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Inventing the Internet

Back in the 1960s when transistor radios and pocket calculators were getting popular, most young people I knew speculated on a not very distant time when all kinds of fantastic gadgets would come into existence. True, those radios were tinny and basic, while calculators were capable of little more than simple arithmetic, but they worked, were portable and NEW. I remember, as a teenager, studying transistor logic gates, adders and complex switching circuits that formed the building-blocks of elementary computer processors. These developments among others promised a future with all kinds of amazing technologies. Most people I knew were involved with the sharp edge of some technical development or other, and regarded the coming information age as inevitable.

Some people couldn't see it. They'd make absurd statements like: "We'll never have flat-screen TV because no-one will ever make a blue l.e.d." or "Calculators will always cost more than £100!" But most young people who worked in a techno industry knew otherwise, and that the internet (or some kind of information highway) was coming - it was only a matter of when. And not just an 'internet': numerous prospective inventions floated at the edge of our consciousness in those days - things we knew would materialise once someone solved a few basic technical problems. I remember thinking-up all kinds of gadgets myself (as I still do) and then waiting for them to appear... never considering that I might take the initiative myself. That kind of thinking - taking the initiative - had been well-drummed out of us at school. A couple of decades ago on TV they showed a prototype all-singing-&-dancing 'mobile'-phone that was the size of a fridge... with the presenter declaring that it would take a mere couple of years to reduce it to pocket-size. Who could have doubted it?

All this is ancient history now. But unlike most people then - who 'invented' the net - I actually discovered it.... or rather, for a brief inspiring interval, thought I had. I explain that disappointing episode on another page HERE.


Inventing Games

I guess the same kind of reasoning applies to games.... I mean, who didn't invent 'Scrabble'? And what in life can't be interpreted as some kind of a game? In addition to what we invented/improvised for ourselves, us kids used to play all kinds of games.... age-old ones like Snakes-&-Ladders, Draughts, Ludo... etc., then as teens Monopoly and Chess, and later Wembley and Totopoly and Millionaire, eventually Cludo... and various 'intellectual' or 'adult' games like Dingbats, Libido and so on (actually I never got to play that last one, alas). But there were loads of them, and loads more doubtless invented since - some ingenious, some pathetic. And not just board games, most of which have more-or-less fallen into the deep dark chasm of history - does anyone still play 'Trivial Pursuit'?

These days we're swamped by ever more sophisticated computer or virtual-reality adventure/war-games, most of which themselves soon get revamped or superseded. So the only thing those old games seem good for now is nostalgia.

Despite all that, a few days ago I invented yet another game - by serendipity... as if another mad game is needed in the world. Is it new, though, I wonder? Almost certainly not, at least not in essence.

Anyone who remembers the original Avengers on TV might recall the idea of translating a weird kind-of board-game into life-size reality - a bit like Lewis Carol did for chess. This gave the game/plot a sharp Kafkaesque quality - absurdity entwined with impending menace. Lewis Carol's skill was to have a sceptical and perceptive Alice cut through the absurdity and transform menace into satire. My situation happened the other way around; and instead of zapping one's adversaries, as seems the vogue these days in video games, the skill for me was in avoiding or outwitting them.

I call the game - which I played for real - 'Battle Woods'. This is doubly appropriate: for one thing it took place in a big wood of that name (just east of the little town of Battle in East Sussex), and for another, the game is in fact a sort-of battle as well as taking place in a large wood.

Although I've been doing this for decades, and have always seen it as a kind of game, it hadn't occurred to me before to translate it into one that might be played on a board or screen. Only while underway and 'the chase was on', so to speak, did it dawn on me recently that I was engaged in a contest that could be so simulated.

Now I should confess I've developed a longstanding animosity or even phobia for people who own pestering dogs, and especially for the dogs.

Not that I dislike dogs - see THIS little treatise from way back. Though it's always the dog that's the pest, I blame the owners. A few weeks ago I even got bitten - though to be fair that was on a beach with all-round visibility for miles - so for a fiver off ebay (plus a quid for the battery) I bought an electronic 'Dog Repeller'. This brilliant device generates ultrasound that dogs find disturbing so they back-away. No longer do I get dog-saliva all over my legs or trousers, nor mud. Above all I don't get bitten. Even so, I sometimes forget to shove the repeller in my pocket. That's when I'm forced to play 'Battle Woods'. It's a very simple game - though one can build-in any amount of complexity. And instead of dogs, the menace could be yales or some other ferocious mythical beast.












This is roughly how it goes:

The aim is to get to the other side of the wood, or maybe just to cover a certain distance, or even to visit particular 'difficult' points.... Anyhow, there are people with dogs in the wood. As in reality, if there's a human there's also a dog. Contestants in the game, on the other hand, like me in real life, are without a dog. Suddenly there's someone approaching so even if you can't see it, you know there's a dog. At all costs you have to avoid the dog. It may not attack, but at first you can't tell for sure. So, because you'd lose time backtracking, you take a diversion. The diversion risks encountering other dogs, hence further diversions, and so on.

You carry a map (or follow your progress on a board), but in order to reduce your chances of meeting the same dog again you assess its most likely location, which - as in the real world - continually changes, though consistently with the real world.

The wood is thick but nowhere completely impenetrable. There are many interconnecting tracks - some broad, some narrow, some straight, some curved, some flat, some undulating (concealing what's ahead). All this is to imitate reality - at least, as I experience it. There are patches of quagmire, especially on narrow sections, but there are also frequent even narrower and unmapped (usually winding) routes around difficult spots.... every decision/diversion involves risk.

From one to several players compete. You choose (by some random mechanism such as dice, or electronically) how many dogs are in the wood, their size (speed) and temperament. A new network appears (unless it's printed on a board). And the dogs begin at random locations too, moving in random directions.

A dog can only be spotted when it's within line of sight - as in reality. So it must be close by or on a straight track, not hidden by undulations. If the distance between you and an encountered dog is, say, less than between the dog and its owner, then it will chase, but only for double the distance between you and its owner at the moment the dog appears. Some dogs, though, are capable of double your speed.... and so on... these variables involve assessing risk.

Although dogs with their owners might turn back the way they came, or take any route designated as track, they move consistently - as I say, they replicate reality: they can't jump or run or go faster than walking pace - except a dog when spotting and chasing a player. But players can run, though (as mentioned) no faster, say, than half the speed of the fastest dog..... and so on again....

There are many possibilities. Final rules need to be worked-out. The aim, though, is to get where you intend as quickly as possible with the least hassle or harm... though not all dogs attack; some are controlled, but might still disobey their owner. The game is solid with risk - the skill is in learning to assess that risk and get through. There would be score-gains for speed, losses for damage, etc.

At least, that's the kind of situation I found myself in on a superb sunny day in Battle Woods just before Christmas. Usually, there's only three or four cars in the car-park. That day there were about a dozen. And each car represents at least one dog. (My singular presence, as I say, is exceptional - never do I see anyone else without at least one dog.)

So whenever I saw someone (ie, a dog) approaching I'd take the next track off, sometimes coming 'dangerously' close to another dog before veering down another narrower track (probably overgrown and winding erratically with dense foliage close either side, and maybe a few puddles). I'd be going at full pelt too, of course, in an encounter like this. Usually the dog would get called back rather than continue to chase me. But then, who knows. I might also have to negotiate a patch of quagmire or another approaching dog..... etc., etc.

All this might sound positively traumatic to a novice. Yet, the truth is, it's GREAT fun; a tremendous, exhilarating experience. That day, I must have covered ~60 or 70% of the wood, which is pretty big. Despite the quantity of walkers, always (as I say) with their dog(s), once I realised I was 'in a game', as it were, I was able to avoid them all - at no time did I pass a dog and at no time was I forced to turn back. Every time a dog appeared, generally a good distance away, I managed to divert - sometimes by running at top speed towards the dog first, then darting down a side-track I knew... sometimes by risking a narrow winding path through dense foliage - and leaving several dogs bewildered.

True, I know that particular wood pretty well - even parts, I suspect, that locals never go on. Likewise for other woods around here. And I could list maybe a dozen elsewhere near where I've lived.... like Charmy Down (near Bath), Ashridge Park (Beds/Bucks), Kings Wood (Kent), North Downs (Surrey), Friston Forest (E Sussex)... plus a few others. That day at Battle Woods, though, I was there for >90-minutes and probably covered ~10-miles.

I've spent most of my life turning woodland/countryside wandering into a kind-of game, if only subconsciously: attempting to pass someone more than once by taking certain routes, moving at certain speeds, sprinting, dawdling, whatever - or making certain manoeuvres so as to avoid them... all kinds of predictions and strategies just for the fun of it, to transform an otherwise unexciting excursion into a quest, a challenge. Mostly, though, if the truth's known, I rarely ever met anyone until recent years. Nowadays, for some weird reason, wandering around woods seems to have become almost a new passtime, a new vogue. And the dog problem has escalated in tandem with that. I think it needed this menacing aspect of genuine risk from dogs to alert me to the idea that the situation could be played-out on a board or computer.

The great advantage of taking this approach is that it forces your brain into the moment. Not that you'd be dwelling obliviously on some mad preoccupation while wandering around some spledid woodland... but if you do then this offers a kind of escape, as in dangerous sports like rock-climbing, for instance. You're forced to focus on what you're doing rather than ruminating on trivia that can have the effect of dragging some people into a kind of mundane everyday tedium or worse - even when in a fabulous location like a wood or some other superb wild spot.

I don't play video games, nor these days board games for that matter. And I guess there are already games that resemble what I've described for 'Battle Woods', probably vastly more sophisticated and exciting. But, just as back in the 1960s I had no idea how in practice an internet might be created, I wouldn't have much idea now about how 'Battle Woods' might be translated into a virtual reality experience.... though these days I know there's kids creating far more dramatic and challenging screen-games than I can even begin to imagine.

Later today, I'll maybe charge out again to Battle Woods (or some other wood)... in reality, which for my money is by far the best way to play. Keeps the blood circulating, the brain awake, and it makes a day-out. This time though, like a trapeze artist remembering to rig the safety net, I'll remember to take the DOG-ZAPPER - Yelp!

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Rod's Story




The Charlie Hebdo Affair

Another false-flag?

From wikipedia:

... the term "false flag terrorism" may even be used in those instances when violence is carried out by groups or organizations which, whether they know it or not, are being supported or controlled by the "victim" nation...

A few days ago in Paris THREE - just three - 'terrorists' murdered 17 people, most significantly 10 French satirical journalists/cartoonists. Two of the assassins claimed they were serving Mohammed and ISIS, while one claimed it was Mohammed and Al Quaida. ISIS and Al Quaida are enemies. The journalists' targets for ridicule had included ALL religions, politicians (esp those on the 'right') and other establishment figures.

The result: an unprecedented public outcry, joined soon after by more than 40 heads of state from around the world, plus millions more public, who assembled to pay tribute to the cartoonists and protest against such a brutal attack on free-speech. French politicians subsequently announced the deployment of 10,000 soldiers around France, 5,000 police to guard Jewish schools in particular (that alone should ring a few alarm bells), and their sponsorship of printing >1,000,000 copies of the next edition of the 'offending' journal - whose normal readership was <100K. Intelligence services receive new and increased powers despite the fact that they already held files on the attackers and associates.

Could this be reminiscent of 9/11 when exclusively on that morning the US air force grounded its fighter-jets, and at an earlier date relevant intelligence data/leads on the perpetrators was shelved by order from unspecified high authority?

And what politician would shed tears over the demise of Charlie Hebdo's best cartoonists whose job it was to discredit them? Could the hapless cartoonists have been what's referred these days to 'collateral' in another Mossad false-flag - a pretext to justify a variety of divisive acts/policies that are yet to be unveiled? (ie, as 9/11 was for invading Afghanistan and Iraq).

Those 40+ heads-of-state who leapt on the bandwagon of public outcry did so with astonishing alacrity. It appeared they couldn't get to Paris fast enough - not to mention the speed at which Monsieur Hollande arrived at the Charlie Hebdo office. If the attack wasn't some kind of a false-flag, these responses were truly impressive. But was this solidarity or stupendous hypocrisy?

A retweet by Glen Greenwald (who I follow):


What if Iraq, Syria or Libya... etc., launched a REAL attack on France, the UK, Israel &/or the US? ...even if in the piecemeal way the latter have dished out aggression in those countries, frequently killing in a single attack quite a few more than in Paris a few days ago.... yet who even notices?

To quote the late Peter Ustinov: "Terrorism is the war of the poor; war is the terrorism of the rich." And the 'foot-soldier' half-wit automatons (stuffed to the eyebrows with propaganda/religious-pap) who do the dirty-work, just blindly obey, while their BIG-shot rulers remain safely in their hideouts and palaces - except when summoned to march in lock-step solidarity - as in the above cartoon.

By some weird quirk, on 10th Jan I received a 'circular tweet' that appears to be from Will Self (who I don't follow): "Why after the Paris massacre Je Suis NOT Charlie Hebdo?" with a monochrome cartoon that says: "Though tweaking the noses of Muslims might be as permissible as it is now believed to be dangerous, it has never struck me as anything other than a vapid way to use the pen."

I replied: "ALL religion is NUTS and a potential menace. It's politicians who have loads to answer for, NOT cartoonists." (Instead of 'politicians' I guess I should have put 'Big Corp' - their controller).

Following 9/11 the US invasion of Afghanistan took just 26-days: ie, from wikipedia -

The U.S. government dismissed the request for proof as "request for delay or prevarication"; NATO commander George Robertson said the evidence was "clear and compelling". On 7 October, as the U.S. aerial bombing campaign began, President Bush ignored questions about the Taliban's offer and said instead "Full warning had been given, and time is running out."

Which means the US military must have been geared-up and ready well in advance in anticipation of (the 9/11) attack.

I just wonder what the hell the bastards have planned that these recent killings are meant to warrant/provoke? I'm writing this on 13th Jan 2014. Where are the West's war-ships parked or headed right now?

See youtube (<3mins): Coming Storm


Addendum -

Norman Soloman on Government & Press Freedom 11-min youtube

(Big Corp/CIA, Iraq, Syria... Paris attacks... it's all there in 11-mins)


According to a Jan 15 Press-TV report . (from ICH) by Finian Cunningham:

[One guy – a comedian, I believe] ...who declared "I am Kouachi" was arrested. Arrested for speech at a march in support of free speech…

...A review of its past contents show that the publication is not the fearless champion of free speech that all the weeping millions of “Nous Sommes Charlie” supporters would have us believe. It has never, for example, given deserved criticism of Western-sponsored Zionist terrorism towards Palestinian civilians, human rights defenders, medical aid workers and journalists.

That’s because it is not the paragon of free speech and intelligent political satire that has been made out by Western governments and the mainstream media since the killings last week.

This article, together with numerous other details, suggests a significant Jewish element to the 'Charlie Hebdo' affair.... as too in 9/11. What does all this tell us?

One good 'on the-surface' response to that report went thus: put it in a nutshell, the issue about Charlie Hebdo is free speech on the one hand, and single-minded fanatics with a deep and medieval sense of outrage on the other hand. Western society has become increasingly irreligious, thank God. (!) By which I mean that conceptually bizarre crimes such as heresy and blasphemy have been stricken from the law book. Why should somebody die for making fun of a man-made construct such as religion? Why should people die for an idea anyway? Western society may have its faults, but they pale in comparison to the total intellectual domination demanded by the ideologies that the killers belonged to, ones that will have no truck with free speech. What I have saw of Charlie Hebdo was feeble stuff, artistically and intellectually, and the attack has given it more attention than it ever expected or deserved.

If only it was as simple and straightforward! As ever, though, Big Corp rules. Whatever serves their interest, is what goes - regardless. Nothing will stop it - short, maybe, of planetary destruction, from which nature will rebound, perhaps minus us humans and a few 'higher' animals.

It does seem that Israel somehow has half the world by the balls - more-than half of the West - and that Jews have earned a reputation for excessive greed in wealth and power. But such greed is not exclusive to Jews, and there are Jews - Einstein, Harod Pinter.... etc., etc., - to whom those traits would be anathema.

Either way, whoever they are, the psychopaths who serve that monstrous entity Big Corp, they are the real enemy. If only there was some way to defeat them... if only..........


Addendum-2 (19.1.15)

The Charlie Hebdo intrigue continues to expand. In an ICH posting from Paul Craig Roberts, who begins by describing curious evidence from several videos, there's a brief analysis of who-gains/who-loses (ie, motivation - crucial to any crime) for staging the Paris attacks:

...Police enter and turn to the right. Then Coulibaly appears from the same direction as the police entered. He is in a running stumble as if he has been pushed into the line of fire. There is no weapon in his hands, which appear to be tied together. He falls or is shot down at the door in front of the police, who then fire more bullets into the downed man.

It looks like an execution. It most certainly is not a gun fight. Coulibaly was down and could easily have been captured and questioned. Instead, we have reports of pre-recorded confessions to take the place of capture and questioning.

The connection between Muslim murderous ire against French cartoonists and Coulibaly’s alleged attack on a Kosher deli is asserted but not explained. If Coulibaly was incensed over cartoons drawn by French persons, why wasn’t he with the killers in the cartoonists’ office? Why pick on random patrons of a deli unrelated to the reason for the attack?

Once you look at this independently of the official news presentation, there are problems everywhere.

The terrorist attacks, if that is what they are, are extremely convenient for Washington and Israel. France had just voted with Palestine against the US/Israeli position. French President Hollande had just stated that the sanctions against Russia must end. Among Europeans sympathy was rising for the Palestinians, and support for Washington’s and Israel’s Middle East wars was declining. Now France is back under Washington’s foreign policy umbrella, and European sympathy has shifted from the Palestinians to Israel.
(My emphasis.) So the propaganda game/conspiracy of Israel/Washington/Westminster v US/UK/European public goes on - and the malignant ever-growing imperialist/BIG-CORP monster slithers and spreads ever-further....

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The UKRAINE issue:

"Distortions, Lies and Omissions...."

by Patrick Smith (21.1.15)

[Out-take from top of >3000 word article]:

A note arrived a few days ago from one of my best informants in Europe. He had just met across a hotel dining table with a senior German executive, and the topic quickly turned to the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions regime Washington has imposed on Russia.

I can do no better than give you the pertinent passage in the note:

“… I spoke … breakfast time in Europe… with the head of one of the largest companies in Germany. This declaration was one of the first items he mentioned. I took notes—because it is one of my clients—and here is what he said: ‘It is urgent for Europe to bring Obama and the people making the decisions behind him back to reality. If not, this will spiral first into a financial collapse, which will slam into all of Europe, and then who knows where it goes after that? Everywhere, far-right nationalist forces are building. Look at the last U.S. Congressional elections, and think what is coming. Will America ever have had a more nationalist Congress?  Le Pen would be right at home in this crowd. The course we are on now is folly.  Can’t they see that?’”

* * * * *

So begins Smith's comprehensive anaysis of the UKRAINE issue.

Someone called Randy in 'comments' responds:

Tremendously astute essay by a first rate American journalist and historian. 

Five years ago a friend in Kiev, an historian by training, warned me that fascism was rising in Western Ukraine, and that it was being funded and backed by the U.S. 

Regretfully, I dismissed his warnings as hyperbole. 

In March, shortly after the putsch, my friend had to flee Kiev with his family after receiving death threats. More importantly, he didn’t want his children to grow up living under a regime dominated by fascist thugs and neoliberal sociopaths. 

Now he’s unemployed, his savings gone, and he and his family are living under harsh conditions. At least he’s alive. 

Yet another victim of American Empire.

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'FUCK-YOU!' - billionaire austerity brigade

AT LAST someone has the balls to defy the bastards/bankers/billionaires who stole all the dough. What was 'borrowed' to bail-out the banks who'd gambled it away (or rather, shifted it to other billionaires) shouldn't be public debt, but bank-debt. Let the billionaires & banks suffer the austerity they caused.

Hopefully now, that's precisely what Syriza will do: force the billionaires into 'austerity' (so what if they become millionaires or even destitute?).... and maybe with luck Spain and Italy will follow Greece's example and reject treacherous Big Corp toady politicians who NEVER serve those who elect them...

The whole of Europe needs a monumental political shift to the left so the billionaires are finally stopped in their increasingly brazen scams that enslave everyone who isn't well loaded.

Sadly it won't catch-on in the UK. The Brits are far too conservative and thick. So nothing will happen to make much difference here despite millions of underpaid workers needing food handouts while hundreds of idle billionaires play the London highlife with OUR dough....