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30 June 2005

How Many More Times?

How many more times of witnessing George Bush shouting about the terrorists over there before everyone finally recognises that it takes the wealth, military might and propaganda production capacity of a country like America, at the behest of a fundamentalist leader who openly aspires to dictatorship, to support the ongoing global terrorist activities being orchestrated from over here?

29 June 2005

ID Cards & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The story of the modern-day Narcissus who lived a life of fantasy and has been jailed for life after killing his parents with a claw-hammer when fantasy and reality collided has brought the subject of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) to the fore.

Kerry Daynes, a Manchester-based consultant forensic psychologist explained the characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder sufferers:
"People who have NPD have an over-inflated ego.

They are very grandiose and have a very inflated sense of themselves.

They feel they are very important and are superior to other people.

"...for these people it is out of control - it has gone off the scale."

A fitting description, no less, of just about every single one of this unruly bunch of characters.

They - Finally Woken

Credit where it's due to Jem for simplifying the questions we should all be asking and putting them into a rather pleasant little ditty for the kids so they can have a little fun and figure things out for themselves while the adults argue amongst themselves about a plethora of non-issues.

A few choice words from 'They', a single taken from Jem's Finally Woken album:
Who made up all the rules?
We follow them like fools
Believe them to be true
Don't care to think them through

And it's ironic too
Cos what we tend to do
Is act on what they say
And then it is that way

I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this
I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this

Do you see what I see?
Why do we live like this?
Is it because it's true
That ignorance is bliss?

Who are they?
Where are they?
How can they
Possibly know all this?

Who are they?
Where are they?
How can they
Possibly know all this?

Thankfully, some of us have come a fair way since the days of burning the records of those whose messages we didn't approve.

Not much further to go now...

David Arranovitch: Lessons in Raping History

The Antagonist's attention has been drawn to a BBC web site article The Price On Your Head which asks the very necessary question that everyone seems to be ignoring in the ID card rumpus, "Why are our personal details worth anything at all?"

The fact is our personal details aren't worth anything at all, other than some arbitrary value that someone who stands to gain or profit from them tells us they have, and which we then either ascribe to, or ignore for the valueless nonsense that it is.

Without fully exploring the valuelessness of identity and the requirement to prove it as perceived by governments and authorities the world over, or as perceived by we, the people, who can happily go about most of our daily business without the need to prove our identity to anyone, the BBC article ends with a quote from David Aaranovitch, who writes in The Times:
"I don't care if the folks in Old Tesco House are joking about my purchase of a family-sized tub of Vaseline, or if I am entered on a national DNA database which could help to track down rapists.

I am not a shoplifter or a rapist."
And with these disingenuous words Arranovitch at once shoplifts the history of all persecuted peoples everywhere and rapes the memories of their tortured pasts.

The Antagonist suggests that it would be sensible for someone with a surname of Aaranovitch to understand properly the well-documented history of 1930s and 1940s Germany which led to the persecution of 6 million Jews and millions of other people deemed 'undesirable' such as the Roma people, who probably weren't shoplifters or rapists either, before committing such trite nonsense to paper before the 'educated' readership of The Times.

28 June 2005

Gilles Deleuze - Wikiquote

'In order for music to free itself, it will have to pass over to the other side—there where territories tremble, where the structures collapse, where the ethoses get mixed up, where a powerful song of the earth is unleashed, the great ritornelles that transmutes all the airs it carries away and makes return.'
from Essays Critical and Clinical, p. 104.

27 June 2005

Blair: I Only Tell Lies This Big

blair lies

ID Cards & the Increasingly Rapid Death of Liberty

The Antagonist isn't going to attempt to reinvent the wheel on the subject of ID cards and instead merely refers readers to this fine post over at Europhobia.

For those of you that still don't get it, watch and keep re-watching Enemy of the State until the point where you sit up in the shock of realisation that comes with cognition.

Morpheus/Grokster Senate Ruling Explained

According to the BBC, file-sharing has suffered a major defeat as a result of a US Supreme Court ruling that file-sharing companies are to blame for what users do with their software.

This, of course, is utter nonsense and The Antagonist will explain forthwith but first needs to get this little lot out of the system and into the ether... following the logic of this judgement, how about suing Microsoft for making the operating system on which the file-sharing software runs? Or maybe Cisco and other communications companies for helping build the networks across which all this data travels? What about Charles Babbage? Nobody's sued him yet, the bastard, and he started all this back in the 18th century. He might be dead but that hasn't stopped them before. Then we could sue the gun and weapons manufacturers for what individuals and governments who purchase their products then go on to do with them.

Obviously, holding governments to account for anything - even killing thousands of people on the basis of no evidence at all - will never happen and so is completely non-sensical, just like the notions of suing Microsoft, Cisco and dear old Mr Babbage. By virtue of something known as the logical extension, the senate ruling also renders itself immediately null and void and disappears in a puff of logic.

Anyway, back to the point... The headline is entirely misleading and filesharing has not suffered any form of setback at all. What has suffered, however, are perfectly legal file-sharing services that aren't approved by the international media conglomerates, i.e. other businesses who had the foresight to get in on making money from P2P first.

The story relates to the legal case of big business versus Streamcast Networks - the makers of the Grokster and Morpheus filesharing software. Streamcast happened to achieve what the media industry had consistently failed to achieve and managed to generate revenue streams from file-sharing networks. That Streamcast beat the international media companies to the job of so doing is the bugbear of big business and the reasoning behind the legal action.

Initially media companies started victimising a handful of individuals who were, are, and will never be anything more than an insignificant statistic in an ever-growing network of half-a-billion peers. When that tactic failed miserably in the only way it ever could and numbers of peer-to-peer users continued to increase dramatically, the media companies set their sites on other targets. One of these targets is any company that had the foresight of trying to generate media revenue streams from the Internet, a medium and problem that Sony executives themselves admitted they were 'shit scared' of back in 1998 and still failed to address.

So what we have is a worldwide media industry that is watching its artificially maintained empire collapse and crumble as it lashes out at anyone and everyone in a desperate attempt to save something that doesn't exist in the form that it once did.

The Antagonist hates to be the one to open anyone's eyes to anything but the fundamental essence of business in the free markets that man created so many rules to keep 'free', is one of cut-throat competition. Business across all industries has consistently shown that where profits are concerned anything goes and staying one step ahead of the competition is all that matters.

So when the same multi-national industries who preach the virtues of free-markets have to resort to suing competitors who have been more competitive than themselves, the practice can only be seen for what it is, entirely anti-competitive and against the nature of anything that vaguely resembles a free-market at all. You can't have it both ways. That the Senate appears to support this anti-competitive and restrictive practice should tell us all we need to know about them too.

And, on that note, The Antagonist would like to recommend that the media industries dedicate at least a small portion of their seemingly limitless legal funds to the purchase of a copy of Dale Carnegie's excellent book, 'How To Win Friends and Influence People'. If, however, the coffers are running a little low owing to the free-market economy that keeps the coffers of everyone else in the world a little low, they could always try the peer-to-peer networks they spend so long scouring and scratching their increasingly more furrowed brows at.

26 June 2005

Cannabis, Mushrooms, Psychoactives & Evolution

There's a discussion evolving over at Nerve Centre about the alleged cannabis/psychosis link for which The Antagonist penned an amended version of the following:
Without getting into the discussion about how 'psychosis' is defined, who defines it, and whose purpose that definition serves, modern life, urban living, and the almost entire removal of the human animal in Western society from anything that vaguely resembles its natural environment is what is causing dramatically increased rates of psychosis, and there exists plenty of evidence to support this notion.

If any link existed between cannabis and psychosis, the legends and customs of cannabis use, or the use of any other psychoactive plant throughout the ages, would not have survived the same Millennia of evolution that is beyond the bounds of acceptable discussion for those which seek to legislate against our natural right to use nature's plants.

We must look to how debate of such things is shaped. For example, the following link appears fairly innocuous at first glance:

Notice how the information about mushrooms, fungi which grow naturally all over the world and which have also been used by humans since time immemorial, is presented in the 'Crime Section' of the BBC's 'A-Z of Drugs'.

Of course, we all already know 'drugs are bad, period', and entirely criminal, except for the ones the pharmaceutical industry sells us at every available opportunity - Headache? Tired? Can't Sleep? Can't stay awake? Too fat? Too thin? Cough? Cold? Ache? Pain? Anxious? Stressed? Depressed? Etc, and from which the government makes a nice tidy sum.

The implicit suggestion in the presentation of the information alone is that mushrooms are drugs and that it is a crime to consume them.

In fact, the consumption of mushrooms, cannabis, or any psychoactive plant is just the human animal exercising its natural right to interact with its natural environment in whichever natural way it sees fit to ensure its continued survival and wellbeing. Continued survival and wellbeing is the sole instinctive objective of all life-forms and man, mushrooms and cannabis have happily and peacefully coexisted for thousands upon thousands of years.

Moreover, all of this goes back to the days when we foraged for food, communicated without words, and built monolithic stone pyramids so tall that we had to wait a few thousand years for the Eiffel Tower to be built to surpass them in height.

What we are left with is the dichotomy of governments removing the rights of citizens to use natural substances which we know have been used for thousands of years to expand consciousness, while simultaneously selling them nice taxable, synthetic 'medication', along with other substances which we conveniently forget are also mind altering drugs such as alcohol (stupefying and violent), caffeine (poor man's cocaine, the go-faster drug of choice for the capitalist society), and nicotine (scream if you wanna go faster).

Whatever one's stance on drugs, it is impossible to reconcile the antitethic practice of condemning the natural plants of the earth from which life as we know it emerged, and the natural remedies which we could all cultivate for ourselves, in favour of taxable, profitable, synthetic alternatives beyond the means of our production and that require chemical factories, laboratories and government licenses to produce.

One should also bear in mind that the same governments, through the likes of medical research and university research programmes, along with the pharmaceutical industries, dedicate immense resources to investigating the manifold benefits of psychoactive plants, further adding to the dichotomy of legislating against natural substances.

Perhaps the ultimate irony is that through payment of taxes and TV license fees, we are funding the very mis-information campaigns that lead to our deliberate confusion. And, if we chose to stop paying those taxes and TV license fees to stop all the misinformation, they would throw us in jail. Interesting, non?

"That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger."

If psychoactive plants can be consumed (they can) and do not kill us (they don't, unless you're incredibly stupid to start with) then it follows that they only make us stronger (they do).

The evidence of what we once knew is everywhere if only we are able to recognise it for what it is.

pharmacratic inquisitionQED.

25 June 2005

Filesharing - The New Economy of Community

The BPI has growled and snarled again and is victimising and showing its teeth to another small handful of people in the UK who form a tiny fraction of users in an Internet population of over 400,000,000 file sharers around the world.

The Antagonist has written several times about the fundamental truths that underlie the p2p debate, and the futility of the issuance of legal threats (here, here, here and here) and is once again duty bound to authoring the following article in another attempt to introduce whatever tiny degree of logic possible into the arena of file-sharing discussion.

Conceptually, the issue is not that file-sharing occurs, rather the inevitable consequences of that file-sharing.

Confused? You won't be...

The Inevitable Transformation of Copy Rights

Since its inception, the Internet has resulted in the emergence of the ultimate fantasy of free-market-fetishists everywhere, an entirely cooperative and entirely free-market that dissolves international boundaries, regulates itself without rules, and in which anyone with an Internet connection can participate.

This Internet community has built itself almost from nothing to the crescendo of now in the space of just 20 years and it is only just starting to be recognised, or perhaps openly acknowledged by those that have denied it for so long, as the force of evolution and escalating consciousness that is its very essence.

This community, for it is a community in the true sense of the word, has created all manner of things from open-source operating systems and applications that compete with the expensive corporate alternatives, right through to music, films and words - not for profit - but for everyone to use as they choose, and at their discretion. The price for this service? So negligible as to be as close to free as anyone might hope to achieve.

The world is unquestionably a better place for the novelty of these developments. Unless, of course, you happen to be entirely reliant on the captive market that results from the monopolistic or oligopolistic control of markets and distribution channels.

The international network of peer-to-peer users, Internet Relay Chatters and Instant Messengers consists of ordinary people who share freely and globally their local and individual forms of culture, music and ideas. The morality of doing so cannot be legislated, nor can any such legislation be realistically enforced, especially when the captive market on which that legislation depends no longer exists.

The P2P community is the embodiment of a global mass-rejection of the hard-copy, solid-state, media channels of yore that dictated, "Here, watch this, at this time, but only if you can afford it!" The old, inflexible, paradigm of controlled media distribution through specific channels has necessarily given way to worldwide networks of media consumers who listen to and watch what they want, when they want. This is the 'On demand' media utopia that multimedia always promised but that the media industries failed to deliver, instead choosing to rely on their captive audience remaining captive, despite technological revolutions greater than that of the industrial revolution which reversed that captivity forever.

Recently the media industries finally evolved enough to enter the digital media race, embarking on a game of catch-up in a competition that ended some time ago. That this is a fact, cannot be denied. Nor can it be denied that the media companies, even in their international collective cabals with all their legal might, have little hope of closing the file-sharing floodgates now, or at any point in the future, for this would be similar in nature to the Sissyphean task of trying to persuade everyone that the Earth is flat.

And, while the likes of RIAA/MPAA, and their international cohorts around the world, pursue their ill thought out, self-defeating campaigns of issuing legal threats against their customers - the very same people who fund the media's existence and who include children, grandmothers and dead people - for the abominable charges of watching films and listening to music, a whole other world emerges outside of the boundaries of currently acceptable peer-to-peer debate. Until now.

The very collectivisation and faux-dedication of the multi-national media companies to their hopeless cause tells us far more about what has not entered the copyright discussion thus far than what has. Aside from nearly every song and every film ever made, peer-to-peer networks also contain nearly every operating system, software application, research paper, radio show, TV show, lecture, interview, talk, speech, script, document, thesis, legal document and just about every book of every kind in every language ever published.

Are we to presume that those who claim ownership of anything else that can be digitised, and which therefore cannot be owned or controlled as before, follow the same path as the media industries? With the benefit of logic, rationality, and the hindsight of evidence demonstrating the extreme inefficacy of this tactic, I think not.

If the Stick Doesn't Work, Try the Carrot

The multinational media companies openly state that the only reason legal threats are issued against anyone is to serve as a 'deterrent' to the peer-to-peer community that, in private at least, the media companies know they cannot dream of stopping. Naturally, the deterrent function of a handful of legal proceedings has failed and all manner of peer-to-peer, Internet and network statistics exist to support this position.

File-sharing traffic now constitutes almost 90% of all Internet traffic, and as more of the world comes online, the number of users that comprise that 90% of Internet traffic will increase exponentially. This in turn this renders the idea of continuing to issue legal proceedings against individual peer-to-peer users even more redundant than it would already appear to any right-minded business person unfamiliar with the bizarre practice of suing their customers.

As the efforts of media companies to herd customers who have escaped via a variety of alternative sources back into CD and vinyl pens with a big stick, ever greater numbers of people around the world are actively demonstrating their reluctance to be shepherded, either through extortion, victimisation, or otherwise, into paying artificially-inflated, cartel-inspired prices for things which they have become accustomed to accessing for considerably less.

Of course, the media industries will make big noises about each individual case of victimisation because the reality of the matter is that one user, 1,000 users, or even 1 million users is still less than one percent of the overall user base and will never approach being anything other than an insignificant statistic.

What if 50 million peer-to-peer users decided to join forces and issue legal proceedings against the media cartels for price-fixing and other easily provable predatory 'free-market' tactics used to hold media buyers hostage since the advent of the gramophone? There isn't a lawyer in the world that wouldn't leap at the chance to lead that prosecution.

The Economy of Community

A world of sensory experience that previously required considerable disposable income is now accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Those that stand to lose their self-appointed rights to that over which they had no legitimate claim originally will necessarily endeavour to hold back the unstoppable march of the progress which instantly dissolves their illegitimate and transparent claims to the right of eternal private profit at the public expense of everyone.

As file-sharing is vilified by those that wish to maintain the anachronistic status quo of a century of media control, it would be wise for the rest of us to remember that peer-to-peer networking and file-sharing liberates the media, information and knowledge for one and all, and that this liberation results in rapidly escalating levels of awareness and consciousness that serve the benefit of all humanity, albeit at the expense of those that desire otherwise. This, in part, is the menace of peer-to-peer networking.

The real menace of peer-to-peer networking and file-sharing as perceived by multi-national industries and governments alike, however, is not that files are being freely traded, but instead the direct and inevitable consequences of those files being traded.

The consequence of the digital revolution that has liberated information, knowledge and people, is that it challenges traditional profit-based market models. New, uncharted economic territory is being explored and the emerging economic models of this territory are so diverse from those we have known that they challenge the long-held positions of power and influence that multi-national corporations and governments have fought so long and hard against the people to preserve.

Everything wants to be free. If this wasn't the case, governments and corporations wouldn't have to go to such extreme lengths to make it not so. The new, emerging economic model of the Internet and file-sharing paradigm is now substantiating this claim as never before.

This is the power of sharing, co-operation and community, and it comes almost entirely free of artificially inflated charges.

There. It has been said. The cat is out of the bag. The horse has bolted. The banks have burst.

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", as Neil Armstrong once said.

24 June 2005

Cannabis Psychosis Myth Explosion #2

A comment on this post, and comments from a few others, have related that the alleged link between cannabis use and psychosis was bandied about during the Sixties, and indeed for some considerable time before, as if this was some sort of valid argument to defend the fact that the myth is still being perpetuated.

The Antagonist wishes to make one thing clear before addressing these claims:
    The existence of the notion of a link between long-term cannabis use and psychosis is not sufficient basis to assume that there exists any link at all.
In response to those who still suffer the psychosis and confusion that arises from a distinct lack of cannabis use, The Antagonist dedicates the following:
Every thing must necessarily must be viewed in the context of every other thing.

In this instance, and with regard to Sixties, the expounding of notions of the myth of a link between cannabis and psychosis must be viewed within the context of what were deemed to be 'excessively permissive' times.

During the Swinging Sixties, cannabis use was at an all-time high, and the propaganda campaign started when governments came to the realisation that their control over the general population, cannabis users in particular, was rather more tenuous than they first thought.

It still is, They still think so, and so the cycle repeats, evolving us no further forward than when it was first assumed that the morality of the masses could be enforceably legislated by the miniscule minority that sought to do so.

Taken in its correct context, the attempts of authorities to promote the myth of a link between any principle factor behind any cultural revolution that threatens their positions of power, influence and control, and some catastrophic and disastrous consequence, can be seen exactly for what it is - a very deliberate and specific tool of propaganda that has no substance.

The same notion of a link between cannabis and psychosis was indeed prevalent in the sixties and still continues. This leaves us with the facts, some fifty years later, that a long standing myth continues to be expounded today, and for which science has no supporting evidence, despite half a century of dedicated scientific reasearch using increasingly sophisticated and advanced technology.

To scientists, governments and politicians:
    Propaganda can alter perceptions of history but it cannot change history. Nor can it change the resonance of the consequences of that history which lives on in each and every one of us.

    Millennia of empirical and experiential evidence shows continued use of cannabis throughout evolution and across every civilisation and culture known to man, without harm to self, or others.

    Let the myth go or, alternatively, come clean and admit your lies.
To everyone else:
    Blaze Ganja!

23 June 2005

Wimbledon: Tim Henman Reaches Break Point...

... and breaks down.

Just as predicted, but far earlier than even The Antagonist thought, with Henman failing to reach the second week of Wimbledon this year, despite a relatively easy first round draw.

Thanks to Rugo for passing on news of Henman's even-hastier-than-usual exit from the tournament.

The Antagonist is now wondering whether or not it might be a tad premature to offer Tim commiserations on behalf of any efforts he might endeavour to make in the forthcoming U.S. Open...

22 June 2005

The Cannabis Psychosis Myth Exploded

Just posted the note below to the UK Cannabis Information Alliance Mailing List. For those not on that list, the missive is reproduced here for the edification and enlightenment of all:
>On Tue, 2005-06-21 at 08:03 +0100, Derek wrote:

>> Incidence of psychosis in South London
>> has roughly doubled over the past 40 years...
The noted increase in psychosis in South London is not a statistic demonstrating the perils of cannabis use, rather a statistic that clearly evinces the perils of living in South London, or indeed any part of any other major town or city you care to name.

The links between the heightened pressures of urban living and increased instances of psychosis are increasingly well documented. It is also sensible to not lose sight of the fact that, according to BBC1's One Life programme, aired last night, 1 in 4 people is likely to suffer some form of mental disorder as a matter of course, irrespective of cannabis use, and this happens to be the exact same figure cited for cannabis users.

Another point worth noting is quite how we define 'psychosis'.

The dictionary definition of 'psychosis' is:

"A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterised by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning."

So before we begin labelling people as psychotic, and linking that psychosis circumstantially, and almost inextricably, to any use of nature's plants that humans the world over have been using, without any harm to themselves or anyone else, for thousands upon thousands of years, we must first ask:

"What definitions of 'reality', 'derangement of personality', 'contact with reality', and 'normal social functioning' are we using to determine cases of 'psychosis'?"

And, further, once definitions of these terms are established:

"Are these definitions of 'reality', 'derangement of personality', 'contact with reality', and 'normal social functioning' those that best serve the interests of the many, rather than the few that seek to control them to their own ends?"

If the answer to the latter of these two questions is, 'No', then we must necessarily return to the first question and redefine our terms accordingly.

Anything that defies my sense of reason....

Will Mel B. Do it for Charideeee?

Live8 nears, Bob Geldof's doing what he seems to be best at, and Mel B can't extricate her head from her anus for long enough to reform the rather tedious Spice Girls for the occasion owing to, "difficulty going back to something she did in the past".

Geldof, ever the diplomat, said, "I'll call her during the week and if she can't do it, she can't do it".

Just as well Bob doesn't have a problem with going back to something he did in the past, or there would be no Live8 concert for the has-been primadonna to rebuff.

The Antagonist has never known, or cared, what the 'B' in 'Mel B' stood for but is now guessing it's 'B' for 'Bollocks' and draws attention to the rebuff, not for lack of charity, but for a sense of wonderment about the following:
If the world has to rely on pop stars who have long passed their best-before dates, and dancing windbags of less-than-zero creative talent, to put the world to rights, quite why is there continued allowance, toleration and support of governments and International non-governmental organisations whose purpose seems to be little more than perpetuate the ills of the world as we all dig deeper into our pockets to rectify those same ills?
While we're on the subject, has anyone other than The Antagonist noticed the subtle irony of the latest Geldof African debt and food relief extravaganza being called 'Live Ate'.

Tom Cruise - Rainman Gets Wet

Oh how the heady world of celebrity stardom is paved with trials and tribulations.

The Super Ego of everyone's favourite Scientologist,Tom Cruise, was minorly bruised in a life-threatening terrorist attack earlier this week that resulted in the pint-sized-protagonist of War of the Worlds becoming ever-so-slightly wetter than he usually is.

Mr Cruise was squirted in the face with a small amount of water from a mocked-up microphone and became very upset by the stunt that occured during publicity interviews outside the premiere for War of the Worlds (or, more correctly, "Raw fo teh Drowls" for those in the know):
"Why would you do that?...why would you do that...why would you do that? That's incredibly rude. I'm here giving you an interview and you do that...it's incredibly rude... "You're a jerk ... you're a jerk!"
So offended are the sensibilities of Thomas Cruise Mapother IV's concept of 'I', that he is considering legal action against the pranksters who carried out the stunt for a new Friday night show on Channel 4, Balls of Steel.

Within hours loud-mouthed, media-whore supreme, Sharon Osbourne (sorry, Ozzy, it has to be said), herself a recent 'victim' (in the rather undramatic sense) of the same pranksters, leapt in on the free-publicity ride that constantly rewards mediocrity and the majesty of irrelevance and has vowed to help Cruise get revenge.

Osbourne retalliated in kind, soaking a cameraman with a bucket of water which, as if to indicate the perversity of the whole debacle, had previously been used to chill champagne.

Cruise has yet to take action and The Antagonist very much looks forward to witnessing the course of action chosen by the $25 million-a-film Rainman with an aversion to water.

What keeps you cooler, Mr Cruise, water or Scientology?

20 June 2005

'Evil' P2P - The One Microsoft Way

P2P is evil and the scourge of the Internet. Or so those that seek to part everyone from their hard earned cash at every available opportunity keep telling us.

Now, Microsoft enters the world of evil P2P with its own file-sharing software, codenamed 'Avalanche', which is based on Bram Cohen's well established and respected BitTorrent protocol.

Microsoft researchers said 'Avalanche' could be used to help distribute software and security patches, which The Antagonist finds rather odd because Microsoft recently invoked the nonsense DMCA against P2P group Downhill Battle for doing just that.

With regard to 'Avalanche' the software - Stable doors, horses and bolts.

In reality, it promises nothing that some bright kid somewhere won't improve upon immediately, if not before, 'Avalanche' starts rolling down the Microsoft mountain. Such is the fluid, dynamic and fast-paced nature of the Internet. So fast and fluid, in fact, that the traditional, behemothic industries of yore are finding it increasingly more difficult to compete and stay afloat.

The Internet paradigm has, since its inception, forged new, diverse, cooperative communities of inter-connected people that traditional supply/demand economic market models cannot entertain and simultaneously survive.

This new international community of peer-to-peer users, Internet Relay Chatters and Instant Messengers, where users of these services share globally their local and invidual forms of culture, music and ideas in a mass-rejection of the hard-copy, solid-state, media channels of yesterday, is now a living, breathing entity outside of anyone's direct control and it has high-speed access to the world's single biggest information resource.

This Internet community has built itself, almost from nothing, in the space of just 20 years and is only now starting to be recognised, or perhaps just openly acknowledged, by those that have denied it for so long, for the force (read: threat) of prominence and escalating conscience that is its very essence.

Those that stand to lose that over which they had no legitimate claim originally, will necessarily endeavour to hold back the unstoppable march of progress, or continue to jump on the bandwagon a short while after it's already too late.

Microsoft's 'Avalanche' is a shining example of the latter.

Tim Henman: Wimbledon 2005

Today sees the start of the most prestigious of tennis tournaments, Wimbledon.

Before even the first match is played, The Antagonist would like to offer Great Britain's Great White Hope, Tim Henman, the most sincere of congratulations for maybe, possibly, winning the coin-toss prior to the match that sees his imminent departure from the tournament.

North Yorkshire Flash Floods

Ten days ago the Yorkshire Post reported the findings of a nine-year York University Environment Department study which concluded that the world is facing the biggest climate change for 18,000 years, and that these changes will have massive effects on vegetation in Africa, the largest since the last Ice Age.

Seemingly, the report didn't highlight the dramatic effects that this climate change might have on a slightly more local level as today's news reports begin to fill themselves with stories of huge flash-flooding in North Yorkshire.

The flash-floods affected parts of the county that have previously been flood-free and water levels are said to have risen at a rate of 15-20 feet in the space of two hours. At the same time, just 200 miles away in London, temperatures soared to a country-wide high of 33C (91.4F).

The Antagonist thinks it might be worth considering whether we are witnessing a bit of freakish weather, or in fact the results of testing of climate control technologies by these guys and their ilk, who also happen to be located not terribly far away in North Yorkshire.

Simply put, climate change, or climate control?

If the notion of Climate Control seems a little far-fetched, bear in mind that the only possible solution to the massive effects of global warming and climate change is to achieve a high-degree of climate control, on a global level, for this is the only way to reverse the extreme effects of global warming.

At least, that's what all the International bodies formed to monitor and manage the effects of climate change openly state. Furthermore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changee (IPCC) - a union between the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - have a whole bunch of papers online explaining how to do it.

With that new bit of knowledge in mind, does climate control on a small, local level - say, flash-floods in North Yorkshire during a countrywide heatwave, for example - seem like such wild and crazy idea?

17 June 2005

Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Elvis & P2P

Word is that Michael Jackson might have to sell his ownership of rights to the back catalogue of Beatles and Elvis tracks to bail himself out of financial difficulties. Jackson owns half of Sony/ATV Music which owns the rights to 200,000 songs, which includes the Jackson-owned Beatles and Elvis catalogues. Sony's publishing business is worth in the region of $1 billion, 50 percent of which is attributable to Michael Jackson, himself reported to be worth somewhere around $150 million.


It beggars The Antagonist's belief that this continued assumption of ownership of vibrations in the airwaves, and the huge sums of money associated with so doing, can continue when anyone with a TV, radio, or PC and Internet connection can readily avail themselves of those very same vibrations.

Sure, a centralised bunch of media companies can wave around lots of bits of paper containing all sorts of legal jargon which implies ownership of everything ever recorded, but they can't really argue with a world-wide, decentralised, fully-redundant world of half-a-billion Internet users, who account for up to 85% of all Internet traffic, and who are all actively asserting a rather different paradigm.

Evidence shows they still haven't quite got it yet.

Police Curiosity Piqued by Cash Carriers

Hot on the heel's of The Antagonist's post about the cashless society, the BBC today reports news of a couple under investigation for carrying large amounts of cash with them.

Drivers, and the authorities, in Hampshire were accidentally alerted to the large amount of cash being carried by the couple when over £10,000 in twenty pound notes showered the motorway from the bike on which the couple were travelling.

From the BBC story:
The motorcyclists, from the Isle of Wight, told police they were going to buy a car with the money.

"This raised our suspicions and we are making checks as to where the money came from at the moment but it's not an offence to carry money," the [Hampshire Police] spokeswoman added.
What's suspicious about anyone buying a car? And, for the sake of clarity, in case anyone missed the concept first time around:
"... at the moment it's not an offence to carry money."

It helps if we all pay very close attention to the words used by representatives of the authorities for they contain subtle pointers to the future they have already determined for us.

16 June 2005

More Hot Air from British Gas

Just seen an advert for British Gas where a talking flame - yes, a talking flame, this is the stuff of television after all - speaking on behalf of British Gas, and it announces that it found the service from British Gas to be somehow 'better' than the service from a competing supplier.


There's a pipe into your house. Gas comes through it. Someone sends you a bill.

Where exactly is the scope for 'better'?

The Cashless Society

By way of a conversation betwixt The Antagonist and a very dear friend, the topic happened upon the notion of a society without cash, its implications, and whether or not such a thing could ever occur.

Said dear friend stated that the notion of a cashless society was beyond comprehension until The Antagonist pointed out the following:
  • No cash ever changes hands when salaries are paid by bank transfer, or cheque.
  • No cash ever changes hands when standing orders and direct debits transfer funds to pay for the likes of mortgages and rent; water, electricity and gas bills, along with other frivolities like gym memberships, satellite TV and Internet access.
  • No cash ever changes hands with credit card purchases and, earlier this year, credit card purchases in the UK exceeded cash purchases for the first time ever.
  • No cash ever changes hands when you use your permanent ticket to ride on public transport.
  • No cash ever changes hands when you purchase things online.
And there are countless other ways in which we can and do interact with the already existing cashless society on a daily basis, if we choose to see them for what they are rather than conveniences.

In reality, we're not terribly far from an entirely cashless society, to the point where most payments in the UK are now no longer rely on the transfer of physical tokens, but the modification of arbitary numbers on bank and credit-card company owned computers and networks.

The point of all this? Ultimately, the gradual removal of society's dependence on the tokens we still occasionally use in order to obtain goods and services from each other.


This makes cash and credit management far easier to control for those that run these systems as it reduces the need for banks and governments to concern themselves with the whereabouts of all the millions of bits of paper and metal that we can all currently freely exchange, without having to be accountable to anyone for it.

It also removes the need to worry about counterfeit money, cash-transactions that avoid tax, and any transactions that could be vaguely considered 'illegal' under the plethora of ever-increasing laws over which mere citizens have almost no control.

When the tokens we can freely exchange between each other are replaced entirely by electronic transactions on bank computers, every single transaction will be monitored, non-repudiable and, ultimately, taxable at whatever rate those that we allow to decide these things for us choose.

Luckily, there is still a choice. The question is whether or not this choice will be acknowledged by sufficient numbers before it's too late.

15 June 2005

Negative Equity

The Antagonist was half way through penning a rather long post (coming soon) about the economy, pensions, and all sorts of other things that weren't necessarily going to be included in the post when the notion for it was conceived.

Somewhere during the course of penning that lengthy post, the little paean to the modern economy that are the words below wrote itself, bringing a wry but almost imperceptible smile to the lips of The Antagonist:
negative equity, by the antagonist, 2005

negative equity,
it's such a tragedy

just bricks and mortar,
a house, you see

a roof over your head,
a place for your bed

the place you would have rested,
until you were dead

you worked for the man,
but it wasn't enough

so they took away your home,
how ruthless and tough

your fleeting romance,
with fixed-rate finance

burnt all of your fingers,
and left memories that linger

but no roof over your head,
nor place for your bed

the place you would have rested,
until you were dead

The Antagonist leaves it to the reader to choose whether they wish to relate the above words to property market crashes of the past, or those of the future.

14 June 2005

Chamone! Jackson Beat It!

Michael Jackson has been found not guilty of all 10 charges of child abuse and child molestation levelled at him by Gavin Arvizo and family, thereby escaping a possible 20 year jail term.

Quelle surprise!

The Antagonist finds it very hard to believe that Jackson wouldn't have been nailed (no pun intended) for child abuse a very long time ago, if indeed there were any truth in any of the allegations.

Jackson, labelled the Peter Pan of Pop, was cleared of all four counts of child molestation, one count of attempted molestation, all four charges of giving alcohol to a minor and one charge of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

Apart from the rather bizarrely ironic childrens BBC web site dedicated to coverage of the trial, media reports are citing the jury's lack of faith in the testimony (read: 'the lies') of the accusers as the prime reasons for allowing Michael Jackson to walk free from a trial that should never have happened in the first place.

Now we can put Michael Jackson child abuse scandals to bed, once more, and go about our daily lives knowing that the plastic-prince of pop didn't really do all those nasty things that everyone's been talking about and that have now filled the consciousness of media consumers everywhere.

Still, the whole affair has provided a very nice distraction from Iraq, Afghanistan, ID cards, European constitutions, CCTV, automated number plate recognition systems, satellite tracking of cars, and anything else of any real relevance that relates to us all, and that appears to happen around us, ever further from our direct control.

And the media circus rolls on.

10 June 2005

Temporary Word Blindess

The title of Anne Robinson's show on BBC1 tonight makes far more sense when you ignore the question mark.

09 June 2005

Freeing the Media

File-sharing's at an all time, and ever-growing, high, digital media companies can't give music away, so there's only one thing for it...

07 June 2005

The Antagonist Returns

The Antagonist has been away enjoying the joys of the countryside for a while and is full of the bliss that comes with avoiding news of the sort of reality that streams out of televisions, and which one doesn't find half way up most mountains.

So much has happened in the interim. Yet another interminable round of Endemol's UK version of Big Brother has started featuring an even bigger bunch of vacuous retards with fewer discernable skills than ever before, and a Tory speechwriter. Oh, wait, retards with no discernable skills... Tory speechwriters, much the same really.

Then it seems the European constitution is done for because it is being recognised everywhere for the worthless bit of junk it is, even by the Dutch who just booted it into touch. Despite all the negative connotations associated with their liberal drug policies, the Dutch people look like they're thinking straighter than a lot of others.

As if this wasn't enough, the UK government is now surpassing its own Big Brother ID card nonsense and also wants satellite tracking devices fitted to all cars to enable charging of road users for road use on a per mile basis. They announce this as if car drivers paying stupid amounts of tax on petrol isn't charging people on a per mile basis.

A minor by-product of making all cars uniquely identifiable by satellite tracking devices is that they'll also know the whereabouts of every car in the country while simultaneously making it too expensive for anyone to bother leaving home in the first place.

If you are physically free to get in a car and drive somewhere, but you can't actually afford to go anywhere, or do anything, can you still be described as being 'free'?

It's almost as if The Antagonist had never been away.

Word seems to have it that if we let this nonsense satellite tracking thing happen, then some roads could cost as much as £1.34 per mile. So, if all goes according to the government's barmy plans, it's going to be cheaper to jump on a low cost jet plane and leave the country than it is to go anywhere in the country.

Thinking about it, leaving the country isn't such a bad idea...