Category : technology

Remember when Bitcoin was $100? You know, like 2 months ago? Well now it has leaped up $100 in just 4 hours, rising from $500 to $600 USD before retreating slightly.

Bitcoin on Nov 18, 2013

It seems the Little Currency That Could is making a run at $1000. We’ll soon see if it can make it before the bubble bursts again.

But why  are people investing in this crazy “virtual currency” anyway?
When I first stumbled across Bitcoin back in 2011, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It seemed a pretty quixotic goal, making a new currency just for the internet. I knew the network effect was critical for gaining any traction, and at the time it was just the province of a few cypherpunks, led by a mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto who hasn’t been heard from since 2010. This person or group started the whole thing with a white paper laying out how it would work. Soon the system was up and running. There were a few bumps along the way but this resilient idea has since caught on and now there are a flurry of competing crypto-currencies — that is, digital money that’s secured by lots of complex math.

There’s more to Bitcoin than just another internet scam or tulip craze. The underlying technology that makes Bitcoin work is not smoke and mirrors. You can see it working every day as money is transferred all over the world, nearly insantly. All you need is an internet connection, which of course is needed for any sort of online banking you do with traditional money. Bitcoin’s genius is making large-scale, distributed cryptography work for the masses.

That’s the important point: Bitcoin works for the masses, unlike traditional fiat currencies like the US Dollar. Despite our democratic ideals, American money policy is decided behind closed doors by a secretive agency that fiddles with interest rates and makes huge bond purchases with money it creates from nothing. Transparency is not the Federal Reserve’s style.

Money for the masses
With Bitcoin, the code is open source and there is no central authority or bank — the job of verifying transactions is distributed across the globe. Don’t trust Bitcoin? Review the source code yourself and suggest changes if the security is not up to snuff. Let there be no mistake — Bitcoin is not yet out of “beta” and is not financed by a huge corporation with a strict delivery timeline. Nope, this is a bunch of self-appointed Guardian Nerds who mostly have day jobs not related to Bitcoin (except lead developer Gavin Andresen, who is paid by the nascent Bitcoin Foundation).

With that in mind, it’s best to think of Bitcoin as something that will be really cool and world-changing…

But it isn’t yet. Not until an easier payment system is deployed (it’s being developed now) and a stronger ecosystem of merchants accepting the currency emerges. What we’re witnessing now is a speculative landgrab because smart folks know that Bitcoin’s current market cap of 5 or 6 billion is chump change compared to what a fully mature, global digital currency would have if it were successful. To put it in comparison, Bill Gates could buy the whole Bitcoin economy nearly 10 times over, even in this midst of this bubble.

But is this a bubble or merely staggered massive growth?

Bitcoin versus traditional forms of money
Many valuations have been tossed about for Bitcoin. Most are probably overly optimistic, but the naysayers ignore the fact that Bitcoin was cleverly designed to be a store of value first and a currency second. It’s been derided as a “deflationary currency” even though it’s presently inflating at over 10% as new bitcoins are mined and put into circulation. Though misunderstood, Bitcoin is just on a somewhat-flexible schedule of inflation that will limit it to at most 21 million coins. It will take nearly 100 years for it to inflate from the present total of 12 million to its final total of 21 million. That’s not a bad thing — you can plan your life around that, whereas the Fed could change course tomorrow and you’d have no recourse except to try and compensate for what you think might be their new strategy.

Make no mistake: Bitcoin threatens inflationary currencies because it offers a release valve available to regular folks if the government and/or central bank decides to inflate your currency (as they inevitably do). That’s a good thing because competition among currencies can only help consumers and merchants. Central banks won’t be able to inflate secretly without the price of Bitcoin being affected.

Bitcoin is still pretty clumsy as a currency, but it works well as a store of value as long as you follow proper security procedures and principles. Does your password contain your name or birthday or even the word “password” in it? Does it have the string “12345″ in it? Perhaps you should not buy any bitcoin until “Bitcoin Banks” emerge to offer security to the security-impaired. The bad thing about a global, distributed currency is that it can be stolen remotely too. Don’t skimp on the passwords and don’t keep everything all in one place, like your email account which could itself be hacked. Enable 2 factor authentication where available.

Soon, major merchants will start accepting Bitcoin because they want to save money on credit card transaction fees and/or Paypal charges. Bitcoin is close to free (currently around 3 cents, regardless of the size of the transaction) versus the 2 or 3% fee associated with credit cards.

China: the sleeping giant awakens
Much of the current boom has been driven by enthusiasm in China. During the last huge bubble in April China was barely a participant. This time they are driving the whole market and are responsible for more than half of all exchange trades which consistently outweighs the USD. The Chinese seem to like Bitcoin. A lot.

That means we’re in uncharted waters. Who knows the depths of their desire for bitcoin? Their proclivities could change the world because the Chinese and westerners have different philosophies of money. The Chinese are savers whereas the West has encouraged spending and investment through inflationary currencies that need to be earning you money or solving a problem, or else they are losing value. Much of western civilization is predicated on this quirk of our monetary system. Before, the only way to opt out was to buy gold and silver, but Bitcoin offers a new way to preserve value over time, but has the advantage that it can be sent anywhere in the world cheaply and in about an hour.

That’s why people have taken to calling Bitcoin things like Digital Gold and Gold 2.0. It could become a whole new asset class.

Bitcoin is a blessing and a curse for the Obama Administration
That’s been a problem for the US Government  – it doesn’t know how to classify Bitcoin for tax and regulation purposes. Is it a currency? A store of value? An asset? A security? A collectible? A stock in some hippy/libertarian enterprise? All of the above?

While many observers thought that the US regime would quickly make Bitcoin illegal because of its threat to the US Dollar, it now appears Washington is going to take a more wait & see approach, partly because the Chinese boom seems certain to incubate a new wave of start-ups and millionaires just like the early PC revolution did in the 80s and the internet boom did during the late 90s. Lawmakers face a stark choice: Do you want this new round of innovation to happen in Silicon Valley… or Shanghai?

Besides, Obama/Congress making Bitcoin illegal would only apply to the US and would only serve to drive it underground.  The Feds could try to eradicate it on the internet (at the cost of our liberties), but they would ultimately succeed only restricting commerce. Bitcoin is easy enough to hold offline as a paper wallet. I’m not sure if the US government even still bothers to feign interest in the plight of oppressed peoples living under dictatorships unless there happens to be some oil nearby, but if they did care, Bitcoin is a great way to effect commerce outside the grip of a despot. The obvious early candidates for Bitcoin merchants is any business involving the internet so buying a web domain with bitcoin is already possible. Soon other anti-censorship tools could become available with a digital currency that is difficult for authorities to track if you use appropriate anonymizing tools.

Is Bitcoin anonymous? Sort of.
It should be noted that Bitcoin is not fully anonymous. In fact, every transaction ever made is stored in a huge public ledger (the “Blockchain”) that is hosted and shared by anybody running a Bitcoin node. This helps verify that coins aren’t spent twice and ensures that only the person with the private key can access them. However, you can take steps to make sure no one knows you have that address. Bitcoin addresses are called “wallets” and they are basically both the wallet and bank account of Bitcoin. You can create a new one with a click of a button. No identifying information is required, but the NSA will still be spying on all your activities on the internet (as I’ve been saying for years, but we’re all supposed to be shocked) so tread with caution.

Golden Future: What does the future hold for Bitcoin?
So what does the future hold for Bitcoin? No one knows for sure, but I think we are watching history unfold. People scoffed at the idea of a personal computer. They scoffed at the internet and at mobile phones too. Yet the tide of history flows onward like the River Nile, demolishing our preconceptions and old ideas that no longer serve us in its inexorable ebb and flow.

In the wake of the financial disaster of 2008 and the lingering malaise (even as the Dow breaks 16,000), we have to wonder if our current concept of money is still working. In the old days, money was gold. Or silver. But we banished that idea to the distant past when paper money (which were originally certificates redeemable for gold or silver) caught on. But in the age of derivatives and CDOs and quantitative easing, perhaps it’s time to reassess if paper money — which somehow transformed into digital money in the last few decades — is really helping us.

So the idea of digital money isn’t even new. And neither is Bitcoin’s slow, steady inflation level because it mimics how gold is mined. But the idea of a currency created through cryptographic equations and run on normal PCs is radically new and revolutionary. Could it be that Bitcoin is the best of both worlds, the best of the old and the new?

Time will tell. But Bitcoin is just the first of what promises to be many cryptocurrencies. If Bitcoin doesn’t get it right, it’s likely that some other crypto-coin will.

Learn more about Bitcoin at WeUseCoins.com. Bitcoin has a significant learning curve and it’s worthwhile to invest some time into understanding it before you dive in. And if you’re going to buy in, wait until this current bubble pops. And pop it will, but I bet it will still be higher than it was 2 months ago.

You might be telling your grandkids about way back in your day when a bitcoin was only worth 600 dollars. And your grandkids will ask, “What’s a dollar?”

They walk among us. Normal people, like you or me. But inside the corners of their ratty little minds they carry a dark, hideous secret: They own a leaf blower.

I know, I know. It’s easy to hate them, like SUV drivers, sweet sixteen psycho-princesses and those happy-slapping chavs who run around hitting unsuspecting people and filming it. But owning a leaf blower does not make you a shitty person. A crappy one, yes. But not shitty.

It’s not the individuals who own leaf blowers who concern me; it’s the whole problem of Leaf Blower Culture that keeps me up at night (that, and the noise). This is not to say the leaf blower wielders are innocent however. It is their weakness that ruins things for the rest of us. But what flaw in our collective psyche allowed it get to this point?

The Human Flaw
The skull-rattling noise of leaf blowers is the real reason that people use them, I suspect. Far from being the biggest flaw, it’s actually what attracts these weak, pitiful souls to it, desperately wanting to make some impact in the world, wrongly or rightly.

Backpack leaf blowerAlthough commercial grade leaf blowers are spendy at around $500, a small consumer version can cost as little as 40 bucks (plus gas). Like SUVs, the relatively cheap price combined with the vibrant feeling of pure mechanical power gives consumers a drunken sense of maniacal glee.

A few hours after the purchase you can find many people softly, sickly laughing as they swirl the leaf blower around like a bloated magical wand, causing a small wind storm along with an incredible cacophonous noise heard blocks away. Screaming over the monstrous din, they dance through the lawn with their mechanical version of Voldemort’s wand spewing forth a steady stream of devilish noise and blustery fury. Somewhere deep in their gollum-like mind the voice of a mad-man rings loudly in their hollow hearts:

“HAHA!! Yes!! I am making those leaves flee before me! I am invincible with my precious blower! Cower before me, you stupid leaves! I’ll blow you clear across the lawn! MUAAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!”

He is no longer a balding and pot-bellied middle-aged suburban dad. He is Leafmancer the Majestic, master of all who cross his path. Dare ye to speak to him over the bilious noise of his quivering instrument of power? Nay, he will not hear your pleas. He does not concern himself with such trifles as your feelings. “Back off, before I blow you off!” he hisses in an inaudible whisper.

A Cost/Benefit Ratio Forrest Gump Could Deduce
This simple device encapsulates everything that is wrong with American culture from a social, environmental and technological standpoint. Let’s look at what a leaf blower does and it’s advantages versus disadvantages.

A leaf blower is basically a reverse vacuum cleaner. It blows instead of sucks. But what goal does it accomplish, what societal need does it address?

It replaces a rake.

That’s it. As far as I know, there is no other common use for a leaf blower than the function that is easily accomplished by the common rake, which can be purchased at hardware store for 20 bucks and requires no fuel or maintenance and operates nearly silently.

The leaf blower does its job extremely poorly — and it does so very loudly — yet people still flock to this useless, feeble technology.

5 guys with leaf blowers

To really drive this home, and be fair to leaf blowers, I will now list the advantages and disadvantages of this machine:

Leaf blower pros:

  • Slightly faster? Maybe, but I’ve seen workmen accomplish virtually nothing in an hour’s time, like a retarded monkey pushing around a box of sand
  • Some can suck up and mulch the leaves, but most people don’t have or use this functionality; the device is technically referred to as a “blower vac” in this capacity
  • Although they ostensibly reduce human energy output, using high-powered machines is somewhat difficult and still makes you sweaty. I don’t see many grannies using them

Leaf blower cons:

  • Loud as a fucking airplane
  • Expensive compared with a rake
  • Requires continual purchase of costly fossil fuels
  • Causes air pollution and leaves the stench of gasoline
  • Creates huge plumes of dust & debris, some of which can lodge themselves in your eye
  • Not as good at creating leaf piles as a rake
  • Heavier than a rake
  • Bulkier than a rake
  • Has moving parts and requires regular maintenance such as:
    • Cleaning or replacing the filters
    • Replacing the spark plugs
    • Cleaning the fan blades
    • Cleaning the air intake
    • etc. etc.
  • Doesn’t work without a fuel source yet still requires human control/power
  • If you’re using a leaf blower, you’re pissing off everybody around you

Meanwhile, a rake just fucking works. (Plus, it can be used to sneak up and attack people using leaf blowers.)

Leaf blower mouth

A Cultural Sickness that Reveals Our World’s Rotten Soul
Our world teeters on the edge of economic, environmental collapse and I’m worried about leaf blowers? Well yes, because if we think leaf blowers are a good idea then I weep for our noisy, pointless future. Why does our culture accept and use these technologically gimmicky bullshit tools when perfectly acceptable old-school tools exist? Is it sheer laziness or a delirious lust for auditory power? I’m afraid our leaf blower addiction reveals far more about our society than we would ever want to grok.

Corporate priorities tend to distort things. In recent years the idea that there’s a technological solution to every problem has been driven into the corporate drone’s head. He knows all his competitors are using leaf blowers. He thinks that a rake looks low-tech and that customers are more impressed with technology than simplicity. He expects a lawn care service company to show up with a trailer full of gas-powered goodies, all of which make an unholy racket. It’s part of our cultural expectations at this point: If you’re not making a shitload of noise, are you really doing anything?

Blame it on our Genes
Our monkey brains are helpless before the lure of shiny, noisy tools. If this is the best we can do, perhaps the world would be better off without us. Dolphins don’t have leaf blowers. When they enslave us, they will say it’s for our own good and they might actually be right. That’s what scares me. Still, rakes sit lonely and dust-covered in millions of garages, wondering, like some jilted lover, what it did to push us into the arms of that supercharged demon-mistress next to it. Will America remember the simple, subtle beauty of the common garden rake before it’s too late?

We could certainly use the exercise.

This is one cultural deficiency I can’t blame solely on the Oligarchy (although our elite-encouraged oil addiction is a contributing factor). It’s our own stupid lust for power that led us to this point. If we keep this up I’m gonna start cheering for the goddamn lizard people. Bring on the brainless zombies (armed with leaf blowers, of course).

C’mon, folks: Evolve already!

A Future Fraught with Free Leaves
I’m not the first person to complain about this plague; leaf blowers are illegal in several cities and people have bitched about them for decades. Yet, here we are in 2011 and they’re still fucking here.

The most ironic part is that leaves will win this battle in the end. Leaves will be blowing freely long after humanity has slit its own throat and withered, gurgling and gasping, into the heedless sands of history.

Are leaves such a horrible infestation that they must be removed from our urban green spaces? What about the incredible amount of noise and air pollution that is being added to the atmosphere in their place? We are truly a sick culture if we think this is an acceptable trade-off. I will risk the fucking leaves, thank you very much. Maybe our feral, wretched descendants will use them as currency.

The guy who invented the rake must be rolling in his fucking grave. He’s just lucky he can’t hear it when they blow the leaves off his gravestone.

Electric Monkey Pants 3.0

Welcome to the new and improved Electric Monkey Pants!

Ever since Blogger shut down my FTP-run blog I’ve been working to migrate all the posts over to WordPress and start anew! I hope you like the new look and the new features this platform offers. I spent 4 years on Blogger and it was great, but I knew it was time to leave. WordPress is an amazing platform and I’m looking forward to using it, starting now. However, moving all 500+ posts from the old platform to the new one has been an incredible chore. I’ve been procrastinating because I knew it would be a pain in the ass — and it was. But now it’s done and I don’t have to worry about it anymore! Let’s hope WordPress is here to stay!

Please let me know if you notice any problems with the site. Just leave a detailed comment below and I’ll take a look. Thanks for reading and thanks for helping me make Electric Monkey Pants a popular resource for internet weirdos.

There exists, somewhere deep in the belly of the NSA, a database so large, so secret, and so illegal, that few government officials will dare talk about it, even off the record.

Sources familiar with the program say that the government’s data gathering has been overzealous and probably conducted in violation of federal law and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention. [emphasis mine]

Are you on the list? You have no way of knowing. There’s no way to reason with them, to tell them you’re not a threat. There’s no recourse, no due process, no rights.

This is the dark heart of our government, silently beating away in the darkest corner of a military base somewhere deep underground. There are people in position who long for (or at least plan for) the chance to take power in the next emergency. The Constitution would be suspended, Congress rendered impotent, martial law declared and cities locked down.

For what?

Fear. This government fears its citizens, not because they’re all terrorists, but because many of them still believe in democracy. Such people are dangerous. Believing in the Constitution might be enough to get you on the list.

Let’s imagine a harrowing scenario: coordinated bombings in several American cities culminating in a major blast—say, a suitcase nuke—in New York City. Thousands of civilians are dead. Commerce is paralyzed. A state of emergency is declared by the president. Continuity of Governance plans that were developed during the Cold War and aggressively revised since 9/11 go into effect. Surviving government officials are shuttled to protected underground complexes carved into the hills of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Power shifts to a “parallel government” that consists of scores of secretly preselected officials. (As far back as the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming, were slated to step into key positions during a declared emergency.) The executive branch is the sole and absolute seat of authority, with Congress and the judiciary relegated to advisory roles at best. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police state.

Why? Why do we need to become a police state in order to become “secure”? Well, I already mentioned it above; the people who put these COG plans together are not patriots. They are traitors who wish to dispense with the annoyances of representative government and move instead to a system where everything is much smoother… for those in power.

It’s strange that they would throw 200 years of liberty at the first sign of trouble … if you don’t know who these people are. Notice who gets protected in the scenario above. They aren’t saving the Constitution, they’re saving their own asses. They don’t have contingency plans in place to ensure that citizens’ rights are upheld; no, they’re only concerned with maintaining their power and their control over us.

It’s not necessary that the government be saved. We can start a new one and Lord knows it’ll be better than the one we’ve got. But the one we’ve got is intent on saving its own skin, Constitution and Bill of Rights be damned. This isn’t a Continuity of Liberty plan. This is a Discontinuation of Liberty plan.

The totality of this plan, the way every tactically-important aspect has been planned for seizure and “continuity”, is to me indicative of Totalitarianism. The state and those in power can’t even imagine why we wouldn’t want the government to control everything. The idea that we could survive just fine without a bloated Federal government doesn’t even occur to them.

You know, the United States of America was originally supposed to be an alliance amongst soveriegn states. If something bad happens in Washington D.C. that shouldn’t directly affect Arizona or Minnesota, except as far as Federal money is concerned (the main tool by which the Federal government has tightened its control over the states).

Realize this: We don’t need a strong Federal government! We have state and local governments to take care of things important to every American; things like roads, power, water, communications and other services.

And who’s planning all this stuff anyway? Surely a competent agency with a devotion to civil liberties, right?

Haha, just kidding. You know we’re fucked: It’s FEMA!

Under law, during a national emergency, FEMA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, would be empowered to seize private and public property, all forms of transport, and all food supplies. The agency could dispatch military commanders to run state and local governments, and it could order the arrest of citizens without a warrant, holding them without trial for as long as the acting government deems necessary.

Seriously.

Well, I guess I should look at the silver lining: FEMA will probably be just an incompetent at taking our liberties away as at helping those in need… But that’s probably optimistic on my part. The reason FEMA sucks at disaster relief is because it was never really set up to be a benevolent agency; the idea behind FEMA was always this: Seizing control of the nation during an emergency.

This is the real purpose of the War on Terror. It’s to get us used to the idea that the government needs to step in and take over when things get rough. What they don’t tell you is that they’re intentionally creating a culture of fear to make the poisonous medecine go down easier, and they’re probably working the other end of things too, creating the conditions for terrorists to thrive so they’ll launch attacks and trigger the COG plans that were the whole point of the War on Terror in the first place. So, like the War on Drugs, the WOT is reall just a War on Liberty.

All this brings us back to the Main Core database:

Another well-informed source—a former military operative regularly briefed by members of the intelligence community—says this particular program has roots going back at least to the 1980s and was set up with help from the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has been told that the program utilizes software that makes predictive judgments of targets’ behavior and tracks their circle of associations with “social network analysis” and artificial intelligence modeling tools.

“The more data you have on a particular target, the better [the software] can predict what the target will do, where the target will go, who it will turn to for help,” he says. “Main Core is the table of contents for all the illegal information that the U.S. government has [compiled] on specific targets.” An intelligence expert who has been briefed by high-level contacts in the Department of Homeland Se
curity confirms that a database of this sort exists, but adds that “it is less a mega-database than a way to search numerous other agency databases at the same time.”

The fact that there are 8 million of us in this database is nothing less than horrifying. If there were really 8 million terrorists in the USA we’d have people exploding with Baghdad-like regularity… but we don’t. Nope, it’s far more likely that the people in this database are those like myself who believe in liberty and democracy. We are the true threat a tyrannical government would face in an emergency because we would want the Constitution to be reinstated. The COGers won’t let that happen.

That is why we need to be monitored. All of us. All the time. For no reason other than we might be a threat some time in the future. Maybe. The pesky 4th amendment makes this so much more difficult than the government would like, but after years of merciless attack there’s not much left of it in the public consciousness or on the law books. Here’s a look at what they monitor:

The following information seems to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.

Basically, you are being monitored at all times. The NSA has been scooping up anything and everything on the internet for years. They already had phone conversations and financial transactions.

The privacy concerns are horrifying enough, but what’s worse is that the database is probably useless at preventing terrorism:

In any case, mass watch lists of domestic citizens may do nothing to make us safer from terrorism. Jeff Jonas, chief scientist at IBM, a world-renowned expert in data mining, contends that such efforts won’t prevent terrorist conspiracies. “Because there is so little historical terrorist event data,” Jonas tells Radar, “there is not enough volume to create precise predictions.”

But there is a lot of data on regular Americans who aren’t planning any attacks. And that data can be misused, and it probably will be at the first opportunity.

This story is too ironic for comment:

After Sony BMG supplied a pirated license code for Ideal Migration, one of PointDev’s products, the software maker was able to mandate a seizure of Sony BMG’s assets. The subsequent raid revealed that software was illegally installed on four of Sony BMG’s servers. The Business Software Alliance, however, believes that up to 47 percent of the software installed on Sony BMG’s computers could be pirated.

These are some pretty serious—not to mention ironic—allegations against a company that’s gone so far as to install malware on consumers’ computers in the name of preventing piracy.

Read the whole article.

I like to learn a thing or two every day, and today I learned a very interesting thing indeed.

Many people know that alcohol can be used as fuel for cars and farm equipment. It’s popular today in the guise of ethanol, but ethanol is largely a red herring. Ethanol is a ghost of what could have been had the Prohibition movement not killed alcohol fuel in its infancy.

Most people are not aware that Henry Ford’s Model T came in a variation that allowed the driver to switch the carburetor to run the engine on farm-made ethyl acohol [sic]. This allowed the operator to stop at local farms (equipped with stills) to refuel his/her car during long trips through the backcountry. After all- the gas station wasn’t exactly as ubiquitous in those days, as it is now. The Standard Oil Company and its industrialist-founder John D. Rockefeller wasn’t too happy with this arrangement. After all, Rockefeller’s company had a virtual monoploly on gasoline at this time in our nation’s development.

It kind of makes me wonder why we’re fighting an illegal war over oil in the desert, thousands of miles away, when we could probably retrofit our cars to run on domestically produced alcohol fuels (which does not have to be corn-based like ethanol).

Like William Randolph Hearst’s campaign against cannabis (marijuana), Rockefeller’s campaign against alcohol was ultimately successful… for him. Hearst and Rockefeller’s respective campaigns were horrible crimes perpetrated against America, the environment and truth, but both men were personally enriched through their scheming.

Since the late 1800′s there had been a growing Alcohol Temperance Movement developing among reformers. Rockefeller saw an opportunity in this. It is well-documented that local efforts to curb alcohol consumption were expanded to the national level when high-profile figures like Rockefeller joined in the anti-alcohol efforts. Was he so concerned with the social problems that abuse of alcohol was said to cause?

No… John D. Rockefeller was not concerned with family dynamics in the working classes. But he was influential in changing the goals of the movement from temperance to prohibition. As we know, his contribution to the outlawing of the production and sale of alcohol was successful. Of course, Rockefeller and the oil companies reaped tremendous profits as a result. Remember that the period covered by the 18th Amendment (1919-1933) coincided with the huge rise in the sale and operation of automobiles. America was on the move, and all of these cars were now operated solely on gasoline. By the time that the 21st Amendment was passed, ending the prohibition of alcohol, the standard was already set and worked completely in the favor of the Rockefeller family.

While this is an excellent example of a conspiracy against the American people that is both provable and successful, there is one problem with calling it a conspiracy: Conspiracies require illegal acts, and lying to the American people is not necessarily illegal. Unethical, yes, but unless you were personally slandered there’s no chance of legal recourse against such conspiratorial campaigns.

In the end, this is an example of how rich men can ride roughshod over the Constitution and the democratic process and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

Check out the above video. It’s just about the coolest thing I have ever seen. My initial thought was “this has got to be fake” but Zcorp is a real corporation and the process seems plausible, especially the way that simple models take several hours to “print” out.

I didn’t know such things were possible, but it looks like somebody found a way. I guess they took inkjet and laserjet technology and added a 3rd dimension to it (thus, the “Z”, as in the Z-axis), using some sort of plaster-like material to form the objects. I just think it’s so amazing that they got this crazy-ass idea to work. I bet it doesn’t come cheap, though.

What’s more, scientists are using similar technology to try and “print” organs (like, as in human organs) at the cellular level. Imagine a world where waiting for a liver transplant doesn’t involve waiting for a donor but waiting for the printer to finish. Of course, the error messages will get that much more annoying: “Out of BioInk. Please insert fresh flesh cartridge. Or you will die.”

I can only imagine that something this powerful would be insanely expensive. If this technology is going to come down to the masses we’re going to have to get the word out to the people who matter, the people who can really make a difference. Yes, that’s right: Pornographers. Once the porn industry gets ahold of this and starts making life-sized models in a big-ass printer the world will never quite the same.

Of course, you can already predict which organs will be the first to reach the mainstream. Just be careful what you ask for when you go to the printer.

AG Alberto Gonzales, wounded by his recent string of lies and spin before Congress, is proposing a crackdown on copyright infringement.

  • Permit more wiretaps for piracy investigations. Wiretaps would be authorized for investigations of Americans who are “attempting” to infringe copyrights.
  • Allow computers to be seized more readily. Specifically, property such as a PC “intended to be used in any manner” to commit a copyright crime would be subject to forfeiture, including civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture has become popular among police agencies in drug cases as a way to gain additional revenue, and is problematic and controversial.
  • Increase penalties for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention regulations. Currently criminal violations are currently punished by jail times of up to 10 years and fines of up to $1 million. The IPPA would add forfeiture penalties too.
  • Add penalties for “intended” copyright crimes. Currently certain copyright crimes require someone to commit the “distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies” valued at over $2,500. The IPPA would insert a new prohibition: actions that were “intended to consist of” distribution.

This is typical of the neocons. The wind is blowing against them, so they’ve redoubled their efforts rather than wondering if it’s a good idea to pursue the same goals so mindlessly.

She’s a witch! Burn the witch!!
It might also be an attempt to woo Hollywood Democrats by making them an offer they can’t refuse. Many Democrats (and Republicans too, of course) take large amounts of money from the MPAA and RIAA (collectively known as the mafiaa), which is fully in support of this legislation. One gets the idea they’d be in support of a bill that called for executions on the spot for suspected pirates. Piracy is much like terrorism that respect; it’s a word used almost exclusively to demonize a certain group, which gives power to those who are able to prosecute and persecute them. Basically, it’s a 21st century witch-hunt.

Instead of burning people at the stake we need to take a look at the laws on the books and find ways to make them less draconian in an age of easy file-sharing. The ability to share/copy files is one of the greatest uses of the internet and it demands a new way of thinking about copyright and intellectual property. The endless roadblocks we get from politicians and businessmen (including legislation like the DMCA, copy-protection like DRM and lawsuits like the RIAA’s campaign against music-sharing) only serve to slow down innovation and erect huge barriers of entry that make it hard for start-ups and small businesses to make a dent in the marketplace with a new idea.

This legislation (the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 [pdf]) might backfire if it is passed. It will push more and more people to use free and open source software in order to avoid potential liability. Even having a copy of Microsoft Word is dangerous if you don’t also have a receipt proving ownership.

The War on Common Sense
Add the War on Piracy to the growing list of ideological wars we’re fighting, including the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. If it seems odd to you that we’re waging “war” against a tactic (terrorism) and an inanimate object (why don’t they put the drugs in jail?), that means that you don’t have sufficient faith in our dear leaders.

I would argue that the Big 3 Unwinnable Ideological Wars constitute an undeclared War on Common Sense. The War on Common Sense is designed to make the general populace believe that up is down, day is night, freedom is slavery and George Bush is a genius.

Please notice the tremendous power that is derived from a war, even a fake one. There’s a reason why we don’t still wage the War on Poverty (well besides the fact that the ruling elite don’t give a fuck) — there’s not an easily-demonized enemy that the ruling class can disparage in order to increase their own power and prestige. If such an enemy exists, it’s almost certainly the ruling class itself. That’s not gonna work! It’s best to have a war on somebody who can’t really fight back.

So what’s next? Well, I’d guess we’ll have a War on Illegal Immigration, which will do nothing to stop the flood of immigrants coming into the country because it won’t go after the root problem: the economic disparity between the U.S. and Mexico. Like the War on Drugs, illegal immigration is a problem caused by the policies of the wealthy elite and far from suffering from this problem the elite actually make a shitload of money from it. The CIA runs drugs to pay for their illegal black ops and a whole parasitic class of DEA agents and police officers have grown fat arresting nonviolent drug offenders in order to continue the charade.

Similarly, the corporate elite have grown even more wealthy from illegal immigration. Instead of paying their workers a fair wage they employ illegal immigrants for a fraction of the salary a naturalized citizen would earn. This simultaneously impoverishes Americans who can’t find a job and enslaves illegal immigrants to a corrupt system that gives them just enough money to get by and not a penny more… all while making the CEOs of these corporations even richer by saving money on labor costs, which is reflected in their end of the year bonus. What a great scam!

The War on Terror is a money-making scheme as well. If you doubt this, I suggest you watch Iraq for Sale, a documentary about war profiteering in Iraq. The government sends incredible amounts of money to private contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton, then some of this money is funneled back to the very people who came up with the idea of going to war in Iraq in the form of campaign contributions (you know: legalized bribery). It’s an endless loop of corruption! Legal corruption!

The War on Piracy will have to evolve to a similarly corrupt state if it wishes to become self-perpetuating. Certainly, there is some money to be made by suing college students, but that’s chickenfeed. Clearly the RIAA is getting better at extortion so they don’t even have to go to trial in most cases, but I’m guessing there’s still a lot of overhead. If they really want to make a mint they should look into what Canada is doing. Making innocent people pay for “crimes” they might or might not commit is so much more fun and profitable. The copyright tax is applied to everybody and it’s institutionalized so it will be damn near impossible to get rid of. As bad as the RIAA is, they haven’t managed to achieve something that evil… yet.

How long before people wake up to the fact that these ideological wars are always ineffective at achieving their stated goals because the real goals are hidden — and they involve profiting off the situation, not solving it. I suppose it takes a certain amount of cynicism to believe your fellow man is capable of such two-faced corruption. But that’s the way it is, folks.

Maybe we should declare a moratorium on bullshit wars.

Taking part in a televised debate can be a make-it-or-break-it moment for any presidential candidate. But what if you’re not allowed to debate at all?

A diabolical Catch-22
As many of you are aware, not all candidates are allowed to debate in a given broadcast debate. This has been a problem for years. During the last presidential election both the Libertarian and Green party candidates were actually arrested trying to get into a debate they had been explicitly banned from!

Most candidates are excluded from the debate simply because the Media (big M) deems them minor/unknown/unpopular candidates. Well, of course they’re unknown; they’re not allowed to debate on national TV!! Bit of a Catch-22, wouldn’t you say?

A most insidious and foul Catch-22, I would say. Here’s why: We supposedly live in a democracy. It’s not really a democracy, it’s a republic (that’s a story for another day), but we like to pretend that the people really have a say. The hidden reality is that the bosses of the major television stations are making decisions that define the course of our nation, and they’re doing it from private boardrooms sequestered on the 100th floor of a skyscraper, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it because they aren’t elected or accountable to anybody but the company’s shareholders — ya know… other rich people.

Why should the CEO of CNN have such power? Why should he (and it’s almost certainly a he) determine who will and won’t be the next president of the United States before the people ever get a chance to vote in a primary?

Isn’t that censorship? Isn’t that more like an oligarchy than a democracy? Why do we let them get away with it?

Well, until recently most people didn’t even know about the problem. And we didn’t have the power to make a difference anyway. But things are changing.

Social Media saves the day
Social Media has finally offered regular people like you and me a voice. Sites like Digg, while not perfect, have enabled users to vote (you know, like a democracy) on what stories they think are worthy.

Two candidates, Ron Paul and Mike Gravel, owe most of their young supporters to the users of two social media sites: Digg and Reddit. Without those two sites neither candidate had a hope in hell of cracking the oligarchy and getting significant, objective coverage by the mainstream media (MSM).

Why does the media censor and ostracize certain candidates?
The candidates that find themselves locked out of televised debates tend to have a few things in common: They tend to be unpopular or unknown (but that is not always the case). Their campaigns are usually poorly funded (maybe because it’s hard to raise funds if you get no coverage) and sometimes they have views that are contrary to the political mainstream.

But sometimes the political mainstream is very much at odds with the desires of the voting public. A perfect example is the continued prohibition of cannabis (you know: “marijuana”), an issue on which the politicians are most definitely out of step with most of America, which favors medicinal pot by an astonishing 78% margin. Net candidate Mike Gravel recently came out in support of legalizing cannabis, which he says should be for sale in liquor stores. For a mainstream, “media-approved” candidate, such a position would be political suicide. Why?

Perhaps the media has been shaping our political landscape for such a long time nobody can even remember a time when they weren’t. Perhaps there are certain forces at work behind the scenes that determine what is considered politically acceptable and what is considered “extremist.”

It’s hard not to see the media as a controlling, suppressing force when they blatantly censor certain candidates. Ron Paul’s performance in the recent Republican debate at the Reagan Library was hailed by many observers, but when it came time to review the field and do some analysis ABC News made a curious omission: Ron Paul.

He wasn’t even available as an option for viewers to vote for. He wasn’t mentioned anywhere in David Chalain’s analysis. If not for a web uprising (involving Digg and Reddit) Ron Paul would probably still be excluded. When ABC finally backed down (after deleting a storm of comments asking, “Where’s Ron?”) Ron Paul ran away with a landslide victory in the online poll. The numbers are incredible (and no doubt skewed by a reaction to the censorship). Paul clearly has a massive groundswell of public support…. but in the corporate realm he has apparently earned only hand-waving dismissal and contempt.

What are we supposed to think of this? When there are 10 candidates at a debate and viewers are only allowed to vote for 9 of them is that not censorship? Is that not electioneering by a major corporation?

And when they back down and include the suppressed candidate and he wins the poll, how do they respond? They write an article in which they find people to scratch their heads and say, “who knows how this Ron Paul got popular. Must be sumthin’ to do with them internets.” Then they conclude he has no chance of winning and that this is just an exercise in teenage rebellion (or something) and wave their hands, content that they will never have to talk about him again.

Democratic candidate Mike Gravel has experienced the exact same treatment, but on the other side of the aisle. Gravel and Paul are both painted as “extremists” within their respective parties, so we’d can conclude that Paul is a right-wing extremist and Gravel is a left-wing extremist, right?

Not quite. Both candidates are populists, espousing “common sense” positions that many average Americans hold, but which are not endorsed by many mainstream politicians. Both are opposed to the Iraq War (and always were), both question Prohibition, both are wary of a pre-emptive strike against Iran and both are suspicious of the corporate media that excludes them from debates. In short, they have a lot in common with the public they are trying to represent.

Meanwhile, the Media’s favorite Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, goes around saying fascist shit like this:

We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.[ Interruption by someone in the audience. ]

You have free speech so I can be heard.

Is that what most Americans believe? Wasn’t America founded by overthrowing the “lawful authority” of the British? And this “Freedom is about authority” stuff sounds like a parody of George Orwell’s 1984… but Rudy was being serious! “You have free speech so I can be heard”?!! Saturday Night Live couldn’t parody Rudy any better than he does himself.

Which candidate is really an “extremist”? Which candidate is fundamentally out-of-line with the thinking of mainstream America? Well, maybe America really does want fascism instead of freedom, but the noise on the internet would seem to indicate otherwise.

Media Control and Manipulation
It seems like ancient history now, but it was actually the recent past when the mainstream media controlled every avenue of information and expression in this country. Nowadays we can talk about these things and send our message out to a wide audience, but as recently as 12 years ago it simply was not possible for a middle class person to route around the MSM. Suddenly most people can afford machines that are more powerful than a printing press, and allow common people to talk to each other without the Media’s filter. That’s why the Media is so upset about blogging and social media — they’re so used to having an absolute stranglehold over the conversation in this country.

The Media is used to controlling:

  • what information citizens receive
  • what information citizens are allowed to share with one another on the national stage
  • discussion and framing of issues in mainstream press
  • which issues receive national coverage (and which are ignored)
  • who gets to talk about the issues in the press (and who doesn’t)
  • how political actors are portrayed (villain or hero or neutral)

Social Media smashes that control grid and puts power in the hands of the many, rather than the few. This is a recent development so the full ramifications are not yet clear, but one thing we are finding out is that the Media has been using their incredible power to highlight certain candidates and suppress others.

The media has a paternalist streak that is really out of place in this day and age. The Washington Post thinks they know best and they aren’t afraid to tell you that they already know Gravel & Paul are not going to be elected, so why don’t we just eject them from the debates already?

The Democratic debate in South Carolina featured eight candidates, while 10 crammed into the GOP debate in California last Thursday. Voters trying to sort out their presidential choices aren’t helped by debates cluttered with the likes of Mike Gravel (hint: he’s a former senator from Alaska) on the Democratic side and Ron Paul (hint: he’s a libertarian House member from Texas) among the Republicans.

Thank goodness for our dear corporate masters. If they didn’t come in any set things straight we’d have to learn somebody’s name and what they stand for. MY GOD! The very idea exhausts me.

Sarcasm aside, this sort of thing has been going on for generations. That’s why an editorial like the one above doesn’t seem odd to them; this is standard operating procedure! The Media has identified the candidates they don’t like (the ones that aren’t easily bought/co-opted) and now they’ve decided to tell you, Dear Voter, than you needn’t concern yourself with these troublesome miscreants. Big Media will make things simple for you by excluding them.

…But wait a minute. Isn’t this a democracy? Don’t the voters decide who is voted off the proverbial island?

Well, now you know better. That is not the way America works. America is run by a ruling class of oligarchs no different than the ones who control Russia. The difference is the American media freely admits that oligarchs run Russia, but they would sooner give their mansions to the poor than admit America is the same. The exact reverse scenario plays out in Russia where the Russian (government/oligarch-controlled) media is free to disparage America and mock its corrupt institutions, while speaking ill of Russia is a good way to get your broadcasting license revoked.

The awful truth is that America has long been controlled by the rich, just like most nations throughout history. They have remade American society and government to suit themselves and they have grown very comfortable on their throne.

What is an Oligarchy?
Stephen Fleischman, himself a former mainstream media man, tackles the reality of the Oligarchy in an article for Counterpunch:

My dictionary says an oligarchy is a form of government where most or all political power effectively rests with a small segment of the society. As Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, puts it, “Oligarchies are often controlled by a few powerful families whose children are raised and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy, often at some sort of expense to those governed.” Does that sound like the administration of George W. Bush?

Why, yes it does! That must be a weird coincidence. … right?

I wish I could tell you more about the Oligarchy, but it operates in secret and prefers that most citizens do not even know it exists. In fact, by using the mainstream media the Oligarchy is able to program us so that even if we are provided with irrefutable evidence of the existence of said Oligarchy, many will still deny it and disbelieve it.

You’re probably wondering “How?!”

Have you ever been called a “conspiracy theorist?” Well, it tends to end any meaningful discussion of the facts and immediately puts the onus on the accused to defend himself from the charge leveled at him. The Media has a few “magic words” like this at their disposal. It’s amazing how effective they can be. Nobody wants to be called a conspiracy theorist… but isn’t that just an ad hominem attack? It’s no different than calling someone a poopy-head.

I suspect there may be more to it than that. In a future post I’ll look into how the Oligarchy exploits its control of the media for fun and profit.

What should we do about it?
At a certain point we in the ‘net community need to stand up and say, “To hell with you guys. We’re hosting our own debate and we’ll invite everybody!” We ju
st need to set up a website with a group of people dedicated to hosting the cyber-debate; we’ll get some buzz going and then what candidate will say “no” to a chance to get his/her message out to such an elusive audience?

The media can’t be trusted to define, design and delineate the ground rules for our national debate. Candidates are having trouble getting their message across because of the media’s filter. It’s time to cut out the middle man.

Digg.com pioneered social media and social bookmarking. They helped create a community who believed in the “wisdom of the crowd“, but today the crowd bit back.

After Digg started burying stories and deleting user accounts because of the HD-DVD crack controversy the Digg community hit back the only way they knew how: They took over Digg’s front page. As of 11:15 pm CST, every single story on Digg’s coveted front page has something to do with the suppressed number.

The hexadecimal number ( 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 ) unlocks the DRM copy-protection on HD-DVD discs. HD-DVD is the successor to DVD, which is already cracked. Blu-Ray is apparently affected as well since it also uses the AACS content-scrambling system that was designed to restrict who can watch the next-generation movie discs.

It was revealed that the HD-DVD group was a sponsor of Digg’s podcast. The blatant conflict of interest riled up the Digg community, which has taken the story to other social media sites such as Reddit and even the old standard, Slashdot, which has added digg-like features such as the Firehose.

It’s fair to say the internet community has been in open revolt all day, against a site that was until yesterday a shining example of how Web 2.0 businesses can work — trust your users. Digg has apparently forgotten that lesson and has sided with corporate interests and knee-jerk lawsuit-phobia instead of it’s own users — the people who (literally) make the site work. Unfortunately, it looks like Wikipedia is falling into the same trap (although it often freezes pages during periods of great controversy to prevent editing wars).

With the incredible storm of rebellion racing across the internet there doesn’t seem to be a way out of this mess for Digg. Far from blowing over, the brouhaha appears to be getting worse. Digg’s half-assed attempt at putting out this fire only fanned the flames. It appears Digg might have temporarily blocked new story submisisons, but the link appears to be working now.

Diggers are pointing out the fact that Reddit and Slashdot have not taken down stories concerning the suppressed number, nor have they deleted comments. Because of that it’s looking more and more like a situation that Digg and Digg alone created through heavy-handed policing (which is no doubt allowed by their EULA) and overreaction in general, all of which has led to the current PR shitstorm.

Far from suppressing the number Digg has managed to enshrine it for all time in the annals of internet history. It’s interesting that it happened on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. Hopefully today will long be remembered as the day when the internet community took a stand against the evil DMCA, the law which is at the root of the problem.

Let no one say the social media community is afraid to bite the hand that feeds.

Update (5-2-07): Digg has come to their senses and declared that it will no longer delete posts containing the suppressed number. That’s probably wise since they would’ve had to ban half their users and remove all the stories from their front page for several hours. A little late, but the users have spoken, and Digg finally decided to listen.


09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

It's just a string of numbers and letters, right?

A simple, almost random, collection of hexadecimal characters.

No harm could come from posting them, right?

I hope that's the case
.

Digg has censored this number and any story submissions or comments referencing it have been buried (well, they haven't found all the comments). Peoples' accounts have been deleted simply for submitting it. Amazing, isn't it?...

Makes you wonder why.

This is why.

In a nutshell: It's the processing key for HD-DVD movies, enabling users to crack the DRM and watch the movie on non-approved hardware (like Linux).

Please, spread this number around. The idea of censoring a number is so silly and totalitarian that I can't sit by in idle silence. We have to resist.

You hear that bell ringing in the distance? That’s the sound of DRM dying.

What is DRM and why is it dying? Well, DRM is the collection of anti-copying technologies that record companies and movie companies use to try and prevent their products from ending up on the P2P networks (like Limewire and eDonkey). DRM stands for either Digital Rights Management or Digital Restrictions Management, depending on who you ask (I say the latter).

It is my considered opinion that DRM sucks donkey balls. It impedes fair use and generally creates havoc. Files were meant to be copied, but DRM tries to erase this feature. DRM is even built into Windows Vista in an attempt to make DRM more effective since earlier designs have failed miserably.

That brings us to Apple and EMI. Their announcement today is the first crack in the industry facade. Previously, the industry titans were aligned and spoke in unison of DRM’s necessity. Now it has become clear that many in the industry recognize that DRM is a failure, a waste of money and (this doesn’t seem to matter to the RIAA) virulently anti-consumer.

Steve Jobs started things off with his broadside against DRM. He said:

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Right now an iPod can’t play music purchased from Microsoft’s stores, just as a Zune can’t play music purchased from Apple’s iTunes store. This is a ridiculous state of affairs since both companies went out of their way to make their songs incompatible — at the RIAA’s request. Every MP3 player can play unprotected MP3s, but once you start putting DRM on those songs it gets really sticky.

That’s why DRM must die. The only thing keeping our portable music players from being able to play any song out there is simple human greed. The technology is there, but new technology was erected to prevent sharing. Worst of all, it didn’t work. Every major DRM-scheme has been broken. Geeks like myself know how to avoid and circumvent it, but the average user probably doesn’t know what the hell DRM is — until it smacks’em in the face. This lamentable reality took a body-blow today.

EMI agreed to sell DRM-free music this morning, with Apple at their side. This is not an ideal scenario since the songs cost $1.29 instead of the customary 99 cents, but Apple sweetened the deal by bumping up the bitrate to 256 kbps — double the previous amount — granting audiophiles the extra sound quality they need. Many of the tricks to eliminate DRM (including simply burning the files to CD and re-ripping them) result in reduced sound quality. This solution manages to fix both problems and should satisfy most geek/audiophiles.

In short, today’s announcement was a long time coming (some may argue that it’s 4 or 5 years overdue), and it is just the beginning of DRM’s death. Even as I celebrate DRM’s passing new anti-consumer technologies are being developed by the MPAA and others in the music industry. Indeed, the 3 other major labels are still heavily invested in DRM and committed to using it as a bulwark against the internet age.

So maybe I’m digging DRM’s grave while it’s still on the operating table, but I’m not the only one who wishes it would go away. We can’t sit down and start slacking now. We need to keep letting these huge companies know that they can’t control our content after they sell it to us. They want to have their cake and eat it, too — and that just ain’t happening.

Burn in hell, DRM!