About this time, as a relief from the graver matters which claimed his attention, Luther engaged in the occupation of turning. In a letter to Wenceslas Link, he begs his friend to purchase for him the necessary tools at Nuremburg... Luther returns his acknowledgements in a letter in which his characteristic gaiety of expression is apparent.
"We have received the turning tools, the quadrant, the cylinder, and the wooden clock. We greatly thank you for the trouble you have taken. One thing, however, you forgot: you did not mention how much more you expended, for the money I sent [ One guilder ] could not have been enough. For the present, we have got all we need, except you could send us some new machinery, which will turn by itself when Wolfgang is lazy or sleepy. The clock suits me perfectly, especially for showing the time to my drunken Saxons, who look more to the bottle than the hour, caring but little whether the sun, or the clock, or its hands show wrong."
Wolfgang had been for some years in Luther's service, and remained with him throughout his life. He was a worthy, honest fellow, devotedly attached to his master, and possessed but one failing, a frequent propensity to go to sleep over his work. This unconquerable drowsiness was often the subject of Luther's mock complaint. The master, with his own immense capacity for work without much interval for rest, was amused by the dull, heavy somnolence of his honest famulus. On one occasion, Wolfgang built a floor, and upon it fixed a contrivance for catching birds. Luther, whose nature was loving and feeling as that of a child, did not approve of this plan to entrap the feathered songsters, and drew out a Bird's Indictment against their foe. The birds besought Luther's protection against Wolfgang, whose sleepiness, they said, maliciously, everybody knew, as he never left his bed until eight o'clock in the morning; they required that every evening he should spread grain for their morning meal, as they rose up hours before him; and that his attention throughout the day should be devoted to catching frogs, snails, daws, mice and other pests, whereby he would be enabled to gratify his destructive instincts, without endeavouring to ensnare the poor birds, whose songs fully paid for the little grain they consumed. The Bird's Petition, brimful of soft pleadings on behalf of one of the Creator's sweetest gifts to charm the ears of that lordly creature, Man, concluded with a threat that if Wolfgang, their enemy, did not mend his ways, they ( the birds ) would pray to God to cause fleas and other insects to crawl about him at night, and torment him beyond endurance.
Luther took great delight in the simple happiness to be gained in his garden, cultivating the flowers, listening to the plashing of the waters of the fountain he had himself erected, to the singing of the birds, and to the gambols of the fish in a small pond. These small matters often took from his mind much of the trouble and anxiety inseparable from his position, and broke the hard intensity of intellectual and spiritual care.
...on the 3rd of April [ 1530 ], the Elector, unarmed and accompanied by one hundred and sixty horsemen, set out from Torgau on his way to meet the Emperor at Augsburg. Luther, Melanchthon, Jonas, Agricola, and Spalatin were with him. When they reached Coburg, the Elector directed Luther to remain there. The ban of the Empire prevented his appearance at the Diet. Without hesitation Luther obeyed the command of his prince. He proceeded to the fortress of Coburg, where he remained during the time of the proceedings at Augsburg. The elector with his followers reached Augsburg on the 2nd of May, and there awaited the arrival of the Emperor, which did not take place until the 15th of June. Luther, from the castle, wrote constantly to the Elector, to Spalatin, and to Melanchthon. The solitude and inaction to which he was constrained to submit were irksome and distressing. Writing to Melanchthon on the 22nd April he says: "I have arrived at my Sinai; but of this Sinai I will make a Sion: I will raise thereon three Tabernacles, one to the Psalmist, another to the Prophets, and lastly, one to Æsop..." He was at this time engaged in the translation of these fables.
Caspar Friedrich --- The Tree of Crows
* Colour alternates
"There is nothing here to prevent my solitude from being complete. I live in a vast abode which overlooks the castle; I have the keys of all its apartments. There are scarcely thirty persons within the fortress, of whom twelve are watchers by night, and two other sentinels, constantly posted on the castle heights."
On the 9th of May he wrote to Spalatin an amusing account of the rooks and jackdaws, the denizens of the wood beneath the elevated part of the castle in which he lived.
"I am here in the midst of another diet, in the presence of the magnanimous sovereigns, dukes, grandees, and nobles of a kind different to those at Augsburg. Mine confer together upon State affairs with all the gravity of demeanour; they fill the air with unceasing voice, promulgating their decrees and their preachings. They do not seat themselves shut up in those royal caverns, you call palaces, but they hold their councils in the light of the sun, having the heavens for a canopy, and, for a carpet, the rich and varied verdure of the trees, on which they are congregated in liberty; the only limits to their domains being the boundaries of the earth. The stupid display of silk and gold inspires them with horror. They are all alike, in colour as in countenance --- black. Nor is their note different one from the other; the only dissonance being the agreeable contrast between the voices of the young and the deeper tones of their parents. In no instance have I ever heard them speak of an Emperor; they disdain with sovereign contempt the horse which is so indispensible to our cavaliers; they have a far better means of mocking the fury of cannon. In so far as I have been able to comprehend their decrees, they have determined to wage an incessant war during the present year against barley, corn, and grain of all sorts; in short, against all that is most enticing and agreeable amongst the fruits and products of the earth. It is much to be feared that they may become conquerors wherever they direct their efforts; for they are a race of combatants, wily and adroit; equally successful in their attempts to plunder, by force or by surprise. As for me, I am an idle spectator, assisting willingly, and with much satisfaction at their consultations. But enough of jesting ! Jesting which is, however, sometimes necessary to dispel the gloomy thoughts which overwhelm me."
The clamour of the rooks and crows, by which, as in another letter he wrote, "they charitably intend to bring sleep gently to my eyelids," was not altogether successful in diverting his attention from the grave business of the diet.
John Rae : Martin Luther --- Student, Monk, Reformer
* Note that the More tag no longer works on this particular blog - it destroys the lay-out: for which lack we apologise...
Great was the excitement in Paris when it was announced the King of Prussia and the Tsar would arrive in close succession at the beginning of June . Although the latter was the real guest of honour ( high politics decreed it so ), it was King Wilhelm of Prussia and his massive Chancellor, Count von Bismarck, who attracted all eyes. On the train they passed positions the old King had occupied in 1814, when he had contributed to the downfall of his present host’s uncle. Though some Parisians detected a note of typical Teutonic tactlessness as the King complimented, ecstatically, on ‘what marvellous things you have done since I was last here !’, on the whole they thought his behaviour quite unexceptionable. In fact he stole many hearts by his kindly display of affection for the fragile Prince Impérial, then recovering from an illness. A comfortable figure projecting an image of some benevolent country squire, he set the nervous French at ease, and indeed seemed utterly at ease himself; as someone remarked uncharitably after the event, he explored Paris as if intending to come back there one day.
Even the terrible Bismarck, whose great stature made Wickham Hoffman of the U.S. Legation think of Agamemnon, positively glowed with goodwill. Beauties of Paris society surrounded him. admired his dazzling White Cuirassier unform and the enormous spread eagle upon his shining helmet, and attempted to provoke him; but in vain. In conversation with Louis-Napoleon, he dismissed last year’s Austro-Prussian war as belonging to another epoch, and added amiably ‘Thanks to you no permanent cause of rivalry exists between us and the Court at Vienna’. The festive atmosphere temporarily obscured the full menace of this remark.
On April 12th, the Emperor attended the première of one of the great entertainments to be produced in honour of his Royal guests: Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein…
…Now here was this new triumph about the amorous Grand Duchess of a joke German principality, embarking on a pointless war because its Chancellor, Baron Puck, needed a diversion. Its forces were led by a joke German general called Boum, as incapable as he was fearless, who invigorated himself with the smell of gunpowder by periodically firing off his pistol into the air. The farce, tallying so closely with Europe’s private view of the ridiculous Teutons, was too obvious to be missed. When the Tsar came to see it, his box was said to have rung with unroyal laughter. Between gusts of mirth, members of the French court peeped over at Bismarck’s expression, half in malice, half in apprehension, wondering if perhaps King Wilhelm’s lack of tact about his previous visit to Paris had not been revenged to excess. But nobody appeared to be showing more obvious and unrestrained pleasure than the Iron Chancellor himself; one might almost have suspected that the pleasure was enhanced by the enjoyment of some secret joke of his own.
People can be persuaded to believe anything provided they understand that this is what they are expected to believe
That took years to formulate, but the comforting part is that very few of the mass will ever believe it.
Anyway, it can be tied into a Russian fable quoted later. In the mean time, the instability of server 'Amp' appears to have perhaps stopped, and Serene Falcon is back to it's previous quiet efficiency: however the sloth of page-opening is also part of that normal state, so sooner or later it will be moved to the fastest servers in the west, Teksapiens, whom I found on the faintest of hints from this source.
Still, however unlikely, the Internal Security Division of Serene Falcon had to look for any evidence of hacking; which was not found: to the easily awestruck 'hacking' appears like some rough magic by which the threatening deliver some arcane spell at a site like a videogame wizard easily manipulating all though a mysterious and unnameable exploit which vanishes when suspected. In prosaic real life traces are always left, and for php even the powerful c99madshellneeds to have been uploaded via FTP or through allowed uploads for the attacker to work; simply doing a date search for the most recent files will show if any of those was compromised... Should one find evidence in Wordpress, there are the options of looking for backdoors and eliminating them or cleaning the install.
To some others, including alas, state authorities, hacking is childsplay. Literally.
A new survey has revealed that while 78 percent of them agree that it is wrong, a quarter of the kids asked admitted that hacking really is child's play. The survey of more than 1000 children discovered that the boy hacker stereotype no longer holds true, with 47 percent of those who put their hands up to hacking activity being girls. The most common scene of the crime would appear to be the relatively safe haven of the bedroom with 27 percent saying this was where they hacked from, while 22 percent were hacking in an Internet Cafe, 21 percent using the ICT suite at school and 19 percent a mate's machine. ... Cumbria Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde ACPO lead on E-Crime Prevention and President of the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (POLCYB) says "what this survey starkly highlights is that hacking into personal online accounts whether email or Facebook can be child’s play if users do not protect their own passwords. It illustrates the importance of keeping your passwords strong, secure and changing them regularly to help protect your accounts from unscrupulous people of all ages. We live in a world where social networking, email and the internet are embedded into our every day lives from a far younger age so early education is essential to ensure young people know the devastating consequences this activity can have...."
Whilst offering some reluctant admiration for whoever came up with 'Policing of Cyberspace', and much less admiration for the feeble attempt to emphasize the tenuous reach for supposed feminist equality in the hackosphere, it is unnerving to realise that police consider breaking into a friend's Facebook account by guessing their password as expert hacking or cracking.
Over in Africa they are a little more sophisticated --- which is not something said very often, considering that in South Africa setting people on fire is a pastime and up in Somalia they drive a truckload of stones into a stadium to punish a 13-yr-old girl for reporting her rape ( a few of the 1000 strong spectators protested ): a touch of modernity was provided by having nurses discover whether she was dead yet, and finding this not so, reburying her for the next volley of stones. A touch of multiculturalism makes the whole world kin --- and if this is what may be expected from there, still more ingenious efforts will be forthcoming from Russia and China as they and we spiral downwards.
Imagine a network of virus-driven computers so infectious that it could bring down the world's top 10 leading economies with just a few strokes. It would require about 100 million computers working together as one, a "botnet" — the cybersecurity world's version of a WMD. But unlike its conventional weapons equivalent, this threat is the subject of no geopolitical row or diplomatic initiative. That's because no one sees it coming — straight out of Africa. Cybercrime is growing at a faster rate in Africa than on any other continent in the world, according to statistics presented at a conference on the matter in Cote D'Ivoire in 2008. Cybersecurity experts estimate that 80 percent of PCs on the African continent are already infected with viruses and other malicious software. And while that may not have been too worrisome for the international economy a few years ago (just like the continuing war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not affect our daily lives), the arrival of broadband service to Africa means that is about to change. The new undersea broadband Internet cables being installed today will make Africa no further away from New York than, say, Boston, in the virtual world. Broadband Internet access will allow Africa's virus and malware problems to go global. With more users able to access the Internet (and faster), larger amounts of data can be transferred both out and inward. More spam messages in your inbox from Africa's email fraudsters will be only the beginning.
Today I'd like to introduce you to one of the main thinkers on information warfare, who most of you never heard of. S.P. Rastorguev (Расторгуев C.П.). He is a Russian strategist who unfortunately, as far as I can find, hasn't been translated. He wrote several books, but the one I will be speaking of is called literally Information Warfare ( Informatsionnaya voina -- Информационная война ). In it, he discusses the human animal and how viruses of the mind can work just as well as viruses in computer systems, exploring many models of exploitation. While he covers many concepts, the one I was introduced to originally is the story of the fox and the turtle. Here is a slightly altered, and shortened, version ( full and accurate version below ):
A turtle walks through the forest, enjoying the view. She runs into a fox, who says: "Turtle, turtle, get out of your shell and you can fly." The turtle stares skeptically at the fox, and keeps on walking. Eventually, traveling through the forest the turtle comes across a television set. She watches as hundreds of turtles get out of their shells, and fly. She gets out of her shell, and she flies.
I'm gonna say I found this as clear as crystal, as I suspect really did the writer, who goes on,
When I first heard this story, I was confused. What was the moral of the story ? Deception ? Perhaps strategy ? A friend of mine explained it as Sergei Rastorguev did at the end of the story: "The turtle didn't know and never will, that information warfare --- it is the purposeful training of an enemy on how to remove its own shell."
The following translation of the fox and turtle story was done by Ilya Konstantinov, as a favor to me. As to why the fox is female, you better ask a Russian literary expert, as that's just how it is in Russian fables.
There used to be an ordinary turtle who constantly carried a heavy shell on its back. The shell pressed her to the ground and every step she took was hard effort for her. That's why her life, measured by the number of those uneasy steps, was also hard.
On the other hand, when a hungry fox came running from a nearby forest, the turtle hid her head inside the shell and patiently awaited until the danger was over. The fox kept hopping around, trying to bite at the shell, trying to turn her upside down; all in all, trying all the steps typical of an aggressor, and yet the turtle prevailed.
Once upon a time, the fox got a big wallet, brought in a lawyer and, sitting across the turtle, proposed a buyout offer for the shell. The turtle considered it throughly, but due to her limited imagination, she had to refuse. And yet again, the fox left with nothing.
Time passed, the world changed, new means of telecommunication have entered the forest. One day, coming out of her house, the turtle saw a TV screen hanging off a tree, showing films of flying turtles, shell-less. Breathless with excitement, the woodpecker-announcer spoke of their flight: "Such a lightness ! What a speed ! How beautiful ! Such an elegance !". The turtle watched the show that day, and the next day, and the day after... And then a thought arose in her little mind, about how stupid she is to carry around that weight - the shell. Wouldn't she be better getting it off? Life would be much easier. Scarier ? Yeah, a bit scarier, but the news anchor-owl announced that the fox has turned to the Krishnas and became vegetarian.
The world is changing. The forest is also completely different; there are less and less trees and distinctive animals, and more and more indistinguishable stray dogs and jackals. "And really, why shouldn't I fly ? The skies --- they're so big and wonderful!" "If only I gave up the shell, and --- right away - - life would be easier !" --- thought the turtle "If only she gave up the shell, and --- right away --- she'd be easier to eat" -- thought the fox, signing on the bill for yet another advertisement of flying turtles And one beautiful morning, when the skies seemed larger than ever, the turtle has made her first and last step towards freedom of her protection system.
The turtle didn't know and never will, that information warfare -- it is the purposeful training of an enemy on how to remove its own shell.
Thanks to the useful idiots of liberalism --- which includes every ideology since the 17th century, the Decline of the West is assured.