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Usenet Kooks

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Green Tea Ice Cream
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Is anyone else interested in Usenet kooks? I mostly read newsgroups related to computers (comp.theory, comp.lang.*) and cryptography (sci.crypt). I'm not sure if other groups are the same but it seems these topics attract a lot of hardcore delusionals and schizophrenics. Usually, these types have a novel understanding of mathematics that allows them to disprove some fundamental proof or other. Some examples:

Peter Olcott (a/k/a P.O., Olcott, etc.):

Olcott believes he has created novel software for Microsoft Windows on Intel x86 processors that disproves Turing's proof by accurately deciding if any program halts. He posts about this endlessly because he feels he needs "Software Engineers" to verify the validity of his result. He has long multithread arguments with an entourage of people who, I assume, are also delusional about whether or not his work is correct. Anything posted to comp.theory seems to get derailed by Olcott and his entourage of detractors.

Wij:

One of Olcott's occasional detractors on comp.theory. Wij posts frequently about an alternate mathematical system he is developing based on a misunderstanding of the term "real number". He also misunderstands limits and has redefined infinity. Wij believes that 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 < 1.

Phillip White (a/k/a B.H.):

Phillip is a semi-medicated schizophrenic. He believes that CVS Pharmacy, the CIA, and his parents are out to get him. Phillip posts frequently about his many patentable ideas, politics, and his imprisonment by the CIA. He believes the CIA is working to undermine him by subtly altering his environment (e.g., by removing songs from his iPod), convincing his caretakers to harm him (e.g., pharmacists, psychiatrists, and his mother), and threatening anyone who would do business with him (e.g., patent lawyers). Phillip knows that someday he will be able to make billions of dollars off of his inventions (one such invention is a C compiler that can optimize any algorithm to run in linear time). He seems to believe that comp.theory is his personal blog. He dislikes being called Phil. Otherwise, he's a nice guy.

Austin O'Byrne (a/k/a A.O.B., Adacrypt):

Austin used to be a frequent poster on sci.crypt. He believes that he has developed an unbreakable encryption scheme in the Ada programming language. He has gone through a number of schemes to prove this but, as far as I'm aware, they are all forms of what he calls "Vector Cryptography". Austin doesn't understand how computers represent data and so his encryption programs inevitably only handle 7-bit ASCII text. Additionally, Austin believes that the conventional 8-bit byte is an NSA scheme designed to weaken cryptography. He has had at least two terrible websites (adacrypt.com and adacrypt.co.uk) and was trying to sell his cryptography software on it.

Do you read any newsgroups? If you do: do they attract any good kooks?
 
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Orlando Smooth

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The original Usenet days were slightly before my time. From the 00's to the present I've always been intrigued but never knew enough about how to find the newsgroups that would be relevant to me to actually go through with getting a subscription and setting it up. Do you still consider Usenet worth your time/money in the modern day? For what purposes?

Anyways, while I cannot speak to Usenet groups, I definitely saw a lot of similar behavior when I was more active on drug/psychedelic forums and websites. People really believing they've cracked the code to the universe which, to be fair, I have felt myself. But then you come down and realize that while you may have gained some insight into yourself and the world around you, you have not suddenly learned how to break the fundamental laws of physics. I think the saddest one was this Canadian dude (Adam, I think, PsychedSubstance or some similar username) who started off doing legit harm reduction education, became a poly addict, and had CPS (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is) called on him. He uploaded tons of videos to YouTube that were filmed in his house and you could tell it wasn't a crack den or whatever, but I also remember being shocked when I learned this dude had a kid in his house. They let him off since they didn't find any immediately troubling signs, but what could've been a wakeup call for him turned into a messy family situation where he got called out by his wife or parents or whatever, and his solution was to post a video saying he needed to "dig deeper" to find the truth about life and everything. At first I legit thought it was a joke - who the fuck has CPS called on them for making videos about taking drugs, has their baby momma run away with the kid, and thinks the best option is to basically take more acid? But that's what he did, and this whole little community got to watch his life unfold rather quickly. Truthfully I stopped watching pretty quickly because it was just way too sad.

Seems like it's an inevitable portion of the people who are attracted to the more niche corners of the internet that do not have full time jannies. If you ever want to read some funny stories, check out some of the really old experience reports on Erowid - especially the ones for less common (but very fun) drugs like 2C-B.
 
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Do you still consider Usenet worth your time/money in the modern day? For what purposes?
I don't pay anything for it and it amuses me so I think it's worth my time. I like to read/argue about programming online and Usenet provides some good forums for that. Sometimes, very rarely, some interesting and intelligent people post to newsgroups that I otherwise would not have any access to. Mostly I just observe for the schizoposts though. I would describe the vast majority of posts as junk mail.
 
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Jade

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Reading through OG Usenet posts is always a fun experience. There are aspects of internet culture which are truly eternal.
 

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manpaint

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Reading through OG Usenet posts is always a fun experience. There are aspects of internet culture which are truly eternal.
Very eternal indeed. The frameworks might change, bt the people fundamentally remains the same it seems.

As someone who only heard about Usenet from the legends, how did it all worked? I kid of assumed that it was some kind of centralized service that had multipe "forums", but some of the links in the OP suggest that boards were hosted on multiple sites?

My prime assumption was that Google bought the Usenet site and killed it as a result, but I suposse it's more complicated than that?
 

Andrew Eldritch

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My ISP provides usenet access, I tried it once but I don't really understand how it works. I wanted to join some groups to download music, but I gave up. Anyone have some good groups to share?
 
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As someone who only heard about Usenet from the legends, how did it all worked? I kid of assumed that it was some kind of centralized service that had multipe "forums", but some of the links in the OP suggest that boards were hosted on multiple sites?
This is a very simplistic overview. Usenet is a network of servers that communicate messages between each other using the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). Each newsserver agrees to allocate space for copies of posts made through other servers and to retain those posts for a certain amount of time. The servers that form these agreements are called peers. When you submit a post to the network it is first taken to your newsserver and then forwarded to that server's peers. In theory anyone can run a network of these NNTP servers but Usenet is the name of the commonly accessible public network. It is not part of the web so there are no "sites". Some web services (e.g., Google Groups) do provide access to it though.
My prime assumption was that Google bought the Usenet site and killed it as a result, but I suposse it's more complicated than that?
I have no idea why you think this. Usenet still exists and I have posted messages on it as recently as a couple of hours ago. Google provides access to Usenet through Google Groups but it doesn't own the entire network. There is no "Usenet site" to be bought.
Anyone have some good groups to share?
Besides the comp.lang.* hierarchy (which is obviously only interesting if you like computer programming), I enjoy alt.folklore.computers. I also sometimes read calgary.general. I'm not in Calgary so I don't have any good reason for it other than schizopost appreciation.
 
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Orlando Smooth

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I also sometimes read calgary.general. I'm not in Calgary so I don't have any good reason for it other than schizopost appreciation.
This half unlocked a memory for me. Wasn't there something weird regarding Calgary-specific Usenet groups, forums, or early internet websites? Something like a guy faking his own death and then continuing to post, but then people would argue about whether it was actually him or if someone had gained access to his account. If anyone has any idea what I'm talking about, I'd greatly appreciate being reminded.
 
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manpaint

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This is a very simplistic overview. Usenet is a network of servers that communicate messages between each other using the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). Each newsserver agrees to allocate space for copies of posts made through other servers and to retain those posts for a certain amount of time. The servers that form these agreements are called peers. When you submit a post to the network it is first taken to your newsserver and then forwarded to that server's peers. In theory anyone can run a network of these NNTP servers but Usenet is the name of the commonly accessible public network. It is not part of the web so there are no "sites". Some web services (e.g., Google Groups) do provide access to it though.

I have no idea why you think this. Usenet still exists and I have posted messages on it as recently as a couple of hours ago. Google provides access to Usenet through Google Groups but it doesn't own the entire network. There is no "Usenet site" to be bought.
I see. Wich provider/way to acess it would you reccomend for someone who is looking into peeking in this corner of the web (preferably a free option)?
 

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Wich provider/way to acess it would you reccomend for someone who is looking into peeking in this corner of the web (preferably a free option)?
I use the aptly named eternal-september.org. That will give you access to text-only groups for free. For a newsreader I'm currently using Pan but in the past I've used Thunderbird (since I use it for email anyway).
 
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lingo

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This half unlocked a memory for me. Wasn't there something weird regarding Calgary-specific Usenet groups, forums, or early internet websites? Something like a guy faking his own death and then continuing to post, but then people would argue about whether it was actually him or if someone had gained access to his account. If anyone has any idea what I'm talking about, I'd greatly appreciate being reminded.
Christopher McKinstry? he allegedly killed himself but someone under his name posted on newsgroups & someone kept on correcting his wikipedia page from the country he lived in
 
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Orlando Smooth

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Christopher McKinstry? he allegedly killed himself but someone under his name posted on newsgroups & someone kept on correcting his wikipedia page from the country he lived in
Yes that's it! Thanks :)
 
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consonant

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My zoomer ass has only really heard about Usenet in brief mentions from technology books, I had no idea that there were still messages that you could go back and read
 
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Taleisin

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The original Usenet days were slightly before my time. From the 00's to the present I've always been intrigued but never knew enough about how to find the newsgroups that would be relevant to me to actually go through with getting a subscription and setting it up. Do you still consider Usenet worth your time/money in the modern day? For what purposes?

Anyways, while I cannot speak to Usenet groups, I definitely saw a lot of similar behavior when I was more active on drug/psychedelic forums and websites. People really believing they've cracked the code to the universe which, to be fair, I have felt myself. But then you come down and realize that while you may have gained some insight into yourself and the world around you, you have not suddenly learned how to break the fundamental laws of physics. I think the saddest one was this Canadian dude (Adam, I think, PsychedSubstance or some similar username) who started off doing legit harm reduction education, became a poly addict, and had CPS (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is) called on him. He uploaded tons of videos to YouTube that were filmed in his house and you could tell it wasn't a crack den or whatever, but I also remember being shocked when I learned this dude had a kid in his house. They let him off since they didn't find any immediately troubling signs, but what could've been a wakeup call for him turned into a messy family situation where he got called out by his wife or parents or whatever, and his solution was to post a video saying he needed to "dig deeper" to find the truth about life and everything. At first I legit thought it was a joke - who the fuck has CPS called on them for making videos about taking drugs, has their baby momma run away with the kid, and thinks the best option is to basically take more acid? But that's what he did, and this whole little community got to watch his life unfold rather quickly. Truthfully I stopped watching pretty quickly because it was just way too sad.

Seems like it's an inevitable portion of the people who are attracted to the more niche corners of the internet that do not have full time jannies. If you ever want to read some funny stories, check out some of the really old experience reports on Erowid - especially the ones for less common (but very fun) drugs like 2C-B.
Adam was really sad to see.

Speaking of erowid/bluelight/dmtnexus/shroomery stories, I think we could make a thread to share some of our favourites.
 
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Containment Chat
Rules Help Users
  • shinobu:
    lingo said:
    To be honest i prefer the greens... chiller people overall though lazy at times
    https://youtu.be/OWodAv1KHaM
  • Jessica3cho:
    @eve Holy fuck your 2000's furry lingo is based and spot on
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    I'm having PTSD
    +1
  • lingo:
    one of the casualties of the internet were those insane school rumours u used to hear
    +1
  • eve:
    Jessica3cho said:
    @eve Holy fuck your 2000's furry lingo is based and spot on
    thxxx uu :3
  • Jackeline:
    yeah eve is awesome, she nailed the culture quite well
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    makes you think she lived those golden years
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    0_0
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    0v0
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    izz a facepalm XD
  • lingo:
    shinobu said:
    descargar las piratas del caribe CIENTO UN POR CIENTO LIBRE DEL VIRUS
  • shinobu:
    lingo said:
    las piratas del caribe
    Is that the R18 version?
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    eve said:
    awh :// ish okii ... das fine TwT
    :3
  • lingo:
    shinobu said:
    Is that the R18 version?
    muchas tetas
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    Todos ustedes, de aquí pa aca, son pendejos.
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    ahuevo que si.
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    *se fuma la pasta base*
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    So So Rude
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    De aquí pa aca, chingan a su madre
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    lingo said:
    private account or im blocked Very mysterious
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    New, sorry hoss, I was away. Not sure why it's private, shouldn't be
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