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Tag Archives: internet
Posted: September 25, 2016 at 7:19 am
What is Tor?
Tor is a volunteer-run service that provides both privacy and anonymity online by masking who you are and where you are connecting. The service also protects you from the Tor network itself.
For people who might need occasional anonymity and privacy when accessing websites, Tor Browser provides a quick and easy way to use the Tor network.
The easiest way to use the Tor network is to use the Tor Browser Bundle, which combines a web browser, the Tor software, and other helpful software that will give you a way of more securely accessing the web.
The Tor Browser works just like other web browsers, except that it sends your communications through Tor, making it harder for people who are monitoring you to know exactly what you’re doing online, and harder for people monitoring the sites you use to know where you’re connecting from. Keep in mind that only activities you do inside of Tor Browser itself will be anonymized. Having Tor Browser installed on your computer does not make things you do on the same computer using other software (such as your regular web browser) anonymous.
Open a browser like Mozilla Firefox or Safari and type: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en in the URL bar. If you are using a search engine to look for the Tor Browser Bundle, make sure that the URL is correct.
Click the big purple download button to get the installation program for Tor Browser Bundle.
The website will have detected your operating system and you’ll get the correct file for OS X. If this fails you can click the link to the side of the purple button to download to the correct version.
If you are using Safari, the Tor Browser Bundle will start to download. In Firefox you will be asked whether you wish to open or save the file. It is always best to save the file, so click the Save button. This example shows Tor Browser Bundle Version 4.0.8, which was the most current version at the time this guide was published. There may be a more recent version available for download by the time you read this.
After the download is complete, you might get an option to open the folder where the file was downloaded to. The default location is the Downloads folder. Double-click on the file Torbrowser-4.0.8-osx32_en-US.dmg
A window will open asking you to install Tor Browser Bundle by dragging it to your applications folder. You may do so now.
Tor Browser is now installed in your applications folder.
To open Tor Browser for the first time, locate it in the finder or in launchpad on newer versions of OS X.
After clicking on the Tor Browser icon, a window will open with a warning about the origin of the software. You should always take these warnings seriously and make sure you trust the software you want to install and that you got an authentic copy from the official site over a secure connection. Since you know what you want, and you know where to get the software, and the download was from the Tor Project’s secure HTTPS site, click Open.
The first time Tor Browser starts, you’ll get a window that allows you to modify some settings if necessary. You might have to come back and change some configuration settings, but go ahead and connect to the Tor network by clicking the Connect button.
After clicking Connect, a new window will open with a green bar that will get longer as the Tor software starts up.
The first time Tor Browser starts it might take a bit longer than usual; within a few minutes Tor Browser should be ready and a web browser will open congratulating you.
You can verify that you are connected to the Tor network by visiting check.torproject.org. If you are connected the website it will say Congratulations. This browser is configured to use Tor.
Browsing with Tor is different in some ways from the normal browsing experience. We recommended reading the tipsfor properly browsing with Tor and retaining your anonymity.
You are now ready to browse the internet anonymously with Tor.
How to: Use Tor on Mac OS X | Surveillance Self-Defense
Posted: at 7:19 am
Updated: July 1st at 6:30PM to add information about traffic correlation attacks.
We posted last week about the Tor Challengeand why everyone should use Tor. Since we started our Tor Challenge two weeks ago we have signed up over 1000 new Tor relays. But it appears that there are still some popular misconceptions about Tor. We would like to take this opportunity to dispel some of these common myths and misconceptions.
One of the many things that we learned from the NSA leaks is that Tor still works. According to the NSA “Tor Stinks”slides revealed by the Guardian last year, the NSA is still not able to completely circumvent the anonymity provided by Tor. They have been able to compromise certain Tor users in specific situations. Historically this has been done by finding an exploit for the Tor Browser Bundle or by exploiting a user that has misconfigured Tor. The FBIpossibly in conjunction with the NSAwas able to find one serious exploit for Firefox that lead to the takedown of Freedom Hosting and exploit of its users. Firefox was patched quickly, and no major exploits for Firefox affecting Tor users appear to have been foundsince. As the Tor developers noted in 2004, if someone is actively monitoring both your network traffic and the network traffic of the Internet service you’re communicating with, Tor can’t prevent them from deducing that you’re talking to that service. Its design does assume that at least one side of the connection isn’t being monitored by whomever you’re trying to stay private from.
We can conclude from this that Tor has probably not been broken at a cryptographic level. The best attacks on Tor are side-channel attacks on browser bugs or user misconfiguration and traffic correlation attacks.
One of the most common misconceptions we hear is that Tor is only used by criminals and pedophiles. This is simply not true! There are many types of people that use Tor. Activists use it to circumvent censorship and provide anonymity. The military uses it for secure communications and planning. Families use Tor to protect their children and preserve their privacy. Journalists use it to do research on stories and communicate securely with sources. The Tor Project website has an excellent explanation of why Tor doesn’t help criminals very much. To paraphrase: Criminals can already do bad things since they will break laws they have much better tools at their disposal than what Tor offers, such as botnets made with malware, stolen devices, identity theft, etc. In fact using Tor may help you protect yourself against some of these tactics that criminals use such as identity theft or online stalking.
You are not helping criminals by using Tor any more than you are helping criminals by using the Internet.
Another common opinion that we hear is that Tor was created by the military and so it must have a military backdoor. There is no backdoor in the Tor software. It is true that initial development of Tor was funded by the US Navy. However, it has been audited by several very smart cryptographers and security professionals who have confirmed that there is no backdoor. Tor is open source, so any programmer can take a look at the code and verify that there is nothing fishy going on. It is worked on by a team of activists who are extremely dedicated to privacy and anonymity.
As far as EFF is aware, no one in the US has been sued or prosecuted for running a Tor relay. Furthermore we do not believe that running a Tor relay is illegal under US law. This is, of course, no guarantee that you won’t be contacted by law enforcement, especially if you are running an exit relay. However EFF believes this fact so strongly that we are running our own Tor relay. You can find out more about the legalities of running a Tor relay at the Tor Challenge Legal FAQ. However, if you are going to use Tor for criminal activity (which the Tor project asks that you not do) you can create more problems for yourself if you get prosecuted. Criminal activity also brings more scrutiny on to Tor making it worse for the public as a whole.
You might think that because it is privacy software Tor must be hard to use. This is simply not true. The easiest way to get started with Tor is to download the Tor Browser Bundle. This is a browser that comes pre-configured to use Tor in a secure manner. It is easy to use and is all you need to start browsing with Tor. Another easy way to use Tor is with Tails. Tails is a live operating system that runs on a DVD or thumb drive. Tails routes your entire Internet connection through Tor. And when you shut it down, Tails forgets everything that was done while it was running.
It is true that Tor is slower than a regular Internet connection. However, the Tor developers have been doing a lot of hard work to make the Tor network faster. And it is faster today than ever before. One of the best things that can be done to speed up the Tor network is to create more relays. If you would like to contribute to making the Tor network faster, you can check out our Tor Challenge
Tor is not perfect; you can destroy your own anonymity with Tor if you use it incorrectly. That’s why it is important to always use Tor Browser Bundle or Tails and make sure that you keep your software up to date. It is also important to remember that if you log into services like Google and Facebook over Tor, those services will still be able to see your communications within their systems. Additionally Tor users should be mindful of the fact that an adversary who can see both sides of their connection may be able to perform a statistical analysis to confirm that the traffic belongs to you.
Tor is some of the strongest anonymity software that exists. We think that it is important to dispel misconceptions about it so that the public can be more informed and confident in its usefulness. There are many great reasons to use Tor and very few reasons not to. So get started with Tor, and take back your privacy online.
Posted: September 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm
by Ben Best
Robert Ettinger is widely regarded as the “father of cryonics” (although he often said that he would rather be the grandson). Mr.Ettinger earned a Purple Heart in World WarII as a result of injury to his leg by an artillery shell. He subsequently became a college physics teacher after earning two Master’s Degrees from Wayne State University. (He has often been erroneously called “Doctor” and “Professor”.) Robert Ettinger was cryopreserved at the Cryonics Institute in July2011 at the age of92. See The Cryonics Institute’s 106th Patient Robert Ettinger for details.
A lifelong science fiction buff, Ettinger conceived the idea of cryonics upon reading a story called The Jameson Satellite in the July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. In 1948 Ettinger published a short story having a cryonics theme titled The Pentultimate Trump. In 1962 he self-published THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY, a non-fictional book explaining in detail the methods and rationale for cryonics. He mailed the book to 200 people listed in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA. Also in 1962, Evan Cooper independently self-published IMMORTALITY:PHYSICALLY, SCIENTIFICALLY, NOW, which is also a book advocating cryonics. In 1964 Isaac Asimov assured Doubleday that (although socially undesirable, in his opinion) cryonics is based on reasonable scientific assumptions. This allowed THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY to be printed and distributed by a major publisher. The word “cryonics” had not been invented yet, but the concept was clearly established.
In December, 1963 Evan Cooper founded the world’s first cryonics organization, the Life Extension Society, intended to create a network of cryonics groups throughout the world. Cooper eventually became discouraged, however, and he dropped his cryonics-promoting activities to pursue his interest in sailing. His life was ended by being lost at sea. Cooper’s networking had not been in vain, however, because people who had become acquainted through his efforts formed cryonics organizations in northern and southern California as well as in New York.
In 1965 a New York industrial designer named Karl Werner coined the word “cryonics”. That same year Saul Kent, Curtis Henderson and Werner founded the Cryonics Society of New York. Werner soon drifted away from cryonics and became involved in Scientology, but Kent and Henderson remained devoted to cryonics. In 1966 the Cryonics Society of Michigan and the Cryonics Society of California were founded. Unlike the other two organizations, the Cryonics Society of Michigan was an educational and social group which had no intention to actually cryopreserve people and it exists today under the name Immortalist Society.
A TV repairman named Robert Nelson was the driving force behind the Cryonics Society of California. On January12, 1967 Nelson froze a psychology professor named James Bedford. Bedford was injected with multiple shots of DMSO, and a thumper was applied in an attempt to circulate the DMSO with chest compressions. Nelson recounted the story in his book WE FROZE THE FIRST MAN. Bedford’s wife and son took Bedford’s body from Nelson after six days and the family kept Dr.Bedford in cryogenic care until 1982 when he was transferred to Alcor. Of 17cryonics patients cryopreserved in the period between 1967 and 1973, only Bedford remains in liquid nitrogen.
In 1974 Curtis Henderson, who had been maintaining three cryonics patients for the Cryonics Society of New York, was told by the New York Department of Public Health that he must close down his cryonics facility immediately or be fined $1,000per day. The three cryonics patients were returned to their families.
In 1979 an attorney for relatives of one of the Cryonics Society of California patients led journalists to the Chatsworth, California cemetery where they entered the vault where the patients were being stored. None of the nine “cryonics patients” were being maintained in liquid nitrogen, and all were badly decomposed. Nelson and the funeral director in charge were both sued. The funeral director could pay (through his liability insurance), but Nelson had no money. Nelson had taken most of the patients as charity cases or on a “pay-as-you-go” basis where payments had not been continued. The Chatsworth Disaster is the greatest catastrophe in the history of cryonics.
In 1969 the Bay Area Cryonics Society(BACS) was founded by two physicians, with the assistance of others, notably Edgar Swank. BACS (which later changed its name to the American Cryonics Society) is now the cryonics organization with the longest continuous history in offering cryonics services. In 1972 Trans Time was founded as a for-profit perfusion service-provider for BACS. Both BACS and Alcor intended to store patients in New York, but in 1974 Trans Time was forced to create its own cryostorage facility due to the closure of the storage facility in New York. Until the 1980s all BACS and Alcor patients were stored in liquid nitrogen at Trans Time.
In 1977 Trans Time was contacted by a UCLA cardiothoracic surgeon and medical researcher named Jerry Leaf, who responded to an advertisement Trans Time had placed in REASON magazine. In 1978 Leaf created a company called Cryovita devoted to doing cryonics research and to providing perfusion services for both Alcor and Trans Time.
By the 1980s acrimony between Trans Time and BACS caused the organizations to disassociate. BACS was renamed the American Cryonics Society (ACS) in 1985. Jim Yount (who joined BACS in 1972 and became a Governor two years later) and Edgar Swank have been the principal activists in ACS into the 21st century.
For 26 years from the time of its inception until 1998 the President of Trans Time was Art Quaife. The name “Trans Time” was inspired by Trans World Airlines, which was then a very prominent airline. Also active in Trans Time was Paul Segall, a man who had been an active member of the Cryonics Society of New York. Segall obtained a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, studying the life-extending effects of tryptophan deprivation. He wrote a book on life extension (which included a section on cryonics) entitled LIVING LONGER, GROWING YOUNGER. He founded a BioTech company called BioTime, which sells blood replacement products. In 2003 Segall deanimated due to an aortic hemorrhage. He was straight-frozen because his Trans Time associates didn’t think he could be perfused. The only other cryonics patients at Trans Time are two brains, which includes the brain of Luna Wilson, the murdered teenage daughter of Robert Anton Wilson. When Michael West (who is on the Alcor Scientific Advisory Board) became BioTime CEO, the company shifted its emphasis to stem cells.
Aside from Trans Time, the other four cryonics organizations in the world which are storing human patients in liquid nitrogen are the Alcor Life Extension Foundation (founded in 1972 by Fred and Linda Chamberlain), the Cryonics Institute (founded in 1976 by Robert Ettinger), KrioRus (located near Moscow in Russia, founded in 2006), and Oregon Cryonics (incorporated by former CI Director Jordan Sparks, and beginning service in May 2014).
Fred and Linda Chamberlain had been extremely active in the Cryonics Society of California until 1971 when they became distrustful of Robert Nelson because of (among other reasons) Nelson’s refusal to allow them to see where the organization’s patients were being stored. In 1972 the Chamberlains founded Alcor, named after a star in the Big Dipper used in ancient times as a test of visual acuity. Alcor’s first cryonics patient was Fred Chamberlain’s father who, in 1976, became the world’s first “neuro” (head-only) cryonics patient. (Two-thirds of Alcor patients are currently “neuros”). Trans Time provided cryostorage for Alcor until Alcor acquired its own storage capability in 1982.
After 1976 the Chamberlains encouraged others to run Alcor, beginning with a Los Angeles physician, who became Alcor President. The Chamberlains moved to Lake Tahoe, Nevada where they engaged in rental as well as property management and held annual Life Extension Festivals until 1986. They had to pay hefty legal fees to avoid being dragged into the Chatsworth lawsuits, a fact that increased their dislike of Robert Nelson. In 1997 they returned to Alcor when Fred became President and Linda was placed in charge of delivering cryonics service. Fred and Linda started two companies (Cells4Life and BioTransport) associated with Alcor, assuming responsibility for all unsecured debt of those companies. Financial disaster and an acrimonious dispute with Alcor management led to Fred and Linda leaving Alcor in 2001, filing for bankruptcy and temporarily joining the Cryonics Institute. They returned to Alcor in 2011, and Fred became an Alcor patient in 2012.
Saul Kent, one of the founders of the Cryonics Society of New York, became one of Alcor’s strongest supporters. He was a close associate of Pearson & Shaw, authors of the 1982 best-selling book LIFE EXTENSION. Pearson & Shaw were flooded with mail as a result of their many media appearances, and they gave the mail to Saul Kent. Kent used that mail to create a mailing list for a new mail-order business he created for selling supplements: the Life Extension Foundation(LEF). Millions of dollars earned from LEF have not only helped build Alcor, but have created and supported a company doing cryobiological research (21st Century Medicine), a company doing anti-ischemia research (Critical Care Research), and a company developing the means to apply the research to standby and transport cryonics procedures (Suspended Animation, Inc).
In December1987 Kent brought his terminally ill mother (Dora Kent) into the Alcor facility where she deanimated. The body (without the head) was given to the local coroner (Dora Kent was a “neuro”). The coroner issued a death certificate which gave death as due to natural causes. Barbiturate had been given to Dora Kent after legal death to slow brain metabolism. The coroner’s office did not understand that circulation was artificially restarted after legal death, which distributed the barbiturate throughout the body.
After the autopsy, the coroner’s office changed the cause of death on the death certificate to homicide. In January1988 Alcor was raided by coroner’s deputies, a SWAT team, and UCLA police. The Alcor staff was taken to the police station in handcuffs and the Alcor facility was ransacked, with computers and records being seized. The coroner’s office wanted to seize Dora Kent’s head for autopsy, but the head had been removed from the Alcor facility and taken to a location that was never disclosed. Alcor later sued for false arrest and for illegal seizures, winning both court cases. (See Dora Kent: Questions and Answers)
Growth in Alcor membership was fairly slow and linear until the mid-1980s, following which there was a sharp increase in growth. Ironically, publicity surrounding the Dora Kent case is often cited as one of the reasons for the growth acceleration. Another reason often cited is the 1986 publication of ENGINES OF CREATION, a seminal book about nanotechnology which contained an entire chapter devoted to cryonics (the possibility that nanomachines could repair freezing damage). Hypothermic dog experiments associated with cryonics were also publicized in the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s Alcor Member Dick Clair who was dying of AIDS fought in court for the legal right to practice cryonics in California (a battle that was ultimately won). But the Cryonics Institute did not experience a growth spurt until the advent of the internet in the 1990s. The American Cryonics Society does not publish membership statistics.
Robert Ettinger, Saul Kent and Mike Darwin are arguably the three individuals who had the most powerful impact on the early history of cryonics. Having experimented with the effects of cold on organisms from the time he was a child, Darwin learned of cryonics at the Indiana State Science Fair in 1968. He was able to spend summers at the Cryonics Society of New York (living with Curtis Henderson). Darwin was given the responsibility of perfusing cryonics patients at the age of 17 in recognition of his technical skills.
Born “Michael Federowicz”, Mike chose to use his high school nickname “Darwin” as a cryonics surname when he began his career as a kidney dialysis technician. He had been given his nickname as a result of being known at school for arguing for evolution, against creationism. He is widely known in cryonics as “Mike Darwin”, although his legal surname remains Federowicz.
Not long after Alcor was founded, Darwin moved to California at the invitation of Fred and Linda Chamberlain. He spent a year as the world’s first full-time dedicated cryonics researcher until funding ran out. Returning to Indiana, Darwin (along with Steve Bridge) created a new cryonics organization that accumulated considerable equipment and technical capability.
In 1981 Darwin moved back to California, largely because of his desire to work with Jerry Leaf. In 1982 the Indiana organization merged with Alcor, and in 1983 Darwin was made President of Alcor. In California Darwin, Leaf and biochemist Hugh Hixon (who has considerable engineering skill) developed a blood substitute capable of sustaining life in dogs for at least 4hours at or below 9C . Leaf and Darwin had some nasty confrontations with members of the Society for Cryobiology over that organization’s 1985 refusal to publish their research. The Society for Cryobiology adopted a bylaw that prohibited cryonicists from belonging to the organization. Mike Darwin later wrote a summary of the conflicts between cryonicists and cryobiologists under the title Cold War. Similar experiments were done by Paul Segall and his associates, which generated a great deal of favorable media exposure for cryonics.
In 1988 Carlos Mondragon replaced Mike Darwin as Alcor President because Mondragon proved to be more capable of handling the stresses of the Dora Kent case. Darwin had vast medical knowledge (especially as it applies to cryonics), and possessed exceptional technical skills. He was a prolific and lucid writer much of the material in the Alcor website library was written by Mike Darwin. Darwin worked as Alcor’s Research Director from 1988 to 1992, during which time he developed a Transport Technician course in which he trained Alcor Members in the technical skills required to deliver the initial phases of cryonics service.
For undisclosed reasons, Darwin left Alcor in 1992, much to the distress of many Alcor Members who regarded Mike Darwin as by far the person in the world most capable of delivering competent cryonics technical service. In 1993 a new cryonics organization called CryoCare Foundation was created, largely so that people could benefit from Darwin’s technical skills. Another strongly disputed matter was the proposed move of Alcor from California to Arizona (implemented in February 1994).
About50 Alcor Members left Alcor to join and form CryoCare. Darwin delivered standby, transport and perfusion services as a subcontractor to CryoCare and the American Cryonics Society (ACS). Cryostorage services were contracted to CryoCare and ACS by Paul Wakfer. Darwin’s company was called BioPreservation and Wakfer’s company was called CryoSpan. Eventually, serious personality conflicts developed between Darwin and Wakfer. In 1999 Darwin stopped providing service to CryoCare and Wakfer turned CryoSpan over to Saul Kent. Kent then refused to accept additional cryonics patients at CryoSpan, and was determined to end CryoSpan in a way that would not harm the cryonics patients being stored there.
I (Ben Best) had been CryoCare Secretary, and became President of CryoCare in 1999 in an attempt to arrange alternate service providers for CryoCare. The Cryonics Institute agreed to provide cryostorage. Various contractors were found to provide the other services, but eventually CryoCare could not be sustained. In 2003 I became President of the Cryonics Institute. I assisted with the moving of CryoSpan’s two CryoCare patients to Alcor and CryoSpan’s ten ACS patients to the Cryonics Institute. In 2012 I resigned as President of the Cryonics Institute, and began working for the Life Extension Foundation. Dennis Kowalski became the new CI President.
Mike Darwin continued to work as a researcher at Saul Kent’s company Critical Care Research (CCR) until 2001. Darwin’s most notable accomplishment at CCR was his role in developing methods to sustain dogs without neurological damage following 17minutes of warm ischemia. Undisclosed conflicts with CCR management caused Darwin to leave CCR in 2001. He worked briefly with Alcor and Suspended Animation, and later did consulting work for the Cryonics Institute. But for the most part Darwin has been distanced from cryonics organizations.
The history of the Cryonics Institute (CI) has been less tumultuous than that of Alcor. CI has had primarily two Presidents: Robert Ettinger from April1976 to September2003, and Ben Best to June2012. (Andrea Foote was briefly President in 1994, but soon became ill with ovarian cancer.) Robert Ettinger decided to build fiberglass cryostats rather than buy dewars because CI’s Detroit facility was too small for dewars. Robert Ettinger’s mother became the first patient of the Cryonics Institute when she deanimated in 1977. She was placed in dry ice for about ten years until CI began using liquid nitrogen in 1987 (the same year that Robert Ettinger’s first wife became CI’s second patient). In 1994 CI acquired the Erfurt-Runkel Building in Clinton Township (a suburb northeast of Detroit) for about $300,000. This is roughly the same amount of money as had been bequeathed to CI by CI Member Jack Erfurt (who had deanimated in 1992). Erfurt’s wife (Andrea Foote who deanimated in 1995) also bequeathed $300,000 to CI. Andy Zawacki, nephew of Connie Ettinger (wife of Robert Ettinger’s son David), built a ten-person cryostat in the new facility. Fourteen patients were moved from the old Detroit facility to the new Cryonics Institute facility. Andy Zawacki is a man of many talents. He has been a CI employee since January1985 (when he was 19years old), handling office work (mostly Member sign-ups and contracts), building maintenance and equipment fabrication, but also patient perfusion and cool-down.
Throughout most of the history of cryonics glycerol has been the cryoprotectant used to perfuse cryonics patients. Glycerol reduces, but does not eliminate, ice formation. In the late 1990s research conducted at 21st Century Medicine and at UCLA under the direction of 21st Century Medicine confirmed that ice formation in brain tissue could be completely eliminated by a judiciously chosen vitrification mixture of cryoprotectants. In 2001 Alcor began vitrification perfusion of cryonics patients with a cryoprotectant mixture called B2C, and not long thereafter adopted a better mixture called M22. At the Cryonics Institute a vitrification mixture called CI-VM-1 was developed by CI staff cryobiologist Dr.Yuri Pichugin (who was employed at CI from 2001 to 2007). The first CI cryonics patient was vitrified in 2005.
In 2002 Alcor cryopreserved baseball legend Ted Williams. Two of the Williams children attested that their father wanted to be cryopreserved, but a third child protested bitterly. Journalists at Sports Illustrated wrote a sensationalistic expose of Alcor based on information supplied to them by Alcor employee Larry Johnson, who had surreptitiously tape-recorded many conversations in the facility. The ensuing media circus led to some nasty moves by politicians to incapacitate cryonics organizations. In Arizona, state representative Bob Stump attempted to put Alcor under the control of the Funeral Board. The Arizona Funeral Board Director told the New York Times “These companies need to be regulated or deregulated out of business”. Alcor fought hard, and in 2004 the legislation was withdrawn. Alcor hired a full-time lobbyist to watch after their interests in the Arizona legislature. Although the Cryonics Institute had not been involved in the Ted Williams case, the State of Michigan placed the organization under a “Cease and Desist” order for six months, ultimately classifying and regulating the Cryonics Institute as a cemetery in 2004. In the spirit of de-regulation, the new Republican Michigan government removed the cemetary designation for CI in 2012.
In 2002 Suspended Animation, Inc(SA) was created to do research on improved delivery of cryonics services, and to provide those services to other cryonics organizations. In 2003 SA perfused a cryonics patient for the American Cryonics Society, and the patient was stored at the Cryonics Institute. Alcor has long offered standby and transport services to its Members as an integral part of Membership, but the Cryonics Institute (CI) had not done so. In 2005 the CI Board of Directors approved contracts with SA which would allow CI Members the option of receiving SA standby and transport if they so chose. Several years later, all Alcor standby cases in the continental United States outside of Arizona were handled by SA, and SA COO Catherine Baldwin became an Alcor Director. Alcor has continued to do standby and stabilization in Arizona. Any Alcor Member who is diagnosed as being terminally ill with a prognosis of less than 90 days of life will be reimbursed $10,000 for moving to a hospice in the Phoenix, Arizona area. By 2014, over160 of the roughly 550CI Members who had arrangements for cryopreservation services from CI had opted to also have Standby, Stabilization and Transport(SST) from SA.
A Norwegian ACS Member named Trygve Bauge brought his deceased grandfather to the United States and stored the body at Trans Time from 1990 to 1993. Bauge then transported his grandfather to Nederland, Colorado in dry ice with the intention of starting his own cryonics company. But Bauge was deported back to Norway and the story of his grandfather created a media circus. The town outlawed cryonics, but had to “grandfather the grandfather” who has remained there on dry ice. After a “cooling-off period” locals turned the publicity to their advantage by creating an annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival which features coffin races, snow sculptures, etc. Many cryonicists insist that dry ice is not cold enough for long-term cryopreservation and that the Nederland festival is negative publicity for cryonics.
After several years of management turnover at Alcor, money was donated to find a lasting President. In January 2011, Max More was selected as the new President and CEO of Alcor. In July 2011 Robert Ettinger was cryopreseved at CI after a standby organized by his son and daughter-in-law. In July 2012 Ben Best ended his 9-year service as CI President and CEO by going to work for the Life Extension Foundation as Director of Research Oversight. The Life Extension Foundation is the major source of cryonics-related research, including funding for 21st Century Medicine, Suspended Animation, Inc., and Advanced Neural Biosciences, and funds many anti-aging research projects as well. Dennis Kowalski became the new CI President. Ben Best retired as CI Director in September 2014.
In January 2011 CI shipped its vitrification solution (CI-VM-1) to the United Kingdom so that European cryonics patients could be vitrified before shipping in dry ice to the United States. This procedure was applied to the wife of UK cryonicist Alan Sinclair in May 2013. In the summer of 2014 Alcor began offering this “field vitrication” service to its members in Canada and overseas.
In 2006 the first cryonics organization to offer cryonics services outside of the United States was created in Russia. KrioRus has a facility in a Moscow suburb where many cryonics patients are being stored in liquid nitrogen. In 2014 Oregon Cryonics (created by former CI Director Jordan Sparks) began providing neuro(head or brain)-only services at low cost for cryopreservation and chemical preservation.
(For details on the current status of the different cryonics organizations, see Comparing Procedures and Policies.)
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Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm
The following is a script from The Libertarian Ticket which aired on Sept. 18, 2016. Steve Kroft is the correspondent. L. Franklin Devine and Maria Gavrilovic, producers.
When you look at your presidential ballot in November, somewhere below the Democratic and Republican lines you will find the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, but for many voters this year they might as well read none of the above.
In a race that features the most unpopular Democratic and Republican party choices in memory, they are the two alternatives to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and for the first time in 16 years third parties could well determine the outcome of the election. Right now, of the two alternatives, the Libertarian Party has the most support and is the only one on the ballot in all 50 states. The ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld is currently favored by about eight or nine percent of the electorate even though 70 percent of the voters dont know who Johnson and Weld are. We thought it was time to give you a primer.
Libertarian presidential candidateGary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld
If you dont recognize them, the tall guy on the left is vice presidential candidate Bill Weld. The shorter one is former New Mexico governor and presidential nominee Gary Johnson. Right now they can stroll through a park unmolested by the press and the public. Their rallies usually attract only a few hundred people but they can still make some noise and are not without enthusiastic support.
[Rally: Gary Gary Gary. Bill Weld: The next president of the United States, Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson: You rock. You rock.]
Steve Kroft: Why are you doing this?
Gary Johnson: I think that we would do a really good job.
Mitt Romney wished for it, so Steve Kroft asked-why isn’t Bill Weld at the top of the Libertarian ticket?
Bill Weld: I feel its something of a patriotic duty given how the election season is unfolding. We feel a responsibility to offer the country sort of a sober, sensible alternative.
[Gary Johnson: Has life in this country ever been better?]
They are no political neophytes. Each one won two terms as Republican governors in heavily Democratic states.
On 60 Minutes in 2000, Gary Johnson explained his unconventional thoughts on drug policy –and why he thought using marijuana was “cool”
Steve Kroft: Do you really think you have a chance to win?
Gary Johnson: Neither of us would be doing this if we didnt think that that was a possibility.
Steve Kroft: Let me be a little skeptical here. I mean, right now the people–
Bill Weld: We expected no less.
Steve Kroft: Right. Right. Yeah. The people that do this for a living, to try and do polling, and public opinion surveys and make odds– some of the most prominent experts put your chances at about less than one percent, less than one percent.
The Libertarian candidates have a plan that embraces immigration-so what do they think of Donald Trump’s plan?
Gary Johnson: I think that Donald Trump started out that way. And I wouldve given him that– I wouldve given him that percentage at the very start. But as crazy as this election season is, I think it could be the ultimate crazy and that is is that the two of us actually do get elected.
Steve Kroft: Right. And how does that happen?
Gary Johnson: Well presidential debates– a third alternative, 70 percent of America doesnt even know who we are. And yet we exist. I think theres a lot of opportunity here. And theres still a lot of time left.
[Bill Weld: –we are in a way breaking a glass ceiling–]
Theyre hoping to get a place in at least one of the presidential debates but right now they dont meet the threshold of 15 percent in the national polls.
Steve Kroft: Are you running against a two-party system?
Gary Johnson: Absolutely.
Bill Weld: Absolutely.
Gary Johnson: And Iand I do believe this is going to be the demise of the Republican Party.
Steve Kroft: So you see yourself as a protest vote?
Gary Johnson: No way. I think, a conciliatory vote. Look this is how we wanna come together.
Bill Weld: It happens, Steve, if people do think for themselves and focus on the choices available because the polling shows that nationally people do tend to agree with our approach. As Gary sometimes says, youre a libertarian. You just dont know it yet.
[Libertarian Party Convention: Lets bring back liberty.]
Gary Johnson tells Steve Kroft why he believes marijuana use shouldn’t be a crime-and why changing policy is a matter of when, not if
The Libertarians were founded 45 years ago as an off-shoot of the Republicans. They tend to be fiscally conservative and social liberals who want the federal government out of their pockets, out of their schools, out of their computers, and out of their bedrooms.
[Supporter: So the hats are 25.]
They support the right to bear arms, even assault weapons. But they also believe women have the right to an abortion, gays have the right to marry, and adults the right to smoke pot.
[Supporter: Anybody looking for a bumper sticker?]
They oppose almost every federal program not mentioned specifically in the Constitution, including Social Security and Medicare and the regulatory agencies.
The Libertarian candidate tells Steve Kroft how he plans to combat the terrorist organization, though he thinks there’s a bigger threat
Steve Kroft: Youre making yourself seem like mainstream candidates. But in fact, you know, your positions and the positions of the party arent mainstream, you know. Phasing out Medicare, youre for doing away with private health insurance– as a way to bring down medical costs. Youre talking about abolishing the IRS and imposing a 29 percent or 28 percent sales tax, essentially a sales tax. You call it a consumption tax. Talk about eliminating the Department of Homeland Security. I mean, these arent exactly mainstream opinion.
Gary Johnson: Well what you can count on the two of us to provide is consistency. Were going to always be consistent in looking for lower taxes. And much of what you cite is the Libertarian platform which, you know, we are the Libertarian nominees for president and vice president. But were not looking to eliminate Medicare. We do believe in a safety net. But there has to be reforms for Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security. And if were going to put our heads in the sand, if we say were going to do nothing in any of these areas, its a fiscal cliff.
Bill Weld: And nobody can tell me that no changes are necessary in Washington. Those bozos think that unless the appropriation of every single account goes up five percent, they call that a cut. Well, thats not how we approached our state budgets. And thats not what we would do in Washington either.
Steve Kroft: Do you think most people want to do away with the Department of Homeland Security?
Gary Johnson: Yeah, I do. I do. I think theres a real skepticism. I mean, really, we have the FBI. Wha– why another agency? I mean– and all these Homeland Security cars driving around these days, what are they doing?
Bill Weld: There are functions that youd have to retain and make sure they were attended to. But therere some who remind me of the, you know, muddled bureaucracy in Washington that nobody can quite tell you why theyre essential. And thats where I would go hunting.
They also want to abolish the Departments of Education, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development. They want to cut the Defense Budget by around 20 percent and get American troops out of Korea.
As theyve said, they dont agree with their party on everything — sometimes they dont even agree with each other.
Gary Johnson earned a fortune in construction before making his political name as the first governor ever to advocate the legalization of marijuana, and until earlier this year was CEO of a marijuana branding company.
Steve Kroft: Until recently, you were a consumer
Gary Johnson: Thats correct
Steve Kroft: –of marijuana.
Gary Johnson: One of 100 million Americans who have consumed marijuana. I am guilty. The unforgivable in life, hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing anothertelling the truth– I hope more than anything, Im credited here with telling the truth.
Steve Kroft: But youre not using marijuana now?
Gary Johnson: Im not.
[Bill Weld: running on the Libertarian ticket. Live free or die, baby, you know what they say.]
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is a card-carrying member of the Eastern Establishment, whose libertarian bonafides are still questioned by the true believers. Until his nomination in May he was a member of the nearly-extinct political species known as moderate Republicans.
Steve Kroft: You werent a Libertarian until a couple of months ago.
Bill Weld: Well, I considered myself a small L Libertarian since the 1970s. And people called me the Libertarian Republican.
They run a frugal low-key campaign in jeans and sneakers and keep a very loose schedule that can change by the hourly. When we were with them, their version of a presidential limousine was a rented red Toyota.
Steve Kroft: Do you have a motorcade?
Bill Weld: No. We dont have a motorcade.
Steve Kroft: You stop for red lights?
Gary Johnson: We do stop for red lights.
Steve Kroft: Do you have a campaign plane?
Bill Weld: We dont have a campaign plane.
Gary Johnson: No. No. We dont.
Bill Weld: We do fly commercial.
Steve Kroft: Do you have a campaign headquarters?
Bill Weld: Yes.
Gary Johnson: Yes. We do. But its– but if you went to the campaign headquarters, you wouldnt find anybody there because this is– you know, this is social media.
[Gary Johnson: Come on, get selfie, get selfie ready!]
They have a big presence on the Internet and claim to have 50 million followers — most of them young people. Johnson and Weld are good friends and say they plan to run a co-presidency sharing the same staff. On the campaign they often stay at each others homes.
Theyve tried everything to get more attention in hopes their campaign would go viral. And 10 days ago it did.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip /Willie Geist: Governor good to have you with us.
But it was the wrong kind when Johnson was unable to identify Aleppo as the center of the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip /Mike Barnicle: Aleppo.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip/Governor Gary Johnson: And what is Aleppo?
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip /Mike Barnicle: Youre kidding.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip/Governor Gary Johnson: No.
Steve Kroft: Youve been on the front page a lot this month. You made a big splash. And it was a belly flop. Were talking about Aleppo here. Tell me about Aleppo. I mean, how did that happen?
Gary Johnson: Well, the– I– I blame no one but myself. I understand the underlying policy.
Steve Kroft: People have said,This guysnot qualified to be president. I mean, did– how do react to that?
Gary Johnson: Well– that– that I am human. I have a filter. And it starts with honesty. It starts with the truth. It starts with transparency– and would serve as president– in that capacity. When I was asked the question, the first thing that came into my mind was this is an acronym– ALEPPO– American– l–
Steve Kroft: Did it sound familiar to you?
Gary Johnson: Well, it didnt or I think I..but, but look I do not, in any way, want to make an excuse for myself. You know, so many people have said, Look, 90 percent of America doesnt know ALEPPO. Well, 90 percent of America is not running for president of the United States, no excuse. No excuse.
Bill Weld: But at the– at the end of the day, this is just my view, is Aleppo is a very important place name. But its a place name. Does that mean theyre disqualified from running for president? I mean, youd have very few people at the debates if that sort of thing was a disqualify– disqualification to run.
Gary Johnson: Thanks, Bill. But nonetheless, look, we are running for president and vice president.
Steve Kroft: Youre acknowledging that your candidacy has some flaws.
Gary Johnson: As do all candidacies. But I think–
Steve Kroft: But nobody– I– I– Im trying to remember a presidential candidate admitting that.
Gary Johnson: Well, that is the difference here. Thats what youre going to buy into is is that it will be transparent. And theres no quicker way to fix mistakes than actually acknowledging them in the first place.
Steve Kroft: Do you have foreign policy advisers?
Gary Johnson: Well, certainly.
Steve Kroft: Do you have military strategists?
See the rest here:
Posted: September 14, 2016 at 1:09 am
Inside a metal shed in the Tibetan highlands of western China, thousands of microprocessors flank narrow corridors, generating a constant hum and stifling waves of heat.
Outside, the sky is clear and blue, with a mountain peak looming at the top of a narrow wooded valley. A flock of goats ambles idly past a pile of discarded foam packaging. Inside, though, tranquility is transformed into clamor. Red, blue and green lights constantly flash; cooling water trickles down the walls, and large ventilation fans thrum as they struggle to shift the hot air produced by all this concentrated computing power.
This is a bitcoin mine, the engine room of the worlds leading digital currency. The microprocessors here approve and record all the transactions that keep the bitcoin system running. They also compete to solve complex mathematical problems and are rewarded with bitcoins: Thats a way of putting fresh digital currency into circulation and incentivizing more people to set up mining operations.
Bitcoin began as a utopian, libertarian dream, a decentralized currency outside the control of governments, a system that gives its users the anonymity of cash and the instant, global power of email. This was a system built not just for convenience, but also for those who cant bring themselves to trust the global financial system, created by a programmer whose identity remains a mystery.
Across Tibet, China is busy pulling mineral resources out of the ground; there is even a gold mine close by. But here in Kongyu, most of the mining is virtual. It is here because of extremely cheap hydropower, cheap wages and perhaps because Chinese entrepreneurs have a knack for the business.
[Chinas scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works]
For a while, bitcoin was effectively kidnapped by drug dealers, becoming the anonymous payment backbone of the Silk Road, a black market in illegal drugs that flourished on the dark Net until the FBI closed that market down in 2013.
Today it is an industry that is starting to come of age, but whose center of gravity has shifted to China, and away from utopian dreamers toward venture capitalists.
When bitcoin was invented, the people dedicated to it were mostly crypto-punks and libertarians, said Eric Mu, the chief marketing officer with HaoBTC, which operates the bitcoin mine in this township in Chinas western Sichuan province. Now they are more like bankers and lawyers who see opportunities in the industry. And as they join, the industry is changing.
In this case, changing also means moving to China.
Today, mines run by Chinese companies account for about 70percent of the worlds bitcoin processing power, its factories produce the cheapest microprocessors to run these mines, and its exchanges account for about 70percent of the worlds bitcoin trade.
It is increasingly big business. Altogether there around more than 15 million bitcoin in existence: Each is worth $615 at current prices, with a market capitalization of $9.2 billion.
For some, Chinese domination of an industry once controlled by libertarian crypto-punks is a rich irony. For others, it is a more practical threat: Chinese miners, some argued, have been standing in the way of reforms needed to speed up transaction speeds on bitcoins fast-expanding network of users.
But those concerns might be overblown.
Some people in the Western world were painting Chinese miners with too broad a brush, said Emin Gn Sirer, a computer science professor at Cornell University. Its not the case that all Chinese miners are part of the same enterprise or are colluding.
But Sirer identifies one risk with the concentration of mining power here: If the Chinese government wanted, it could in theory crack down on miners and force them to block certain bitcoin accounts.
They would not be able to usurp funds, but they could stop the motion of funds, he said, describing exactly the sort of government control bitcoin was supposed to guard against.
These are concerns that have parallels with the way China is using its digital market power to reshape the Internet and influence the global debate about censorship and surveillance.
But here, in the mountains of Sichuan, it is hard to see much evidence of a Chinese plot to bring bitcoin to heel.
The Chinese government has employed a fairly light touch. Although it banned banks from taking part in bitcoin trading in 2013, it left ordinary people free to buy and trade the crypto-currency, and miners free to operate.
[Internet activists are finding ways around Chinas Great Firewall]
The industry is run by a disparate mix of investors and dreamers and is manned by electricians and IT experts. There are people like Ryan Xu, an infectiously enthusiastic Chinese-born Australian who first became interested in libertarian economics while working as a reactor operator in a nuclear power plant. He now describes himself as both a utopian and a venture capitalist.
We need to foresee the next five or 10 years, he said in a wide-ranging conversation over dinner in the western city of Kangding. All the governments are printing money and diluting peoples wealth. Is that justice or robbery? The financial system also keeps crashing every five or 10 years. I think thats an illness in the monetary system and it needs a cure.
He says he is not sure bitcoin is the answer, but it is at least an experiment that might work.
So why China?
Running microprocessors sucks electricity. Competition is intense, and profit margins are narrow: Xu has moved his mines around the world in search of the cheapest power, from Iceland to Georgia, and then to Washington state, from the coal fields of Chinas northern Inner Mongolia province and now to the mountains of Sichuan.
His latest mine is still under construction, between a hydroelectric power plant and the concrete shell of a disused power transmission station, between Kongyu and the city of Kangding.
As Chinas economy boomed, private companies set up hydroelectric plants in western Sichuan; then, as the economy slowed, they found themselves unable to sell to the national grid, elbowed out of the market by more politically powerful state-owned firms.
It took a lot of money to build the plants, but it doesnt cost that much to maintain them, said HaoBTCs Mu. So it makes sense for them to sell the power to anyone willing to buy, even at a low rate.
Maintenance staffers are cheaper here than in the West. Mu says his company employs 10 people at three mines in the mountains, paying them around 6,000 yuan ($900) a month, a decent salary for this part of the world. HaoBTC runs one other mine in Sichuan and one farther west in Xinjiang, with more than 11,000 machines, earning more than 80 bitcoin a day a daily income stream worth more than $745,000.
[These viral selfie apps with 1 billion downloads are shaping Chinas start-up culture]
But it is not only Chinese entrepreneurs who have taken to bitcoin. Deprived of good investment opportunities at home, and burned by a volatile stock market, a growing number of Chinese people have begun speculating and investing in bitcoin.
Bobby Lee, a former Silicon Valley engineer who founded Chinas first bitcoin exchange, BTCC, attributes it partly to a natural instinct to buy and sell.
If you look at Las Vegas or Macau or casinos worldwide, how come most of the clientele are of Asian descent, or Chinese specifically? he asked. It has to do with some cultural instinct. Chinese people like to gamble.
Yet as bitcoin matures, it is also experiencing some significant growing pains.
Bitcoin is virtual money that cuts out banks and credit card companies, and has gotten more popular recently. Here’s what you need to know about the original cryptocurrency. (Davin Coburn/The Washington Post)
On Aug. 2, the Bitfinex exchange in Hong Kong was forced to admit that hackers had stolen nearly 120,000 bitcoin worth $72million from customers accounts. That news caused the bitcoin price to fall by more than 20 percent and underlined the safety concerns that many ordinary people feel about owning digital money.
At the same time, the system is showing signs of overloading. Bitcoins current technology can process only around three digital transactions a second minuscule compared with the roughly 24,000 transactions per second that Visa can manage.
Delays in processing transactions have grown, as have transaction fees, and the industry has become deeply divided about how to reform the system to solve the problem.
Jeff Garzik, a leading bitcoin developer based in Atlanta, argues that a technological fix is in the pipeline that soon will allow bitcoin to process tens of thousands of transactions a second.
I think that with new technologies coming down the pipeline, it can scale up to everyone buying their coffee with bitcoin in the entire world, he said. It really can be the first really good substitute for physical in-your-hand cash.
Like Sirer, he isnt too worried about the current concentration of mining power in China, partly because the market is so dynamic and the dominant players change every year.
Its much easier to challenge the dominant players in this space because market entry is so easy, he said. If the Chinese miners suddenly power off their rigs, within 24 hours well see the emergence of another competitor.
Here in the mountains, miners while away their free time playing mah-jongg or poker, smoking cigarettes or surfing on their smartphones. Site manager Guo Hua used to run a small camera-repair shop and still likes fiddling around with machines. Marketing manager Mu, who spends only a few weeks of the year here, likes to translate books in his free time or run to the nearest town to buy cigarettes for his colleagues. Sometimes he hikes into the mountains, toward a remote Tibetan village or a looming peak, a welcome change of change of pace from Beijing and its polluted air.
And all the time, the microprocessors keep on running.
Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has come forward as the mysterious creator behind the virtual currency Bitcoin. Here’s a look at what we know about the creator’s pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s history and Wright’s claims. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
Xu Yangjingjing contributed to this report.
America wants to believe China cant innovate. Tech tells a different story.
The Internet was supposed to foster democracy. China has different ideas.
Todays coverage from Post correspondents around the world
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The bizarre world of bitcoin mining finds a new home in …
Posted: September 11, 2016 at 5:24 pm
The Zeitgeist Movement is a grass-roots international network promoting a change in the current spirit of the time (hence the name “The Zeitgeist Movement”) that was formed in response to Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist: Addendum documentary. Basically a modern re-hash of the Technocracy movement, their ideas are derived from multiple sources, primarily The Venus Project and Buckminster Fuller. Indeed, the movement’s Activist Orientation Guide defines itself as “the activist arm of the Venus Project”, despite their split with the Venus Project in April 2011. They consider themselves to be a “sustainability advocacy organization.” The community is largely concentrated on the internet and have their own live broadcasting shows.
The Zeitgeist movement is organised into various different ‘chapters’ across more than 50 different countries, though just how active these chapters are is probably only known to those involved in them  and differs greatly from chapter to chapter. Recordings of most chapter meetings are freely available online, where all types of chapter related matters like activity are discussed. A quick glance at some chapter websites reveals they have at least some presence in certain university societies and at the local level. Nevertheless, most of their forum posting seems to be discussions about the movement’s philosophy and what activists intend to do in the near future. It is however difficult to measure if the movement achieves its goals seeing their sole intention is to be an educational movement and “spread awareness,” one could suspect they do seeing new chapters are added on a monthly basis (see chapter list on the website) and the userbase on the different Facebook pages show an increase.
The organization is based on undirected whining about capitalism, accompanied by a belief that somehow computers should be used excessively to do all future resource planning for the purpose of maximum efficiency and sustainability, and that shortly robots will be doing most work – in summary something one could call techno-utopianism.
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Posted: August 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm
The Cincinnati Zoo has deleted its Twitter account, a day after the zoo asked the internet to please stop making so many jokes and memes about Harambe, the gorilla who was shot and killed there in May after a child entered his enclosure. “We deactivated our Twitter accounts,” zoo spokeswoman Michelle…
Pinterest is buying Instapaper, the app that lets you save an article to read later, as it works to understand the technology behind recommending stories for people. The acquisition of Instapaper, which has expertise in saving, curating and analyzing articles, aligns with Pinterest’s goal to provide…
Backpack makers like to consider their products “enablers,” company executives say, especially of active lifestyles. No matter where you go or what you do, a reliable backpack can keep your stuff safe and sound right there with you. Now, backpacks are enabling your smartphone addiction. Traditionally,…
Twitter is making a “quality filter” available to all users, allowing them to hide tweets that contain threats, appear to be automated or spammy. The feature was previously only available to users with “verified” accounts, which are typically celebrities, public figures or journalists, and who…
The option to hail a ride in a self-driving car, which was science fiction just a few years ago, will soon be available to Uber users in Pittsburgh, the first time the technology has been offered to the general public. Within weeks, the company announced Thursday, customers will be able to opt…
Twitter said Thursday it has suspended 360,000 accounts since mid-2015 for violating its policies banning the promotion of terrorism and violent extremism. The San Francisco-based company said in a blog post that it has also made progress in preventing users who were suspended from immediately…
Michael Udall earned three years worth of tuition and a hefty medal whenhis college video game team won a national tournament in April. Thathaul marksthe first of what the Arizona State junior hopes are many accomplishments in a storied e-sports career. But Udall covets one achievementnot…
Today, the software economy makes hailing a ride incredibly easy. Tap a button, and a driver will arrive at your door to whisk you away. But in just a few years, the car may show up without any driver inside at all. Ford said Tuesday that it wants to be first to roll out a completely automated…
Google nailed email with the 2004 introduction of Gmail. Now it’s the No. 1 form of electronic correspondence in the U.S. But as traditional email falls out of favor with a growing sliver of the population, Google has struggled to make its messaging tools relevant or introduce new ones that resonate…
Like many in Silicon Valley, technology entrepreneur Bryan Johnson sees a future in which intelligent machines can do things like drive cars on their own and anticipate our needs before we ask. What’s uncommon is how Johnson wants to respond: Find a way to supercharge the human brain so that we…
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Posted: at 7:09 pm
All You Ever Needed And Wanted To Know about the Tor Browser and how it relates to Internet Security
With The Complete Tor Browser Guide, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about the Tor Browser and how it relates to internet security. When you enter the online world you are putting yourself at risk every time you log on. With the Tor Browser you can safely shield your identity from those who might want to take advantage of you. The Tor Browser bounces your internet communications across the Tor Network to ensure:
Anonymity Tor Browser Tor Relays Hidden Services Security Total Privacy Tor Abuse
When you install the Tor Browser on your local computer you are ensuring yourself total privacy while you are on the internet. To maintain total anonymity while browsing the internet your information will pass through a minimum of three Tor relays before it reaches its final destination. Tor users can set up relays to become part of the Tor network, but they can also configure hidden services to offer even more security. As with any privacy software there is a potential for abuse, but actual Tor abuse is minimal.
One of the greatest things about the Tor Browser is it can be used by anybody looking to protect their privacy. Unlike other similar programs the Tor Browser offers users total anonymity and security. Ordinary people can use it to protect themselves from identity thieves, while law enforcement and military personnel can use it to gather intelligence for investigations and undercover operations. With the Tor Browser nobody will know who you are or where you are.
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Amazon.com: Tor: Tor Browser: Anonymous Surfing Ultimate …
Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:31 am
Offshoring is the relocation of a business process from one country to anothertypically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Typically this refers to a company business, although state governments may also employ offshoring. More recently, offshoring has been associated primarily with the outsourcing of technical and administrative services supporting domestic and global operations from outside the home country (“offshore outsourcing”), by means of internal (captive) or external (outsourcing) delivery models.
India has emerged as a key offshoring destination over the past 15 years. The term is in use in several distinct but closely related ways. It is sometimes used broadly to include substitution of a service from any foreign source for a service formerly produced internally to the firm. In other cases, only imported services from subsidiaries or other closely related suppliers are included. A further complication is that intermediate goods, such as partially completed computers, are not consistently included in the scope of the term.
Offshoring can be seen in the context of either production offshoring or services offshoring. After its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the People’s Republic of China emerged as a prominent destination for production offshoring. Another focus area has been the software industry as part of global software development and developing global information systems. After technical progress in telecommunications improved the possibilities of trade in services, India became a country leading in this domain, though many parts of the world are now emerging as offshore destinations.
The economic logic is to reduce costs, sometimes called labor arbitrage, to improve corporate profitability. Jobs are added in the destination country providing the goods or services (generally a lower-cost labor country), but are subtracted in the higher-cost labor country. The increased safety net costs of the unemployed may be absorbed by the government (taxpayers) in the high-cost country or by the company doing the offshoring. Europe experienced less offshoring than the United States due to policies that applied more costs to corporations and cultural barriers.
Offshoring is defined as the movement of a business process done at a company in one country to the same or another company in another, different country. Almost always work is moved because of a lower cost of operations in the new location. More recently, offshoring drivers also include access to qualified personnel abroad, in particular in technical professions, and increasing speed to market. Offshoring is sometimes contrasted with outsourcing or offshore outsourcing. Outsourcing is the movement of internal business processes to an external organizational unit. Outsourcing refers to the process by which an organization gives part of its work to another firm / organization and makes it responsible for most of the applications as well as the design of the enterprise business process. This process is done under restrictions and strategies in order to establish consistency with the offshore outsourcing organizations. Many companies nowadays outsource various professional areas in the company such as e-mail services, payroll and call center. These jobs are being handled by other organizations that specialize in each sector allowing the offshoring company to focus more on other business concerns . However, subcontracting in the same country would be outsourcing, but not offshoring. A company moving an internal business unit from one country to another would be offshoring or physical restructuring, but not outsourcing. A company subcontracting a business unit to a different company in another country would be both outsourcing and offshoring.
Related terms include nearshoring, which implies relocation of business processes to (typically) lower cost foreign locations, but in close geographical proximity (e.g., shifting United States-based business processes to Canada/Latin America); inshoring, which means picking services within a country; and bestshoring or rightshoring, picking the “best shore” based on various criteria. Business process outsourcing (BPO) refers to outsourcing arrangements when entire business functions (such as Finance & Accounting, Customer Service, etc.) are outsourced. More specific terms can be found in the field of software development – for example Global Information System as a class of systems being developed for / by globally distributed teams.
A further term sometimes associated with offshoring is bodyshopping which is the practice of using offshored resources and personnel to do small disaggregated tasks within a business environment, without any broader intention to offshore an entire business function.
Production offshoring, also known as physical restructuring, of established products involves relocation of physical manufacturing processes to a lower-cost destination. Examples of production offshoring include the manufacture of electronic components in Costa Rica, production of apparel, toys, and consumer goods in China, Vietnam etc.
Product design, research and the development process that leads to new products, are relatively difficult to offshore. This is because research and development, in order to improve products and create new reference designs, require a skill set that is harder to obtain in regions with cheap labor. For this reason, in many cases only the manufacturing will be offshored by a company wishing to reduce costs.
However, there is a relationship between offshoring and patent-system strength. This is because companies under a strong patent system are not afraid to move work offshore because their work will remain their property. Conversely, companies in countries with weak patent systems have an increased fear of intellectual property theft from foreign vendors or workers, and, therefore, have less offshoring.
A major incentive for physical restructuring arrived when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made it easier for manufacturers to shift production facilities from the US to Mexico. This trend later shifted to China, which offered cheap prices through very low wage rates, few workers’ rights laws, a fixed currency pegged to the US dollar, (currently fixed to a basket of economies) cheap loans, cheap land, and factories for new companies, few environmental regulations, and huge economies of scale based on cities with populations over a million workers dedicated to producing a single kind of product. However, many companies are reluctant to move high value-added production of leading-edge products to China because of lax enforcement of intellectual property laws. CAFTA has increased the velocity at which physical restructuring is occurring.
The growth of IT-enabled services offshoring is linked to the availability of large amounts of reliable and affordable communication infrastructure following the telecommunication and Internet expansion of the late 1990s. This was seen all the way up to the year 2000. Coupled with the digitization of many services, it was possible to shift the actual production location of services to low-cost countries in a manner theoretically transparent to end-users. Services include administrative services, such as finance and accounting, HR, and legal; call centers; marketing and sales services; IT infrastructure; application development; and knowledge services, including engineering support, product design, research and development, and analytics. General criteria for choosing IT outsourcing development partner commonly include: communication and language proficiency (both oral and written), previous work experience in client’s industry, expertise in defined technologies needed, cost-effectiveness of offshore web development services, clients that are similar in size to the client’s company, company longevity, company time zone.
India first benefited from the offshoring trend, as it has a large pool of English speaking people and technically proficient manpower. India’s offshoring industry took root in low-end IT functions in the early 1990s and has since moved to back-office processes such as call centers and transaction processing. This spawned the neologism Bangalored, used to indicate a layoff, often systemic, and usually resulting from corporate outsourcing to lower wage economies derived from Bangalore in India, where some of the first outsource centers were located.
Currently, India’s low-cost labor has made it an offshoring destination for global firms like HP, IBM, Accenture, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, Cisco, SAP, and BEA[disambiguation needed].
Because of inflation, high domestic interest rates, robust economic growth and increased IT offshoring, the Indian IT sector has witnessed 10 – 15% wage growth in the 21st century. Consequently, Indian’s operations and firms are concerned that they are becoming too expensive in comparison with competition from the other offshoring destinations. To maintain high growth rates, attempts have been made to grow up the value chain and diversify to other high-end work in addition to software and hardware engineering. These jobs include research and development, equity analysis, tax-return processing, radiological analysis, medical transcription, and more.
The choice of offshoring destination is often made according to cultural concerns. Japanese companies are starting to outsource to China, where large numbers of Japanese speakers can be found particularly in the city of Dalian, which was Japanese-occupied Chinese territory for decades (this is discussed in the book The World is Flat). German companies tend to outsource to Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine, where the most number of IT professionals in CEE work (90000 IT specialists in 2016),Poland and Romania, where proficiency in German is common. French companies outsource to North Africa for similar reasons. For Australian IT companies, Indonesia is one of the major choice of offshoring destination. Near-shore location, common time zone and adequate IT work force are the reasons for offshoring IT services to Indonesia.
Other offshoring destinations include Mexico, Central and South America, the Philippines, South Africa and Eastern European countries.
The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) made nearshoring more attractive between the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic and the US.
Once companies are comfortable with services offerings and started realizing the cost savings, many high-tech product companies, including some in Silicon Valley, started offshoring innovation work to countries like Belarus, South Africa, India, China, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine. Accessing the talent pools in these countries has the potential to cut costs or even shorten product lifecycles. Developing countries like India are also involved in this practice.
When offshoring knowledge work, firms heavily rely on the availability of technical personnel at offshore locations. In order to secure access to talent, Western firms often establish collaborative relationships with technical universities abroad and thereby customize university programs to serve their particular needs. Examples include universities in Shanghai, such as Tong-Ji University, where German firms and scholars co-sponsor labs, courses, and provide internships. Similar examples of collaborative arrangements can be found in Eastern Europe, e.g. Romania. Additionally, EU companies looking for IT innovation often setup collaboration with universities in countries such as Belarus and Ukraine, which have a high percentage of ICT graduates and overall a very skilled IT labor.
“Re-shoring”, also known as “backshoring” or “inshoring” is offshoring that has been brought back onshore.
John Urry (distinguished professor of sociology at Lancaster University) argues that the concealment of income, the avoidance of taxation and eluding legislation relating to work, finance, pleasure, waste, energy and security may be becoming a serious concern for democratic governments and ordinary citizens who may be adversely affected by unregulated, offshore activities. Further, the rising costs of transportation could lead to production nearer the point of consumption becoming more economically viable, particularly as new technologies such as additive manufacturing mature 
Offshoring is often enabled by the transfer of valuable information to the offshore site. Such information and training enables the remote workers to produce results of comparable value previously produced by internal employees. When such transfer includes protected materials, as confidential documents and trade secrets, protected by non-disclosure agreements, then intellectual property has been transferred or exported. The documentation and valuation of such exports is quite difficult, but should be considered since it comprises items that may be regulated or taxable.
Offshoring has been a controversial issue spurring heated debates among economists, some of which overlap those related to the topic of free trade. It is seen as benefiting both the origin and destination country through free trade, providing jobs to the destination country and lower cost of goods and services to the origin country. This makes both sides see increased gross domestic product (GDP). And the total number of jobs increases in both countries since those workers in the origin country that lost their job can move to higher-value jobs in which their country has a comparative advantage.
On the other hand, job losses and wage erosion in developed countries have sparked opposition to offshoring. Experts argue that the quality of any new jobs in developed countries are less than the jobs lost and offer lower pay. Economists against offshoring charge that currency manipulation by governments and their central banks causes the difference in labor cost creating an illusion of comparative advantage. Further, they point out that even more educated highly trained workers with higher-value jobs such as software engineers, accountants, radiologists, and journalists in the developed world have been displaced by highly educated and cheaper workers from India and China. On May 1, 2002, Economist and former Ambassador Ernest H. Preeg testified before the Senate committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that China, for instance, pegs its currency to the dollar at a sub-par value in violation of Article IV of the International Monetary Fund Articles of Agreement which state that no nation shall manipulate its currency to gain a market advantage. Traditionally “safe” developed world jobs in R&D and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are now perceived to be endangered in these countries as higher proportions of workers are trained for these fields in developing nations. Economists such as Paul Craig Roberts claim that those economists who promote offshoring misunderstand the difference between comparative advantage and absolute advantage.
The Economist reported in January 2013 that: “High levels of unemployment in Western countries after the 2007-2008 financial crisis have made the public in many countries so hostile towards offshoring that many companies are now reluctant to engage in it.” Economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2007 that while free trade among high-wage countries is viewed as win-win, free trade with low-wage countries is win-lose for many employees who find their jobs offshored or with stagnating wages. Two estimates of the impact of offshoring on U.S. jobs were between 150,000 and 300,000 per year from 2004-2015. This represents 10-15% of U.S. job creation. U.S. opinion polls indicate that between 76-95% of Americans surveyed agreed that “outsourcing of production and manufacturing work to foreign countries is a reason the U.S. economy is struggling and more people aren’t being hired.”
The increased safety net costs of the unemployed may be absorbed by the government (taxpayers) in the high-cost country or by the company doing the offshoring. Europe experienced less offshoring than the U.S. due to policies that applied more costs to corporations and cultural barriers.
Japanese companies often exploits the foreign labors, particularly Chinese and Vietnamese, by violating the Employment Security Act, and Labor Standard Act set by ministry of health and labors in Japan using the name of offshoring.
Article 44 of Employment Security Act in Japan implicitly bans the domestic/foreign workers being supplied by unauthorized companies regardless of their operating locations. Law will apply if at least one party of suppliers, clients, labors reside in Japan, and if the labors are the integral part of the chain of command by the client company, or the supplier.
No person shall carry out a labor supply business or have workers supplied by a person who carries out a labor supply business work under his/her own directions or orders, except in cases provided for in the following Article.
Employment Security Act
Those deemed to violate will be punished with
A person who falls under any of the following items shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than one year or a fine of not more than one million yen
Employment Security Act states, Article 64
as well as the punishment defined by the article 6 of Labor Standards Act in Japan,
Unless permitted by act, no person shall obtain profit by intervening, as a business, in the employment of other
Victims can lodge a criminal complaint against the CEO of the suppliers and clients in the Labor Standards Inspection Office (only applicable to Labor Standards Act) or Public Prosecutor’s Office of the respective company location. Due to the risk of the CEO’s arrest, Japanese company accustoms to the private settlement with financial package in the range between 20 and 100 million JPY (200,000 – million USD).
With the offshoring of call-center type applications, debate has also surfaced that this practice does serious damage to the quality of customer service and technical support that customers receive from companies who do it. Many companies have caught much public ire for their decisions to use foreign labor for customer service and technical support, mostly because of the apparent language barrier that it creates. While some nations have a high level of younger, skilled workers who are capable of speaking English as one of their native languages, their English skills have caused debate in North America and Europe.
Criticisms of outsourcing from much of the American public have been a response to what they view as very poor customer service and technical support being provided by overseas workers attempting to communicate with Americans.
Some claim that companies lose control and visibility across their extended supply chain under outsourcing, creating increased risks. A 2005 quantitative survey of 121 electronics industry participants by Industry Directions Inc and the Electronics Supply Chain Association (ESCA) found that 69% of respondents said they had less control over at least 5 of their key supply chain processes since the outsourced model took hold, while 66% of providers felt their aggregate risk with customers was high or very high. 36% of providers responded that they felt an increased risk of uncertainty compared to their uncertainty risk before the rise to prominence of the outsourced model. 62% of respondents described as “problematic” at least two core trading partner management practices, which included performance management and simple agreement on results. 40% of all respondents encountered resistance to sharing risk in outsourced partnership agreements, according to the research.
The transfer of knowledge outside a country may create competitors to the original companies themselves. Chinese manufacturers are already selling their goods directly to their overseas customers, without going through their previous domestic intermediaries that originally contracted their services. In the 1990s and 2000s, American automakers increasingly turned to China to create parts for their vehicles. By 2006, China leveraged this know-how and announced that they will begin competition with American automakers in their home market by selling fully Chinese automobiles directly to Americans. When a company moves the production of goods and services to another country, the investment that companies would otherwise make in the domestic market is transferred to the foreign market. Corporate money spent on factories, training, and taxes, which would otherwise be spent in the market of the company is then spent in the foreign market. As production increases in the foreign market, qualified and experienced domestic workers leave or are forced out of their jobs, often permanently leaving the industry. At some point, dramatically fewer domestic workers are left who are qualified to perform the work. This makes the domestic market dependent on the foreign market for those goods and services, thereby strategically weakening the “hollowed-out” domestic country. In effect, offshoring creates and strengthens the competitive industries of the foreign country while strategically weakening the domestic country.[dubious discuss]
However, employment data has cast doubt on this claim. For example, IT employment in the United States has recently reached pre-2001 levels and has been rising since. The number of jobs lost to offshoring is less than 1 percent of the total US labor market. According to a study by the Heritage foundation, outsourcing represents a very small proportion of jobs lost in the US. The total number of jobs lost to offshoring, both manufacturing and technical represent only 4 percent of the total jobs lost in the US. Major reasons for cutting jobs are from contract completion and downsizing. Some economists and commentators claim that the offshoring phenomenon is way overblown.
One solution often offered for domestic workers displaced by offshoring is retraining to new jobs. Some displaced workers are highly educated and possess graduate qualifications. Retraining to their current level in another field may not be an option because of the years of study and cost of education involved. Anecdotal evidence also suggests they would be rejected for being overqualified.
According to classical economics, the three factors of production are land, labor, and capital. Offshoring relies heavily on the mobility of two of these factors. That is, how offshoring affects economies depends on how easily capital and labor can be repurposed. Land, as a factor of production, is generally seen to have little or no mobility potential.
The effects of capital mobility on offshoring have been widely discussed. In microeconomics, a corporation must be able to spend working capital to afford the initial costs of offshoring. If the state heavily regulates how a corporation can spend its working capital, it will not be able to offshore its operations. For the same reason the macroeconomy must be free for offshoring to succeed. Generally, those who favor offshoring support capital mobility, and those who oppose offshoring call for greater regulation.
Labor mobility also plays a major role, and it is hotly debated. When computers and the Internet made work electronically portable, the forces of free market resulted in a global mobility of work in the services industry. Most theories that argue offshoring eventually benefits domestic workers assume that those workers will be able to obtain new jobs, even if they have to obtain employment by downpricing themselves back into the labor market (by accepting lower salaries) or by retraining themselves in a new field. Foreign workers benefit from new jobs and higher wages when the work moves to them.
In the developed world, moving manufacturing jobs out of the country dates to at least the 1960s while moving knowledge service jobs offshore dates to the 1970s  and has continued since then. It was characterized primarily by the transferring of factories from the developed to the developing world. This offshoring and closing of factories has caused a structural change in the developed world from an industrial to a post-industrial service society.
During the 20th century, the decreasing costs of transportation and communication crossed with great disparities on pay rates made increased offshoring from wealthier countries to less wealthy countries financially feasible for many companies. Further, the growth of the Internet, particularly fiber-optic intercontinental long haul capacity, and the World Wide Web reduced “transportation” costs for many kinds of information work to near zero.
With the development of the Internet, many new categories of work such as call centres, computer programming, reading medical data such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, medical transcription, income tax preparation, and title searching are being offshored.
Before the 1990s, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in the EU. Because of Ireland’s relatively low corporate tax rates, US companies began offshoring of software, electronic, and pharmaceutical intellectual property to Ireland for export. This helped create a high-tech “boom” and which led to Ireland becoming one of the richest EU countries.
In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. As concerns are widespread about uneven bargaining powers, and risks and benefits, negotiations are often difficult, such that the plan to create free trade areas (such as Free Trade Area of the Americas) has not yet been successful. In 2005, offshoring of skilled work, also referred to as knowledge work, dramatically increased from the US, which fed the growing worries about threats of job loss.
Posted: at 9:30 am
A micronation sometimes referred to as a model country or new country project is a political entity that intends to replace, resemble, mock, or exist on equal footing with a recognised and/or sovereign state.
Some micronations are created with serious intent, while others exist as a hobby or stunt.
The term micronation, which literally means small nation, is a neologism. The first reference in English to the word micronation in a popular book appears in the 1978 edition of The People’s Almanac #2, where David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace write:
“Established in 1972 by a declaration of sovereignty by a group of Californians, the Republic of Minerva has more claim to authenticity than most micronations because it actually has some land, although it disappears at high tide. The republic consists of two coral reefs 17 miles apart in the South Pacific Ocean some 3,400 miles southwest of Honolulu and 915 miles northeast of Auckland, New Zealand.”
The term has since come to be used also retrospectively to refer to earlier unrecognised entities, some of which date to as far back as the 17th century. Micronations should not be confused with internationally recognised but geographically tiny nations such as Fiji, Monaco, and San Marino, for which the term microstate is more commonly used.
Micronations generally have a number of common features:
A criterion which distinguishes micronations from imaginary countries, eco-villages, campuses, tribes, clans, sects, and residential community associations, is that these latter entities do not usually seek to be recognised as sovereign.
The Montevideo Convention was one attempt to create a legal definition distinguishing between states and non-states. Some micronations meet this definition, while some do not. The academic study of micronations and microstates is termed ‘micropatrology’, and the hobby or activity of establishing and operating micronations is known as micronationalism.
The Principality of Sealand is one of the more recognised micronations in the world.
The 17th century saw the rise to prominence of a world order dominated by the existing concept of the nation-state, following the Treaty of Westphalia. However, the earliest recognisable micronations can be dated to the 18th Century. Most were founded by eccentric adventurers or business speculators, and several were remarkably successful. These include the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, ruled by the Clunies-Ross family, and Sarawak, ruled by the “White Rajas” of the Brooke family. Both were independent personal fiefdoms in all but name, and survived until well into the 20th Century.
Less successful were the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia (1860-1862) in southern Chile and Argentina, and the Kingdom of Sedang (1888-1890) in French Indochina. The oldest extant micronation to arise in modern times is the Kingdom of Redonda, founded in 1865 in the Caribbean. It failed to establish itself as a sovereign nation-state, but has nonetheless managed to survive into the present day as a unique literary foundation with its own king and aristocracy although it is not without its controversies; there are presently at least four competing claimants to the Redondan throne.
M. C. Harman, owner of the UK island of Lundy in the early decades of the 20th century, issued private coinage and postage stamps for local use. Although the island was ruled as a virtual fiefdom, its owner never claimed to be independent of the United Kingdom. Thus, Lundy can at best be described as a precursor to later territorial micronations.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a ‘micronational renaissance’, with the foundation of a number of territorial micronations, some of which still persist to this day. The first of these, the Principality of Sealand, was founded in 1967 on an abandoned World War II gun platform in the North Sea, and has endured a military coup, court rulings and rough weather throughout its existence. Others were based on schemes requiring the construction of artificial islands, but only two are known to have risen above sea level.
The Republic of Rose Island was a 400 square metre platform built in international waters off the Italian town of Rimini, in the Adriatic Sea in 1968. It is reported to have issued stamps, minted currency, and declared Esperanto to be its official language. Shortly after completion, however, it was destroyed by the Italian Navy.
The Republic of Minerva was set up in 1972 as a libertarian new country project by Nevada businessman Michael Oliver. Oliver’s group conducted dredging operations at the Minerva Reefs, a shoal located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji. They succeeded in creating a small artificial island, but their efforts at securing international recognition met with little success, and near-neighbour Tonga sent a military force to the area and annexed it.
On April 1, 1977, bibliophile Richard Booth, declared the UK town of Hay-on-Wye an “independent republic” with himself as its king. The town has subsequently developed a healthy tourism industry based literary interests, and “King Richard” (whose sceptre consists of a recycled toilet plunger) continues to dole out Hay-on-Wye peerages and honours to anyone prepared to pay for them. The official website for Hay-on-Wye, however, admits that the declaration of independence, along with the later claim to have annexed the USA and renaming it the “US of Hay” were all merely publicity stunts.
Micronationalism has since evolved mainly into hobbies, and with younger participants. Although no all-compassing authority on micronations exists, nor any comprehensive listing, it is known that a number of widely diverse communities and sectors persist throughout the micronational world, often on the internet.
The internet provided micronationalism with a new outlet, and the number of entities able to be termed as ‘micronations’ skyrocketed from around 2000 onwards as a result. Exact figures may never be known, but it is thought that many thousands of micronations now exist throughout the world. However, with this new outlet of the internet came a large anomaly between micronationalists and micronations. Before the advent of micronationalism on the internet, micronations were few and far between, and were able to coax many hundreds of people in their citizenry. At present, many micronations are ‘One-man micronations’ or ‘Egostans’, with only one or two people being citizens of the micronation. The majority are based in English-speaking countries, but a significant minority arose elsewhere in other countries as well.
Micronational activities were disproportionately common throughout Australia in the final three decades of the 20th century. The Principality of Hutt River started the ball rolling in 1970, when Prince Leonard (born Leonard George Casley) declared his farming property independent after a dispute over wheat quotas. 1976 witnessed the creation of the Province of Bumbunga on a rural property near Snowtown, South Australia, by an eccentric British monarchist named Alex Brackstone, and a dispute over flood damage to farm properties led to the creation of the Independent State of Rainbow Creek in northeastern Victoria by Tom Barnes in 1979. In New South Wales, a political protest by a group of Sydney teenagers led to the 1981 creation of the Empire of Atlantium, and a mortgage foreclosure dispute led George and Stephanie Muirhead of Rockhampton, Queensland to secede as the Principality of Marlborough in 1993. Although some newer micronations, like Ding Dong, were created purely for the experience of forming and running a micronation.
Yet another Australian secessionist state came into existence on May 1, 2003, when Peter Gillies declared the independence of his 66 hectare northern New South Wales farm as the Principality of United Oceania after an unresolved year-long dispute with Port Stephens Council over Gillies’ plans to construct a private residence on the property.
In the present day, the following categories are generally accepted as being standard:
Micronations of the first type tend to be fairly serious in outlook, involve sometimes significant numbers of relatively mature participants, and often engage in highly sophisticated, structured activities that emulate the operations of real-world nations. A few examples of these include:
These micronations also tend to be fairly serious, and involve significant numbers of people interested in recreating the past, especially the Roman or Mediaeval past, and living it in a vicarious way. Examples of these include:
With literally thousands in existence, micronations of this type are by far the most common. They are ephemeral, and tend to be Internet-based, rarely surviving more than a few months, although there are notable exceptions. They generally involve a handful of people, and are concerned primarily with arrogating to their founders the outward symbols of statehood. The use of grand-sounding titles, awards, honours, and heraldic symbols derived from European feudal traditions, and the conduct of ‘wars’ with other micronations, are common manifestations of their activities. Examples include:
Micronations of this type include stand-alone artistic projects, deliberate exercises in creative online and offline fiction, artistic creations, and even popular films. Examples include:
These types of micronations are typically associated with a political or social reform agenda. Some are maintained as media and public relations exercises. Examples of this type include:
A number of micronations have been established for fraudulent purposes, by seeking to link questionable or illegal financial actions with seemingly legitimate nations. Some examples of these are:
A small number of micronations are founded with genuine aspirations to be sovereign states. Many are based on historical anomalies or eccentric interpretations of law, and tend to be easily confused with established states. These types of micronations are usually located in small (usually disputed) territorial enclaves, generate limited economic activity founded on tourism, philatelic and numismatic sales, and are at best tolerated or at worst ignored by other nations. This category includes:
New-country projects are attempts to found completely new nation-states. They typically involve plans to construct artificial islands (few of which are ever realised), and a large percentage have embraced or purported to embrace libertarian or democratic principles. Examples include:
Seasteading is a lifestyle of making the oceans, or at least water-borne craft, one’s home. Most seasteads historically have been sailing craft, whether perhaps demonstrated by the the Chinese Junk, modified canoes of Oceania, or even the famous Pirates of Libertaria. In modern times in the west the cruising sailboat has begun to be used in the same manner. The term seasteading is of uncertain origin, used at least as early as the turn of the century by Uffa Fox, and others; many feel that catamaran designer and historian James Wharram and his designs represent ideal seasteads. More recently, American sailor and ecological philosopher Jerome FitzGerald has been a leading and effective proponent of seasteading, mostly teaching the concept through the environmental/sailing organisation “The Oar Club”. The Seasteader’s Institute in Hilo, Hawaii offers classes, boat-building opportunities, education in forage foods, diving, and other aspects of a Seasteading lifestyle.
Some theoretical seasteads are floating platforms which could be used to create sovereign micronations, or otherwise serve the ends of ocean colonisation. The concept is introduced in a paper by Wayne Gramlich, and later in a book by Gramlich, Patri Friedman and Andy House, which is available for free online. Their research aims at a more practical approach to developing micronations, based on currently available technology and a pragmatic approach to financial aspects.
The authors argue that seasteading has the potential to drastically lower the barrier to entry to the governing industry. This allows for more experimentation and innovation with varying social, political, and economic systems. Potential business opportunities include data havens, offshore aquaculture, and casinos, as well as the gamut of typical business endeavours.
There has been a small but growing amount of attention paid to the micronation phenomenon in recent years. Most interest in academic circles has been concerned with studying the apparently anomalous legal situations affecting such entities as Sealand and the Hutt River Province, in exploring how some micronations represent grassroots political ideas, and in the creation of role-playing entities for instructional purposes.
In 2000, Professor Fabrice O’Driscoll, of the University Aix-Marseille University, published a book about micronations: Ils ne sigent pas l’ONU (“They are not in the United Nations”), with more than 300 pages dedicated to the subject.
Several recent publications have dealt with the subject of particular historic micronations, including Republic of Indian Stream (University Press), by Dartmouth College geographer Daniel Doan, The Land that Never Was, about Gregor MacGregor, and the Principality of Poyais, by David Sinclair (ISBN 0-7553-1080-2).
In May 2000, an article in the New York Times entitled “Utopian Rulers, and Spoofs, Stake Out Territory Online” brought the phenomenon to a wider audience for the first time. Similar articles were published by newspapers such as the French Liberation, the Italian La Repubblica, the Greek “Ta Nea”, by O Estado de So Paulo in Brazil, and Portugal’s Viso at around the same time.
The Democratic Empire of Sunda, which claims to be the Government of the Kingdom of Sunda (an ancient kingdom, in present-day Indonesia) in exile in Switzerland, made media headlines when two so-called princesses, Lamia Roro Wiranatadikusumah Siliwangi Al Misri, 21, and Fathia Reza Wiranatadikusumah Siliwangi Al Misiri, 23, were detained by Malaysian authorities at the border with Brunei, on 13 July 2007, and are charged for entering the country without a valid pass.
In August 2003 a Summit of Micronations took place in Helsinki at Finlandia Hall, the site of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). The summit was attended by delegations such as the Principality of Sealand, Neue Slowenische Kunst|NSK, Ladonia, the Transnational Republic, and by scholars from various academic institutions.
From November 7 through December 17, 2004, the Reg Vardy Gallery at the University of Sunderland (UK) hosted an exhibition on the subject of micronational group identity and symbolism. The exhibition focused on numismatic, philatelic and vexillological artefacts, as well as other symbols and instruments created and used by a number of micronations from the 1950s through to the present day. A summit of micronations conducted as part of this exhibition was attended by representatives of Sealand, Elgaland-Vargaland, New Utopia, Atlantium, Frestonia and Fusa. The exhibition was reprised at the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York City from 24 June29 July of the following year. Another exhibition about micronations opened at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo in early 2007.
The Sunderland summit was later featured in a 5-part BBC light entertainment television series called “How to Start Your Own Country” presented by Danny Wallace. The series told the story of Wallace’s experience of founding a micronation, Lovely, located in his London flat. It screened in the UK in August 2005. Similar programs have also aired on television networks in other parts of Europe.
On 9 September 2006, The Guardian newspaper reported that the travel guide company Lonely Planet had published the world’s first travel guide devoted to micronations, the Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations (ISBN 1741047307).
Hello, you may ask yourself “what is that micronation? Never heard of it”. Well it’s because I established it (for fun). Though I still … 2015-12-22T17:31:30Z
Hi. Welcome to MicroWiki. Only administrators are allowed to create threads in the announcement board. 2015-12-24T15:11:00Z
Ah, I understand the confusion. Yes, to users on this site, this is MicroWiki. However, from a .org user’s perspective, this site has the nickn… 2014-06-21T13:03:01Z
Well, I understand you, the only reason for my post on this forum is that WUS is almost not active and I love myself that moves a little and t… 2014-06-21T14:29:31Z
The rest is here: