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leah blogs: Ken Thompson's Unix password

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Somewhere around 2014 I found an /etc/passwd file in some dumps of the BSD 3 source tree, containing passwords of all the old timers such as Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Brian W. Kernighan, Steve Bourne and Bill Joy.

Since the DES-based crypt(3) algorithm used for these hashes is well known to be weak (and limited to at most 8 characters), I thought it would be an easy target to just crack these passwords for fun.

Well known tools for this are john and hashcat.

Quickly, I had cracked a fair deal of these passwords, many of which were very weak. (Curiously, bwk used /.,/.,, which is easy to type on a QWERTY keyboard.)

However, kens password eluded my cracking endeavor. Even an exhaustive search over all lower-case letters and digits took several days (back in 2014) and yielded no result. Since the algorithm was developed by Ken Thompson and Robert Morris, I wondered what’s up there. I also realized, that, compared to other password hashing schemes (such as NTLM), crypt(3) turns out to be quite a bit slower to crack (and perhaps was also less optimized).

Did he really use uppercase letters or even special chars? (A 7-bit exhaustive search would still take over 2 years on a modern GPU.)

The topic came up again earlier this month on The Unix Heritage Society mailing list, and I shared my results and frustration of not being able to break kens password.

Finally, today this secret was resolved by Nigel Williams:

From: Nigel Williams <<a href="mailto:nw@retrocomputingtasmania.com">nw@retrocomputingtasmania.com</a>>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] Recovered /etc/passwd files

ken is done:

ZghOT0eRm4U9s:p/q2-q4!

took 4+ days on an AMD Radeon Vega64 running hashcat at about 930MH/s
during that time (those familiar know the hash-rate fluctuates and
slows down towards the end).

This is a chess move in descriptive notation, and the beginning of many common openings. It fits very well to Ken Thompson’s background in computer chess.

I’m very happy that this mystery has been solved now and I’m pleased of the answer.

[Update 16:29: fix comment on chess.]

NP: Mel Stone—By Now

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popular
5 days ago
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ChrisDL
5 days ago
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jlvanderzwan
6 days ago
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jepler
5 days ago
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ha!
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Thank You

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I'd like to think this hasn't been done, but humans are really quite special.


Today's News:
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ChrisDL
22 days ago
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I bet this has been done. And since I'm an atheist I don't really see any reason a pornstar would be less religious than anyone else. In fact I would venture a guess the incidence of faith is higher for them, I would love to see a survey actually.
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Unreachable State

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ERROR: We've reached an unreachable state. Anything is possible. The limits were in our heads all along. Follow your dreams.
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ChrisDL
36 days ago
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Theres one or two of these in my code haha.
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jepler
35 days ago
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so this week at work...
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
alt_text_bot
36 days ago
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ERROR: We've reached an unreachable state. Anything is possible. The limits were in our heads all along. Follow your dreams.

The Misogyny of Climate Deniers

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Climate skeptic Bjørn Lomborg has built his global brand on keeping his cool. “Cool it,” his best-selling book told those worried about the warming planet. For some reason, however, he seems to have difficulty sticking to the blasé tone when it comes to a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden.

Lomborg has repeatedly mocked and criticized Greta Thunberg, the prominent young activist who has been sailing across the Atlantic to attend the UN’s Youth Climate Summit and other meetings in the U.S. In June, he tweeted out a cartoon that implied Greta was only useful to climate activists because being young made her unassailable—in four years, it joked, she’d be replaced with someone younger still. Earlier in the year, he’d asked why the World Economic Forum was listening to her at all, and approvingly shared a Quillette article which called Thunberg a fanatic and “absolutist” and which argued adults had a duty to correct her childlike naiveté.

And Lomborg’s on the more civil end of Thunberg’s critics. In April, while tweeting that her policies were “unrealistic” and “costly,” he added that, “of course, she should be treated respectfully, just like all participants in the climate debate.” Several of his followers didn’t seem to care for the caveat, attacking Thunberg with comments about her age and mental health in replies.

As Thunberg approached America, she was followed by a tsunami of male rage. On her first day of sailing, a multi-millionaire Brexit activist tweeted that he wished a freak accident would destroy her boat. A conservative Australian columnist called her a “deeply disturbed messiah of the global warming movement,” while the British far-right activist David Vance attacked the “sheer petulance of this arrogant child.”

In the U.S., former Trump staffer Steve Milloy recently called Thunberg a “teenage puppet,” and claimed that “the world laughs at this Greta charade,” while a widely shared far-right meme showed Trump tipping The Statue of Liberty to crush her boat. We can expect a surge of similar attacks in the U.S. as she arrives in New York this week.

While these examples might feel like mere coincidence to some, the idea that white men would lead the attacks on Greta Thunberg is consistent with a growing body of research linking gender reactionaries to climate-denialism—some of the research coming from Thunberg’s own country. Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, which recently launched the world’s first academic research center to study climate denialism, have for years been examining a link between climate deniers and the anti-feminist far-right.

In 2014, Jonas Anshelm and Martin Hultman of Chalmers published a paper analyzing the language of a focus group of climate skeptics. The common themes in the group, they said, were striking: “for climate skeptics … it was not the environment that was threatened, it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity.”

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.

“There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year.

The corollary to this is that climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy,” Hultman and fellow researcher Paul Pulé wrote in another paper.

These findings align with similar ones in the United States, where there is a massive gender gap in views on climate change, and many men perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. “In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” marketing professors Aaron R. Brough and James E.B. Wilkie explained at Scientific American. “In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment,” they write.

In the past year, young women such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and Thunberg in Europe have become the global faces of climate activism, often with tremendous political impact. In the United States, Ocasio-Cortez has helped transform what was once considered a bit of fringe rhetoric—the Green New Deal—into a topic of regular conversation. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in a recent poll, one out of three Germans said that Thunberg has changed their views on climate change.

The rise of Thunberg and Ocasio-Cortez has generated a predictable backlash among conservative men. In the U.S., Ocasio-Cortez has become an obsession on right-wing media. Fox News mentioned her an average of 76 times a day during her first month in Congress. Now, Greta Thunberg is becoming a similar target for European nationalists. In Germany, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland party seems to have coordinated their attacks on Thunberg with the right-wing European Institute for Climate and Energy think tank.

Climate change used to be a bipartisan concern, the first Bush senior presidency famously promising to tackle global warming. But as conservative male mockery of Thunberg and others shows, climate politics has quickly become the next big battle in the culture war—on a global scale.

As conservative parties become increasingly tied to nationalism, and misogynist rhetoric dominates the far-right, Hultman and his fellow researchers at Chalmers University worry that the ties between climate skeptics and misogyny will strengthen. What was once a practical problem, with general agreement on the facts, has become a matter of identity. And fear of change is powerful motivation.

This article has been updated with specifics on Lomborg’s writings on Thunberg, as well as the removal of a reference to an April 24 tweet by Lomborg. The tweet referred to the author of an article defending Thunberg—not to Thunberg herself, as this story originally stated.

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sarcozona
44 days ago
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Feminists tried to tell us the patriarchy was destroying us all
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45 days ago
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MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

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I follow artist Ian McQue on Twitter, and recently he posted about his work on the Mortal Engines series:

I’d heard the title “Mortal Engines” before, probably in relation to the fact that it was a book series, but didn’t know anything about it. I kinda conflated it in my mind with “Moral Instruments”, which is a different YA book series I also knew very little about.

But when Ian started posting illustrations like these:

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

…I became very interested. Old-timey-looking stuff and flying machines! Two of my key interests!!

Ian kindly responded to my above tweet and recommended the books as a good read, so I got the first volume from my library.

It was good! I liked it! It had lots of airships zooming around, which, as stated earlier, I enjoy.

Ian did the cover to a recent edition of the book too:

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

If you haven’t read it, the book (series) centers on the idea of “traction towns”, which are giant cities on tracks that roam around a post-apocalyptic wasteland and consume each other for sustenance. The main city in the story (featured on the cover there) is London.

I had the vague sense that there was a movie too, but I’d mostly missed it. So I looked it up! Here’s the trailer:

Looks pretty exciting, right? Here are a couple of shots from the movie — interesting, scope-y shots:

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

All right, fine.

Cool book, cool movie maybe. What’s the point?

The books originally came out when it wouldn’t be surprising that YA titles would miss me entirely, but the movie came out less than a year ago.

I was a bit curious why this movie never crossed my radar even a little bit.

And then I realized — I had seen the poster in a theater lobby.

Here’s the main key art for the movie, the most commonly distributed poster (and the cover of the tie-in edition of the book):

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

Here are some other posters:

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

The last one is definitely more interesting and/or typcical, but I’m mainly only seeing it with international logos on there — I don’t think it was heavily featured in the US marketing campaign.

The two character posters have at least a little daylight in them (and there are a couple more in that basic style, with other characters), but in particular the close-up of the face communicates nothing about the movie. So it’s no wonder I’d skimmed past it without being interested.

The decision to make the main poster look like that puzzles me. Absolutely nothing that seems interesting (to me) about the movie is on the US posters — even granting that one of the posters shows a bit of the city.

POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS:

1. The movie’s target audience is fans of the books, and with the close-up of the Hester Shaw character in the red scarf, they’re saying “IT’S A REAL LIVE PERSON” — emphasizing the fact that the thing you recognize (the title) has now been adapted into a movie.

2. The things that I like — weird airships and so on — don’t test highly on posters for general audiences, because most people aren’t dumb nerds like me. (But could the face close-up really be that much better?)

3. They were trying to sell this to a teenage female audience, and they felt the action stuff skewed too male.

4. They just honestly, legitimately felt this was the most compelling image to sell a movie about enormous carnivorous cities on tank treads??

I should also not gloss over the fact that this was marketed as a “girl power” movie in a post-Hunger Games movie environment. And there were some character close-up posters for Hunger Games. But there were a lot of action shots too.

In my research, I also came across this — an art contest in the leadup to the film’s release:

To amplify the launch of the film in December 2018, Universal Pictures is creating an art activation campaign leading up to this film’s release, and they want to collaborate with you!

Artists, designers and illustrators from around the world are invited to create one-of-a-kind static artwork for Mortal Engines inspired by the latest imagery, trailers, book series, and the film’s themes.

“Art activation campaign.”

I’m pretty against this sort of thing on principle, but there totally were some good submissions — at least representing a wider variety of approaches.

(In fact, it looks like the IMAX one above — with the icon of the tread in the background — came from this contest as a submission.)

All of this made me think of other times when poster art chose to rely heavily on close-ups of faces. Did they work? What do each of these posters communicate, I decided to muse about, and is it plausible that a studio could believe each would be enough to sell a movie?

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MINORITY REPORT: “Tom Cruise is in this movie. There’s a tech theme, and probably a theme about secrets and hidden information? Steven Spielberg directed it.” (Note: This is also an international poster, not the main key art that was used to sell the movie domestically.)

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION: “This is a sequel to a movie that, if you saw it, you know what this one is also about. And this time, there is snow.” (There was also an additional, more action-y poster for this film, too.)

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA: “This movie is DEFINITELY about a geisha. It will be largely about that and all that implies. There is no need to also include pagodas and tea sets and Mount Fuji in this image. If you recognize the title, you might know that it’s based on a book that was very popular and successful.”

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

SCREAM: “This is a horror-style movie. But we have taken the liberty of explaining the twisty premise of the movie as a very lengthy tagline. At the bottom you can see this is also a Wes Craven movie, and we are foregrounding that it is already ‘highly acclaimed’ and a ‘thriller’ so you know it’s not a throwaway spoof movie, like the many that will follow in its wake.” (This was also accompanied by a full cast poster, among others.)

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: “This is going to be creepy and probably involve death. Maybe you recognize the book title? If we try to include some plot hints such as implying it’s about cops and a serial killer, is that really MORE interesting than just being creepy here?”

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

BLACK SWAN: “This movie has Natalie Portman in it, and you know it’s gonna be weird, and maybe creepy? It’s a fancy film that has been to festivals, and it’s directed by Darren Aronofsky. So just prepare for something weird and probably creepy. Won’t it be wild to see Natalie Portman be creepy?”

MORTAL ENGINES: A baffling movie marketing case study

SALT: Okay this one is worse than Mortal Engines.

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ChrisDL
47 days ago
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freeAgent
47 days ago
I had forgotten about Mortal Engines until it recently appeared on HBO. Maybe I'll watch it. Also...100% agreed on Salt.
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RT @samuelcoates: The yoyo-ing of the top columns here are as good a visualisation of the world’s last century as any https://t.co/PvJfYpAd…

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The yoyo-ing of the top columns here are as good a visualisation of the world’s last century as any pic.twitter.com/PvJfYpAds8


Retweeted by redhistorian on Sunday, August 25th, 2019 1:56pm


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ChrisDL
49 days ago
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freeAgent
49 days ago
That's an interesting and scary animation to watch. It certainly highlights that the US is now in a state of perpetual war.
sarcozona
49 days ago
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fxer
45 days ago
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Great viz
Bend, Oregon
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