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Tag Archives: internet
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:
Posted: August 21, 2016 at 11:18 am
by Donald S. McAlvaney, Editor, McAlvaney Intelligence Advisor (MIA), August 1996
GWI is a communicable, moderately contagious and potentially lethal disease, resulting from a laboratory modified germ warfare agent called Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus). [ED. NOTE: There were actually up to 15 such agents used in Desert Storm by Iraq only three have been identified at this writing: mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus), mycoplasma genitalia, and Brucella species.]. Myco- plasma fermentans (incognitus) is a biological which contains most of the (HIV) envelope gene, which was most likely inserted into it in germ warfare laboratories.
GWI spreads far more easily than AIDS, by sex, by casual contact, through perspiration, or by being close to someone who coughs. Your children can be infected at a playground or school. The Nicolsons, who have isolated the micro-organisms, say that it is airborne and moderately contagious.
Joyce Riley had an American Legion chapter leader call her in mid-95 who said, I was visiting the Desert Stormers at the VA Hospital and after two weeks I had the same illness they did just from visiting them at the VA. It sounds almost like tuberculosis-type contagion.
To illustrate the moderately contagious nature of the biologicals Saddam used, Dr. Garth Nicolson cited the case of a young woman who served in a transportation squad who contracted GWI while assigned to a graves registration unit during the hostilities. She is currently the sole survivor of the 16 members of her unit.
She has severe GWI, is partially paralyzed, has multiple chemical sensitiveness (which complicate treatment) and has the mycoplasmic infection. All of the other 15 members of her unit are dead from what we suspect were infectious diseases. These (graves registration) units had to deal with the registration and disposal of thousands of dead Iraqi soldiers who were, we strongly suspect, exposed to GWI.
GWI is the direct health consequence of prolonged exposure to low (non-lethal at the time of exposure) levels of chemical and biological agents released primarily by direct Iraqi attack via missiles, rockets, artillery, or aircraft munitions, and by fallout from allied bombings of Iraqi chemical warfare munitions facilities during the 38-day war.
The effects of these exposures were exacerbated by the harmful and synergistic side effects of unproven (untested) pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills (nerve agent pre-treatment pills) forcibly administered to our troops; botulinum toxoid vaccines (also untested and experimental) forcibly administered to our troops; anthrax vaccines and several other experimental vaccines, all forcibly administered to our troops like so many laboratory guinea pigs.
Estimates of the number of vets who are sick are just that estimates. Estimates of 50 to 90,000 sick vets are now obsolete. Over 160,000 Gulf War vets have reported to the Gulf War Registry (kept by the Department of Defense which still maintains that the disease does not exist). Dr. Garth Nicolson estimates the number of veterans sick with GWI to be closer to 100,000 to 200,000 with approximately 15,000 dead. This does not include wives, children or other family members, friends or associates (secondary infectees) who are sick, disabled, dying or dead.
By August 15, 1991, 17,000 out of 100,000 reservists and National Guardsmen who served in the Gulf conflict had reported to the VA that they were ill. Four years later (in August 96) that number is likely to have tripled to 51,000, or over half of the total. Joyce Riley estimates that 1/2 of all Desert Stormers may now be positive for Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus). Riley (and the Nicolsons) also estimate that a large percent of all GWI victims may ultimately die from the disease, or suicide.
On 7/31/96, Tony Flint, spokesperson for the British Gulf War Veterans Association, reported that the number of GW veterans deaths in U.K. is l.233 out of 51,000 Brits who participated. Of these deaths, 13% or 162 were from suicide. These are huge numbers of suicide victims who took their lives due to their lack of treatment and incredible pain levels.
Whole families are now ill. Nor do the above numbers include babies which are being born dead or severely deformed like the thalidomide babies of the 50s. Some of the baby deformities are Goldenhar syndrome, wherein babies are born with one or more limbs missing, a missing eye or other deformity. It is now estimated that a large percent of babies born to infected veterans are being born deformed or with birth problems.
The study done for former U.S. Senator Don Riegle (D-MI) concluded that 78% of wives of veterans who are sick are also likely to be sick, that 25% of their children born before the war are also likely to be sick, and that 65% of children born to sick Gulf War veterans after the war also are likely to be sick.
The Nicolsons, after listening to health complaints of many veterans of Desert Storm (including their step-daughter, then Staff Sergeant Sharron McMillan, who served with the Armys 101st Airborne Division-Air Assault, in the deep insertions into Iraq), concluded that the symptoms can be explained by aggressive, pathogenic mycoplasma and other microorganism infections.
Mycoplasmas are similar to bacteria. They are a group of small microorganisms, in between the size and complexity of cells and viruses, some of which can invade and burrow very deep into the cell and cause chromic infections. According to the Nicolsons, normal mycoplasma infections produce relatively benign diseases limited to particular tissue sites or organs, such as urinary tract or respiratory infections.
However, the types of mycoplasmas which the Nicolsons have detected in Desert Storm veterans are very pathogenic, colonize in a variety of organs and tissues, and are very difficult to treat. [ED. NOTE: The Nicolsons tested thousands of veterans blood samples (free-of-charge) while at the M.D. Anderson Center].
These mycoplasmas can be detected by a technique the Nicolsons developed called Gene Tracking, whereby the blood is separated into red and white blood cell fractions, and then further fractionated into nucleoproteins that bond to DNA, the genetic material in each cell. Finally, the purified nucleoproteins are probed to determine the presence of specific mycoplasma gene sequences. [ED. NOTE: Obviously this is no ordinary blood test and can only be understood or done by a small handful of pathologists or microbiologists in the world today].
As the Nicolsons wrote in a recent paper entitled Chronic Fatigue Illness and Desert Storm Were Biological Weapons Used Against Our Forces in the Gulf War?: In our preliminary study on a small number of Gulf War veterans and their families, we have found evidence of mycoplasmic infections in about one-half of the patients whose blood we have examined.
Not every Gulf War veteran had the same type of mycoplasma DNA sequences that came from mycoplasmas bound to or inside their white blood cells. Of particular importance, however, was our detection of highly unusual retroviral DNA sequences in the same samples by the same technique. These highly unusual DNA sequences included a portion of the HIV-1 (the AIDS-causing virus) genetic code, the HIV-1 envelope gene, but not the entire HIV-1 viral genomes.
The type of mycoplasma we identified was highly unusual and it almost certainly could not occur naturally. It has one gene from the HIV-1 virus but only one gene. This meant it was almost certainly an artificially modified microbe altered purposely by scientists to make them more pathogenic and more difficult to detect.
Thus these soldiers were not infected with the HIV-1 virus, because the virus cannot replicate with only one HIV-1 envelope gene that we detected. [ED. NOTE: But, infected soldiers do exhibit many of the symptoms of AIDS while testing HIV negative. Garth Nicolson says that Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus) contains about 40% of the HIV virus which causes AIDS. He told this writer on 8/9/96 that some soldiers do test HIV-1 positive, but do not have the HIV virus only the envelope gene product].
Interestingly, the specific DNA sequence that we detected encodes a protein that, when expressed on the surface of the mycoplasma, would enable any myco-plasma to bind to many cell types in the body, and even enter those cells.
Thus this genetic manipulation could render a relatively benign mycoplasma much more invasive and pathogenic and capable of attacking many organ and tissue systems of the body.
Such findings suggest that the mycoplasmas that we have found in Gulf War veterans are not naturally occurring organisms, or to be more specific, they were probably genetically modified or engineered to be more invasive and pathogenic, or quite simply, more potent biological weapons.
In our rather small sample of Gulf War veterans, it seems that the soldiers that were involved in the deep insertions into Iraq and those that were near Saudi SCUD impact zones may be the ones at highest risk for contracting the mycoplasmas that we feel are a major culprit in the Desert Storm-associated chronic fatigue illness. Our preliminary research indicates that the types of mycoplasmas found in some of the Desert Storm veterans with the most severe chronic symptoms may have been altered, probably by genetic manipulation, suggesting strongly that biological weapons were used in Desert Storm.
We consider it quite likely that many of the Desert Storm veterans suffering from the symptoms (described below) may have been infected with microorganisms. Quite possibly aggressive pathogenic mycoplasmas and probably other pathogens such as pathogenic bacteria as well, and this type of multiple infection can produce the chronic symptoms even long after exposure. [ED. NOTE: Three to seven years later, Joyce Riley calls it a time-release form of illness].
[ED. NOTE: Joyce Riley and the Nicolsons believe that the microbe just described is only one of 10 to 15 different microbes or different types of germ warfare that could have been utilized].
Micotoxins are toxins that are associated with fungus. Fungi and micotoxins have long been a very secret carrier of germ warfare agents. Micotoxins are very difficult to destroy with temperature, weather, or anything else.
Mycoplasmas have for many years been studied as potential germ warfare agents. Add a recombinant DNA to the mycoplasma such as the HIV envelope gene, and youve got a very virulent form of disease that is going to be passed easily throughout the population.
Mycoplama fermentans (incognitus) (and the other 10 to 15 microbes the Nicolsons believe could have been used by Saddam) are easily manufactured and have been made for the past 15 years in America, Russia, Iraq, China, Israel and even in Libyas new biological (germ) warfare facilities.
One of the more ominous aspects of GWI is that the microorganism is communicable between humans and dogs and cats (and presumably other animals). Veterans pets are coming down with the GWI symptoms and dying. Remember one of the Nicolsons cats contracted it and died. So, the disease is contagious between species. As Joyce Riley has said, The fact that the disease is being transmitted from people to animals is almost unprecedented. To find an organism that can be transmitted to animals is truly frightening.
In England, a viral researcher friend says that he has treated a number of people with the human form of Mad Cow Disease which he says has many common characteristics with GWI. Remember, most of the cattle herd of England had to be destroyed because of Mad Cow Disease. The British researcher says he is presently seeing (and treating) dozens of new, never-before-seen viruses in the U.K.
There is a large list of signs and symptoms which can begin from six months to six or seven years from the time of exposure, and once they begin, can get progressively worse until the victim is partially or totally disabled, or dies. [ED. NOTE: With severe exposure to heavy doses of biologicals, the symptoms can show up in a few days]. These symptoms include (not listed in order of severity or frequency): (1) Chronic fatigue; (2) Frequent (or constant) throwing up and diarrhea; (3) Severe weight loss (wasting away) very similar to an AIDS patient; (4) Severe joint pains; (5) Headaches that dont go away; (6) Memory loss, concentration loss the brain begins to go; (7) Inability to sleep [ED. NOTE: Severe sleep disorders are one of the worst and most frequent symptoms. Victims often sleep in the day, awake at night, or dont sleep for days or weeks]; (8) A rash on the stomach, groin, back, face, arms often looks like a giant ring worm. Whole families often get the rash; (9) Lymph nodes begin to swell; (10) Nervous system problems begin to appear (Parkinson-like symptoms, numbness and tingling around the body which can degenerate into paralysis and death); (11) Night sweats; (12) Bizarre tumors many brain stem tumors; [ED. NOTE: the active duty tumor rate in the U.S. military has increased 600% since 1990, according to data obtained from the Veterans Admini-stration. This data is available from Joyce Riley at the American Gulf War Veterans Association, 3506 Highway 6 South #117, Sugarland, TX 77478-4401 (1-713-587-5437)]; (13) Bizarre personality changes (victims become violent, have wide mood swings, severe depression, they hibernate in a dark room, begin to drink heavily, use drugs, become violently angry. Denial is a major facet of the disease; (14) Cant work often go bankrupt; (15) A large number of victims (perhaps 50%) end up committing suicide. GWI victims are walking time bombs!
Many of the symptoms are similar to AIDS because they are both immuno- suppressive and attack the immune system. Most victims will have half to two-thirds of these symptoms (some more severe than others). Wives married to GWI victims are likely to get the disease via sex and other close contact, and their symptoms can even include cervical cancer, ovarian cysts, ovarian tumors, endometriosis, painful intercourse, chlamydia, and herpes (sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] but with no extra-marital sexual activity). About 90% of the wives of veterans who are sick with GWI are now complaining of these symptoms.
When Joyce Riley had the disease she had some of the above symptoms in addition to the following symptomology: (1) She felt like a part of the body (like a foot, a leg, a calf, an arm) was missing; (2) She felt like a pan of hot water had been splashed on her one side of her body burned; (3) She felt like a foot was in ice; (4) She had bone pain, muscle pain (like a cramp or charley horse that doesnt let up for weeks); (5) She had central nervous system symptoms (knife-like pain from the upper back to tailbone).
Bleeding and hemorrhaging are symptoms associated with GWI. In Ebola Zaire, the body bleeds out in about 48 hours. Ebola Riston (a variation of Ebola Zaire) takes about two years to cause death with severe bleeding. A number of Gulf War vets who have called Joyce Riley have told her that they are bleeding from every orifice of their body. And their doctors dont have a clue as to what is happening they just know they dont have long to live. [ED. NOTE: She gets dozens of calls each day].
The Ebola Riston virus is a version of the Ebola Zaire virus (which may have been laboratory produced) but it takes about two years or more to kill a victim, beginning with the onset of the symptoms, versus 48 hours for Ebola Zaire. [ED. NOTE: Readers of this report are strongly encouraged to buy and read the book, The Hot Zone and rent the movie Outbreak both of which deal with the Ebola Zaire virus. However, in the real world, Ebola did not come from an African monkey, cave or rain forest but probably from a biological warfare laboratory].
Lekoencephalopathy is similar to Mad Cow disease the brain dissolves! It is now spreading among the populace of England. 25 to 30-year-old paratroopers are now dying of lekoencephalopathy. Other symptoms of GWI include: recurring fever, menstrual disorders, stomach upsets and cramps, heart pain, kidney pain, thyroid problems, and in extreme cases, autoimmune-like disorders such as those that lead to paralysis.
Many GWI victims are getting medical diagnoses of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or Guillian Barre Syndrome, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrings Disease), their neurological problems eventually lead to paralysis and death. Thousands of Gulf War vets are now being diagnosed as having MS when they really have GWI.
The reason for the autoimmune symptoms maybe related to the cell penetrating mycoplasmas and bacteria of GWI. When these microorganisms proliferate and leave the cell, they can take a piece of the cells membrane with it, resulting in host immune responses against the microorganisms as well as the normal parts of membrane associated with the microorganism. This type of response is called a concomitant immune response.
In August 95, researchers at the University of Glasgow released a report entitled, Neurological Dysfunction in Gulf War Syndrome, which was published in the March 96 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry which said, The results between the two groups [Desert Storm vets and non-military control group] showed significant differences between the two groups in terms of nervous system function. The Gulf War veterans performed less well. They all displayed the classic symptoms of nerve damage.
Graves Disease (a disease of the thyroid) is another problem or symptom associated ith mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus) infection. If it settles in the wheart, then you can get a severe enlargement and necrosis (or degeneration) of the heart, and in some autopsies of GWI victims, the coroner says, their heart exploded.
The most severely affected (sickest) units in our military are the 101st Airborne, the 82nd Airborne, and the Big Red One out of Ft. Riley, Kansas, and the 3rd and 5th Special Forces.
[ED. NOTE: 99.9% of the medical doctors in America cant recognize GWI, dont believe it even exists because of the government and medical establishment saying it doesnt exist, would have no idea how to test for it and even less idea how to treat it. Most alternate medical practitioners are in the same boat although many of them would try detoxification and immune system therapy which would be helpful. These are answers (if the disease is not too far advanced) both in the tradition (mainline) medical area and in the alternate medicine field which will be discussed in Section VI below. If you or a family member reading this report are discouraged at this point, turn to Section VI on Methods of Treatment before continuing].
Life (11/95) featured a special report entitled: The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm, which described in heart-rending detail (with numerous photos) how the children of our veterans are being born with horrendous disfiguring birth defects. The article was subtitled, When our soldiers risked their lives in the Gulf, they never imagined that their children might suffer the consequences or that their country would turn its back on them.
In the months and years following Desert Storm, thousands of babies have been born to vets with horrible deformities (missing limbs, one eye, missing ears, incomplete or missing organs reminiscent of the Thalidomide babies of the 1950s but in far greater numbers. [ED. NOTE: Thalidomide was another experimental drug (administered to pregnant mothers) which went awry].
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense is working overtime to cover up the crisis with Gulf War babies, denying it exists, denying benefits or medical assistance to veterans with birth defected children, and even going so far as to censor the Life article cited above off of the Internet.
Dr. William Campbell Douglass is the editor of the Second Opinion newsletter and author of the book, Who Killed Africa (about how the World Health Organization smallpox inoculations may have triggered the AIDS epidemic in Africa). Dr. Douglass, a close friend of this writer, wrote in his January 1994 newsletter regarding Gulf War Illness: The symptoms are now having serious repercussions. Half or more of the babies born to Gulf War vets since the war have had some sort of birth defect or blood disorder.
Nation Magazine (1/95) estimates that 67% of babies being born to Gulf War vets who are ill are having serious birth problems. Over half of the babies now being born in Iraq today have deformities or major birth defects, according to reports Dr. Garth and Nancy Nicolson have received.
According to the Life Magazine article: In 1975, a landmark Swedish study concluded that low-level exposure to nerve and mustard gases could cause both chronic illness and birth defects. The Pentagon denies the presence of such chemicals during the Gulf War. [ED. NOTE: Even though over 18,000 chemical alarms sounded during the Gulf War] but the Czech and British governments say their troops detected both kinds of gas during the war. A 1994 report by the General Accounting Office says that: American soldiers were exposed to 21 potential reproductive toxicants, any of which might have harmed them or their future children.
A number of examples of babies born to Gulf War vets with devastating birth defects were cited in the Life Magazine article:
1) Kennedi Clark (Age 4) Born to Darrell (an Army paratrooper in the Gulf War) and Shona Clark. Kennedis face is grotesquely swollen sprinkled with red, knotted lumps. She was born without a thyroid. If not for daily hormone treatments, she would die. What disfigures her features, however, is another congenital condition: hemangiomas, benign tumors made of tangled red blood vessels. Since she was a few weeks old, they have been popping up all over on her eyelids, lips, etc.
(2) Lea Arnold (Age 4) Born to Richard and Lisa Arnold. Richard was a civilian helicopter mechanic (working for Lockheed) with the Armys 1st Cavalry Division during the Gulf War. Lea was born with spina bifida, a split in the backbone that causes paralysis and hydrocephalus (i.e. water on the brain). She needed surgery to remove three vertebrae. Today, she cannot move her legs or roll over. A shunt drains the fluid from her skull. Her upper body is so weak that she cannot push herself in a wheelchair on carpeting. To strengthen her bones, she spends hours in a contraption that holds her upright. Just about our whole world is centered around Lea, says Lisa Arnold. Huge medical bills and the unwillingness of insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions force the family to live in poverty in order to qualify for Medicaid.
(3) Casey Minns (Age 3) Born to Army Sgt. Brad and Marilyn Minns. Casey was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, characterized by a lopsided head and spine. His left ear is missing, his digestive tract (i.e. esophagus) was disconnected. Trying to repair his damaged organs, surgeons at Walter Reed Army Medical Center damaged his vocal chords and colon, says Brad and Marilyn. His parents feed and remove his wastes through holes in his belly. His mother Marilyn, says, Sometimes it just overwhelms me, but I try to take it one day at a time.. its made worse by people who say that Gulf War Syndrome doesnt existtheyre turning their backs on us.
(4) Michael Ayers (Died at 5 Months of Age) Born to Glenn (a battery commander in the Gulf War) and Melanie Ayers. Michael was born with a mitral-valve defect in his heart. He sweat constantly until the night h woke up screaming, his arms and legs ice-cold. he died that night of congestive heart failure. As Life Magazine wrote: After Michaels death, Melanie sealed off his bedroom; she tried to close herself off as well. But soon she began to encounter a shocking number of other parents whose post-Gulf War children had been born with abnormalities. All of them were desperate to know what had gone wrong and whether they would ever again be able to bear healthy babies. With Kim Sullivan, an artillery captains wife whose infant son, Matthew, had died of a rare liver cancer, Melanie founded an informal network of fellow sufferers. Kim is here. So is Connie Hanson, wife of an Army sergeant her son, Jayce, was born with multiple deformities. Army Sgt. John Mabus has brought along his babies Zachary and Andrew who suffer from an incomplete fusion of the skull. The people in this room have turned to one another because they can no longer rely upon the military.
(5) Cedrick Miller (Age 4) Born to Steve (a former Army medic in the Gulf War) and Bianca Miller. Cedrick was born with his trachea and esophagus fused; despite surgery, his inability to hold down solid food has kept his weight to 20 pounds. His internal problems include hydrocephalus and a heart in the wrong place. Cedrick suffers, like Casey Minns, from Goldenhars Syndrome. The left half of his face is shrunken, with a missing ear and blind eye.
(6) Jayce Hanson (Age 4) Born to Paul (a Gulf War vet) and Connie Hanson. Jayce was born with hands and feet attached to twisted stumps. He also had a hole in his heart, a hemophilia-like blood condition, and underdeveloped ear canals ..a cherubic, rambunctious blond, hes the unofficial poster boy of the Gulf War babies seen by millions in People Magazine. But since his last major public appearance, he has undergone a change. His lower legs are missing. Doctors recently amputated his legs at the knees to make it easier to fit him with prosthetics. Hell say once in a while, My feet are gone, says his mother Connie, but he has been a real trooper.
(7) Alexander Albuck (Age 3) Born to Lieutenant and Kelli Albuck after two miscarriages. Alexander was born with underdeveloped lungs, Strep B infection, spinal meningitis, cranial hemorrhage, collapsed heart valve, calcium deposits in the kidneys, bleeding ulcers, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing impairments, bronchia pulmonary dysphasia, etc. Having exhausted the lifetime limit on their health insurance in the first three months, the Albucks because responsible for paying for his treatment. The first bill they received was for $154,319!
There are thousands of young children like Kennedi, Lea, Casey, Michael, Cedrick, Jayce, and Alexander (the tiny victims of Desert Storm) who have been born to Gulf War vets with horrible birth defects or who have died from these deformities. The government (especially the Defense Department) denies that the problem exists and no government medical or financial assistance is forthcoming unless a parent is still in the military (and over 2/3 of the Gulf War vets have been separated from duty since Operation Desert Storm).
As Life wrote: For parents of these children, the going is grim. They are denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. They are being driven into poverty. Some join the welfare line so Medicaid will help with the impossible burden. You could be a millionaire, and there is no way you could take care of one of these children, says Lisa Arnold.
Because the U.S. government and military will not help, a Gulf War Baby Registry has been formed (in Orlando, Florida) by Dr. Betty Bekdeci to track as best as possible the birth defected children. Call 1-800-313-2232 for more information.
Read more here:
Posted: August 19, 2016 at 4:08 am
Strings of code were released to the Internet by a group calling themselves “the Shadow Brokers”. They claim the code is a tool that can be used to hack into any computer. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)
Some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agencys elite group of hackers have been revealed in recent days, a development that could pose severe consequences for the spy agencys operations and the security of government and corporate computers.
A cache of hacking tools with code names such as Epicbanana, Buzzdirection and Egregiousblunder appeared mysteriously online over the weekend, setting the security world abuzz with speculation over whether the material was legitimate.
The file appeared to be real, according to former NSA personnel who worked in the agencys hacking division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO).
Without a doubt, theyre the keys to the kingdom, said one former TAO employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal operations. The stuff youre talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad.
Said a second former TAO hacker who saw the file: From what I saw, there was no doubt in my mind that it was legitimate.
[National Security Agency plans major reorganization]
The file contained 300 megabytes of information, including several exploits, or tools for taking control of firewalls in order to control a network, and a number of implants that might, for instance, exfiltrate or modify information.
The exploits are not run-of-the-mill tools to target everyday individuals. They are expensive software used to take over firewalls, such as Cisco and Fortinet, that are used in the largest and most critical commercial, educational and government agencies around the world, said Blake Darche, another former TAO operator and now head of security research at Area 1 Security.
The software apparently dates back to 2013 and appears to have been taken then, experts said, citing file creation dates, among other things.
Whats clear is that these are highly sophisticated and authentic hacking tools, said Oren Falkowitz, chief executive of Area 1 Security and another former TAO employee.
Several of the exploits were pieces of computer code that took advantage of zero-day or previously unknown flaws or vulnerabilities in firewalls, which appear to be unfixed to this day, said one of the former hackers.
The disclosure of the file means that at least one other party possibly another countrys spy agency has had access to the same hacking tools used by the NSA and could deploy them against organizations that are using vulnerable routers and firewalls. It might also see what the NSA is targeting and spying on. And now that the tools are public, as long as the flaws remain unpatched, other hackers can take advantage of them, too.
[Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump]
The NSA did not respond to requests for comment.
Faking this information would be monumentally difficult, there is just such a sheer volume of meaningful stuff, Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, said in an interview. Much of this code should never leave the NSA.
The tools were posted by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers using file-sharing sites such as BitTorrent and DropBox.
As is typical in such cases, the true identity of whoever put the tools online remains hidden. Attached to the cache was an auction note that purported to be selling a second set of tools to the highest bidder: !!! Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it !!!! How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons?
The group also said that if the auction raised 1 million bitcoins equivalent to roughly $500million it would release the second file to the world.
The auction is a joke, Weaver said. Its designed to distract. Its total nonsense. He said that bitcoin is so traceable that a Doctor Evil scheme of laundering $1 million, let alone $500 million, is frankly lunacy.
One of the former TAO operators said he suspected that whoever found the tools doesnt have everything. The stuff they have there is super-duper interesting, but it is by far not the most interesting stuff in the tool set, he said. If you had the rest of it, youd be leading off with that, because youd be commanding a much higher rate.
TAO, a secretive unit that helped craft the digital weapon known as Stuxnet, has grown in the past decade or so from several hundred to more than 2,000 personnel at the NSAs Fort Meade, Md., headquarters. The group dates to the early 1990s. Its moniker, Tailored Access Organization, suggests a precision of technique that some officials have likened to brain surgery. Its name also reflects how coding whizzes create exquisite tools from scratch, in the same way a fine tailor takes a bolt of wool and fashions a bespoke suit only the computer geeks more often work in jeans and T-shirts. We break out the Nerf guns and have epic Nerf gun fights, one of the former hackers said.
Some former agency employees suspect that the leak was the result of a mistake by an NSA operator, rather than a successful hack by a foreign government of the agencys infrastructure.
When NSA personnel hack foreign computers, they dont move directly from their own covert systems to the targets, fearing that the attack would be too easy to trace. They use a form of proxy server called a redirector that masks the hackers origin. They use one or more such servers to make it difficult to trace a hack.
NSA is often lurking undetected for years on the … [proxy hops] of state hackers, former agency contractor Edward Snowden tweeted Tuesday. This is how we follow their operations.
[Edward Snowden, the brand]
At the same time, other spy services, like Russias, are doing the same thing to the United States.
It is not unprecedented for a TAO operator to accidentally upload a large file of tools to a redirector, one of the former employees said. Whats unprecedented is to not realize you made a mistake, he said. You would recognize, Oops, I uploaded that set and delete it.
Critics of the NSA have suspected that the agency, when it discovers a software vulnerability, frequently does not disclose it, thereby putting at risk the cybersecurity of anyone using that product. The file disclosure shows why its important to tell software-makers when flaws are detected, rather than keeping them secret, one of the former agency employees said, because now the information is public, available for anyone to employ to hack widely used Internet infrastructure.
Snowden, Weaver and some of the former NSA hackers say they suspect Russian involvement in the release of the cache, though no one has offered hard evidence. They say the timing in the wake of high-profile disclosures of Russian government hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other party organizations is notable.
Tweeted Snowden: Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. He said that the disclosure is likely a warning that someone can prove U.S. responsibility for any attacks that originated from this redirector or malware server by linking it to the NSA.
This could have significant foreign policy consequences, he said in another tweet. Particularly if any of those operations targeted U.S. allies or their elections.
Accordingly, he tweeted, this may be an effort to influence the calculus of decision-makers wondering how sharply to respond to the DNC hacks.
In other words, he tweeted, it looks like somebody sending a message that retaliating against Russia for its hacks of the political organizations could get messy fast.
WikiLeaks, NSA leaker Edward Snowden clash on Twitter
The NSAs phone records program is over. That doesnt mean the data it collected is gone.
In a major cyber-hack, whom do you call? The White House spells it out.
Follow this link:
Powerful NSA hacking tools have been revealed online – The …
Posted: August 12, 2016 at 2:42 pm
Cyberpunk (en sammansttning, s kallat teleskopord, av cybernetik och punk) r en genre inom science fiction med fokus p datorer eller informationsteknik, och ibland en degenerering av samhllet. Historierna i cyberpunklitteratur kretsar ofta kring konflikten mellan hackare, artificiell intelligens och megabolag i en snar framtid p jorden. Denna framtids stder prglas ofta av dystopiska knnetecken men ven av en extraordinr energi och mngfald. Det r resultatet av sjlvkorrigering i science fiction-genren, som traditionellt sett hade ignorerat betydelsen av informationsteknik.[frtydliga]
Cyberpunkfrfattare tenderar att anvnda sig av inslag frn hrdkokta deckare, film noir, japansk anime och postmodern prosa. De beskriver den nihilistiska, underjordiska sidan av det digitala samhllet som brjade utvecklas under 1900-talets tv sista decennier. Cyberpunks dystopiska vrld har kallats fr antitesen till de utopiska science fiction-visionerna frn mitten av 1900-talet som Star Trek var ett praktexempel p.
Termen myntades ursprungligen 1980 av Minnesota-frfattaren Bruce Bethke fr hans novell “Cyberpunk”, som frst publicerades i Amazing Science Fiction Stories (volym 57, nummer 4, november 1983), men den kom snabbt att anvndas som en beteckning fr verk av Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, Michael Swanwick och andra, som Gardner Dozois anvnde denna beteckning fr i sin Washington Post-artikel “SF in the Eighties” 1984.
I cyberpunklitteratur utspelar sig en stor del av handlingen online, i cyberspace – den klara grnsen mellan det verkliga och den virtuella verkligheten blir suddig. En typisk (dock ej universell) egenskap i genren r en direkt koppling mellan den mnskliga hjrnan och datorsystem.
Cyberpunkvrlden r en ondskefull, mrk och dystopisk plats med ntverksanslutna datorer som dominerar varje aspekt av livet. Gigantiska multinationella fretag har ersatt regeringar som maktcenter. Den alienerade outsiderns kamp mot ett totalitrt system r ett vanligt tema inom science fiction, men i konventionell sdan tenderade dessa system att vara sterila, ordnade och statskontrollerade. I skarp kontrast visar cyberpunk den moraliskt degraderade baksidan av fretagsstyrda samhllssystem och desillusionerade rebellers kamp mot detta. Protagonisterna i cyberpunklitteratur inkluderar ofta datorhackare och krigare inspirerade av japansk anime, inklusive cyborgs, samurajer (ronins) och ninjor. Dessa huvudpersoner tskiljs frn andra av deras ovrdade sprk, uppskattning av konst, och skurkaktiga charm. Hjltarna r skurkartade – aldrig vlfriserade “good guys”.
Cyberpunklitteratur tenderar att vara starkt dystopisk och pessimistisk. Det r ofta en metafor fr nutiden, med reflektioner kring storbolag, rovdrift p naturen, korruption i regeringar och alienation. En del frfattare har ocks som avsikt att lta sina verk utgra varningar fr mjliga framtidsscenarion som kan vara konsekvenser av nuvarande utvecklingsriktningar. Som sdan r cyberpunk ofta skriven med avsikten att gra lsaren oroad och f honom eller henne att gra ngot.
Cyberpunkhistorier ses av vissa teoretiker som fiktiva prognoser fr utvecklingen av Internet. Internets virtuella vrld frekommer ofta i cyberpunk under olika namn, inklusive “cyberspace”, “the Metaverse” (som i Neal Stephensons Snow Crash) och “the Matrix” (ursprungligen frn Doctor Who, och senare i William Gibsons Neuromancer, men nnu mer populariserad i rollspelet Shadowrun och senare av filmen The Matrix).
Bland fregngarna till genren kan bland annat Aldous Huxley som skrev Du skna nya vrld 1932 och George Orwell som 1948 skrev 1984 nmnas. Andra exempel r Alfred Bester, som skrev The Stars My Destination (Tiger! Tiger!) 1956 och William S. Burroughs som skrev Den nakna lunchen 1959 och Den mjuka maskinen 1961.
K. W. Jeter, som skrev Dr. Adder (publicerad p 1980-talet men skriven tidigare) anses vara den som myntade begreppet steampunk. Roger Zelazny skrev romanen Dream Maste], som han utvecklade frn sin kortroman He Who Shapes. Vernor Vinge, som skrev True Names 1981, var en av de frsta som skrev om cyberspace.
Philip K. Dicks Androidens drmmar frn 1968 filmatiserades 1982 som Blade Runner. David Drake (Lacey and His Friends, 1974), John Brunner (The Shockwave Rider, 1975), John M. Ford (Web of Angels, 1980) r ngra andra fregngare till genren.
“Allt som kan gras mot en rtta kan gras mot en mnniska. Och vi kan gra nstan vad som helst mot rttor. Det r svrt att tnka sig, men det r sant. Det frsvinner inte om vi blundar. Det r cyberpunk.” /Bruce Sterling
William Gibson med sin roman Neuromancer (1984) r frmodligen den mest knda frfattaren frknippad med termen cyberpunk. Han betonade stil, karaktrsutveckling och atmosfr framfr traditionellt science fiction-sprk, och Neuromancer belnades med tre stora utmrkelse: Hugo Award, Nebula Award och Philip K. Dick Memorial Award. Andra vlknda cyberpunkfrfattare inkluderar Bruce Sterling (som var rrelsens chefsideolog med sitt fanzine Cheap Truth), Rudy Rucker, Pat Cadigan, Walter Jon Williams och Neal Stephenson.
Raymond Chandler med sin bleka, cyniska vrldssyn och ‘staccato’-prosa hade starkt inflytande p skaparna av genren. Cyberpunkvrlden r den dystopiska, hopplsa film noir-vrlden, men knuffad en liten bit in i framtiden. Philip K. Dick hade ocks starkt inflytande p genren; hans verk innehller de terkommande temana socialt frfall, artificiell intelligens och utsuddade grnser mellan verkligheten och ngon sorts virtuell verklighet. Dicks karaktrer r ocks ofta marginaliserade.
Filmen Blade Runner (1982), baserad p Philip K. Dicks Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, utspelar sig i en dystopisk framtid dr syntetiska livsformer har frre rttigheter n vanliga mnniskor. Robocop-serien r i en mer nrbelgen framtid dr ett megabolag, Omni Consumer Products, har stor makt i staden Detroit.
Den kortlivade tv-serien Max Headroom introducerade ocks mnga tittare till genren.
Den japanska manga-skaparen Masamune Shirow skriver ofta i cyberpunk-stil. Hans mest betydelsefulla historier inom genren inkluderar Appleseed, Black Macic M-66 och srskilt Ghost in the Shell, som gjorts till en hyllad anime som p flera niver ifrgastter grnsen mellan liv och simulering. Ghost in the Shell har ocks gjorts till en animeserie fr tv kallad Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
Den nyaste uppfljaren till Ghost in the Shell r Mamoru Oshiis anime-film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence frn 2004. Filmen r en av de mest filosofiska historierna relaterade till artificiellt liv. Berttelsen, fylld med historiska och litterra referenser, “har inte synen att vrlden kretsar kring den mnskliga rasen. I stllet kommer den fram till att alla livsformer – mnniskor, djur och robotar – r likvrdiga” (Mamoru Oshii).
Ett frsk att lista film- och tv-verk som kan klassificeras som cyberpunk fljer nedan.
tminstone tv rollspel med namnet Cyberpunk existerar: Cyberpunk 2020, av R. Talsorian Games, och GURPS Cyberpunk, publicerat av Steve Jackson Games som en modul i GURPS-familjen av rollspel. Cyberpunk 2020 designades med William Gibsons verk i tanke, och till viss utstrckning med hans godknnande, till skillnad frn FASAs mhnda mer kreativa instllning i skapandet av spelet Shadowrun (se nedan). Bda de Cyberpunk-titulerade spelen utspelar sig i en nra framtid, dr cybernetik och datorer r nnu mer vanligt frekommande n idag.
Ett annat cyberpunk-RPG r Cyberspace frn Iron Crown. Bolagskorruption r ett vanligt tema i dessa spelventyr. Karaktrerna kringgr ofta lagen, eller ignorerar den fullstndigt. Nyligen har “d20 Open Gaming Movement” kommit med flera nyheter, inklusive Mongooses d20 Cyberpunk och LRG:s Digital Burn.
1990, i en udda sammanstrlning mellan cyberpunk och verklighet, gjorde amerikanska Secret Service en razzia p Steve Jackson Games hgkvarter under Operation Sundevil och beslagtog alla deras datorer. Detta var – hvdade man – fr att boken till GURPS Cyberpunk kunde anvndas fr att beg datorbrott. Det var inte den egentliga huvudorsaken till razzian[kllabehvs] men efter hndelsen var det fr sent fr att ndra p allmnhetens uppfattning om det intrffade. Steve Jackson Games vann senare, med hjlp av det d nyligen grundade Electronic Frontier Foundation, en rttsprocess mot Secret Service.
En av de mer unika tolkningarna av genren kom 1989 i form av spelerien Shadowrun. Hr r det fortfarande en dystopisk, nra framtid som gller, men det inkluderar ven mnga stora element frn fantasylitteratur och fantasyspel, till exempel magi, alver och drakar. Shadowruns cyberpunksidor var till stor del modellerade efter William Gibsons verk, och spelets utgivare, FASA, har anklagats av mnga fr att ha snott Gibsons arbete utan att ens ha citerat honom som en influens. Gibson sjlv rapporteras inte ha varit srskilt imponerad av inkluderandet av fantasyelement i uppenbart derivativa miljelement och berttartekniker som han hade lagt grunden fr. Likvl introducerade Shadowrun mnga personer till genren och r fortfarande populrt n idag bland gamers.
Rollspelet Torg (utgivet av West End Games inkluderade en variant p en cyberpunkmilj (eller “cosm”) kallad Cyberpapacy. Denna var ursprungligen en medeltida religis dystopi som undergick en pltslig “Tech Surge”. I stllet fr stora bolag eller korrupta regeringar dominerades Cyberpapacy av “False Papacy of Avignon”. I stllet fr ett Internet tog sig hackare fram p “GodNet”, ett datorsystem fullt av religis symbolik och hem fr nglar, demoner och andra bibliska figurer.
Det finns ven ett svenskt rollspel vrt att nmnas, nmligen Neotech frn NeoGames. Sjlva spelet utgr frn r 2059 d vrlden r i upplsningstillstnd. USA har splittrats i ett blodigt inbrdeskrig, Sibirien har slagit sig fritt frn Ryssland och England har isolerats sig och blivit en diktatur. I mot denna bakgrund, samt flera sjuka hndelser som visar att allt kan kpas fr pengar, utspelar sig Neotech. Stderna har ofta en krna av frfall dr de flesta bor. Runt denna frfallna krna bygger sedan fretagen upp sina bostadsorter, fabriker och kontor dr man lever i hrligt ovetande om det lidande som pgr i stadskrnan. Som brukligt i Cyberpunk har megafretagen i stort sett all makt. De f starka regeringar som finns kvar lever under stndigt tryck frn fretagen som bara vntar p rtt tillflle att f kpa upp landet ifrga. En rolig sidonotering r att Skandinavien framstlls som ett rttvisans och frihetens land, som en sista utpost mot megafretagen.
Svenska ventyrsspel slppte 1989 en uppdaterad version av sitt klassiska rollspel Mutant. Detta “Nya” Mutant (ven knt som Mutant 2089 eller mer informellt “Nya Mutant”) var starkt influerat av cyberpunkvgen. Spelvrlden var omgjort till ett mrkt framtidssamhlle dr befolkning lever ihoptrngd i Megacities (jttestora stder) som kontrolleras av megakorporationer (allomfattande storfretag).
Ett annat anmrkningsvrt RPG baserat p cyberpunk r Uplink, skapat av Introversion Software 2002, i vilket spelaren jobbar som en frilansande hackare r 2010 och jobbar fr olika bolag. Uppdragen varierar frn stld av filer frn konkurrerande fretag till det slutliga uppdraget dr spelaren ska frska att antingen frstra Internet eller rdda det frn total frstrelse.
Netrunner r ett samlarkortspel introducerat 1996, baserat p Cyberpunk 2020.
Datorspel har ofta anvnd cyberpunk som en inspirationsklla. De vanligaste av dessa r System Shock-serien, Deus Ex-serien och Shadowrun-videospelen.
En ovanlig undergenre till cyberpunk r steampunk, som utspelar sig i en anakronistisk Viktoriansk milj, men med cyberpunks bleka film noir-vrldssyn. The Difference Engine (av William Gibson och Bruce Sterling) var antagligen den bok som hjlpte till med att bringa denna genre till frgrunden.
En uppkommande genre kallad postcyberpunk fortstter med koncentrationen p datorers effekt, men utan antagandet om dystopi eller betoningen p cybernetiska implantat.
Cyberprep r en term som reflekterar den motsatta sidan av cyberpunk.
Under det tidiga 1990-talet dk biopunk upp, dr namnet r en sammanslagning av bioteknik och punk. Det r en derivativ undergenre som i stllet fr informationsteknik bygger p biologi, det andra dominerande vetenskapliga omrdet vid slutet av 1900-talet. Individer frndras inte med hjlp av mekaniska ting utan genom genetisk manipulation. Paul Di Filippo anses vara den mest framstende biopunk-frfattaren. Exempel p biopunk r filmerna Gattaca och The Island.
Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:49 am
by Dr. Randal A. Koene
SIM, the concept of substrate-independent minds. We call a mind substrate-independent when its self-same functions that carry out thinking processes can be implemented through the operations available in a number of different computational platforms. For example, if we can carry out the function of a mind both in a biological brain and in a brain that is composed of computer software or neuromorphic hardware (a hardware architecture with design principles based on biological neural systems), then that mind is substrate-independent. The mind continues to depend on a substrate to exist and to operate, but there are substrate choices.
The goal of substrate-independence is to continue personality, individual characteristics, a manner of experiencing and a personal way of processing those experiences. Your identity, your memories can then be embodied physically in many ways. They can also be backed up and operate robustly on fault-tolerant hardware with redundancy schemes. Achieving substrate-independence will allow us to optimize the operational framework (i.e., the hardware) to challenges posed by novel circumstances and different environments. But where did all this start? How did this particular concept of SIM and the organized efforts seeking to accomplish it come about?
The term Substrate-Independent Minds (SIM) is fairly recent. Many of the core ideas have been previously referred to by the terms mind uploading or off-loading. Unfortunately, those older terms have also led to some confusion, especially among those new to the ideas. Why “uploading”, why not “downloading” or “off-loading”? I have heard all three terms used with regards to memory. And in each case, those terms really only describe the act of moving data from one storage location to another. Storage does not tell us anything about the use of that data. In this sense, taking a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of a brain could constitute “uploading”. The most important part of the objective is of course that data is not simply recorded, but used to re-implement functions of mind. The objective is to carry on the functions of a specific mind. A re-implementation of functions must operate on some substrate, but when you can do this in a number of sufficiently powerful computational substrates then the mind has become substrate-independent in that way. We call that a substrate-independent mind, a SIM – which is the objective.
Mind uploading is a process, and that is what the term is now used for. By convention, we refer to mind uploading as the process by which that which constitutes a specific mind is transferred from one substrate (especially the biological brain) to another substrate (e.g., an implementation in-silico).
Beyond the process of moving to other substrates, we are especially interested in enhancement of the mind. We seek to achieve far greater adaptability and therefore greater competitive strength in a wide range of challenging circumstances. This goal is more than preservation or life-extension. I paid special attention to that aspect of SIM in “Pattern survival versus Genesurvival” (R.A. Koene, KurzweilAI.net, 2011). Enhancement or augmentation is where the multidisciplinary requirements for SIM intersect with research and development of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) or brain-computer interfaces (BCI). As a brain-machine interface, SIM enables increasingly intimate man-machine merger that integrates with us the capabilities of our creations.
There are numerous technological proposals for the accomplishment of SIM (R.A. Koene, International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 2012). At present count, there are at least six main tracks. Our understanding is still limited with regards to the manner in which fundamental computational elements of the brain participate in the vast interaction of concurrent processes from which mind emerges. For the vast majority of tasks that a mind can deal with, we do not understand the top-down set of strategies at each level of processing. For this reason, high-level approaches that begin with abstract assumptions about functions of mind and how those might be recorded and recreated are difficult to justify and validate.
Someday, extremely insightful methods of uploading from a biological mind to a SIM may be feasible and well-supported. And it may become possible to convert or compile functions of mind that were generated by processes in the neurophysiology directly into a form that is optimized to make use of the features of the target platform, while still achieving at least equivalent and satisfactory re-implementation of the specific mind. That is not yet feasible.
At present, nearly everyone who is actively working in the field of SIM and in closely related domains takes a much more conservative approach. That approach is to faithfully re-implement by emulating the basic computational functions carried out by elements of the neurophysiology, while at the same time faithfully re-implementing the connectivity as it exists between those elements in the neuroanatomy. The problem is decomposed into much smaller physical pieces for which so-called system identification must be feasibly carried out. At that level, there are still suppositions about scope and resolution that need to be tested. E.g., do ensembles of neurons, individual spiking neurons, morphologically detailed neurons, or molecular processes in synaptic channels attain the requisite resolution for emulation? Still, the acquisition and recreation of function and structure are feasible with understanding at a level within reach of current neuroscience, and with tools that we can construct today. In 2000, I named this approach descriptively as Whole Brain Emulation (WBE). The term caught on and was eventually adopted by related research aspirations, where it is sometimes abbreviated to “brain emulation” if the whole brain is not the scope of a project.
On the other tracks to SIM, significant practical work is also taking place to develop neural interfaces and brain-machine interfaces. Such interfaces, may provide a path of Augmentation up to SIM. It is an interesting possibility, because that path is highly incremental. We have always augmented ourselves with tools, and not just by relying on computer networks and smart phones. Today, we already see that a prosthesis can help an individual outperform the unaugmented. This is the case with Oscar Pistorius, the famous South African runner who has “Cheetah blades” instead of legs. As in that example, there is a case to be made for BMI as an approach that benefits from market pull.
Imagine introducing simple, non-invasive augmentative technology that lawyers can use in the court room. When that technology gives lawyers who have it an edge, there will be demand. Other professionals, such as those working on stock markets, may then notice the appeal so that the market for augmentation expands. In addition to breadth, competition in the market can lead to a need for higher bandwidth integration and interfacing. Once there, you begin to bump into the same questions that need solving for technological advances that achieve SIM.
The core idea, that the significant aspects of a person’s mental life can persist when properly transferred from body to machine, from machine to machine, or from body to body has been around for a long while. In those early forms, it was a fancy and a fantasy, the purview of magical transformations. With the scientific renaissance, modern philosophy and psychology, thought experiments along the same lines became more refined, and by the middle of the 20th century, serious science fiction writers were incorporating in their stories some ideas that quite closely resemble the current conceptions of mind uploading, whole brain emulation and substrate-independent minds.
My own thinking was influenced by reading “The City and the Stars” (A.C. Clarke, 1956), a 1956 re-write by science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke of his first novel. In the story, the inhabitants of the city Diaspar take turns having 1000 year intervals of active life between periods of stasis in which they are stored as data patterns in the city’s computer. Either shortly before or shortly after I read that story, sometime in 1984, was when I decided that substrate-independent minds would be the objective I needed to achieve first. (According to my thinking at the time, the next mission would require control of matter in the fashion that is now known as nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing.) I have explained the reasons for this elsewhere (R.A. Koene & S. Olson, 2011).
In the early 1990’s, the rise of the Internet began to facilitate the formation of on-line interest groups and communities that would otherwise have had a very difficult time finding their peers on a global scale. One of these interest groups coalesced around the concept of mind uploading. A collection of web pages was maintained by Joe Strout, which was most notable for practical ideas about the reconstruction of brains by building compartmental models of neurons from structural scans. Joe Strout, at UCSD at the time, also established a mailing list called the mind uploading research group (MURG).
It is when I discovered and joined that mailing list in 1994 that I first realized that I was not alone. There were some early fellow travelers with the same destination, who understood the difference between impossible projects and ambitious projects, and who were willing to devise practical plans and dedicate their efforts to the necessary actions. The archives of the MURG list and some of the pages that I have retained on the site http://minduploading.org give insight to this period. It is during the early years of that web site and my tenure as curator of the MURG list that Whole Brain Emulation was coined (April 29, 1998) for clarity and in an effort to move from good ideas to feasible projects. The focus on whole brain emulation also distinguished our efforts from approaches that shared many of the same ultimate ambitions, but had different methodological philosophies or different criteria for success (e.g., the Terasem Movement).
In 2007, the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, and in particular Nick Bostrom and Anders Sandberg (a former computational neuroscientist) began to take a serious interest in Whole Brain Emulation. The first Whole Brain Emulation Workshop was convened at Oxford University. The result of this workshop was a technical report on the feasibility of WBE, a first attempt at a roadmap of sorts (A. Sandberg & N. Bostrom, 2008). The report already included key technologies such as the Knife-Edge Scanning Microscope (KESM), the Automatic Tape-Collecting Lathe Ultramicrotome (ATLUM, now called an ATUM) and functional recording work by Peter Passaro.
Thinkers from outside the domains of neuroscience, physics, and engineering wrote about future possibilities that included WBE from the social/philosophical (D.J. Chalmers, 2010) and economic (R. Hanson, 1994) perspectives. Around the time of the 2009 Singularity Summit in New York, I was working on the organization of systematic efforts to bring together the key pieces needed to achieve WBE and SIM. During the summit workshop, we were able to put forward WBE as a transformative technology to be considered and contrasted with Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and its potential existential risks.
In 2010, WBE was for the first time included in the annual conference on Artificial General Intelligence (Lugano, Switzerland). There, I teamed up with Dr. Suzanne Gildert (D-Wave, Vancouver) and we revamped the organizational network around the multidisciplinary research and development efforts toward WBE. We introduced Substrate-Independent Minds (SIM) as a well-defined objective, employing the acronym ASIM for Advancing Substrate-Independent Minds to indicate the purpose of our new action-oriented organization carboncopies.org.
As of this writing, most of those working on SIM are focused on research and tool development aimed at the initial challenge to gain sufficient access to the biological human brain. In those efforts, we now include the world-class expertise of Jeff Lichtman, Ted Berger, Henry Markram, Sebastian Seung, Ed Boyden, George Church, Anthony Zador, Konrad Kording, Clay Reid, their laboratories and many others.
See the original post:
Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:11 am
“Survivalism” Album: Year Zero Length: 4:23 Tempo: 130 BPM Versions: Survivalism Survivalism (Instrumental) Survivalism (Radio Edit) Survivalism_Tardusted Survivalism_OpalHeartClinic_Niggy_Tardust!(Escaped… Survivalism (David Sitek Remix) Survivalism (deadmau5 Remix) Live: Performance 2007 through NIN 2014 Europe/UK Tour
“Survivalism” is the third track and the first single from the 2007 album Year Zero.
Survivalism is the belief that one must be prepared to survive a major catastrophe by stocking up on food and weapons. A survivalist therefore is a person who anticipates and prepares for a future disruption in local, regional or worldwide social or political order. Survivalists often prepare for this anticipated disruption by learning skills (e.g., emergency medical training), stockpiling food and water, or building structures that will help them to survive (e.g., an underground shelter).
On March 13, the source files for the song were released in GarageBand format at NIN.com. “Survivalism” is the third NIN song to be officially released as source files”Only” and “The Hand That Feeds” were previously released.
Found on Year Zero as well as the Survivalism single and promo. Characterized by much synthetic layering and a consistent eighth note drum machine pulse, matched by a single note bass riff that begins on the second eighth and ends on the eighth before repeating. This gives the song an apparent metric shift one eighth note forward, though the first downbeat of each measure is actually in the space between the stop and start of the bass and guitar riff. The chorus features many layers of group vocals, including some by Saul Williams. After the final chorus, a new guitar riff leads off a coda that builds in layers of drones until suddenly stopping and leading into “The Good Soldier.”
This unmastered vocal-less mix was released by Reznor through his remix.nin.com account.
A radio-friendly edited version that is found on the Survivalism promo. The word “whore” is edited out.
Included on the Survivalism single and Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, this remix was created by Williams and Thavius Beck. The music isn’t as guitar-driven as the album version and the chorus consists of Reznor’s vocals with Williams’ vocal contributions reduced significantly. The breakdown repeats the lyric “All a part of this great nation.” There is also hand-clap percussion over pulsating beats and some distortion on Reznor’s vocals at some points in the song. Although it may not seem as heavy as the original, it’s still heavy in terms of percussion.
Remix: Saul Williams, Thavius Beck
Available on the UK 9″ Vinyl Survivalism single. This remix, also by Williams, features him incorporating new lyrics into the verses and delivering them with more of a spoken word/hip-hop flow. Reznor’s vocals become backing vocals on this track, allowing Williams to come to the front. The music is very similar to that used in the “Tardusted” version. The new lyrics sung by Williams are as follows:
The spoken word rhythm of this remix has a strong resemblance to Williams’ song “P.G.” from Saul Williams.
David Andrew Sitek is member of TV On The Radio, who opened for Nine Inch Nails during the With Teeth tour. This remix was originally available as a UK-only iTunes download. It came as a free bonus track packaged with the full album download of Year Zero. It is alternatively available on the Capital G single. It is akin to the original song sound-wise, but features a heavier and more plodding drum line. Additionally, it enhances Williams’ back up vocals and makes them more prominent than in the original. The structure and length of the song remains relatively unchanged.
This is a remix by deadmau5, originally released through his official SoundCloud account in 2012, then commercially on his album while(1
On 3/13/07 Garage Band files for Survivalism were released on nin.com. Along with Survivalism, there was another file called Survivalism Our End Trip with some weird sounds. After rearranging the file through a spectogram, this was found. The following case number for Judson Ogram was found:
Filming for the “Survivalism” video began on February 5, 2007. It was directed by Alex Lieu, Rob Sheridan, and Reznor, and produced by Susan Bonds. The video was “leaked” to the internet via flash drives found dotted around the venue by people attending the Nine Inch Nails concert in London on March 7, 2007.
SPOILERS BEGIN A wall of surveillance monitors details the activities of several people in an apartment building. A group of rebels is creating stencils and spray-painting the “Art Is Resistance” logo on walls. In an apartment, a pair of gay lovers share an intimate moment. In another dwelling, a young asian woman stands topless at her mirror doing her hair and applying make-up. Elsewhere someone is high on drugs, while a couple just sits on their couch in their home. A man is seen on a computer with several photos and news clippingsbehind him. Another man is seen on camera eating his dinner. Seen on several monitors is Nine Inch Nails playing the song in what is assumed to be their practice space. Intercut with these scenes is footage of armed soldiers, dressed like SWAT members, moving in on the building and one of the spaces in the video.
At the end of the video the people in the other monitors seem to respond to an ado in one of the spaces seen on the monitor wall. The space where NIN was playing has its door busted in and a pool of blood leading out, while all of the other cameras trained on the band have gone to static. At the very end a body is seen being dragged around a corner, leaving a trail of blood. Presumably the body is that of Reznor, as it wears the same scarf that he is seen wearing throughout the video. END SPOILERS
The video has aired on MTV2, but in a censored form. The screens with the woman at her mirror and the gay lovers have been replaced by a white screen bearing the seal of the US Bureau of Morality and the phrase “CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION.” This is not unlike the use of SCENE MISSING screens in the “Closer” video. Interestingly enough, the word “whore” and the screen depicting the girl using opal are left intact. Even the ending scenes of the pool of blood in the band’s space and the body getting dragged off are retained.
“Survivalism” was played live for the first time at the Razzmatazz in Barcelona, Spain, on February 19, 2007, and since then became a staple song for 2007 performance and all tours that followed. 
Here is a video of the performance in Barcelona.
However, the last lines of the third verse are changed to the following on the actual recording:
Posted: July 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm
What is Censorship in America? Censorship in America is the act of altering, adjusting, editing, or banning of any or all media resulting from the presumption that its content is perceived to be objectionable, incendiary, illicit, or immoral by the Federal Government of the United States. The ideology, methodology, and measures or determination regarding media subject to Censorship in America varies; in conjunction to the precepts expressed within the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, unless the nature of the media in question is in direct violation of American legislation, its Censorship in America will typically undergo judicial review. Media Censorship in America The nature of the term media is subject to substantial variation – the classification of which may be reliant on time period, applicable legislation, and the technological means enacted for its respective disbursement. The following are some examples of varying natures of media with regard to both their respective structures, as well as their subjection to prospective Censorship in America: Public Media Censorship in America A Public Media Broadcast is defined as the transmission of media on the part of a single individual or group via electronic recipients called receivers within wired circuitry responsible for delivering the picture to individual televisions and radios. A radio broadcast is transmitted over amplitude or frequency modulated airwaves, while a television broadcast is transmitted over basic cable or specified television stations. Public Broadcast A Public Broadcast is defined as a transmission of media through the usage of transceivers and/or receivers belonging to the public and regulated by the Federal Government. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governmental branch that is responsible for the regulation of content expressed through media disseminated through the use of publically-owned airwaves; the regulations and stipulations undertaken by the FCC are responsible for the oversight of Censorship in America. Private Broadcast A Private Broadcast is a method of Broadcasting in which the media being transmitted is neither sanctioned, nor regulated by a governmental agency. A vast array means for private broadcast exist with regard to subscription-based media channels and avenues, cable television, Internet Satellite Radio, and private websites on the Internet.Guidelines for Censorship in America Violence and Censorship in America Media involving the promotion or undertaking of criminal activity, threat, malice, or the promotion of illegal and damaging ideas with the intent to cause harm; although there exists a vast amount debate with regards to the depiction of criminal activity for entertainment purposes in contrast to those media outlets that are deemed to glorify that same activity, the law enforcement agencies are responsible for the regulation and classification of such media. Activities Sexual in Nature and Censorship in America Media including pornographic images depicting minors, children, or individuals below the age of 18 is considered to be a very serious offense; this criminal activity is not only applicable to those parties responsible for the release of this nature of media, but also to those individuals in ownership of that material: Furthermore, pornographic images depicting sexual acts involving animals, violence, injury, and simulated relationships illicit and unlawful in nature are also considered to be illegal and subject to Censorship in America Comments
Posted: July 14, 2016 at 4:27 pm
[“Darwinism” and “Darwinist”] suggest a false narrowness to the field of modern evolutionary biology, as though it was the brainchild of a single person 150 years ago, rather than a vast, complex and evolving subject to which many other great figures have contributed
The word Darwinism is shorthand for evolution by natural selection, named after Charles Darwin, the scientist who first developed, popularised and gathered evidence for the theory. The nuances of its use, however, are dependent on who is using the term. Within biology it is synonymous with natural selection, but within creationism it is more of a snarl word.
To creationists and intelligent design proponents, Darwinism is a derogatory phrase used to describe evolution. By retitling natural selection as “Darwinism”, creationists seek to reduce the theory to the level of any other “ism”, and thus no more worthy of teaching than creationism. See the evolutionism article for more.
To most biologists, notably Richard Dawkins for example, Darwinism is simply a synonym for evolution by natural selection. This contrasts it against Lamarckism, which is a competing (but completely discredited) mechanism for evolution – and Dawkins often refers to natural selection as “Darwinian”. Various other permutations of the term bump around the Internet and blogs. Darwinist is used to describe a vocal proponent of evolution, while neo-Darwinism – to differentiate currently accepted theories about evolution with some of Darwin’s original ideas that have turned out to be incorrect. Neo-Darwinism is generally used to refer to the “Modern Evolutionary Synthesis” of Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics. Neo-Darwinism is sometimes contrasted with newer schools of thought such as “evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo),” which seeks to incorporate more findings from molecular genetics and developmental biology into the evolutionary paradigm.
The main problem with this term is that science is about evidence and not personality cults, so naming a branch of science directly after its inventor or discoverer is a dubious practice at best. While great contributors to a field of study are respected, they are not worshipped and revered like gurus.
It is interesting to note how this mentality of describing Darwin as the supposed “worshiped father of evolution” reflects the creationists’ need for a worshiped father figure to be the head of everything. It is like calling any one who accepts gravity exists “Newtonists” or those who accept relativity “Einsteinians” or “Galileans” as if the way that the universe works is a world view, passed down and declared from on high. Although Charles Darwin is a seminal figure in the modern theory of evolution, and his contribution is certainly recognized, there have been over 150 years of advancements since his initial publication of The Origin of Species – the study of evolution has expanded well beyond Darwin’s original works and the ideas he outlined, namely that evolution can now be described in terms of DNA, something that Darwin was unaware of.
While it is certainly true that the “isms” which are based on people’s names (such as Thatcherism, Marxism, and Confucianism) obviously base their thoughts largely or entirely on the writings or thoughts of those individuals, the same cannot be said of “Darwinism”. Therefore to think that a modern evolutionary biologist would hang on every word Darwin said as unchangeable gospel is certainly a parody of science that has no basis in reality.
Posted: July 10, 2016 at 6:07 pm
Oceania is the eighth studio album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, released on June 19, 2012 through EMI, Reprise Records and Martha’s Music. Produced by Billy Corgan and Bjorn Thorsrud, the album is part of the band’s ongoing 44-song box set, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. As of September 2012, Oceania has sold over 102,000 copies in the US.
A live performance of the album, Oceania: Live in NYC, was released on September 24, 2013.
On April 26, 2011, in a video on the band’s Facebook fan page, frontman Billy Corgan announced plans to release Oceania as “an album within an album,” relating to Teargarden by Kaleidyscope which involved releasing songs one by one, for free on the Internet from late 2009, and then releasing them in EPs after claiming that albums are a dead medium. While Oceania may appear to contradict that, Corgan explains:
“I still stand by my view that I don’t think albums are particularly relevant at this time. That may change. But as far as making music…from a writing point of view, it’s really going to focus me to put a group of songs together that are supposed to go together.”
Corgan later admitted that they switched back to the album format because he “…reached a point where I saw that the one-song-at-a-time idea had maxed itself out…I just saw we weren’t getting the penetration in to everybody that I would have hoped.”
The band finished mixing the album on September 18, 2011.
Oceania was the first full-length album recorded with guitarist Jeff Schroeder, and the only album recorded with drummer Mike Byrne and bassist Nicole Fiorentino. The band was supplemented in-studio by an unnamed session keyboardist. Fiorentino had this to say about her role in recording Oceania:
“I think because we are all working together on this record it is naturally going to have a different vibe than any of the other records on which Billy played most of the instruments himself. I think we delved into new territory for sure, but what I love about this record is that it has that familiar old-school Pumpkins feel to it, with a modern twist. The cool thing is he was able to capture the energy of the old material without ripping it off. Billy’s definitely found his way back to whatever he was tapping into when writing Gish and Siamese Dream.”
Guitarist Jeff Schroeder also hinted that the album may be less heavy than past albums, stating “In this day and age, with what’s going on politically and socially, it just feels right to play something that’s a little more spacey and dreamy. We want music to move people on an emotional level.”
In November 2011, the album’s release date was pushed back to spring 2012 and announced via Twitter.
Corgan has said that Oceania is the Pumpkins’ “best effort since Mellon Collie”. Comparing it to his previous works, he said, “it is the first time where you actually hear me escape the old band. I’m not reacting against it or for it or in the shadow of it.” 
In describing Oceania’s theme, Billy Corgan said the album is partly about “people struggling to find a social identity in today’s fast-paced, technology-rich culture”, adding “I think alienation seems to be the key theme alienation in love and alienation in culture,” he says.
Regarding the album’s lyrical content, Corgan noted “If you listen to the lyrics, it was written around some serious relationship strife. When somebody breaks your heart, you can choose to accept, embrace, and forgive them, as opposed to condemn them. I got a few albums out of [sic] condemn! Now I’m working on compassion as a device.”
The album was tentatively scheduled to be released on September 1, 2011, but the release date was pushed to June 19, 2012. On March 27, 2012, EMI/Caroline Distribution announced that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Martha’s Music to release the album on June 19, 2012. In late May 2012, the band announced that they were holding a event called “Imagine Oceania”, requesting fans to take and submit their own photos for the album. On June 12, the album was made available to stream in full via iTunes. The album also became available for full streaming on Spotify, Soundcloud, Spinner, and Ustream. Corgan appeared on The Howard Stern Show on June 19, performing an acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight”. Howard Stern interviewed Corgan for more than an hour and premiered “Violet Rays” from the album. On June 21, 2012, “The Celestials” was released as the album’s first single. They performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on August 23, 2012. “Panopticon” was released as the second single on September 15, 2012. In 2014, the song “My Love is Winter” was featured on the soundtrack for the video game Watch Dogs.
The album cover features the North Shore Sanitary District Tower.
According to Billboard, the album in its first week of release sold 54,000 copies in the US, debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and at number one on the Independent Albums chartmaking it the band’s seventh top 10 album to date. The album has received generally positive reviews, with many reviewers finding Oceania to be a return to form for Corgan. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received thus far an average score of 72, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.RedEye gave the album three stars out of four, saying “Oceania, the first full-length Pumpkins album since 2007’s Zeitgeist, is the best thing Corgan and Co. have produced in quite some time. Longtime fans will hear hints of the grungy, vicious band of the Gish era and also the mellow, almost pop Adore era. It’s a mix that works.” Antiquiet gave album four out of five stars and called it “best Corgan work in a decade”.Gigwise gave the album four stars out of five and praised its production and themes.Toronto Sun gave the album four stars out of five, saying “With Billy Corgan, bigger is better. And his latest projectthe ongoing 44-song Teargarden by Kaleidyscopeis his most ambitious since 2000’s Machina. In keeping, this ‘album-within-an-album’ bears all the classic Pumpkins hallmarks: Searing guitars and busy drums, epic songs and complex arrangements, wistful romanticism and bombastic grandeur. His best work in years.”
PopMatters gave the album seven out of 10 stars, describing the album as “…a spinoff that doesn’t hold the brilliance of an original, but is charismatic in its own right. A more grown-up manifestation of the adolescent self-obsessed gloomy beginnings.”BBC gave the album a positive review, saying “On Oceania Smashing Pumpkins sound energised and alive.” About.com gave the album four stars out of five, saying “Corgan has claimed that friends who had heard Oceania had claimed it was his best since Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Time will tell, but for now it’s clear that Oceania is the first Smashing Pumpkins record since then to fully stimulate the senses and stir the heart.” Allmusic gave the album four out of five stars, saying “On Oceania there are some of the most memorable and rousing songs Corgan has delivered since 1993’s Siamese Dream”. ARTISTdirect gave the album a five out of five stars, saying “Oceania is the year’s best rock record and a milestone for the genre. Hopefully, it incites and inspires a new generation. The Pumpkins are no strangers to that concept…”Ology gave the album a B+, stating it is “…simply a really good new album, one that deserves to be referenced and included in the company of the classic Smashing Pumpkins albums it delightfully demonstrates little interest in resembling.” The Chicago Sun-Times gave the album four out of four stars, saying “this album within an album revives Corgan’s gutter-epic vision with a clarity and ferocity not seen since 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”Daily Express gave the album four out of fivestars, saying “Oceania is Corgan on especially potent form”. Sputnikmusic gave the album four out of fivestars, saying “SP have forged ahead to create a record that could well be the catalyst of a stellar second era for one of rock’s more interesting groups”.
Kerrang gave the album four stars. and NME gave the album six out of 10 stars and criticised the album because it doesn’t feature the original band members. In a brief review, Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars and called it “bong prog” and said that Oceania “sounds like Yes hanging in a German disco circa 1977”,Stereogum gave album a positive review, calling it a return to form.USA Today gave the album 3.5 out of four stars, praising the production and song writing.The A.V. Club gave the album a B and called it “a solid start to a new Smashing Pumpkins era”.Pitchfork Media rated the album 6.3 out of 10, purporting that on Oceania, Corgan plays with a “hired-via-contest crew of strangers” and that it is “difficult not to notice he’s repeating himself,” comparing several new songs to earlier Smashing Pumpkins hits.Daily Nebraskan gave the album A and called it “one of this years best rock records”.Consequence of Sound gave the album four out of five stars and called it “best Corgan work in a long time”.CraveOnline gave Oceania an 8 out of 10 review, stating that “If Oceania is a testament of what’s to come, I may need to pull my old Smashing Pumpkin t-shirt out of the closet.”SPIN gave a rating of 7 out of 10, declaring that it is “easily Corgan’s best work since his rat-in-a-cage heyday.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer scored the album with 4.5 out of five stars, stating it “is full of winners.” The album was listed at #48 on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 50 albums of 2012, saying “The most recent dispatch from whatever far-off planet Billy Corgan currently resides on is the finest slab of cosmic prog he’s thrown down since the Pumpkins’ early-Nineties heyday.”
All songs written and composed by Billy Corgan.
Credits adapted from Oceania album liner notes and Allmusic.
See original here: