The nature of effect – not just binary?

I have been struggling recently with what I feel is a key question. It took over from my interest in the WUO (see previous posts) and even from the defence of systems requirement drift.

That question is the nature of an effect. OSS v1-3 treated effects as in a binary state. 1 meant that the effect was sufficient (and no more than) was required. 0 meant that the effect was otherwise. A 0 critical effect rendered the entire ‘concert’ of effects null and void.

More recent versions of OSS v4/5 acknowledged that perturbations in the level of a given effect could be offset or ‘rebalanced’ by increasing or diminishing the sibling effects at the same tier in the concert.

My interest as we prepare for another version change is whether the entire nature of effect needs to be reconsidered in conjunction with the ‘time’ constant. This is because variations in the timing of effect delivery, even in the buildup or rundown period, can cause system failure.

The question has been asked of me before whether effects ever actually exist, given their transitory nature. So this isn’t news to some of you.

However, what is in question is whether treating effects as transitory has any benefit in terms of building and manipulating the models.

I believe that it _might_ in the sense that an effect could be generated in a pulse, or asymmetric format, and thereby evade counter-measures, or transcend physical constraints. Or to put it in more practical terms, think of synthetic aperture radar.

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You don’t need a weatherman

The initial phase  of WUO activity began in the wake of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and the wave of student unrest which swept the Western world in that same year. It was the opinion of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and others that the Vietnamese had proven that the “Capitalist Imperialist Pigs” could be defeated. Key organisers of the SDS said as much at their rallies, and formed a notion of the third world strugging against US hegemony that is curiously similar to Islamist rhetoric from the present day.

As was the practice at that time, the SDS set out a manifesto, written by some of its members, including Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, that included a demand for armed struggle within the United States, and the phrase “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows”, that was taken from Bob Dylan lyric, and became the nomme de guerre for those who ascribed to the policies of that manifesto.

Members traveled to Cuba, where they met representatives of the North Vietnamese government, and a colonel of the KGB, who trained them in techniques of political subversion and urban terrorism. The Cubans appear to have been concerned that if the United States were able to successfully prosecute its war in Vietnam it would come for them next. Thus the Cubans found it expedient to train terrorists and send them to the US, as a means of forestalling this eventuality.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Following this, the WUO set about plans to engage in what amounted to a riot in the streets of Chicago, called the ‘Days of Rage’. Taking place in 1969, the Days of Rage were acts of violence using bats, fists, and even teeth against police and ‘pigs’, a term meaning targets of authority, rich stores, and so on. A particular focus was police cars, many of which were smashed. The intention of such operations, according to group literature and general communist dogma, was to shatter the public’s faith in the control capabilities of the government.


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Shades of ‘oh, hey!’

I GOT derailed from the WUO and ‘Defence of’ by thoughts about the three substantive elements in each OSS node.

Readers will recall that each node or building block of an OSS mnodel consists of three elements: effect::generator::governor.

The effect is the reason a node is present in any given model. Effects are only shown if they are critical to the purpose of the system. Generators are the system that delivers the effect. The governor is the agency which is critical to the control of the delivery.

The OSS code

They’re more what you might call ‘guidelines’

The rationale for the appalling pun in the title of this post, and the heart of why many newcomers struggle with the above definitions is that they are too abstract.

HOWEVER, we have been noticing (‘Oh, hey’) that there are recognisable and easier to understand definitions, provide you accept some shades of grey in them. At least for governors and generators. And you remember that OSS models have a focal purpose at their apex, and expanding tiers of dependencies below that.

Generators tend to be high level capabilities at the highest level, behaviours at the mid level, tools at the next lowest, and atomic/subatomic shenanigans at the lowest. So, to take an example: ‘omellette making’, ‘break eggs’, ‘egg’, ‘oxygen’.

The governors tend to be stakeholders at the highest level, functional organisations at the mid level, individuals at the next lowest, and (interestingly) atomic/subatomic shenanigans at the lowest. So to take a parrallel example: ‘hungry people’, ‘chef’, ‘buyer’, ‘I have no idea’.

These are, as you might say, guidelines. Not binding. We don’t yet know why this pattern keeps emerging.






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The Weather Underground – research notes


I first came across the Weathermen/WUO back in 2004, researching Operational System Shock for the first time.

In my research I was especially indebted to the archivists of the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States, for their clear representation of the original case files. these were released under the freedom of information act.

I was also indebted to the Historian Mark Gado (2004), of the New York Police Department in his detailed account of the 1981 Brinks heist. Other sources included the Los Angeles Times, Geiger & Beech (1970), and Sterling (1984).


Gado, M. (2004) “The Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army”;
(viewed 25/08/04)

Geiger, G.A. & Beech, K. (1970) “Cuba: school for U.S. radicals”; Chicago Daily
News, October.

Sterling, C (1984) “The Terror network”; Berkley Press

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The Weather Underground – pt. 1

Speaking of the weather underground (previous post) I thought I’d bring up the Weather Underground.

Dohrn Ayers

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn [World Tribune]

These friendly looking old buffers are Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Founding members of the Weather Underground terrorist organisation; also known as the WUO or just the Weathermen.

The WUO is interesting because it gives us a picture of a terrorist group which went through the full lifecycle from birth to death 1969-1981. Some members may have (arguably) escaped justice. But it is proof that terrorism can be fought, and terrorism can be beaten.

I’m going to be reprising work I have done previously in this area over the next few weeks, using our more advanced techniques, and see if we learn anything new.


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The Weather Underground




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Update – duffers

It’s too hot to work in the office so I’m taking a notepad out and bashing VVD.

Some interesting problems in extending the story. For starters I think I have to know all the lessons before I can begin writing the story or there is a danger each story will include too much learning in each step.


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Aside: memory

Nkosi Sikelele

Pondering today what the critical effects are of sentiment. I can’t hear Nkosi Sikelele sung without grinding to a halt in a welter of emotions.

It’s something I’m embarrassed of, yet proud of at the same time.

What is it that engenders these feelings? Is it the mass of interconnections, and remembered context? Is it the significance – in my case absent friends and family?



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The power of water

Quick one today.

I’ve been puzzling over the video.

You can see how a steady flow of water demolishes (what looks like) a first world road in a couple of minutes. My question is what principles of shock are at work?

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New principle of shock, or old?

Police in California have admitted they are baffled by a series of car thefts where robbers use a small hand-held electronic device to unlock supposedly secure car-locking systems.

“This is bad in the sense we’re stumped,” Long Beach deputy police chief David Hendricks told NBC. “We are stumped and we don’t know what this technology is.”

The police force has taken the unusual step of releasing video of two recent car break-ins in the southern California town by robbers using the device, which resembles an electronic key fob. In both cases the device unlocks the passenger side door and appears to disable the alarm system, allowing the thieves to rummage through the car but not drive it off.

Swift acting, not tied to a single model? My guess would be an energy dump of some kind to futz the control mechanism. That is an _overfeed_ of raw energy.

Anyone else want to hazard a guess?

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