the dumbass FBI thought that was a good enough and secure way to convey this urgent information when all they had to do was walk a half a mile.

But GCHQ I don’t expect to see that. I don’t see how Assange has a covert channel of communications. Now perhaps they just let him go and watch. But also this ignores the dead drop system by which documents are submitted and vetted and pre-distributed by wikileaks. It is pretty clever and would really want an inside person to break it. Ideally a bunch of inside people because stuff gets split up among multiple people until enough folks have it to form a deadman if the material for publication is intercepted. Point being nobody and certainly not Assange ever sees, talks to, or meets or even exchanges email with the leaker. It is done by good old anonymous physical mail and dead drops. And nothing of that is going to go to Assange in his modern day Elba. Classic tradecraft.

It is true that Assange appeared a number of times on RT. But I had the impression there was little love lost there. That doesn’t prove that Russia was directly sending material to Assange. I don’t see how they could maintain a covert channel of communications in Assange’s current situation and that just is not how Wikileaks works.

It is kind of pathetic that wikileaks tradecraft is so much better than the counterintelligence at FBI. What the hell are we paying for?

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

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14 December, 2016 Posted by | computer security, GCHQ, Julian Assange, scanlyze, wikileaks | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNC and Hillary Clinton’s email servers controversy update

Is there a smoking gun proving that the GRU, Russian Army General Staff Intelligence, hacked the DNC email? And what about Hillary’s illegal server at home?

A smoking gun would be we traced this connection back to GRU Headquarters *and* could prove that *only* they got into the DNC and/or HC’s illegal basement server. Or if there was human intelligence to confirm. That still doesn’t rule out an inside whistleblower such as Seth Rich or a Snowden type at State. Let’s ask Brian Pagliano about that possibility, for instance. He took the fifth before Congress.

What we have heard suggested so far is, we saw a connection from a compromised machine in Germany which we think was used last year by a group we think is associated with GRU, and some linguistic patterns in messages which indicate a Russian speaker may have written them.

The first is suggestive but not proof. If a machine was open for years, it might have more than one group using it. If you will run SNORT and ACID, you will see people/things scanning you for weakness every day, all the time. Lingustic patterns proves pretty much nothing. Also “A Russian speaker did it” is a lot different than “GRU did it and was the source of the leaks.”

The other side of it is that if Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are in fact GRU assets, and they did hack the DNC email, and we have only Crowdstrike (a private company employed by the DNC)’s word on this, it doesn’t prove that GRU was the source of the leaks.

What about Hillary Clinton’s illegal homebrew basement server?

Michael Lazar Lehel, a Romanian who has been in US custody since April 2016, claimed he had hacked Hillary’s illegal mail server:

Lehel was convicted of hacking email of a number of prominent figures including two former Presidents and a number of other officials and former officials, including Clinton crony Sid Blumenthal. Lehel was the first source of the information that Clinton had an illegal offsite server, but that doesn’t prove he actually got in. He might have just read the header on some of Clinton’s exchanges with Blumenthal, for instance.

Lehel said Clinton’s server was, “like an open orchid on the Internet” and that “it was easy … easy for me, for everybody.”

Mike Hayden former CIA Director and former NSA director said, “I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren’t sitting back, paging through the emails,” with regards to Clinton’s server.

Clinton reportedly had warnings from staff at State that there was evidence that her home server had been breached and it was temporarily shut down due to this.

Some analysis I have read suggests that TLS was incorrectly configured when the server was set up. That plus the really secret and hard to guess what it is name of “clintonemail.com” plus the geographic location in Chappaqua, New York in Clinton’s basement, plus that they left a server configuration program (CPANEL?) open to the outside world, was basically sending out an invitation to every bad actor in the world, of “House party at Hillary’s! Secret clandestine stuff free for the taking.”

My suspicion is that GRU probably hacked Clinton’s server and the DNC and probably so did at least a half dozen other state actors plus God knows how many private individuals.

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

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13 December, 2016 Posted by | computer, email, forensics, Hillary Clinton, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments