Saturday, August 18, 2007

Have I missed anything?

No, apparently not.

Iraq: A Tale of Two Cheneys [VIDEO]

Why is Dick Cheney contradicting statements he made not just in 1994 but also in the year 2000 about the foolishness of an Iraq invasion?

Bill "Falafel" O'Reilly: "I Think Everybody's Got to Relax On All This Gay Stuff"

O'Reilly's gone out of his way to convince his audience that gays are bad people, sometimes dangerous, oftentimes violent, and a hazard for children to avoid.

More Giuliani 9/11 Lies Exposed, He Only Spent 29 Hrs. Total at Ground Zero

Turns out Rudy made mostly cameo appearances after the September 11th attacks.

Sexual Violence On the Rise in US Prisons

Last year there was a 21 percent jump in sexual violence in US prisons and in more than half the cases, the perpetrators were guards.

Domestic Abuse, Grand Theft, Perjury and Sexual Impropriety! Just Another Day in the GOP

The Republican Party's hypocrisy parade continues.

Iraq Round-Up!

This week: Iran and Iraq cut an oil pipeline deal; the "Petraeus report" to be a political document written by the White House; more US troops up on murder charges; the Brits say the "surge" is likely to fail, and much, much more!

FBI Director: Bush Officials Tried 'to Goad a Sick, Medicated Ashcroft' to Approve Warrantless Wiretapping

FBI director Mueller's notes indicate Ashcroft "was in no condition" to see visitors, much less decide whether to authorize the program.

Feds Train Clergy To "Quell Dissent" During Martial Law [VIDEO]

Pastors and other religious representatives could become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to "obey the government."

UNICEF Germany Pulls Ad Campaign Featuring White Children in "Blackface"

UNICEF Germany comes to its senses and acknowledges their ad campaign was "not appropriate."

Jose Padilla: Imprisoned Nearly Four Years Without a Lawyer, Convicted on Terrorism Charges

By destroying Padilla, the government cheated us all out of justice.

I think I'll go back to ignoring email and news for a few more hours, at the very least.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What I do when I'm frustrated

I've been having a grand obsess, perseverating like hell on something that at first blush seems utterly unrelated to art, blogging, or Graphictruth, all because I don't want to get into ... hm.

Ok, I've just decided it - as much as I'm impressed with Wordpress - I don't have the spare kiloquads for the learning curve. Blogger and Google may celebrate.

However, back to what I was doing, because I was so rudely interrupted. You see, as an aspie, an interruption in my routine is damnably disturbing, leading to all kinds of bizarre things. I'm lucky, for me, the acting out is almost always creative. It's hell on the people around me, though.

This particular obsession came from a decision to give 2nd Life another try. I'd be happy to tell you what I've been up to, but it might just curl your nose hairs. For the most part, it belongs over on our sister blog,

Even there, I may just have to include a NSFW warning. However - just as the Internet before it and then the World Wide Web - the sorts of places I have been is where the obsessive people who create the platform hang out, relax, share and develop new ideas in an environment that is neither mission critical nor subject to criticism based on anything other than performance.

If you can depict, simulate, transmit, record, or usefully participate in human sexual activity to the limits of the medium, the system itself is both robust and flexible enough to support eCommerce, government agencies and, of course, spam and "griefers".

2nd Life is now robust enough to support a degree of parasitic activity that is either not based on actively expanding the system and it's communicative and associative intents, or indeed directly aimed at screwing with people and what they would otherwise freely and benignly choose to do. Therefore, the republican mindset says that it's ripe for exploitation and domination. The problem is, you cannot strip-mine an intellectual property, nor meaningfully restrict access to it as a commodity. The commodity itself has a very large say in the matter.

Creative people tend to create contexts wherein they can do what they wish to do, governed only by their own ethics and morality, when that environment is (at least for a time) too challenging for those people who object to the rude rejection of social norms that authoritarian figures would impose by diktat.

So of course, 2nd Life is simply lousy with porn, eroticism, sexual imagery and people humping (virtually) like Bonobos.

One explanation for the sexual activity at feeding time could be that excitement over food translates into sexual arousal. This idea may be partly true. Yet another motivation is probably the real cause: competition. There are two reasons to believe sexual activity is the bonobo's answer to avoiding conflict.

First, anything, not just food, that arouses the interest of more than one bonobo at a time tends to result in sexual contact. If two bonobos approach a cardboard box thrown into their enclosure, they will briefly mount each other before playing with the box. Such situations lead to squabbles in most other species. But bonobos are quite tolerant, perhaps because they use sex to divert attention and to diffuse tension.

Second, bonobo sex often occurs in aggressive contexts totally unrelated to food. A jealous male might chase another away from a female, after which the two males reunite and engage in scrotal rubbing. Or after a female hits a juvenile, the latter's mother may lunge at the aggressor, an action that is immediately followed by genital rubbing between the two adults.

I once observed a young male, Kako, inadvertently blocking an older, female juvenile, Leslie, from moving along a branch. First, Leslie pushed him; Kako, who was not very confident in trees, tightened his grip, grinning nervously. Next Leslie gnawed on one of his hands, presumably to loosen his grasp. Kako uttered a sharp peep and stayed put. Then Leslie rubbed her vulva against his shoulder. This gesture calmed Kako, and he moved along the branch. It seemed that Leslie had been very close to using force but instead had reassured both herself and Kako with sexual contact.

During reconciliations, bonobos use the same sexual repertoire as they do during feeding time. Based on an analysis of many such incidents, my study yielded the first solid evidence for sexual behavior as a mechanism to overcome aggression. Not that this function is absent in other animals--or in humans, for that matter--but the art of sexual reconciliation may well have reached its evolutionary peak in the bonobo. For these animals, sexual behavior is indistinguishable from social behavior. Given its peacemaking and appeasement functions, it is not surprising that sex among bonobos occurs in so many different partner combinations, including between juveniles and adults. The need for peaceful coexistence is obviously not restricted to adult heterosexual pairs.

The Chimps find this behavior both confusing and distracting from their goals of social domination, which generally includes the idea of who gets to do what with whom - and who has to put up with taking it up the ass. Or in other words, authoritarians see sex along with everything else as being about "winners and losers," a world filled with a vast pool of obedient submissive citizens and a few very powerful Alpha figures who display their dominance by some form of symbolic or literal anal rape - and the fact they control the system well enough that they cannot be held accountable in either legal or extralegal senses.

Me, I'm more of a bonobo. Social contexts in which intimate contact, sexual or otherwise - are welcome as an alternative to conflict/dominance models feel a great deal safer to me. I would rather be at a BDSM/Fetish party than a corporate culture retreat or holiday destination for that class of person, even though in both cases, I probably wouldn't get all that intimate with anyone I didn't know, I understand and respect the ethics and social customs of the former better than the latter.

And in general, I've found that the people who populate the fringes tend to be much more honest and with better ethics in general. This may seem paradoxical, but I could and have written reams on the topic.

But, believe it or not, the Justice Department was concerned enough about the specter of gambling in 2nd life to put pressure on Lindon Labs. Their response has been mixed and confused, as they are not really quite sure if their open source platform is really a proprietary content site (such as AOL pretends to be) or a "common carrier," such as any internet access provider. The difference? A common carrier cannot be held accountable for your activities.

I personally think that Second Life has grown way, way too big for LL to realistically even think of controlling content - and they certainly don't have the time to enforce dictates that governments would like to impose. But more on that later. Right now, I'd suggest that Lindon Labs seriously consider the implications of what they have already made possible, with whole areas of Second Life run on independent, sponsored servers, such as Brazil's virtual nation, which, if subject to law at all, are certainly NOT subject to US law.

Second Life - if it's to be governed at all - must be governed from within by the people who "live" there and according to the needs, desires and of course, the available time of the people there. Even more radically, the Internet as a whole depends far more on self-regulation than society does simply because it's realistically impossible to prevent access or demand compliance. We have hand an Anarchic Internet for - well, goodness, since it began, and it's nature is to oppose and network around pesky strictures. There were competing models that were much more government-like, such as Fidonet, but the people voted with their feet when the Internet became widely available.

There are still many safe, protected preserves, where you can pay through the nose for the privilege of being exposed to content and advertising that you are demographically and socially determined to need. In Second Life, I'm sure there are equivalent virtual "gated communities," intended to keep out riff-raff such as myself and the writers of the US Constitution, where all that is not mandatory is prohibited. All of these safe havens are based on code and protocols developed by people who would not bother to tarry there if they were not exceedingly well-compensated - and who generally do contribute to other areas of the network and internet culture with great generosity.

The beauty of the Internet is that anyone can set up their own little kingdom - and nobody can be compelled to stay within it's borders. It had best be a viable, interesting and worthwhile place to be - or people will leave. Increasingly, this is a realization that entire, literal nations are learning. It's easy to control the majority of the people - but it's the minorities that makes a nation work - the people who are exceptional in some way - and who could be equally exceptional anywhere. And on the Internet, "exceptional" does not just mean "rich."

I remember making that point in an AOL "Room" - just before I was banned, that it was not a "privilege" for me to post there - there are any number of far more prestigious fora where I'm quite welcome. By taking the time to post, I was doing THEM a favor and I expected to be treated in light of that reality, with the courtesy and respect due my contributions of time and insight into the issues being discussed.

I was banned nearly instantaneously, just as I was banned from a 2nd Amendment forum there for pointing out that the second amendment exists to protect an implicit social duty of all citizens, to serve as an armed, competent and credible deterrent to government intrusion, so when activism is reduced to slide-jacking and posturing intended to manipulate government in favor of some people - as opposed to opposing it's intrusion on people as a matter of principle and duty - it becomes pointless.

Governments govern by force while sneeringly asking, "whatcha gonna do about it?" Well, on the Internet, at least, the alternates are nearly endless. With the aid of such networking, this is increasingly true in Real Life, by reducing the knowledge and communication barriers that make it difficult for individuals to avoid dependence upon government.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Template corrupted

Yesterday my template got corrupted - and it took me quite some time to diagnose why a blank screed was coming up.

Obviously I have a lot of things to recreate - and so rather than do that on blogspot, I'm going to migrate the blog to remote-hosted wordpress.

Please bear with me during this time of annoyance - and let me know about any little widgets here and there which I have forgotten.


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