Less two Evils

Read this fascinating opinion piece on techcruch tech news blog site today. While it’s not clearly labeled as “Opinion” piece on a “News Blog”, from the tone of the article it is clear that the author did not intent it to be informative. This flame bait deserves no response, except for that I learned a lot reading the responses to it.

For one thing, did you know that Benjamin Franklin said:

Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security

That is so powerful a statement, the mind of this country’s founding fathers is clear. The other refreshing thing is that it is fairly surprising that somebody would say that the threat in China is imaginary and that threat in the US is real. I am 100% sure that Chinese state monitoring is _not_ fake. I have personally tested it on my poor unsuspecting aunt’s computer. Searched for cults and discover that about 30 seconds later the internet connection went down for the night. The bad part is she participates in another group that I feel is a religious cult, but one that, AFAIK, is less outlawed than the one that I searched for. She never mentioned it to me, but I’m sure she got an earful from her local monitors.

Now, the pervasive monitoring that takes place in America (and perhaps restricted to people like myself, namely those not born here and those that have not demonstrated/proclaimed their undying love for the country without requiring inspecting the ethics of its goals and practices) is as yet unproven. I have my suspicions, convenient but not consistent degradations in internet performance makes me wonder, out loud, on my blog, regularly. But it is a little more advanced than those in China. The information that I am presented with on the Internet, the speed and order at which it arrives, are all suspicious. But none of these can be proven reliably as the case of the Chinese Great Firewall.

And also, it’s really nice to see an image of the shield of the Chinese Liberation Army instead of some silly cartoon on these articles that techcrunch posts. It shows respect–in fact proper respect for a worthy competitor. I also hate to mention, it probably strikes fear in to a lot of people who have been mentally damaged from the tight physiological monitoring/control/manipulations exerted by the authoritarian Chinese government.

Like everything else in the world, you can say that the version we use today was invented in the west, but you will probably find that FUD has been in wide use in Chinese civilization long before the west invented the letters F, U and D. If you think I’m mad, just make a few Chinese friends and you’ll know, these people are much more oppressed and suffers much more than what I have ever describe here about myself


(I should quickly postfix that so that I am not persecuted for being a “China Lover”. I, unlike many other people, do not feel that being oppressed or having suffered credits a person with extra credit in society. Bombing Japan was in reaction to Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans should not receive extra help today in America because of that. I truly believe in America, it is a country where one generation’s debt do not carry to the next).

Btw, kudos to Google images search. I downloaded that picture and uploaded to google images search(images.google.com). and it suggested searching for “PLA ARMY” and that search confirms that the shield is indeed the symbol used by the PLA. This shouldn’t be very easy considering the background of that photo is a grainy desk and it’s a slanted 3D object where as the top search results are drawings of flat objects. I wonder if they did OCR in Chinese? I have to say, also, that TechCrunch makes the PLA looks better than the PLA makes PLA look. Is this one of those, “you can do the job but I make it look good” thing?


Oh, okay, I guess Greg Ferenstein actually did do his research, maybe bought this cap from eBay and ripped off the insignia and took a picture on his desk or something.


An Attempt at God’s Sign


Do you think it’s fair to say that gods are those that has lower bound in evil and that the devil is one that has an upper bound in goodness?

Right? because god can be angry some times and punish people, and stuff, but he is limited in how much nasty he can bring onto humanity before he stops. Where as the devil, we assume, will not stop at any level of nastiness. However he will also have a bounded goodness he does before he will stop and starting doing bad things.

This is interesting because it took me a second to think through  as well. Our cultures and religion teach us that God is all good and devil is all evil. But because, either because of our lack of ability to comprehend, or our physical world lack the expressive power to express God’s will, that sometimes God’s act appear evil, and sometimes the devil’s work appears kind–just look at all those pretty girls out there, so pleasing, so nice, makes you want to be nice, right? But often they are the devil’s work and the niceness disappears at some point and then it’s all evil.

ehem… not speaking from personal experience.

So, but if you put your mind to it, despite these limitations, we are told that God will eventually recover and reveal to us that it is all good, and much better than before, that the evil we suffer in the mean time is completely overwhelmed by the greatness of what is to follow. If we think it this way that the latter will be better than present, then it would appear that, in our stricter language of mathematics, that God’s evil is bounded below, and in contrast, the Devil, the polar opposite of God has goodness bounded above.

Such believes have implications, of course. The fact that god is bounded below means that he will never bring human to extinction. One can argue that future of universe may be brighter without us, and that next intelligence or being of sorts will be closer to God than us, etc., but that argument is just plain unscientific–it cannot be tested. On the other hand, the perpetuity of humanity is testable, not conclusively, but growing in supporting evidence. I guess it’s kind of pseudo-scientific, but increasing evidence seem better than unprovable, right?

Such believes also means we can detect things. Suppose we find a cause whose effect has always known to be limited in goodness but (essentially) unbound in evil, then we can legitimately suspect that cause to be the Devil. We can actually detect devil from the goodness of its effects!!

Such believes should be defined more carefully, does two infinities of goodness and evil add up to our finite existence?

A Serious Problem with Signs in Previous Entries

Astute reader may have found some significant problem with signs in my earlier posts. The sign of these value functions must be carefully selected lest we exchange God and Devil. It might happen. For instance if you read my quantification of privacy blog entries, you will find that I did not correctly assign signs to the information. Suppose we continue with the example of dinner and leaked email to wife. Information theory is confusing in the sense that it cannot distinguish incriminating information from non-incriminating information. It is possible we can structure “Dinner” such that entropy implies innocence and lack of entropy implies guilt, but most natural cases, the output variable having low entropy could mean both very guilty and not guilty.

When I charge for my loss of privacy, when you rip open my pants and peek into it, I would only want to charge you money if it is embarrassingly to me. If it is show-worthy, I might pay you money for the exposure, right? Also, just to be clear, if the information is leaked as a summary of my private email to wife, the same calculation would take place but the conditional will be the humanization of email.

A purist would say, loss of privacy is loss of privacy without regard to guilt. If this is the case then the quantification will take the form:

IG(Dinner; private email to wife) = H(dinner) – H(Dinner | private email to wife)

In real world, this number is always non-negative, and we compute compensation based on this function. But as a conscientious person who wants orderly society and safety for my family and my fellow beings, my original proposal was to only charge for the private information when it proves to be unhelpful to the cause of crime prevention. This is further strengthened by a system where the law enforcement is punished only when the information proves me innocent. So the three grade of privacy quantification are:

Let a certain private information be a random variable P (such as dinner choice above, or my choice between java or pascal for my next project (pascal being a crime to use)) and let Q be a piece of data that is leaked or taken from me. the privacy loss PL is defined as the information gain regarding P

PL = IG(P;Q) =  H( P ) – H( P | Q )

Strong Privacy: Any private information Q lost that has PL >= 0 is privacy loss. (This is saying that any thing private revealed to non-private party against my direction is privacy loss, because IG is always non-negative)

Medium Privacy: Any private information Q lost that has a PL > 0 is privacy loss.

Weak Privacy: Any information Q lost that has PL > 0 and that P is more certain regarding guilt (For the purpose of punitive assurance, this is any certainty about reality being the same as clandestine actor’s desired outcome whose truth will generate reward for the clandestine actor. ).

SP, MP, and WP for the lazy.

Punitive Privacy Assurance:

Strong Punitive Privacy Assurance: Penalize clandestine actor for my strong privacy loss.

Medium Punitive Privacy Assurance: penalize clandestine actor only for my medium privacy loss.

Weak Punitive Privacy Assurance: Penalize clandestine actor only for my weak privacy loss.

SPPA, MPPA, WPPA for the lazy.

We should have at least Weak Punitive Privacy Assurance(WPPA) in America. IMHO

Am I the only one II

There was this one time, when everybody around me suddenly started acting weird: “Stay Calm Huan!” one person yelled holding both of this hands out palm facing me as if to keep me at distance–I was more than three arm lengths away from him at the time.


What do you mean stay calm? The only thing really upsetting that day up to that point was him saying that to me. The next most infuriating thing? a second person walks up to me and says: “Huan! Let’s take a deep breath and calm down!”


wtf? I didn’t even say anything to that person, what do you mean calm down? You seem more agitated than I am. Your muscles tense, and even if it is in preparation to pounce on me when I try something physical, it is uncalled for, there is absolutely no reason for that–at least not at my provocation.


I take the elevator, and conveniently each time a building security person or a fat coworker rides with me. wtf? Are they like following me today?


Stay Calm! he says…


wtf? What The Fuck it is about me that make you think I am not calm ?


I find that I am more easily agitated since these events at work some years ago.


Anyway, I thought I’d write these sensations down. Some moments, when I think back, and wonder if those densely packed meetings weeks leading up to that moment were these people accuse me of being agitated were scheming up the details of how to agitate me so that it would seem I  acted inappropriately?


Because if there were audio recordings of events that day, and I’m not saying there is, it would sound like I had a gun in my hand and all these scared people are trying to stay alive–I didn’t have any weapons and I certainly did not think of hurting any of those people. And after they did that to me, I still don’t want to kill any of them.


The fear and stress coming from their voices scares me: I fear that they may kill me someday. They already feel scared of me and acted under coordination  to “keep Huan calm”. Surely this fear, untreated, will bring some other man-made disaster to me in our future encounters.


People who do this kind of stuff should stay in movie studios, when this kind of stuff come to live, to one’s own person, to one’s own ears, mind, one’s reality starts to splinter.


All these nice wonderful people…



But one thing for sure thing. I am here, today, to announce, that for the length of my time on earth, and beyond if I exist, I will never do this to another fellow being. I will never organize it, and I will never participate in it, and I shall make vigilant effort to stay out of it.