August 26th, 2003


Further exploits in the Bitchun Society...

Woke up this morning to find Salon is featuring "Truncat", a new short story by Cory Doctorow. It takes place at a later time in the same future society that Cory used in "Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom", where people fileshare other people's lives.

I am kind of surprised he didn't develop more on some of the obvious ramifications, such as the highly illegal nature of such filesharing. What happens when secrets are passed around that people don't want revealed? Can the files be tampered with? Will the RIAA go after you for sharing all the songs in your head? ;->

A chance to say some kind words about BBC Online..

BBC Online, the BBC's website, which recently announced that it plans to make *all* of its broadcasts freely available online in the future, is currently under review, but the BBC faces a wide variety of enemies. Politically influential commercial broadcasters want the BBC's budget cut and want to force them to sell off their best shows. Representatives from the Tory party want to shut their website down entirely. And the Blair Government views the BBC as the enemy right now, because they reported David Kelly's claims of the government having "sexed up" the case for a war on Iraq.

It seems particularly sad to see that the BBC might be gutted in the name of American-style free market capitalism. The idea that *everything* functions better under a free market is dangerous, doctrinal, dehumanizing, and ultimately dead wrong. Have no doubt, Britain would be significantly worse off without the BBC, as would we all.

By archiving their broadcasts, BBC Online is spending a relatively small amount of money to create an archive of culture, entertainment, education, and knowledge that will be a modern-day Library of Alexandria -- a fountain of knowledge, available to everyone. This great accomplishment will be brought about for less than the price of some US military aircraft, and is something we all should support.

You can help support the BBC Online by sending an email to, telling them that you appreciate and support the BBC website. Public comments can be submitted from anywhere in the world and will be allowed through November 17th.

Another great weblog from Iraq.

This one from an anonymous female who goes by the name of Riverbend.

Riverbend is a 24 year old computer programmer. Like over 65% of Iraq, she is also unemployed. When working at her former employer during the days of Saddam, she'd come in to work in jeans and a T-shirt, but now that Saddam isn't there to surpress the religious extremists, not only is she no longer welcome at her former employer, she can't even go out in public without bodyguards to keep her from getting beaten or raped.

She may be unemployed, but fortunately she's a talented writer who does a great job at ripping into the absolutely screwed up nature of modern Iraq. Really, though, I have to wonder why she stays. No one in the Bush administration ever said that womens rights in Iraq would slip backwards 50 years, but do you think that the US will act against the self-appointed morality police who are roaming the street, firebombing stores that sell alcohol and attacking unescorted women? I don't think so. If anyone ever cracks down on the "non-violent" (i.e. not attacking our troops yet) fundamentalists, it will be the next Iraqi government, and it will be after the US leave. And it will probably lead to a bloodbath.

Bush says that he'll never retreat over Iraq... which means he'll need to manufacture some sort of "transfer of power" so that he can send the troops home before it costs him the presidency. Maybe he'll fob Iraq off on the UN, but will they be stupid enough to take it without demanding more say as to what goes on? Doubtful.

So, who will control Iraq in the longterm?! A weak, pro-US Iraqi coalition government, possibly backed up by the UN... or the fundamentalists? Place your bets now, and be sure to get a seat a few rows back unless you want to be splattered by the gore.

Apparently, we're fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq in order to avoid terrorism at home. Doesn't that sound a lot like fighting the war on communism in Vietnam? So, why is it that when Vietnam fell, the domino theory didn't come true? Why aren't the communists on our doorsteps?! Could it be that we weren't really fighting "the international communist conspiracy", but were fighting the Vietnamese people instead?

One wonders what that says about Iraq.