Óscar Pereira

Lost in the wilderness! Programmer, professional paranoid1, follower of the “clever playfulness” zen (computers and beyond!)2. An engineer by training, still trying to get over it. Often goes by the handle of gauthma.

For further information, please see my Curriculum Vitæ. There is also a GitHub account3, but other attempts to find me on so-called “social media” are futile.

↪ To see how to get in touch with me, read this.

Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as “surveillance companies.” Their rebranding as “social media” is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense. —Edward Snowden4

FAQ, of sorts

What about that long domain name? It comes from the end of Ben Pimlott’s introduction to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four (bold emphasis mine; italics in the original)5:

Thus the novel is above all subversive, a protest against the tricks played by governments. It is a volley against the authoritarian in every personality, a polemic against every orthodoxy, an anarchistic blast against every unquestioning conformist. ‘It is intolerable to us,’ says the evil O’Brien, ‘that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be.’ Nineteen Eighty-Four is a great novel and a great tract because of the clarity of its call, and will endure because its message is a permanent one: erroneous thought is the stuff of freedom.

That and the fact that all the shorter domain names I wanted were already taken…

And that cryptic tagline? It is part of David Hilbert’s response to the Latin maxim ignoramus et ignorabimus (“we do not know and will not know”)—a reference to some supposed ultimate limit to human knowledge. Hilbert—who thought that was all bonkers—proposed instead: Wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen (“We must know, we will know.”).6

Do you have any more pseudo-smarty quotes? Yes, a bunch of them actually! See here.

One final thought

Here’s what my undergrad advisor thought personal webpages were good for, back in his undergrad days (late 90s)7:

It seems that nowadays everyone has the obligation to clutter servers [sic] disk space and waste other people’s bandwidth with useless junk. Well, this is my contribution. You’re welcome.

Depending on your perspective, that’s either very silly, or notoriously prescient. Have fun reading!

  1. http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2008-03-21-security-is-mathematics.html

  2. This is one description of the original—rather than the posterior, “Hollywood-esque”—meaning of the word “hacker”. See here and here for details. It also applies beyond computers; e.g. in the words of Schneier, «Richard Feynman was a hacker; read any of his books.»

  3. https://github.com/gauthma/

  4. https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/975147858096742405 The irony of saying such a thing on Twitter is not lost on me; but that does not diminish its truth.

  5. See here for the novel, and here for Pimlott’s introduction. Also, in the latter link the first paragraph of the quote begins with “This”. However it is a mistake: the correct word, as can be seen by consulting the printed original, is “Thus”.

  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoramus_et_ignorabimus

  7. http://student.dei.uc.pt/~telmo/self/