Manafort, Flynn, Sally Yates, and Let’s All Take Photos with the Football

Here’s the New York Times’ Andrew E. Kramer, Mike McIntire and Barry Meier way back in August of 2016. They’re describing how Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort, was involved with a pro-Russian party in the Ukraine:

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

This was after Russia had attempted to annex part of the Ukraine. Manafort was forced to resign a few days later on August 19th.

Today, Trump’s national security adviser Michael T. Flynn resigned. Here’s the Times again:

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

In his resignation letter, which the White House emailed to reporters, Mr. Flynn said he had held numerous calls with foreign officials during the transition. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

The Justice Department was helmed by Sally Yates when it warned the White House about Flynn. Trump got rid of Yates when she wouldn’t enforce his illegal ban on Muslims from 7 nations that he doesn’t do business with (because he lied about divesting himself of anything) and they aren’t terrorists.

Flynn was one of the lunatics encouraging an audience at the RNC to continue chanting “Lock her up!” in regards to Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server. Flynn was giving information to Russia regarding sanctions, and that’s why he resigned. It’s more than “incomplete information.” It’s the height of hypocrisy on his part, and terrifying considering that national security agencies are supposedly (can’t find confirmation at any big paper) witholding information from the Trump administration because the agencies are said to believe the administration can’t keep secrets secret.

I wonder why.

Let’s Intimidate NASA

Image via NASA

Loren Grush for The Verge:

Two weeks ago, Sidd Bikkannavar flew back into the United States after spending a few weeks abroad in South America. An employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Bikkannavar had been on a personal trip, pursuing his hobby of racing solar-powered cars. He had recently joined a Chilean team, and spent the last weeks of January at a race in Patagonia.

Bikkannavar is a seasoned international traveller — but his return home to the US this time around was anything but routine. Bikkannavar left for South America on January 15th, under the Obama Administration. He flew back from Santiago, Chile to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 30th, just over a week into the Trump Administration.

Bikkannavar says he was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol and pressured to give the CBP agents his phone and access PIN. Since the phone was issued by NASA, it may have contained sensitive material that wasn’t supposed to be shared. Bikkannavar’s phone was returned to him after it was searched by CBP, but he doesn’t know exactly what information officials might have taken from the device.

Read the full article.

My conspiracy theory/guess is that it wasn’t his name (as the rest of the article supposes) that caused the detention. The detention was just a tool getting more access to JPL and NASA through the CBP even if it was temporary. The CBP has defied court orders in order to continue enforcing Trump’s constitutionally illegal ban on Muslims from seven countries. It wouldn’t be surprising if the CBP were being used to access information from (and intimidate) reality-based agencies of the government that won’t collaborate with Trump’s administration.

PS4 Pro Boost Mode

When Sony’s upgraded Playstation 4 Pro shipped it only offered performance improvements for games that were updated to support it. That’s a manual process that costs money (in wages) on the part of the developer to support. Not every game is going to get an update. It’s an impossible task for games that have had their development teams disbanded, or small studios that don’t have time to go back and retest and resubmit their updates to Sony.

An upcoming firmware update (4.50) is to resolve this issue, partially. Boost mode will offer enhanced performance for all older games. With the caveat that there is no guarantee they will support it.

Richard Leadbetter has thoroughly tested the new mode for Eurogamer:

In short, boost mode will work best in stabilising performance closer to target frame-rates and should prove interesting on unlocked titles, but you can’t expect game-changing miracles. Games like Destiny that stick doggedly to their 30fps cap will see no improvement, and titles certainly won’t break their performance limits and suddenly run at 60fps. However, there are plenty of games out there that glitch badly or run nowhere near their theoretical limits. In this scenario, boost mode could be revelatory.

Enhanced performance isn’t everything, and I’d be surprised if Sony didn’t eventually blacklist games that don’t work well with the boost, but this is huge news for anyone that bought a Pro and a disappointment for anyone that bought the regular Playstation 4 before this functionality was announced.

Into The Breach Announced

The FTL developers, Subset Games, are working on a single player turn-based-strategy game that looks a bit like Advance Wars. Into The Breach has no release date yet, but it will be out (not simultaneously) on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Here’s their description:

The remnants of human civilization are threatened by gigantic creatures breeding beneath the earth. You must control powerful mechs from the future to hold off this alien threat. Each attempt to save the world presents a new randomly generated challenge in this turn-based strategy game.

I’m pretty disappointed that Nintendo hasn’t announced a new Advance Wars, but I’m willing to bet that Subset has a good spin on it.

Steam Has Over 3000 Linux Games

Liam Dawe:

Steam has hit another milestone for Linux games. We now have over 3,000 Linux games to fill our time with. The exact count for me right now is 3,008!

An impressive number of games with Linux support. I wonder how many are native ports versus Windows pretendulation.

My search comes up with 3164 for Linux and 13433 total games on Steam.

Goodbye Greenlight, Hello Direct

Valve is replacing Steam Greenlight. Alden Kroll:

The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling “Steam Direct,” is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.

While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.

Steam Direct sounds like Valve is moving a little bit closer to the free-for-all of itch, which is good but $5000 is a bit much. They should have had the dollar amount straight before going live with this.

Valve are also still making money off of software that encourages rape. That shit needs to go.

How will this work for free games? They wouldn’t recoup a fee unless it can be done after a certain number of downloads.

Reddit & 4Chan Meet Discord

Bryan Menegus:

Some of these servers, especially the Discord chat spun out of 4chan’s far-right stomping ground /pol/, use their room to coordinate “raids” on other servers with ease and impunity. Trolls acquire invite links to other servers and post them in a room called “Raids” (formerly “Raids Defense”), encouraging the chat’s 1000+ members to descend en masse on vulnerable or unsuspecting communities, bringing with them a tidal wave of abuse. Other servers have rooms for doxxing—the posting of personally identifying information like addresses and phone numbers of victims. Such behavior is a clear violation of Discord’s Terms of Service, though it seems those rules cannot be presently enforced.

I recently started a Discord server (an odd term for a set of chat rooms and and not an actual physical or virtual piece of hardware) for the ioquake3 and iodoom3 communities, to see if that would help those communities stay current with gaming culture. Those communities have been fortunate enough to not be harassed via Discord, yet, but they have been targeted in the past by people from Reddit and 4Chan.

Reddit and 4Chan have been responsible for allowing hate groups to form for years, and only removing hate groups when it becomes fiscally irresponsible to continue hosting them. It sounds like Discord has the same problem. The leaders of these businesses don’t value responsible community management, and aren’t punished for it unless users and communities leave.

The Nuclear Monster vs The Time Doctor

Under attack pleas stand by by heder

Just a brief note to say that TimeDoctor.org is now NuclearMonster.com. You might see some stuff broken as the site moves over, if you have any questions please feel free to send me a message on twitter or via email. There are new Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook pages for following the site if you’re interested in those. They’re plural (nuclearmonsters) instead of singular because the /nuclearmonster URLs were taken on all of those sites.

If you’re using the site via an RSS feed reader (another app that isn’t going to timedoctor.org directly), you may need to manually update the URL in your feed reader to https://nuclearmonster.com/feed/

My feed reader did not change the URL automatically, and will only work as long as the redirect works.

 

David Lynch’s Disturbingly NSFW ST:TNG Remix Part 3

When last I left you, 8 years ago, Dear Data, we were up to episode 24 of these disturbingly NSFW edits of Star Trek: The Next Generation by Gazorra. Please don’t view this at work or in front of people, or other animals. Episodes 1-15 are here. Though Episode 1 seems to have been lost in a transporter accident, or more likely, YouTube’s copyright robot.
Continue reading “David Lynch’s Disturbingly NSFW ST:TNG Remix Part 3”