Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam


A farmer embraces his dog in his stonewalled field on Inishmore Island in Ireland, March 1971.Photograph by Winfield Parks, National Geographic Creative


A farmer embraces his dog in his stonewalled field on Inishmore Island in Ireland, March 1971.Photograph by Winfield Parks, National Geographic Creative

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You gotta love dialogues in porn.

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Do you worry that reporting on the leaks from an account that co-opts a celebrity's image is a bit hypocritical? Obviously it's not the same thing and it's done in good taste but it presents a strange juxtaposition. Just wonder how you feel about it. -Anonymous


I am Taylor Swift. 

[A perfectly fair question, one which I have carefully considered. Whenever I post, I always consider the impact on Taylor’s image and if I’m exploiting it for cheap laughs damaging or embarrassing to her. This has been a central concern since the very, very beginning of the account. One month in, so concerned, I even wrote a manifesto about my intentions.

I am exceedingly careful and avoidant in sexual references as well. The computer rack posts are ones I’ve debated back and forth on using, but after seeing them embraced by others I’m more confident in letting them remain. Although I started this account to make some dumb jokes about Heartbleed, I’ve grown to immensely respect her through my research. She is a good person. An absolutely, truly good person that regardless of any missteps, I have absolute faith in the integrity of. I don’t know how much it matters in the end, but I regularly get feedback that my work has enhanced her image in the minds of people who follow me. And my work is, in the end, an overall positive.

Regarding reports on the leaks, this is something I considered carefully as well. I started posting after I recognized this was a huge event everyone in the English-speaking world was going to hear about. I never once linked to anything that contained, showed blurred versions of, or linked in any way to the photos or video in question. I never posted any screenshots, even those with “safe-for-work” thumbnails. That’s a lot more than a lot of the sites did.

At that point, there was nothing to do except find something positive in it. My ignoring it would do nothing except throw away what I could offer to the public in this event. That came down to three things:

  1. Identify the methods used to compromise these images in order to help public understanding and personal defensive measures assuming the worst kind of compromise
  2. Looking at my past post history, you can see I am concerned with tech literacy and education of the populace on security matters. This is a “teachable moment” we can use to encourage defensive computing by everyone, especially women, who are disproportionately impacted. Taylor Swift is luckily a figure respected and a great way to draw attention. Early in the event, I was promoting @VioletBlue’s book on privacy.
  3. I have a large reach, far larger than on my personal account. I decided to use it as a platform to fight back against ridiculous slut-shaming because of that.


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Back up generator. Financial district.

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John Conway first theorized that it would be impossible to create a forever-expanding universe using these rules, which was proven wrong by a team at MIT, creating the “glider gun,” which is featured in the third gif. 

Since then, thanks to computers, people all over the world have added new designs to the database, creating amazingly complex designs.

For example Andrew J. Wade created a design which replicates itself every 34 million generations! Furthermore it is also a spaceship (permanently moving pattern) and not only that, it was also the first spaceship that did not travel purely diagonally or horizontally/vertically! These types of spaceships are now appropriately named Knightships.

The simulation has some interesting properties, for example it has a theoretical maximum speed information can travel. Or simply, light speed - as that is the limit in our own universe. The limit is set to 1 cell per generation - after all how can you create something further than 1 cell away in one generation if you can only effect your immediate neighbours? And yet you can get things like the ‘stargate’ (Love the name, huge SG fan here.) which allows a space ship to travel 11 cells in just 6 generations.

Some smart people have even designed calculators, prime number generators and other incredibly complex patterns.

You can create your own patterns here:

All gifs were made from this video:

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