[conspire] Paging Jonathan Swift

Edward Mokurai Cherlin mokurai at sugarlabs.org
Tue Sep 13 20:48:42 PDT 2011

On Tue, September 13, 2011 9:42 pm, Rick Moen

's best buddy Rich Moan

> wrote:
> I was just doing a little thinking

See, there's your problem.

> about the notion that poor ordinary
> users can't possibly run recursive DNS nameservers such as Unbound.

That's your strawman, and has nothing to do with the rest of us. You
admitted that it takes talent and application to learn sysadminning.
(Though evidently not self-awareness.)

> I've come to the conclusion it's quite true.

Should I alert the media?

> Installation is simply too challenging for ordinary users:  You have to
> do an ordinary package fetch of one distro package, 'unbound'.
> Configuration is also too challenging for ordinary users:  No
> configuration is required.  Administration is likewise too challenging
> for ordinary users:  No administration is required.
> Since the above is clearly well outside the abilities of ordinary users,
> it needs to be left to ex-staff accountants.
> Actually, though, there's worse news.  It's also impossible for ordinary
> users to run Linux at all.
> Why do I say that?  Because any Linux distribution includes a DNS
> nameserver, of a type called a 'stub resolver', implemented as a set of
> routines inside glibc.  See:  https://lwn.net/Articles/289179/
> Admittedly, glibc's stub resolver is not capable of doing recursive
> lookups, and is not capable of caching its results, but it's an
> undeniable fact that it _is_ a DNS nameserver, _and_ that it requires
> precisely the same amount of configuration and administration as Unbound
> does.
> So, I figure that means you folks cannot run Linux at all -- not even
> the Linux distribution with an ancient African name meaning 'can't
> install Debian'.

No, it means, "Na, nana na na," which is to say

What mean all these mysteries to me
Whose life is full of indices and surds?
x² +7x+53
= 11/3

or possibly even

Analytic and Algebraic Topology of Locally-Euclidean Metrization of
Infinitely Differentiable Riemann Manifolds

Bozhe moi! This, you know from nothing!

depending on the audience.

> Further bad news:  You _also_ cannot possibly run Microsoft Windows.
> on account of Windows\system32\DNSCACHE.DLL , which is, yes, a DNS
> nameserver (specifically, yet another stub resolver).
> Oh noes!  Macintosh OS X includes a stub resolver, too!
> http://impodcast.tv/2008/08/02/the-apple-dns-saga-continues/
> I suggest MS-DOS.

Don't be silly. That has a file system. We must go back at least as
far as the Apple II.

> But watch out for TCP/IP stacks.

Particularly when they fall over on you.

I have always been fascinated by the Dunning-Kruger effect since I
read about it in Socrates's Apologia, his defense at his trial on a
charge of impiety. We must accept the fact that the Apologia that we
have was written by Plato, and is a lie, in addition to the fact that
what Socrates apparently actually said was a lie. The Athenians were
just as angry with Socrates over his tyrant student Alcibiades (a
topic that Rick and I have had informative and enjoyable discussions
about) as with Socrates showing up the high and mighty know-alls of
Athens as utter fools, and the impiety charge was just a convenient
political fiction, like calling Obama the Antichrist.

Be all that as it may, Plato described people who were quite ignorant
in some area but assumed that they know all about it, which is one of
the aspects of the Dunning-Kruger effect, as explained millennia
later. Socrates described himself as quite ignorant. If this were not
part of his elaborate lie (where he understood many of these areas
better than the self-proclaimed experts), it would be the other end of
the D-K effect. It turns out, however, that Socrates, and even more so
Plato, thought that they knew a great deal about matters in which
there are inherently no right answers, particularly politics, ethics,
and the nature of reality. Although there are no right answers in
these areas, there are emphatically wrong answers, and these two had
them. They taught the most complete theoretical and practical
political tyrannies on record in the West before Machiavelli, in The
Laws and The Republic. (The Chinese Legalist Han Feizi got there
first, but China gave up on the excesses of the First Emperor of

Here, however, we have the completely DKE spectacle of the expert
sysadmin claiming that anybody could do his job in the face of
determined black-hatters and gonifs putting out fraudulent certs,
while simultaneously (well, on the same day, anyway) admitting that
these are actually difficult questions, and demonstrating (also DKE)
that, contrary to his puffed-up image of himself, he has no idea how
to do effective sarcasm, much less good satire.

This is not a case for Jonathan Swift, but rather for Ratbert: "I
predict chicken noises." Dilbert: "But, but, but, but..."


You're welcome.

Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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