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User Journal

Journal Journal: A License to Access the Net is Elitist Rubbish

I read this slashdot article. It is more elitist rubbish. People do more pervasive damage with their sexual organs with making children they can't support. But pushing for fertility licenses will probably get you shot (unless you're writing science fiction about it a la Larry Niven).

The net is a library and soapbox that also runs programs. Current library models simply want to know who you are (liability for items borrowed; residency requirements for use of tax money), and don't license you per se. And the soapbox issue is rather clearly stated under speech freedoms and restrictions (at least in certain countries).

The problem is in the programs (and to some extent the data -- like MP3s and warez -- which may a hidden agenda behind such licensing suggestions, like classism and racism can be for fertility ones). And the elitism comes into play when whatever licensing scheme you'd envision just automatically takes the current list of the usual suspects and plugs them right back into the grid -- such as any programmer working for a corporation. And we all know that none of those folks produce viruses, right? Sheesh.

Y'all are worried about the 5cr1p7 k1dd135, but there's a larger problem that bumping them off the net won't solve. The heart of the problem is that people who don't have lines of trust with other people still have lines of communication and economics. I never quite understood the motivation to open one's servers to the Internet, to the extent it usually is, as it has happened all along the way. It must've been the "irrational exuberance" to grow things as large as possible, which guaranteed that security and trust would be stretched too thin. Bitnet et al were better models, but they grew too slowly for this horseshit modern thinking about explosive growth. Bitnetty technology would've produced a worldwide internetwork ... in time. It would've been worth the wait.

Well, y'all wanted to be able to send email around the world in minutes if not seconds, so be prepared to be r00t3d every week or so due to that horrendously pervasive infrastructure. License folks all you want; your beloved system of equipment and connections is inherently insecure and will allow the inevitable thousands of troublemakers across the world to bring it grief.

Let's put all our appliances on the net, too, so someone can activate our stove while we're gone and burn the fucking house down. Twits.
User Journal

Journal Journal: The Lesson of Hans Landau

If you work in the computer field and don't read science fiction, we'd worry about you. There are exceptions that test ("prove") a rule, but that's a pretty severe test.

And if you ARE a compuphile and you DO read science fiction, but haven't read stories from Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix universe, then it goes beyond doubt -- you're a poseur, a fraud, a fake. Sterling's stories are a requirement for the scientific mind of our age. The collection/novel "Schismatrix" itself is a litmus test for withstanding "constant future shock". It's a screening test for post-Humanism in the biological sense.

From those stories, there is the story of Hans Landau, and it has recently struck me as a parallel to the continued collapse of the American Empire.

In the story, Hans is a young scientist and engineer in one of the factions in Czarina Kluster, which itself is one of the power centers of Human civilization in the Solar System. Like the rest of Human powers in that future time, it accreted around a theme (item or idea), and this particular kluster's theme was an alien queen who was living in exile from her race. Her race held the secret to fast interstellar travel, hence Humanity was finding itself subservient to them in a strong economic sense. Czarina Kluster was founded quickly and grew very powerful.

Hans's daily pursuit was involved with an upcoming paradigm shift, in which Mars would be terraformed by a newly accreted faction. As with any faction, there are predecessors, and Hans was one of them. So, in a sense, his loyalties were already divided. The story implied that he would join Terraform Kluster once it arose.

To this end, his work involved lichens, living on and inside rocks. This would serve the end of terraformation, but for now, for money, Hans had hit upon a method of getting the lichens to grow inside gemstones, or crystalline rocks that would become gems once he transformed them with a lichen infestation. And of course, he had one of his first successes all prepared to present as gift to the wealth-drenched "Cicada Queen". ("Czarina Kluster" = CK = cee-KAY = sih-KAY-duh = "Cicada").

At this point, we can see directly and indirectly, that Hans Landau was a young, productive member of his local society (which is a bit of a redundancy in Sterling's universe since local and society were mutually supportive). Hans benefited from the stability (defense and support) he received from the Czarina Kluster; in return, he had produced an item of marketable value, which could help his Kluster not only by direct wealth, but by the 2nd strength of any faction: reputation.

C-K had a singular weakness -- it was an accretion around the alien Queen, and as such, anything that happened to her would happen to the entire Kluster. This society was very strong, but was brittle like glass. One impact (like the disappearance of the Queen, which happened in the story) could shatter it ... therefore making a bit of a mockery of its strength. Glass is strong but brittle, so you'd better not build bridges with it.

As the Kluster neared collapse (and everything seemed fine until it happened), Hans found himself the object of several highly-placed schemers, and was eventually attacked twice in quick succession.

The first attack was by some initially unknown councilor or adviser to the Queen. The object of the attack was ... yes, you guessed it, Hans's proprietary method of gem-lichen growth. While Hans was rendered helpless from this attack, a more powerful attack commenced by the 2nd councilor. At first, the 2nd attack saved Hans from the 1st one, and once rescued he was taken to the "palace" of the Queen (essentially her starship). But the subtlety of the 2nd attack became clear in due time; the 2nd councilor ended up demanding that Hans cede his gem-lichen patent to C-K to stave off upcoming market instability.

Hans refused both of these attackers. Both attackers threatened to destroy his life. And both attackers failed to follow one of the most basic precepts of sustainable society:

Live within the means of the members of your society.

The greed and incompetance of governors shows up over time as increased taxation and decreased services. People like Hans could produce and produce over generations, and all the while the social percentage could collect ... as long as it was small, leaving incentive behind and producing stability forward. But that's not within the ineptitude of the ruling class. Eventually, the socioeconomics of the Western model demand utter confiscation to delay the crash ... which must come anyway, and the longer it is put off, the harder the crash hits.

Modern America should find Sterling's story to be an allergorical mirror. The bases to American power include not just a nuclear military, but also a long history of stomping across the world as an abusive Imperium. The hatred generated by such activities will come home to America eventually. And up to the point of catastrophe, the American society will start to eat its own belly, trouncing producers to make up for the generations of mis-spending of the Imperial percentage.

Taxation on corporations is dropping, and the producers (workers) are expected to make up the difference. This cannot continue, and catastrophe looms (as those who know can see). Hans almost ended up being confiscated and auctioned off as a slave ... he was lucky to have avoided that, and was allowed by the 2nd councilor to leave C-K. How many common Americans will be so lucky?
User Journal

Journal Journal: The Identity Fraud Topic Made Me Lose Control

It's 11pm, and I have to get up at 4am to hold some Cisco VPN router's hand. Gotta be there at 5am just in case something goes wrong. Shit. And then I chose -- freely and of my own will -- to catch some Slashdot.

That's when I came across the Identity Fraud Countermeasures topic, and after reading a bit, I fired off two posts in reply.

It's too late, and now I'm too angry. We are such sheep. People are so scared of business systems that are obviously setup to scam them out of all their capital. They just go along with the gag, not realizing (a la The Comedian) that it's all a joke and they have taken it too seriously.

I've watched people fight back on the debt thing. All kinds of charges are laid on us today, fraudulent and otherwise. Businesses have taken the upper hand, but that hand is rather tenuous and can't exert Adam Smith's legendary force if we stop believing. Once we stop believing, we see the smoke and mirrors, and the truth comes out. We are not powerless. We can fight. And we really can't be made real victims of identity theft, since we did NOT setup the fraud-prone systems that allow the theft to happen. The con is upon the business world.

The sheep have irritated me tonight, and it's time to bow out lest I lose all my position. Good night.

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Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson