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Posted by / 28-Sep-2020 19:11

So Brunner's musings on the concept of freedom of information and related topics seem relevant to me - but if you just want energy news, the time to stop reading is now - come back again tomorrow.I will mention energy and global warming a few times along the way though.This 28-year old book not only decribed the internet as it will become very soon long before its inception, but computer viruses (called "worms" by Brunner) before the first PC too, plus a few other things and issues not even mentioned yet.Since a friend gave it to me to read many years ago, I've bought every copy of it I could find.Our resource wars over oil are clouded with endless disinformation and propaganda campaigns, some that have been going on for decades.Global warming science is also afflicted, with the best source of much of the information (various US government funded institutions) suffering from censorship and political interference, exacerbated by the fossil fuel industry's FUD campaign against the scientists.Brunner identified himself with the political left (including anti-war actions in Britain during the sixties) but when he's read today, his outlook seems so much more concerned with the rights and dignity of the individual, rather than trying to social-engineer whole societies.This spirit is very much the "Internet ethos" we see today. This book has always been popular with the techy-geeky crowd, but, since it was first published in the '70s, it missed out on the cyberpunk revolution of the '80s.

By the end of the book readers will have a keen sense of, if not the future at least a future, and what the role of both humanity as a whole and the individual as a piece might be in that future.

Governments may use information to keep a lock on society, but individuals may take find power for themselves as well by controlling and manipulating information.

The powers that be have access to the data-net, but "in theory everyone does, given a dollar to drop into a pay phone".

While it was not a commercial success, it did receive some critical note and it also became an underground hit in the high-tech community then evolving around computers.

Historical Note: In the 1980s, researchers at Xerox PARC dubbed the first self-replicating, self-propagating computer program a "worm" after the "tapeworms" Nickie uses to erase his previous identities.

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As I'm prone to rant from time to time, peak oil, global warming, resource wars and my other topics of interest are all be-devilled by the problem of data quality.