Fight cloud with cloud (#OccupyCloud ?)

With the advance of clouds and aggressive invasion of “social services” like Facebook, MySpace, Google* etc. it looks like there is no space left for person’s private data (Naomi Klein’s “No Space” comes to mind). As soon as information is fed to Facebook, Google or other entity it stops being the property of that person and becomes property of the company. Another thing that is happening is annihilation of local services, local communities and removal of local knowledge (it sounds that in Egypt’s reversing the trend helped the revolution). At present to know your community which is right at your doorstep you have to go to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. and explore it there. It’s not hard to imagine disappearance of Facebook* services one day (either entirely – the South-Park way or partially – the Facebook way ). That could have some very measurable negative impact on community hooked on such services. The scenario can be reapplied multiple times for different “cloud providers” and for different “communities”. In other words people are in a great danger of losing not only their personal data but also their collective/community data. Imagine losing all books of Dickens overnight (or books of Orwell) or any other cultural heritage that doesn’t belong to a single individual but entire nations or even entire planet.

There’s a solution. The most antagonized creation of IT industry – BitTorrent. Content publishers of all kinds (MPAA, RIAA, BlahAA etc.) are all after BitTorrent users, ISP’s are after BitTorrent throttling it down to a trickle, Software manufacturers for the most part are scared out of their minds and media is demonizing BitTorrent users. Above are all the entities that want to own person‘s data but don’t want to give back much: Blu-Ray wants to know all about person’s movies and lock him out if it doesn’t like something, ISP’s want to know what person is doing online and sell him/her out to the highest bidder, software producers want to know consumer’s every move and turn it into a commodity or force-feed him advertisements – the common line is to strip consumer of his privacy, his rights and commoditize him/her. As per Google:

As Google says in their own words, to their investors:

Who are our customers? Our customers are over one million advertisers, from small businesses targeting local customers to many of the world’s largest global enterprises, who use Google AdWords to reach millions of users around the world.

And as Mathew Ingram sums up in his article:

As the saying goes: If you’re not paying for it, then you’re the product being sold.

Linking all of the above and brilliant presentation by Mark Pesce some things come to mind:

Peer2Peer distribution + Localization + IPv6 = Freedom

Above needs some explanation and requires some technical skill to grok. Equation is actually much more complicated than above and here’s what it translates to (or born from?).

Following Mark Pesce‘s logic the more popular is resource the more available it is. Note also that resource does not exist in any single location, instead it exists on dozens of computers all at the same time. What such distribution creates is a bonus for any sort of freedom movement (WikiLeaks anyone?) as it removes single point of entry (ISP, Domain Registrar, government, etc.) that can be sued, or scared into droping hosting of such content. Just like what Mark is arguing about (and like everybody knew for a while now) once content is published online – it starts the life of it’s own and can’t be contained. Only in Peer2Peer scenario survival rate is even higher.

Private Peer-to-Peer networking seems to be developing too: N2N, RetroShare, etc. Which brings us one step closer to implementation.

Back to our equation: localization is needed to retain community information within community (because of it’s high appreciation and value in this context) while making it available to everybody outside at the speeds proportionate to demands. In other words if your town has a pile of resources it wants to share primarily locally and if anybody is interested outside of community as well – the law of latencies helps here. Currently ISP’s are the gate-keepers so if there’s no ISP in town – no data sharing for you. In other words tech-savvy communities are hostages of ISP’s. Alternative is a local mesh network that doesn’t need ISP. All the “spare parts” are readily available – WiFi-equipped devices are on every corner so turning them all into access points could create a local “roaming zone”. With Peer2Peer – based content distribution (think HTTP-over-BitTorrent) community can host it’s own sites/forums/mailing lists/you name it without ever needing provider. It’s even possible to use different carriers – HTTP-over-SMS, old school dial-ups, even pulling ethernet cable across the driveway to your neighbour’s house, Bluetooth, Infra-red, etc.

Localization is good but inter-community communications are still needed. Now is time to invoke FidoNet – asynchronous distributed network of semi-autonomous nodes. Brilliant idea that was both right for it’s time and too advanced for it’s time. Taking a close look at node organization it is exactly like described above except it required phone lines. That is where IPv6 comes into play. FidoNet had node list and network addresses assigned from central authority, but essentially addresses were unlimited, just like IPv6. If we take IPv6 as a transport layer – we’ve almost resolved problem of compatible addresses across the globe – every single machine can have unique address and routing can be done based on that. Now idea doesn’t seem so crazy and distant, does it?

Couple more details to make it more attractive and add more meat to it: since we’ve got mesh networking and IPv6 protocol, and BitTorrent-like distribution of content we have freed ourselves from the hard dependency on specific physical media for transport. Whether it’s a phone line from my house to neighbour’s or shared WiFi or P2P Radio Antennas, or Ham Radio or pidgin mail – when locally somebody makes a request for pageX that is not part of local community’s infrastructure, it’s download it scheduled throughout community network of nodes and with the first possibility of download being downloaded to computer of whoever requested it. Now pageX is local. Next person asking for pageX will get it locally! More popular page – more people locally will store it so as per Mark Pesce – download speed goes up. A-ha! With the clever mechanisms of caching and expiry it’s not so hard to devise a fairly efficient method of keeping things that are of interest to population readily available (and not controlled by anybody).

Now next aspect of this theme is permanent local storage. While in above scenario people keep on downloading and storing locally other people’s stuff it’s important for that “other people’s stuff” to exist. All that needs to be done is having “local storage” defined on all the nodes, where content of local storage, just like with BitTorrent and other Peer2Peer networks is shared freely upon request with the rest of the world but permanently resides on local computer (unlike cached content that person requested today or yesterday which can expire tomorrow). In which case user’s machine becomes the “host” for the content, but if content becomes popular – burden of serving it is shifted to the… wait for it… wait for it… cloud!

Above resolves the problem of content ownership and content’s persistance. If I like what I downloaded – I move it to my local storage making it something that I host permanently, now there are 2 hosts hosting the same content (with the same signature) on Peer2Peer network. It looks like having 3 different types of storage should resolve majority of usecases: private store, public store and cache store. Private holds data you do *not* intend to share with anybody (personal documents, pictures, etc.), public store holds [personal] information intended for sharing – movies, sites, files, music, documents, etc., and cache would store only transient data – data that person downloaded for whatever reason and is keeping for the time being to speed up subsequent access (and this part is the only one controlled by automatic measures of expiry etc.).

Above may sound far-fetched, but something is already happening in this domain – FreedomBox Foundation have just started it’s operations but if you look at the goals – they are already thinking in that direction:

We’re building software for smart devices whose engineered purpose is to work together to facilitate free communication among people, safely and securely, beyond the ambition of the strongest power to penetrate, they can make freedom of thought and information a permanent, ineradicable feature of the net that holds our souls.

Currently it looks like they are at the point where they target only communication itself, not data preservation, but why wouldn’t it be a next step?

To get around ISP getting overly sneaky and curious – layer of Tor could be implemented between inter-community nodes or even throughout the community.

Imagine applications for sharing information. Assume person A lives in community X. Now, A goes on a trip to community Y, of course he brings his laptop (?) with him. While at the bus station everybody in close proximity get to “know” what A knows and share content with him (if they choose to) – anonymously and at great speeds (and without paying fees to the carrier).

Last piece that is missing in all of the above is out-of-the-box hardware/software platform that would support that. FreedomBox doesn’t seem to have goals that reach this far, and we won’t witness any great movements from Google, Microsoft, Apple or any other existing commercial entity that is not deeply rooted in OpenSource world. All of the proprietary vendors are gearing their operations towards other corporate/commercial entities rather than average person (as it was mentioned and proven earlier). It is not in their interest – without our data they have nothing to sell.

 

Transparency, honesty, and self-promotion

Today I have decided that it’s time to go to the next level. I’ve been ranting and yammering about Open Source, about transparency and clarity and this time I have decided I’ll go all the way. Today I’m opening another stream – Raw. It’s one stream that is true to the motto of this blog – it’s a stream of my subconsciousness and open exhibition of thoughts, ideas, random bits of information that may never reach Spectrum or Machine. It will give me points of reference, it will give anybody out there a chance to see the chaos in my head and what’s really percolating. I intend, from now on to publish content immediately to Raw bypassing private drafts and other things as unnecessary.

Meteorological attack. Second front – Workforce

After dealing with Cloud vs Users case it’s time to take a look behind the scenes and uncover what else is impacted by Clouds and what the impacts are. We have already established that for users move to the cloud means parting with their data, it surely means the same thing to business entities, after all they are too users. Let’s get beyond that. If you’ve ever read “No Logo” by Naomi Klein you are familiar with the chapter “No Jobs” that follows immediately after “No Choice”. It looks like the order of chapters is not coincidental. The process of dissociation of corporation with manufacturing process and workforce is like the mushroom cloud – both stunning and horrifying.

It’s not required to read No Logo to understand simple principles at work. Principles and mechanics employed by corporations in their search of “brand identity” and “brand experience”. As usual it comes with some collateral damage:

No Choice

…Dazzled by the array of consumer choices we may at first fail to notice the tremendous consolidation taking place in the boardrooms of the entertainment, media and retail industries. Advertising floods us with the kaleidoscopic soothing images of United Streets of Diversity and Microsoft’s  wide-open “Where do you want to go today?” enticements. But in the pages of the business section the world goes monochromatic and doors slam shut from all sides: every other story – whether the announcement of a new buyout, an untimely bankruptcy, a collossal merger – points directly to a loss of meaningful choices…

So how does it translate to IT? It’s an attempt to wipe out diversity by “streamlining business practises” and “bringing them closer to the base”. Say, institution has been priding itself in it’s uniqueness in catering to a very specific customer base and generating quite a loyal following. Institution that stood out and can’t be matched by others only because… of it’s unique business practises.  However in the boardrooms this must’ve looked annoying or out of place because the decision has been made to “consolidate”, “streamline” and “merge”. In other words – all the products that are used by competition “as-is” and “out-of-the-box” are to be applied to this institution as well essentially wiping it’s uniqueness. The only logical conclusion would be that institution is being moved in the “branding” direction where product is essentially the same and service about the same as the rest but what is sold is “brand” and “experience”, not the product itself (not surprisingly since it’s the same product):

The difference between products and brands is fundamental. A product is something that is made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by a customer

No Jobs

…corporations should not expend their finite resources on factories that will demand physical upkeep, on machines that will corrode or on employees who will certainly age and die. Instead, they should concentrate those resources in the virtual brick and mortar used to build their brands; that is, on sponsorship, packaging, expansion and advertising…

So after “No choice” invariably comes “No Jobs”. Discussed institution in this case is not exception. There is a clear sense of direction in cleansing institution of any traces of IT department outsourcing most critical applications and systems. Institution doesn’t want to burden itself with infrastructure or workforce, it needs to concentrate on what’s important – building image. Resulting in exploded marketing departments (or just expanded budgets outsourcing that activity someplace else) and reduced funding for manufacturing and R&D.

Above principles no longer apply strictly to corporations and other businesses. Now they are applied to governments and government institutions as well as education.

Some naive people assume that government is there to serve people or that education should be accessible by people and serve people’s needs. Only in case of ongoing “branding” government serves businesses believing in “trickle down effect” that has never been proved to work and education is serving business needs of companies and government. Application of business rules in government and education sectors has devastating effects: hollow and emasculated they can’t serve people anymore and have to abide by business rules serving only what business demands. Which for education means that you can’t produce any more “free thinkers” or offer “non-marketable” programs because there’s no business need for them. So instead of government shaping the economy and busineses we have businesses serving themselves with hollow government watching the carnage from afar unable to do anything.

Current hysteria about financial crisis provides fertile ground for those seeking excuses to enact “touch measures”, “trim the fat” and “streamline operations” at expense of workers, taxpayers and customers. It’s a “disaster capitalism” at work: create or wait for a crisis and then while people are dazed and confused implement everything you’ve dreamed about bypassing all the normal processes excusing yourself by extraordinary situation at hand and repeating “ad nauseum”: “In a critical time like this we have to act fast.”

What is that magic bullet that can kill that undying beast of IT department? It’s all on the frontpages of magazines – “Cloud”. Single word that spells emasculation of IT departments everywhere and narrowing of choices for consumers as well. For a government that seeks to hollow itself out it’s a prime destination.

What was previously known as “outsourcing” and became lame and unpopular over time is now called “cloud computing” and is shoved down everybody’s throat using every possible excuse.

Favourite argument of cloud-defenders is that “computing” is “new electricity” and “cloud provider” is new equivalent of “power company” with companies paying for computational power like they do for electricity. However it’s not enough for company to move infrastructure. Once it has made that step – why not make the second step and go to SAAS instead? Running VM’s on the cloud is not sexy, plus it creates tons of problems with security VPNs and it doesn’t resolve the “problem” of having IT staff. Once everything is hosted by SAAS provider you have no worries. The only insulation required is the contract. Cloud computing started as an idea of running VMs on the remote infrastructure yet still managed by a company staff, but with time term got overloaded with much more meaning making it impossible to differentiate one proposition from another and  creating new common ground for understanding. Now cloud computing equals outsourcing.

“Cloud” is what powers the transition from “unique organization” and “self-sufficient organization” to “No Choice” and “No Jobs”. Incantation that has a viral effect essentially wiping off any living cell in it’s path. “Cloud” takes all that annoyance of managing IT and removes it from institution. What’s interesting – it removes it in “unknown” direction. From that point on Institution is free of workforce and infrastructure, while whoever runs the “Cloud” is bound by limited contractual agreements and operating most likely in un-unionized environment and is free to expand and contract at will having only “temp” staff in it’s employment catering to demands of clients. So for a heavily unionized institution it’s a blessing – you move your IT services outside and your “IT Crowd” is no longer a unionized headache but rather “workforce on-demand”. That workforce doesn’t have to reside in the same country either, opening up brand new frontiers of exploration (or exploitation?).

Here’s the thing – one has to answer simple questions to realize the depth of it. “What drives organization?” – “Maximizing profit”. “What drives employees of organization?” – “Making sure organization profit margins are high, so that their jobs are secure”. Now, in the relationship “Could provider” – “Cloud client” both are driven by above principles. However their goals are orthogonal. So what is the difference between organization’s own employee and “cloud” employees? – The motivation that drives them. In case of “own employee” – his interest is for his organization to prosper or at least not to go under. In case of “cloud employee” at best his interest is to serve his employer which is orthogonal to goals of “cloud client” – he needs to maximize profit of “cloud provider” by minimizing impact “cloud client” has on provider’s resources which in turn means – spending less cycles serving the client. This entire equation is then translated into Contracts, SLA’s and Change Requests which all are then monetized at the expense of the client. Will cloud employee be interested to offer money-saving scheme to client organization, if it doesn’t maximize profit of his employer? Will client’s employee be inclined to do the same?

To be fair – it is reasonable to accept Cloud limitations and impact in organizations that didn’t have IT to begin with and are too small to own their own IT shop. However it is very hard to come up with justification for organization to drop it’s IT department and “move to the cloud” remaining at mercy of provider and contract lawyers. So while it is not in organization’s best interest to part with it’s IT for million reasons, it does make sense for the executives to move in that direction, especially if their IT department is unionized. Move to the cloud removes all the barriers and part of their job that has to do with people. It’s hard to tell person “shut up and do it” but it’s much easier with vendor, especially when vendor is de-personified and is located across the ocean…

Cloud is truly unifying and transcending entity. It’s a Borg. “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile”.

P.S.

Quotes above come from “No Logo 10th anniversary edition”.

Meteorological attack. First front – Users

Not f'd. You won't find us on Facebook

What’s on everybody’s mind those days? Clouds. Everybody and their dog is thumping their chests yelling “cloud” from top of their lungs. Funny enough just like word “democracy” that really means nothing of the sort anymore “cloud” seems to suffer from the same problem. Everybody uses the same term – everybody means something different. So depending which side you’re on – consumer/user or IT shop or cloud provider it will also mean different things to you even with the established definition. Lets start with consumers (a.k.a. “users”) I’ll quote RMS here:

One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control… It’s just as bad as using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else’s web server, you’re defenceless. You’re putty in the hands of whoever developed that software.

And it’s hard to disagree here. Maybe I’m not as militant as RMS and I do have yahoo.com account but that is a spam-collecting account I use to not abuse my real personal account. I won’t lose sleep if I lose my yahoo.com account overnight.

Going along those same lines and exploring consumer side even further it’s impossible to omit Facebook. Millions of people submit their lives to that black hole of a service. Facebook is a “dream came true” for the folks running it and rivals LSD and Crystal in addiction levels. People spend time there mindlessly playing “social” games, fighting off people they were trying to avoid in real life; parent watching their children, children blurting out all the intimate details (and pictures) to complete strangers; companies snooping on their employees; students snooping on their teachers, and so on… Worse yet you don’t even post anything about yourself – collected data about your habits and habits of your friends can tell everything about you anyway. And people submit themselves to all of the above and more (trust me, list of links would be probably twice as long as this post if I really spent more than 10 minutes looking them all up).

Facebook is not the only one though. Owners of the Google accounts – they store every damn thing there about themselves, their preferences, their geographical locations, their pictures, browser cache (I have observed our internal traffic being routed out to G proxies from machines with Google toolbar installed, neat eh?) etc. Google is just as adept at extracting “value” out of those now, but if one day it decides to go “premium” on you or better yet discontinue the service – what will happen to your data? Even if it doesn’t – where is your data now? Can you trust it to be the same data you dropped there yesterday? Security and privacy of such services do not allow me to submit my data there willingly.

It is important to understand that while Gmail, Facebook and others do bring some value to our lives (yes, they do) one has to be extremely verse in privacy and technology to be able to navigate around all the traps those services offer. Oversimplified statement would be:

Web 2.0 Rule of Daemon: if you post something to services like GMail, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, etc. make sure you still own the data (have a copy of it) and never ever post something you would not otherwise say in public.

Lets review now: from all of the above – those “cloudy” (or should I say “blurry”?) services do not free you up from the burden of maintaining your own archive nor from backing up your information nor for carefully controlling who sees what. Which kind of defeats the hype and steam surrounding that “cloud” ( “crowd”?) and claims that you do not need personal computer anymore, you don’t need at-home storage anymore and you are free now. Yes you are free – from your own information – it lives it’s own life now on the cloud and it can leave you if it wishes so or it can morf into something you won’t be able to control: couple of years ago I stumbled upon a website (darn, I lost bookmark!) that aggregated all the data about me from various sources and offered: “For a nominal fee claim your account before somebody else does!” (if anybody remembers that site – drop a link please). And it was scary – my own data is now for sale. My personality – my id could be claimed by others. This is what you get for dropping things in hands of “cloud services”. Now you may say – “but you don’t use them and you got caught” and you’d be wrong – the reason I didn’t pay extortion fees is because my account was incomplete – lots of missing data and information which made it so much less attractive.

Now some keep claiming “Privacy is over b@tch!” but you have to remember whose interests are being served and whose are at stake here. I’m all for public disclosure and sharing – I am against it being at discretion of companies and corporations. It is my data, it is my decision and it stays with me. Remember also that most of people who advocate above ideology themselves do not live in a room with other 20 people but rather enjoy very private life in their villas and summer houses.

No more politics…

By a rather strange coincidence I ended up going over some of the arts books we have and realized that after all the dirt and exhaustion my mind (and my eyes) require some rest and peace. Since I don’t have to bother myself with political subjects for a while (see “Democracy is dead“) I can relax and actually feed my brain with something nutritious like Classic Art. I found a brilliant collection of digitized classic paintings suitable for many (but not all) desktops. Being rather drawn to Flemish drawings from 15th-17th centuries I ended up pouring quite a few over to my desktop – what a delight that is.

Democracy is dead. Long live Democracy.

Results are out Canada elected conservative majority after it had been found guilty of contempt and never denied doing so. Democracy is overrated and naivety (stupidity) is endless.

Uneducated masses elected lying, bullying, self-serving and populist government to drive this country further into the ground. History has seen it before.

Everybody is free to make their own conclusions.

After following the results for a while I certainly made mine.

Elect-me-not

All the countries I lived in had something in common: they were all called “… democracy” at some point. Whether it was a “developing democracy” or “developed democracy”. Democracy is the word we use a lot and with the imminent election musings about democracy become inevitable. So inevitable it spills into my conversations all the time. After all we are about to elect “democratic government” through the process of “democratic elections”.  Naturally, I started looking for definitions. There are plenty options (opinions?) to chose from – all have the same theme though. It’s really interesting that the word “democracy” is used so often and it’s standard definition allows for giant loopholes: “rule of the people” (Greek). Of course people are going to be ruling pretty much everywhere except for the 12 colonies where Cylons are taking over…!

One definition caught my eye as it was the most concise and obvious yet had enough details to be able to analyze it:

We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements:

  1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
  2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
  3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
  4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

“Free and fair election” is a very good starting point for a philosophical debate. What exactly Free means here? More importantly what is Fair? Canadian election show all the signs of unfairness. Government of the country currently is elected by a mere majority of 22% (58% turnout with only 38% of those voting for governing party) of voting populace which has translated into 46% seats. How is it fair to the 78% of voting populace that did not vote for them? How about the rest of population that is non-voting? In other words we should either accept this new norm that “22%” means – “majority” or redefine Fair or better yet – stop calling countries like Canada “Democracy”. We are far from democracy, real far. How is electoral process Fair to small communities like ours when we are “bundled” in the same riding with “monster” communities with 10 times the population. In other words – there is no way in hell our views will be represented on the highest level even if the entire community voted for the same candidate!

Which brings me to the second point – “active participation of people”. Now here’s a twist and a wrinkle – remember those 78% that aren’t really represented? Are they actively participating? So can we still call ourselves “Democracy”? How about candidates? Assume some of those 78% residing in the riding of an MP they didn’t vote for still want some representation and ask candidate to represent their views? Is he obligated to respond to their requests? No. Will he respond to their requests – typically no. Why? They are not voting for him so he doesn’t really need them until the next election. So how are we encouraging people to “actively participate” under those conditions?

Which was a nice preamble for the next point “protection of human rights of all citizens”. Well if you re-read previous paragraph you’ll realize that that is simply not the case if we carefully examine definition of Human Rights employed by UN. Article 1 anyone? You must have some mean brother that wouldn’t listen or reply to you. Well that is your MP that you did not elect. Maybe some Article 12 on the side? Interference with my privacy is happening all the time from all private entities that government does not protect me from: telemarketers, banks, random companies, recording industry – you name it. Article 16 for gay people maybe? Article 17 is something you should think about next time you buy music at iTunes or over some other DRM-riddled channel. Oh, you thought that when you purchased music you own it? Wrong! Ask Orwell fans who bought his books through Amazon for their Kindles, or people who bought music from Wal*Mart. So how does my government ensures my freedoms? By signing treaties that undermine it, and pushing through Bills that annihilate my rights. For a parent combination of Article 22 and 26 is another source of frustration – schools are half-run by corporations trying to “hook” kids on their products from “get-go” (Microsoft, Kraft, Pepsico, etc.) and government does everything to promote it by decreasing school’s budget and forcing schools to look for external sources of funding. I feel like my human rights were violated (as well as my family’s) do you?

So after showing how corporations enjoy better freedoms than people of the country lets take a look at the heads of those corporations. Have we ever heard of a case convicting corporate head vs “less wealthy opponent” ? In “democratic” societies it’s quite clear that the quality of democracy is proportional to your income. I enjoy fairly good pay myself so I know my freedoms extend way further than person’s next door with income half of mine, does that seem right? Does that sound democratic?

All of that brings up a dilemma: should I vote or should I not? If I do should I vote “for” or “against”? Every single party in my riding is “tainted” for me so I have no desire to vote for any single one of them. However Not voting gives more power to the minority that already elected the government I hate. If I vote – I just fed another monster that will do essentially the same just under a different guise. So to defeat present monster I should vote against but by doing so I get nothing in return except for delayed replay of the same tragic scenario. I do not see how my views and opinions will be represented in the newly elected government no matter how I vote. On top of that, as I mentioned before my community is dwarfed by another community in our riding that will essentially make my vote void because I’m pretty sure of the way they’ll vote. I’ll take my chances and vote my preference (out of all evils chose the smallest) knowing full well that it’s all futile, but there’s that off-chance that maybe my vote is the one that’ll count and other people like me will come out and vote and express their opinions in a slightly blurred fashion.

Electorate reform may be able to fix it but none of the existing parties brought up this issue an certainly none of them made it their priority. Until then our only screwed up way of voting is to vote “against” in most cases.

One may say – “Well, other definitions of democracy can not be as easily dismantled” and would be plain wrong – all definitions I looked at have the same problem – they are inapplicable in so-called “democratic countries”. Take the “ultimate authority” on everything – Wikipedia:

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law. It can also encompass social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. The term comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία – (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”,[1] which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) “people” and κράτος (Kratos) “power”, in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC

Does it make much difference? Not so much. Rinse-and-repeat.

Если бы я был сволочью…

Интерестное мнение/видение пробудило во мне желание покопаться в ошметках моих старых идей и мировозрений… Ну не то чтоб я их забросил или они уже не мои – но не возвращался я к ним уже достаточно давно.

Вот ведь штука какая – и возразить-то нечего: все ведь так – и жизнь сведена к жри/вкалывай/отрывайся и как бы текущий экономическо-политический режим тоже располагает… Но если начать с мелочей, то не все так просто как кажется. Взять ведь само существование журнала с этим-самым “мнением” – ведь он сам по себе является продуктом вышеописаного цикла (ровно как и этот журнал): мы ток подаем к той самой пластинке иным образом, стимулируем себя по-другому. Журнал это отдушина, илюзия что тебя кто-то услышал и твое мнение считается. Все та же пластинка, все та же мышь. И сгораем мы вываливая всю душу на публичное обозрение в надежде что заметят, поймут, оценят. Пытаемся превратить все то плохое что накипело-накопилось во все то хорошее чего не достает, и ногу с педальки не снимаем.

А вот как начинаешь идти по этой тропинке-то так и остановиться тяжело. Ведь если прикинуть на коленке – все чудеса прогресса и цивилизации – порождение лени и желание стимуляции того самого “эпицентра счастья”.  Значит если вывернуть это наизнанку – единственным путем остается откатиться до первобытно-общинного… И вот тут заковыка выходит – ведь если до первобытно-общинного откатишься так и дальше до инфузории-туфельки недалеко… Что же получается – одно с другим связано – желание “давить на педальку” и “homo sapiens”? Никакой разумности не было бы если б не желание сделать себе хорошо.

Ну вот теперь разобрались с одним направлением мысли… и если б был я сволочью то начал бы цепляться ко всем словам и деталям… да не выйдет. Почему? Да потому что раз уж мы (цивилизация) встали на этот путь – назад дороги нет (ну ладно, есть – но это тема для другой заметки). Раз уж начали мы этот процесс эволюции то нам его и заканчивать. Не было бы нас так другой подвид занял бы наше место. Это как с бурной рекой – если уж оказался на крутом участке – дальше дорога одна, и самым безопасным будет просто отдаться течению и плыть по нему – лавируя между препятствиями и стремясь лишь в малой мере контролировать скорость. Невозможно контролировать горный поток, нельзя плыть вспять, но можно лавировать… О чем это я..? Так вот общими нашими усилиями цивилизация катится к своей неминуемой развязке (чем бы она ни была) и единственное что мы можем с этим сделать это задавать вопросы и пытаться сделать все чтоб корректировать путь свой.

Вот к примеру капитализм – дожили мы до всемирного капитализма и убедились что ничего хорошего он не несет, и как говорил Маркс:

И уже не рабочий употребляет средства производства, а средства производства употребляют рабочего. Не он потребляет их как вещественные элементы своей производительной деятельности, а они потребляют его как фермент их собственного жизненного процесса, а жизненный процесс капитала заключается лишь в его движении как самовозрастающей стоимости.

Но в то же время тот же Маркс утверждает что капитализм должен был произойти и было ему место в истории – как одна из ступеней развития без которой никак нельзя.

Можно было бы отмести всяческие вопросы и сравнения с мышом как несостоятельные потому как экстраполируя мы могли бы прийти к абсурдному утверждению с которым и автор не согласился бы, но с другой стороны напоминание о недостатках наших и привязаностях наших это то что мы обязаны делать ежедневно. Иначе никак. Иначе никакого “homo sapiens” – ни тебе ничего “человеческого” ни тебе ничего “разумного”. “В споре рождается истина” и важно это не забывать.

 

The Plan to frak up Galactica

After me raving about BGS I think it’s only honest to admit – “The Plan” is a disaster. Cheap way to make a movie – cut-n-paste strips from past episodes and sprinkle it with boobs as per cracked.com:

Just The Facts
1. Boobs can either a) help you get a job/promoted or b) make the workplace more tolerable for the rest of us.
2. Boobs are often successfully used in place of a coherent plot or acting in movies to create a great film.
3. The power of boobs should not be underestimated.

After enduring 112 minutes of gut-wrenching lack of plot, holes in a storyline and amateur directing I would prefer to think this movie was done without knowledge or consent of the original BSG crew. Positioning of it on DVD edition we’ve got right after season 4.0 and before 4.5 is stupid at best – it breaks timeline and takes you to the future events you’re supposed to guess about at this moment.

I must say boobs played great role in keeping me awake and mildly interested in events on the screen but not enough to enjoy it.

Thinking about it I came to conclusion that “The Plan” was shot after watching copious amounts of “Coupling” and under Jeff Murdock‘s great influence:

Jeff: Cleft.

[Captain Subtext uses his “truth helmet” to read the main characters’ minds]
Jeff: Buttocks. Gusset. Bicycle saddle.

above coincidentally is a quick summary for “The Plan”‘s plot.

Jeff also offers a tip on how to watch such a movie:

Jeff: Well, it’s kind of hard to tell isn’t it ‘cos you tend to fast forward if anyone’s dressed. Sometimes I forget and do that with proper films. I can get through a lot of movies in an evening.

Just to add insult to injury I must say that “The Plan” is just as much of a “frak-up” as “Serenity”. Both delivered very little in terms of continuity, tried to reach out to the audience that didn’t watch original shows and failed everybody. Look, you screw up characters like that, you ruin continuity – you piss off your fans. You make plot very light, personal encounters casual and someone who never seen original will have no inclination to rush to videostore and buy original series because your movie SUCKS.

I am really glad I watched original series without knowing about those movies – I thoroughly enjoyed them and then when movies came out – I know those were “frak-ups” and never stopped enjoying original shows. Have I seen those movies as a lead-in to watch the show – I would have never made myself watch them – ever.

After some digging it turns out that “The Plan” was directed by Edward James Olmos (“Admiral Adama”) which confirmed my father’s (film director himself) opinion that actors are *not* directors and actors are only as good as their director. I don’t mind James Olmos as Bill Adama – he does add some spice to that role that is probably right when you’re talking about a military guy who his whole life wasn’t supposed to be emotional and build the impenetrable facade, so Olmos delivers there, but quite honestly his directing of “The Plan” was a mistake. While episodes directed by him ( Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (1.9), Taking a Break from All Your Worries (3.13), Escape Velocity (4.4) and Islanded in a Stream of Stars (4.18) ) don’t really stand out in a bad way, the movie… well I think I’ve said enough.