Putin’s Internet Awakening: How Russia Views Information, the Web, and Modern Conflict and Control

The Russian government’s full-scale war on Ukraine drew the world’s eyes to the region—and to the information conflict waged between the nations. Yet, there is a decades-long history of the Putin regime weaponizing the internet in its favor, and there is an even longer Russian history of thinking around information, conflict, and power. This talk will dive into that sphere—examining the Kremlin’s view of the internet, how the Russian government uses cyber and information power in today’s world, and how this will shape the geopolitical landscape in the decade to come.

Justin Sherman is a senior fellow at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, and an independent consultant on cybersecurity, technology and internet policy, and geopolitical risk. He has testified to Congress and briefed members of European Parliament, written hundreds of articles and numerous reports, and consulted for and advised nonprofits, startups, Fortune 100/500 companies, investors, and the US government on a range of technology, policy, and geopolitical issues. Previously, he worked for American University Washington College of Law, New America, Lawfare, and the NSA’s Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, among others. He earned his M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and his B.S. in Computer Science and his B.A. in Political Science from Duke University. Follow him on Twitter @jshermcyber and reach out at https://justinwsherman.com/.


The Case for Libertarianism

Libertarianism is the political philosophy according to which a person should be allowed to do as he (or she) pleases, as long as his actions do not harm others or put others at risk of harm without their informed consent. Unlike liberals and conservatives, whose positions on issues are the result of historical accident, the positions held by libertarians are derivable from fundamental principles, analogous to the way that Kepler’s laws, which describe how the planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits, can be derived from the more fundamental Newton’s laws of motion. In this presentation, we will compare the positions held by libertarians with those held by liberals and conservatives, and show how most major societal problems, including but not limited to unemployment, inflation, and the budget-busting rate at which entitlement costs are increasing, are the result of government policies and can be solved by the libertarian approach. The ideas put forth in this presentation by Stanley Korn (MWM) may seem radical to some and will require the attendees to be willing and able to think outside the matrix of our cultural indoctrination in order give these ideas serious consideration.

Stanley Korn received a B.S. in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and did graduate work in physics and mathematics at the University of Maryland. He was employed by the Defense Department as a physicist, operations research analyst, and computer specialist; he has since retired. He is the former coordinator of the Metropolitan Washington Mensa Parapsychology SIG, a psychic reader, and an investigator of the paranormal. He is the author of four books, an inventor with six patents, and a Fellow of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, membership in which requires an IQ in the top 0.1%. Stanley has given presentations on a wide variety of subjects, all of which have incorporated his original ideas

Ask the Gemologist

Joe will speak briefly about the Tucson Gem And Mineral Show, the largest in the world, present a very short introduction to practical gemology and then open the floor for any questions that attendees want to ask related to: Gems, Jewelry, and associated topics.  Any questions that Joe cannot answer immediately, he will research and get the answer back to the questioner. 

Joseph Haber is a Graduate Gemologist and a member of the Accredited Gemologists Association.  Joe sells gems, jewelry and crystals from his business, “Middle Earth Treasures.”  Joe has been intimately involved in the gem and jewelry industry for over fifty years and has taught classes in Gem Identification.

Exploring Egypt as a Fulbright Specialist

Have you ever wondered about doing a Fulbright as a professional? Dr. Christina Yuknis has now completed two Fulbright projects, one in Tunisia and one in Egypt. This presentation will share the details of her latest project in Egypt. You’ll learn what it was like to work with a new career and technology education program near Cairo, how to maintain relationships with the host institution, and of course see some of the sights from the Nile! There will also be an opportunity to learn more about the Fulbright exchange programs and how you, too, can participate!

Drink Like a …Viking!

You may have heard of mead, an alcoholic beverage served in the mead-halls prominently mentioned in Beowulf and other fantasy literature.  Maybe you’ve even sampled some, probably at a Renfair or
the SCA (https://sca.org/).  But what do you really know about it?  Do you know what’s in it?  (Probably the basics… but there’s a lot more to it.)  How it was first invented?  (No you don’t!)  Who invented it,
where, and when?  (Trick question!)  How to make it yourself?  (Easier than you probably think!)  Where we can get some nowadays?  (Again, easier than you probably think!)  And was what you sampled, really
mead?  (Quite possibly not!)  Come to this talk to learn the answers to these questions and many more.  But sorry, no, even though I will have some for you to see, possibly including a batch in progress, I’m
not giving out samples at the talk.  (Blame the lawmakers.)

Dave is a longtime active Mensan, having joined MWM in 1988, served for many years as Webmaster, and done a stint as Publications Officer and Cap-M Editor.  He is a semi-retired software development consultant, which means not only does he sling code, he also gives advice about it, and nowadays mostly speaks at software conferences, as the T. Rex of Codosaurus (https://www.Codosaur.us/), his one-person
consultancy (which explains how he can get such a cool job title).  He first heard of mead (as far as he can recall) by reading Beowulf in high school, sampled some in the SCA, made a couple batches from kits
long before COVID, and explored it further as his “pandemic hobby”. Now he hopes to turn into a “side hustle” as King Bee of Sum-of-a-Batch Mead School (https://www.SumOfABatch.com/).

Games Room Updates

We have a few Games Room updates for you!

  • Our Inventory! Check out our searchable games room inventory, including many 2022 Mind Games winners. Come join us in the Spruce and Oak rooms all weekend long!
  • Are you interested in trying a long or complex game but want somebody with experience to walk you through it? Willing to teach a game to new players? Interested in setting up sessions for a game in your own (or the chapter’s) collection? Just let us know, and we’ll put something on the schedule.
  • Discord! Your friendly neighborhood game room chair has set up a Discord channel for us to use for these (or other similar) purposes during the MWM RG. Contact Andrew Siddons for an invite link. Any experience levels welcome!
  • Special program: From 1:30 – 2:30 on Saturday, we’re going to be play testing a new game called Monomyth with Jai Simone! Monomyth is a strategic 1-vs-many game where heroes must venture through a dungeon in order to defeat a villainous calamity. The playable villain will stop at nothing and must balance strengthening themselves and trying to kill those pesky do-gooders. 2-5 players. 45-90 minutes.

Volunteering is live!

Instead of raffling off next year’s RG registration for this year’s RG volunteers, we’re doing something new. Every 4 hours of volunteer work at this year’s RG (or just 2 hours of helping Monica with Hospitality in the early morning on Saturday and Sunday – 6am-8am or 8am-10am) nets you $25 in reimbursement on your 2022 registration. And it’s stackable, so 8 hours gets you $50 off! 

This requires a bit more attention than our usual setup, so this offer is only eligible for people who sign up for official volunteer shifts on this grid (or in person). Our shift leads (i.e., Andy for the Games Room, Monica for Hospitality, Melissa for Registration, Justin for Speaker Shepherds) will have to initial and confirm each volunteer’s shift hours in order for the volunteer work to qualify for the reimbursement. 

Click here to volunteer!

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t pitch in if a volunteer shift is taken. We need all of the help we can get 🙂 We’ll be adding any ad-hoc volunteers to a raffle for the remainder of the RG’s booze during our closing session.

Hard at Work: Life in the Red Light District of Tijuana

Hard at Work: Life in the Redlight District of Tijuana is an ongoing photo project by Lily J. Noonan that started in 2015. This popular and updated presentation discusses (and shows!) all the elements that are part of this wild, beautiful, disturbing, and fascinating place. Due to the graphic photos and Lily’s ample use of generally inappropriate terms, this presentation is for 18+ only.

Lily J. Noonan is a photographer based on the Eastern seaboard of the US and in Tijuana, Mexico. Lily’s primary motivation in shooting is to be able to look longer at faces and places on the fringes of society. Using wide angle lenses and a keen eye, she captures the full scene and emotion of the moment. Her first book of photographs – Collage de Rachel Wrong – was released this summer and reached #2 for new releases in Photo Essays on Amazon.

KEYNOTE! 007 is Dead, Long Live 007! 

Over six decades–1962-2021–the word “spy” became synonymous with “Bond, James Bond.” The commercial successes of the multibillion dollar Bond franchise was paralleled by an unprecedented growth of an America’s “intelligence community” anchored by the CIA. Just as Bond’s big screen fictional exploits created an international “super-spy,” the telling of the CIA’s real-world operations produced an image of a nearly mythical agency. Look closely and one discovers evolving themes of technology and tradecraft in the Bond films that parallel the history of the CIA, parallels that suggest how the future of espionage may unfold.

As a former head of the Office of Technical Service, the CIA’s gadget shop, Bob’s attention is drawn to “Q,” the Bond Quartermaster. Q, loosely based on a World War II British gadgeteer, Charles Fraser-Smith, outfitted Bond with every manner of weapons, explosives, communications, surveillance, concealment and transportation means. Similarly OTS supplied these capabilities to CIA agents. During the past sixty years, in film and at Langley’s laboratories, as technology evolved, so did the devices. Today’s question is, as it always has been in intelligence….. what comes next?

Bio: Robert Wallace is a retired senior CIA officer and author of a five award-winning non-fiction works on American espionage. Wallace’s book SPYCRAFT chronicles the history of CIA’s Office of Technical Service, a component some dubbed “America’s Q.”  He recently co-authored books of espionage history of Philadelphia, New York and Washington.

Wallace earned a BA from Ottawa University and an MA from Kansas University, served in Vietnam with 75th Infantry Rangers, then joined CIA in 1971. Responsibilities included Chief of Station, Director, Office of Technical Service and Acting Director Foreign Broadcast Information Service and contract oral historian for the Center for the Study of Intelligence.

The CIA honored Wallace with with two Donovan Awards for operational achievement, the Medal of Merit for program management, and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. In 2021, he received the Lloyd Salvetti Award for contributions to the public understanding of intelligence from the Central Intelligence Retirees Association.

Wallace has spoken at the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, US Presidential Libraries, Road Scholar programs and Viking Ocean Cruises and appeared on national television programs. He collaborated with film makers on intelligence related documentaries including Spy in the Hanoi Hilton and the 2021 Netflix series, Spycraft. Wallace enjoys catching any fish willing to take a hook. He and his wife, Mary Margaret, live in Reston, Virginia, and are members of the McLean Baptist Church.

Intoxicating Interests!

Do you have an urge to share a really embarassing hobby with strangers in 5 minutes or less? Bring your flash drive and some liquid courage, because you finally have a captive audience without a whole lot of pressure! We’ll actually hit a buzzer when your time is up, because we are here for a good time, not a long time.

Join Tabby Vos on this bizarre excursion into brisk, random programming. If you’re lucky (or nobody else volunteers), she’ll be able to take up the entire timeslot teaching you about fish sex (darling it’s better down where it’s wetter!) and/or all you never wanted to know about emus. But she’d prefer that you come prepared to preach.