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ScienceIamA maned wolf expert AMA!

Apr 10th 2017 by SmithsonianZoo • 36 Questions • 43 Points

Peter Joseph is an American-born social critic and activist who has lectured around the world on the subject of cultural sustainability. Once deemed “The Herald of Occupy Wall Street” for his tacit prediction of inevitable global uprisings against inequality and economic injustice, his extensive media work has been translated into over 130 languages and experienced by 250 million people.

Proof: https://twitter.com/ZeitgeistFilm/status/850371366670843904

FINAL NOTE (for now): I want to thank everybody for an excellent five hour exchange. Unfortunately I have to go now but I really appreciate people's questions and I hope I could be of some service. I will try to find time to also address existing questions that I could not get to over the next week or so. Thanks again!

Q:

What are the most significant differences from a maned wolf and other wolves? On this note, how do they compare and differ from foxes?

A:

Is it possible to produce a sound that's loud enough to kill a person?


Q:

Hi,

If you were to target me right now on a full blown Liam neeson assault (common user no special privacy measures taken) and all you had was this comment/username to start with;

A) how confident would you be of identifying me?

B) to what extent would you be able to 'find me'?

Edit: someone on a new account contacted me with my name and an address I have lived at after reading this comment :-)

A:

Did you move in right after you bought it or did you renovate first? How much of the work have you done yourself vs contractors?


Q:

How do you feel about Elon Musk's recent efforts / sentiments? Thoughts? I feel like he's seen your work.

A:

Their physical appearance is deceiving as maned wolves look like they would be related to a fox or a wolf. The biggest difference is actually their genetics. Maned wolves are not related to foxes or wolves---they are their own genus.


Q:

The loudest pure tone of sound on earth is 194 decibels, that is a sound that has a pressure that oscillates from 0 to 2 atmospheres sinusoidally.

120 decibels is painfully loud

150 dB next to a jet engine

adding ten decibels increases sound intensity by a factor of 10, adding 10 multiplies by 10. So 150 dB is 1000 times more intense than 120 dB and 190 dB is 10,000 times more intense than 150 dB.

The loudest speaker on earth produces a tone at 154 dB in the Netherlands it's used to test spacecraft.

non-musical sound called a shock wave can be much more intense. A shock wav from a bomb blast or meteorite strike can produce a pressure wave which will blow out the alveoli in your lungs. And maybe the 190 dB sound wave would destroy alveoli as well. Any volunteers?

If you want the full Death Metal sound experience however go to Venus with its dense atmosphere, musical sound there can be 10,000 times more intense than music on Earth. Go ahead and turn it up to 11.

A:

I used to do this to trolls on YouTube all the time. There have been times when it's been possible. If you haven't left any clues in any of your comments, and you haven't used this username elsewhere, it can be next to impossible.

If you're an average user who doesn't take many privacy measures I'd feel confident I could identify you and possible get an address. A home town at least.

Depending on the bounty a hacker could discover vulnerabilities on sites you use to gain more information that would help.


Q:

The only thing I paid to have done was the roof, because it was cheaper paying a pro to do it than paying my friends to help me, although I have done a number of roofs.

I worked on it for about a year before I actually moved in.

A:

Musk is one of the few thoughtful billionaire technologists that has his thumb on the pulse of what is happening in the world. I find the richer folks get, the more detached from reality they become. HyperLoop and Tesla and his interest in advanced battery storage is critically important to developmental/ sustainable infrastructure. He is also in support of universal basic income knowing that the advancement of technological unemployment isn't stoppable. While I could certainly make suggestions to such a figure, he is certainly on the right path and hasn't been too distorted by his extreme wealth.


Q:

Thanks for doing this AMA! What lead you to this career? Its so exciting and I imagine its something you are fabulously interested in!

A:

What would happen to your body if you were tied to a weight and sent to the bottom of the Mariana trench?


Q:

Is surviving jail harder for someone involved in a crime like this?

A:

Is it still possible to buy a house in Detroit for $500 today and would it be worth just to have and possibly fix in the future?


Q:

So, what happened between you and Jacques Fresco?

I mean you made a whole documentary on the Venus Project and then... poof. Gone. Nothing. No followup, nothing done. Was there a falling out?

Also are you still a 9/11 truther?

A:

I love animals and have a passion for saving species. I've known that I wanted to be a vet since I was a little girl. Canids are a fascinating carnivore family and we do not know much about their biology. We need to pay attention to canids and maned wolves are just one of the species that need our attention and study.


Q:

So, if you sank to the bottom of the Mariana trench you would drown before you reached a crushing depth. If you’re interested in a more interesting demise, you should swim out of James Cameron’s submersible at the bottom. Fortunately you're mostly water, and water is incompressible. So you would retain your basic human shape. The air pockets inside you, namely in your nasal cavity, throat and chest, would be a problem. Those would collapse inward, which would fatal.

Because you wouldn’t have any air, you wouldn’t float to the surface and you would likely stay at the bottom to be consumed by the Bone-eating snot flower, which usually eats whale bones but would probably make an exception in this case.

A:

Jail wasn't difficult no. I never had any issues. People used to constantly ask me if I can help them hack a bank, hack their way out of prison or other ludicrous requests. I didn't mix with the drug addicts I mainly mixed with the white collar criminals as they seemed to be more intelligent.


Q:

It is still possible, but much more rare. The best thing, if you want to do something like this, is to do it now. There are many people in Detroit, myself included, that have a hard time with houses that are purchased and then nothing happens to them, for a while, if ever. It keeps the people in the neighborhood from dealing with an abandoned house if it's owned and sat on, so I don't recommend it.

For example, an LLC used to own the abandoned house next door to me-- I shoveled the snow, I cut the grass, because they didn't care and I had to live next to it. The water runoff from the roof was ruining my foundation, so I had to put gutters on it. Suffice to say, I'm not particularly happy with the former owners, and it's not a good way to build community. The city owns it now, and I'm trying to purchase it from them.

A:

It is important to understand that the Venus Project had a very closed world before the zeitgeist movement and the massive onslaught of interest that occurred around 2009. In the two years TZM and TVP we're partners, there was always an overarching need to control things on the part of TVP, limiting what really needed to be more of an open conception rather than a closed one. It's hard to get people on your side if you present them with a closed framework and then tell them that there is little room for change in said design. This has been a flaw of the way people interpret TVP, along with the complete absence of basic transition plan. The Zeitgeist movement existed to create a community environment to not just promote an existing institution but to help expand it and transition ideas. And I think that became a threat to the identity of the Venus Project. The split was inevitable and is wasn't just about "me and Fresco"

I actually didn't make a documentary on the Venus Project. The inclusion of the Venus Project in Zeitgeist Addendum & Moving Forward was still corollary to the broader film content/design, which was ultimately of my own interest. People seem to forget that these films are my own expressions and we're never actually designed to represent anything else, this includes the Zeitgeist movement.

As far as Sept 11th, I was never a “9/11 truther” and am also pretty horrified by what has become of that subculture since those days.


Q:

What dietary niche do maned wolves occupy, and how does that differ from other more familiar canids like coyotes and gray wolves?

Actually, now that I have looked into it, I have a different question. What can you tell us about maned wolves that we can't get from the wikipedia article? Interesting behavior? Personalities? Presence in popular culture? Do you have a maned wolf tattoo?

A:

What is the strangest thing you found in your research?


Q:

How has the whole experience affected you? I know I would he scarred by getting in that kind of trouble. Are you doing alright? Is prison like they show in the movies or better/worse?

A:

1)Most houses sold so cheap in detroit because of the back taxes, you didn't have to pay any of that for the house?
2)Not worried about getting robbed/shot yourself or having to pull a John Wick?
3)Do you have any legit neighbors? And if so did you talk to them before buying/moving in?


Q:

And where do you find the studies you often cite in your lectures/book?

A:

Maned wolves are omnivores---about fifty percent of their diet is fruit based and fifty percent is meat, mainly small mammals like birds and rabbits. They have been known to hunt deer. I do not have a maned wolf tattoo. One of my fav facts is that maned wolves are induced ovulators which means that the female needs to have a male present for her to ovulate and release an egg. We think it's chemically triggered by a pheromone released by the male. Another fact is that maned wolf males play a significant role in raising their young. This is true in human care and has also been observed in the wild.


Q:

Perhaps the strangest one is that it seems impossible to die from insomnia. One high school kid named Randy Gardner tried to stay up in the 1964 to see what would happen for a school project. He didn’t sleep for 264 hours and though he hallucinated that he was a professional football player, mistook a street sign for a pedestrian and eventually lost muscle control.

But he was fine and recovered after a day of sleep. It seems that unless you’re put on some diabolical machine that forces you to stay awake (like a few unfortunate rats have been), you’re body will make you sleep. To date, no one has ever died from insomnia (although quite a few have died from the opposite, particularly when behind the wheel of car).

A:

It has affected me negatively. Some would agree I deserve everything that happens to me in life. And that's the problem.

It angers me that people involved in pedophile cases, rape cases, GBH and even some manslaughter cases are given less time than I got. They leave prison, return to life and are forgotten about. I can't even go to an interview without them Googling my name beforehand.

As a result I ended up suffering with depression very badly. Many cases having to claim Government benefits. When instead I could be earning a salary and contributing in taxes and putting my skills to good use.

It's tough. But as many say, I deserve that treatment for what I did. I have to live with my actions I guess.

Prison isn't like the movies. At least not in the UK. I watch a lot of prison documentaries from the USA and those prison seem brutal in comparison. You don't really have a gang heirachy in UK prisons. They exist, but they're not well known unless you're in the know. I stayed away from that stuff.

Thanks for a good question :)


Q:

Because it had been abandoned for more than a decade before I bought it, I was able to purchase the house at the base price they sell them for in the county auction-- $500, so I didn't have to pay any of the taxes.

Sometimes. Detroit is a dangerous city, and someone did try to kick in my door one night-- It's a story I tell in the book. But I think what makes me the most safe is a good relationship with my neighbors. They look out for me, and I for them. I can't say it won't ever happen, as almost all of my neighbors have been broken into, but not a lot of people want to steal the tools from the guy fixing the elderly lad's fence down the block-- that's someone's auntie or grandma. So it helps to help people out. I also have a giant dog and do own a gun and I'm a boxer, so there's that too.

As mentioned above, my neighbors are great, wonderful people. I really do love them. Many have owned their houses for decades or generations, and it takes a lot to have made it through the 80's and 90's in that neighborhood during crack and mass incarceration and devils night, etc. They are some of my favorite people in the world. And yes, I made sure to speak to everyone to see if people were OK with what I was doing. They looked at me funny at first, but then saw I was for real and accepted me.

A:

Books. If you read a book, and you find something stated that is sourced, appreciating that information, this will often lead you to other researchers -- and hence a chain reaction of relevant authors and materials to then read.


Q:

A friend of mine, who's a massive biology enthusiast, was interested a bit more about the survival plan itself. Unfortunately he's off the Reddit waters, but I thought I'd pass his questions for him.

  • Does the programme also include establishing new reservations in maned wolf's habitat?
  • Would it be possible to finance the programme from bio-tourism? I can imagine there might be some public interest in observing such remarkable species in its natural enviroment.
  • Does the programme also include maned wolf's capture and transport to zoos?

Thanks for holding this AMA and for doing what you're doing, sending love from Czech Republic!

A:

What about Fatal familial insomnia?

According to Wikipedia, "(FFI) is an extremely rare autosomal dominant inherited prion disease of the brain. It is almost always caused by a mutation to the protein PrPC, but can also develop spontaneously in patients with a non-inherited mutation variant called sporadic fatal insomnia (sFI). FFI has no known cure and involves progressively worsening insomnia, which leads to hallucinations, delirium, confusional states like that of dementia, and eventually, death. The average survival time for patients diagnosed with FFI after the onset of symptoms is 18 months."

Am I missing something? This disease appears to cause death due to insomnia.


Q:

Do you effectively leverage your jail time in job interviews for the security consulting jobs?

A:

How giant is the dog?


Q:

Hey PJ, long time fan.

Have any of your positions changed considerably since Moving Forward? If so, whats changed?

Thanks

A:

The Species Survival Plan I coordinate, manages breeding and breeding recommendations for maned wolves in human care in North America. We manage the movement between zoos but all of these animals have been born in human care. There are active in-country education programs in Brazil on maned wolves to mitigate human-animal conflict so wolves and humans can co-exist.

Thanks to all of you for joining me today to talk about maned wolves.


Q:

That's a good question, and we looked it up in our research. From what we found it's not quite clear that it's the lack of sleep that kills you, but may be the brain damage that the prion disease causes and the insomnia is a symptom.

A:

No. The jail time has ruined any chance of me getting a full time job in security. I can't get security cleared. I was offered a job mid last year for a large well known company. The role required writing software to run security audits and lots of pen testing. But, it required the highest level of clearance. I can't gain employment because of jail time.


Q:

100 LBS give or take

A:

My understanding of a democratic system of participatory economics has changed quite a bit which is why you'll never hear me speak about "city systems" or just "advanced technology" much anymore. I also don't use the word "abundance" much anymore as it is quickly misinterpreted. One flaw of the early stage of the Zeitgeist movement was the misinterpreted implication that "everyone can have everything materially possible since we can create an abundance." I don't approach the subject like that at all anymore (of course that statement is an exaggeration) because you have to qualify that abundance and sustainability go together. And the current consumerist values of modern society quickly lead people into confusion about what abundance means due to the prevalence of materialism at this time. (which is a side effect of the market structure, translated through its incentives, into our social psychology/culture). So while my general views are mostly the same, the way I talk about the subject matter has changed a lot and if you read the new book you will see that clearly. Thanks


Q:

If i were floating near a nuetron star say within 1 mile, how spectacular would my death be?

A:

What safety measures do you take for yourself when your just at home browsing the web?


Q:

I know a lot of neighborhoods like the one you moved into are basically "food deserts" without access to reasonably priced groceries. How/where do you and your neighbors shop?

A:

I recent came across your lecture series on youtube and was blown away by the arguments and points you presented.

Aside from Buckminster Fuller, who would you recommend reading on subjects related to the destructive properties inherent to the market system as well as writing pertaining to the futuristic and automated society you present?

Also, what do you think are the specific and general failings of the movement as a whole to spread word about the movement? I know it is fairly extensive but having been interested in political and economic theory for several years it seems absurd i had only discovered your work in the last two weeks.

I hope you continue to try to change the world


Q:

A neutron star has a couple of times the mass of the sun compressed into a sphere the size of a city.

You'll probably be killed by the radiation produced as matter falls into the neutron star on the way in, and certainly at a close distance of 1 mile. But let's assume the neutron star is unnaturally quiet. You'll be in free fall. and as usual it's not the fall that kills you. However in this case that might not be true, gravity is stronger at close distances and weaker further away. This means if your head is pointed toward the neutron star it will be tugged toward the star much more strongly than your feet and this tidal force will rip you apart. Check out Larry Niven's short story "Neutron Star" for details.

There is another way to die however, some neutron stars are a hundred billion times stronger magnets than the strongest magnets on earth. At those levels of magnetism your atoms are distorted into thin cigars and all the bonds between atoms that make up the molecules in your body are broken so you become a human shaped plasma cloud that is tidally stretched and pulled into the star where you impact the surface and generate lethal gamma radiation.

A:

Sorry for the long response. I was caught up responding to other comments and didn't realise this was at the top.

On my main machine I use QubeOS. I use Tor (via an old Dell machine) and a VPN. I set up the VPN myself and regularly set up new servers and switch them. I adopt different personas and never link anything back to my personal accounts. Just little habbits.

I have some things like my Soundcloud, Github etc that I'm not too concerned about. Stuff like that I don't mind if it's out in the open.

My machines use full disk encryption. If possible I will use public hotspots and randomly change my mac address so that no little clues are left on the router to confirm my machine connected to it.

I try to do as much as possible to keep certain things private and unlinked. I'm only human though.

I don't do anything illegal these days though, so I'm not as worried about having to hide certain bits of sensitive or incriminating data :)

I'll come back to this later if I have time. I need to answer some more comments.


Q:

This is a good question. And, yes, it is considered a food desert. I have to drive quite a ways out of the neighborhood to get to a good grocery store. Mostly I shop in the enclave city of Hamtramck, or at a local Grocery store in Southwest Detroit.

A:

Thank you for the compliment. I recommend Thorsten Veblen. He is a bit difficult but his analysis of the system holistically transcends Karl Marx by a longshot. If you want to go way back in time, a fascinating read is a work by John Etzler: “the Paradise within the reach of all men.” This was written in 1833 and of course he was dismissed as a lunatic utopian-ist. But his insight is so ahead of its time, you'll be shocked by what he writes. I also recommend Jeremy Rifkin and Jacque Fresco of course. As far as the “failings” of the movement, we are dealing with a task of absurd proportions so it's good to be kind to oneself when it comes to thinking about progress. Far as I'm concerned, the movement hasn't even started as the public still isn't smart enough yet to understand what the core factors of social stability, public health, and environmental balance really are.


Q:

This is so cool! I've always wondered about the jumping in the elevator thing. If that doesn't help, is there anything you CAN do to help save yourself in a falling elevator?

A:

What is the reason you did those hacks, just because you could or there was some reason behind it?


Q:

Do you get mail? Would Amazon prime make sense or would those packages take too long to get to you?

A:

How should we respond to the growing possibility of another war?


Q:

Laying flat on your back is the best way to spread out the G forces evenly through your body. If you're standing up, your organs may keep falling even though your body has stopped.

You should also hope that your elevator fits snugly in its shaft, so the pillow of air below the car slows the fall and the broken elevator cable below can provide some cushioning. Crossing your fingers is also a good idea.

A:

It was nice to feel a part of a community that recognized my skills, and to feel like a valuable member.

I have Aspergers, and to this day I still spend most of my time at the computer. I don't have any friends in real life so it was nice to be part of a community who were just like me. That was the main reason. But yes, also because I could.

I had no issues committing illegal activities at the time. I was mentally unstable, drinking heavily, smoking too much weed and getting very reckless.


Q:

I don't generally order packages to my house for fear of theft.

A:

Donald Trump's push against Syria, based on very little real evidence of the use of chemical weapons, is an extremely troubling sign. Since trump is impulsive and reactionary I would say war will probably be just as consistent if not slightly worse then would've happened if Hillary Clinton was elected. Broadly, I see global war as an inevitability as the environmental crises grow. The first two world wars were wars of geopolitical dominance, economic dominance and ideology. The next war will be about resources for real - for this is the first time in human history we are seeing a massive decline of life support systems.


Q:

So, what's happens if I jump through the hole in the earth?

A:

This is unrelated, but how do you think smoking weed affects your Aspergers?


Q:

La Colemena?

;)

A:

Can you discuss the reasons a person like Alex Jones has exploded in credibility and audience over the past few years? His interview with you way back in the day was the reason I woke up and realized what a scam Infowars is. I was disappointed at his emotional approach to the discussion, and I felt reverence at your bemused attitude towards his childishness.


Q:

Jumping into a hole in the earth is a classic physics homework problem. The answer is that it takes 45 minutes to get to the other side.

However that simple answer misses most of the fun.

From a point in north america the surface of the earth is moving to the east at a few hundred miles per hour. The center of the earth is not. So if you fall into an evacuated hole you have to slow down by 800 miles per hour by rubbing along the wall. Not good! To get around this problem dig the hole from pole to pole.

The next problem is that it gets hot as you go down, the center of the earth is hotter than the surface of the sun, so you'd cook. You are going to need a refrigerated impossibly well insulated suit.

And indeed you'll need to remove the air in the tube. The pressure and density of the air starts out doubling every 15,000 feet of depth (3 miles) so after 10 doublings at 150,000 feet and 30 miles the air is as dense as water and you sink no further.

A:

Previous to smoking weed I was on SSRI's and other medications to help deal with what was then undiagnosed Aspergers. They never really helped.

I started smoking weed and noticed I could think more clearly. My thoughts wasn't racing around my head 24/7. I was able to focus on what I was doing and relax. It almost feels like I'm normal and I can function somewhat normally to the rest of the world.

Without it I find it hard. They say weed causes anxiety and other mental health issues. It does the opposite for me so long as I smoke in moderation.


Q:

Oh yeah. And Bozeck's in Hamtramck

A:

You could ask the same question as to how Donald Trump has become President of the United States? Something has happened in culture where people are so confused and angry they are gravitating towards mentalities that simply show force/bullying/"strength" and general antisocial interests. Even Bill O'Reilly has seen an explosion in ratings since he has been exposed as a sexual harasser. Sociologically, it's a sign of fear starting to take over reason across the population, with a strong gravitation towards "in-group" preservation and xenophobia and ultimately sexism. I talk about this evolution in the book as well


Q:

Wouldn't you stop in the middle because of gravity or am I thinking about this wrong?

A:

Not him (obviously) but I am also diagnosed with Asperger's and I used to be a heavy weed smoker. I would say that it generally helped me to be more sociable but also dulled that "intellectual" side of me that autistic people are known for. In short, I feel as if weed helped me to "grow out of" my condition to a large extent. Even though I don't smoke it anymore, nobody IRL ever guesses I have Asperger's unless I tell them.


Q:

If you met someone and got married, would you stay there? What about with kids?

A:

Peter, I see that you've heard from Michael C Rupert. You might have seen his film Collapse talk about the end of human industrial civilization. But I'm curious to know if you've seen talks by Guy McPherson, because he takes it to the next level by saying there won't be any humans on Earth by 2030 due to abrupt climate change. He says he isn't wrong about his predictions, that he's just putting the data together. Do you have thoughts on Guy and his reasoning (presuming you've heard)?


Q:

If you ignore air resistance (say you vacuumed sealed the tube) you would pass the middle of earth falling at 18,000 mph. Then your inertia would carry you to the other side, sort of like a swing at a playground.

A:

Exactly how it makes me feel too.


Q:

Oh, yeah. This is my home. I can't see being in love with anyone who wasn't into Detroit, and making things, and living a slightly unconventional lifestyle.

As for kids, many of my friends do it, and I would do it as well. It takes more effort, I think, but from my view it seems to be worth it.

A:

Michael C Ruppert was a friend of mine and his death/suicide was an incredible tragedy, first of all. I point that out because his fatalistic view of the fall of human industrial civilization was not fully rational and I tried to speak with him numerous times about how the growth of technological efficiency will continue to preserve capitalism overall for a good while – even though it will continue to create increased inequality, ecological decline and social destabilization. The problem isn't the collapse of society - it will be the corrosion of billions of people's well-being as the upper 1% become more affluent and the majority continue to suffer. As far as I'm concerned, with almost 1,000,000,000 people not meeting their basic nutrition requirements today, society has already "collapsed". That seems like a fair enough measured to me to say human society has failed or is failing, given our true potential. I do not subscribe to any ideas that humanity is doomed by any particular date. We have the option to change and it would not surprise me, for example — and purely hypothetically speaking —that somebody invents a tool that can pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. Again, I'm not saying this will happen but we don't know what technology has up its sleeve as time moves forward. However, as I pointed out before, by 2040/2050 – if current trends remain the same– we are going to see spectacular social destabilization due to the synergy of growing negative trends


Q:

Isn't there already a case where a person had his head in a particle accelerator and it got turned on?

IIRC, you could see the particle path through his brain in the scans. Let me see if I can find it.

Edit: Yeah here it is. Also here.

A:

How did you originally get involved with Anonymous/Lulzsec?


Q:

How's your internet?

A:

you must have the "I told you so" feeling so bad almost every day in this climate. Im a massive admirer of your work, bought TZM defined, and am very much shaped by the TZM movies and values. thank you for what you do, I cant wait to see interreflections. Would you go back on the Joe Rogan Podcast? It would be great to see you around the internet again doing your thing, although I understand how busy you must be. also, how do you feel about TVP these days? I feel they are quieter than ever in a time where you'd think they' be able to win more people over.


Q:

Yes! Good find. Whether you would die or not would depend on the power of the particle accelerator and how much radiation it was carrying. Bugorski's accelerator was 100 times less powerful than the LHC, and it was also only a single pulse, while the LHC is a machine gun.

The beam paralyzed one side of Anatoli Bugorki's face. As a result now many years later one side of his face is smooth and unwrinkled while the other side has aged by decades. So maybe old accelerators could be used instead of botox for beauty treatments.

But since Bugorski nearly died from radiation poisoning, we think a hit from the LHC would be lethal.

A:

A friend was pestering me to idle on the Lulzsec IRC servers. I got chatting to a few people over time and it went from there.


Q:

Aside from on my phone, I don't keep it at home because it's a distraction. I spend a lot of time reading. I'm at a coffee shop now.

A:

Thank you. It means a lot to me when people say such things. Truth be told, I really don't enjoy being an activist. It really wasn't what my life trajectory had planned. Anyway. I would go back on the Joe Rogan podcast if he made a conscious effort to take serious issues into account. I understand he's a comedian but with his kind of following he has a social responsibility. He also bad mouthed me a while back which wasn't very cool. He did invite me back on the show a couple years ago but I was a bit disgusted by his insults and told him to get back in touch another time. Perhaps the time has come. But that ball is in his court. As far as the Venus Project, I honestly haven't paid much attention. I'm sure they are doing what they always have but given Fresco’s age, things must be a lot harder. For the record, I have great respect for Fresco - but the partnership between the Zeitgeist movement & the Venus Project simply wasn't meant to be.


Q:

Is it possible to propel your self with farts in space, practically. Or would the force produced be better compared to ion accelerators.?

A:

The real question on everyone's mind: Vim or Emacs?


Q:

How did (or didn't) your background and education prepare you for your time in Detroit?

A:

Hi Peter, Have you heard of the scientific field of Industrial Ecology?

"Industrial ecologists are often concerned with the impacts that industrial activities have on the environment, with use of the planet's supply of natural resources, and with problems of waste disposal. Industrial ecology is a young but growing multidisciplinary field of research which combines aspects of engineering, economics, sociology, toxicology and the natural sciences."

I believe the methodologies and research results from the field are the foundation needed for the Global Redesign Institute. Would be great to hear your thoughts!


Q:

This is tremendously difficult to compare. The ion propulsion is a continuous force while the fart is an impulse. So we can easily use conservation of momentum to get the fart answer it is not easily comparable to the much less mass but much higher velocity continuous impulse change from the ion engine.

According to Wikipedia article titled “flatulence”, the average fart is 100ml with a mass of 0.02 grams, with an ejection velocity estimated at 3 meters per second. Rounding off this gives the gas a momentum of 10-4 Kg m/second. An 80 Kg person will recoil with equal and opposite momentum, giving them a speed of 10-6 meters/second (or two millionths of a mile per hour).

A:

Vim all day long! I was hoping someone would ask this.


Q:

This is a good question, and a tough one. On one hand, I had a basic understanding of how race and class work in America-- but most of that came from books and the classroom. What wasn't obvious to me then, when I was 21 or so, was this doesn't always equal actual understanding. I never stopped reading, but I try to allow experience to guide me now, rather than be the soul teacher. I think people are the experts on their own problems, and I do my best to listen closely and carefully.

I can't say that I grew up in a particularly diverse area, but my parents worked very hard with what they could to provide me with a broad worldview. I didn't understand it at the time, but they would do things like send me to visit NAACP meetings in my small town, or save their pennies to take me to places like the Capitol or Colonial Williamsburg, so I had a sense and history of the world. I was extremely lucky in that respect.

A:

Sounds excellent. It's funny how we come up with "new" scientific fields that really shouldn't be new at all given basic common sense when it comes to understanding earthly/social/economic synergies. I'm sure they're privy to the fact that a recent study pointed out that literally no business on this planet is profitable when you take into account the negative economic externalities created such as pollution and environmental destruction. If that isnt a slap in the face to market logic I don't know what is. Literally– If corporations had to pay for the destruction they create, none would be profitable on the whole. Incredible. As far as the global redesign institute, that does sound like an excellent starting point. I will look into it and thank you.


Q:

I'm not sure if I'm more curious about the cool ray guns on your back shelf or the painted fingernails.

Anyway -- is it possible to successfully commit suicide the cool way?

A:

How were you arrested?


Q:

What are your thoughts on how Detroit has handled recovering from the outright devastation of the auto industry's pullout with the issue of gentrification? I read an excerpt of your book where you bought your neighbor's home at auction to keep them from being evicted by real estate profiteers. Apart from caring about your neighbor's fate, was your purchase motivated more out of cultural preservation or as defiance against twenty-something upstart community "revitalization?"

A:

Thanks for the response Peter. I hope to work towards improving the communication of IE science to a wider audience including TZM.

Regarding "I'm sure they're privy to the fact..." ... you'd think so right? Many individual academics are aware, or even contributed towards the scientific basis for those reports. However the field as a whole appears to have somewhat of an ongoing identity crisis. It started as "Industry's answer to the environmental challenge". And naturally industry leaders are not keen to embrace research results which oppose their basis of legitimacy.

This document from the International Society for Industrial Ecology provides a concise overview of some perspectives on the field: www.is4ie.org/Resources/Documents/ISIE%20Booklet%203-16-15.pdf


Q:

As of now, the ray gun only works as a blunt force instrument. But we're working on that.

A:

I was arrested at my home at 1am. I was in bed with the laptop running an automated attack against a company. I heard a tonne of car doors closing outside my house. I assumed someone had a party and people were leaving.

The next moment I hear huge bangs as they bolstered my door down. I initially though my house was being broken into because I had some expensive music equipment in my house.

I left the laptop and dashed out of bed to grab something incase it was burglars. I totally forgot to pull the plug out of the laptop I was using. It had no battery and one pull of the plug would have erased all evidence on that machine (unless cold booted, unlikely). I didn't expect it to be police.

And from there I was held with tasers, handcuffed, and made to sit in the main room with police watching me whilst they went through my home with a fine tooth comb. From there I was arrested, remanded in custody and sent to jail.

I was never charged for the attacks I was running on the laptop. The never recovered any forensics from my machine to charge me with their other claims.


Q:

I just didn't want my neighbors out on the street. They've been really good to me, and it was just one small thing I could do to try and improve the world, just a little bit. I forget the years exactly, but the county foreclosed on one in four houses in Detroit. This is wild (and also where the Buffalo statistic comes in-- in home foreclosures, not water shut-offs), and I just can't stand by and watch things like that happen.

And pretty much everything decent I do is in defiance of something.

A:

FINAL NOTE FROM PETER: I want to thank everybody for an excellent five hour exchange. Unfortunately I have to go now but I really appreciate people's questions and I hope I could be of some service. I will try to find time to also address existing questions that I could not get to over the next week or so. Thanks again!


Q:

What's your favorite way(s) to die, whether it appears in the book or not? Which was the most difficult or complicated scenario to research?

A:

Why does unplugging it erase evidence?


Q:

what's the largest lot of adjacent houses do you think could have been gotten and rehabbed on a budget of $100,000?

A:

What are your 3 favourite films?


Q:

Adventure/fatal tourism would be a fantastic way to go. Death by visiting the dinosaur era would be particularly interesting, but also likely lethal. Your best bet would be to live in the trees. Most of the particularly nasty predators in the dinosaur era were focused on the ground, although Pteradactyls show up around 100 million years ago, and those would be a problem.

Mars would also be a fantastic place to visit, but alas you would only have around 15 seconds to enjoy it before the lack of oxygen caused you to pass out. (And you couldn’t hold your breath, because the lack of pressure would squeeze all the air in your lungs out of you.)

A:

Sorry I forgot to add I was booting from a live disk. The existing hard drive in the machine was encrypted and rarely used for anything. Evidence could still exist in the RAM for a short period of time.


Q:

Depends on what you're going for. I just wanted a place to live myself, but renting is a whole different story. I imagine if you're just looking for something for yourself and a friend or two with some land surrounding it to farm or whatever, and you're willing to do the work with your own hands, you could do extremely well for that amount of money. Maybe 3-4 if you're willing to scrape.

A:

Boyz in the Hood

2001 Space Odyssey

The Great Dictator


Q:

Ok, my friend did an experiment in a class of hers where she put a sheet of paper on a scale and took its weight, then crumpled it into a tight ball and took its weight again. It read more the second time. I said that when it was flat it must have been similar to when you filled a balloon with air and it would feel lighter than the deflated balloon because it was displacing air, and she was adamantly convinced that somehow crumpling the paper increased its mass and weight somehow (her words).

What would be the exact explanation so I can finally put this argument to bed?

Edit: Fucking hell, y'all care more about this than I do

A:

What is your stance on the new-ish privacy laws coming into effect/being thrown around in the US? Should we be real butthurt about this? Or were we damned from the get go?


Q:

Hi Peter. Are you familiar with Dr. Guy McPherson's work? Much like you, he has been taking other people's data and puts it together, drawing conclusions, getting a lot of flack for simply being the messenger. He basically says there is no hope, as we are facing near-term human extinction, possibly within 10 years. He sees no ability to transition, as he argues that Industrial Civilization is a heat engine and even a transition to a macro-industrial systems approach to life-support (as you have outlined previously as 'possible') would require burning fossil fuels. Additionally, the Global Dimming phenomenon in particular is what I personally have the most dissonance about - either we are damned if we do and/or damned if we don't. Obviously, through your work I see that you do have some level of hope for a transition. Your thoughts would be appreciated, if you are familiar with his work. Thanks.

A:

To really get to the answer of this interesting observation I would request a dozen or so repeats of the experiment to get an estimate of the measurement errors plus the data sheet for the scale giving the error in the display of the answer.

I predict though that the two papers, crumpled and flat will have the same weight, unless the flat paper is drooping off the scale and brushing against the table.


Q:

They make me angry. The UK is going the same route by the looks of things. I write this if you want to give it a read.

People should be very concerned. Slowly but surely the Governments are pushing their bills through to remove privacy online. I wish more people would stand up and fight against this. They don't understand how serious it is.

A:

I touched upon this in a prior question. Be very weary of anybody who draws absolute conclusions about the future. While there are probabilities and trajectories that you can infer outcomes from — there are so many things that we don't know about yet in terms of how the future can change. Generally, we are in a dire condition and mass mobilization for broad structural change is required – no doubt. But I see no point in assuming that "it is already over” and haven't read anything that convinced me of such. History is full of endless doomsayers that are proven wrong by unexpected turns in technology. But I will check out McPherson's work since you mentioned it and thank you for the tip.


Q:

Ok, so I need to buy a really sensitive scale, and possibly a vacuum chamber. Got it

A:

RIP Aaron


Q:

Peter, do you think there is any hope for humanity? Your work over the years has helped me to better understand the way our world functions, and has given me hope that if we all are able to wake up then we have a chance... but given the current political climate all over the world, I'm beginning to feel hopeless.

A:

Yes a good vacuum chamber would get rid of all buoyancy effects. Measurements are never easy!


Q:

Aaron Swartz in an inspiration. RIP

A:

If you care about yourself and your family and society and are empathic to the whole of human civilization, there is no point thinking about whether there is hope or not. :) Being human means you care. And if everyone thought that way, the world would change virtually overnight. As stated in my prior comment, is really an issue of people arriving at a shared value system as rapidly as possible. The more problems that arise, in combination with diligent education – such as with the Zeitgeist movement’s work –the higher the probability people will wake up and see the need.


Q:

How close are we to intersteller travel?

A:

1) What was your technically most sophisticated hack?

2) Did all the 0day you find in FOSS get patched or do you still have some laying around? ;)

3) Does it bother you that Sabu is working for a security consulting company and has no problems being back in the industry?

4) What do you do for work now?


Q:

Thank you Peter, you’re awesome. What can I do to help others progress in this way? We are all in this together and I want to help but I’m not sure how.

A:

I think that as soon as the USA goes metric we'll have interstellar travel.


Q:
  1. Probably what I'm working on now. I've managed to reverse engineer and crack a piece of software called MaxMSP. It's expensive software, I'm just finishing up and I'll send them PoC so they can fix. To me it's an achievement because it cost me many hours and loss of sleep.

  2. The dog ate them :p

  3. It does. He was responsible for a lot and he got to walk away and rebuild his life whilst those working "under" him got made examples of. I guess being a snitch does have it's benefits.

  4. At the moment nothing. I'm finding it hard to gain employment due to mental health issues, and the criminal record.

A:

Started develop strategies and pools of information that appeal to different walks of life. The biggest barrier in communication are people's culturally ingrained values and general fear of rocking the boat


Q:

Is there something that is surprisingly not guaranteed death ?

A:

Did they let you use a computer in prison?


Q:

Why is it that more public figures such as Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk, etc. address bandaging the symptoms of this system instead of suggesting an alternative? I feel like they must've been made aware of TZM, and if they spoke about it publicly I'm sure we might see change much more quickly..

Also, Peter, I can't begin to thank you enough for what your films and the movement have given me. When I first stumbled across your first film a couple years ago it really lifted the veil on the "dark echo of feudalism" as you have called it, and I became manic and was hospitalized a few times last year. Very long story, but much drama has occurred in my life as a result of finally being told the truth and having this information finally being presented in this very clear, logical train of thought.
I want to start an automated restaurant, and possibly a vertical farm, and eventually make them free to the public. If there's any information that you could give me (it might be in your new book) I would really appreciate it.

A:

Paul D: In our "What would happen if you lost your head" chapter we meet two people, one was missing 95% of his brain and still had an IQ of 126, and another,Phineas Gage, survived having a one inch diameter 3 foot long steel rod pass through his head from bottom to top.


Q:

I wasn't meant to in prison, but nobody checked my records.

In the D Cat we got to wander the grounds all day. It's a low security prison. I used to walk to the library and spend my time there. There wasn't any internet so I just made JavaScript games in the browser to kill time. They had a copy of Flanigan's Javascript book in the library (a stroke of good luck!), so I used that to develop my JS knowledge.

I also alerted their IT department (I was on good terms with the guy that ran it) to many potential issues on their Intranet. He fixed them :)

A:

I'm happy you brought that up. While I'm a fan of Tyson, Musk and others, these prominent figures shy away pretty quickly from any true criticism of the market system and the society it has created. Frankly, I think it's a group-based/identity fear. They simply don't want to be associated with anything “fringe” or anything that will pollute their reputations. Even folks I've interviewed that clearly are more attuned, have their University tenure & lecture circuits… and they simply can't “afford” to rock the boat. How anyone that calls themselves a scientist cannot see that the entire capitalist order is based on consumption, linking buying to jobs and hence the inevitability of resource overshoot and endless biodiversity loss and pollution, for example — stuns me. We have now the most inefficient social order known to man and yet all of our mainstream scientists just look the other way.

Beyond that, unfortunately, there are cultures of scientific identification that are not really scientific in the sense of understanding the need for vulnerability and the true nature of falsify-ability inherent to the scientific method. I always say, don't confuse the method of science with the institutions that claim to promote it. Probably the worst offender of the economic/social status quo is known as the “Skeptics society” – which ostensibly pretend to be in the interest of scientific development and authenticity– but really serve as extended mouthpieces in support of the general normative world more than anything. Group Think.

Thank you for the compliment. I hope your health is well. And I think starting an automated restaurant would be genius! Once this pattern really gets going it is all over for the service sector because cost efficiency is clearly on the side of automation.


Q:

This isn't really a way to die but I've always wondered if you created a room in the very center of the earth, would you float in the middle of it? Since gravity would be pulling on you equally in all directions?

A:

Have you considered working for the US government?


Q:

Being a structuralist, with a vision of what you'd like to progress towards, what are your views on the current crop of self proclaimed 'progressives' who still support a labor based, monetary system? Are they really progressives or just modern/informed conservatives?

I'm referring to public figures rather than general Joe down the road.

A:

Indeed if you could create a cavity inside the core of the earth you could float in the middle of it. Net gravitational force would be near zero. Alas it's hotter than the surface of the sun, but enjoy free fall while you can.


Q:

Are you offering me a job Mr CIA :p

A:

Like most terms, the word “progressive” really runs a range of values and perspectives. I certainly agree with your basic sentiment as anyone who is truly interested in the advancement of society – as the core meaning of “progressive” implies – should naturally arrive at the conclusion that we have to alter the market system into something that actually favors increased social justice as opposed to the opposite. Unfortunately, this structuralism is too unromantic for most people and everyone is caught up in a group versus group mentality. In fact, that is probably one of the most prevalent sociological flaws facing humanity today – the assumption that the problem is always “with the other group”… and not a shared imposition coming from the incentives and procedural dynamics of the shared social system–distorting behaviors


Q:

If I had a sphere large enough to fit a person (size isn't relevant) and the entire inside was a mirror, what would happen if I shined a light for a second. Would the light bouncy around infinitely or would it only be present while the light was on?

A:

How are hackers perceived in prison?


Q:

Hey Peter, I have a question

You talk about zero cost or near zero cost production that seems like how many products are headed.

I believe there are many essential products already that can be produce with near zero cost and maybe are, but they aren't produced in a scale enough to interrupt the old inefficient market.

The electric car was made a long time ago, yet most cars in the world aren't electric; we have had the technology to take advantage of solar, wind, thermal energy for a long time, but most energy comes from fossil fuels; we have had for a long time the technology to automatize most labor in the world, yet the majority of people in the world does labor that can be automatize...

All of these things are already possible but won't happen because of the obvious game rules of profit and the culture of greed that won't let it happen, even if production costs goes down to almost zero cost, what would make the producer simply lower the price of the product? From what I've seen, they won't.

So do you think it's a good idea to simply wait for this products to be manufactured or produced near zero costs of production with the assumption that the producers and manufactures will lower the prices to near zero? If not, then what should we do? Do you not think that corporations will constantly prevent products from being sold near zero cost from happening?

A:

Paul D: Alas no mirror is perfect, some light energy is always absorbed on each bounce. So when you turned off your light source, the emitted light would bounce around getting exponentially dimmer.


Q:

People have a high view of hackers. To the average Joe they posses skill that interests and fascinates them. I didn't have any issues in prison.

A:

Excellent question. There is a subculture of people I refer to as "techno capitalist apologists” and these folks are convinced that we will find social equality as capitalism “naturally” moves towards a zero marginal cost reality. This is not going to be the case as businesses do not optimize production in the interest to sell goods at a lower price outright (unless they are being competitive against another business) or to make their company obsolete due to increased efficiency. So while we do see positive things such as cell phones approaching zero marginal cost and people in Africa now having them – more people in Africa have cell phones today than clean water! So it's a chaotic and unfocused phenomenon (within a market system) and also a very poor defense of the market system as a whole. For the record, just to get this stated publicly, capitalism is really just an architecture and incentive system. It doesn't create anything. I get so tired of people trying to explain to me how capitalism created my phone or my car or my computer– No. Technological and scientific ingenuity did this and that same ingenuity is really being hindered today by market logic.

Anyway, as I argue in my book, there has to be mass activist mobilization to structurally change the system, allowing for the zero marginal cost phenomenon to really prove itself outside of capitalism, debunking the internal logic that preserves it.

So obviously we can't wait for anything. Again, no corporation is going to make itself obsolete by applying efficiency in the most optimized way. The market economy needs a culture that is insecure, along with a world of problems.

Personal confidence/satisfaction , sustainability, preservation, and efficiency are the enemies of the current economic structure.


Q:

Other than a magnetar, are there any sources of magnetism that will kill you directly (ie: not by accelerating some external object)?

A:

What's the underground world of hackers like? What's interesting about it, what kind of people are they?


Q:

Over the years I've chatted a fair few Zeit supporters/advocates who really don't (to me) understand what it is they're advocating. Do you think these people are a net positive for the movement or net negative? The more the merrier or unqualified/distracting voices harm the movement.

A:

There are no magnetic sources on Earth that will directly kill you (yet). We have yet to create a magnet that strong. However, scientists have created magnets a few tesla strong that can float frogs, because the water in a frog (and you) is diamagnetic. And if they could make that magnet big enough, it would float you as well. Youtube has a cool video of floating frogs here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlJsVqc0ywM

Futurama has a cool episode where a human visits a robot world and the robots discover they cannot kill the human with any level of magnetism, they do however discover that penetrating the human with a sharp stick will stop it.


Q:

For me it's a lonely place. My lifestyle is dreadful. I rarely leave the house, I spend up to 18 days sat at the computer. I do exercise, because I know this lifestyle is dangerous for your health, so I do my best to stay healthy.

Being able to manipulate a machine is fascinating. When you actually achieve the end goal the reward feeling you get is better than sex, or drugs. I think most hackers who are serious about what they do get this feeling. I've heard people say it before. You're basically chasing that high. To get that reward.

Most hackers are dull people. They spend most of their time involved in activities that don't interest most folks. I haven't met many hackers in real life so I don't know how they live, but that's how it feels for me.

A:

The Zeitgeist Movement and the film series phenomenon attracts a lot of different people with a lot of different perspectives. I think there is a learning curve for people to really get what is being presented through the course of what the movement and myself have been talking about for almost a decade. As with any counter culture organization, very fringe elements are naturally attracted. But one thing I have noticed is a lot of the noise has been reduced over the years and while people may see some decline in numbers as a problem– I really see it as a fortification of people who actually understand.


Q:

Are you familiar with Randall Munroe's (the xkcd guy) What If? project? He explores very similar questions and also published a book.

What differentiates your project?

A:

How did you keep up your skillset while in prison? 32 months seems like a long time to be out of web development and security testing with how fast new techniques are released.


Q:

First of all, thank you for being a voice of reason in a society that increasingly seems to be bent on destroying itself. Your system based approach is a breath of fresh air in a society that seems to only care about changes of leadership, rather than any fundamental changes to the system. I am about 1/3 into reading your new book, and I am really finding it inspirational in how to conceptualize the changes we need to make to the system in order to create better outcomes.

What do you think are some initial concrete steps we can take now, to start the process of changing the system? Do you think these changes will be harder or easier to implement in a Trump administration?

What do you think of Modern Monetary Theory, and the ability for us to use that theory to transition away from scarcity based economics?

A:

I love Randall Munroe's book What If?, we credit him as an inspiration for our book on page 235.


Q:

I served 12 months, and remained on license for the rest of the sentence. I was allowed to have books brought in from home. My personally library is huge so I had my partner send me some of my favourite books. They even let me have a huge malware analysis book ... which surprised me. I kept up to date, but it was frustrating not being able to practice what I was learning. I learnt how to dry run software on paper to help a little.

A:

Thank you for the kind comments regarding the book. It was a very challenging project in my attempt to make the ideas as simplified as possible. Your question about concrete steps are talked about in chapter 5. It is summarized as five core transition needs: access, automation, open-source, localization and digitized network feedback. (see ch 5) As far as “modern monetary theory”, assuming you're referring to the view that government as the monopoly of its currency, etc”, I really am not big on currency or money transformation – Not because I don't think it could help – but because the degree of help would be marginal when compared to how deep the market systems problems actually go.


Q:

What made you decide to name the book And Then You're Dead, and not how to go out like a badass. But, in all seriousness, what would you say your favorite thing to research for this book was?

A:

First of all, thanks for making this AMA. Here's a few questions I could ask:

1.) At what age did you get in the hacking business?

2.) Where did you learn how to hack?

3.) What was the first hack you've ever performed successfully and its result?

4.) Would you hack anyone or any website just for fun? Have you?


Q:

I'm a big fan of your work. But I'm pretty discouraged. Everything seems so difficult to change. Technological innovation seems to bring more chaos than solution. We do not know how to deal with this new reality. It seems that as soon as we realize that the problem is not immigrants, but a new technological reality, we will seek to limit technological innovation. Try to stop in time. Your new book on Human Rights brings a radical vision, but it is already difficult to convince people of the traditional and more conservative view of human rights.

Are you optimistic? Will a better world come, whether we like it or not, or do we need to fight for it? If we need to fight, can we lose?

A:

Well, for one we didn’t think of as cool as name as ‘How to go out like a badass’. Bummer for us. The original name was “Gruesome”, but then we were told gruesome was too, ummm, gruesome for a lot of people. So we went with the much more cheery ‘and then you’re dead’. Although it is a bit of a spoiler to the end of many of these.

The favorite thing to research? Perhaps digging the hole to china. Actually getting the details on how long it would take to fall to the other side (longer than an airplane, depending on your connections and ignoring some of the other gruesome side effects).


Q:
  1. I've always been hacking things from a young age. Either in electronics, computers, toys etc. It's just something I've done.

  2. Books, HOWTO's, ezines, white papers, man pages etc. Just consuming as much information as I could and targeting the things that interested me.

  3. I hacked my school network back when we had Acorn computers. We've all done that right? That was probably the first "illegal" thing I did.

  4. I have in the past yes. Most times it's not about the target, but the challenge of getting into something. If I find a tiny issue on a website I'll pound it until I can exploit it, or leverage information that will help me gain access. These days I will report any vulnerabilities and I never cross that line into illegal territory.

A:

I can identify with your frustration. Current trends are certainly not positive. I would say I am optimistic because there's no point in feeling any other way. The type of transitions needed to set a new course for humanity are radical but they're also logical and fairly obvious to those who take time to learn about a sustainable train of thought. At this time, technological innovation is a double edge sword because industry’s incentives are wrong. Most of the R&D in universities still goes to the military when it comes to innovation, for example. I’ll conclude by saying that the world is going to change one way or another. And it will not change in a polite and fluid way. The only question I ask: is how much suffering has to occur before people realize the dire need. The new human rights movement requires global galvanizing.


Q:

What's your favorite kind of ice cream?

A:

Have you ever actually wore a Guy Fawkes mask while hacking? Asking for a friend.


Q:

Do you think the idea of a resource based economy is progressing at a decent enough pace that we could begin to see the first part of a transition anytime soon?

A:

Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen!

edit: I feel a word of warning is necessary here, however: If you are dealing with liquid nitrogen, don't fall into the tank. Nitrogen freezes the water in your cells into crystals that pierce your cell membranes, resulting in the cells leaking to death when you thaw. (This is the problem with cryogenically freezing your head after you die, in hopes of revival. No one knows how to warm you back up without the ice forming those crystals and stabbing your cells to death).


Q:

I haven't. The majority of the time I'm sat in my boxer shorts.

A:

As I detail in Chapter 5 of the new book, the five major trends that I see needing to be accelerated are already happening. We are slowly moving, at least in some gesture, from (1) a society obsessed with property to one increasingly interested in access. (2) from a society based on proprietary information to one that sees how open-source is proving to be more effective (3) to a society that sees how technology is replacing jobs and creating the ultimate contradiction of capitalism, along with how the application of technology is creating vast efficiency that could solve many material social problems (4) while also recognizing that localization is more sustainable than globalization and as the "more with less" phenomenon, as described by theorists like Jeremy Rifkin or buckminster fuller, globalization will slowly be less profitable than localization; (5) and then we have the Internet of things which is effectively a means to void Ludwig von Mises "price calculation argument". The real problem is that people do not understand the synergy of these new developments and how they make the market systems logic obsolete. This is again– the educational imperative required by all of us


Q:

Do you enjoy pickles?

A:

Two part question:

1.) Without further incriminating yourself, what was the most difficult challenge you faced during your time with Lulsec/Anonymous?

2.) As an IT technician I'm starting to see an uptick in the number of my clients experiencing attempts to infiltrate their systems. What are some good resources that I could use to learn to mitigate these?

Thanks!


Q:

Any thoughts on Syria? Ope I went there... was the 'piece now" kind of a self defense tweet, any parallels?

A:

Cody likes dill, Paul likes only the comic strip.

If you really enjoy pickles, you can eat four one liter jars of pickles before your stomach bursts along the lesser curvature.


Q:

I didn't really face many challenges within the group. Technically I faced some challenges.

I was good at hacking web applications. I came from a web development background so I knew the ins and outs of how web applications were developed, how they worked, common pitfalls etc. I was able analyse source code for common open source platforms and find vulnerabilities that nobody else spotted. That was easy.

But some people were doing some crazy stuff. Reverse engineering, modifying firmware, malware development etc. That really interested me as I'd never really done any that in practice, only read about it. To this day I am still inspired by those guys and they're partly responsible for what I know today.

Regarding question 2, what's the responsibility of their systems? For example are they web servers and what operating system are they running? This will give me a better idea to answering the second question.

A:

I commented on Syria above. The US decision to bomb is perfectly in line with the prior three administrations' Middle East/Eurasia policy and Trump is proving himself to be just another tool of ongoing Middle East destabilization. Having cross referenced the research on the use of chemical weapons by Syria's leader, there is no definitive evidence he himself actually did this. The US has been wanting to destroy Syria's Government for a long time.


Q:

Is there a hierarchy in prison based on your conviction sentence? If so, where did you sit?

A:

In a response to another question you said:

(5) and then we have the Internet of things which is effectively a >means to void Ludwig von Mises "price calculation argument".

Can you expand on this?


Q:

Sort of yes.

My crime meant I was a low risk offender. This places me in category D which means I can be placed in an open prison. An open prison means you get a key to your "dorm", you can work outside the prison, but you have to return at 7pm every night. Lots of perks.

But, you still have to go through the prison system to get there.

When I was first placed into custody I was on remand. I resided in a category B prison. This is a high security prison, one down from max. My pad mate was in for murder. Believe it or not he was a cool dude.

I remained there for 3 months. I was sentenced to 32 months and they sent me back to the category B prison. From there I waited to be moved to a category C prison. It's still secure, but a little less secure then B. I remained there for about 4 months.

From there I went to the category D where I served the rest of my sentence until release.

A:

While the IoT has no exact definition, it is about networking technology and sensors to optimize information flows. Using the Internet and instruments to measure, track, and feed back information, this process, in the ideal, can unify numerous disparate elements and systems, greatly advancing awareness and efficiency potentials. Some ambitious ideas are “smart cities” where various components of the urban infrastructure become networked for rapid response, from personal health sensors that link to hospitals, to lights that dim when no one is detected in order to save energy. The imagination can run wild with possibilities. If properly incorporated, this ability could allow for a powerful integration, unifying and simplifying the once extremely complex technical processes of society. In an economic context, the IoT approach could relay and connect data regarding how best to manage resources, production processes, distribution, consumption, recycling, waste disposal behavior, consumer demand, and so on. It may seem abstract, but such a process of networked economic feedback would work on the same principle as modern systems of inventory and distribution found in major commercial warehouses.

Many companies today use a range of sensors and sophisticated tracking means to understand rates of demands, exactly what they have, where it is or where it may be moving, and when it is gone. It is ultimately an issue of detail and scalability to extend this kind of awareness to all sectors of the economy, macro and micro. Today, the market economy is mostly driven by feedback from consumer purchases and little more. Through people’s preferences expressed by way of buying and selling, business alters its productions and designs to accommodate them. As termed in older economic circles, this feedback comes from the “price mechanism.” Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises, in his work Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, famously argued that without the use of price and exchange, it would be impossible for efficient information to be communicated within the economy. Money changing hands was the bridge to all transactions, feeding back critical supply and demand information. At the time of his writing, in 1920, it is safe to say he was mostly correct in this view, even though there was no shortage of rebuttals. However, today there is no doubt his view is outdated. Not only is price no longer needed to gain critical economic feedback, but the information price communicates is long delayed and incomplete in terms of economic measures required to dramatically increase efficiency. Mechanisms related to the IoT make it possible to efficiently monitor shifting consumer preference, demand, supply, and labor value, virtually in real time. Moreover, IoT can also be used to observe other technical processes price cannot, such as shifts in production protocols, allocation, recycling means, and so on. A true system of economic feedback and management is about understanding the total interaction of economic components on all levels, in a unified way, not just supply and demand or what people are buying and selling. It is now possible to track trillions of economic interactions related to the supply chain and consumer behavior by way of sensors and digital relay, far surpassing what we are doing today.


Q:

My pad mate was in for murder. Believe it or not he was a cool dude.

This is something I wish more people understood. I spent 30 days in solitary confinement in Camp Pendleton Base Brig (very short story version: was in Marine Corps boot camp, decided I didn't want to be). Being a 19 year old who was the furthest thing from a hardened criminal, I got out of my cell to push the juice cart. The guy in the cell next to me shot his CO and XO. He was nice. Almost everybody is nice to people they don't have any beef with. Sometimes otherwise nice people do really horrible things. There aren't just a lot of cartoon villains running around in prisons.

A:

How does The New Human Rights Movement differ from The Zeitgiest Movement Defined?


Q:

So true.

A:

The Zeitgeist movement defined is a very dense, broad technical treatment on the observations of the Zeitgeist movement, requiring quite a bit of tedious legwork on the part of the reader to really understand the scope of the Movement’s observations and solutions.

This type of writing really isn't conducive to approaching the general activist community, such as people part of the ACLU or NAACP, etc. So I wanted to create a work that resonated with those that struggle with day-to-day raw activist issues, bring the context back to the needed "structuralism" that is inherent to the train of thought I promote. If you read both works, you'll see pretty big differences in both content focus and the way it is written. In 'the new human rights movement' I don't even use the word resource-based economy nor do I approach any kind of broad holism. I simply present the train of thought in the clearest possible way, highlighting the outcomes of social injustice specifically.


Q:

This is from a wired article:

Monsegur (Sabu), for his part, claims he never identified any of his fellow Anonymous hackers to the FBI. His own defense attorney disagreed in his sentencing hearing, telling a judge his “assistance allowed the government to pierce the secrecy surrounding the group, to identify and locate its core members and, successfully, to prosecute them.” Monsegur calls that a political statement intended to lighten his sentence.

What's your comment on his statement? How or why did you give your real name and location to Sabu? When did you know he was an informant?

A:

Hey Peter, Since most, if not all, of the things you create and produce you also give away for free, how do you make a living?


Q:

I dislike him. I felt hurt by what he did. It literally felt like a friend had backstabbed me. I found out on the way to the police station in the back of the car.

I thought I could trust him. We'd spoke for long enough. I knew his first name. I knew his location. I'd seen his graffiti (if it was actually his). We spoke about personal things. I had no reason to believe he was an informant. He acted the total opposite. In some cases even posting information that would be considered illegal.

A:

Believe it or not, even though I give most everything out for free, support still comes in through donations and through distribution networks that target people that simply do not watch things on YouTube or the like. The Z film trilogy is currently licensed on Netflix, for example. So I get some money from that along with people that still buy it on iTunes, etc. I also still do freelance work and DP/Direction work for commercial projects here and there.


Q:

1) did you finish your probation as well? Were there any other extra sanctions imposed on you as part of your conviction(preventing computer use while in the US?)

2) I heard some hackers plead guilty to their computer hacking crimes, and that helped them advance their career. Do you agree with that phenomena? If you agree/disagree, then why?

3) Did any of your perspectives in your values change before/after joining your group? What would you like to accomplish in your remaining years?

A:

Thank you for your efforts, it sparked a lot of personal development for me, in large part because of the social networks it spawned locally and online, as I'm sure it has for many others.

1) Have you read Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski, or Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase? 2) Any books you have read lately that changed your mind significantly? Or that you think should be highlighted as worthwhile material? 3) Since 2007, how has your level of cynicism evolved?, has it increased, decreased, been stable?


Q:
  1. Yeah I did. At one point my officer let me skip meetings because he wasn't concerned I would reoffend. I got friendly with my PO. He helped me a lot when I was diagnosed with Testicle Cancer. He later moved across the other side of the world and I lost touch with him. He was a great guy.

  2. I'm not sure how it is in the US, but over here if you get convicted of hacking they tend to see it as that person can't be trusted.

  3. When my depression started to get bad I was losing sense of any values/morals/ethics. Just weeks before I was self harming pretty bad. I was in a bad place mentally. Having reflected on what happened my values have definitely changed. It makes me cringe looking back on what I did.

I feel like I'm on a journey. I don't know where it's ending, but I will continue to learn and perfect my craft. I'd like to become an ASM wizard and be able to quickly read ASM as I can the English language. I'd like to make a small game with my son in ASM. We're going to attempt it on the C64 once my Final Cartridge 3 arrives. I have strange goals. Once I achieve that I don't know what's next. I'd like to gain full time employment one day.

A:

Science and Sanity and Tyranny of words are two fantastic books that I certainly recommend to everyone even though the former is a bit complicated. Other books include pretty much everything by Buckminster F. and Jeremy Rifkin and even some texts that have good general data such as Abundance by Peter Diamandis…albeit in denial about the true negative ramifications of market system. I also recommend Heroes by Franco Berardo, who does a unique job thinking about the rise of Mass murderer such as the Batman or Columbine massacres - connecting them to neoliberalism. I also like the works of Alfie Kohn, regarding child education along with Gabor Mate and Robert Sapolsky as far as Neuroscience. There are many more but these are my suggestions off the top of my head.

As far as my cynicism, it has stayed the same! Just keep piping in George Carlin and Charlie Brooker and you will feel fine through catharsis ;)


Q:

Why didn't Anon make Sabu? There wasn't anything to make you think that somebody you might trust could be gathering and waiting for the right plea deal and price range? Any type of warnings?

A:

Information overload. Can you give any advice on your process (from ideas to screen)? I keep finding myself overwhelmed, then de-motivated...


Q:

No warnings at all. We used to chat for at least an hour a day. The last conversation I had with him he was showing me some images of graffiti he was doing. He was working on a track with me that he wanted to use as some sort of anthem. He was giving me instructions on how he wanted it to sound and I'd send prototypes over to him.

I didn't trust him at first, but over time he gained my trust. Looking back it did feel a bit like "grooming" tbh.

A:

If you're referring to the creative process in filmmaking, it starts with research and then note extraction and then category creation and then category organization. You have to find a method to distill the ideas and create form. For documentary that is fairly straightforward. For live action films with actors you're faced, of course, with taking those ideas and turning them into dialogue in symbologies etc. I would have to know little bit more about what you were working on to give better advice. If you feel overwhelmed, then you are doing too much at once!


Q:

How do I hack my own computer until it explodes?

A:

For me, switching to crypto currencies that represent the resource cost of a good/product (carbon, water, rare earth elements, metals, hours of labour, etc) would be a good transitional tool that's implementable today. What tools do you think would really help transition our society that could be snuck through without requiring the end goal as a motivator?


Q:

Push a screwdriver into the PSU whilst chanting "we are anonymous".

A:

I agree that crypto currencies would be a good improvement. Because blockchains contain lots of data and have unique transparency, it would be very interesting and productive to see traditional currency or money be replaced more holistically. But keep in mind, it doesn't change the real problem of market logic. I have been in many debates with people that think changing money and going back to a gold standard and so on would alter what is ultimately the system of control and oppression known as capitalism. I really don't think it would have that effect in terms of altering currency/money properties. But, as I think you are implying, the blockchain can be used for many other productive things in terms of feedback and economic accounting. I will be exploring this in the second of the InteReflections film trilogy where people are living differently using a kind of block chain technology to organize their society. But yes, transitionally, I think it would be a good step as well.


Q:

What do you think of the TV shows 'Mr Robot'?

A:

I want to learn more about this movement what should I read? Also is there any difference between the system you propose and communism? I proposed this idea of /r/DebateCommunism not to challenge them but just to get feedback. They all said that literally is communism.


Q:

It's great entertainment. Black Mirror is cool too.

A:

It's unfortunate how impulsive people are, throwing the label socialism or communism on any idea that effectively is non-hierarchical and not based on markets and mediums of exchange. Most of these folks really don't even know what they're saying. Are they referring to communism as practiced in the USSR? If so, then they are way off as that was little more then blind central planning and authoritative dictatorship. Are they referring to communism as preached by Karl Marx? If so, then they are also way off because Karl Marx never really had a true system of socialism or communism in terms of design. He spent 99.9% of his writing on theories of capitalism. What the Zeitgeist movement & myself promote is a society based upon efficient design. Design efficiency and the intelligent use of science and technology is what underscores our real economic development in terms of increased standards of living and reduced suffering. Theorists of communism were far too ignorant of these scientific efficiency ideas when they wrote about it. Communism was really about "freeing the workers" more than any kind of design, in the majority of the rhetoric put out in the 19th/20th century. As far as reading, you should check out “the Zeitgeist movement defined” which is a free text/book produced by the movement (see thezeitgeistmovement.com). I also finished a personal book called "the new human rights movement" which is available through various vendors and was published by BenBella books.


Q:

Have you talked to Sabu since he allegedly snitched on you?

A:

Hey Peter,

Long time fan of your work. Your films were very influential to me growing up so thank you.

I know you don't regard yourself as a communist, so I'm not here to belabor that point. However I was wondering if you would agree that Marx's critique of capitalism is relevant to the present day? If not, why so?

Also have you read Peter Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread?


Q:

No. I don't like what he's done.

A:

Thanks. Yes. It is unfortunate that Marx has become a bad word, when many of his words and ideas actually are found ubiquitously throughout mainstream market based economic literature. That is how influential he was. His work should be read. But I prefer Thorsten Veblen in terms of a more accurate diagnosis specially when it comes to government and technology. And no, sorry I have not read conquest of bread but I will added to my list!


Q:

What's the best way to learn "hacking" or programming? What's your opinion on cyber security ethics, regarding the openness between the government and private sectors or individuals? What's the best way to prevent someone hacking oneself? Thank you!

A:

(mostly humourous) How certain are you that you're not the head of a cult? Every now and then the thought occurs to me TZM is a cult and I re-evaluate whether it is or not (gets a bit touch & go sometimes given how far away from traditional thinking it is and so many fail to understand)


Q:

Hacking and programming are two different beasts when it comes to learning. I'm mostly self taught and started reading books, HOWTO's, magazines etc from an early age so the knowledge has been accumulated over the past 15 or so years.

Programming wise I'd recommend to start with learning C. It's useful because it teaches you computer architecture. Memory management, the stack/heap, etc are useful for learning memory corruption techniques. If you want to go down the software hacking route it's a long road, but start with C imo. Learning C will allow you to learn other language pretty easily and is very useful for hacking.

Hacking is a broad topic. There's lots of different specialist areas. Most people these days want to know how to hack websites (which is only the tip of the iceberg btw). If you want to learn that, grab yourself a copy of the Browser Hackers Handbook, and Kali. Note: I do not advocate the use of Kali if all you're doing is running scripts and not understanding what's actually going on under the hood, but it's a useful place to start.

Regarding ethics, the Government has no business prying its eyes in anyones business. The privacy issues that are going on in the UK and the USA make me angry.

The best way to prevent yourself from being hacked is to learn how attackers can gain access to your system and implement the necessary protections to stop them :)

A:

Fun question.

If that is really occurring in your mind you might want to familiarize yourself with what a cult is in terms of an “exploitative and detrimental organization that harms its members or exploit them”. (FYI the original definition of “cult” is actually just referring to a relatively small group of impassioned people. Only later did it become a pejorative or issue of social psychology)

TZM is a group sharing common values, supporting a train of thought to help better the world. If TZM is to be a cult, then so is the ACLU, the NAACP, Greenpeace, PETA, or any other group of socially concerned people who share common interests about the way things should be.

This TZM “cult” pejorative has sadly been around for years and was put forward by people who simply disliked TZM or myself/my early films. So they slapped that label on us to deter association and be insulting. The person who perhaps really set this in motion was writer Michelle Goldberg, who clearly used that word in the same way trolls did because she disagreed with the movement’s ideas and REALLY hated my first film…and when people don't understand things (and fear thing) they are quick to label them.

It’s really sad such people do not realize the damage they create with such statements/labels as, in all cases, the issue has to do with a disagreement with the ideas of TZM, not the nature of the group itself or its methods.

TZM has a loose structure with no formal hierarchy. Chapters are virtually autonomous, as are the “members”. I put members in parenthesis for there is no real criteria for membership as there are no forms, monetary dues or the like to be part of the community. As I often say, people are in the Zeitgeist movement whether they like it or not:-)

But to humor your point more so, the executive director of the nonprofit Cult Education Institute was bombarded by anti-Zeitgeist movement trolls in 2011, trying to get him to label the movement as cult as he is an expert, often brought into legal trials when dealing with real cults. His name is Rick Alan Ross.

This is what he concluded on March 10, 2011 08:35PM

“What seems to come across is that TZM is a fringe groups that has some controversial beliefs, but that doesn't make it a "cult" by any meaningful objective definition. For a group to be considered a "cult" according to Lifton it must be destructive, not simply objectionable due to its beliefs. It's about behavior. Lifton says, "Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie" is evident. Singer states, "imagine an inverted T. The leader is alone at the top and the followers are all at the bottom". There is little if any accountability and as Singer says, "the overriding philosophy...is that the ends justify the means, a view that allows [such groups] to establish their own brand of morality, outside normal society bounds." Thus far TZM critics have been unable to specifically articulate such points as relevant to the group. Simply because you object to a group's philosophy or quirky beliefs doesn't make it a "cult," certainly not a destructive one. Perhaps TZM can be seen as a relatively benign fringe group with a "cult following," something like Trekkies or diehard Elvis fans.”


Q:

Regardless of what the law says is right or wrong, did you ever reach a personal moral barrier where you weren't sure whether to cross?

A:

If you could go back in time ten years, what would you do differently? Would you make the Zeitgeist films and create the movement the same way?


Q:

At that point in time my moral barrier was very low. Most times I didn't even consider the consequences of my actions if caught. I got too complacent.

A:

That's an almost impossible question because the synergies of the time; the way my first film and the other films evolved was actually quite organic and difficult to understand as far as outcomes. Today, people criticize my first film saying it detracts from the movements message. I agree with that but at the time of the first film I had no intention of starting a movement of any kind. And with my rock-shock-documentary Zeitgeist, given the vast popularity it achieved, there might not have even been a chance to mobilize a large number of people towards a new social direction, regardless of their beliefs. So there is really no way for me to answer that. Again, the movement was pushed on me– I didn't really start anything ;)


Q:

How can we secure our cellphones? Specially the cams and mics.

A:

When did you discover Buckminster Fuller and how did you stumble upon him? How do you conduct research in general?


Q:

I can't comment. I do not own a smartphone. I use a Nokia 8310. I do not trust them.

A:

I was introduced to Buckminster Fuller probably around 2002 as a good friend of mine was big into him. In fact, many don't know that when I was developing Zeitgeist Addendum, BF was going to be the focal point of the solution section. Then I learned about the Venus Project and since Fresco was still alive and seemed to embrace the same basic ideas, I sidestepped BF for that film. Fuller does make an appearance in my new film trilogy. As as far as research, I touched upon that briefly in a prior question. In short, I read lots of books and then extract notes by hand from those books. I think it's important to write things out by hand if you really want to get them in your brain as we have evolved to use our hands in such a way. Typing doesn't create the same connection. Once I have these notes I categorized them. Then I organize the categorized items in a logical way to create the form or structure. Nothing profound. But if you do this right you can distill say 200 books into a 50 page word document. Hope that helps.


Q:

did you detect and write the exploits yourself, or did you use someone else's work?

A:

Peter I just want to thank you for all the work that you have done, it is really important. I am wondering if you have come across the work of Robert Menard? https://twitter.com/FreemanMenard https://www.facebook.com/robert.menard.52

What are your thoughts on the concept of using "law" to begin to remedy some of the practices that have led us to this point.

Lawful, as opposed to legal.


Q:

I found them myself, but many times there was help from other members.

A:

If you are referring to the view of law regarding the Freeman Movement and these ideas surrounding what it means to be a "sovereign citizen" and so on – I have yet to read anything (yet) of particular value on the issue. I spent a little bit of time researching Maritime Law and a lot of unique ideas surrounding this and beyond -- but the problem is the "law" as a logic/body of statues is not immutable or "natural" in any way. Even if people found away to circumvent current corrupt legal practices and perhaps even alter/bypass their birth certificates or whatever, the legal code would simply be "corrected" by politicians to bypass those loopholes. You can't win.


Q:

In the end of the article you wrote you said:

In my next article I will provide a complete tutorial on how the average Joe can secure their Internet connection and remain private from Government spying and data retention.

Are you still planing to do this?

A:

Hi Peter.

Social change comes down to a change in values, right?

In what concrete ways are you (we) currently trying to change our educational systems? What are actions we (the people) can take to make bottom-up changes?


Q:

I am yes. I got caught up with other things in life. I lost my Dad at the start of this year and another family member the start of this month. It's been tough. But you just reminded me, I need to get that finished. Thanks :)

A:

Social change does come down to a changing values but it's important to recognize that our values are not necessarily an option of free will. We must structurally recognize that without a change of incentives in our social system, our/everyone’s values will still be vulnerable to destructive, unsustainable, dominance, competitive and status patterns. In other words, human society cannot change itself from the inside as a whole. Now, some of us probably like yourself, can realize the way you wish to be without as much interference. We are the anomalies. And it still takes a great deal of education and personal reflection to reach a point where you reject the values of the mainstream culture that surrounds you, along with the procedural dynamics that are creating this prevalent distorted social psychology as well. That stated, I stand by the sociological science that says we have to change the prevailing social/economic structure more than anything else. Our educational systems are really a result of this same structure which is why kids learn to memorize things rather than critical thought, while being organized in grade hierarchies, while also subservient to authority. They are being groomed for "jobs". A new platform for education would be one that supports conceptual integration and synergies. If systems theory was taught to grade school children, then they would be much less likely to be racist and bigoted, while also seeing labor specialization as a drawback to wisdom, for example. Much could be said on these issues and I recommend Alfie Kohn once again, especially when it comes to removing the competitive ethic from child development.


Q:

What's your go to linux distro?

A:

I feel like I should say Arch. Or Gentoo. Or LSF. All great distros but my gotos are good old Debian and FreeBSD purely out of personal preference because I grew up on them. My main machine runs Qubes.


Q:

What's your take on Edward Snowden?

A:

He's a legend :)


Q:

How fast can you type?

A:

Never counted, but judging by the number of comments I'm going to have to increase my pace a little :)


Q:

Whats your reaction whenever you see hacking scenes on the tv/movies?

A:

The new stuff is mostly overrated imo. Hackers is a true story. I love that film. Wargames is a classic I enjoy too. I'm not really into the newer films. Maybe because I'm from BBC micro era.


Q:

Was the post removed or just the description? Mods?

A:

Lack of evidence. I'm submitting more now.