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Convenient Misinformation

Valhalla Weekly - Security, Software, and All Things Research
Valhalla Weekly - Security, Software, and All Things Research
Week 4 Makes a Month!
I released last week’s issue a day late, so this week’s will go out a day early! In this issue, I have a great example of what I call “Convenient Misinformation” before we go into the Research Wrap-Up and my first HackingFIRE review! Let’s get into it.
Convenient Misinformation
This week, 31 Patriot Front members were arrested on their way to brutalize or intimidate a Pride event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Patriot front as one of the most active white nationalist groups in the country, and they featured prominently at the deadly 2017 Unite the Right event in Charlotesville under the name Vanguard America. A witness saw “a small army” loading up in the back of a U Haul trailer and called police, but leaked chats from within the group indicate that the group may have called the police themselves, either to spread misinformation and use the arrest itself as an intimidation, or to obtain a police escort into the protest, to give people the sense that the police were on the white ethnonationalists’ side.
While the situation was still very much developing, a user on Twitter who identifies as an employee for an unnamed think tank insisted in a now-deleted Tweet that “most, if not all” of the arrested Patriot Front members had concealed firearms. This would mean that the ethnonationalists not only gathered, many likely crossing state lines, with the intent of harassing or abusing people at a Pride event, but they came with the expectation or intent to use deadly weapons, or to use them as a further method of harassment. They cited an unnamed law enforcement source for this information
Except… That doesn’t seem to at all be true. Not a single law enforcement or city official confirmed the rumor, even though it would likely benefit them to say so, as it would make the threat that they mitigated seem more significant. It would also fly in the face of previous PF operations, most of which have been photo opportunities and harassment campaigns paired with the normal street violence one has grown to expect from right wing thugs. The tweet has since been deleted after alleged eye witnesses, right wing watchers, journalists and activists have called her statements into question, though notably no retraction or statement has been made by the user either.
This is a fantastic example of “convenient misinformation.” We’re all very apt to call out misinformation that stands against our views: anti-vax sentiment, global warming truthism, even the philosophies that underlie right wing extremism and ethnonationalism. It is much more difficult, however, to refute misinformation that instead supports our views. It would be very convenient to accept at face value the idea that the 31 arrested thugs were armed with deadly weapons. It makes the threat of white nationalism and right wing extremism much more scary on a national stage. It gives more room for moderates to “condemn” members of these groups. It would make us feel better than a very bloody situation was mitigated before any violence occurred.
But we have *got* to be careful.
Mis-/disinformation is something we should fight on principle, not based upon its usefulness for our “cause.” We can’t decide to bend truth and facts based upon our whim but call out the other side for doing the same. It’s not just hypocritical, it’s outright dangerous. It lends the usage of misinformation legitimacy, which allows for it to spread further.
So, be wary. If a piece of information “just doesn’t seem right” even though it meshes with your own biases, question it even harder than you would information that conflicts with you. Always verify, and always call it out. Be vigilant, and take an objective view of the dangers of misinformation.
Research Wrap-Up
This will be the first issue with a HackingFIRE update, so I’ll take some time to explain what that is in brief here.
I think one of the great tragedies in our current socioeconomic climate is how much of the US population is trapped in what anthropologist David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs.” They’re jobs that are uninspiring and chew up one’s spirit and spits it out into the wastebin of society. This is one of the things that has given rise to the FIRE movement, a movement whose aim is to become Financially Independent and Retire Early. FIRE is made up of all kinds of sub-genres that dictate how one becomes financially independent and what that looks like, but at its core the idea is to create side-revenue streams to support one’s self without a traditional job. This often involves dividend investing, entrepreneurship and real estate purchases, but there are a myriad of different strategies to employ.
HackingFIRE is my initiative, explained further in my launch blog, to become significantly more financially independent by creating a revenue stream of $250,000 over the next year and a half through ethical, sustainable investments and technology platforms. The core purpose is transparency in methodology so that I can both publish this methodology and refine it publicly, with the end goal essentially being to have a corpus of work explaining how one could achieve financial freedom themselves.
For this weekly newsletter, this means publishing my financial data and progress so that people can follow along, learn from the journey and gain better insight into how achieving financial freedom can work. Each week will have a short section on how the last week went, what I did and did wrong, etc. So let’s get right into this week!
HackingFIRE Week of 16 June 2022
This week was mainly spent planning, including coding up this monstrosity of a graph that almost convinced me to abandon the project…
Mitch Edwards 🏴‍☠️
Just finished off the projections for what I'm going to have to make from SaaS products, Educational products and investments over the next 18 months to make $250,000 and... wow. 👀

That… is a serious hockey-stick growth curve.
At the moment, I’m sitting at roughly $50 MRR from my old class, the book I’m selling and my blog. I’ve decided that instead of focusing on raw income from market and crypto investments, I’m going to instead focus on account size and ethical income generation more generally. Basically I did the math and in order for my market and crypto accounts to be hitting the raw income numbers they need to based off these projections, my account sizes would have to be well into the millions… and $250,000 is pushing it.
So, this month’s goal is to increase my tech and educational income from $50 combined to $100 combined and increase my overall investment porfolio size to $500. This is essentially a doubling of my normal income, which is actually way harder than a couple of one-off deposits into investing accounts. I’m planning on achieving this through pushing my web scraping e-book more, but I think it’s going to take a bit to get that income rolling and I’ll probably be a bit behind for the first few months.
I’m going to be finishing up the planning/metrics part of HackingFIRE this week, so I’m probably going to publish a blog or two on how to do financial planning with Python. Hell, I might even publish a book on it.
Until next week!
Yeesh… That was a lengthy one. I’ll have these more predictably formatted when I find a format that people read consistently. I’m still in experimentation mode on issue four of this newsletter, so if you have feedback I’d love to see it!
Thank you so much for your viewership, and have a great week!
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Valhalla Weekly - Security, Software, and All Things Research
Valhalla Weekly - Security, Software, and All Things Research @valhalla_dev

The intersection of security, software and politics. All things research, some things software.

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