Scanlyze

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

Usenet sock-puppetry on rec.games.chess?

Crossposting with one clarification per the comments below, my posting to the nytimes chess blog, Gambit:

Regarding this blog item and the article, Chess Group Officials Accused of Using Internet to Hurt Rivals, in Oct 8 2007’s New York Times:

Reading the thread from rec.games.chess.politics archived on Google, the evidence as presented suggests this is another case of sock-puppetry which has become such a bane on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

Usenet is not sponsored by Google! This is an inaccurate statement which should not have appeared in the Times. Usenet started in 1979! Google was founded around 1996 as a project by a 23 and 24 year old graduate student. The founders of Google were only about 7 years old when Usenet started. Very precocious of them to have sponsored Usenet! :)

The quote attributed to “David Ulevitch, founder and chief executive of OpenDNS” is misleading as it refers to internet NAMES, which are resolved to numbers through Domain Name Service (DNS). Not the same thing at all as internet NUMBERS which are at issue here. Those are controlled locally through policies on routers and globally through BGP broadcasts.

Contrary to what is stated above, it is NOT trivial to forge numeric ip addresses… one would have to have control of an intermediate router between sender and receiver and pretty specific technical knowledge to accomplish this sort of man-in-the-middle attack. There are probably much easier and more convincing-to-the-layman methods of framing someone. Easier, for instance, would be to fake the logs, but again, to what purpose?

If the log excerpts are genuine, there is an ethical question as to whether the “volunteer system administrator” acted rightly in posting selected information from the logs back onto Usenet. He is doing the right thing now in trying to get permission from the Federation to release them. I would have probably advocated going to the Board, or their legal counsel with this. But I don’t know the entire history.

I don’t know the individuals involved in this dispute as far as I know and have no more than a passing interest in the affair. I just wanted to give some perspective on the technical arguments being raised.

HENRY EDWARD HARDY
Ann Arbor, MI
scanlyze.wordpress.com

Interview With the U.S.C.F. President; a Chess Sponsor Says He’s Had Enough

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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9 October, 2007 Posted by | allegations, chess, DNS, Domain Name Service, gambit, games, Google, impersonation, New York Times, politics, rec.games.chess, rec.games.chess.politics, scandal, scanlyze, sock-puppet, sockpuppet, United States Chess Federation, USCF, Usenet | 2 Comments

Spartacus Reigns Supreme

Spartacus Reigns Supreme

by Henry Edward Hardy

Spartacus (1960) is one of director Stanley Kubrick’s best films. Starring a buff Kirk Douglas and darkly handsome Lawrence Olivier, this panoramic spectacular tells the fictionalized story of the Third Servile War of 73-71 BC, the last of the great slave revolts against the Roman Republic.

Douglas plays Spartacus, the leader of the slave rebellion, as a rather simple man who through ability and circumstance comes within a hairsbreadth of overthrowing the Roman slave system. There is a sweet love-story of his romance and marriage to Varinia as played by Jean Simmons, which contrasts to his rise from gladiator slave to a military leader who shattered legions.

It is not clear from the historical records of the real Spartacus that he had the ambition to overthrow slavery as a system, nor the Roman state. He may simply have wished to leave Italy with his followers in order to escape slavery and return to his home. However, in the movie there is a strong political subtext.

The script was written by Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo was a well-known author and Hollywood scriptwriter who was a member of the Communist Party USA. He had refused to give evidence against others to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947. In consequence, Trumbo had been blacklisted and unable to publish work under his own name for 13 years until Kubrick and Douglas, who produced the film, allowed him to put his name on Spartacus.

Trumbo’s Spartacus is a humanitarian, a revolutionary, and a communist who keeps the loot in a common treasury for all. The script, based on Howard Fast’s novel is scintillating, and contains veiled allusions and subtle dialog. Particularly risque and adroitly handled is the seduction scene between Crassus (Olivier) and the young Antoninus (Tony Curtis). Crassus discusses eating oysters or eating snails as a metaphor for sexual preference, indicating that it is merely a matter of taste, not of morality.

Spartacus makes great use of the wide screen. The composition of many of the shots is remarkable, and utterly brutalized by pan-and-scan versions. For instance, in an early scene at the gladiator school, the action takes place in the middle of the screen in the pit below, while from either side of the frame the sybaritic Roman elite look on and discusses the life and death struggles below in a cold and repellent, narcissistic manner.

Spartacus is a challenge to the mind, an inspiration to the spirit, a treat for the eye and a tug on the heartstrings. By all means see this great classic on the wide screen when you can.

A version of this review was published by Current.

Spartacus (1960) (IMDB)
Spartacus (wikipedia)
Spartacus (film) (wikipedia)
Spartacus (Rotten Tomatoes)

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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9 October, 2007 Posted by | 1960, blacklisting, communism, Dalton Trumbo, House Un-American Activities Committee, Howard Fast, HUAC, Jean Simmons, Kirk Douglas, Lawrence Olivier, media, movie, movies, politics, rebellion, review, revolt, revolution, Roman Empire, Rome, scanlyze, slavery, Spartacus, Stanley Kubrick, Third Servile War, Tony curtis | Leave a comment