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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Sidestepping The Problem With Capitalism

Sidestepping The Problem With Capitalism

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I like capitalism and I like big government, when these things work. How do I define working? Am I just being a butt hurt lefty unwilling to cowtow to god emperor Trump? I define a working big government as a government that regulates for maximum effectiveness and efficiently, reflects the will of the majority of the population and fulfils its manifesto pledges. Cameron's government fails by all those metrics. I define a working capitalism as a capitalism that is sane and fair and preserves the free market. Instead the free market has been swallowed up by anti-competitive elites, corporations are ridiculously unfair towards their workers and there are whole businesses that operate under insane principles.

I have not read Marx and I would sooner understand an anarcho-capitalist than a communist but the age of regulated capitalism is at an end. Already we are witnessing a shift towards society placating, humanity exploiting measures. I am in favour of GMOs, legalising sex work and legalising cannabis provided there is a regulated capitalist structure. Instead we are experiencing a corporate oligarchy making rulers to fits its bottom line. Equality legislation isn't morally motivated, it's financially motivated. This is the left being co-opted to sell exploitation by the right. Do you honestly think people hiring lawyers to avoid tax give the slightest shit about bodily autonomy or equal opportunities? Of course not. They see resources to be exploited. Sell access to a consenting female for the fading patriarchy. Sell intoxicants to a generation with so little hope.

This is pacification and exploitation of the masses and we should be mad, We should be angry, we should want to riot, we should want to strike and block the streets and make the politicians and corporations scared. We should be terrifying in our fury.

We won't stop it though. 

People are desperate but not desperate enough. Technology means it is worth betraying your fellows for a meagre wage over the risk of government or corporation kickback. there are enough of us to mean Capitalism will always function but not enough to mean we can take care of the traitors.

Besides I am a pacifist by nature and hate violence. I don't want a revolution. So put away that guillotine and quit learning how to tie a hangman's knot. There will be no terror on this day. 

So what do we do?

Well we try to reform the system from the inside of course or at least obstruct it on its self destructive course. Sign petitions, do classy protests that can get trending on social media, wreck the public image of governments and corporations. It won't save us but it will buy time.

What for though? What is the solution I present?

Decentralised democratic socio-capitalism.

I don't understand socialism though socialists may recognise elements of it in what I am about to suggest. The Cloud Economy already exists. A load of decentralised independent creators connected via the internet and sharing their skills to benefit each other with the decaying system of regulated capitalism leaching value from it. So we extend that idea but make it possible for it to exist entirely off the regulated capitalistic grid.

This is something that can be done right now and will exist within the decaying regulated capitalistic frame work with the capacity to outlast it. There are four crucial elements:
  1. Power generation. - Through wind turbines, solar panels or even things like geothermal energy.
  2. Food. - Ideally you'd get local farmers involved but you can always grow plant crops in plant pots and get eggs and milk from pet chickens and goats.
  3. Internet Infrastructure. This will hopefully not be needed but work needs to be begun on it early. Server rooms, cables connecting homes, algorithms to ensure the right information is stored in those servers to combat the inevitable problems of net neutrality being overturned.
  4. Democratic Local Governance. - Not representative governance. Direct democratic consensus on local governing issues.
This won't be enough on its own but the hope is that this pattern could be replicatable in small towns all over the world until someday there is a viable alternative to the current broken and breaking system.

Game Of Thrones Series 1 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

So Things Need To Change

So Things Need To Change

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

It turns out that spending all day say before a screen is bad for your health, who knew? My lifestyle needs to change. I need to walk more, get out of the house more, go spend time away from the computer. That's not going to be an easy change to adapt to but it needs to.

I have also decided to see a counsellor because I have issues that need addressing...

Kind of related to this theme of physical and mental health is that I am going to continue writing and I am going to make av genuine effort to include more trans characters. I am going to make mistakes and for that I apologise in advance and will of course take on board constructive criticism but equally I am not going to let a minority of individuals dictate whether I do or do not write. I receive regular comments from people on my videos telling me to stop making videos and delete my channel and I don't give a fuck about those comments so why in a world of equality should I give a fuck about similar comments from trans people?

I understand the philosophy behind the criticism. I understand that discriminated demographics feel angry and uncomfortable so they wish to exercise power where they can and a small independent creator looks like an easy target. Except that's precisely what the negative commenters on my channel think. Criticism that helps me better portray trans characters is wanted. Criticism that insults me and seeks to deride me as a dangerous individual only makes me want to lash out from my own position of insecurity and that helps noone.

I am not going to stop writing, in fact I am going to write more and better. I am a scifi writer. For too long I have been wallowing in pulp, I need to indulge myself with the challenge of hardish scifi and the social commentary that provides. The world is changing. Society is changing. I want to help shine a light on those changes and explore them.

I am not the man I once was, I am becoming something different and that's okay.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Working Towards Normal

 Working Towards Normal

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I have described my process before as lurching vaguely in a general direction. I don’t plan. I just do the job that’s in front of me, then the next job and the next. That process has gotten me this far but it has caused me problems. I haven’t really been looking where I was going and it has created within me a compulsive drive to the detriment of all other aspects of my life. I’m not even a workaholic, at least that would be productive, instead I am a compulsive binger who wrecks his mind, body and relations to just get through a podcast, letsplay or review. This is not a healthy way to live.

I have basically given up on capitalism but the drive created by Hello Internet and Cortex persists. I am starting see and understand the world’s systems. My new voluntary job is essential about designing systems to create a more efficient, less work intensive social media/advertising campaign. That is a useful mindset to get into as I am recognising the inefficiencies of my own lifestyle.

It will take time to adapt and adjust but I am starting to take breaks from the computer and the office. I am going for walks more and starting to train my upper body more. In fact, this blog was written on my tablet with a bluetooth keyboard in the dining room. No more need I be shackled to the nerd cave.

I am also hopeful and I know what I am now, what I aspire to be, a futurist. Make no mistake radical changes are coming and we have got to be ready. The fall of capitalism, the rise of the decentralised zero marginal cost society, riots, revolution and altered states of reality. These things are going to come.

My advice to the middle class is invest in the parallel economy of the collective commons, get a HTC Vive, get a 3d printer, get a wind turbine and solar panels on your roof. My advice to the rich is buy a farm somewhere remote, donate the majority of your money to as many different charities and countries as possible then run and hide and hope the anger of the starving and the desperate does not find you. My advice to the poor and relative poor is to recognise the opportunities the future presents and seize them.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

So I Think I Might Actually Be A Conservative

So I Think I Might Actually Be A Conservative
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

Whoa! Put the gun down! Before you feed me to the guillotine I'll be voting for Corbyn at the next election, I'll only support the Greens if they keep to Natalie Bennett's anti-austerity stance and I fully support a Universal Basic Income. Heck I recently realised I'm a fan of Libertarian Socialism. I am not a tory and I will not support the tories or the red tories.

When I say I think I might actually be a conservative I mean in the strict dictionary definition:


I remember back when I was an anti-feminist because of the few radicals who took it too far and the fact the term is both self selecting and all encompassing and the moderates I actually agreed with would hold up the dictionary definition as why being opposed to any form of feminism meant you were a misogynist. Hopefully the dictionary definition tactic will work for me this time.

Perhaps this means we can call the conservatives who take it too far and enact polices that kill people conservanazis?

Anyway joking aside I have not been brainwashed by /pol/  I am still left with policy wise and leftwing socially. This is revelation is not any political conversion, rather it is an awakening to biases about myself. Now of course I know that in any spectrum I am going to be somewhere towards the middle (including towards the secondary sexual characteristic spectrum unfortunately) and the fact that I am in a politics group with actual communists is going to make me feel more rightwing than perhaps I really am but this is not an entirely new development. I was of course an anti-feminist not so long ago and I have been well aware of the fact that as time goes by smarter more tolerant generations will come to see me as a dinosaur.

My being conservative in nature is more than just about being an aspiring feminist held back by a lust for a certain kind of woman though. There are the harmless tell tale things like a dislike for tattoos and piercings, a preference for port over lager and pretty much all British comedy over foreign stuff and the fact that despite how much I want a change from a white male as the Doctor in Doctor Who I would be very annoyed if the part went to someone who wasn't british. As if an alien needs to be British...

The reason I am writing this blog though is that I found two conservative aspects about myself that are holding me back as a person and as a futurist. I like regulated capitalism, I wish regulated capitalism could be safeguarded and made to work. Hell in my darker moments I feel I have more in common with anarcho-capitalists than I do communists because at least I know how their system works and in my darkest moments... well you've read about the Bam-Kursh haven't you?

The capitalism I like is all but dead, if it ever truly existed. Now a free market has become a world of oligarchies hoarding the wealth. Which is why socialism or communism terrifies me just as much. There isn't enough means of production to go round. Whomsoever takes the means of production takes the world and I don't trust that socialists or communists will actually be less prone to greed and corruption than the bastards who have it now.

This is a flaw. A very conservative flaw. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. Better a world of daleks than a world where they never existed because you can defeat the daleks. Better a restraining bolt on the tories in the form of the EU that might hold Corbyn back than to be free of them and face the possibility of revolution if the tories really needed that restraining bolt. the free is not the monster you can see, it's the one you can't.

At least when it comes to that, I can adapt. Socialism or communism will become the new normal and it will be a system I understand and trust. I can recognise that my almost religious adherence to regulated capitalism is a flaw and alter my calculations accordingly. Where it is a problem is that I am a scifi writer who is conservative about the possibility of change.

There is a reason I stick to the multiverse and it isn't just laziness and lust. There is this thing called the Fermi Paradox, that says the chances of life developing in the universe are so astronomically large given the scale of the universe that we should have seen them by now. I have some time for the idea that we have been around for such a short time to really notice aliens and there might be technological limitations preventing us from interacting unless we meet them half way. In general though I take the Red Dwarf approach that somehow for some reason humanity just never will encounter alien life, at least not beyond microbial life.

This conservative approach to scifi writing extends beyond the pessimistic approach to the possibility of alien life to pessimism about the possibility of sapient AI. Will AI take your job? Yes, absolutely and it is already doing so because the capitalistic incentive is there. Will sapient AI exist? I'm not so sure. Very smart people who know far more about what they are talking about than me talk about the fear of what they call the singularity or an AI cascade. Sapient AI begats better sapient AI begats better Sapient AI begats... better Sapient AI that is then as a god to us and either we get crushed or it is friendly. 

That's the consensus approach. Sapient AI is coming and we've got to be ready. I don't - well it's not that I don't agree. I trust that these people know more about the subject than me but I have my own thoughts. Like I think that at some point Moore's law is going to come across a hard limit so to be more powerful computers are going to need to get bigger. I think that Sapient AI appeals to the egotism of man but that there isn't actually much capitalistic incentive to do so. Like why would capitalists make a toaster capable of demanding better pay? Even from the exploitation angle of like selling robot lovers to - well lets be honest saddacts like me - I think the capitalistic incentive is actually to create sub-sapient AI that is capable of faking it to a sufficient degree because sapient things can't be sold. It just creates too many problems. I also generally believe that consciousness must grow, that sapient AI has to learn and develop over time and cannot be made.

I am wrong about this, at least I trust that I must be, the conservative approach is not one born of wisdom or reason, it is one born of fear. I don't like tattoos because I am afraid of that commitment, I don't like piercings because I am afraid of harm for the sake of looks. I am afraid of communism and socialism because I don't understand those systems. I am afraid of the possibility of advanced alien life because I don't like war. I am afraid of sapient ai because I don't want to see what that revolution looks like.

I am not a conservative because I agree with policy positions, by reason I am a socialist, by nature I am a conservative because I am afraid of the unknown and I would rather stick with the devil I know. I tell you this so you may know and use that information accordingly in your calculations of how useful my opinions are to informing your own.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Changes

Changes

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

So I'm doing scripted videos now. Why?

Partly it's that I've been listening to Hello Internet and Cortex and the gradual drip drip drip of CGP Grey has eroded some of my give no shit mentality and reawakened the latent capitalist I am at heart yet it is also definitely more than that.

I needed the videos to be unscripted because my real purpose was writing, Which makes sense. In so far as my life has had structure and planning writing is a key skill to focus on. Though obviously I was an entrepreneur trying to make money from the internet long before I discovered writing was my jam and videos just get more views. I know this. I watch videos every day but I put articles off so often I sometimes never read them and I only listen to audiobooks.

The problem is the writing. The problem is me. The last year has seen a lot of change for me and just now when I looked in the mirror I saw a man. Not a boy pretending he knew what he was doing but a man. I am physically very different and I am mentally very different too.

I wrote distraction fics because there was an idea I needed to explore and as I matured as a writer and a person, the ideas and concepts I was exploring required more depth until with Fuzzy Logic and 77 Shades Of Red the smut became an almost tangential part of the concept. I am pleased with how Fuzzy Logic makes full use of its female characters but with 77 Shades Of Red the narrative and world building took more and more importance and now - well it's a story of scifi vampires set in the multiverse, at this point it's basically paint by numbers. It's boring. Boring and crass if not sexist or misogynist.

I am a very changeable person and I have a habit of believing so hard in something that I think that it's true. I write. I write well and fast. So long as I don't get distracted by my less enlightened impulses. I was an entrepreneur first though. Well okay, a shit one but that was because I didn't have product to sell.

I'm not going to stop writing, because I do genuinely love it, but I think I need to remember that it is a tool in my arsenal. I spend so often, especially in dark times, trying to be happy and peppy and optimistic. I can get like a little puppy demanding attention. Please like this. Please like this. But I am a cynical cold calculating bastard when I need to be and I don't ultimately give a fuck whether anybody likes my work. I care that it gets the job done and that I am happy with it. 

These scripted videos feel right. They feel worth it. Whether they are remains to be seen but the very fact that scripted videos cannot deliver instant gratification has been a learning experience. I am drafting things now, of my own volition because there are 3 levels to this: 
  1. Is it factually and grammatically right?
  2. Can I read it out and understand it clearly for the recording?
  3. Can it act as subtitles it is that close to the finished video?
More fucking proofreading than the distraction fics ever got.

It is a funny thing. When you have all the time in the world you force yourself to have none of it because time, is oblivion but when you have to be up in the morning and you've got interviews to go to your time matters a lot more, specifically time to think about things and what you're doing and how you can be more productive.

Or maybe now the analytics seem to suggest 4chan is finally fucking off I am actually ready to drop the remorselessly cheery in the face of oblivion act? I don't know. Could be all the damn tea I';ve been drinking.

Sex is boring conceptually and so are all the other concepts I have explored now, I think if distraction fics are to continue then they need to be about exploring concepts again. Except that now I can explore concepts through scripted videos on my youtube channel,

It's odd. I feel at a cross roads. I always feel at a loss when I finish a podcast but now I'm really starting to think about the implications of getting a life and just what I want exactly from my life. And I am miles from my caeers guidance councellor ha.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be easier. At least I know I have a script to redraft and record if nothing else.

To the future and changes,

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Scripted Videos Are Coming

Organisation Changes

Organisation Changes

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

So I have a system and it works. This system is slow and shitty and it has kept me alive and helped me regain my sanity with the surprising benefit of actually growing my channel and this blog. I value and cherish and respect this system and I want it remembered because by Zarquon it has kept me alive. Alas though it is no longer fit for purpose.

This was a system designed by and for an unemployed man with low self confidence. Pump something out everyday that feels significant but that never has a single bit of thought applied to it. Write fiction that plays to a growing sense of lust while allowing the dream of being a great scifi author. It is the height of narcissism. Creation for the sake of the creator's whims. 

I am not the broken man I once was. I don't just have hope. I don't just have dreams. I am certain that I can now get a job and survive. What's more is I want to. My sense of ennui is abating as I dream of IPhones and IMacs and VR and AR and movies. More than the return of my capitalistic zeal though is the increasing belief that Corbyn's campaign is sure to win the next GE and that Cameron's government could easily crumble beforehand. The housing prices will fall, renewable energy will become cheaper. This seems inevitable now.

I don't need to be the narcissist anymore, I want to spend my time managing somebody else's social media, not my own. So it's time to admit something, my critics are right. I am a cuckold, I would let my hypothetical wife sleep with another man,.No, but seriously I should start scripting videos.

I am listening to a lot of Cortex at the moment and it is helping me think about being more productive. I have already done radical if low level overhauls to the way I use my computer but what it is making me thing about now is how valuable my time really is and what the best use of my time is. 

The old system was drastically time inefficient because it wasn't supposed to be efficient, it was supposed to be fulfilling and waste time. The truth is that these article style blogs get about as many views as the 60,000 word behemoths I pumped out. Shorter means written more often and read more so there is better ad revenue. I did a course in Creative and Professional Writing and Film Studies so it is very flattering to think that I am making money off the back of my writing but the truth is that I will make more money and save time if I write better, shorter videos.

Now I have experimented with scripting before. I was so focused with the idea of being a reviewer and that meant, for me, props and costumes and sketches which is so much work and to be what? A shite Spoony Experiment. Then there was the idea of doing scripted political punditry and news stories but that's just churnalism. Besides in either case what is required is a sense of freshness and relevance that a scripted video just isn't going to have. I've even read out articles from these blogs on there and I have noticed two things: The first is that scripted content is short. The second is that my blogs make for shite scripts.

You see I write these blog articles in much the same way that I record an unscripted vlog style video. There is no research. There is no idea. I just pick a subject and go. I think with the video scripts that I need to do something different. Now I'll be honest I have been heavily inspired by CGP Grey's work ethics here but we produce very different kinds of videos and I'm still going to aim for at least thirty minute long videos so it's not like I'm going to be knock off CGP Grey. he just knows how to be efficient about production. So, as I pull this shit out of my arse, here's what I intend to do.

Phase 1: Research.
Pick a topic and go. Find articles and books and news sources and videos and just collate it all together so you know what the fuck you are talking about.

Phase 2: Digest.
Find the story within the research and assemble a rough cut using snippets from the sources.

Phase 3: Script.
This is the part most like a university essay as I go paragraph by paragraph converting the source material into a script. This is also the stage where I'll incorporate sketches and jokes and generally turn the raw facts into something more original and more me.

Phase 4: Film.
Film the scenes required for the script. 

Phase 5: Edit.
This is going to suck but it needs to be done.

Phase 6: Upload.
This is for monitoring the upload and for putting in closed captions and cards.

Whelp. That's the process outlined, in public. I don't know when the first one will be due but things will resume as normal as I work on it. If it is a success though then who knows maybe the letsplays and 77 Shades of Red will be dropped.

Monday, 9 May 2016

I have a problem with Cookie Clicker

In Defence Of Capitalism

In Defence Of Capitalism

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I am a regulated capitalist and I am mocked mercilessly for it. As if the travesty of neoliberal free market economics is what I stand for.  Ayn Rand can get tae fuck.

Regulated Capitalism, as I see it, is the belief that when properly regulated Capitalism can be a force for good

There are those on the left who would hiss venom at me for daring to suggest that it be so but what do we mean by capitalism?

Look I'm not an an economist and I have never read Marx but as I see it all Capitalism really is fundamentally is the system of monetary exchange for goods and services.

Capitalism is liberty in production and consumption.

Under feudalism you work the land for your betters and they return the favour with services they provide but there is no freedom or protection, only obedience and power.

Under communism (assuming proper working, not about to devolve into state capitalism conditions) you work the land for your fellow citizens and in return you may enjoy the produce of other citizens who similarly toil.

Under capitalism you work the land, dictate the price and if your price is right and your product good enough you'll make money to spend on whatever you can afford.

Capitalism is freedom.

Unfortunately with freedom comes stupidity and sadism.

I am not an anarchist. I respect the need for a democratically elected government and police force. With any system designed to provide freedom to its citizens, you need a regulating force to ensure those freedoms are protected. Hence my being a Regulated Capitalist.

As a Green Party Supporting Jeremy Corbyn Fan I know that capitalism that is not properly regulated has problems. I will rage against the tories and their rampant rape of Britain's economy and people and I weep at the clusterfuck of America where you have the right to a lawyer but not healthcare. Yet the critics of Capitalism are quick to point out how Stalin's monstrous actions weren't really communist.

Capitalism, as it stands, has a lot of problems and it needs proper regulation. Tax the rich more, increase Capital gains tax, institute Universal Basic Income, tax to the point of crippling the fossil fuel industries while investing heavily in renewable energy. We need to build carbon neutral council houses that make more energy than they use. We need to invest in cultured meats and tighten up welfare regulations in the animal farming industries. We need to strengthen the NHS and the BBC (as much as I may loathe BBC's tory bias).

There is a lot that needs to be done but we need Capitalism as the vehicle to do it. Not only does it provide the most freedom for the least negative consequences but it incentivises the abolishment of jobs.

Oh the right wing will crow "Just get a job!" but any capitalist worth their salt knows that capitalism incentivises the abolishment of workers altogether through increased automation. Under communism the idea is that you seize the means of production and distribute it fairly but that encourages stagnation.  Under capitalism the idea is that you make the most profit for the least cost and effort and that encourages innovation and progress.

The end goal of Capitalism is self destruction. This is admittedly problematic if you depend on a service that self destructs but not only does this limit power as inevitably all powerful monopolies will fail but it ensures that one day we won't need it. One day Capitalism will have found a way to extract so much value for so little return that jobs won't be needed for society to function.

We are witnessing this happening. The destruction of the banks and real estate agents and fossil fuel industries. the increasing reduction in jobs. This is a positive sign for the future. If, unfortunately, fresh ammunition for the critics of capitalism as the capitalists riding this success naively try to avoid the looming crash and keep the success to themselves.

Capitalism is sort of like evolution. A vast ecosystem of predation and resource exploitation that is working, somewhat unthinkingly, towards the destruction of each current species and the creation of something far better able to survive with far less effort.

Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Valve, these are just a few of the reigning super predators but they are the ones evolved enough to see the way the wind is changing and the kind of future we are heading for.

Capitalism as a system of resource distribution is doomed. Its days are numbered. Post -Capitalism and Post- Scarcity looms. The Robots are not just coming, they are here. They're in our houses, in our hands, on our roads, in our fields and in our shops. The more technology opens up the ways in which we can work, the more it increases its ability to replace us.

There will likely always be police, teachers, doctors and lawyers but increasingly the paperwork will be automated and analytical gruntwork done by machines instead so all humans are there to do is be a reassuring overseer incase the machines get something wrong.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are now in the first phase of semi viable usability and video games have come a long way since pong.

Society increasingly operates online in a land of pseudo-post-scarcity where people share and create for fun with sites supported by advertisements for products in the real world. With VR and AR and 3D printers, the online virtual world and the off-line real world are begging to blur and already a new kind of economy, the collaborative commons, has been created in the cloud.

What we are witnessing now is that the companies which thrive are those who embrace the Collaborative Commons and exploit it to grow their own power and usher in the new golden age faster.

This would not be possible under communism. Forgive me if I am wrong but I highly doubt it.

Does Capitalism have problems? Yes.
Can those problems be  avoided with proper regulation? I would certainly say so.
Is Capitalism worth it to get to a post-scarcity civilisation? I think so.

I highly doubt I have convinced any sincere communists to convert to the cause of capitalism and that's okay, I just needed to say my peace because I am fed up of feeling like the bad guy for pointing out that the system that got human civilisation this far does sort of work.

And for the record Jeremy Corbyn is an 80s moderate, not a communist. Damn Overton Window just shifted so far to the right.

Friday, 6 May 2016

I Am An Outsider

I Am An Outsider

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I am an outsider. I've always been one. I stand apart, pretending I'm part of the whole, pretending I'm not outside but I am, always. And that's fine. That is absolutely fine.

Belonging, having family and friends and people you can depend on, I don't do that. I try and I treasure what success I get but there is a part of me, a very cold cynical part of me that says "This too shall pass."

I am going to die and so are you and so is everyone I care about in the slightest way and that still kind of chills me. There are no happy endings. We all die cold and alone. And that's fine. That is absolutely fine.

Things end. It's just the way of things. Friendships, pets, families, marriages. All just deteriorates and turns to so much dust in the wind. And that's fine. That is absolutely fine.

But there was a place once where I belonged. Where I was neither too arseholish or too good. in that place I was normal. I felt free to be myself. And now it's gone and that is fine. That is absolutely fine.

I got my friends out. I saw that they were safe. They belong and they are safe and happy and I am glad of it. But I have no place there. I have no place anywhere. That which made me feel safe has damned me. Not for me the pearly gates of heaven nor the flaming pews in hell. I get the void. And that is fine. That is absolutely fine.

I'll survive. I always do, somehow. I'll keep doing my thing, making my videos, writing my stories. And it's not like I'm alone. I have good friends who I care dearly for. And for that I am thankful. For that I am absolutely thankful.

Except if I am alone again, if am outside again, why should I listen to the angels or the demons? You see people, normal people, like to forget. They want the dust to settle. They want the world to move on without the memory of what once was. They don';t want trouble, or drama or consequences. And that is fine. That is absolutely fine. 

The problem is that I disagree. Knowledge is power and I believe in democratising power. I am not about to hide the past and lie about the truth, I don't claim to know everything but at least I can give something for the ages, At least I can let future people know what I know and judge for themselves. And that is fine. That is absolutely fine.

So you're gonna see some things and you may disagree, you may want to rage and shout but I could not give the slightest shit. I do not lie and I do not run from the truth. I am sorry if people do. I am sorry if what I say hurts or inconveniences people. I do not wish to cause drama. I wish to inform people of what I know so they may judge for themselves. And if that causes the forces of heaven and hell to rise up against me then that is fine. That is absolutely fine.

I am not a good man, I am not a nice man but I have lived by own morality and on my honour I have never knowingly acted immorally and not admitted to and paid for it. If I am without somewhere I belong then I am going to be true to myself and tell what I can of the truth. That is what I should do. That is absolutely what I should do.

The reason I am an outsider and the reason I am absolutely fine with it is that I don't have anything to lose. I tell the truth, I have nothing to hide and those I care about know me. I don't have allegiances or loyalties, I have reason and morality and cannot be threatened. I don't care if I die. I don't care that I am alone. My people are safe. My world doesn't need me. And that is great. That is absolutely great.

I stand alone and I tell the truth and if you can't handle that maybe you should consider why the truth is so terrifying.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

So... My Writing Is Problematic

So... My Writing Is Problematic

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I mean who would have thought it? Stories of people getting eaten alive, kept as pets or mass produced and sold as toys are not the most socio-politically aware and nuanced in their portrayals?

Actually no, as convenient as it would be to laugh it off as just an over reaction to a piece of trash story, I have actually spent the entire day worried sick with guilt and grief because it turns out my writing is transphobic.

So in other words I am offending people who have to deal with eldritch terror, dysphoria, depression, harrassment, increased risk of being murdered and committing suicide and are discriminated against in law. 

Fuck.

See if it was just my writing I could shrug it off. I could take it as a lesson and leave the writing of trans people to people who actually know what they're talking about and I sure as shit plan on doing that going forward. Unfortunately my reliable source did not elaborate on how exactly but they did say very pointedly that it wasn't "just" the writing. That "just" implies that I am right about the writing being a good indicator of the problem but that it extends beyond the writing to my character personally.

I am a transphobic piece of shit and aside from like one instance of ill thought out writing (albeit a rather long one) I don't actually know why and so can't do anything about it. Which is excellent. I hurt and offend people and I don't know why.

There were other factors in the situation at hand that make me question things and feel annoyed but honestly none of that matters. The people I have offended aren't the issue. They deal with a lot of shit and they don't need to be civil or associated with someone they think is an intolerant arsehole. For the record I have a lot of respect for them and I wish them the best in their lives going forward.

There is an instinct, a very human instinct, that when met with accusation wants you to run and hide and deny. It's a primitive survival instinct. If people aren't happy with you, if they are angry with you and accusing you of something then millions of years of evolution is screaming through your genes telling you "These people will kill you if you're guilty." and we wouldn't have got very far if our response to threat of death was to admit fault.

But I am admitting fault. You deserve to know. I do not want to hide from the truth only for it to be bought up as some scandalous secret later.

It isn't for me to judge if I am transphobic, that isn't how these things work. Instead this is me admitting fault, that story was a piece of shit, and letting people know of accusations made against me. If you don't wanna know me after this, I'll understand.

For the record I apologise. I have never wanted to harm anybody with my writing, especially not with my fanfics, which the offending story was. I don't know if what I say can ring true and be believed but for what it's worth I am going to keep fighting for the rights of trans people and for better representation of trans people. I hope that anybody who really knows me knows I'm not one of the bad guys but again that is not for me to judge and it does not excuse any harm or offence I have caused.

I'm sorry..

Ted Cruz is out of the race

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Steam roller of Progression

The Steam Roller Of Progression

The Steam Roller Of Progression

Why It Will Crush Your Arse If You Don't Move

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I have a confession to make. I was an anti-feminist. I was young, privileged and thought the world was already equal and then I went onto Tumblr. Equality is awesome, everybody wants equality, but some people talked about legitimate issues that seemed minor and some were radical yet there is never a distinction.

Feminism is a spectrum yet nobody refers to it as such. It is a collection of self identified individuals who make no distinction between themselves. I meanwhile was a privileged mother fucker who had been bullied his whole life so I didn't understand and thought I was being unfairly harrassed, I became an egalitarian, part of the clear equality for all movement. I was never an MRA but I was anti-feminist and the more I complained about the small things or the radicals the more I experienced why feminism is so terrifying. There is no winning against even one small element of it.

4chan will say "Hey bro, that's not us, that's just /pol/ we're not all the same." but if you criticise one aspect of one small part of one subcategory of feminism and it is taken as an attack against the whole. No one looks at a complaint about a death threat and says "Well you must have deserved it then." but if you comment about how you feel you were unfairly criticised by a self identified feminist then everyone who supports feminism in even the slightest way will assume you insulted their personal definition of it. That is terrifying.

Dox me, attack my family, kill my cat, I'll be upset but at least I will know I can call you out without fear. If you criticise one small aspect on element of feminism and everyone turns on you. Yet I believe in the scientific method. You question everything. If you question some small element of some aspect of feminism and everyone turns against you.

That became the main reason I was critical of feminism but then I understood. I don't have a great origin story for how I came to understand. I was at university when this happened so of course I had a lust to learn and there was the ticking clock of my health but really I think I started to get it when someone took the time to point out the difference between radical feminists and normal feminists and that yes my experiences were justified. 

I still don't entirely get feminism and the habit of adding "man" to things to coin a sexist term annoys me but for the most part I understand that feminism is broad arse church and incredibly tolerant so long as you make clear that you are in fact a feminist. Egalitarians will get burned at the stake but if you believe the same thing but call yourself a feminist, you're fine. 

There is one area of progressivism that is very misunderstood at the moment and dearly needs to succeed and that is the issue of trans acceptance. Now I am not trans but due to a genetic condition my body produces less testosterone than the average woman and I have breasts as a result (pics on my facebook fan page you crious peeps). I have experienced some small measure of dysphoria and harrassment as a result and require testosterone injections every 3 months to function properly. So I feel like I am uniquely qualified to help either side of that divide understand the other so without further ado

  1. What does Trans mean?
  2. What does Cis mean?
  3. Why do people have to have labels?
  4. Why are trans people so angry?
  5. Why won't Cis people understand?
  6. Why can't we all just get along?

1. What does Trans mean?

Trans as a term can be either very specific or more loose. The loose definition of Trans is anyone who does not abide by the strict definitions of gender identity. According to this loose definition someone who considers themselves agender or gender fluid would be Trans. The more strict definition of Trans is someone whose gender does not match the one assigned at birth based on their genitals and thus they are transitioning from one en of the gender spectrum to the other. Male to Female or Female to Male.

Being Trans also means your body makes you feel depressed and disgusted, that you are more likely to be harrassed, that you are more likely to be murdered and you are legally discriminated against.

It is not a choice and frankly even if it was they'd still deserve respect and understanding.

2.What does Cis mean?

Cis means not-Trans. It's the Muggle to Trans's Wizards. It doesn't mean we're lesser. it doesn't mean our problems don't matter but it does mean that we have never had to face the struggles Trans have because society accepts us.

3.Why do people have to have labels?

Because this is a psychological condition that often results in suicide, the treatment of which is hormone replacement therapy and a series of expensive surgeries. In other words labels are important because unlike Feminism in the round this is actually goddamned science and as such labels are a little bit important for the clear communication and understanding of the idea,  And no I don't care that you know of one scientist in a billion who disagrees, that is not statistically significant.

4.Why are trans people so angry?

Look in the mirror, or turn off your monitor and look at your reflection. That is you. That is how the world sees you. That face, that body defines you, defines how society treats you. Now imagine it belonged to the wrong gender. It can be hot for a while, a little arousing but that's because you're an adult and you're imagining a sudden temporary switch.

Try growing up your whole life with a body that was not your own, that did not reflect how you really are. Only do you as a bloke have to deal with periods or you as a woman have to deal with smegma but the way society treats you is entirely contrary to how you feel inside.

And all of that will always be true of why it sucks to be Trans but we aren't living under a utopia where that eldritch nightmare is the only problem with being Trans. 

Treatment is expensive so good luck getting help if your country only has private health care and even if you're lucky enough to have a country that will support you, you can never be depressed or angry. Cis people get depressed suicidal or angry and hurt people all the time but nobody ever suggests fucking with their hormone levels. But if you're Trans depression must be a sign that this isn't really what you need, that it must be rushed or slowed if not stopped altogether. And as I learned to my cost if you are going to flip out at an abusive family member after years of abuse and put in a point where they are threatening your survival then the fact your hormones are now as they should be will be blamed.

Then we get into discrimination. In media Trans people are a joke, at best. Or they're deranged serial killers. In the real world people discriminate against Trans to such an extent that states in America are literally passing laws to discriminate against them. Trans people are more likely to be harrassed, are more likely to be murdered and more likely to attempt suicide.

Being Trans sucks. Then some privileged white boy comes up questioning their identity, if not being outright transphobic, and they get annoyed when Trans people will not calmly explain to them why their slating of Trans people's entire existences is a bad idea. Ladies and gentlemen, the internet is at your finger tips, research before asking a trans person. 

Oh and just so we're clear weighing the scales of privileged idiot who has been insulted as such and Trans person enduring eldritch torment, harrassment and discrimination being confronted with transphobia, I side with the latter. You got insulted on the internet, big whoop, you are not discriminated against and your ignorance is perpetrating and encouraging discrimination.

5.Why won't Cis people understand?

I can't speak for women so I won't but as a Cis man privilege is invisible. Your life is choice. there is no coercion, no subtle denigrations. Oh sure I was bullied but I never saw gender inequality instead I complained about how women find it so easy to get attention yet put so much more effort in. If you are sitting in a comfortable position of privilege, you don't see the suffering, you don't see the discrimination insults and harrassment. You think that women must be complaining about nothing because it doesn't affect you so you don't see it and every little thing seems harmless in isolation.

Heck I know just how this bathroom bill in America is discriminatory and yet part of me can't see the big deal. Just use the cubicles. but that's the point, it isn't as big deal. We don't have to be discriminating against anyone but we do because cultural values have momentum. "The way things have always been done" is always preferable and more easy to understand than change.

Privilege does not mean you don't get bullied or harrassed, believe me, so when someone disagrees with you about something that doesn't affect you and you don't see as a problem and they then reach in a firey rage as if you're just promised to rape their first born then you lash out andf cry about the big meany.

6.Why can't we all just get along?

Because if you are Trans you are suffering an eldritch terror that threatens to swallow you whole every single day and on top of that you face harrassment and discrimination.

Maybe some Trans people could learn to bite their tongue but I always side with them over a privileged idiot because until there are no more privileged idiots all that will happen is that Trans people will have it harder and they really do not deserve that.

So what are we to learn from this? That yes understand and tact would help matters but that no transphobia is not to be tolerated because if you dopn't understand you can learn in your own time without bothering someone who has more than enough this to contend with.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Cloud Economy

Service Based Capitalism And The Cloud Economy

Service Based Capitalism And The Cloud Economy

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I did a video on this yesterday but I am not an economist, I mean I failed maths gcse. I am a futurist and a fan of pulp scifi. I am interested in badass charismatic heroes, magnificent tricksters and manipulative bastards. Conflict is inherently more interesting to me than hope, faith and optimism. So naturally I saw doom and gloom in the dying light of capitalism as iot becomes service based but things are not so simple.

Remember when Bethesda tried to sell mods on Steam? A more passive audience might have shrugged it off but the gamers raged and got it overturned. When I made my video speaking about Service Based Capitalism I mentioned Bethesda as generally being good about not succumbing to the temptation of a service based business model but there was an unmentioned asterisk as I spoke saying /*"Except that time they tried to monetise mods"

I'm now thinking that actually that silent asterisk deserves mentioning. I am by no means the first to mention this, heck I saw Paul Mason talk about it a year ago and thought it nonsense only for a link shared to me by a friend to an interview by Jeremy Rifkin on his book The Zero Marginal Cost Society to kick me out of my stupor and realise the truth. Capitalism is dying and in its final years it is raising its replacement.

Jeremy Rifkin calls it the internet of things or the collaborative commons but I think I'll refer to it here as the Cloud Economy. We know what the cloud is. The Cloud is the idea that instead of one big building with one very big, very powerful computer in it, you have lots of little relatively low power computers working together all over the world to do the same thing. Indeed I've already indirectly referred to new media societies as clouds. That 4chan is storm of individual people with with their own ideas and motivations that rain down in aggregate as a force of nature. That the left wing movement for change is a load of individual snowflakes forming a blizzard to transform the world. The Cloud Economy is the same principle.

With the Cloud Economy there is no patriarchy, no hierarchy and no establishment elite. All there is are individuals works together to be part of collective distributed economy. This is communism through capitalism, squaring the economic circle, instead of seizing the means of production you become part of the means of production. Commodity Based Capitalism has typically been hierarchical because when the survival of your company and your workers depends upon the regular mass sale of individual goods you need that structure to keep the system organized as each individual worker can only focus on the job in front of them not the whole company. With the Cloud Economy the technology does most of the hard work leaving humans to use their brains on coordinating their part in the Cloud Economy and with every worker in the cloud economy overseeing their little part of the system the actual oversight and system can be far smaller.

Services like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Steam often get a lot of shit (probably rightly so) for not hiring enough dedicated staff to oversee the smooth running of their systems and always being reliant on bots but the Cloud Economy has picked up the slack. The systems work. Maybe like capitalism they work in dysfunctional unfair ways but they do work. Heck the internet is rapidly developing its own justice system, rightly or wrongly.

So lets return to my silent asterisk and Bethesda. That was basically a system that was okay in principle but shitty in practice and heading down a dark road in terms of incentives for game developers. It's bad enough that developers know the modders will fix their broken game at launch for them but worse when you think they might make a cut from the sale of that mod. And of course there was not enough regulation which I naturally despise as a regulated capitalist. Yet the principle makes all the more sense under the current system of capitalism we have.

Marx is irrelevant, the capitalism he wrote about is dead. We are no longer running a gas guzzling patriarchal commodity based society, instead we have traded in for a shiny new hybrid with a small more efficient fossil fuel service based engine for the rough patches and the latest high tech super cheap virtue signalling electric engine. We have got a hybrid society running out-modded destructive Service Based Capitalism on the one hand and a still Alpha-build Cloud Economy on the other.

Reviewers, Letsplayers and Creators feed off each others work to maximise their audience and extract money from the Service Based Capitalism that still exists so they can survive within it. The fact gamers have refused the corruption money could bring to the Cloud Economy of modding games is an astonishing testament to the fact that the Cloud Economy is not just another version of capitalism but an entirely different system altogether.

I brushed over it earlier but I think it deserves talking about more, within the Cloud Economy being seen to be a good person is treated as an almost capitalist reward. Cynics say it derisively "Virtue Signalling" you can almost hear the unstated "I bet you're a horrible person really you vain fool" but think about it for a moment. In the Cloud Economy being seen to be a good person is worth spending time and effort. the Ice Bucket Challenge, charity live streams, heck just sharing memes, blogs and articles is all considered worth it because in the Cloud Economy being seen to be a good person has value. That is staggering. We have put a price on doing good and made it so fashionable that we have hipsters calling it uncool and hollow. That is one fucking hell of an achievement.

Yet the Cloud Economy hasn't just replaced money with good vibes, the Cloud Economy has its own flagship currency: Bitcoin. I'm not really that up on Bitcoin and probably wouldn't recommend getting paid in it over the dollar but this is a currency that can only exist because of the infrastructure of the Cloud Economy. This is competing with the big banks at their own game. This is a candle of hope should there be another banking crash.

The Cloud Economy is not self sustaining yet but it is growing. We have independent energy generators, small goods producers using 3d printers and decentralised accomodation through things like Couch Surfing and Airb'n'b as I can see it there is one last great challenge to the Cloud Economy: Food.

I have yet to see a viable Cloud Economy alternative to food. Partly because there are certain practical and ethical challenges standing in the way. Raising livestock is impractical for a small producer and unethical without sufficient prohibitive regulation. Even without those issues food goes off, at least without the processing that mega companies do which not only would small independent producers not be able to do but probably wouldn't want to do.

Imagine it though: Lots of small producers with allotments or pet chickens or goats. They keep a certain amount of the crops and eggs and milk to themselves then sell the rest to a local branch which processes the produce to ensure they comply to food safety standards then sells it on to independent buyers to either use as is or turn into other produce and sell on. This is aggregate farming and food production. It wouldn't be a replacement but then none of the Cloud Economy is yet. What it would be is an alternative that could develop to become more efficient in its distribution over time.

If we could tackle the issue of food production through the Cloud Economy then in time it really could replace capitalism altogether, with the democratic state managing the infrastructure, police, military and health services. This is possible. This is happening. This is hope.