Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sci-fi of the hyperbolic present: Technicolor Ultra Mall, by Ryan Oakley

Technicolor Ultra Mall, by Ryan Oakley (EDGE Books, 2011), looks into the future and finds humanity conducting its daily affairs within the walls of city malls, the outdoors reserved for toxic air and garbage. Populations under a roof. For the lowest on the ladder, a dim and desperate basement. For the middle classes, shopping and distractions on their own bright, green level, and sometimes just distractions on the lower red level. For the highest, an unknown blue tier. Maybe they can see the sky there.

Technicolor is more William Gibson and Philip K. Dick than Isaac Asimov or Neal Stephenson, but it's not quite cyber-fiction, despite the highly connected setting, cy-fi vernacular, and video-game features. It's grim, dystopic, and all too close to reality. It doesn't romanticize a grand narrative. It is disjointed, frequently interrupted by fake advertisements and television and radio segments. It has subplots that collide in unexpected ways. It speculates on what happens when a society considers new ways to distract, amuse, pamper, and embellish oneself to be progress: better shopping, drugs, sex, television, and violence.

More than anything else, Technicolor is about violence—brutal violence—which is something I haven't come across much in my reading. I'm probably reading the wrong books. It shows its bloodied, scarred, disfigured, and senseless face right away. The characters, including the protagonists, are mainly members of a criminal gang. They're grotesque, self-serving, and proud brawlers and killers. They can also be obsequious, loyal, and wary of greed. These inner conflicts result in near constant taunts, threats, grandstanding, and frequent outbursts of intense and bloody brutality, usually by knife. It seems gratuitous, but that's the point. A central event finds a gang member volunteering to die under a guillotine, in the middle of a wake that is also a rave. The gang celebrates violence. It is creative performance; for some the only creative outlet they have.

Budgie is an adolescent gang member born and raised on the red levels of the mall. The reds are where the authorities send the undesirables in order to maintain peace on the upper levels. They are poorly policed ghettoes populated mainly by criminals, drug dealers, prostitutes, gamblers, and cheats. But the gangs profit from upper-level folk slumming it at red-level clubs on weekends, so despite frequent violence and general lawlessness, there is order.

Budgie's gang, the Vidicons, is ruthlessly expanding its territory, and Budgie has a change of heart after losing the closest thing he's ever had to a friend. Despite rising in the ranks, in the reds he sees only more dumb violence and a quick death. He devises a plan to decamp to the greens and start a new life. But he can't afford it right away. He's got to get a legitimate job, work his way up, before he can make the move permanent. In the meantime, he's got to face his comrades, who have no love for defectors.

Enter TeeVee, an alpha Vidicon hacker who scans the Info Dump, analyzing information to run criminal schemes and make dance music. (I should mention that Oakley displays a dry humour that corresponds to the setting, dark and raunchy.) TeeVee has caught wind of Budgie's plans. He wants a pair of eyes on the green levels to improve his data flow in preparation for a really big scheme. TeeVee doesn't want Budgie to spy; he wants to program Budgie so his eyes effectively become surveillance cameras, feeding information to TeeVee. Budgie accepts, without any real idea of what he's getting himself into, or any real choice in the matter. If he wants to avoid trouble with his peers, he's got to get out of the reds fast. He needs the money. Budgie also manages to woo Harmony, an independent-minded and equally disillusioned Vidicon who gives him hope for a normal life like he's only seen in old mashed-up movies.

A crooked jobs agent finds Budgie work outside the walls of the mall, maintaining the garbage sorting machines in the vast landfill surrounding. He allows his hope to grow, to reach for the horizon. Despite the drudgery of the work, the desolation of the outdoors, and the protective suit he wears against the deadly atmosphere, Budgie feels free like never before. He stares at the sky, awed and afraid. His supervisor warns him not to look at the sun.

It's fun, and it ends in disaster, but I don't want to give anything away.

I hardly need to point out the symbolism of the title, Technicolor Ultra Mall. The literal levels of the city-mall correspond to the figurative positions of their denizens. The poor and criminals live in the dim red basement levels, at the bottom of the social pyramid, where it is perpetually 2:00 a.m; where once overhead projections of stars shone, now interactive ads flickered, barely lurid enough to distract. It is out of sight, but just below the level of sanctioned activity. If they are chipped, red-dwellers are effectively prisoners in a jail city. Those without chips are just in hell, freedom within sight, but made near-impossible by social conditions. Above the reds, presumably at ground level, is "the lawn", the middle class green levels, bright and wide and tall, perfect for shopping and working, passable for entertainment. Every legal thing you want is available, but most things happen via television. Best not to think too much of the activities happening underfoot. Don't cause trouble, and you won't end up there.

Technicolor Ultra Mall is science fiction as the hyperbolic present. Its world is the delusion of a conspiracy theorist or an apocalyptician or the most extreme political commentator, a projection of the paranoid mind. Pollution may have made the outdoors unlivable, but finally, people are free from the stifling regulations of government (except harsh criminal law); commerce flows freely to its natural conclusion: the city as shopping centre. But despite the authorities' best attempts to eliminate the criminal element from polite society, racial and sectarian violence is out of control in expanding ghettoes that threaten the middle and upper classes! Look at how the de facto legalization of drugs and prostitution in the ghettoes has corrupted good citizens! Listen to the angry man on the radio! He argues like a champ and makes his guests sound crazy.

This is life inside a pulpy video game: competing gangs fight over territory, characters wear personal energy displays and carry strange weapons, they collect bonuses for tasks and reach distinct levels of achievement, and there is abundant graphic and cartoon violence.

The violence below the main floors exaggerates the violence that exists below the surface of our daily lives, directly or not—threats, pushes and shoves, looks, arguments, fights, assaults, gang violence, police violence, harassment and abuse, weapons, war, revolution—in person, on television, in the news, in sports and video games. Violence is everywhere, and we hardly notice it, we pretend not to, we acquiesce, or we participate, often without realizing it. There are people who can't ignore it, because it is integral to their life or livelihood. There are people who think some violence is acceptable, even necessary. They justify it. The rest of us pretend the world is safe: TV and video-game violence isn't real, only criminals are violent, war isn't violence, revolutions are for the unemployed, life doesn't end in violence. But it does, in fact, and Technicolor gives it to the reader in gory glory.

Beneath the violence of Technicolor are interesting, realistic, and sometimes exaggerated characters facing extreme conditions, on both the red and green levels. Communication is mediated by antisocial codes and television, but the characters manage to relate when they want to and when they try. They are still human, by turns repulsive and sympathetic, obnoxious and innocent. Without these conflicted characters, the violence they commit might be too much—too hard to take, too pointless, too blunt. Oakley makes it work and, as a result, the book is a strong first effort.

The central idea of Technicolor Ultra Mall is violence: how we can live with it, how some violence is better than other violence, how violence negates heroism. But it is full of sci-fi ideas, original and imminent. In the mall/world, shopping is the central act of citizenship; citizens, including red-levellers, undergo genetic/biological modifications (fur, wings, animal ears, etc.) as we might get tattoos; what is now on the fringe of science and society—pseudo-biological data storage, interactive TV upgraded with surveillance, transfer of mind between bodies, bio-digital computer programs, artificial intelligence, meme viruses and sicknesses, movie remixes/mash-ups, identification chips for criminals, animatronic fish, bio-digital pets, and on and on—is routine. Any one of these ideas could support a plot. Oakley presents all of them in a familiar but confusing world. Together with the well drawn characters, these ideas make the mall less blood red and more Technicolor.

My only complaint with Technicolor is the editing, which probably only bothers me as an editor. There are typos and double words that are evidently out of place, and I believe I noticed a couple of minor inconsistencies that gave me pause. Initially, I tried to rationalize the errors as a stylistic, as though the book was published in the time it takes place and language is looser. But it's clear that the book really just needs a good edit. In any case, this is the publisher's fault, not the author's, and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book.

In Toronto, you can buy Technicolor Ultra Mall at Bakka Phoenix Books on Harbord, near Spadina, and no doubt other fine literary establishments.

Online, you can find it at Amazon, of course, in both print and Kindle versions.
Read on..!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A response to Toronto City Councillor and Budget Chief Mike Del Grande's editorial in today's Toronto Sun

In today's Toronto Sun, councillor Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) excoriates the Toronto Star and the CBC for its coverage of mayor Rob Ford. I think his comments are mostly stupid. Here is a note I sent his office via his website feedback form.

Mr. Del Grande,

I found your editorial in today's Toronto Sun offensive, misleading, and hypocritical. To call out the CBC and the Toronto Star for having an "agenda", from a pulpit in the most biased of Toronto newspapers, the Sun, is simply silly and frankly ignorant. It is a dangerous and foolish attack on dissent. I think it is you who has made a mistake, and I think you should apologize for it.

Consider your editorial with "politicians" in place of "newspapers". Many people believe what politicians say to be true, but the media demonstrate continuously that politicians lie or mislead the public when it suits them. Where is the standard for factual, accurate reporting for them? It is the press that holds politicians to account for their speech. If you can't see that, if you simply think they hide behind an agenda, you do not deserve to represent this city.


So, Councillor Del Grande got back to me, suggesting that The Star wouldn't have printed his editorial, and that he had no other venue for expressing his opinion. Then he suggested that I was making a personal attack rather than trying to engage in dialogue. I responded thus:

I don't believe the question is who would have printed it or how to express the opinion. Of course you have the right to express whatever opinion you like. But did you ask the Star or CBC to print it? You have a website. You could publish it there, or send a news release, or use twitter or facebook—all neutral platforms.

The point is that the opinion you expressed is tone-deaf. Almost everything that you said about the Star and CBC applies equally to all media outlets, and it also applies to politicians such as yourself.

Think about it. You excoriate the Star and CBC for having an agenda and then argue that they are intentionally misleading readers who often believe what they read. Then you complain that they don't meet standards of journalistic integrity. But you write this in a newspaper whose readers, according to your own logic, are likely to believe what you wrote, whether valid or not.

How is this different from the Sun? Have you read Sue-Ann Levy and Joe Warmington? Do you think they don't have an agenda?

How is it different from the mayor or yourself? Where are the professional standards for politicians?

At least for the press there is the press council (from which the Sun excused itself recently, you surely know). Politicians lie or mislead with impunity. That is not a "personal attack". Many reputable and skilled reporters in Toronto, including from the Sun, have uncovered and exposed such things—and not just from this council and mayor.

I am asking you: do you see how your editorial might be hypocritical? That is a question: dialogue.

For the record, I don't think the CBC is blameless in this latest instance, and I think some have been too quick to jump on non-issues at the expense of more important coverage. But those decisions are not up to me. I think it is important to have a committed fourth estate to challenge our leaders and inform the citizenry.

Thanks for your reply.

Shortly thereafter, Del Grande charmingly dismissed my concerns by saying succinctly, "Agree to disagree".

So, from this exchange I think I can fairly reach these conclusions:

  • Del Grande truly believes that some media outlets are acting in a biased manner, but not others
  • He does not believe that the mayor or any currently sitting politicians has misled the citizens of Toronto, intentionally or otherwise
  • He believes that politicians should not be held to the same standard of truth-telling as the media
  • He sees no conflict in expressing his opinion through a clearly and explicitly biased news organization, but not bothering to seek an alternative outlet, neutral or otherwise
  • He would rather dismiss contrary opinions than engage in dialogue
  • He has no idea what makes a logical argument
Interestingly, I have no way of knowing which of my several points of dialogue Del Grande is dismissing with his "agree to disagree", or whether he disagrees with all of it. One way or another, I believe it shows an unfortunate lack of respect for my response.
Read on..!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

First impressions of davenport candidates: the fringe

When I have a bit more time, I'd like to take a close look at what the candidates are saying about local issues, but in the mean time, let's take a quick look at what they and their parties are about.

Here are the fringe candidates in Davenport, from the Communist Party, the Freedom Party, and the Libertarian Party (in alphabetical order by name).

Paul Bedard, Ontario Libertarian Party

There's not much to say about Bedard at the moment. His profile on the Libertarian Party website says only that is top issue is "limited government". No surprise there. The party's platform expands on this idea a bit:
There are many areas in which the government of Ontario has interfered to the detriment of the citizens of this fine province. ... the only proper functions of government are national defence (protection from foreign invaders), the police (providing protection from criminals) and the courts settling, according to objective laws, disputes among individuals, where private, voluntary arbitration has failed).
The party's website has lots of info for residents curious about how libertarianism works generally and where the party stands on broad issues like tax reform, education, health care, crime prevention, environment, child care/day care, employment equity/pay equity, poverty, and energy.

Franz Cauchi, Freedom Party of Ontario

There's not much info about Cauchi either, not even a top issue, but the party's website offers helpful information, including the party platform. Here's what Wikipedia says about the Freedom Party:
Instead of embracing the libertarian motto that "the government that governs least governs best", the Freedom Party asserts that "the purpose of government is to defend every individual's freedom, not to restrict it."
In other words, while the Freedom Party of Ontario might at first seem like a libertarian party, it is in fact an "objectivist" party. The distinction might not be obvious to anyone who is not a political philosophy scholar. At any rate, the party espouses capitalist policies based on reason, rational self-interest, and consent, and rejects appeals to altruism, irrationality, and the supernatural. The party's platform calls for eliminating various taxes and provincial bans, and perhaps most controversially, introducing medical cannabis centres.

Miguel Figueroa, Communist Party of Canada (Ontario branch)

Davenport is lucky to have the leader of the Communist Party's Ontario branch. Figueroa is the only one with a bio on his party's website, but it doesn't say anything about Davenport. The site does however offer this:
The aim of the Communist Party is a socialist Canada: a society in which the wealth is owned equitably by the working people who create it, and where exploitation and oppression of one human being by another is ended.
You don't need a degree to know that communism is pretty much the opposite of libertarianism and objectivism. The latter two call for as little government as necessary to defend the country, its citizens, and the law. Communism calls for government to regulate the economy and to provide a wide variety of social services to citizens. The Communist Party's platform calls for increased wages and employee benefits, enhanced labour rights and health and safety laws, electoral reform, improved access to quality affordable housing, improved public health care, education, and transit, sustainable energy and natural resource management, and food security.

That's it for the fringe candidates. To be clear, by "fringe" I only mean that their parties' ideas are at the edge of the mainstream. I don't mean to say that they are invalid in any way. Often ideas on the fringe slowly work their way into the mainstream.

Feel free to let me know what you think of any candidate!
Read on..!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ontario election 2011: Davenport and beyond

I live on Symington Avenue, right in the middle of the recently christened Junction Triangle. I've been here for over three years now and I love it. I think the West Toronto Railpath is one of the city's great recent successes, abbreviated though it is for the time being. The Wallace Avenue footbridgeoffers a terrific view of the city (and great exercise). There are excellent and affordable new restaurants, cafés and businesses opening up all around. Even the 168 Symington bus, which runs frequently past my door, is more convenient than noisy or intrusive.

I try to pay attention to neighbourhood issues. The things I hear about most are the Georgetown rail corridor/air-rail link (could be amazing), planning (where's that boys and girls club?), development (there's lots), incumbent industry (should it stay or go?), politics (how to engage the diverse and transitional population?), and traffic (Dupont is pretty bad).

Here are the issues that concern me the most this election.

1. Honesty, integrity, and vision among candidates
I have had enough of politicians who lie or misrepresent the truth to the public in order to advance their agenda. Toronto and Canada have seen too much of this in the last 10 years. In my opinion, candidates should have a positive vision for their city and province. They should express their vision plainly; they should answer questions clearly; they should avoid pithy slogans and name-calling; they should publicly discuss their ideas to improve their city and province, rather than simply attacking other candidates' proposals. They should act like concerned citizens, like you and me. They should talk and listen to citizens, and try their best to understand them. They should be clear about their ideas and willing to defend them, but accept that they might be wrong. (I know, I know. I must be dreaming!)

2. The Georgetown rail corridor/air-rail link
This is an issue that affects the entire electoral district of Davenport, and really the entire west end of Toronto. The problem is pollution, mainly from diesel exhaust. The Liberals have committed to increasing the number of trains running between Union Station and Georgetown, starting with a Union-Pearson Airport rail link. Due partly to the costs and partly to an artificial timeline, they have chosen an unproven "clean diesel" technology at a time when jurisdictions around the world are implementing electric railways. Critics of the plan say it is an immense threat to citizens' health and an enormous waste of money. The government says it will electrify the corridor eventually, and the new technology will limit the threat from pollution.

3. Public Catholic schools: LGBT rights and funding
These aren't Davenport-specific issues. Rather they affect citizens across the province. First, the taxpayers of Ontario support Catholic religious education with their money to the exclusion of other religions. In fact, Canada's constitution mandates this arrangement, but the constitution was written at a time when there were only (or very nearly only) Catholic and Protestant Christians in Canada, and there were fears that Catholics would suffer discrimination in what were at the time mainly Protestant schools. That is obviously no longer the case, but the system remains, only now it discriminates against all non-Catholics. Second, the Toronto Catholic District School Board recently refused to endorse a policy of support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) students, in defiance of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Ontario's Human Rights Code. The problems that this situation presents are obvious: can the province justify using citizens' money to fund an organization that actively discriminates against citizens?

4. Planning, development, transit
Some might find this stuff dull, but I am very interested in how the city looks and, more importantly, how it works. I travel the city on foot, by bike, by car, bus, and train. I get stuck in traffic, and I get delayed on the subway, and I'd love the city to move people around better. In my neighbourhood, I hear of new developments regularly. In fact, I can hear one project being built at Dupont and Lansdowne from my house. I'd like Toronto to demand greatness in its development; to create and follow long-term plans that make the city—its streets and buildings and businesses and services—work for communities, not against them; to do more to respect its built heritage and to complement what exists with developments that make citizens and communities proud.

But Davenport is much more than my neighbourhood, and I'd love to hear what you think is important this election or in general. I'll be writing about the election on The Star's Speak Your Mind blog until the results come in. See the Davenport file there. (Click the "Blogs" tab beside ">>Davenport news" for the good stuff.) Blog blog blog.
Read on..!

Friday, 2 September 2011

A letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on the electrification of the Georgetown rail corridor

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1

Re: electrification of the Georgetown rail corridor

Mr. McGuinty,

I live in the Toronto neighbourhood, the Junction Triangle, so named because it is bounded (closely) on all three sides by intersecting rail lines.

My purpose in writing you today is to express my concern about your government’s plan to expand the use of diesel trains—by nearly ten times—along the Georgetown rail corridor (one of the three lines that borders my neighbourhood), and to voice my support for electrification of the line. I believe you understand the facts of the matter, since Metrolinx (along with many others past and present) has already affirmed that electrification is the logical next step for rail along the corridor. I expect you have heard facts and arguments from the Clean Train Coalition and other public interest groups, and I hope from your own caucus members from the affected ridings. So I will try to be brief.

Please understand that I support rail expansion. I believe it is extremely important—so much so that it is almost the only issue of importance for me and many others in this coming election—and I applaud you for acting to improve rail transit in Toronto and the surrounding areas.

First, simply put, diesel is the past, and as a citizen I resent wholeheartedly that you would waste my and my family and friends’ money on something that is already out of date and which will only serve to waste more money in the future. It seems like madness to me. I further resent as a citizen and human that you would spend my money to effectively poison me and my neighbours for decades to come. That is a conscious betrayal. I do not trust that the purported benefits of new technology will pan out as claimed. And the fact remains that diesel technology belongs to the past.

Second, I understand that the province made some sort of promise to the organizers of the Pan-Am Games that Toronto would have in place some sort of effective transportation option from the airport into the city for the games. Perhaps that promise involved trains, which puts Metrolinx on a tight timeline, but this is a poor argument for moving ahead with the wasteful and dangerous diesel plan. If we have made a foolish promise, it is better to take it back and make amends than to follow through.

The diesel plan is disrespectful to our Pan Am guests and more so to Ontarians. We should be showing how well and intelligently we do things here—how we plan for the future. We should be setting an example for the Americas and the world. Instead, we are insulting everyone by choosing to live in the past. And there are options. Designated busways/lanes for the duration of the games could easily transport athletes, guests, visitors, and others between the airport and various destinations. Has your government considered this option? The GO system itself could be used to greater effect if shuttle buses travelled from the airport to nearby train stations.

Third, you have made many claims of building a green economy in Ontario and generally advancing a green agenda. How can anyone trust such claims when you insist on moving ahead with such an environmentally unsound project? This is dishonest, and I cannot understand it, especially when the choice is so easy. Don’t let your past and ongoing investments and initiatives in the environment be overshadowed by this pointless move.

Finally, know that this is an election issue, and it is one that could cost you and your party their leadership. You must know at this point that your past accomplishments mean very little when facing opponents that are dedicated to change and an electorate that sees your government as complacent. Proponents of rail electrification are united and their numbers are growing. They are vocal and they are right and they will only support candidates who support electrification.

I believe that you, too, know electrification is right, and I suspect you would prefer to do it right the first time. If you think your hands are tied by the Pan-Am Games or finances or anything else, know you have options. Consult the people of Ontario, in whom you have said you believe so strongly, and they will give you solutions. You have the power and you can make the Georgetown rail corridor electrification happen, as you have with numerous other worthwhile causes over your tenure as premier. You can be the person who finally brought Ontario’s rail system into the modern era. Or you can be the premier who poisoned thousands of Ontarians for no good reason.

Please make the right choice.

Thank you very much,

Adam Gorley
Read on..!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The internet always remembers?

Does the internet really remember everything? Do we need to teach computers how to forget?

I wonder if it won't just happen "naturally", like by attrition.

I imagine that sooner or later, irrelevant information will be pushed to the bottom of the pile (or search list) and then eventually be "forgotten", if not completely erased. Google already does this to a certain extent, arranging search results by relevance, estimated by factors like how many other sites link to the information and so on.

If a piece of information exists on a computer connected to the internet, but no website links to it, will anyone ever recover that obscure information? And what about when computers disconnect from the internet? Unless their data are cached somewhere (which, admittedly, Google and others do on a large scale), that information is no longer accessible. Also, over time, as formats and computer languages change, much more information will become inaccessible without translation.

Maybe it's just the same as with current information in "legacy" formats: there's a lot of it that exists, but which we are completely unaware of—like in dusty old tomes in libraries that we would have to spend hours or years searching for because it's not indexed. Still it's there.

I understand the ideal of going "off the grid", and avoiding trails of data that can tell others about one's daily habits or personal life. At its simplest, it means I can just go somewhere and no one will know where I am, or I can do something, and no one will know what I'm doing. Without such protection, we end up in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, never sure if someone is watching, always afraid to act.

It's not about living by the law or not. I'm sure that for many law-abiding citizens, once they believe that someone is watching their every move, they will reconsider some or many of their actions; they will become unnatural, separate from their desires, alienated from their selves.

Of course, time won't help if someone wants to remove some damning information from the internet right away. Facial recognition certainly won't make it any easier. It's almost enough to make me want to give up on Facebook. Sometimes I don't want to worry about someone seeing my photos or personal information (despite security measures).

I do believe that, in time, much digital information will be lost, in the ways I've mentioned and others. As disasters and time have destroyed copious past knowledge, so they will do to current and future knowledge. Most people probably have little to worry about when it comes to their personal information. That is, besides marketers, identity thieves, and future historians and archeologists, few people care about the average person's information. And for the time being, going off the grid can be as simple as leaving the house without your phone and wallet, and paying for things with cash.

We make much of our dependence on technology, and surely much of the talk is true. Perhaps fewer people each year could survive "in the wild"; and the idea doesn't interest them. Can we say that these people are worse off than others? Is it as dangerous as some say to trade our privacy for convenience? Is it harmful to trust technology with our secrets, some of which we would never even tell other people?
Read on..!

Monday, 25 April 2011

First principles

All is one.

I find this assertion to be clear and unassailable. Something exists, and while that something appears to be manifold (i.e., that's how we experience it), it is nonetheless one. No part can be separated from the whole. Therefore everything is one. By "everything" and "all" I mean the world, the universe, reality. Spinoza calls this alternately substance, nature, and god. 

One (reality) is also complete (whole), perfect, and infinite. 

It is complete because it is everything. It is perfect because it is complete. It is infinite because it comprises all possibilities, past, present, and future—because there can be nothing more, but it has no limit. (For if it had a limit, there would be something else as well, but it is everything and therefore there is nothing else.)

Everything exists. That is, everything possible has happened, is happening, and will happen. In other words, time is an illusion.

Those are the first-ish principles.
Read on..!
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The New Dilettantes by Adam Gorley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.