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Ether Mind

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Anarchy by dictat

The existence of a global society with weapons of mass destruction lead Einstein to the conclusion that there would be a world government. Inevitably, it would be formed by joint agreement or by the military victory of one empire. He preferred the first.

So much I cribbed from Andrew Sullivan.

But democracies, nuclear powers, and especially nuclear powered democracies tend not to attack each other. If, as we honorary neocons suspect, a New World Order composed solely of peaceful G8ish societies is developed, then they would live in a state of anarchy amongst themselves.

If enlightened self interest can create a lawless, yet peaceful, society of individuals, then it should also be able to do so for rational states.

Dictatorships tend to be as irrational as the dictator.

Let's suppose this New World Order arises eventually, as history seems to suggest it will. Won't the states tend to compete for resources and try to increase their productive output? Won't this gradually, painfully slowly, lead to deregulation? The example of an anarchist virtual world government will be there for everyone to see.

Of course there are many countervailing tendencies- I hardly place my hopes in logic and enlightenment- but history has been creeping toward increased organisation and decreased centralization of what organisation exists. Chaos is controlled by brute force and slowly evolves into an orderly, emergent system.

Unless we run out of energy. Then all bets are off.

Tales of the Cypherpunkt - E


It hit me when I got out of the shower. A portable keychain-type thing with a 128 bit hardcoded random sequence and a 128 bit flash sequence that could be reset. You pop it into a USB slot and use it for encryption. The algorithm would be hardcoded into the chip.

My sister was like, yeah, then I can download whatever I want at work, put it on my USB drive, and they won't know what it is.

And I'm like... yeah. but maybe a female connector so you can put your USB drive in one end and stick the other end in the computer and it automatically encrypts and decrypts whatever goes through it?

And then I'm like, maybe a USB stick with preloaded encryption software would be better. The chip would be cooler, but I can't design ICs and the speed bonus and cost aren't really worth it.

So now I'm making it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Cypher's Tale 40


Shilo's drooling corpse reclined in an office chair, festooned with wrist straps and contacts and cables. Every few minutes it kicked, stiffly, as if struggling to rise from its sleep and feast on the living.

Half of a human head leered at something unseen in the southwest corner of the room.

Jonas huddled over a tablet in the northeast corner of the room, wedged into the corner of the black couch.

"Man, I'm hungry. Jonas, you want some pizza?"
"Ah, no, I'm fine."
"Right. There, I ordered some. You can have some."
"Is it safe to leave here yet?"

Exactly four minutes later, pizza was delivered to a spacious private lounge. It was appointed in royal purple and red and had a new car smell. The lounge did- the pizza was yellow and smelled like cheese.

Black Alice was slightly frazzled, black haired and green eyed.
"Concerning your associate's actions, I must ask: WTF, mate?"
"Well, ya know, he's an African."
"He's white."
"There are white Africans. So, ya know, they're not steady state and all. They don't follow, uh, the Code."
"If, by the code, you mean common sense, I thought that everyone follows it because it's the most rational system and if you deviate it costs you money."
"Right, well, we follow it here. Don't initiate force, life liberty and property, so on and so forth. And you're right, it's purely rational self interest to follow it. But they're not rational. Say you kill someone and take their car, you'll be executed by their insurance company or RDI or something. Or some vigilante will kill you and take the car and no one will care, cuz you're a murderer. But in Africa, there's no network coverage, so how would you get caught? And if everyone's guilty, and no one follows the code, then any retaliation can result in a bloodbath. Rational decisions require perfect information, so rational societies can only exist where there's extensive information technology."
"I'm not buying your propaganda, but ok, what's the point?"
"So when I found him, he was fighting in Thailand. This was two years ago. I didn't want to hire him, but my boss wanted him and Tyson wanted to come to America."
"What the fuck is America?"
Jonas wiped sauce from his lip and said, "It's the continent we live on."
"Uh, yeah, but more specifically it's this center region between the Gulf and the Great Lakes. People over there call it that because there used to be a nation state here."
"Don't worry about it. Point is, Betty's trying to catch him, which is kinda funny."
"It's hilarious."
"No, but see, he has no hardware and she's all hardware. It's like, social commentary."