Michael Wharton There Is Always A Theory: politics, anarchy, religion, atheism and science. now with poetry!

8Jun/170

Environmentalism, Literature and Style

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Why has the environmental movement stalled when it is so close to its goal?

I wish I knew the answer to this question, all I know is that unless we figure out a panacea, all the disparate efforts of various individuals and groups will amount to no more than a hill of beans, similar to the EU butter mountain that I keep hearing about.

I would love to blame Donald Trump and his ilk, the baby boomers who think they have a god given right to defecate all over the Earth's surface and expect us to wallow in it with them. I would love to blame those with heavy investments in the fossil fuel economy. Unfortunately, it is not all their fault, some of it is ours, that is, the people shouting at ecological tyrants are not achieving anything, except for a hoarse voice.

What we need to do is to stop telling people what they should do, and what they should not do, and simply make it easier, and more financially viable to do the right thing. We know already from history that industrial regulation will always be flouted where the fine is less than the profit margin, no matter what the regulation. What we need to do is to motivate people with the carrot and the stick in proportional response to the behaviour of the worst offenders of that industry, if people are cheaply dumping illegally on conservation land, then undercut this cost with the cost of responsible disposal with subsidies. If a company is still producing a product in a package that can't be recycled, then subsidise the cost of the sustainable alternative until it is cheaper.

People on both sides may accuse me of suggesting that we coddle industrial tycoons and make it easier for them to do business at profit and hand-holding them to the brighter future that they should want to do for themselves. I have to respond by saying, you can lead a horse to water easier than making him drink it, leading a horse isn't shouting at it until it does what you want, it is to control it through physical force, coercion and to stand beside it the whole way. We need to show business leaders the way, and make it so that this is the only logical choice, that choosing any alternative would cost them dearly.

People who are wrong, rarely realise it by themselves, they usually require some form of external stimuli to benchmark how wrong they are. Let me be that external stimulus, let me tell you; YOU ARE ALL WRONG!

Hey environmentalists, go live up a tree! Hey you capitalist pig dogs, sell solar panels to hipsters! Hey, you rich multi-billionaires, build air ship greenhouses to grow food in and transport said food around the world! Hey deniers, go read a book, any book, then burn it, because you disagree with what books say. Hey intellectuals, stop talking about what people should be doing and do something about the fact that it is easier to do the wrong thing. Hey bloggers, stop writing inane posts about what people are doing right and wrong and start, oh...nvm.

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2Jul/100

Your Freedom: A Forum For Internet Activism In The UK

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Your Freedom

Yesterday on the first of July Your Freedom was launched by the coalition Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. It seems that Nick Clegg is at the lead of the project, spearheading a new avenue of internet political interactivity. Over the last couple of years, there have been more and more politically charged social networking sites springing up on all bands of the political spectrum. Several of these were single policy sites, pushing a particular agenda, some were more broadly focused with a particular political slant. In the UK, the government is attempting to give all of these disparate viewpoints a forum for debate and discussion of ideas.

Although it's still a little shaky due to the fact that demand for the service is so much higher than anticipated, the functionality of the front end more than makes up for it. There's an intuitive tagging system, which allows all users to add tags to all campaigns, and all users can leave comments too. It's like we are truly entering a state of Twittocracy (well there is always a theory...), a society shaped by the majority, with their collective opinions being aggregated automatically through what I like to call Interactivism (maybe Hacktivism?) which is basically a marriage of internet and activism.

A number of campaigns are theoretically sound, but the methodology is lacking (poor spelling and grammar...). A great many campaigns are identical to others and sevceral recurring themes have sprung up; such as repealing the Digital Economy Act and the Legalization of Cannabis.

I believe that this proactive platform for public political promotion is pretty provocative. It is probably paramount to protect personal privacy and post (okay, enough alliteration...) anonymously to begin with. Compared with Petition The PM at Number 10 it is definitely an improvement in that it is much less patronising.

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13May/100

Internet Censorship: Cause

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Internet Censorship: The Internet Is Under Attack?

According to many key sources of internet trends, the recent governmental seizure of control over the internet has been perceived as a threat to global freedom. The internet culture has flourished from what once was the domain of the knowledgeable few, to what is often called "Web 2.0"; user generated and driven content, shared and open to all interactively and easily. Nowadays, most people between their childhood and retirement age will spend time online regularly. They do so to catch up on the latest news, kill time watching funny videos of cats, keep in touch with long lost friends and relatives, etc... The list of activities people perform regularly online is pretty endless, as new applications of the internet are coming along every day. Some of the things people do online are currently illegal, in quite a few countries, and for years now the governments of those (often developed) countries have been trying to figure out how to enforce laws on the internet. From copyright infringement to "Indecent Pornography", it has been a game of cat and mouse, as technology on both sides is developed to outsmart the other.

We were all made aware of this arms race when sites like Napster and The Pirate Bay were legally challenged, when news of sting operations on paedophile and terrorist networks hit the papers. We were glad of our Government's action against those who would harm or way of life. Now however, it is our governments themselves who are threatening our way of life; in a new development in this arms race, we the people are being targeted with internet censorship.

The ACTA has been implemented in several "Freedom Loving" countries such as Australia, America, and now the United Kingdom has followed suit with the Digital Economy Bill (The DEBill is now The Digital Economy Act since it was pushed through parliament... shouldn't have dragged my feet writing this blog...). Now we have internet censorship, blacklisted websites and filtered content.

Internet Censorship: Spreading The Word!

Internet Censorship Youtube Video Playlist:

So as far as I can tell, the internet is going to become more strictly controlled, surveilled, filtered and censored worldwide. Copyright piracy, inappropriate porn and terrorist communication are simply convenient distractions, so that dissent can be monitored and controlled. If any of the videos in the internet censorship playlist are removed, or if you can no longer gain access to this page then you will know that I was right.

Since the development of the internet, it has been used to express opinions and information freely with the rest of the world. Don't allow this tool to be used to gag and control you, speak out against this right infringement. Several organisations have interactivist campaigns you can join to let your voice be heard; The EFF, The ORG, 38 Degrees and of course Project Freeweb.

If we do nothing, we are in very real danger of losing access to the "real" internet like other less than free countries with more extreme levels of internet censorship ( an obvious example is the People's Republic of China (oh no, I guess that my site's blocked there now...)). Internet superstars such as Tim Berners Lee and John Perry Barlow have declared their opposition to internet censorship. Internet deity Google have spoken out against the global trend towards internet censorship measures and the state controlling the web. Google even released this handy tool to see how much your internet content is being filtered. We have to all stand together and say "No, we DO NOT WANT internet censorship, filtered content or our internet to be arbitrarily cut off!". Of course as with anything online, you have an overwhelming choice of mediums for interactivism to convey such a message!

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30Jan/100

Name The Decade! Teenties? Tweens? Eleventies!

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What is in a Name? 1910 -2000 Back In The Decade!

Over the past hundred years, it has become more and more popular a cultural phenomenon to name the decade. There was the Roaring Twenties, the Thirties and Forties, Fifties and Swinging Sixties. The Seventies, Eighties and Naughty Nineties were relatively straightforward. Right up until the new millennium it took little imagination to perpetuate this new-found tradition.

Some kind of social genius, with a degree in semantics, came up with a name for the decade following the Millennium; The Noughties. It's not like it was entirely on the money (not many people say nought-one, nought-two etc...) but it was quirky and kitsch and it rolled of the tongue. That's what we need for this decade, something that sounds cool. It doesn't have to be massively accurate, just passably sensible. Oh, and it has to end in "ties", you know, to fit in with all of the other decades rhyming scheme.

What Shall We Call This Decade 2010-2019 ?

There are a few suggestions out there on the internet, and let's face it, that is where this will be decided. We have the "Teens", now obviously this doesn't come up to the standard of ending in "ties". We could add "ties" to "Teens" and get "Teenties", but that is a really unwieldy word, also it doesn't cover the period of 2010 to 2012 with the numbers ten through twelve not actually being classified as teens. We could take what we know so far to make a new word "Tenties", but that sounds really awkward and like a vague reference to camping. The list of examples in this ball park is fairly short so I might as well include all of them, here is the last runner up, "Tweenties" (shudder).

My favourite concept word for this occasion is definitely the "Eleventies", it may surprise you, as it seems to defy any definition itself, let alone as a defining term for this decade. My favour is spawned from the repeated utterances in the literary classic series Lord Of The Rings, and lead furthermore by the repeated references of the word such as "111EleventyOne!111!1!!" etc on internet messaging boards due to its overuse in on-line gaming. The word eleven (11) refers to the number between ten (10) and twelve (12), the word Eleventy refers to the number range of a hundred and ten (110) to a hundred and nineteen (119).

Why Will Eleventies Work?

I believe these factors; previous knowledge of the word amongst a large sub-culture (Examples of its use in context already found here , here and here) and the numerical logistical applications of the word itself, will contribute to the word Eleventies becoming the defining term used for this decade.

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16Aug/090

NEW SITE OMFGLOLWTFBBQROFL!

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Okay, breath caught back after being gifted a stonking website by my good friend Roger Davies. I was just chilling out watching some TV and BANG in he walks and tells me to check out www.michaelwharton.co.uk , so I do and here it is! I was amazed and astounded and totally about to gush. so I decided to write a blog about how I felt. Here it is, kthxbi.

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