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Journal: Burn, Baby, Burn!

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

"Sustainability" is, as far as I can see, a project designed to keep this culture - this lifestyle - afloat. The modern human economy is an engine of mass destruction. Of course, I am conflicted about this. I live at the heart of this machine; like you, I am a beneficiary of it. If it falls apart, I will probably suffer, and I don't want to. ...

I don't think any "climate movement" is going to reverse the tide of history, for one reason: We are all climate change. It is not the evil "1%" destroying the planet. We are all of us part of that destruction. This is the great, conflicted, complex situation we find ourselves in. I am climate change. You are climate change. Our culture is climate change. And climate change itself is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg, if you'll pardon the terrible but appropriate pun. If we were to wake up tomorrow to the news that climate change were a hoax or a huge mistake, we would still be living in a world in which extinction rates were between 100 and 1000 times natural levels and in which we have managed to destroy 25 percent of the world's wildlife in the last four decades alone."


Journal: Gimme Gimme Penicillin! 2

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

China 'seals off' town after man dies of bubonic plague
"A Chinese town has been sealed off and 151 people placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said Tuesday.

The 30,000 people living in Yumen in the northwestern province of Gansu are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on its perimeter are telling motorists to find alternative routes, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said.

Other reports said that earlier this month the 38-year-old victim had found a dead marmot, a small furry animal which lives on grasslands and is related to the squirrel.

He chopped it up to feed his dog but developed a fever the same day. He was taken to hospital after his condition worsened and died last Wednesday."

The Matrix

Journal: Property is Moral Opposite of Liberty 6

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Think about that, while you make absolute positions...

"...Liberty, as defined in its truest negative sense, is freedom from external restraint. This, along with the principle of self-ownership, commands that nobody shall have the right to act on the body of another without their consent. But "property rights" as Gobry slyly calls them gives people precisely that right. For a right to property is not a right over a piece of the world, but rather a right to act on the bodies of others: to attack and externally restrain those bodies without consent.

In a world that respects liberty, people are free to do whatever they'd like, provided they do not act on the body of another (e.g. externally restrain it). This requires that people may walk about the world as they please, grabbing and utilizing any of its various pieces and resources as they go. No person may stop them from doing so because such stopping would impose an external restraint on their body, a destruction of their negative liberty.

Yet, this kind of liberty-destroying external restraint is precisely what property ownership is. In fact, it is the only thing that property is: a social relation of violent exclusion wherein the "owner" has claimed a right to attack other human beings if they try to act on a particular piece of the world. Claiming a "property right" does not change the piece of world that it is meant to attach to, nor the person claiming it. It merely advertises a terrifying threat: everyone else's pre-existing liberty to use this piece of the world is hereby extinguished at my violent hands whether they consent to have their liberty so destroyed or not."

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Four

Journal by mcgrew

        An alarm woke me up at quarter to seven and for once I didn't mind a bit, and in fact I was glad it woke me up. I was in the middle of a really weird dream. A herd of cows was stampeding towards me, only they were running on their hind legs and somehow carrying big butcher knives in their front hooves, all singing a Chartov song while coming at me. Too many westerns, I guess.
        It was engine seventeen, something was wrong with it. I shut it down from the pilot room and started a pot of coffee perking before I shit, showered, and shaved. Destiny woke up about the time I was getting dressed.
        "What time is it?" she asked.
        "I don't know, maybe ten or fifteen after seven."
        "You're up early again!"
        "Yeah," I said. "Alarm woke me up from a really weird dream, something wrong with engine seventeen. I shut it down and corrected course so eight o'clock should be easy this morning. Hungry?"
        "I probably will be. What are you having?"
        "Steak and scrambled eggs and toast. Should I have the robot make you that?"
        "Sure, only I want my eggs sunny side up. Is there any good coffee made?"
        "Yeah, I made a pot, most of it is still left."
        She got out of bed and put on a robe and followed me into the dining room, where the robot was already cooking our breakfast. I put the news on. Not much new, some problem at that big Venus station, an outbreak of some disease they thought had been eradicated decades earlier. They were worried it might get back to Earth.
        I think they only have the news to scare people and make them worry.
        We ate our breakfast and drank coffee and Destiny started a second pot as I went back to the pilot room for the eight o'clock readings. Like I figured they were fine, and I was sure glad because this was going to be another busy day, what with number seventeen shut down and today I had to inspect cargo.
        The passenger section was, like usual, a big waste of time. Cargo were all asleep except the German woman, who was in the commons with Tammy, and a girl named Angel who was bending over the sink. She turned around and looked at me with those scary red monster eyes. I freaked out, ran, and ordered the door locked behind me and called Tammy.
        "We have a serious problem," I said. "Angel is going through withdrawal."
        "What? I left her a dose, someone must have stolen it. I'll be right there." She came running down the hall holding her fone. "How bad is she?"
        "Bad," I said. "Redeye bad."
        "Oh, no," she said. "I'll be right back, try to keep that door closed. If she gets out we're all dead."
        "Wait! Where are you going?"
        "To rig up a spray bottle. This is going to be very dangerous but it has to be done." She ran to her quarters.
        I had an idea and pulled out my fone. "Computer," I said, "what's the best way to knock that bitch out?"
        The fone said "Parse error, there are no female dogs on board and 'knock' is not in context. Please rephrase."
        Who programs these God damned stupid things, anyway? Back when computers were new, speculative fiction movies had computers that could think. These stupid computers sure can't. God damn it, I was going to have to talk like I went to college... only I ain't went to college, damn it.
        "Uh, how can I..." I had to think a minute. "Make the woman in cargo twenty two go to sleep fast with the least amount of harm?"
        The fone said "waiting until she falls asleep naturally would cause the least harm." Stupid computer.
        "What will cause her to, uh... lose consciousness quickly with the least amount of harm?"
        "Replacing the air with an inert gas would accomplish the task," it said. Whatever the hell an "inert gas" is.
        "Okay," I told it, "replace the air in cargo twenty two with an inert gas."
        "Please choose which inert gas you wish to replace it with."
        God damn computers! "What gas will knock... uh, put her to sleep with the least damage?"
        "Nitrogen, he..."
        "Computer, replace the air in cargo twenty two with nitrogen and then open the door when she goes to sleep."
        The door opened, and Tammy came running back carrying a spray bottle. "It's okay," I said. "She's not conscious, I knocked her out."
        "Wow, John, remind me not to piss you off," She said. She took care of Angel while I finished my inspection. There was some minor damage to her sink, and I wondered what the hell that crazy animal was trying to do. As I was leaving the room, a medic Tammy had summoned rolled in.
        I'd do the commons and sick bay after the engines and generators.
        Everything was fine down there, all things considered. The generator was a little warm, but readings said it had been a lot warmer at seven.
        All the engines except seventeen were fine. Seventeen had shorted out; we were lucky the alarm went off or either the generator would have probably been damaged so bad it would have to be rebuilt, or the rest of the engines might have fried, or both. I logged it; the robot was already working on it. We'd be fine with only one engine out. At one time earlier in the trip I'd had three or four that weren't lit, but there are a hell of a lot of the huge things.
        I checked out the rest of the monstrously big things. That's where I spend most of my work day usually, downstairs inspecting engines since there were so many of them and they all had to be inspected.
        I trudged back up the five damned flights of stairs and decided to have lunch before finishing inspections; it was already twelve thirty and I was starved.
        I had a cheeseburger and Afghan style fried potatoes for lunch. Destiny had a steak chef salad, joking about pork. Her pig jokes made me think about the German woman.
        "I still have a little more work," I told her. "Engines took forever today because of number seventeen, I spent half an hour on just that one alone. I still have to inspect the sick bay and commons. Want to go for a walk when we finish eating?"
        "Sure," she said. "I'll come along."
        We finished eating and walked to sick bay. I inspected it and we went into the commons, where Lek and Tammy were drinking coffee and eating turkey sandwiches. Lek was still wearing clothes and acting pretty damned ladylike for a dropper. Tammy was doing some damned good work with that one, she should be proud.
        We got back home at two or three and destiny put on an old two dimensional comedy western named "Wagons East". It was a really silly movie and we laughed our asses off watching it. Destiny said that part of this one had to be done in a computer because one of the stars, the fat guy who played the wagon master, died before they finished shooting and they had to map his face to a body double. She said computers used in movies was still really new when that one was made.
        When it was over we ate a poor man's dinner; prime rib, baked potato, salad, and wine. I only drank one glass, I hate hangovers. Especially wine hangovers.
        I did have two beers while we watched The Underpass. That's a new one, you guys probably saw it already.
        We listened to some old classical blues and cuddled when it was over and went to bed.

The Internet

Journal: Was the Internet Created for Covert Domestic Surveillance?

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

"From its creation by DoD contracts and grants to research institutions, there have been aspersions cast by those easily dismissed as "fringe" commentators, on the nefarious, or at least covert, motivation to create the Internet. Conspiracy theory may have been met by reality in recent months with now commonplace reporting, first by Wikileaks and later, in the more extensive Edward Snowden revelations. It is still almost canon, that NSA mass-surveillance and warrantless information analysis occurred through coopting the burgeoning Internet, and diverting traffic in a way that is counter to the ideals of its creators and promoters. But what if the social, commercial Internet were always intended as a sort of giant honeypot? The idea would still seem farfetched, if it weren't recently disclosed by William Binney that the NSA is recording 80% of all US phone conversations â" not simply metadata. Closer examination of the record shows that ARPAnet was being used to clandestinely gather information on the legitimate activities of US citizens â" and transmit the information to the US Army Intelligence Command NSA â" as far back as 1968! According to articles published in 1975 by MIT in "The Tech":

  "via the ARPANET, a computer network connecting more than 50 government agencies and universities throughout the country. The network is funded by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)... The information, according to intelligence sources, was transferred and stored at the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA), at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Army files were transmitted on the ARPANET in about January 1972, sources say, more than two years after the material â" and the data banks maintained at the [Army's] Fort Holabird facility â" were ordered destroyed."

MIT officials were worried 40 years ago, about this abuse of interconnected TCP communications and the complicity of their own research scientists. These concerns arose at the height of the Watergate fallout and downfall of President Nixon for illegal wiretapping and information theft allegations. The danger of Government "record keeping" was outlined by Senator Sam Ervin, in an address to MIT that was also profiled in the same publication. Clearly, this did not begin in the last decade, and clearly pre-dates the 2001 "Global War on Terror" pretext. It is important to remember, the NSA was an almost unknown agency at this time, and was chartered to strictly forbid intel on US citizens and those dwelling within US borders."

User Journal

Journal: Morgan Freeman on Mars

Journal by mcgrew

As I was going through Google News this morning I ran across an item about actor Morgan Freeman talking to a couple of astronauts on the ISS at a round table discussion at JPL before an audience of what looked like two or three hundred people, all of whom were JPL employees.

He was there with the producer of his show on the Science Channel Through the Wormhole and with its writer, a physicist.

There was no link from the newspaper article, but Google found it here on YouTube. Those of you who think we should go to Mars instead of "wasting time and money" on the ISS should watch it; it will be an eye opener for you.

Everyone else is likely to enjoy the presentation as much as I did. All sorts of science is discussed, and there's a fascinating part about testing parachutes for Mars landings. There's also a clip from Through the Wormhole and it looks to be as good as Cosmos, although I haven't watched any full episodes.

I was surprised to find that Mr. Freeman is a fan of science fiction. When he asked for a show of hands, asking who was alive to see the moon landing, maybe a half dozen raised their hands, although most of the audience was interns.

For those of you, like me, who don't have cable or your provider doesn't offer that channel, more googling found that all the episodes are online here.

User Journal

Journal: Nobots Chapter Thirty Three 2

Journal by mcgrew

        An alarm woke me up at quarter after six. What the hell? Fire in P117? I put on a robe, and as I trudged down there Tammy was running into the commons. I wondered what was going on.
        I got to Passenger quarters 117 and it was a damned drill, the light wasn't flashing and I didn't smell any smoke. I really didn't expect to, because except for Tammy's quarters none of the rest of the passenger section was occupied and wall panels blowing up is pretty rare. Most fires are caused by old maids and on this trip, stupid passengers. I don't know why they have those things cleaning empty quarters.
        I passed Tammy on the way back. "I missed Rilla," she said. "I forgot she got up early to eat."
        As I passed the commons on the way home I saw the obese blonde German woman leaning back in a chair, an eyedropper on the floor next to her. I'm glad I read Tammy's book, she was going to want a dildo in a minute or two and I sure didn't want it to be me. I hurried back to my quarters and started coffee, since it was too late to go back to sleep, and headed to the head to pee.
        Zero G football was in the semifinals and I caught the last quarter of the game. Belgium beat Brazil two to one. I told the robot to make scrambled eggs, toast, and hash browns and went to shit and shower.
        God DAMN that Mexican food, my asshole was on fire! It felt like I was shitting flames. Why do I keep forgetting what spicy food does to my asshole? Fuck!
        When I got out of the shower Destiny was at the table wearing a robe and drinking coffee. "G'mornin' sunshine," she said. "You're sure up early."
        "Yeah, I had an alarm. Just a drill, though. What time is it?"
        "I don't know."
        "Computer, what damned... no, back up. What time is it onboard the ship?"
        "The present time is seven twelve."
        I decided to set up a holographic map of EMF in my living room, even though it would be a while before we saw any pirates. I didn't know it then but they would show up early. Way too early.
        Destiny had the news on the video. Some scandal in the capitol but I wasn't paying attention; I still hadn't had enough coffee.
        At five 'til eight I went to the pilot room. Everything checked out, so before I started my inspection I set another holographic map up in there as well.
        The maps marked spacemarks and radio transmissions and used what engineers called a "passive radar system" to mark objects but I really don't know what that means. I thought "I'm taking some classes when I reach Mars."
        The passenger section was, as usual, fine. The commons, however â" it was empty and I smelled smoke. It was one of the waiters. I pulled out my fone. "Computer, shut R47 down and send a repair robot."
        I went outside and called the computer again, instructing it to seal the commons and depressurize it until R47 was powered down and taken in for repairs. I'd have to finish inspecting the commons when I was done with the rest of the inspection.
        The German woman walked up looking angry. "Hey, Joe," she said with her heavy accent, "I'm hungry, why is the restaurant closed?"
        The passenger section had quarters like apartments with their own cooking and serving and coffee robots, but cargo quarters are single rooms with a sink and toilet, although of course there's also furniture in them. People flying in the cargo section have to eat in the commons, or have robots bring it from there.
        "One of the robots is smoking so there's no air in there right now. It won't be long before you can eat."
        "But I'm starved!"
        Tammy walked up. "Hi, John, what's going on?"
        "Smoking robot," I said. "Shouldn't take more than ten minutes."
        "Ten minutes!" the blonde said. "I'll die of starvation!"
        Tammy said "I'll take care of it, John." Right then a robot wheeled up and the commons door opened. Tammy and the fat girl went inside and I went to the sick bay as the robot dragged the other robot out.
        Sick bay was fine, so it was time for the stairs. Damned stairs.
        The working generator was okay, as were the engines, except seventeen. I started number sixty three back up and noted it in the log. Even twenty four checked out so I restarted it as well. No robot today, so I started it back up. Seventeen was good, too, so I started it back up as well.
        The broken generator was still broken, of course. But everything else was in great shape for once. I trudged back up the stairs.
        The only one in the commons was Lek, the one who could talk okay. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and sipping coffee. A dropper with coffee? According to Tammy's book that shouldn't happen. I called Tammy and gave her the news.
        "Wow," she said. "I'll be right there."
        Lek said "Hello, Captain."
        I said hello and finished my inspection as Tammy came in carrying a pot of coffee and sat down with Lek. "Here, Lek," she said, "I brought some good coffee. But should you be drinking coffee at all?"
        "Animals no drink coffee," Lek said, "and I no want be animal. I not remember what coffee supposed to taste like."
        I left her to Tammy, she was the expert, after all, and I went home.
        "You're later than usual," Destiny said.
        "Busy morning. Smoking robot, hungry fat girl, started a couple of engines..."
        "Okay, okay," she said laughing. "Lets have lunch. T-bone and mashed potatoes and slaw okay?"
        "Sure." I had the robot bring me a glass of shike.
        We took a short walk then watched some old two dimensional movie about the American Civil War, even though the actual war part only took a couple of minutes. I think it was called "Lincoln". By the time it was over it was supper time. We watched one of the movies Destiny called a "spaghetti western", listened to some Chartov for a while and went to bed.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben