Friday, July 29, 2011

Tek-Gnostics "POP Future" update

"Everything is under control"

The modern Domesticated Primate’s experience of their world is, to an ever increasing extent, being mediated by various information technologies. Print, the telephone, motion pictures, television, the internet, cell phones and most recently social media have all “come between” the modern world citizen and their desired data. These vessels of information deliver our “content” with ever increasing immediacy. As this content is now instantly made available, attention turns to those in control of modern media.

The media, communications and advertising industries alike are suspect in that they dictate the content being delivered to the public. Media moguls control the content but are in turn influenced by advertising agencies that, along with their clients, bankroll the media industry. Although each company or agency controls their individual output, it is the collective output that is significant, as advertising is dependant upon mass appeal to be effective. In the words of Marshall McLuhan... the medium is the message… a medium itself, not the content it carries, becomes the focus of study.

Close examination of the combined collective output of modern media tells us much about our global citizenry. It reveals trends in how we think, feel and react to events of consequence in our world. Indeed, it illuminates collective characteristics of our consensual reality… our collective consciousness. Realization of these trends allow us to sharpen our predictive faculties in contemplating the future.

By examining trends in the media for purposes of prediction, we place emphasis on a popular or “Pop Future”...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Don't Pity the DeaD

“Do not pity the dead, Harry…
pity the living.
Above all, pity those who live without love.”

- Albus Dumbledore

“Gotta make it somehow, on the dreams you still believe.
Don't give it up… You got an empty cup.
Only love can fill…
Only love can fill.”

- Grateful Dead

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Digital Anthropology: is Web 2.0 an Idiocracy?

- By Rachel Haywire

If you are like me you might come from a generation that was raised online before the boom of social networking sites. The Internet was once a secret room that only the freaks could experience. We were trolling before it was called trolling and we didn’t do it for mob sport but intellectual exercise. My first exposure to the Internet was through a free text-based service where you could view alt.newsgroups and send email through a program called Pine. There was no world wide Internet that I could see from miles away.

Read the full article @ Rachel's (Music) Site...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cloud Computing… Illuminati Plot

Guest Commentary by - “Agent 23”

Much has been said lately concerning the wonders of “Cloud Computing” and the future of a globally centralized data bank in the sky. With the launching of Apple’s iTunes 10.3 beta (aka: “iTunes in the Cloud”), now available for use on your computer, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, wide acceptance of cloud computing is assured. Every day, susceptible users move their computing lives from the desktop to the cloud and trust in hosted web applications to store and access email, photos, and documents. But this new electronic frontier involves serious risks that aren't obvious to the over-trusting user.

Cloud computing is concurrently seeping into IT organizations and companies, often without any "official" approval or strategy from upper management, but with the undeniable momentum of a run-away locomotive. Corporations have been sold on this concept (read: bill of goods) as a way to reduce cost and improve IT flexibility. But, just as in the case of the individual user, the use of cloud computing within the corporate structure also carries with it security risks, including perils related to compliance, availability, and data integrity.

Users beware! The growing number of people and corporations opting to move their data off their own computer systems and storing that information on internet-accessible servers rather than on their own machines is a core strategy of domination and control being covertly and ruthlessly implemented by none other than those masters of deception and subterfuge… the Illuminati. Yes, those rascally rabids the Illuminati have reared their ugly heads once again.

As millions of people now upload personal data such as emails, photographs and, increasingly, their work, to sites owned by “third parties,” they are voluntarily giving up autonomy over their own data. And isn’t that just how the Illuminati operate… executing a sinister strategy that facilitates the individual giving up his/her personal control freely, unaware of the coercion being imposed upon them? Diabolically brilliant!

In an interview with Bobby Johnson at the, Richard Stallman (founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the computer operating system GNU) said that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.

"It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign," Stallman, who is a staunch privacy advocate, advised users to stay local and stick with their own computers.

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

Putty in the hands indeed. Here is an excerpt from a recent article at LifeHacker (suspect in their own right), outlining but a few examples of existing transgressions by those using this questionable technology…

-   Amazon reaches into customers' Kindles and remotely deletes already-purchased books.

-   Facebook launches Beacon, an advertising mechanism that collects and publishes information about what you do on external web sites on your Facebook profile (only to apologize and offer opt-out later).

-   Apple denies approval for the Google Voice application in the App Store.

-   Facebook (and Myspace) doesn't immediately remove photos from their servers when you delete them.

When you're living in the cloud, you're beholden to a third party who can make decisions about your data and platform in ways never seen before in computing…

So there you have it. It is quite likely that Cloud Computing is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Don’t let “them” erode the freedoms we have all come to take for granted in the information age. Don’t allow the power that is a free internet to slip from the hands of the many into the waiting hands of the few. And for goodness sake, don’t give these powerful freedoms up voluntarily.

Constant vigilance!!!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this guest commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of Tek-Gnostics and its affiliated stations… but then again... they might!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Navigating the Apocalypse 1.5 – Open Source Jihad

On May 2nd, 2011 a hit squad of US navy seals & CIA operatives raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, killing him with extreame prejudice. The death of bin Laden, one of the two stated goals of US president Barack Hussein Obama, should also have been a death-blow to al-qaeda, effectivly eliminating them as a viable threat to the Western World’s stratigic intrests. There was much subsequent debate on the Sunday morning talk shows as to possible retaliatory strikes from al qaeda in response to bin Ladens assasination.

It is not clear at all, however, if the threat of a terrorist strike from bin Laden’s al qaeda was the western world’s main concern in their war on terror. In fact, it is not clear that bin Laden was still a relevent player in al qaeda’s jihad against the west, even as US military intelligence reported that bin Laden had been controlling the jihad from said compound. A more likley scenario was presented by author John Robb.

In addition to writing “Brave New War,” published in 2007, Robb is a former USAF pilot in special operations. His blog, Global Guerrillas, explores the concepts of networked tribes, systems disruption, Resilient Communities and decentralized strategic platforms. Robb sheds light on what may be the socio-economic, political, as well as covert military future of 21st century Earth. The following information was posted by Robb on Sunday, 21 November 2010…

* * * * * * * * *

Early in 2010 year, al Qaeda formally announced that it had adopted open source warfare (a new, extremely potent theory of 21st Century warfare that makes it possible for a large number of small autonomous groups to defeat much larger enemies) as its preferred method of conducting its insurgency against the west.

The adoption of open source jihad led the organization to launch a new English language magazine called Inspire. This magazine, filled with tools (software, etc.), techniques, and philosophy (on how to carry out open source jihad), demonstrated its desire to shift its role from closed leadership (of operations) to coaching small groups to act on their own. It also led al Qaeda to make a demonstration (an attack) that could provide a plausible promise for its open source collaborators/partners.

Systems Disruption and Parcel Bombs

"To bring down America we do not need to strike big. phobia that is sweeping America, it is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch."
- Al Qaeda's Inspire e-Zine

To provide a plausible promise (proof that open source warfare can be successful against the enemy), al Qaeda turned to systems disruption. Systems disruption, a major part of open source warfare theory, is a method of attack that uses knowledge of networks to amplify the damage of the attack. With systems disruption, even small attacks (that cost little and generate little risk to the group) can have national or global impact. As such, it's perfect for the type of attack made by the small autonomous groups within an open source insurgency. It also has a proven track record, in conflicts from Mexico to Nigeria. It works.

Al Qaeda's choice of a demonstration was to use parcel bombs (called Operation Hemorrhage -- a classic name for a systems disruption attack). These low cost parcel bombs were inserted into the international air mail system to generate a security response by western governments. It worked. The global security response to this new threat was massive.

Returns on Investment (ROIs)

Part of effective systems disruption is a focus on ROI (return on investment) calculations. As paraphrased in Inspire: it is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy and keep him on his toes in exchange of a few months of work and a few thousand bucks. We knew that cargo planes are staffed by only a pilot and a co-pilot, so our objective was not to cause maximum casualties but to cause maximum losses to the American economy. It's pretty clear that the security costs inflicted as a result of this operation are counted in the millions of dollars, making for an impressive return on investment for the operation. ROIs from systems disruption can reach one million to one.

Given this successful demonstration attack, we should expect to se many more attacks that employ systems disruption in the future as open source jihadis adopt the method. My intent with developing open source warfare, systems disruption, etc. back in 2004-6 was to develop a truly modern theory of warfare that reflected trends already in motion. Apparently that is proving to be the case as insurgents adopt it from Nigeria's MEND to al Qaeda.

* * * * * * * * *

What is clear from the above is that the views expressed assume that overt, strategic (and evolving) military methods are needed to combat a perceived (also evolving) jihad against the West in its “war on terror.” What is also clear is that the fear based, dog-eat-dog, Planet of the Apes mentality that ruled the 20th Century is rapidly spiraling out of control. In many ways, it could be argued that the 21st Century political reality is devolving into warring factions of opposing zealots, waging ever bloodier religious wars. In this regard we would indeed find ourselves “Navigating the Apocalypse.”

We could, on the other hand, overtake the old paradigm of not-enough to go-round 20th Century politics as usual and replace it with the “Archaic Revival” version of a de-centralized 21st Century. Terrence McKenna’s vision of a return to a global agrarian society presumes that humanity’s collective unconscious not only desires this, but is taking us toward just such a world.

“This is where the future is taking us because the secret faith of the twentieth century is not modernism, the secret faith of the twentieth century is nostalgia for the archaic, nostalgia for the paleolithic, and that gives us body piercing, abstract expressionism, surrealism, jazz, rock-n-roll and catastrophe theory. The 20th century mind is nostalgic for the paradise that once existed on the mushroom dotted plains of Africa where the plant-human symbiosis occurred that pulled us out of the animal body and into the tool-using, culture-making, imagination-exploring creature that we are.”

- Terrence McKenna

McKenna identified the current political power structure as the “dominator culture,” who has exploited Earth’s disproportionate available resources for their profit, resulting in the economic and political catastrophe that is evidenced in today’s world headlines. R Buckminster Fuller used the slightly more poetic phrase… the “Great Pirates" to discribe the few who control the many. It is evident that those in apparent control have a vested interest in either a status quo or a continued deterioration of economic conditions world wide. It is in the dominator culture’s best interest to suppress any thought of equality and justice… of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Perhaps our best opportunity to supplant the dominator culture, to loosen the vice-like grip that the great pirates have on the world’s resources is through the proliferation of global communications via social media and other tools as evidenced in the “Arab Spring.” Perhaps navigating the apocalypse requires that we out maneuver and outsmart the old guard. And finally, if all else fails… perhaps Gaia has her own plans. Perhaps our future shall include an “Open Source Earth.” To quote Michael Crichton from his 1990 novel, Jurassic Park…

The history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully… perhaps even dangerously... but life finds a way.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Final Days of Atlantis

The space shuttle Atlantis lifted off the ground at Cape Canaveral this morning at 11:29 am, and shortly thereafter burst out of Earth’s gravity well… like one last seed-spore ejaculated from some fast fading fungus… into low earth orbit. This last mission, the shuttle program’s 135th mission, marks the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. Upon touch-down, twelve days hence, Atlantis will be decommissioned and put on permanent display at the visitor complex at Kennedy Space Center.

Symbolically, the last mission of the program, mission # 135… is a telling number.
1+3+5= 9 …nine being the last number in our Hindu-Arabic Numeral system of reckoning, signifying the end of a cycle. Being the last simple number, it is the number of finalization or finition; it is therefore the most complex… that marks the full lighting up of the numerical series. In a slightly more esoteric analogy, the Ennead, or nine pointed star, is an ancient and sacred symbol. It comprises three trinities. The Egyptian, Celtic, Greek and Christian myths all have an ennead of nine gods and goddesses, representing the entire archetypal range of principles.

Viewed through our esoteric lens, the name Atlantis is also rich in symbolism. The myth of the lost continent of Atlantis can be seen within an archetypical context. In the mythos, the people of Atlantis rose to a tremendous height of awareness and technological power. Whether by its own technology, or by natural disaster, Atlantis came to a sudden end.

Upon scrutiny, the parallels between the Atlantis of old and the US of A are apparent. The analogy speaks of an advanced civilization that seems to be in recent decline. There has been some banter within the synchro-sphere of late in which it has been suggested that the apex of American culture peaked in the 1960’s, when NASA was created and the space race was initiated. That all of our subsequent technological advancements were seeded from that time. Further, we have been in decline ever since that golden “age of JFK and Camelot.”

Interesting, it was the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1… humanity’s first artificial satellite… in 1957 that inspired the US and ignited the space race in the first place. Sadly, now that the shuttle program has been moth-balled, if the US wishes to send astronauts to the International Space Station, we will have to buy space on a Russian spacecraft, to the tune of $52 million per use.

It seems as if the Russians were the final victors in the Space Race after all…

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SpyCloud: Intel Agencies Look to Keep Secrets in the Ether

Photo: mnsc/Flickr; modified by Lena Groeger

- By Lena Groeger

Dropbox for files… Google for mail… iCloud for well… everything. Average citizens have all kinds of options for storing their information in the cloud. Now, spies want in. Soon, our nation’s secrets may take on a slightly more nebulous form.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and U.S. intelligence community, recently sunk money into a cloud-based storage company called Cleversafe. It says the platform is “ideal for storing mission critical data by addressing the core principles of data confidentiality, integrity and availability.” (Incidentally, those principles also spell out CIA).

This is only one of a series of new government initiatives to move into the cloud. Since last year, the administration has embraced a “cloud first” policy, which encourages cloud-based solutions “whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists.” The Pentagon is already planning its migration, and the 2011 Cloud Computing Act, expected out in a few weeks, may put in place even more incentives for investing in cloud computing options.

But the move upwards brings all sorts of security concerns, particularly for the CIA — which is still smarting from the recent hack of its public website. While there has been much debate over the safety of the cloud versus more traditional forms of storage, Cleversafe is confident that data will be secure with them... which is good, because the government would love to prevent another Bradley Manning from spouting off all their secrets to WikiLeaks.

Cleversafe CEO Chris Gladwin, a Chicago software designer with a knack for cryptography, says the secure method behind his technology has been known for a long time. Originally put forward in the 1979 paper How to Share a Secret, the idea is simple: Take some data, run it through a few mathematical algorithms, and end up with a bunch of pieces, several of which can re-create the original data but are meaningless on their own.

Similarly, using a technology called “information dispersal,” Cleversafe takes massive amounts of data, slices it up into pieces and then sends those slices off to various locations, or “storage nodes.” Although the data might be in four different data centers across the country, it can be accessed in real time from a “private cloud.” And unlike traditional storage methods, there’s no need to make several complete duplicates of the original data, which saves space and money.

There are a few other advantages to this type of storage, according to Gladwin. It’s confidential, because individual slices of data can’t be deciphered on their own — an unauthorized person would have to obtain several different data slices at once to make sense of anything at all. It’s also more reliable. Even if the disks that hold those slices are corrupted, go offline or get lost, there is enough redundancy to reconstruct the whole file from just pieces. It’s pretty unlikely that ten servers or disks would all fail at the same time.

In-Q-Tel is confident that Cleversafe “will give our customers in the U.S. Intelligence Community a robust distributed-storage solution that provides the levels of unmatched reliability they require.” Since the government’s proposed IT budget allots as much as $20 billion for cloud technology, we’ll likely to see others follow suit in the search for a cloud of their very own.