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Commentary :: International
Selected Correspondence
09 Dec 2010
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.
(President Theodore Roosevelt)
Selected Correspondence:
Wed 29 Aug 2007 : Iirrationality in argument
The truth is not found on the page, but is a wayward sprite that bursts forth from the readers mind for reasons of its own. I once thought that the Truth was a set comprised of all the things that were true, and the big truth could be obtained by taking all its component propositions and evaluating them until nothing remained. I would approach my rhetorical battles as a logical reductionist, tearing down, atomizing, proving, disproving, discarding falsehoods and reassembling truths until the Truth was pure, golden and unarguable. But then, when truth matters most, when truth is the agent of freedom, I stood before Justice and with truth, lost freedom. Here was something fantastical, unbelievable and impossible, you could prove that (A => B) and (B => C) and (C => D) and (D => F) Justice would nod its head and agree, but then, when you turned to claim your coup de grace, A => F irrevocably, Justice would demur and revoke the axiom of transitivity, for Justice will not be told when F stands for freedom. Transitivity is evoked when Justice imagines F and finding the dream a pleasurable one sets about gathering cushions to prop up their slumber. Here then is the truth about the Truth; the Truth is not bridge, sturdy to every step, a marvel of bound planks and supports from the known into the unknown, but a surging sea of smashed wood, flotsam and drowning sailors. So first, always pick your poetic metaphor, to make the reader want to believe, then the facts, and -- miracle! -- transitivity will descend from heaven, invoked as justification for prejudice.
Often we suffer to read, "But if we believe X then we'll have to...", or "If we believe X it will lead to...". This has no reflection on the veracity of X and so we see that outcomes are treated with more reverence than the Truth. It stings us, but natural selection has spun its ancestral yarns from physically realized outcomes, robustly eschewing the vapor thread of platonism as an abomination against the natural order, fit only for the gossip of monks and the page.
Yet just as we feel all hope is lost and we sink back into the miasma, back to the shadow world of ghosts and gods, a miracle arises; everywhere before the direction of self interest is known, people yearn to see where its compass points and then they hunger for truth with passion and beauty and insight. He loves me. He loves me not. Here then is the truth to set them free. Free from the manipulations and constraints of the mendacious. Free to choose their path, free to remove the ring from their noses, free to look up into the infinite voids and choose wonder over whatever gets them though. And before this feeling to cast blessings on the profits and prophets of truth, on the liberators and martyrs of truth, on the Voltaires, Galileos, and Principias of truth, on the Gutenburgs, Marconis and Internets of truth, on those serial killers of delusion, those brutal, driven and obsessed miners of reality, smashing, smashing, smashing every rotten edifice until all is ruins and the seeds of the new.
Sat 16 Jun 2007 : Nataliya
Did I ever tell you about the time Nataliya took me out to go get a drink with her? We go off looking for a bar and we can't find one. Finally Nataliya takes me to a vacant lot and says, 'Here we are.' We sat there for a year and a half, until sure enough, someone constructs a bar around us. Well, the day they opened we ordered a shot, drank it, and then burned the place to the ground. Nataliya yelled over the roar of the flames, 'Always leave things the way you found 'em!'
(with apologies)
Sat 16 Jun 2007 : Everyone and no one wants to save the world
When the world extended to one's surrounding hills and mountains and over them was only legend, saving the world was approchable and a natural activity to all of independent character.
You do not need to justify the possession of these noble instincts. Such attributes are normally distributed. You have a constellation of these attributes and that makes you who you are. Recognise that the substantial ones are invariant.
You must satisfy your invariant instincts or you will be at odds with your own character. It is only when we are not at odds with our basic makeup that we can find life meaningful.
To exercise your instinct for saving the world, requires saving what you perceive to be the world.
Being modern, educated and wordly, the world you perceive is immense and this is disempowering compared to the valley world of your ancestors where your feelings were forged and where saving 10 people saved 10% of the "world"'s population.
Here lays the difficulty in actualising your character. Your perception is of a world so vast that that you can not envisage your actions making a meaningful difference.
People try to fool themselves and others into believing that one can ``think globally and act locally', however to anyone with a sense of proportion (not most people, btw) thinking globaly makes acting locally seem to be a marginal activity. It's not setting the world to rights.
To meaningfully interact with the world, you have to either constrain your perception of what it is back to valley proportions by eschewing all global information (most of us here have engaged on just the opposite course which is what has provoked this discussion), losing your sense of perspective, or start seriously engaging with the modern perception of the world.
That latter path can be hard to find, because it is only satisfied by creating ideas or inventions that have a global impact. Perhaps I have found one, and there's others out there, but for most people of your character a combination of eschewing knowledge of those parts of the world they can't change, and robust engagement with the parts they can is probably optimal.
Do not be concerned about when one is to do good, who defines good, etc. Act in the way you do because to do otherwise would to be at odds would to be at odds with yourself. Being on a path true to your character carries with it a state of flow, where the thoughts about your next step come upon waking, unbidden, but welcome.
I support similarly minded people, not because they are moral agents, but because they have common cause with my own feelings and dreams.
Sat 09 Jun 2007 : The United what of America?
It has been frequently noted that many corporations exceed nation states in GDP. It has been less frequently noted that some also exceed them in population (employees).
But it is odd that the comparison hasn't been taken further. Since so many live in the state of the corporation, let us take the comparison seriously and ask the following question. What kind of states are giant corporations?
In comparing countries, after the easy observations of population size and GDP, it is usual to compare the system of government, the major power groupings and the civic freedoms available to their populations.
The corporation as a nation state has the following properties:
• Suffrage (the right to vote) does not exist except for land holders ("share holders") and even there voting power is in proportion to land ownership.
• All executive power flows from a central committee. Female representation is almost unknown.
• There is no division of powers. There is no forth estate. There are no juries and innocence is not presumed.
• Failure to submit to any order can result in instant exile.
• There is no freedom of speech. There is no right of association. Love is forbidden without state approval.
• The economy is centrally planned.
• There is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communication.
• The society is heavily regulated and this regulation is enforced, to the degree many employees are told when, where and how many times a day they can goto the toilet.
• There is almost no transparency and something like the FOIA is unimaginable.
• The state has one party. Opposition groups (unions) are banned, surveilled or marginalized whenever and wherever possible.
These large multinationals, despite having a GDP and population comparable to Belgium, Denmark or New Zealand have nothing like their quality of civic freedoms. Internally they mirror the most pernicious aspects of the 1960s Soviet. This even more striking when the civilising laws of region the company operates in are weak (e.g West Pupua or South Korea). There one can see the behavior of these new states clearly, unobscured by their surroundings.
If small business and non-profits are eliminated from the US, then what's left? Some kind of federation of Communist states.
A United Soviet of America.
Fri 13 Apr 2007 : Kurt Vonnegut dies
Kurt Vonnegut is dead. A friend and iconoclast, he died last night aged 85. Vonnegut was the author of over 20 books, including "Slaughter House Five", written about his experiences as a PoW during the Dresden firebombing. On the night of the firebombing, 30,000 civilians were burnt to death and most of Dresden's buildings were destroyed. Vonnegut hid with other PoWs in a slaughterhouse basement.
Five years ago, I spent the winter exploring the former East German town. I learnt that Australian Army hiking boots are good to minus 7 degrees, but at minus 8, heat flows out of the soles. I learnt that every major building in Dresden, from the Opera House to the Dresden Museum, was a socialist re-construction. I learnt that for even for a whole city the essential can be invisible to the eye.
As a successful author Vonnegut sometimes pushed whimsy into self- indulgence, fueled by a cult following in the the youth movement of the United States, which, lacking other role models or serious tasks, anointed him a genius. Yet in "Slaughter House Five", this confidence and littery flexibility gave Vonnegut what he needed to reveal a major allied atrocity to a generation that was sick of hearing stories about the war. This book seeded the belief system of a generation that would eventually react against similar atrocities inflicted on the Vietnamese.
Here is part of an an excellent longer interview with Vonnegut on Australian Radio last year. Even in this fragment Kurt's acuity and character shine.
ABC mp3 recording
Tue 13 Mar 2007 : Do electric sheep dream of f16's?
In the morning, the call to prayer rises from mosque to citadel, the sun lights the haze into a furnace, glowing and aglow, casting long golden shadows into dusty streets, where swallows swoop on blinking gendarmes, while above them young girls water roof top sheep and pigeon boys climb their hutches to wave great checkered flags at distant points in the sky.
Mon 26 Feb 2007 : Decisions made by a group reflect its membership
Insofar as our decisions are an expression of who we are, we must make sure that we do not lack courage. Insofar as we want a full range of intellectual opinions, we must have the courage to accept the full range of emotional inclinations that lay behind them.
Mon 26 Feb 2007 : Average shy intellectuals
X is an "average shy intellectual" and in that is a sounding for characters of his type. This type is often of a noble heart, wilted by fear of conflict with authority. The power of their intellect and noble instincts may lead them to a courageous position, where they see the need to take up arms, but their instinctive fear of authority then motivates them to find rationalizations to avoid conflict.
Mon 26 Feb 2007 : Carbon offsetting
Green house legislation is the distillation of political forces marshaled by science, economic foresight, activism, paranoia, the desire for change, leadership, sycophantalism, pleasure in moral whipping, settling scores, conservatism and those psychological forces which drive them. But in some countries we may accept the legislation as a given and turn our eyes the phenomena which flows from it but whose path to the sea is not yet clear:
In order to understand carbon offsetting we must first agree on what we accept for the sake of the argument. Here is a guess:
1. global warming is a problem
2. atmospheric CO2 significantly contributes to gobal warming
3. a reduction in increase of atmospheric CO2 now significantly reduces the effects of global warming in a meaningful time frame
4. atmospheric CO2 levels are substantially under human control
5. of the CO2 production under human control a significant quantity comes from human enterprize
6. reducing CO2 production is a cost effective means of addressing global warming relative to other means
I'm not sure I buy 6. but whatever. We are now tasked to reduce human emissions of CO2 although X may claim that there's a 7. lurking -- the continued moral fibre of individuals in the body politic. That's a more difficult question, which calls from great sympathy, but let us first work with what we can see clearly.
We have only two questions (a) is carbon offsetting effective? and (b) is it efficient compared to the alternatives?
Carbon offsetting by corporations is not motivated by moral considerations. It is motivated by legislation or self-regulation backed up by the threat of legislation.
It is effectively a tax on CO2 production, with the tax money going to industries that soak up carbon.
Now here comes the realpolitik beauty of carbon offsetting. CO2 producers favor it, since compared to outright bans and limits, taxes have greater flexibility and predictability. Hence fearing the whip of pending banning legislation, producers support this tax they would have normally hated. An increasingly powerful industry lobby group is created by those who take CO2 and the middlemen who find them. This lobby group is sees its interest as increasing the carbon transfer tax to the highest levels possible and to ferret our deception by CO2 producers! As an industry, it is a far more stable influence that the vagarities of popular political opinion. Even bureaucrats love it, as they now have their hands in another three industries.
Hence this is an effective real politic way of introducing, sustaining and increasing a cabon tax that would have great difficulties surviving as disconnected tax and grant system.
That answers (a). (b) remains an interesting question, as does what a clever realpolitik solution would look like for funding those alternatives.
If we have a serious problem, we are tasked to re-engineer the world using the best political, psychological and technological tricks we can come up with.
Mon 26 Feb 2007 : The right thing to do
People are motivated to follow happiness and flee from pain. These feelings *exist* to color our memories with our physiology so that we may extract meaning our experiences. It's a tautology to say that people do what makes them happy -- despite this, one often sees claims that there exist no altruistic acts, because such actions are the end product of people trying to maximize their happiness. This is to define aultrism out of existence, remove a useful word with which to partition our observations of reality. Instead, we may say that some people's happiness is bound up with other people's happiness and these people should be supported because of the obvious common cause with our own feelings.
A weaker form of the conservative argument (not mentioned here) is that a portion of seemly altruistic acts are covers for the fear associated with guilt.
When my eyes see phrases like 'right thing to do', 'appropriate' etc, I wonder what unstated world view I am meant to share. These phases smell of that unusually putrid whip; social sanction. But every man has experienced social sanction as the direct manifestation of morons baying at the moon, nodding and calling the result consensus.
Here, in Africa, there was a two page fold out on the "Night Runner" plague. Plague? Yes. Of people -- typically old, who supposedly run around naked at night (remember the population has pitch black African skin tones), tapping on windows, throwing rocks on peoples roofs, snapping twigs, rustling grass, casting spells and getting lynched because it's "the right thing to do".
Insofar as we can affect the world, let it be to utterly eliminate guilt and fear as a motivator of man and replace it cell for cell with love for one another and the passion of creation.
Wed 03 Jan 2007 : The Australian lagoon
Australia is a lagoon in a sea of english which, having no translation tarrif, washes over us, sweeps our new thoughts away and blends into those that remain, until we no longer know whose thoughts we are.
Industries can dump pig iron to crush foreign production and they can also dump words. Billions of these ideas, already produced for another english market and having no translation tarrifs or transport costs slither into the country unheeded, stricken local journalists and set their burrows in our brains.
We're part of the big english world; this is our reality -- so when we fight, we must fight like kings. When we write about the sea we must write to the sea.
Wed 03 Jan 2007 : Witnessing
Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love. In a modern economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice.
If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of love we can find.
If we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that draws on all our powers. Let it be with similar types whos hearts and heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to find the start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in their wandering eyes.
The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering. Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them.
Wed 03 Jan 2007 : Automated authoritarianism
I've always been dubious about PGP's web-of-collusion and signing-deniability-away, although it's a lot better than the automated authoritarian's wet dream that passes for CAs.
I loathe these ("everything which is not explicitly permitted is denied") security types, whose idea of nirvana is the cyberspace analog to re-writing the laws of physics so it is not possible to shift in your chair without written authority. Behind their keyboards they must make concurrent salutes to the Fuhrer, Baal and Jack Straw.
Sun 31 Dec 2006 : Doing the pentagon poker
All who spend time in the spy world soon come to the view that the rest of the population lives their life in a sea fog as a tiny piece of cork buffeted by a vast ocean of concealed truth. True enough, but economics and scientific progress still dominates the spy world as every black budget bureaucrat finds to their classified horror when budget time arrives and they 'do the Pentagon poker'.
Sun 31 Dec 2006 : The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance
You may want to read The Road to Hanoi or Conspiracy as Governance ; an obscure motivational document, almost useless in light of its decontextualization and perhaps even then. But if you read this latter document while thinking about how different structures of power are differentially affected by leaks (the defection of the inner to the outer) its motivations may become clearer.
The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.
Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.
Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he has to know what's actually going on.
Sun 24 Dec 2006 : The pending total annihilation of the US regime in Somalia
The US backed Somali "government", the Somali Transitional National Assembly (TNA), faces total annihilation, avoidable only by an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia and the creation of a Quisling regime.
In the past year the TNA has been routed from all regions of Somalia by the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and now holds only Baidoa, a middling town close to the Ethiopian border. The "government" has already lost the capital, Mogadishu. The TNA is a US supported power broker club with many detested warlords, including those behind the 1991 atrocities in Black Hawk Down. Its hold on Baidoa is weak and has only been maintained in the last 24 hours by aggressive Ethiopian air-strikes, artillery and the invasion of 10 to 20 thousand Ethiopian troops. Ethiopia is the traditional, hated enemy of Somalis. Whatever legitimacy the TNA may have had with Somalias is now completely lost. The Molotov-Tribbentrop Pact is statesmanship compared to cynicism behind the TNA inviting Ethiopian troops and artillery into Somalia.
It's worth pausing to reflect on the high power to wealth ratio of community building islamist movements such as the UIC when operating against well funded US/UN led democracy wagons. It appears the US promise of neocorporatism, i.e better shopping does not move the heart to engage in the cooperation, love and sacrifice demanded by war. The other US promise, democracy, is a difficult abstraction (try drawing it), and like all such abstractions, easily abused by those seeking power for other agendas. It is an alleged means to an end, not an end in itself. There's no human instinct for democracy.
Consider the US Declaration of Independence (1776), a document which is the distillation of instinctive desires which drove men to war and kept them there. What are these desires?
...God.. Creator.. created equal... Life, Liberty,... pursuit of Happiness.. Safety and Happiness... [followed by 26 paragraphs of hatred for the abuses of King George].
In other words, religious / community feeling (x2), equality, life, liberty, happiness (x2), safety, and above all, an extreme hatred for the brutal acts, preferment, and corruption of foreign influenced or controlled government.
Not once does better shopping or its alleged antecedent democracy appear.
This doesn't bode well for the Iraqi Provisional Authority or the Somali Transitional National Assembly -- at least, the British, pontificating and powdered though they may have been, shared the same language and religion.
If the US administration wants to inspire Somalis and others to support its regimes, it'll have to do better than promises of better shopping and handwaving means into ends.
Sun 24 Dec 2006 : IP over PPP over DNS over IP
In a world with radio waves flowing all around, it should be possible
for people's thoughts to be as
anonymous as the ether that caresses their skin.

I wrote the following (using ruby and the mDNS library). It's amusing
and pleasing for wireless travel
or anonymity provided one has a domain name server somewhere. There
are many situations where
DNS is available but not other types of routing (e.g Starbucks).
Works under Unix and OS X.

You can get the code here:

An example:

proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# ls -l crafty.rb
-rw-r--r-- 1 proff proff 9106 Sep 20 18:00 crafty.rb
proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# ruby crafty.rb
[1]+ Stopped ruby crafty.rb
proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# bg
[1]+ ruby crafty.rb &
proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# ifconfig ppp0
ppp0: flags=8051 mtu 1500
inet --> netmask 0xff000000
proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# ifconfig ppp1
ppp1: flags=8051 mtu 1500
inet --> netmask 0xff000000
proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# tail /var/log/system.log
Sep 20 18:12:40 proffs-computer pppd[3434]: pppd 2.4.2 (Apple version
233-10) started by proff, uid 0
Sep 20 18:12:40 proffs-computer pppd[3435]: pppd 2.4.2 (Apple version
233-10) started by proff, uid 0
Sep 20 18:12:40 proffs-computer pppd[3434]: Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/
Sep 20 18:12:40 proffs-computer pppd[3435]: Connect: ppp1 <--> /dev/
Sep 20 18:12:46 proffs-computer pppd[3435]: local IP address
Sep 20 18:12:46 proffs-computer pppd[3435]: remote IP address
Sep 20 18:12:46 proffs-computer pppd[3434]: local IP address
Sep 20 18:12:46 proffs-computer pppd[3434]: remote IP address
proffs-computer:~/crafty/src root# ssh -l proff
Last login: Wed Sep 20 17:58:52 2006 from
Welcome to Intelligent-Design!
proffs-computer:~ proff$ w proff
18:14 up 2 days, 15:13, 6 users, load averages: 0.58 0.28 0.30
proff console - Mon03 2days -
proff q0 - 17:56 13 bash
proff q2 18:14 - w proff
proffs-computer:~ proff$

It is not documented, optimized, or made user friendly, or multi-
user, but the code should be readable and
if people with ruby or DNS knowledge are interested and wish to
optimize it or otherwise make it smile
then I will assist.

crafty.rb uses my logic suite, which I have
prepended for ease of use.

Wed 20 Dec 2006 : black hawk down, white wash up
Something worth noting about the unusual relative power of community building islamist movements when operating against well funded US led democracy wagons as evidenced by the recent victories of the Somali UIC; the promise of better shopping does not move the heart to the great acts of love or sacrifice required in war. "Democracy" is a difficult abstraction that is easily abused (try drawing it). It is a means to an end, not the end itself. There's no instinctive desire for democracy. Consider the US Declaration of Independence (1776), a document which is the distillation of psychological forces which drove men to civil war and kept them there. What are those forces?
...God.. Creator.. Men are created equal... Life, Liberty,... pursuit of Happiness.. Safety and Happiness... [followed by 26(!) paragraphs of hatred for the abuses of King George].
In other words, religious feeling (x2), equality, life, liberty, happiness (x2), safety and above all, an extreme hatred for the brutal acts, preferment, and corruption of foreign influenced or controlled government.
Not once does democracy or shopping appear.
This doesn't bode well for the Iraqi provisional authority -- at least the British spoke the same language.
Sun 17 Dec 2006 : Freenet
Ian Clark's Freenet has forums. However, they have zero political impact
because only very highly motivated users can perceive them.
We want to stand and fight AND run and hide, falling back to the
next technical defense only when political defenses are over come.
This requires placing trust in some people. That's ok. We can engineer
a situation that motivates people, not just machines, to have courage.

Sat 16 Dec 2006 : Technology vs. Psychology
My general feeling is little outright new technology is needed. What is needed is an ability to integrate what already exists with a subtle understanding of what the real, as opposed to perceived political constraints are and this is what some of us have done. A lot of people are attracted to technology because of their relative strengths in understanding spacial relationships compared to psychological relationships. Both types of understanding give them some power over their environment. However, when they become activists, this fear of the projected, but unreal political threats (of which legalities are a subset) lead them to solutions which do not reflect the way people actually behave. Likewise, those people who see everything only through the lens of politics are similarly blinded; since people's basic make up is invariant, changes in the way they behave arise from changes in physical reality.
Tue 12 Dec 2006 : I.. Q..
I may donate IQ.ORG [now worth $30k] to the WL civic institution if someone can find a good acronym.
Some good words:
Quorum, Question, Quest, Quadrant, Quality, Qualification, Quantum, Quotient, Query, InQuiry... Quasimodo [ok, q's are hard]
I... Q... [french word order]
I, International, Idea, Ideal, Identify, Integrity, Illusion, Image, Imagination, Immortal, Immaterial, Impartial, Interesting, Impassioned, Impending, Imperial, Impetuous, Institute, Important, Impressive, Impunity, Incite, Inclusive, Incorrigible, Incredible, Identical, Infamous, Infinite, Inform, Ingenous, Initiating, Inner, Institute, Insight, Intelligent, Intention, Inter-, InterQuadrant, InterQuarter, Intra-, Intro-, Intri-, Intuitive, Invariant, Innocent, Invective, Investi-, Iconic, Independent, Irony, Island, In-
I like: Inter-Quadrant, Inter-Quarter, International Quorum/Question, (center for public) inquiry, Infinite Quest.
If there's a great character from history who's name begins with I, one can form something like:
Isaac's Question/Quest ("Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb?" (Genesis 22: 7)) Which is lovely, since the open mind yearns to know what the question is as soon it hears the name, and a biblical character may give christian sanctity (the answer to Isaaic is deeply moving, but the source of the pathos is horror. If we were to front as a Ploughshares style movement this might work).
Isaiah has many questions, of which 6:10 seems to be the most interesting:
Isaiah 6:10-11 "10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they, seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, and understanding with their heart, return, and be healed.'. Then said I: 'Lord, how long?' And He answered: 'Until cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses without man, and the land become utterly waste.
Tue 12 Dec 2006 : Calibration of feeling
Words have no power to change except when there's a fork in the road with equally attractive paths.
In your position, I'd take a deep book, a backpack of food and a tent and go walking for three months along or .nz coast. You need to recalibrate your emotions through recalibrating your body. Emotions are body states. The mind can not be strong without strength in its relation to the body. 'Whatever' is then quickly answered; wake with the sun, take the next step, eat the next bite and behold people and chairs become a delight. It's hard for you to see this now, since future visions are colored with present emotional responses. But these emotional responses are just another part of your flesh, built from the integration of your neurons and body. It's material, stuff, like muscle, constructed from last weeks potatoes and environmental stimulus. You can strengthen your will through overcoming physical hardship.
The natural environment provides man with ready motivational gradients, but civilization has filled them in. Hyper-civilized influences, such as computing, artificial lights, drugs, films, instant food supply, telephones and reading decalibrate by disconnecting behavior and reward and failing to provide the sense data that our biological mental and physical structures have evolved to require.
There's little difference between a mouse exploring a new maze or a scientist realizing the greatest intellectual act of the age. Both are motivated by the same primitive brain regions that control feelings.
'The point' comes when feelings demand it. It can only be rationalized from the axioms of primitive emotion. If these axioms are weak due to decalibration by civilization, 'the point' eludes us. If they are strong, we pursue our goals with passion and vigor.
Mon 11 Dec 2006 : Etymology of 'cad'
Caddie or cadet used to denote the passenger of a horse-coach picked up for personal profit by the driver (i.e placed next to the driver and not in the already booked interior). So a 'cad' is a man who picks up women, profits from them, and then leaves them by the road side. 'Caddie' or 'cad-et', as in the diminutive -- 'there goes a cad and his cadette'.
Such romantic etymology is enough to make a man want to don his oilskin and mount his horse with whip and smile at the ready.
Tue 05 Dec 2006 : Self destructing paper
A spy opens an envelope. Inside is a thin sheet of paper with a cryptic message. After it is read the paper spontaneously bursts into flames.
The message is the communicable distillation of your hopes, dreams and imagination. The paper is the internet. The internet is self destructing paper. A place where anything written is soon destroyed by rapacious competition and the only preservation is to forever copy writing from sheet to sheet faster than they can burn.
If it's worth writing, it's worth keeping. If it can be kept, it might be worth writing. Would your store your brain in a startup company's vat? If you store your writing on a 3rd party site like blogger, livejournal or even on your own site, but in the complex format used by blog/wiki software de jour you will lose it forever as soon as hypersonic wings of internet labor flows direct people's energies elsewhere. For most information published on the internet, perhaps that is not a moment to soon, but how can the muse of originality soar when immolating transience brushes every feather?
Readers have asked what software is used to run IQ.ORG. A mere page of handwritten ruby constructs the site out the most robust future proof storage form imaginable. A flat directory of text or html files. The directory, like any directory can be backed up, edited, emailed, zipped, transported, printed, trapped in amber etc.
A lovely way to create these files remotely is to send email to a mail alias. Add the following to your unix ".forward" file; it will save all email sent to as filed under the name of their subjects. Want to change something? Just mail it in again under the same subject!
# add this code to your .forward+secretname file like so:
# "|/home/me/public_html/"
Dir.chdir('public_html/') # change here to reflect
your site's directory

s = $
if /^Subject: ([^.\/].+?)\n/m =~ s
subject = $1
f =, "w")

exec "./index.rb > index.html"
Here is the code that scans the strew files and builds up the html output you see:
# save as index.rb
# puts "" etc here
Dir.chdir strewdir
strews = `ls -t ???*`.map {|name| name.chomp}
strews.each { |name| { |f|
linkname = URI.escape(name.gsub(/ /, ''))
puts '<h3><a name="' + linkname + '">' +
f.stat.mtime.strftime("%a %d %h %Y") + ' : ' + name+ "</a></h3>\n"
s =
firstline = s.split(/\n/)[0]
if firstline and /^(From |[A-Za-z_-]: )/m =~ firstline
body = s.match(/\n\r?\n/m).post_match
body = s
x = body.scan(/--\{\s(.+?)\s\}--\s/m).join
if x != ""
body = x
if /<blockquote>||<i>|<p>|<p ?\/>|<b>|
<a href/ =~ body
puts body
puts "<pre>" + body + "</pre>"
puts '<br>'
puts '<font size="-2"><i>'
puts "<a href=\"\##{linkname}\">link</a>"
puts '<hr>'
puts '</i></font>'

strews.each {|name| puts '<li><a href="#' + URI.escape(name.gsub
(/< /, '')) + '">' + name + '</a>'}
#puts footers here
That's it! The raw archive does not even depend on ruby; it's gold until civilization collapses, the neoluddites take control, or both, but then we will have other adventures to please us...
Mon 04 Dec 2006 : The Road to Hanoi
It seems like everyone I meet plans to follow the young Che Guavara, now that seduction of random latinos has been politically sanctified, and take off on their motorbike and adventure through the poverty and pleasures of South and Central America. And who can blame them? But there are other lands to explore.
Last year I rode my motorcycle from Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) to Hanoi, up the highway that borders the South China Sea.
On the road to Hanoi something caught my attention and that of every vehicle near me. We had to watch constantly and take action every few seconds or it would have killed us all.
The road to Hanoi is a Vietnamese economic artery but is nonetheless dominated by potholes, thousands the size of bomb craters. There are constant reminders of "The American War" all over Vietnam, and perhaps this was one of them, but in a more indirect way.
To a physicist a pothole has an interesting life. It starts out as a few loose stones. As wheels pass over, these stones grind together and against the under surface. Their edges are rounded off and the depression they are in also becomes rounder by their action. The stones become pestles to the hole's motor. Smaller stones and grit move between the spaces of larger stones and add to the grinding action. The hole enlarges, and deepens. Small stones are soon entirely worn away, but in the process liberate increasingly larger stones from the advancing edge of the hole. The increasing depth and surface capture more and more energy from passing wheels. The destruction of the road surface accelerates until the road is abandoned or the hole is filled.
Road decay is, like a dental decay, a run away process. Utility rapidly diminishes and costs of repair accelerate, and just like teeth it is more efficient to fill a pothole as soon as it is noticed.
But this measure of efficiency is not the metric of politics and it is a political feedback process that lays behind the filling in of potholes on almost every road on earth.
That process is driven by the behavior of politically influential road users who are themselves motivated to action by psychologically negative encounters with potholes.
When potholes are small, the resulting political pressures are insufficient to overcome the forces of other interests groups who compete for labour and resources. Likewise, it is difficult to motivate people who have other passions and pains in their life to goto the dentist when their teeth do not ache. Both are caused by limitations in knowledge and its distillation: foresight.
Why is this surprising? It is surprising because we are used to looking at government spending through the lens of economic utility; a lens which claims the political process as a derivative. This vision claims that political forces compete for access to the treasury to further their own utility. Hence, military intelligence and public health compete with road maintenance for funding and so should attempt to minimize the latter's drain on the treasury. But that drain is minimized by filling in potholes immediately!
Foresight requires trustworthy information about the current state of the world, cognitive ability to draw predictive inferences and enough economic and political stability to give them a meaningful home. It's not only in Vietnam where secrecy, malfeasance and unequal access have eaten into the first requirement of foresight ("truth and lots of it").
Foresight can produce outcomes that leave all major interests groups better off. Likewise the lack of it, or doing the dumb thing, can harm almost everyone.
Computer scientists have long had a great phrase for the dependency of foresight on trustworthy information; "garbage in, garbage out". In intelligence agency oversight we have "The Black Budget blues", but the phrase is probably most familiar to American readers as "The Fox News Effect".
Wed 22 Nov 2006 : State and terrorist conspiracies
No. Don't skip to the good stuff. This is the good stuff.
Wed 22 Nov 2006 : Those eyes

All the pink ribbons in the world can't hide them.
Sun 19 Nov 2006 : Strangers on a train
"Two strangers, one rich, one poor, were traveling together. One took an immediate dislike to the other, and verbally abused him for the entire trip. When they arrived at their mutual destination, both made their way separately to the same synagogue, where the abusive man was mortified to find that the poor person he had insulted on the road was a guest rabbi. After the service, the man approached the rabbi and begged forgiveness. The rabbi refused.
'But rabbi,' said the man, 'Aren't we required to forgive?'
The rabbi replied,
'Yes, but I am not the man you insulted. Go apologize to a poor man on a train.'"
Sun 12 Nov 2006 : The Great Australian Bikini March
Tue 24 Oct 2006 : The Strawberry
I was travelling across a golden meadow when I encountered the tiger. I fled, with the tiger close behind.
Coming to a precipice, I caught hold of a wild vine and swung myself over the edge. The tiger sniffed my scent above.
Trembling, I looked down to the beach far below and saw a second tiger pacing the sands. Only the vine sustained me.
Two mice, one black and one white, came out of a crevice and started to gnaw away at the vine.
I saw a luscious strawberry nearby. Grasping the vine with one hand I picked it with the other. How sweet it tasted!
[with apologies to Zen]
Wed 27 Sep 2006 : If you saw
If you saw two bodies entwirled in the dance
Bound to each other with effortless grace,
Joyous, momentous, elliptical grace!
They whirled through the ether, in delicate spirals,
For eons they danced, until in the blink
Of proverbial eyes, one crossed o'er the brink:
One caught a cancer, and started to brew
And choke and ferment and splutter and spew,
Find itself overtaken, cauterised, bled,
Starved, smothered, covered in rash
Wheezing away, overheated with fever
Till it could dance no more, it could not keep step
As it coughed up its blood, and collapsed in a spasm,
And cancer descended on dancers romancing
The universe, and time; and life, in time,
Till the life turned malignant and tripped up the dance:
What if you knew that the cancer was you?
If you saw the people, what cancer can do!
The children stopped playing, the men downed their tools,
The young stopped to pause, the old paused to stop,
The women gave poise, the leaders made noise,
The rich stopped their feeding, the poor forwent feeling,
And the followers listened, and the listeners followed,
The first world woke up, the third world sat down
And the clouds cleared away, and all of the people --
Not just your people! -- not just my people! -- but
All of the people that ever, and always,
and now and forever will ever have lived! --
With the ghosts of their parents, their parents and parents,
Generations stretched back to the dawn of the species
Thousands and, nay, hundreds thousands years past,
You could not avoid them, the whole of the family:
Mothers with children, and fathers with children,
And wizened old voices, and laughter and stories
And wisdom and knowledge, and questions and reason
And passion and folly and crying and love,
Not just the past, not just hundreds thousands,
But hundreds of thousands and millions years on! --
Millions years more of those yet to appear,
Those innocent children -- yet more as unborn --
In full expectation of their turn to be,
All your children, my children, their children and children
Till the end of the sun and the end of all days,
None was excluded, none were held back,
Not fascist, nor Nazi, nor Caesar, nor sultan,
Nor Jew nor gentile, nor emperor nor citizen,
Nor conqueror nor conquered, nor blackfella nor whitefella,
Nor good fellow, bad fellow, criminals, generals,
Nor executives, nor lawmakers, oilmen nor lobbyists,
Tradesmen nor women, housekeepers, wives,
Farmers, houseworkers, outworkers, sweatworkers,
Hunters nor gatherers, slaves nor free men
Nor free women, landowners, aristocracy, slaves,
Proletarian, vegetarian, serf nor bourgeois,
Nor communist nor capitalist nor anarchist nor phalangist,
Nor futurist, nor traditionalist, mercantilist, imperialist
Nor faithful nor secular nor agnostic nor heretic
Nor stoic nor epicurean, neither Catholic nor Protestant,
Nor Pagan nor Buddhist nor Hindu nor Mormon
Nor Serb nor Albanian nor Muslim nor Croat,
Not the Palestinians nor Israel, nor the citizens of Iraq,
Nor the Syrians, the Koreans, Venezuelans, Iranians,
Kenyans, Bolivians, Namibians, Nicaraguans
The kind with the vicious, the healers with murderers,
The scholars with bigots, the artists with Philistines,
Don't let me die, some said! Don't make me cry, some said!
I'll take anything -- but please not my child!
Let me have more, some said! Fuck you all, some said!
Take me whole, some said! Hold me tight, some said!
Save yourselves, some said! Be ye saved, some said!
Sieg heil, some said! Fight a war, some said!
Hold the line, some said! Tow the line, some did.
But for the most part -- and for the best part! --
The ordinary people, not -ese and not -ism,
They stood there and shrugged -- I'm just a human! --
And spilled over borders, and greeted their neighbours,
And played with their children, and looked to the future,
And cared not for great things, but just to continue;
Not for them all of these overblown trumpets!
The best part said nothing, and wandered, confused,
Staggering now, they tottered unsteady,
As if the earth lurched, besmirched by their industry,
As if the earth's spasm had shaken them too,
Robbed of their pleasantries, certain no more,
Oh there was more -- oh there was more! --
To life in this world than cheap petrol prices!
Again insignificant, floating in space,
Without direction -- there's no up in space! --
Roused from conformity, forced into puberty,
Silenced by grim revelation of wrongs,
This planet is only a miniature starship!
Swiftly reverted to innocence lost,
So eager to reclaim the goodwill they'd lost!
All of them! -- All of them! -- All of the people
That ever, and always, and now and forever
Will ever have been and will ever have lived! --
The whole civilization, pre-civilization,
Post-civilization, ancient and modern,
Post-modern to present and all that's to come,
Entire human project, evolutionary epic,
Thirteen thousand million years long in the making,
In all of their habits, their rituals and fears,
The whole of the species paraded before you,
Put on their best faces and virtues and smiles,
Turned out for the moment, for this one occasion,
And played, and laughed, and studied, and shook
Each others hands, and their heads, and remembered nostalgia,
They crammed on the land mass -- they jammed all the land mass! --
And Europe grew warm, and Africa thundered,
And Asia flowed over, and Australia sweltered,
And America repented, Antarctica melted,
From the weight of the gathering -- reunion -- preunion! --
The party had gathered, the crew had been summoned,
And filled all the islands with shocks of bright vestments,
The ship filled with passengers, decks cleared for the crush,
The siren had sounded, the islands had foundered
As ships on an orb that, deluged and flooded,
Threatened to sink those few vessels remaining.
So stood the humans, so stood the proud
And the humble, the paragons of animals -- sometimes! --
Packed on to continents, over the globe!
The clouds cleared away and the crowds turned away
From the ground, and looked up, at the skies there above --
Like spokes on a wheel, a luminous wet sphere,
Like floodlights ascending to heaven from home,
Like cancerous cells of a terminal tumour,
Beautiful, innocent, terminal tumour,
Their eyes pierced the void and looked into the cavity
To broadcast their tragedy out to the world,
And half saw the stars, saw an infinite blackness,
Saw the coldness and loneliness, nebular nothingness,
Themselves at the helm of a ship in deep space,
But bound to observe from the terrestrial observatory,
Observed the distance -- and gave up on escape! --
Saw the world as it is, there would be no saviour,
They'd grown -- how they'd grown! -- and outgrown their mother,
Couldn't quite yet leave home, but yet it was time:
Grow up now children, stand on your own feet!
The dreamers still dreamed of a yet better world,
The couples still kissed and the dispossessed smiled,
But the lonely found loneliness appeased their loneliness
As their neighbours all huddled to fight off the chill
Of the universe -- they drank, to the meaning of it all!
And from their huddle, while the void loomed above,
Declared -- Brother and Sister!
-- if we should survive,
And, surveying the scene, realising what that meant,
Then -- and then they broke off, and left it unsaid
And again shook their heads, and wept,
-- never again!
The other half saw blue sky, and warmth -- unseasonable warmth --
And celebrated the day, gave thanks for the day,
Seized hold of the day and seized hold of the life
And seized hold of each other, looked out to the blue,
And wished that it would never end.
If you saw two bodies entwirled in the dance
Bound to each other with effortless grace,
Joyous, momentous, elliptical grace!
They whirled through the ether, in delicate spirals,
One was all gold, and one was all blue --
But not yet all blue -- for marooned in the sea
Were the islands that founder, with inhabitants that flounder,
But for you they came out, all of the people
That ever, and always, and now and forever
Will ever have been and will ever have lived!
And you did not see green or brown 'twixt the seas,
But all of the people: all of the whole
Conurbation, the cities, the landscapes of faces,
All staring out, all through the dance,
The whole human family, whole human endeavour,
Staring out, eyes wide open, hopeful and afraid,
Knew what you'd done, knew that the dancer
Was slowing and coughing and covered in rash,
As cancer descended on dancers romancing
As the vastness descended on all of the people
Of what they had done to their dear mother earth,
Pock-marked and bleeding, suffocating and searing,
You saw all these faces and eyes and bright places,
The universe, and time, and one poor tragic planet:
What would you do if the cancer was you?
And if you could see -- if you can bear with me! --
If you could see all of the faces before you,
If you could look into their full expectation,
Knowing that you were part of the problem,
Knowing that all of us hurtle to death:
Personal death, planetary death,
All of the people -- yes all of the people! --
And didn't do nothing, did not stay the course,
Did not shy away, did not run away,
There's nowhere to run from this speck in the universe,
But helped turn the tide -- helped them to survive --
Then you, my friend, deserve to be human.
[ By Daniel Mathews ]
Tue 26 Sep 2006 : Ajita Kesakambala (early Indian materialism)
The buddhist text Digha Nikaya (Samannaphala Sutta, the fruits of the contemplative life) has dialogs with six post Upanished radical thinkers who wandered North India around the time of the Buddha's birth (circa 500 BCE) provoking debate and attracting followers. Of them the most interesting and clearly the most radical is Ajita Kesakambala. Ajita was a contemporary of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddah) with a rival materialistic school. Ajita's philosophy was atheistic and even denied transmigration. Ajitas acerbic vision probably flowered and was repressed for the same reason; it offered complete mental liberation to those to those enslaved by the kamma yolk of the Brahmin. Since the Digha Nikava is a buddhist text following a long oral tradition it is likely Ajita's position has been extremised to nihilism inorder to give Buddhism the middle. Indian Buddhism was a radical shift away from Hindu traditions and undermining of Brahmin power, but thanks to Ajita and other radicals still successfully pushed as The Middle Way.
"Another time I approached Ajita Kesakambala and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, I sat down to one side. As I was sitting there I asked him: 'Venerable Ajita, there are these common craftsmen...They live off the fruits of their crafts, visible in the here and now...Is it possible, venerable sir, to point out a similar fruit of the contemplative life, visible in there here and now?' "When this was said, Ajita Kesakambala said to me, 'Great king, there is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves. A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.' "Thus, when asked about a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, Ajita Kesakambala answered with annihilation. Just as if a person, when asked about a mango, were to answer with a breadfruit; or, when asked about a breadfruit, were to answer with a mango. In the same way, when asked about a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, Ajita Kesakambala answered with annihilation. The thought occurred to me: 'How can anyone like me think of disparaging a priest or contemplative living in his realm?' Yet I neither delighted in Ajita Kesakambala's words nor did I protest against them. Neither delighting nor protesting, I was dissatisfied. Without expressing dissatisfaction, without accepting his teaching, without adopting it, I got up from my seat and left.

Tue 26 Sep 2006 : The curious world of the querulous
You quote Dickens, but if one must resort to fictional antecedents of querulous litigants and their courts, then Franz Kafka's The Trial is surely the book:
"The Great lawyers?" asked K. "Who are they then? How do you contact them?" "You've never heard about them, then?" said the litigant. "There's hardly anyone who's been accused who doesn't spend a lot of time dreaming about the Great lawyers once he's heard about them. It's best if you don't let yourself be misled in that way. I don't know who the Great lawyers are, and there's probably no way of contacting them. I don't know of any case I can talk about with certainty where they've taken any part. They do defend a lot of people, but you can't get hold of them by your own efforts, they only defend those who they want to defend.
One of my Great Lawyers was Peter Faris QC, originally a left wing radical defender of drug barons, but then recently resigned has head of National Crime Authority under ALP appointment. He later aligned his personal and political life after becoming a prosecutor and is now a right wing demagogue of the first order. Last year in The Age he demanded the removal of St. Kilda's street prostitutes. Not for Faris the pacing feet of these poor Melbourne Magdelenes. But here is a man who resigned from the NCA in quiet disgrace after the Victorian police caught him visiting a brothel and using the NCA to cover it up. What are we to infer? Faris supports small business but is opposed to independent contracting?
Your paper under-estimates the consuming nature of litigation. Most intelligent litigants learn the language of the courts in their struggle to understand and control the new environment in which they find themselves. Those with good social as opposed to merely verbal cognition find soon enough that the judiciary and court administration, while accepting this language from its gowned courtiers and other hangers-on do not like to hear their ritual language flowing from the mouths and pens of uninitiated peasants. Cunning actors against the state develop a faux naivity to their pleadings or find a wig to sanctify them.
Anyone afflicted with servants of justice will soon find themselves exposed to all manner of hypocracy, mendacity and incompetence. If one is foolish enough to demand fair redress for every new insult then it's possible to create a never-ending supply of injustice and so, in this manner, turn a small injustice into an injustice of unbound size. One must develop a certain cynical understanding that systems of people are careers and intrigues and necessary deceptions and that kind acts fall from the breasts of stray individuals as random acts of love and can not be systematized.
The litigants I encountered to seemed to have an interesting commonality above the paranoia and rigidity you document. They made many contacts with people in positions of power and status compared to their station in life. This seems to become the central status mechanism of their life and the vision of their litigation ending does not bring them relief but feelings of exclusion perhaps exacerbated by the collapse in their other relationships. They look to increase their self-perceived status by seeking precedent setting judgements in ever higher courts with higher status legal teams and defeating ever more powerful enemies in legal combat. Yet with the change of a single word we can remove the pathology:
Lawyers look to increase their self-perceived status by seeking precedent setting judgements in ever higher courts with higher status legal teams and defeating ever more powerful enemies in legal combat.
In your paper you mentioned the declining number of vexatious litigants and attributed this to the growth of complaint resolution proceedurs which provide the querulous with alternate avenues to litigation. Consider this question. Has the rise in educational opportunities over the past 20 years and the resulting class transfer provided an alternative power mechanism for the hyper verbal? Where have all the union firebrands gone? Together, perhaps with the pre-vexatious, they are being honed by tertiary education into efficient cogs for the neo- corporate state and in their spare time Adapting Waiting for Godot for the university Law Review.
The querleous derived from working class, underclass or lower middle class families and were all shorter and less educated than their intelligence would normally reflect. These guys delighted in beating the silver spoon set at their own game. One changed his surname to "President" to the mute horror of the judiciary who were then forced to utter the status transferring appellation "Mr. President" at least once in any proceeding he was a party to.
Although this last example is rather extreme, I felt amusement and pride at seeing Dr. Blow and other bedfellows of injustice flail under my crossexamination so that despite my very young age lawyers filed in to watch and make statements like "that's the last court report gig that witness will ever get from here!". If it wasn't for the fact that I had a lot to lose and had already felt substantial power over the establishment in another world, I may have found solace in following the path of Mr. President who had nothing to loose since his case was in a culdesac more typical of The Trial.
Certainly at the time I didn't see his name name as pathological, but rather a delightful, spirited, if tactically unwise, prank on those self-righteous throned and frequently incompetent pontificators whom I did not respect, but to who I was forced to sit, stand, bow, scrape and utter a raft of honorifics and ego-salving platitudes because despite their many grandiloquent claims of impartiality and gravitas, experience had shown they were sensitive souls and easily biased against those who were not first rate sycophantic grovelers.
Perhaps it is this behavior combined with distal remnants of Arthurian code that is the source of the the well reported bias of the judiciary against male litigants in person. A judge doesn't need to bring a woman to heel, she is, after all not a threat, but a lovely object of desire or irrelevance, but any man worthy of the label rebells at such enforced kowtowing with his posture and tone and so must be ground down less gowned courtiers see the weakening king and boldly make their move.
Tue 26 Sep 2006 : The Defiled Sanctuary
Bertrand Russell introduced the second volume of his autobiographical work with the following:
I saw a chapel all of gold that none did dare to enter in, and many weeping aloud without, weeping, mourning, worshipping. I saw a serpent rise between the white pillars of the door, and he forced and forced and forced, till down the golden hinges tore; And along the pavement sweet set with pearls and rubies bright, all his shining length he drew, -- till upon the altar white, vomited his poison out on the bread and on the wine. So I ran into a sty, and laid me down among the swine. W. Blake, The Defiled Sanctuary
IQ.ORG also used this quote, till discovering it in Russell. This seems to be one of Blake's least popular poems, but like many of his later less lyrical works has strength in the darkness of the vision. One can see how Blake's insight here resonated with Russell's desired self perception. But what if Russell not only flees from desecration revealed but is the dramatic figure of causation and revelation? Russell is the actor of change. Russell is the serpent and vomiting out his poison into the transubstantiated body of Christ, an interpretation that would have pleased both Russell and his enemies in the British and American theocracies. Now I say unto you -- arise serpents! Tear the hinges from their doors, stand above the alter white and vomit out your poison till deceit crumbles and sets free the dove.
Sat 23 Sep 2006 : What are the origins of hacktivism?
Real hacktivism is at least as old as October 1989 when DOE (US
Deptartment of Energy) HEPNET and SPAN (NASA) connected VMS machines world
wide were penetrated by the anti-nuclear WANK worm, which changed the
system announcement banner to be:

\__ __________

This work is in the public domain
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