I Always Said Google Is Run By Lunatics

Planning To Join The Immortals? We Shall Be As Gods, Say Tech Billionaires

from Skywatch TV

Ray Kurzweil, Google’s transhumanism Tsar and the tech titans who founded Google, Facebook, eBay, Napster and Netscape are using their billions to rewrite the nation’s science agenda and transform biomedical research.

Their objective is to use the tools of technology — the chips, software programs, algorithms and big data they used in creating an information revolution — to understand and upgrade what they consider to be the most complicated piece of machinery in existence: the human body.

The entrepreneurs are driven by a certitude that rebuilding, regenerating and reprogramming patients’ organs, limbs, cells and DNA will enable people to live longer and better. The work they are funding includes hunting for the secrets of living organisms with insanely long lives, engineering microscopic nanobots that can fix your body from the inside out, figuring out how to reprogram the DNA you were born with, and exploring ways to digitize your brain based on the theory that your mind could live long after your body expires.

“I believe that evolution is a true account of nature,” as Thiel put it. “But I think we should try to escape it or transcend it in our society.”

Read full article and watch video

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John Kerry Calls For The Internet To Be Placed Under The Authority Of The United Nations

US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking earlier this week in South Korea, said that the Internet “needs rules to be able to flourish and work properly.” This, according to Kerry, is necessary even for “a technology founded on freedom.” Kerry made his remarks in the context of talking about how international law is applicable to the Internet.


Google a step closer to developing machines with human-like intelligence

Computers will have developed “common sense” within a decade and we could be counting them among our friends not long afterwards, one of the world’s leading AI scientists has predicted. Professor Geoff Hinton, who The Guardian reports was hired by Google two years ago to help develop intelligent operating systems, said that the company is on the brink of developing algorithms with the capacity for logic, natural conversation and even flirtation.

Is Everything Being Controlled By Computers?

One of the winners of the mobile revolution has been ARM Holdings, which designs microchips for a variety of devices, from smartphones to fridges to cars

ARM chips have become popular over the past decade for their relatively low power consumption, which is especially crucial for portable, battery-operated devices. (Intel, which is still the dominant chip company for desktop, laptop, and server PCs, has missed out on this boom but not through lack of trying.

And as the “internet of things” has expanded beyond phones to smart cards, wearable devices, and embedded sensors, the number of chips containing ARM processors has soared—to 12 billion in 2014, roughly double the units shipped in 2010 according to the company’s public relations counsultants.


ARM sales chart (via Blacklisted News)

ARM expects its saled to double again, to 60 billion chips in 2020, with tiny “microcontroller” computers, smart cards, and “embedded connectivity” chips—network access for the internet of things—leading its growth. “Everything is becoming an internet enabled computer,” the company says, “computers will control everything.”

ARM would say that, wouldn’t they. My life will not be controlled by computers and nor should yours be (unless you are one of those foos who thinks science is a religion and mathematics is God. The “internet of things” is just a catch-phrase to distract from the knowledge that everything you buy is being used by government and corporate businesses to gather data about you.

We can defeat this assault on our privacy and dignity by simply not buying internet enabled fridges, televisions, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and so on. If people don’t buy them, the manufacturers will have to stop making them, because selling this garbage is their first priority.

We don’t need internet enabled domestic appliances, how is the fact that Google know how often you vacuum your carpets or take a shower help them to make your life better. It’s just fucking creepy.

It’s a simple question of whether or not Americans can refrain from arming themselves with every stupid gadget the TV hangs in front of their faces.

Ministry Of Truth: Ofcom Sanction Russian Broadcaster For Expressing Anti – Western Views

Last week Little Nicky’s friends at The Daily Stirrer reported on Google’s attempts to set itself up as the internet’s Ministry Of Truth (in George Orwell’s 1984, the government department that rewrites history and twists the news so that nothing is ever published or broadcast that is not favourable to the ruling Big Brother regime)

from The Guardian

Media regulator to launch investigation into views expressed during Crosstalk programme on Kremlin-backed broadcaster.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether this programme about the situation in Ukraine, which included anti-western comments, was duly impartial.”

Russia Today is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom over anti-western comments in a late-night discussion on Ukraine – its sixth ongoing inquiry into the Kremlin-backed news channel following complaints by viewers.

The regulator, which threatened Russia Today, or RT, with statutory sanctions after repeated breaches of broadcasting regulations on impartiality last year, faces a new investigation over its Crosstalk programme broadcast on 23 December last year.

The programme is understood to have featured a number of anti-western views in the discussion between the presenter and three studio guests, prompting one viewer to complain.

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The Imperatives Behind The New cold War
The ‘new Cold War,’ against Russia, is something of a misnomer, because it differs from the original version, against the U.S.S.R., in that it’s already a hot war, which started in Ukraine as being the key proxy-state for the American Government’s chief foreign-policy aim, of defeating Russia.

Google attempts to become the Internet’s Ministry of Truth
We have always said the full version of Google’s corporate motto Don’t Be Evil, is Don’t Be Evil, That’s Our Job. Here’s the latest example, their plan to censor the internet and ensure that controversial or dissenting views from those approved by the government / corporate complex never show up in listings.

Germany Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance On Ukraine
As the US pro war rhetoric pumps up the tensions between Russia, its allies and the west in Ukrain we revisit once more the truth about which world power has been relentlessly pushing for war since 2009. It isn’t Russia or China, though they are not likely to back down.

Free Speech: Reporters Without Borders unblocks access to censored websites
It is surprising in view of what we now know about the collaboration between internet technology corporations and government security agencies that many people still think og the internet as a bastion of freedom. This page shows how easy it is for governments and corporations to censor web content.

350 million reason you should ditch Facebook.

Image source: 4bit News

Mainstream media in the developed world has tried to portray Mark Zuckerberg’s as a prophet and a visionary and his plan to get every human being online by means of his ‘ideas’ about how humans want to interact in the twenty first century as altruistic and ‘progressive’. The reality however, is somewhat more sinister. Facebook has already been revealed to be much more than a mere corporation run for profit by Zuckerberg and his business associates.

As for being a genius, Zuckerberg is really not very bright, like most new media billionaires a lot of his success is down to his obsession with technology and his irrational belief that everybody can be persuaded to share that belief. it is the philosophy of a religious cilt leader rather than a businessman.

But Zuckerberg did not build Facebook’s success alone, no matter what you may have been led to believe. His partner in creating the social network was none other than the US Government. Is it just coincidence that two other startup corporations with no track record, Microsoft and Google came from nowhere to achieve near monopoly positions in online market sectors? You may say so, I couldn’t possibly comment 🙂

Facebook is the epitome of social engineering, a seemingly benign communication tool that has been engineered to track, trace, document, and, if we allow it to manipulate half of the entire online population.

Despite its claims, when users who are not paying Facebook to spread their PR campaigns, attempt to use Facebook to connect and communicate with individuals and organizations of interest, Facebook turns its features against users, insidiously manipulating their timelines to show selected posts and updates while censoring others to manage public perception.

Is Facebook’s unethical approach to social engineering successful. In one study, the emotions of users were successfully manipulated by selectively posting only negative or only positive posts from individuals or organizations on users’ contact lists. In another experiment Facebook manipulated the news feed of some 2 million Americans in 2012 in order to increase public participation during that year’s US presidential election.

Facebook was also an official sponsor of the US State Department’s effort to promote political subversion across North Africa and the Middle East in the years before the so-called “Arab Spring”.

The rebellions news channels around the world reported had “spontaneously” sprung up across North Africa and the Middle East were in fact trained, funded, and equipped by the US State Department and various corporations including tech giants Google and Facebook years beforehand.

Why would you allow anyone to manipulate what you say or do or see without your or your friends knowledge or proper consent? And as for the political interference, this is the behaviour of tyrants and is unacceptable by any democratic standard. There are plenty of ways of communicating with others without having what others see of you changed or manipulated by business partners of The White House.

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World’s largest supercomputers took 40 minutes to calculate 1 second worth of human brain activity

How many times have we told you to ignore all that blether from scientists about how they are building computers capable of thinking like humans? They might be able to build computers that think like scientists, but do we really need autistic computers?

Technology Taking Over Your Life? Just Say No.

We told you some years ago when our publication first appeared that the then Labour Government’s plan for compulsory electronic ID cards was the step that would take us over the line from a semblance of liberal democracy into oligarchic fascism. Labour’s plan was derailed by public opposition but now it has been rehashed and is presented with fluffy window dressing. A vote for Labour, Conservative Or Liberal Democrat is a vote for fascism. You have been warned.

All The Daily Stirrer’s Posts On This Topic:

Google Meets White House Officials Every Week, Why?
We have been very suspicious for ten years of the way Google with such apparent ease achieved a dominant position in web search. How did it happen, did Google do something evil, did they invoke the powers of darkness in their meteoric rise. Or were there even darker forces at work, powering Google to a position in which their internet technologies could dominate global information flows? Here’s something cynics should read.

Wi-Fi Radiation Warning By Lloyd’s of London – After Industry Denied The Risks
Canadian school boards and school medical health officers have been notified by their government’s Education Department that insurers Lloyd’s of London has excluded from school insurance cover any liability for injuries, “directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.” …
Virtual ID has arrived – why you should resist taking it up
Google Driverless car project hits the wall
Scientists Predict Robot Brains to Match Humans in 25 Years
Mind Control: How It Works and how The Elite Use It
Big Brother Is Right Behind You And He Knows What you Are Up To
What Privacy Will You Have When You Can’t Shop Without Submitting To Biometric Identification?

Mad Science: The Human Nightmare Continues

Hardly a day goes by without a new story about the insane, sociopathic, control freak plans and projects being hatched by scientists to help The New World Order do what? Kill most of us so they can have the big, beautiful world to themselves, enslave is so they, “The Controllers” can live in a Brave New World in which a tiny elite rule over a massive population of what Aldous Huxley in his novel Brave New World dubbed semi-morons? Increase they wealth and power because these elitists are hoplessly hooked on the most potent drug known to humanity, power?

All I can be sure of is my recent invention, The Orwell – Huxley – Dick Dystopianometer which measures social decay on a scale of one to ten creeps a little higher every day, and the needle is getting perilously close to eleven.

One of the favourite toys scientists currently like to play with is nanoparticles:

from Waking Times

One of the latest trends in manufacturing for today’s consumer products is the use of engineered nano-particles (ENP’s), yet, most people have no idea that they are consuming and absorbing ENP’s. Research is discovering that certain ENP’s may be toxic and extremely harmful to human health, causing cell and DNA damage, potentially leading to the development of cancers.

Nano-particles are microscopically sized particles with at least one dimension less than 100 nano-meters (nm). To put this in perspective, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nm thick, and a strand of human DNA is about 2.5 nm thick. A current trend in research and development, ENP’s are generating widespread interest for their potential to enhance consumer materials and food products, and for their potential applications in the electronic, optical and biomedical fields. “Nanoparticles are of great scientific interest as they are effectively a bridge between bulk materials and atomic or molecular structures.”

Read more at Waking Times

One project currently in development by Google (“Don’t be evil, that’s our job”) is to create a daily pill we will swallow to dose ourselves with nanomaterials capable of interfacing our brains and with Google’s server centres. It’s probably too far fetched to ever succeed but the fact that these mad bastards are taking it seriously shows the threat they pose to our very humanity.

What should concern us; no, what should have us screaming “ENOUGH ALREADY” is that while the scientists who whore themselves to Big Pharma and corporate money are pressing ahead full speed with this, having not paused to give one nanoseconds thought to the possible adverse consequences of introducing this shit into our bodies, a lot of intelligent and responsible independent researchers have very serious concerns on that score.

Google and US Defense Dept Preparing To Microchip The Whole Of Humanity

Here’s another nasty Little Nicky Machiavelli and The Daily stirrer have warned of. “Conspiracy theorist” the wannabe Daleks yelled. Well they can be emtionless cyborgs if they like, I think being human, with all “heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to” (h/t Shakespeare) is just effing great, I love it.

from Pakalert Press

Former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) director and now Google Executive, Regina E. Dugan, has unveiled a super small, ingestible microchip that we can all be expected to swallow by 2017. “A means of authentication,” she calls it, also called an electronic tattoo, which takes NSA spying to whole new levels. She talks of the ‘mechanical mismatch problem between machines and humans,’ and specifically targets 10 – 20 year olds in her rant about the wonderful qualities of this new technology that can stretch in the human body and still be functional.

Hailed as a ‘critical shift for research and medicine, ’ these biochips would not only allow full access to insurance companies and government agencies to our pharmaceutical med-taking compliancy (or lack thereof), but also a host of other aspects of our lives which are truly none of their business, and certainly an extension of the removal of our freedoms and rights … Continue reading:

Transhumanism, the creation of – or turning us into – part human, part machine cyborgs is generating a lot of discussion and a lot of spontaneous ejaculations in the scientific community as they contemplate having their brains replaced by a computer. There are no limits on the ambitions of scientists fantasies, they even envisage creating robots that can interbreed with us, but how much is realistic?

Transhumanism – What The Elite And Their Science Whores Have Planned For You
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The further left you think you are, the further right you are

IBM Lays Billion Dollar Bet On Artificial Intelligence System Called Watson: They’ll Lose
This publication has always been sceptical of the claims made by computer scientists that’the thinking computer is just around the corner’. The fact is pointy heads have been saying arificual intelligence would be with us in two or three years for the past forty years. And the old computer professional who owns the site says we are no nearer than when he wrote his first program.

Google quits Spain in paid content row
]
Spain’s government have defied Google’s vow to shut down its Spanish online news service rather than pay for content, [ … ] The internet search giant threatened to close Google News Spain in December, 2014, before an intellectual property law enters force in January obliging Internet news scrapers to pay for content automatically lifted from other websites. Spain’s culture ministry, said it would go ahead with the new law, Google’s response is “a matter for the company”.

Transhumanism – Elitist and Mad Scientist Collaboration To Turn Us Into Automatons.
Transhumanism: there are two definitions, the production of human animal hybrids with the aim of producing superhuman creatures and the merging of humans with machines as a shortcut to creating programmable decives with human instinct, logic and congnitive skills. Neither promises any benefit to humankind in the view of those of us who believe only the natural human being can fulfill individual potential.

Wannabe Humandroids apply here

I have written many posts in the past couple of years about the ambitions of some corporate evil empire fantasists (particularly among Google senior management) to merge human with machine, the better to gain complete control over us.

This may seem like science fiction stuff and the chances of it becoming real are remote to say the least. What is not fantasy however is the ambition, the creepy geeks who advance such ideas are deadly serious. Take a look at this for example:

Want to become a CYBORG? Apply Here; The technology that could give you super vision, let you pick up a car and even plug yourself into your computer are being developed.

Technology has the potential to augment, improve and even replace every aspect of our body, from our vital organs to our legs.

A new remake of the movie RoboCop (out February 12) shows us a future where technology and humans become one – but experts say the age of the cyborg is already upon us.

With everything from smart contact lenses that could improve our vision to exoskeletons that give us superhuman strength, cyborgs are set to become a big part of our future. So says Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, who believes the biological parts (i.e. the fun bits) of our body will be replaced with mechanical parts and this could happen as early as 2100.

He believes technology will be able to boost our brainpower, giving us true superhuman capabilities.

‘Based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we’ll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold,’ he claims.

This last proves he’s a dickhead.
First: We have no idea as yet how the human brain processes data;
Second:scientists have a lot of difficulty getting their little adolescent brains round the idea that the physical organ, the brain and the mysterious entity that is the human mind are very different things.
Third: If we increased the power oif out most powerful computer a billion times we would still not even be close to emulating the power of the mind.

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Google’s Brave New World Of Artificial Intelligence – And The Destruction Humanity
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Terminate The Killer Robots

The charge to replace humans with machines gathers pace (or at least the rate at which we discover the criminality and sociopathy of those in the financial, political and academic elite does). And the sick irony is the projects to develop machines that will replace, dominate and eventually destroy us are funded from the taxes we pay.

Well Schumpeter’s Warning tells us socialism always turns into fascism and Little Nicky Machiavelli had warned for years that science was ever fascism’s whore. So this latest dose of raw, undiluted truth shoulkd not surprise too many people.

Nobel Peace Prize winner protests ‘killer robots’ — Don’t let SkyNet activate

In a recent interview with RT, Nobel Peace Prize winner and political activist Jody Williams explained the dangers “killer robots” pose on society.

From sub-sonic super drones to micro-robots “the size of a mosquito”, humans now have to worry about artificial life forms around them, even killer ones.

In a jaw dropping admission, Williams talked about how a beta micro insect drone that can come into your room, spy on you, inject you with poison, then kill you undetected.

You think it is science fiction stuff? You need to read the article “Human Rights Group Seeks Ban On Killer Robots” where Ms Williams’ views are explored fully.

The article cites a report Human Rights Watch co-authored with Harvard Law School in November of 2012, a fully autonomous machine that could select and fire upon a target selected of its own volition could be available within 20 years, if not sooner.

That report, entitled “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots,” outlines the legal, ethical and policy concerns surrounding the development of self-directed weaponry. While in certain contexts advanced weaponry already possesses some semblance of “intelligence,” such as guided missiles or drones capable of adapting to battlefield conditions, present technology still requires human input, and in that sense involves basic humanitarian law.

Little Nicky has warned you. Oppose the neo fasCist New World Order and vote out their lackeys the LibLabCon now. Vote UKIP or any other fringe party not controlled by the bankers’ cartel or watch your children and grandchildren robbed of their humanity and made into Slaves Of The Machine

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Is Your Car Spying On You?

Well if it is a nine year old model maintained in near showroon condition like mine it isn’t, but …

from Russia Today:
“Modern automobiles are logging tremendous amounts of information every single second they’re being put to use, and a senior executive at the Ford Motor Company says car manufacturers have access to every last piece of it.

At the CES electronic trade show in Las Vegas this week, the global vice president for Ford’s marketing and sales division opened up about just exactly how much data is being collected by his company’s latest line of smart cars.

“We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing,” Ford’s Jim Farley told a Vegas crowd on Wednesday, according to Business Insider reporter Jim Edwards.”

So what can we do? How about this for starters …

We can go like Cuba and all dive fifty year old cars or …

Find the GPS gadget. It will usually be underneath the car or under the bumper (aka fender) but possibly inside. They are most often small rectangular boxes. If you cannot visually locate the tracking unit installed in your car, get help from a bug-detector device. This works by detecting the radio frequency transmission coming from the GPS device and alerting you to it. They are quite expensive but good value if they save you the cost of a divorce 🙂

Get the box open and and remove the battery thus depriving the processor of its power source. This will not work on all models, some take power from the car’s battery. For most manufacturers models it is the easiest way to disable the vehicle’s GPS system.

If you can’t disable it by removing the battery, unplug and remove GPS box. If you can see how the GPS device is fixed to the vehicle it is safe to remove it. Sometimes the GPS system is attached magnetically, in which case you can just pull the device off the vehicle.

Simples.

Alternatively, if you want to be able to track your car but do not want Ford, Toyota or General Motors tracking your actions, you can buy a GPS tracker defence device. These are available online from companies in the United Kingdom and Europe; can’t say if they are available in the United States.

Plug the tracker defence into your car’s 12-volt lighter receptacle.

Turn on the device. It prevents the tracking unit installed in your car from sending signals to the GPS satellite.

Thus when you are not in the car you can take the GPS blocker with you and your car will be trackable if stolen, but while you are in the car, you can block GPS. Ain’t technology wonderful?

That is general advice of course but now this is out there will soon be plenty of websites with model – specific instructions.

3D Printing Continues the Evolution of the Humanoid Robot

This is an update to the ongoing mission of psycho scientists to replace humans with robots.

In the age of computers, things evolve exponentially. In just a few generations robots have gone from a scientific fantasy, to a playful curiosity, to entering the battlefield to replace and/or augment their human counterparts.

We are already at the point where we have to consider what the next step of robotic evolution looks like. According to robotics engineers, it appears that at some point in the near future the next step could very well be whatever the next generation robot chooses for itself.

The humanoid robot is now poised to take a leap from a mere facsimile of human behavior to one that futurists suggest will not only walk like a human, but will possess self awareness, as well as a full range of high-tech computational spectrum analysis and capabilities . . . and emotions.

Read all this post on the latest psychotic fantasies of the stupid fuck who hate themselves so much they would exterminate all of us.

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How Banksters Plan To Replace Your Wallet With Something They Control

‘Retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Costco are utilizing biometric identification for accurate management of goods, while hoping to incorporate the biometric checkout where customers can use their fingerprint or retina to pay for their items without having to use their credit/debit cards or write a check.

By having employees scan their fingerprints into a corporate database, retail corporations can reduce theft and eliminate payroll confusion; however this initiative is really about collecting biometric data to store and use at a later date.

Perhaps customers could wave their smartphone over a scanner to be identified at a retail store without having to use their eyes or hands.’

Tech Corps Hope to Replace Your Wallet With Biometric Identification.

War On Cash Begins, It Is Not About Keeping You Or Your Money Safe From Muggers

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E U Smart Borders Policy Will Lead To Big Brother Type Surveillance, Green Politician Warns

A European Union scheme to implement new border control technology will result in Big Brother surveillance, a Green Party Member of the European Parliament has warned.

The European Commission’s plans for so-called ‘Smart Borders’ were published on 1 March 2013, revealing the Commission plans to implement automated systems to monitor non-EU citizens entering and leaving the bloc.

“The use of new technologies will enable smoother and speedier border crossing for third country citizens who want to come to the EU. Modernising our systems will also lead to a higher level of security by preventing irregular border crossings and detecting those who overstay,” said Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
Jan Philipp Albrecht a German Green in the European Parliament but obviously not a Watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside) voiced concerns that the smart borders initiative would create an “e-fortress Europe” adding there is “no evidence to show that this trend towards mass data storage has yielded any improvements for security and criminal investigations.” Data of all passengers traveling from third countries into the EU would be collected, he said.

The E U plan consists of a Registered Traveler Programme (RTP) aimed at frequent business travelers or those with relatives in the EU and an Entry/Exit System (EES). The RTP would make use of automated border control systems such as automated gates for pre-screened visitors.

The EES would digitally record the time and place of entry and exit of third country nationals and issue an alert to national authorities when there is no exit record by the expiry time. The current practice when checking a third country national wanting to cross the EU’s external borders is based mainly on the stamps in the travel document. It is easy to foresee that as social breakdown continues due to the failure of the single currency, high unemployment due to insane industrial policies and the inefficiency of high tech policing, the system would quickly be extended to monitor the movements of all citizens even within their own community.

The plan calls to mind the U K Labour government’s plan to force us all to carry national ID cards loaded with a GPS chip whenever we left our home. The plan was shelved due to public opposition but has never been abandoned. Similarly a clause in the American Healthcare System dubbed Obama care contains a clause that would enable the government to implant an RFID chip in the body of every citizen. Supporters of Obama’s health care plan protest that the bill does not state people will be chipped. This is true, but it does clear legal obstacles in the US Constitution and international human rights law to such a policy.

Together with fellow politician Ska Keller, Albrecht has set up a campaign called Smashborders to oppose the plans, urging EU citizens to fight against “the creation of an enormous database” that would infringe civil liberties.

The proposals will now go before the European Parliament and, if approved there, to the national assemblies of member states for ratification. The Commission hopes the system will be operational in 2017 or 2018.

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The Total Surveillance Society

Surveillance cameras, CCTV,electronic monitoring, data gathering from credit card use and other transactions, all are commonplace. When we start to hear talk of implanting RFID chips in human bodies or making a criminal offence of not carrying an official identity card when outside one’s home, we start to understand how sinister the surveillance industry has become and what threats it poses to our rights and liberties.

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Michael S. Hart, Internet pioneer and good guy dies.

Long before The Evil Empire Google began to scrape up out of copyright and non – copyright material from wherever they could find it and then assert copyright over stuff that rightly belonged in the public domain, before the med scientist Tim Berners Lee created the travesty that is the World Wide Web, before Microsoft destroyed your right to privacy and Facebook stole your personal data, internetworking technology was in the hands of good guys.

Before even I was involved in networking computers, and bear in mind, in internet timescales I am almost as old as any Enochian demon, there was Project Gutenberg.

I was saddened to hear that Michael Stern Hart the founder of Project Gutenberg had died at the reatively early age of 64.

Hart, commonly considered the founder of the ebook, died last week at his Illinois home, according to a representative of Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory.

Though Michael Hart’s brainchild did not make him a rich man as other internet pioneers became rich by peddling computer solutions that were to put it bluntly, “not fit for purpose”, he does not appear to have ever been motivated by wealth. People who knew him said Project Gutenberg was his life and his love.

The non profit project, run using a network of volunteers, was dedicated to providing free online access to as many books as could be converted to an electronic format, in particular classical and ancient works as well as scholarly writings on a wide range of topics. Project Gutenberg was the first organisation to make works as diverse as the plays of Shakespeare, Homer’s epics, the books of Brauch Spinoza and the writings of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein available online.

Project Gutenberg will live on, the mantle will be picked up by Hart’s many followers who like him are motivated by a genuine love of learning and enlightenment to share knowledge freely, unlke commercial organisations that claim altruistic motives but really are motivated by profit and control.

A friend of mine on a US site, who posts as Joe Schitte, says there is no such thing as altruism and he has a point. Michael Hart was motivated by self interest in that what he did was driven by his great love of doing it. Project Gutenberg was not a path to riches, fame or power for him, it was a joy, the thing that gave meaning to his life. To that extent it was self interest.

But Mother Teresa was, was she not, primarily motivated by earning herself a place in heaven?

Martin Luther King was, was he not, set on a course of making for himself a place in history?

And heart transplant pioneer Christian Barnard was motivated by competitiveness with others to be fisrt to achieve something.

All those other “altruistic” people too, people credited with putting the common good before self interest were, were they not, driven by an emotional need to be seen by their peers as good?

Only history will judge whether Michael Stearn Hart’s work freed our cultural heritage from it’s bondage between the covers of books or paved the way for some really evil bastards to grab control of information that was never theirs in order to profit from it (you may think the web is “free” but how many sites do you visit that are not serving you “targeted ads”, a practice I find fascistic ans repugnant?)

For now the death of Michael Hart is sad but the world is a better place for his having lived.

Michael Hart – The Guardian
Obituary on Project Gutenberg website
Michael Hart – an appreciation from The Independent

Don’t Google It

Are we becoming too reliant on computers and the internet and what is the point of having at our fingertips so much poor quality information?

“Oh just Google it.” is the all too familiar response when somebody is asked a question of moderate difficulty.

Well no, we shouldn’t just Google it’. A number of studies have shown that the internet’s way of putting quick, simple answers at our fingertips is changing human intelligence. As somebody better known than I but whose name escapes me for the moment said, “First we traded wisdom for knowledge, now we are trading knowledge for information”. The problem is that information supplied in quick snippets does not enrich because it doesn’t stick …

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Blake’s Heaven (another message from beyond the grave)

Yesterday I looked at the thoughts of American writer John Steinbeck on the subject of individualism and human creativity. Yesterday was also the 250th anniversary of another visionary who still speaks to us relevantly and eloquently from beyond the grave.
William Blake, poet, artist, was probably the most extraordinary visionary Britain has produced since Shakespeare. Though not in the same league as a writer Blake, writing in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, foresaw many of the problems that would face society two hundred years later.
Most people know this writer for the hymn Jerusalem and so think of him as a religious poet. It is true there are many references to God and Jesus in the poems and essays but an unholy row has been simmering in he Anglican church for many years as to whether Jerusalem is actually a Christian hymn or poem. The answer to that (its a pagan poem actually) does not matter, what is interesting and is a theme running through Blake’s work is that his religious views represent heresy to standard Christian beliefs. Blake sees God as a symbol of the oppressive authoritarianism of state and church and Jesus as the unifying spirit of humanity. An authoritarian God and a liberal, humanist Jesus.
All our lives we are required to choose between God; conformity, unquestioning obedience, commitment to work and money and unthinking acceptance of the status quo, and Jesus; freedom of thought and speech, questioning of injustice and a love of art and expression all of which Blake believed would lead to the overthrow of tyranny and the creation of a Utopian world, Jerusalem:
I will not cease from mental strife
nor will my sword rest in my hand
‘til we have built Jerusalem
in England’s green and pleasant land.
So no promises that it will be easy then, but plenty of references to The Da Vinci code, well, to the enduring myth that Jesus actually visited Britain a few years after his alleged crucifixion. A full book would be needed to explore the possible truths of that so we will skip nit for now.
Most people have probably been told the lines in the poem Jerusalem that go:
And was Jerusalem builded here
among these dark, satanic mills?
are actually using the “dark, satanic mills” as a metaphor for the protestant churches that were preaching a very hardline version of Christianity. This is true but not entirely true, Blake is using a double meaning. Remember he was writing at a time when the Industrial Revolution was at its height in Britain and also there was a second wave of the protestant reformation going on. The mills and factories of the manufacturers were certainly dark, satanic places, the workers endured long hours in vile, dehumanising conditions, working for a pittance; they could be laid off or sacked without notice, punishments were regularly handed out for misdemeanours as trivial as talking to the person at the next machine, wages could be reduced on a whim and, under the law of the day, nobody could leave to obtain better employment without the permission of their master. Yes master, not employer. The relationship was of master and servant, and despite all the pious words of abolitionists who campaigned to stop the slave trade, the condition of workers in the industrial cities of Britain were no better than a kind of slavery. The workers could submit to the will of their bosses or they were free to starve.
The protestant chapels were just as dark and Satanic in a different way. It was in such places and through their warped teachings the idea of the “undeserving poor” took root, the notion that poverty was a judgement imposed by God and those who did not endure it with stoicism and grace were deserving of further punishment at the hands of pious human tormentors who considered themselves to have been granted wealth because God recognised they were better people.
What did it take to be part of the “undeserving poor”? Well, complaining about injustices, poor wages, squalid living conditions and the exorbitant prices charged in the “truck” shops. Oh yes, truck shops, nearly forgot those. So concerned were the pious and godly rich people for the souls of their workers, they did not pay wages in legal coin but in tokens only redeemable in shops owned by the employer. This was ostensibly to prevent the “undeserving poor” from spending their earnings on sinful frivolities such as drinking, singing and dancing in the alehouse. Obviously such practices did not sit well alongside Blake’s notion that all human beings must be free to make their own choices.
It was not only religion and the cause of the workers that aroused the poet’s passion. He was quite prepared to embrace radical political causes and supported both the American and French revolutions, writing in support of Washington and Lafayette and denouncing the Kings of England and France.
By profession Blake was an engraver and illustrator and his fine draughtsmanship brought him to the attention of radical publisher Joseph Johnson who championed the work of writers such as Thomas Paine, sometimes known as “the firebrand of the American Revolution” and Mary Wollstonecraft, proto-feminist and mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Through Johnson, Blake also met people such as scientific pioneer and religious rebel Joseph Priestly, Radical theologian Gilbert Wakefield who popularised the Unitarian faith in Britain and poet William Cowper, a stylistic influence.
As Blake developed as a writer, ideas formed from contact with these influential thinkers were given shape by his own individual vision. The form of Christianity expressed in his poems, though heretic in the view of the Biblical fundamentalism of the day, was in reality derived from the much older tradition of Celtic Christianity and owing a lot to the fashionable revival of interest in paganism, mysticism and naturalism. In the Everlasting Gospel, his last and unfortunately unfinished poem he goes right out on a limb and proposes that the true God could only possibly be a female, while in The Song of Los his implication is that the endless cycle of nature, of death and renewal, is the reality while the idea of “resurrection into a better life” common the Abrahamic religions is a fanciful notion that appeals to the weak minded. To the mainstrean Christian all virtue comes from God, to Blake all virtue is human and all evil from over-zealous and hypocritical love of the patriarchal and materialistic God of the Abrahamic religions.
In summary then, Blake was as much a political as a religious poet, and as such he now speaks to us from beyond the grave, showing us how we must fight to retain our rights and freedoms including the freedom to believe or not believe in some sort of God.
He also shows us in the words to Jerusalem that we must slow the insane rush for technology, not turning back the clock to a medieval lifestyle as Blake’s critics claimed he was suggesting and as my critics, the immature and irrational boy – scientists (who think they are really really original) will try to claim I am suggesting. There is no need to turn back the clock, only to make sure we control technology rather than letting it, and those who profit from it, control us.
Blake’s Heaven then was not a dream world where everybody sprouted wings and a distinct lack of wedding tackle and went around playing little harps, it was a world in which all could live with dignity and have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. That is a dream that technology should have put within our reach. Unfortunately, because we have been misled by those who worship money and power it seems to be slipping further away from us all the time.

Managing Mayhem (the failure of management)

During the Post Office strike a few weeks ago I let off a rabble-rousing leftie rant about the abuse of workers’ rights. A comment from Irish-le-feaux reminded me there are other considerations and sometimes managers have to be allowed to manage. He was right of course, the problem is having the ability to manage is a prerequisite of being allowed to manage. And the core skills of management seem to have gone the same way as those of teaching, policing, journalism and so many other professions. That applies in business as well as the public sector.
My experience of working with the Post Office and other public service organisations is that management skills were never encouraged or developed and this is underlined by the lost disks fiasco at HM Revenue and Customs.
Managing is completely alien to the public servant’s mindset. Procrastination, delaying decisions, evading responsibility, shifting blame and bean counting are the things they do well. The rest they do not do at all. When in doubt, take refuge in bureaucracy.
In every Post Office, when I headed up the Information Technology project to automate Post Office counter trade, there was a book of ancient scriptures. I think it was called The Post Officers Guide and Handbook, something like that. In it one would find instructions on what to do in every possible situation from selling a stamp to instructions on how to assist in childbirth should a pregnant woman go into labour while queuing for her maternity allowance. (For the benefit of those humourless boy-scientists who are stalking my posts, what I just did is known as exaggerating for comic effect.)
In the book of scriptures, and similar ones in Tax Offices, Benefits Offices, and anywhere the public meets the government, every decision a public servant will face is made for them. “Just follow procedure and you’ll be alright,” is the message.
This probably explains the child benefit information shambles. A situation arose that was not covered in the book so nobody knew what to do.
Bureaucracy is one of the ten modern plagues to afflict the Nation of New Labour of course. Bureaucracy and obsession with procedure has escaped the public sector and now invades business and private life but the burgeoning of bureaucracy is entirely due to the failure of management and the rise of a culture of bean counting. Tony Blair’s government style was commonly identified with control freakerey and an obsession with hiring consultants, in fact his approach to dealing with problems was based on techniques promulgated by his favourite consultancy firm McKinsey whose corporate motto is “If it can be measured, it can be managed.”
Management however is not about counting and measuring things, it is about dealing with those things that cannot be counted and measured. A famous management maxim from before the era of bean counters goes, “managing people is like herding cats.” It is true, but managers who cannot deal with people and all the quirks and eccentricities of human nature are doomed to fail. And managers who try to use bureaucratic procedures to reduce people to automations will not just fail, they will crash and burn.
On my last contract as a gainfully employed person I was working for a middle sized consultancy, Infact, on a huge technology project in Stockholm. We were expensive guys to employ, as well as our fees and the consultancies mark up, there was the question of five star hotels, meals in good restaurants, business class flights each week and all sorts of sundry expenses mostly called Ingrid. But Infact specialised in delivering solutions rather than procedures.
After a few months one of our Swedish colleagues, a devotee of modern management methods, decided to make a name for himself by asking what was the point of paying so much money for our services. “What do you do that we cannot?” he asked.
Andy, a non nonsense Scot looked at him and replied, “We make decisions.”

That is the difference between a manager and a bureaucrat.

Is The Internet Making Us All Stupid

A few days ago Nanny Ogg asked why everybody on her friends list is turning to private posts.

There are many possible reasons, this host is attracting more social networkers than wannabee writers, the general badtemperedness and ill manners encountered in the blogosphere, the fact that to be visible we have to post about twenty times a day?

All in all blogging is not fun anymore for the fun blogger. The internet is close to becoming a failed technology.

The problem is Web2, this undefined entity that allows the emotionally needy to “share” the minutae of their lives with the world. If only the world would stop by and look.

Another blogger who shares my scepticism about the way the world of internet technologies is heading is Andrew Keen.

Check out some of his very honest and perceptive views at andrewkeenblog