Flowers are red, young man. "A" is to "B" as "B" is to "C." Unless it isn't. There's no need to see genetics any other way than the way they always have been seen.

Month: May 2019

Aftermath

I’m laying in bed with a cup of coffee trying to think back 17 years and what Doc’s interests were.

I’m coming up with:

First of all, back the fuck up because I don’t know actually how much a frequency spectrum analyzer costs, it would have been stolen off of some truck. Where the fuck did I even come up with a number like $20,000 anyway? Out of my ass, that’s where.

Which reminds me of other things that always seemed to fall off of a truck. I had forgotten all about those Panasonic Toughbooks from SBC/Ameritech with some kind of app called NIMH that mapped out every single inch of cable and telephone infrastructure in the city of Chicago. Doc carried around a test set and knew things like where to find a copper pair to call me from where my caller ID would say “City of Chicago.” Back when, you know, copper pairs were a thing. The cops knew about this and made a point of willfully ignoring the fact that anyone in the crew was in possession of one. It would be returned to Ameritech. No charges would be filed. No mention of it would be made. It would not be in the news, on your inventory list, or in the police report.

Substations. He was obsessed with exploring substations, vaults, tunnels. What was so interesting about this shit, it’s just wires and shit, right? Boring! But he would point at the mains encased in concrete in those tunnels and tell me that they carried 12,000 volts. He would point out the third rail on the CTA and tell me it runs at 600VDC and about 1,000 amps. Then he’d hop up on the rail and take a piss, to my utter horror. He’d point out a transformer and say this one steps down from 2400 volts to residential line voltage. Or hey this one is a point to point transmission line, they convert it to 175,000VDC because it’s more efficient to transmit at DC than AC. Ok I am following you. But then he continued on about some other shit that I probably had better not elaborate on. Not because I’m afraid it’s incriminating but because naming it or explaining his observations about it disturbs and scares me. He said China knows, everybody knows, everyone is in it. And I was like, but nobody does anything to it or with it? He answers, no. I thought he was slightly autistic or something and this was his thing, you know how some of them geek out on airplane tail numbers or whatever? But he was looking for something.

He had a Primeco cellphone that never emptied its airtime tank for outbound airtime due to an accounting loophole he found.

He tuned his scanner into the encrypted MDT channels (these are the terminals the police communicate on) and all you’d hear is screeching like a computer modem, right? Well the motherfucker takes the speaker jack from his scanner and plugs it into the line in on his sound card, and compiles some shit to decrypt it and read everything they were talking about. This included bust activity and information on juveniles. I had forgotten all about this one. I don’t know what to tell you about this one, those MDTs were usually Panasonic Toughbooks. And this guy always had some shit going one with extracting the secrets contained in some god damned Panasonic Toughbook whether it was over the radio waves or with a crowbar against some glass. I don’t know what the hell gets discussed confidentially on an MDT to be honest. The only time I was given a first hand demonstration, the De Pere police were chasing an octogenerian doing 35MPH in a white Toyota Camry. I wish I was kidding but I am not. Anyway there’s a lesson in this: Maybe it’s not always the cops or the government you should be worried about, you probably have an even bigger problem when third parties can access their confidential lines of communication.

Never mind making “keys.” He could take a HID reader and splice in a PIC that would retain the last 10 successful badge swipes, and then swipe his badge and have the reader interpret that swipe as one of the other successful cards serial number instead of his serial number. I never asked him what doors he might have accessed with that technique. I asked him how this worked and in short order he procured a god damned HID reader, an electric door strike and transformer. He installed Linux and MySQL on some shitty 386 desktop computer, and then right in front of me wrote his own mother fucking rudimentary access control program that would be checked for his badge number and unlock the door strike or reject the swipe if there was no match.

This are just examples of what a normal day of hanging around with the dude looked like. I have no idea what else he knows.

And then you have to go, if some guy from Green Bay can do stuff like this without asking Google for instructions, then what the hell kind of parlor tricks does the NSA know?

“How could you be friends with such a person?”

Uh, I don’t know. He’s fascinating as fuck and I learned interesting shit from him?

Bbbbbbbbbb but he’s a “terrorist.”

Yeah and if I thought anyone would be injured or killed I’d be picking up a phone and telling you that without delay. I have friends and family and people I love who ride the god damned red line every day.

And if he’s something other than a “terrorist,” well, my bad, you probably shouldn’t have lied to me (and about me) then.

I’m re-reading my own statement about how after 9/11 everything would be viewed through the lens of terrorism instead of vandalism of mischief.

Well isn’t that convenient.

Fuck.

I already said I was aware that that was a problem and tried to warn him. We pretty much never spoke again after that and he just kept doing stuff that was no longer “vandalism” or “mischief” or whatever other verbiage we would have cared to toss around before 9/11.

I’m telling you this because I think it would be a mistake to ignore his letter as the ramblings of some crazy person or an idiot. He doesn’t talk about shit he doesn’t understand.

Target Demographic

22 Mar. 2016

Greeting from America’s second finest facility. I believe the local constabulary has rejected some of your correspondence – ‘it contains numbers and symbols that cannot be translated.’ Can’t entirely blame ‘em, I find some of it a bit baffling myself… Not sure I am really your target demographic, what with all the wifi neuroviruses and such.

The following rant may explain why – you’re welcome to publish it if you like.

Western society is to an ever greater degree becoming a construct in which interaction and liberties are mediated by machines. This can engender a mindset among freedom-oriented people that technology is a tool of the oppressor and should be shunned. That mindset is wrong.

When Europeans invaded the Americas (and Africa), the indigenous peoples feared the invaders technology and generally failed to adopt it until too late, if at all. When Europeans again tried to suppress the nascent American nation with superior technology (i.e. better guns, a navy), the Americans responded in kind and then some [more]. Whose strategy was superior? Ask a Cherokee. Ask an Inca or an Aztec if you can find one.

The problem with technology isn’t the technology per se, it’s the sociopolitical structures that implement it. Machines make great impartial arbiters, and provide a way to have rules without rulers – think Bitcoin, of TCP/IP. A technocracy can be the epitome of freedom or fascism: it’s up to the programmers. Open to scrutiny and understood by all, or closed corporate hegemony. Transparent and provably trustworthy, or declared trustworthy by CEO’s and spooks.

The same power that gives life to the PRISM and the Facebook Control Grid can also facilitate the conduct of communication and business in provable privacy.

Free men and women – rational anarchists, if you prefer – must acknowledge the freedom of others to not be free, to choose bondage in exchange for ‘security’ or convenience. The majority of the sheeple want all their personal detritus safe in the Cloud. They believe anyone (else) who seeks to have a private conversation that’s not archived and indexed for posterity must be up to something. They want to outsource their opinions, appoint corporations as the arbiters of privacy, have their habits and fetishes analyzed in the name of curated contents. The will of the masses to wear the yoke will not be denied.

Corporations and governments will build abominations to suit, and refusing to acknowledge an abomination does not make it go away. To shun technology is to ignore the lessons of history. Railing against it is as productive as shaking one’s fist at the weather.

Trying to tear it down incites the wrath of titans and the disapproval of the flock. Also, it’s imprudent to sabotage the enemy’s gear when it can be captured instead. It is the prerogative, perhaps the duty, of free people to embrace the tools of technocracy, to understand, adapt, surpass, to use those tools to build structures that further the cause of freedom and transcend regimes and borders.

Best,

-J.‘

Joseph Konopka

A Night with Doc

Olin Park, Christmas 2001

They have a huge Christmas display you can see from John Nolen Drive.

The electronics are pretty crude: Anything that blinks or alternates is plugged into a big metal box with a large relay you can hear clicking back and forth.

For example: A railroad crossing sign with a little arm that goes up and down, is actually two arms. One in the raised position and one in the lowered position.

They alternate back and forth between which one is lit up, and to you, it looks like the arm is going up and down.

We stacked a couple of triads of reindeer up, with the one on the bottom constantly lit.

Then we took the two on top and plugged them into these devices so that they’d alternate back and forth between which one was lit.

From the highway it looked like a reindeer thrusting in and out of the one on the bottom.

After that, we hopped the fence for Edgewood College and walked up to the nativity scene.

I don’t know what we intended to do — scope out the electronics like we did at the park I guess and go from there, right?

As we got halfway up the driveway, the twenty foot high back drop started creaking and groaning and it fell forward, crashing down on the entire nativity scene.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

I said “I think God is trying to tell us something.”

He goes, “Nah. It saw us coming and it surrendered.”

We called it a night.

I wouldn’t say that he was a religious fellow to put it mildly.

There was an unrelated nativity scene stunt where Baby Jesus was replaced with a Heavenly Ham from the Heavenly Ham Company.

And then there was that time some billboard up in Door County said: “Jesus is the answer, what is your question?” and the fucker spray painted “Who raped my son?” on the bottom.

I did snicker at some point in one of my interviews, only to be challenged with “Do you think this is funny?”

Apologies, but yeah, I do think that at least a couple of the things he did were quite funny.

I’d get on IRC and … I suppose it doesn’t matter at this point anymore .. he’d give me amusing reverse DNS hostmasks like “small.children.fit.into.pressurefryers.com”

That’s how I found myself not really caring about his pranks.

They were funny.

Right up until he was on the front page of the Chicago Tribune one morning.

That was not even close to funny.