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09 June 2011 @ 04:58 am
Offbeat news? How about tomorrow's offbeat news today? Presenting Channel 53's all-new Department of Prophecy.

Most of you don't know this, but I'm a bit of an armchair futurist, but I've always kept my predictions to myself (except when very drunk or trying to bore my fiancee to sleep). Some of my earlier predictions have turned out right. Therefore, since some people are stupid enough to believe the likes of Harold Camping and Pat Robertson; and because I got tired of yelling "I knew it!" when I saw it coming; I present an all-new prophecy prediction futurism category department thingy to this deranged and unread LJ. Also, because my friend Kailash kept nagging me to blog or write my insane and/or genius thoughts, and I finally caved in, because after all there's only so much porn one can watch etc. etc.

All so when the world ends, I can yell "I told you so" and then die right along with the rest of you, as though this means anything.


Prediction: Internet anonymity as we know it will die.
Likelihood: 100%
Timeline: within a week to three years.
Reference: MPAA / RIAA, piracy, censorship, The Great Firewall of China, pornography, child pornography, Wikileaks, Facebook, Anonymous, hacktivism, Twitter revolutions.

The day will soon come when there will be no internet anonymity whatsoever. You will possibly need some kind of an ID card to get online, much like you need a passport and visa to visit a foreign country. There are too many powerful forces pushing for this and too few against it for this prediction not to come true.

And speaking of ID, based on all the information up to this point, that ID card will be your Facebook account. Terrifying, I know; and it's already happening right now. Facebook is all over the internet already, and many sites are using Facebook accounts as logins (including LiveJournal). Seriously, how many sites DON'T have a Facebook "like" or "Login with your Facebook account?" Conversely, there's been troubling hints that Facebook is pushing to link your account to your phone number or driver's license or Social Security Number, in the name of securing your account. Which really links your online profile to a tangible, trackable real-world name and ID. I also doubt it's a coincidence that Facebook has been so insistent that people tag their friends' faces, even adding code that automatically tags faces based on facial recognition. To be fair, Google also do this in Picasa. tl;dr What is in effect happening is the slow roll-out of Facebook: Your Internet Passport.

Piracy and online activism are currently the biggest factors involved here. The players involved are the usual MPAA/RIAA dickholes, as well as the Big Brother crowd. They've already tried vilifying piracy, which didn't really work, and is backfiring on them, what with single moms and college students getting sued for five and six figures per mp3. Contrast the masses' reaction to that, with the masses' reaction to Sony getting repeatedly hacked recently.

Wikileaks revealed the world governments' true feelings when it comes to the free flow of information on the internet. They're all for transparency as long as you're the one being watched and not them. The vilification of Julian Assange (whether you like him or not) and the deplorable and ongoing treatment of Bradley Manning, are telling clues about how our leaders and masters really feel.

Strategies that have been employed to demonize the internet and demonize anonymity have included scaremongering attempts at attacking pornography, to name one; and when that didn't work, child pornography. The odd story about online harassment leading to suicide and online bullying are subtler examples of this strategy to push for an online ID, or towards less anonymity. Which is why any story involving laws to protect minors online and proposals for new regulations, always, always triggers my bullshit detector.

Also note the media's push of late to readily demonize Anonymous and portray them as somehow "dangerous" to society for hacking corporations and general Anon pranks. Hardly coincidental.


Prediction: Republicans will blame Climate Change on Al Gore.
Likelihood: 50 - 75%
Timeline: within a few months to a year.
Reference: Climate Change, Climate Change denialism, Big Oil, "Revolving door" politics, Fox News, Extreme Weather, Religion, Christianity

The inevitable, disastrous and accelerating effects of Climate Change will reach a point where it can no longer be denied by anyone except perhaps Sarah Palin. At which point, I predict the Religious Right and their media will react the same way they react to natural disasters - by screaming that clearly the only possible explanation is that God is judging America for tolerating gay marriage, abortion and hybrid cars.

This is already in the works, what with the recent disasters in America with tornadoes and floods, including a tornado in freaking Massachusetts. I'm just waiting for the bullshit machine to start vomiting its propaganda on us any minute now.

You read it here first.

On a slightly related tangent, I never cease to find it hilarious / disgusting that media sources breathlessly push so hard to portray Climate Change as a hoax... while at the same time, blithely mentioning that brand new commercial shipping routes have been formed cutting through the Arctic circle, and that Arctic Circle countries are quietly circling each other snarling over territorial claims to the North Pole (and its oil and gas reserves that have been unreachable until now). Notably underreported and downplayed.


Prediction: 3D printing will be the biggest paradigm-shifting revolution since computers.
Likelihood: 90%
Timeline: within the next five years, at the most.
Reference: 3D printing, piracy, file sharing, open source, The Information Age
You know that bullshit MPAA slogan, "you wouldn't download a car?" The truth is more like, you can't download a car. Yet.

3D printing isn't new technology, but it's gotten increasingly more sophisticated and complex, to the point that the other day, some eggheads 3D printed a working, rideable bicycle. There have been breakthroughs in materials as well as the printing, where the materials used to print out of have gotten stronger and lighter. The holy grail in the 3D printing world is to create a 3D printer that can create another working 3D printer.


Prediction: Hygiene theory combined with MRSA / flu style global pandemic.
Likelihood: 50% (too many variables)
Timeline: within a week to twenty years
See: Hygiene theory, superbugs, MRSA, drug resistance, poverty, big pharma, evolution
In other words, not only will the human race be decimated by a plague; it will be the filthiest, dirtiest, poorest humans that survive it.


More internet scrapings when things at work get a little less insane. Till then, remember: it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
 
 
Current Mood: buzzed
 
 
_53
12 November 2009 @ 08:04 am
 
 
Current Mood: amused
 
 
 
_53
Breaking news: Sequoia Voting Systems hacks self in foot, SQL code revealed online.
"Sequoia Voting Systems, which seems to have inadvertently released the SQL code for its voting databases.... What was revealed was thousands of lines of MS-SQL source code that appears to control or at least influence the logical flow of the election, in violation of a bunch of clauses in the FEC voting system rulebook banning interpreted code, machine modified code and mandating hash checks of voting system code."

Someone more geeky than I needs to read these articles and confirm if this is saying what I think it's saying.
 
 
 
 
_53
28 September 2009 @ 10:32 pm


Um. Wow. I tripped balls when I read this, and it took me a while, coz my Hindi sucks. I found this on 4chan, and I'm like, who would have made this? More to the point, who would have gotten it? Are there a lot of Indian 4channers mad that there aren't enough Hindi image macros? And what's with the three wolf moon shirt?

Seriously, how many people in the world would be bizarre / diverse / confused enough to get this? This is a LOT of very culture-specific randomity intersecting way too many unrelated references O.O

Oh. What it says:

"America: Give us your oil, motherfucker!"

I mean literally. It's not even a bad translation, that's pretty much exactly what it says.
 
 
Current Mood: confused
 
 
 
_53
05 September 2009 @ 10:30 pm
Via the ever-awesome xforge here:

Moron teabagger tries to collect "health care horror stories" to use as talking points against health care reform. People obligingly respond with horror stories about how private health insurance screwed them over after taking copious amounts of their money, and more stories about how government-funded medicine saved their lives and limbs at little or no out-of-pocket expense and without having to come back 3 months later or sit in an emergency room for 14 hours. I love this planet.

A sample comment:

"How's this as a true story: Back in the 90s, my then British wife and I were living in Germany (I was serving in the Army). The British NHS system paid to fly her to Liverpool (that's in England, just to save you looking it up) where the doctor of her choice removed her gallbladder using the latest keyhole surgery techniques, she stayed several days in hospital and was then flown back to Germany. The cost? Zero! No deductable, no 10% liability, no co-pay. What a horrible system!"

Lulz.
 
 
Current Location: north campus, new delhi
Current Mood: amused
 
 
 
_53
21 June 2009 @ 06:08 pm
 
 
Current Mood: amused
 
 
 
 
_53
29 March 2009 @ 11:43 pm
95 Theses on the Religious Right.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said "love thy neighbor", willed that believers should show *compassion* toward others.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean mere lip service ("I love them, but I hate their sin"), but genuine concern for the welfare of others.

3. Yet the Religious Right has forsaken compassion for a doctrine of institutionalized hatred and violence.

4. Specifically, the Religious Right has taken the Word of God and wrapped it in the flag of Right Wing Politics, replacing God's message of redemption for the entire world with a narrow message endorsing right wing American politics.

5. Item: the Religious Right has neglected the teachings of Jesus in the gospel of Luke, where He instructs that we are to show compassion for the poor.

6. In place of God's words, the Religious Right has substituted a right wing political doctrine in which the poor have only themselves and their alleged laziness and moral weakness to blame.

7. For example, the Religious Right has rejected the needs of poor children of unwed mothers.

8. The Religious Right has rejected the cries for help from the children of impoverished families in the inner cities.

9. The Religious Right, has advocated fewer resources for the elderly poor and for the millions of children now living in poverty.

10. In place of giving to the poor, the Religious Right has advocated political doctrines specifically designed so that individuals may acquire vast sums of money.

11. The Religious Right has thus seized on a contemporary economic ideology as an excuse to ignore the teachings of Jesus.

...

18. Item: the Religious Right has neglected the teachings of Jesus that "he who is without sin should cast the first stone."

19. In place of God's words, the Religious Right has substituted a doctrine in which perceived sinners are to be persecuted.

20. Gays, for example, are persecuted because of their alleged sins. In some cases, leaders of the Religious Right have encouraged acts of physical violence against gays.

21. While the Religious Right has been eager to persecute others for their alleged sins, they have been blind to their own.

22. While the Bible counsels that a rich man can no more enter the of Heaven than a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, many in the Religious Right have celebrated the acquisition of wealth.

23. While the Bible enjoins us against pride, the Religious Right appears to be flush with pride in it's holier than thou stance.

24. While the Bible asks that we be slow to anger, the Religious Right is quick to anger -- indeed it appears to revel in anger and in fanning the flames of anger in others.

25. While the Bible counsels that we are not to be "revilers," key members of the religious right have consistently and aggressively reviled their political enemies as well as those who are perceived to be sinners.

26. It seems then, that the Religious Right picks its sins selectively, ignoring the clear Biblical message against avarice, pride, and anger, and emphasizing selected “sins” that have little to no Biblical basis.

...

31. Item: Religious Right has failed to see that God's call to help our neighbors also extends to our international neighbors.

32. International aggression is not a Christian doctrine.

33. Where the Bible calls us to be peacemakers, the Religious Right claims that we have no business trying to bring peace to troubled areas but rather counsels that we should use military might to secure our business interests.

34. Where the Bible, through the story of the good Samaritan, instructs that we are to help our international neighbors -- indeed, even our enemies -- the Religious Right counsels "America First".

35. But "America First" cannot be a true Christian Doctrine.

36. The Bible gives no special status to political entities like the United States of America, and any suggestion to the contrary is to simply lie about the content of the Bible.

37. God does not bless nation states, and if He did, He surely would not bless them for practicing international internal intolerance, and propping up corrupt kingdoms and military juntas that traffic in institutionalized poverty and violence.


...

65. Item: The Religious Right has paid lipservice to the moral development of children, yet their doctrines are antithetical to the interests of children.

66. They appear to believe that moral development can be accomplished solely through discipline and censorship -- censorship of thought-provoking materials and censorship of the findings of science.

67. Yet, as a group, the members of the Religious Right have failed miserably as parents.

68. Jesus said, "suffer the children come unto me," yet members of the Religious Right have physically and psychologically abused their children.

69. They have advocated corporeal punishment, and have carried out acts of indoctrination on their children which, truth be known, are as severe as those of any fringe religious cult.

70. They have made children to be ashamed of and hate their bodies, when they should be proud that those bodies are the temples of God.

71. They have lied to children about the nature of God's creation, teaching them to ignore the great beauty God has revealed through the biological sciences.

72. In place of that beauty, they have taught their children a theory in which God's revelation through nature is ignored, and an ugly doctrine of fiat creation is espoused.

73. They have taught their children to be intolerant of others, to be hateful of gays and persons of color.

74. They have failed to instruct their children in God's message of love and redemption and have substituted for it a message of exclusion, suspicion, and contempt.

75. They have failed to raise their children according to the teachings of the Bible.

76. They have utterly failed as parents, yet they presume to dictate how we should raise our own children.

...

83. Item: the Religious Right pays lip service to the authority of the Word of God, yet that Word plays little role in the treating of the Religious Right.

84. In place of the message of God's Grace and our redemption, they have substituted a purely political doctrine with no grounding in the Scriptures.

85. Rare are the references to passages of the Bible in the sermons of the Religious Right.

86. Those references that survive, are taken out of context and are merely used to justify preestablished political doctrines.

87. For example, there is no Biblical support for their views on abortion.

88. There is no Biblical support for their right wing economic theories.

89. There is no Biblical support for their campaign of abuse against their own children.

90. There is no Biblical support for their "America First" doctrines.

91. There is no Biblical support for their treatment of persons of color.

92. There is no Biblical support for their treatment of homosexuals.

93. In conclusion: the Religious Right has desecrated the house of God, taking a place of worship and treating it as a soap box in the service or the Right Wing of the Republican Party.

94. The Religious Right has likewise desecrated the Word of God, attributing to the Bible doctrines that are hateful, cruel, and entirely antithetical to the actual contents of the Bible.

95. Christians are to be exhorted to speak out against the Religious Right, as it is a vile heretical movement, wholly outside the teachings of the Word of God.

Interesting stuff. Practicing Christians, and all those interested in the relationship between theology and politics, ought to read all 95.


From: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2005/06/95_theses_on_th.html
 
 
 
_53
22 January 2009 @ 06:21 am
Today marks the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Obama's campaign was built around a message of change. What changes would you most like to see in the next 4 years?


I would like to have my depressing cynicism, hopelessness and paranoia be proven wrong, especially when it comes to the news, politics and world events.

Watching America over the last ten years has driven me to the point where I believe democracy has turned into an elaborate joke designed to give citizens the illusion of choice, the press and media are now propaganda factories and all news and issues are just distractions to keep citizens arguing over petty unimportant bullshit while atrocities are committed under their noses by their own leaders. I'm tired of how exhausting it is to feel that that is reality. Sometimes I even wish I were believing all the lies and bullshit just so I'd be happier.

I'm not American (although my parents are and I might as well be), but the way my life turned out puts me in a no-man's-land culturally where I've been able to see America both from the inside and from the outside, as an almost-immigrant and as a foreigner at the same time. An American friend once described me as "not American, but he might as well be." In art school in NJ my friends said I had a better grasp of their culture than most of them did. Whatever that meant, lol.

When I lived there I remember how exhilirating it felt knowing no one was going to arrest me or lock me up without a lawyer or even a court hearing just because I was a Christian. Now the same thing could happen to me in America for having Arabic in my passport from having lived in the Middle East.

America isn't my country but I can't help but love it and care about it like my own supposed country. Americans aren't my fellow countrymen (yet) but it has been heartwrenching seeing what many of them have been going through the last decade or more. I imagine it must feel like being betrayed by a loved one, or by your own family.

To me, Americans are an amazing, intoxicating, sarcastic, neurotic, psychotic, blunt, fun and slightly insane people that are basically hard to hate and harder to ignore. They're not perfect, but they're often the first people to admit it. I love how you basically can't mock Americans, because no one mocks Americans harder and meaner than they do themselves. Feel free to disagree; that's what it looks like through my eyes.

I think Americans deserve better. I think I'm tired of seeing noble American ideals that its great men and women fought and died for at its birth, get trurned into media buzzwords, cliches, propaganda tools, and ultimately, a giant international joke. It's depressing watching the world slowly hate America more and more everyday, knowing they have good reasons to.

I want an America that I would love to move back and actually live in, not one that I'm afraid of, because for one thing I really miss my family, and for another thing I think I'd make a great adopted citizen given the chance. And ultimately, maybe because it's the one place in the world where I didn't feel like a huge misfit.

Bill Maher once said on his show: "America must stop bragging that it's the greatest country on earth, and start acting like it." That line pretty much sums it up.

Take from this what you will.
 
 
Current Mood: thoughtful
 
 
_53
19 January 2009 @ 07:15 pm
It's the last day in office for George Bush. There's been a lot of talk in the media lately about Bush's legacy. What do you think he will be most remembered for?


I'd answer, but I don't want my LJ turning into a flaming river of comments by people who still like him.