Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stupid Network Tricks: GMail via Tor

While the accessing of the GMail web interface via Tor in Firefox with Torbutton installed seems simple enough, you might prefer to use an email application with GMail, in which case it might seem a bit harder.

Here’s how.

Install Stunnel which you get here. Once you have, find in Start | All Programs | stunnel | Edit stunnel.conf which on selection opens Notepad with the stunnel.conf file ready.

Insert these lines:

[SMTP Gmail]
accept =
connect =

[POP3 Gmail]
accept =
connect =

and then File | Save and you’re done there. DO NOT run Stunnel from the Start Menu or it is going out straight from your IP.

Instead, using SocksCap which you already downloaded and installed earlier, you start that and go to File | New… and here’s the values:

Profile Name: Stunnel by Tor (or whatever you prefer)

Command Line: "C:\Program Files\stunnel\stunnel.exe"

Working Directory: "C:\Program Files\stunnel\"

and click OK.

From within SocksCap you now run Stunnel AFTER starting Tor from the Vidalia Control Panel. I suggest letting it run a few minutes to build a few circuits before starting Stunnel.

Now simply aim your email application at Stunnel. Where you enter your POP3 server, user and the same IP address for your SMTP server. Enter your GMail account user and pass information and save everything.

What this does is to cause your email application to send standard POP3 and SMTP traffic at Stunnel which receives it and relays it to GMail’s servers which only use SSL but many email applications don’t, and does it via SocksCap's redirection towards Tor.

This saves you from trying to get SSL functioning on the email application, which while it might work almost certainly won’t be SOCKS aware and thus will be unable to be directed at Tor. IF your email application IS SSL aware, then theoretically you could start it within SocksCap and cut out Stunnel. Of course, many aren’t and for those who don’t want to dick around with the SSL stuff and just insert the easiest values to use, then this method works.

Also, it helps familiarize yourself with using Stunnel to use SSL with non-SSL-aware applications AND do it with Tor.