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

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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2Jul/100

Your Freedom: New Government Service Down?

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There's a new service out there for interactivism in Internetland causing a stir on all ends of the political spectrum. Your Freedom is Nick Clegg's new initiative to get the public, the people, the voters, the interasctivists, more involved in the political process.

On the run up to the election I could already tell there was going to be an internet arms race for an advantage in the charm offensive. I think I even coined the hashtag #Twittocracy on @Twitter.

Anyway, I eagerly scoured the new service adding myself to various causes and concerns. It''s simpler to use and more intuitive to a social media user than the old http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ site although both have their own unique merits.

Unfortunately, before I could do more rigourous testing of the functionality: The site went down.
Screen Capture of The Error page of Our Coalition Government's new "Your Freedom" service

...more on that story later...

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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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31Mar/100

Anarchy, In The UK?: Theory

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Anarchy - A Chaotic Mayhem Surely?

Or is it simply the destination?

Is Anarchy The Way Forward?

Anarchy is inevitable, that much is known for certain, or at least a wide held belief. Where can one draw order from Chaos? Well according to Chaos Theory, patterns emerge organically in nature and are much more stable than those that we have artificially created. Take this principal from physics to biological evolution and you have the origin of Species Theory being proven. Take it further to sociology and politics and you have Anarchy emerging as the only sensible logical, rational state of Utopia in which we can have world peace. Okay, it's a bit of a leap of faith, although faith is belief in the absence of evidence, this would require belief in the overwhelming presence of irrefutable and undeniable evidence. Money is the deciding point; throughout history, goods have been traded according to both the effort of acquisition and scarcity. When money began to flourish as a means of fair exchange, the problems really started. It stopped being fair for a start, where there is somebody making money, in every case, there is somebody off of whose back that money was made. Financial and managerial hierarchies formed, allegiances were made according to financial benefits to the parties involved. In my opinion, Religion must have facilitated money's rise to power due to self interest (that's if money wasn't the idea of some form of Religion...). There are many interactivist organisations dedicated to Freeing us from the tyranny of money, such as The Really Really Free Market, Buy Nothing Day, the Freeconomy Community or even Craigslist and all of the Freecycle community. These are only examples of the myriad of NPOs (None Profit Organisations) trying to make the world a fairer nicer place without financial divisions through interactisism.

What does this brief history of Politics mean?

Well in short, it means that until Religion and money are ultimately removed from society, Anarchy will always have strong opposition from those who currently have power. Those with political power who may somehow agree with the ideals of Anarchy, have no real power to promote it as a means to a utopian end. There is no way to democratically vote for a state of Anarchy, I see this as wrong and almost dictatorial. In states where there is an entry for none of the above candidates in the ballot, this is simply taken as a protest vote and not a meaningful dissolution of parliament option.

Technology Is Evolving Towards Anarchy

Obsolete is the technology of mining and burning fossil fuels that do not replenish. We now know that the Carbon Dioxide released is warming the planet to the point where methane deposits in the world oceans could melt ending much of the life on this planet incredibly quickly. This is alarming as the last time this happened it wiped out 95% of all life on earth. Science and technology are key to preventing this potential apocalypse, not one particular technology or science, but an advanced amalgamation of all of the latest developments in green energy and manufacture. The hydrogen fuel cell is set to replace the internal combustion engine as a means of effectively powering our road and aerial vehicles. Soon enough the means of producing the Hydrogen will be available cheaply from wind and solar energy in and around the homestead. At this stage an individual dwelling will have no need for energy from the national grid and will become self sufficient and green. Other technologies set to influence the political arena are geothermal energy, high rise farms, nano-scale replication and manufacturing (essentially the ultimate form of recycling, put in your old phone, it gets taken apart to its molecules and reassembled get the latest model printed out), and of course stem cell research and gene therapy (potentially curing deadly diseases like cancer and HIV). My interpretation of the effect these technologies will have on humanity is not unique to me. Many libertarian Freedomists or advocates of political and economic Anarchy believe that these technologies will bring about an end to money's totalitarian reign over us. These technologies are a decade, or less, away but in my opinion they could be here sooner if we change our combined political and financial attitude. There are lots of examples of projects like The Venus Project and even mainstream efforts like the Greensburg GreenTown Project , these projects could be done faster and better if money were not a factor in the decision making process.

How Can I Get Involved In Advocating Anarcho-Capitalist-Libertarianism?

My Utopian vision of the future, is somewhat identical to the world John Lennon described so vividly in his most famous song; Imagine. The journey from here to there is fraught with perilous downfalls, with temptations for greed and self service. To ensure we make it safely we need to ensure we do not lose our footing and slip back into a possessive consumerist culture. Short of what Anarchists all over the world are already doing (which in my opinion only gives credence to the consensus of the masses that we are all a bunch of violent destructive simpletons who hate the police), you can stop consuming as much and try to become greener with regards to technology. Become part of a movement, whatever one you like, that is doing something that you can see is shifting paradigms towards a utopian vision. Or something like that.

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16Aug/092

There Is Always A Theory: Rolling Internet Wisdom From Michael Wharton

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In the beginning there was nothing, if you believe modern scientists. I believe modern science, but it seems modern scientists are more and more concerned with the profitability of their research rather than the scientific advancement of man. Of course all of this pales in comparison with the final theory of man.

So somehow we have to completely re-write the fundamental laws of physics unless some bright spark figures out the answer to the great question, how and why we have mass and therefore gravity. Well all things are of course relative, as are the forces of time and space. Time passes slower within a body approaching the speed of light.

As we hurtle through the solar system at a velocity that is still unfathomable to the mere human mind. I am at a point in space and time right now, and now I am thousands of meters away due to both the rotation of the earth and it's orbit of the sun. There is another factor however that I am much more interested in, our current velocity from the centre of the universe.

Scientists are still theorising about the concept of a center to the universe, is there one, is that were the big bang happened? What rate is time passing there? That is an important question, could we be passing through time at a slower rate and therefore be evolving slower than other life forms in the universe. The opposite is also possible, so there could theoretically be planets out there with whole different ecosystems based on different elements.

I put it to the world of science and genius, there is always a theory that vacuums cannot exist in nature. As a race of beings descended from microscopic single celled organisms created by the subtle infusion of amino acids by way of meteor collisions, we have never directly observed or detected a true vacuum. Although we are led to believe by scientists that before the big bang there was nothing, a true vacuum to be precise.

I propose a term for dark energy, the force or energy required to cause the universe to expand at an increasing rate. The term dark energy is a cop out, a reference to dark matter, a measurable but as yet unobservable phenomenon. I'm not saying it is a bad name, but it lends no credence to any particular theory about it, it is an energy that drives the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, I'm glad it's there or else everything would eventually collapse in on itself. There is a theory that the universe will eventually fall apart; instead of a big crunch, we would have a dust to dust moment when the last quarks would separate, and there would be vast distances between all matter. I personally hope that there is no end to the universe and all of my wisdom will live on perpetually, but wishful thinking won't make it so.

I have a theory about dark energy which may make me look like an idiot to some, I call it "Cosmosis". Water moves from an area of low concentration of solute to an area of high concentration of solute through a semi-permeable?membrane, it's an elementary scientific principle called osmosis. I suggest that matter moves in much the same way, from areas of high concentration of matter to areas of low concentration. The energy required for this movement has to come from somewhere, it is called dark energy right now as nobody understands it. I believe that matter is not pushed outwards, but pulled from the outside of our universe. It's like a vacuum cleaner on the outside of a balloon, but something cleverer.

The wonder of nothing, as if nothing can exist for any length of time, because time doesn't exist if nothing does. Therefore the laws of physics were merely obeying themselves to spontaneously start creation. We exist in a stable universe as only a stable universe could exist long enough for us to evolve an exist to perceive it. What happened between that, amino acids forming and the first single celled organism is still a question, but there is always a theory.

I have fallen in love with catchphrases, (A catch phrase (or catchphrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance)that are usually good advice. "Look before you leap", "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth", "A fool and his money are soon parted" and my personal favourite; "Money is the root of all evil!", are just some examples. It is widely believed that it is the repetition of these idioms by the general population that leads to what we call common sense. It is unfortunate when people behave in direct contrast to any of these widely regarded life lesson sound bites from history.

Well who is writing today's catchphrases? Well one of my favourite modern catchphrases is from a widely respected man called M.David Merill who is a Professor of instructional technology at Utah State University, (ie a teacher teacher, very clever bloke, I want to learn about learning!). He said simply that "Information is not instruction", this is hardly a rad\ical thought but an over?simplified?statement which strikes at a home a truth (the key to any catchphrase).

I would however not entirely agree with it. Of course I agree that not all information is instruction, but some of it is. The phrase "Not all information is instruction." is a little more accurate. I am not finished yet however, if some information is not instruction then what is it? I therefore submit to the Internet that "Information is either warning or instruction". This simple message informs you that not everything you learn should be implemented, historical mistakes are information but not instruction therefore they are warnings.

Human behaviour follows certain basic principles that can be easily understood when looking at animal behaviour. It can also only be one of two things to society, positive or negative. Only one thing separates us from the animals and that is our ability to deviate from that behaviour through conscious decision making. However our decision making process itself is a learned behaviour, like a mating call. We use basic rules to govern our society, but these have proven to be completely ineffective at controlling the behaviour in larger populations.

We all learn and strictly follow a moral code that evolves with our personality, there are things we would do and things we wouldn't. Therefore our current system of law is not instructional information but warning information. My theory is that a society told what not to do on pain of punishment is old news, a society told what to do through positive reinforcement (simple behavioural science in reality, carrot and stick stuff here folks, nothing really revolutionary is it?) would lead to a more peaceful and cooperative world where collaboration to achieve excellence and the desire to learn more actively can truly commence, remember There is always a theory.

My theory about organised religion is that it was a grand idea for those who had plenty (haves), to stop those who had little (have nots) from getting any bright ideas about taking the surplus. Money had to be created so haves could trade with have nots in return for some form of labour. As with any commodity that can be traded under any system to create an atmosphere of control and power, money lead to coveting of money over human life (mainly due to patriarchal and matriarchal desire to ease the life of their offspring by acquiring much more than they need and leaving it to them when they die).

Religion facilitates this by promising that following it's practises leads to a happy afterlife. This imbues people with a sense of well being towards the final moments of life, this encourages them to consider their offspring's well being after they're gone even more (as the fear of death no longer occupies the mind constantly).

Man develops newer and more interesting theories all the time. I developed a theory of my own recently based on genetics in animals such as dogs. If we take what we know to be true, that when combining mating partners of too similar a genetic heritage, the offspring is usually genetically inferior to both parents often taking weaknesses of both but strengths of neither. What if you combine genetics that are less similar? In dogs the offspring is usually genetically superior to both parents, inheriting all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses. My theory is that this is also true in humans.

Social conventions such as religion and parental pressure have reduced the combining of different raced partners for many thousands of years. In more recent times though, due to many socioeconomic factors, trade has been increasing between different countries and inter breeding has been flourishing. In one specific geographic location race has been mixing since it's occupation by the first people to fish it's shores.

The British Isles have been the target of many a conquest over the years since it broke away from mainland Europe in about 6000 BC. Celts, Gauls, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Normans and Vikings have all come for conquest and settled here. Of course just before the industrial revolution people were moving to Britain in their thousands due to the fact that we made their countries part of our great empire! I believe this infusion of culture and genetics is what lead to the industrial revolution itself and to modern science.

Greatness is achieved by few (at the cost of many on too often an occasion), and so very few take it well. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we've all heard this before. yet we all seem determined to push somebody else into power and then blame them for becoming corrupt.

Over the many years of human evolution, we have elected to form societies based around gathering peoples of various skill sets, to work together harmoniously. There's one skill set that stood out above the rest, that would define the very way we would govern our growing populations and civilisations to come; The ability to communicate with "deities". The first of these to successfully form a great civilization were the Mayans, or the Egyptians, (or both or whatever civilisation fell before them that set them on their separate paths from the same point of contact with extra terrestrial life in Antarctica, or whatever conspiracy theory or version of history you happen to believe (There is always a theory eh?)). The Egyptian and Mayan civilisations rose and fell, as civilisations often do, due to natural occurrences they could not foresee or explain. Around these great climactic events superstition grew into religious practices over many generations.

Those who were perceived to have special power to contact whatever deity controlled the environment, were able to gain control of the behaviour of the populous. As with many primates who live socially, up until this point in history we have only ever had a hierarchy of both maturity and physical dominance. The strongest bloodline of the society would be advised by the eldest, on how best to protect the community from outside and domestic threats.

The elders began to be replaced by the mystics and charlatans at some point, and religion began to be the primary focus of most societies. For peoples who were already rivalling over territory and resources, religion became another divide or a means with which to ally. Conversion became a weapon with which a tribe could gain dominance and territory to feed it's people. As these vast civilizations spread and receded across the surface of this planet of ours patterns emerged and evolved into systems of political power that we still see today, and some that were less popular or effective until we arrive at secular democracy, the closest we have come to not having leaders for a very long time.

Theoretically, Anarchy is the state at which we were most peaceful and productive, during our millions of years evolving opposable thumbs and therefore; tool handling skills, communication skills, nunchuck skills, fire making skills, you know skills, we most likely lived with no formal political structure. We live now in a world where the plethora of skill sets we need to hold society together are so fundamentally different from each other that a hierarchy is inevitable so it seems, even on a Meritocratic basis. Well there's always that money stuff we keep hearing so much about these days.

Without money or possession being concepts employed by the masses, society would be awesome. We would be living in an anarchocapitalist libertarian utopia where everybody takes care of each other, and there are no formal social hierarchies. Unfortunately greed is currently an integral part of our culture due to false scarcity and economic manipulation among other factors in what could otherwise be called a Kleptocracy.

There at the top of our world sit the UN security council, sitting listening to each other's problems and woes regarding each other's hostile behaviour towards the other; why? You really do have to ask why? Why do nations exhibit hostile behaviour to each other and why do we let them? Do people in authority really understand that we really all would rather just get along without Global Thermonuclear War? All of this bristling of arms by none anti-proliferation countries is deeply unsettling to me. I am not exactly a military tactician or anything, but I'm going to have to?concede?to the fact that I've thought about being Kim Jong Il. I have thought hard about any potential strategy he may have as regarding taking over the world. Firstly, he would have to take out China.

I know, you're thinking "But The People's Republic of China and The Democratic People's Republic of Korea are friends!", well yes of course they are. If China sign the Nuclear None-Proliferation treaty they have to back the west in a challenge to North Korea about their stash of nukes. If this happens then the whole worlds attention and maybe even military spy drones will be focused on taking control of this stockpile.

Obviously Global Thermonuclear War is an unpleasant thought, nobody likes using nukes. We ultimately would have to consider deployment though if facing an enemy with capabilities to deploy such weapons against us at whim. I guess all I'm saying is that we're all really, really fudged if North Korea nuke China.

Often these days I consider humanity's future, and I am persistently drawn to the same conclusion. We have to somehow undo all of the damage we have done to this planet and do our best to avoid doing anything else to it. To do this, I suggest that we leave. Maybe not all at once, and definitely not straight into space, but we have to do our best to separate from the biosphere. Several writers have speculated on how best to achieve this, underwater, underground, but I believe that the best option is in the outermost atmosphere. Any structure built to house us would hopefully be modular and may even be able to break apart and explore space eventually...

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