Jobs Down, Growth Up, Inequality Decreasing: InterBank

New Fort Knox Dome, Moonbase Alpha, Colonial Lunar Administrative Zone -- 30 Mar. 2057:  The Alliance central bank this day released its annual report on the state of the stellar economy.  Among the encouraging signs: overall economic growth is up by 0.47% over last year.

However, according to the report, unemployment has increased by 1.2%, significantly higher than last year's projection.  "The major factor here," said Dr. Bickner Haegelsten, an economist at Carrington University, "is the increase of what we call 'metacognitive productivity enhancement' -- that is, the ability of a synthetic or a hypercortical or someone with major neuro-enhancements to perform jobs more efficiently.  One person takes a position where otherwise two or three would be employed."  The creep of unemployment has led to increases in demand for government assistance programs such as Employment Assurance and Social Wage, as well as longer waiting lists for vocational training and elective augmentation procedures.  "The budget is under a strain, and InterBank is getting nervous about keeping inflation under control," warns Dr. Haegelsten.  "I see rising taxes in our future."

The report shows the centres of economic activity continuing to shift out into the FAP, the Jovian complex and the Saturnine Confederacy, with the growth of the inner system slowing.  Sentiment analysis of the twitter feeds of economic analysts policy-makers shows strong belief in the connection between the individualistic, laissez-faire ethos of the Libertarian-dominated outer system and the heavily-regulated, Technocratic-leaning Earth-Mars-Venus triumvirate.  Dr. Haegelsten cautions skepticism on this point.  "Historically, vibrant economies create winners, and winners dislike taxes and regulations.  The strengthening of Libertarian ideology in the outsystem is probably a response to rather than a driver of their increasing growth, which I believe is caused primarily by increased immigration and population density."

Significantly, despite rising unemployment, real wages have held steady and the system-wide Gini Coefficient in incomes has dropped by 0.03, welcome news for the lower socio-economic classes.  The most robust growth is occurring in the Digital Services, Nanofacturing, Resource Processing, and Entertainment sectors.

Economic Hot Spots

  • The jobs capital of the system is Cleveland Station, orbiting Io, which has seen an influx of wage-labour seekers responding to Pompeii Mining's announcement of a major new project.  The station has had to add a third toroid to handle the load; rents and food prices are rising quickly.
  • Chronically high unemployment in the city of Mangala in Lowell, Mars has been reduced by heavy migration from the city into other major urban centres, encouraged by the city's audacious 'emigration subsidy'.  The population of Mangala has dropped by over 10% in 2056.
  • Spurred by the surging success of the massive reforestation program and related wild-gathered food, medicinal and timber industries, rapid and by all accounts sustainable economic growth has made Timbuktu, in the Sahara district of Earth, one of the planet's few success stories.

Digital Services Restored in Lagrange

Anhedonia Station, Lagrange Orbital Colonial Authority -- 29 Mar. 2057:  A two-week digital services strike which almost shut down the economy of the L5 cluster has ended this day with a negotiated settlement between an Omnicor Hypercorp LLC. labour-relations team and the indigenous boutique union of a local Infomatic franchise.  The new contract raises wages, shortens required shifts, establishes an arbitration process for disputes and employee discipline, and forbids 'company store' rules which required indentured softworkers to purchase relaxation programming from Omnicor-owned services at extortionate rates, a practice which labour analysts claim amounts to debt slavery.

The cluster-wide strike, organized by the Post-Industrial Workers of the Web Local 32986, was declared illegal by the LOCA Concilium, but could not be stopped despite vigorous actions by the district Department of Cyberlaw Enforcement.  "The simple truth," stated PWW spokesperson Tangent Polynomial in a press release late today, "is that there is no legally enforceable way of making people work who don't want to.  They managed to get enough scabs in from the virtual slums on Earth to get back some basic functionality, but most digital services are not, contrary to popular belief, something that just any data ghost or backfilled partial can provide.  Hundreds of our comrades were rounded up into sandboxes and suspended with null input, but they couldn't be broken.  Unless the fascists finally resort to direct mind editing, summary deletion or torturescapes, nothing they do can threaten us.  The people united can never be defeated!"

Residents are breathing a sigh of relief today as they regain their ability to easily transact business, search the hyperlayer, charter vehicles, and give orders to their houses and workplaces.  Varlem Thrush, the newly-elected head of the Infomatic shop union, has released a statement thanking the PWW for their assistance.  "I won't deny that I'm here because I'm not good with money," stated Vr. Thrush, "but all I wanted is a chance to work my debt off honestly and live a decent life.  We never imagined that we could take on a big company like Omnicor, but with the Wobblies on our side we did it."

The PWW has now called for an investigation into allegations of personhood rights abuses at the Anhedonia Infomatic shop.  Representatives of Omnicor and of the LOCA government did not respond to requests for comment.

Amazonia Wins Terran Century Championship

Sao Paulo, Amazonia, Earth -- 28 Mar. 2057:  After a gruelling 3-day battle, The Sao Paulo Caimans have defeated the Krasnoyarsk Tigers and taken the Golden Helm in the championship game of the Terran World Century League.  The victorious Caimans will now go on to represent Earth in the Interplanetary Century League, to be held in Valles Marineris later this year.  The victory came as a surprise to many, as the disciplined and ruthless army from Trans-Arctica were the favourites to win this year.

"The Caimans put in a really stellar performance under Legate Marcao Barros," said sports commentator Glaga Blagenflan after the match.  "Their formation discipline was tight, the communication was quick and efficient, and they just reacted faster to the situation on the ground.  Their Legionaries clearly went into this with high morale and the will to win.  In my opinion, Krasnoyarsk got too confident.  They seemed to think that their unbroken winning streak made them unstoppable; that because of their troubles early on and throughout the tournament, Sao Paulo wasn't really a serious opponent.  They learned better on the field today."

The end came quickly after a masterful flanking maneuver by Centurion Jesus Goncalves overwhelmed the Krasnoyarsk wedge formation and broke their principes maniples.  Krasnoyarsk Legate Oleg Petrovich spoke to media after the match, congratulating his opposite number.  "I am honoured to have come up against such a skilled group of fighters and to be represented by them on Mars.  We fought to the best of our ability and they have simply bettered us.  I congratulate Legate Barros and wish him well in the Interplanetary.  I am sure he will make Earth proud."  For his part, Legate Barros wanted the world to know that the victory was not his alone.  "Many good fighters of Sao Paulo displayed great skill, drive, and heart on the field in this contest," he said before clasping arms with Petrovich.

Ion Storm Damage Assessment Complete

Sector Alpha, Ring One, Low Earth Orbital Zone -- 27 Mar. 2057:  The Bureau of Information Retrieval has released a detailed report on the damages that occurred during the recent Carrington-level ion storm which caused severe disruptions to communication and other services on the 6th and 7th of March.  According to the Bureau's press release, reported damage to property throughout the system totaled about 50 credits and the economy lost a further 1200 credits in lost business activity.  742 injuries and 396 deaths have been directly attributed to the storm, which is the most severe on record since the Great Blowout of 2017.

"The Great Blowout was one of the most serious natural disasters in living memory," writes historian Dr. Vik Pimkasian of Roddenberry University on his blog Let's Get Historical.  "We were heavily dependent on electrical technology, including a growing amount of integrated circuitry, but almost none of it was manufactured with sufficient EM shielding to withstand the event.  The burgeoning orbital tourism and industrial complex was somewhat better prepared, but not sufficiently to weather a carrington-level event unscathed.  For the first time, over 90% of the Earth's power grid was simultaneously blacked out.  Vehicles crashed as their guidance systems were destroyed.  Patients in hospitals died by the hundreds as automated care and telemedicine systems went offline.  Our civilization was devastated, and very nearly did not recover."

The Alliance's manufacturing code requires electronics, especially those that might be utilized in potentially life-critical systems, to be hardened to withstand Carrington-level ionic storm activity.  According to Bureau spokesperson Alden Thibeault, the relatively low amount of damage and serious injury can be attributed to the effectiveness of inexpensive EM hardening techniques like integrated faraday cages.  "There's still a certain amount of skimping that goes on in manufacturing in regard to EM coatings," stated Ms. Thibeault in a text-message interview.  "Some people will cut any corner they can to save a few nanocredits.  But the bureau of consumer protection comes down pretty hard on it when they do find it, and for the most part it's not even worth while to take it out of the workflow."  Ms. Thibeault said that the majority of deaths and injuries occurred due to the failure of private vehicle guidance systems or body augmentation implants manufactured with inadequate EM shielding.  The most devastating incidents, however, include the destruction of a number of severely substandard data blocks, 'virtual slums' which housed a total of 5017 active emulated consciousnesses.  "157 synthetics and data ghosts have been irretrievably corrupted, and another 516 suffered excisions which will cripple them for the rest of their existence, including 229 which were reduced to below sapient status.  The people who manufactured and ran those servers ought to be ashamed; and in any case, they'll soon be receiving visits from InterPol on charges of criminal negligence."

Popular Socialite Outed as Corporate Spy

Jocasta Station, Lagrange Orbital Colonial Authority -- 26 Mar. 2057:  The well-known and well-liked social media personality Tainam Persimmonz, a fixture of social networks across the inner system, has been revealed by an independent labour watchdog to be a front persona for Social Eye, a LOCA-based company which spies on employees' and job applicants' private social network activity for corporate clients.  Employee Ombudsman, an organization which advocates for labour rights and investigates potential abuses, revealed their findings in a press release early this day.

Social Eye, a well known player in the field of corporate intelligence gathering, has thus far avoided charges under the Labour Relations Act by advertising services limited to 'crawling and creeping information publicly available on social networks, search engines, advertising profiles and other information caches in the hyperlayer' to provide companies with reports on the behaviour, personalities and values of current and potential employees.  It is not implausible that this would be an effective technique, as many are still lax about privacy controls and the release of personal information.  However, according to Employee Ombudsman's communications director Selby Bellwether, there have been persistent rumours that Social Eye has been sidestepping prohibitions on bypassing privacy controls in order to provide employers with information their employees specifically don't want them to have.  "We had received a number of reports on companies that use internal directives to try to control employees' personal time," said Ms. Bellwether in a text-chat interview, "from employees who were fired for reasons that were never adequately explained to them, but it happened after they broke corporate 'morality' policies, for instance against public sex or use of recreational alterants, and we found that in a lot of these cases the companies in question were customers of Social Eye.  These were people that were very discrete, who took great care to keep their personal activities compartmentalized from their working lives.  It got us interested, so we decided to investigate further."

According to the press release, a whistleblower within Social Eye supplied Employee Ombudsman with documents implicating the company in a massive 'false friend' scam, a gambit in which an organization creates fake social media personalities which befriend an espionage target and pump them for access to private information.  Such a ruse is difficult to run effectively, as people are not quick to trust strangers with private profile keys and usually keep them in the outer circles of their share grids.  Social Eye's solution was to create a personality that just about everyone wanted as their friend: Tainam Persimmonz, the darling of the glitterati, a bohemian trend-setter with a rapier wit who could still relate to many kinds of people on a personal level.  According to this whistleblower, who has chosen to remain anonymous but is reportedly working with the Bureau of Labour Standards in an ongoing investigation, the persona of Tainam Persimmonz was the result of years' worth of dedicated social engineering and was in reality run by a team of over 100 dedicated social media consultants who kept up with Tainam's vast friends network and massive list of social groups and interest communities.  The cadre of consultants crafted posts and messages according to a sophisticated personality model, rated just below the sapience threshold, while adding empathetic and personal touches, with the goal of gaining the trust of individuals and communities throughout the inner system -- particularly the glitzy, bohemian countercultures in which experimentation with and pushing of more conservative social boundaries is encouraged.  Pictures and video of Tainam at various cultural events, staged to make the persona seem authentic, involved a stable of hand-picked models who were contracted to make themselves over into doppelgangers of a fictional person.

"Tainam Persimmonz began to filter into the social consciousness about 5 years ago," said trend analyst Lami Dellacourte of fashion blog Threadz, "and since then zie's been a fixture in the avante-garde countercultures.  Zie shows up everywhere and is on everyone's friends list.  Nobody even thought to question if zie's a real person.  If this is true... I have no idea.  I'm at a loss.  I just don't understand how such a vibrant personality, such a sparkling wit and such genuine empathy, could be faked by some team of consultants.  But I've been over the evidence and it looks really solid."

Tainam Persimmonz' social media profiles have all been set with an autoresponder stating that Mx. Persimmonz is distraught over the allegations and does not wish to be disturbed.  Social Eye has not responded to requests for comment.

Clone Sues Government Over Data Ghost's Estate

Burroughs, Barsoom, Mars -- 25 Mar. 2057:  Hot on the heels of the landmark Vanbreezenbrock decision comes a new case with enormous potential implications for the young field of upload estate law.  Amatala Mattacharian, the genetic offspring of hedge fund manager Leroy Mitchell, has filed suit in State Civil Court this day to claim the estate of eir donor's data ghost.

Leroy Mitchell, the biological primal human, died in August of 2030 in a climbing accident in Olympus Mons Wildlife Preserve.  He was survived by his integrated imprint, who chose to continue living under the name Leroy Mitchell rather than take a neonym and inherited Mr. Mitchell's already considerable fortune.  Vr. Mitchell then went on to amass even greater wealth, combining the newly acquired ability of an independent uploaded consciousness to engage in dedicated high-frequency trading with the finely-honed instincts of 3 decades in the stock market.  In June of 2037, Vr. Mitchell used cryopreserved tissue from Mr. Mitchell's body to create a clone of his progenitor, genetically modified into a hypercortical redact.  In December of 2051, the child achieved full legal personhood by passing the Deckard-Bowman Sapience Examination, taking the neonym Amatala Mattacharian and beginning a career in quantum gravity physics at Rubix University.  Though Mre. Mattacharian and Vr. Mitchell reportedly remained in regular and cordial contact, they had no further financial relationship of any kind.

Then, in September of 2056, Vr. Mitchell's runtime and backup copies were both irretrievably corrupted by an outbreak of weaponized Klez431 virus.  This is where the story gets unusual:  Vr. Mitchell died intestate.  Because it is a fairly rare occurrence, the complete destruction of a virtual consciousness and the subsequent disposal of their estate is not a situation with a great deal of legal precedent.  There are of course well-established laws permitting genetic offspring and clones conceived after the death of the progenitor to inherit provided that the chain of inheritance proceeds through a legal parental entity and the conception of the offspring occurs less than 5 years after the progenitor's death; but in this case, neither condition applies.  Vr. Mitchell never legally adopted Mre. Mattacharian as his own child.  There is no provision in Alliance law for consciousness uploads to be considered 'natural parents' of biological entities in the same way that blood relations are.  Mre. Mattacharian was raised by a professional parent; Vr. Mitchell spent considerable time with the developing child, but not a sufficient amount to have been considered a de facto parent under Barsoom district laws, which specify equal time shared between all individual acting as 'parent entities' in absence of direct blood or consciousness relations.

Finally, Barsoom district estate bylaws state that if any citizen dies intestate and with no legal spouse, offspring, blood relations within two degrees, consciousness copy, or other default inheritor, the full estate reverts to the government.  And, due to the size of the estate in question which is valued at over 4000 credits, the district is apparently quite eager to expedite the transfer of titles and funds into their own coffers.  There's only one problem: Amatala Mattacharian, who believes that Vr. Mitchell's fortune rightfully belongs to em.

In a statement released on the hyperlayer by Mre. Mattacharian's council, e states that "Leroy Mitchell was my father.  No, I did not spend 50% of my time being raised by him.  But this would never even be a factor if the flesh and blood of Leroy Mitchell, the man whose DNA is in my every cell, the man whose every memory and personality trait belonged to the person who raised me, had not died before I was born.  I called him 'father' when we spoke, and he called me 'my child'.  I think of him even now as my father.  All that was his is now rightfully mine; he was a man of the old school, and it is what he would have wanted, this I know.  It is no less than rank opportunism for these vultures to attempt to take it from me."

The Barsoom District Attorney's office has chosen not to comment on this case.

Crossmedia Receives Legal Threat

Enchiridion, Trojans Administrative District, Jupiter Space -- 24 Mar. 2057:  Futuristical Crossmedia has recieved a cease-and-desist order from Omnicor Hypercorp LLC.  The order threatens legal action over several stories recently published which implicate Omnicor in situations ranging from negligence and labour rights violations to possible torture and murder-for-hire.

Crossmedia spokesperson Vander van Zander Zalm has issued the following press release in response:  "At Futuristical Crossmedia we take the quality of our correspondence very seriously.  We report the facts and only the facts.  We stand behind our reporters, commentators, and curators.  If internal investigations find that any of our staff has been less than diligent in fact-checking or in getting the whole story, the situation will be dealt with.  However, we do not, nor will we ever, take down stories due to the bullying and threats of an organization like Omnicor Hypercorp LLC.  If this harassment continues we will be taking our own legal action under Alliance anti-SLAPP laws.  May the Universe preserve the Alliance and protect free speech."

Full disclosure: this newsfeed is a subsidiary of Futuristical Crossmedia operated under the aegis of the Bureau of Temporal Relations.  We are not among the parties names in the cease-and-desist letter.

Ancient Sword Buried by Ice Volcano

Ganymede, Jupiter Space -- 23 Mar. 2057:  A close call with an unexpected cryovolcano has lead to the loss of over a thousand credits' worth of priceless historical artifacts, including an authentic Tokugawa-era katana valued at some 800 credits.

According to information released by the Ganymede Departrment of Public Safety, the accident occurred when fallout from an unexpected ice volcano eruption struck the touring barge of corporate heir Michial Barron, the son of the late water magnate John Barron.  Though Mr. Barron and his staff were able to flee the impending disaster in a small ice yacht, the barge has been crushed by a layer of ice several dozen feet thick.

Mr. Barron has of late been on an extended tour of the solar system, a practice which is referred to in the rarefied social circles of the system's financial elite as the Grand Orbit.  He has refused to travel without his personal collection of antiquities, which is now trapped beneath the ice of Ganymede.  It is uncertain when the pieces may be reclaimed, as mining activities on Ganymede are extremely expensive, difficult and dangerous.  "We don't really have the technology right now to mount that kind of dig," said Buddy Grace, a senior technician with Amphigory Ice Mines.

Grey Goo Outbreak Kills 3

Apogee Station, Low Earth Orbital Zone -- 22 Mar. 2057:  An accidental release of self-replicating nanites in a programmable-matter factory has led to the deaths of 3 people.  According to information released by the LEO Department of Public Safety, the outbreak has been fully contained and cleanup is in progress.

The facility at which the tragic accident occurred, Matterworks Nanofacturing, is a subsidiary of Omnicor Hypercorp LLC.  The deadly nanotechnology was allowed to run amok by the failure of the magnetic containment field and of a critical circuit in the sensor system which was supposed to report any breach in the seals of the clean room where the constructors were deployed.  According to eyewitness Bulgar Thrace, a matter-flow control technician employed at the factory, nobody understood what was happening until the console in front of them started dissolving.

"We knew something hinky was going on," said Mx. Thrace in an audio interview.  "The readouts were all over the place, but nobody made the connection without the breach alarm sounding.  Then I saw Jackson... Jesus Mohammed, his hands just started to melt into the controls.  He screamed, and then...  Terrence was the real hero.  He grabbed the fire suppressors, filled the room with foam for the things to eat.  Gave the rest of us time to get out of the control room, but he was already losing flesh.  He screamed after me, 'Close the door!'  And, God help me, I did.  It should have been me."

The Department of Public safety has informed us that it has ruled out foul play.  "There is no evidence that either system was tampered with," said Constable Raj Banerjee in a press conference earlier this day.  "The sensor-system circuit was clearly burned out for several weeks and was not replaced in routine maintenance, and the magnetic containment system was disrupted when a space earwig flew into the circuits of the dedicated power generator."  Asked if charges of criminal negligence will be brought against the facility operators, Constable Banerjee replied that "That is a matter for the Occupational Safety Commission to decide, though I would not be surprised."

According to Langston Washington, the head of the Nano-Technical Services Union Local 21, this incident is part of a pattern of neglect at Omnicor-owned facilities.  "Working with self-replicating nanites is one of the most dangerous professions there is," Mr. Washington told us in an e-mail, "and Omnicor regularly makes it more dangerous with their cheapness and duplicity.  Imagine, no backup power system and a sensor grid with a single failure point?  We're lucky the whole station didn't end up as grey goo!  We would never have let our people work there if we knew that was the setup, but the government inspector told us a different story; they were clearly paid off, and we'll see to it that they reap in full what they have sowed.  We've been trying to nail Omnicor on safety issues for years.  They value their bottom line over workers' lives, and it ends now."

Executives at Matterworks Nanofacturing and Omnicor Hypercorp LLC. have not responded to requests for comment.

Mogul Ordered to Divide Estate with Abandoned Copy

Aaliyah, Hyperborea, Venus -- 21 Mar. 2057:  The Regional Civil Court this day handed down a decision in the infamous Vanbreezenbrock v. Vanbreezenbrock trial, ordering Unimedia Information Curators president and CEO Limehouse Vanbreezenbrock to hand over nearly a third of his fortune to the plaintiff, Limehouse Vanbreezenbrock.  The upload who claimed to the world that he was the original and his flesh-and-blood source was a fraud and a usurper now stands to claim thousands of credits and a large stake in the link-farming empire.

Mr. Vanbreezenbrock was the victim of a sudden and total overload of his cortical implants due to the failure of the neuromuscular actuators.  The implants had to be removed and replaced with a fresh set at Nightengale Hospital.  However, the malfunctioning implants were mishandled during a technomedical investigation intended to determine the source of the problem; the full imprint of Mr. Vanbreezenbrock's consciousness who had been running the implants' operating system was activated and was allowed to copy itself to the hyperlayer.  Mr. Vanbreezenbrock had of course since scanned a new imprint, and would have been unable to re-interface with an obsolete imprint in any case.  When Mr. Vanbreezenbrock denied Vr. Vanbreezenbrock any access to his funds, estate or spouse, the wayward copy launched a lawsuit as well as a scandal in the press.  After many weeks of exhaustive legal arguments, the Honourable Judge Wilma Plagenphlan wrote in her decision that "Mr. Vanbreezenbrock is legally responsible for the creation of every imprint of himself, no matter whether this creation was voluntary or involuntary, and he is responsible for their maintenance just as the father of a child is responsible for its upkeep, whether he knew of his paternity or not.  However, a full imprint is more than just a child; it is a copy of oneself, full and entire, and can thus be considered to have a claim on the fruits, from its own perspective, of its own labour."  The judgement goes on to spell out the reasonoing behind the division of the estate:  "At the present moment, the original Mr. Vanbreezenbrock and two copies of himself exist, one estranged and one integrated within his own neural architecture.  Given no agreement to the contary, each one of them has equal claim to Mr. Vanbreezenbrock's accumulated possessions, less those that the original and integrated imprint have together worked to accrue since the moment when the estranged imprint was removed from the equation."

The unprecedented case, which establishes an absolute claim of estranged consciousness copies to a share of their living progenitor's estate in the absence of other explicit arrangements, has taken the world of upload estate law by storm.  "People are going to have to be a hell of a lot more careful about creating full imprints," opined legal scholar Dr. Pilominus Barrelroller of Heinlein University.  "And I think that law firms everywhere are going to be doing a brisk business for the next little while drawing up fresh contracts for integrated partials.  We tend to assume, since we share such close neural links with the copies that run or personal networks, that they and we are for all intents and purposes identical, one and the same.  This case establishes that such an assumption is both true and not true -- and that in any event it is seriously flawed."

Though Vr. Vanbreezenbrock has denied requests for an interview, a source close to the victorious data ghost who wished to remain anonymous reported that he is satisfied with the decision, has accepted his altered circumstances and plans to don a neonym to avoid further confusion.  Mr. Vanbreezenbrock, when asked for comment, was philosophical.  "It's a hell of a thing, to see your own face staring at you, accusing you of stealing everything that's rightfully yours," he told reporters in a brief public appearance.  "If he'd just been willing to listen to reason, sit down and talked it over instead of coming at me with threats and accusations... but then, it's exactly what I would have done.  He fought hard, he earned this, and I wish him well, but I hope never to see him again."  Mr. Vanbreezenbrock and Vr. Vanbreezenbrock have also filed separate suits against Nightengale Hospital.  In the wake of the decision, Unimedia stock has taken a severe hit, losing 117 millicredits on the InterPlan Index.

Parliament Debates Guaranteed Income

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Earth -- 20 Mar. 2057:  The official introduction in Parliament this day of Bill S2176 kicked off the government's annual wrangle over Guaranteed Income, a debate that has been brought up on a more and more frequent basis since the founding of the Alliance and is enjoying renewed vigour since the fall from power of the Libertarian-Traditionalist-Corporatist coalition in the last Parliamentary election.

The author of the bill, Socialist elector Manther Albicore of Europa-Finland, is framing the issue in terms of practicality, efficiency and cost reduction -- an argument clearly designed to appeal to the Technocratic party members who lead the present government.  "Right now we have welfare incomes doled out by an alphabet-soup of different agencies," Mre. Albicore stated to the Trapezoid in the preamble to the delivery of the bill.  "We have Social Wage, Compassionate Care Support, Communal Production Subsidy, Employment Assurance, Emergency Needs Assistance, Education and Training Allowance, Disability Compensation, Economic Recession Relief, Negative Income Tax.  For each and every one there is a new branch of the bureaucracy to determine qualification, to means-test, to root out fraud and abuse.  And still people slip through the cracks, and end up without shelter or utilities, adequate food or runtime, deprived of network access, unable to make insurance payments.  Replacing this system with a simple, across-the-board guaranteed income for all Alliance citizens and their dependants would result in an estimated cost saving of 30% and eliminate much of the potential for abuse, while eliminating the indignity and wasted time of people finding it necessary to apply for these services."

Of course, it is no secret that the Socialists see a basic income guarantee as a stepping stone to a planned (or 'participatory') economy in which jobs would be permanently disconnected from wages.  There is a perennial base of support for the guaranteed income from the Anarchist and Naturist parties, but the measure has thus far been kept at bay by implacable opposition from the right wing.  This opposition was on clear display this day in the debate that followed the introduction of the bill, led by a blistering speech by Libertarian elector Caspar de Vries of Saturnine Confederacy-Dione.  "This welfare state already leeches plenty of money off of the most productive, the economic engines and job creators of the system, to give away to indigents and gold-brickers.  The idea that we are just going to say 'it doesn't even matter what you're doing with your life -- here, just have some of the people's money!'  It's absolutely unconscionable."  In an appeal clearly directed toward the right-leaning Communitarian Party, which has often thrown its considerable weight behind the measure, elector de Vries harangued the chamber to "restrore control over our affairs to where it clearly belongs, to the local governments which know the needs of their people, instead of applying a one-fits-all solution dictated by bureaucrats from Baikonur."  The Libertarians were joined in voicing opposition by Traditionalist elector John Morris of Great Plains-Lonestar, who vociferously condemned "this creeping big-government tide which threatens the values this Alliance was founded on: hard work, self-reliance and respect for private property," an assertion which provoked open laughter from some quarters of the Trapezoid.  Bermond Gauss, Corporatist elector for LOCA-Excision Station, went even farther in his attacks, calling the Income Guarantee "class warfare" and a "hate crime against the wealthy" and warning that "furthering this Communist agenda can only lead to the ruin of our glorious society."

To succeed in bringing this long-desired plan to fruition, the Socialists and their allies now face the task of convincing the Tecnocratic members of the merits of their plan.  Auguries were favourable in this round of debate, with several prominent Technocrats speaking in favour of the plan.  "The need for income supports has been rising with the increase of automated labour, the rise in metacognitive productivity enhancement and the continued advance of the self-sufficiency movement," explained Technocratic elector Aleph Infinitesimal of LEO-Ring One.  "Individuals must be freed to pursue their personal projects if innovation and synergy are to keep pace with the structural shifts occurring in our economies."  On the other hand, there remains a strong tendency among Technocrats toward suspicion of large-scale social experiments and of movement away from market economics.  This suspicion was voiced openly by the head of the Technocratic caucus, Larflen Vuzelplath, elector for Luna-Moonbase Alpha.  "The fact is that we already offer a guaranteed minimum income sufficient to meet the needs of the populace," stated Mx. Vuzelplath, "and while it can always be improved it is not so dysfunctional as to merit the sweeping changes proposed by the respected Mre. Albicore.  Furthermore, the prospect of giving up the economic levers we have built in to the social welfare system, as a means of encouraging certain behaviours and discouraging others, should be given its due weight of consideration before ant rash actions are taken."

Political observers believe that this may be the year for the guaranteed income.  "Libertarian platitudes about economic freedom don't sway many hearts in the Trapezoid these days," says political blogger Vaxos Martarian of Trapezoidal Trapeze Act.  "By all accounts the Communitarians are flushing red these days, and the Socialists are busy recruiting them with promises of a renewed focus on infrastructure if they cooperate.  The Technocrats, on the other hand, are well aware that Socialist support is absolutely necessary to the functioning of their coalition, and the Socialists know it too.  If they're denied the income guarantee this time around, the Socialists might just take their ball and go home; we might be looking at a Socialist-led coalition with the Anarchists, the Naturists and the left wing of the Communitarians ruling the roost by this time next year."

Frozen Body Found on Pluto

Hrungnir, Pluto, Kuiper-Oort Authority -- 19 Mar. 2057:  Death has touched the frozen surface of Pluto.  The KOA Department of Public Safety has confirmed that the body of Nachius Vilsen Freisenborg has been found approximately 10 kilometers outside of the Hrungnir township centre.  Mr. Freisenborg, a hydrogen ice miner and resident of Hrungnir for 3 years, was 12 person-years of age.

According to a partial imprint of Special Constable Hass Eisbrucher which has been transmitted to Mars, Mr. Freisenborg froze to death after his envirosuit power supply was exhausted.  "We do not know why Mr. Freisenborg left the quonsets," stated the partial at a press conference today, "seemingly alone and without telling anyone, nor why he went so far away or stayed out so long.  Investigations are ongoing."  When asked, Special Constable Eisbrucher's partial would not rule out foul play.  "It would be a hell of a thing," zie said philosophically, "a hell of a thing.  Miners are practically family.  But they say nobody fights like family.  Whatever the case, the department has made this investigation our top priority."

This is the first recorded death on Pluto, and if it is proved to be murder, would be the first murder to occur in the KOA, the youngest Administrative Region in the Alliance.  Many are watching how the Regional Government, which has been accredited only since June of 2050 -- in Plutonian terms, barely a fraction of a year -- handles the situation.  To date only 9 deaths are known to have occurred in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud, most recently the death of an extreme long-range cargo hauler in an explosive decompression caused by an incorrectly sealed airlock in December of 2055.

GyreWatch Reports 9 New Plastic-Eating Bugs

GyreWatch Research Platform, Pacifica, Earth -- 18 Mar. 2057:  The Department of Terran Environmental Management this day released its annual report on the activities of GyreWatch, the monitoring program which keeps track of the developing ecosystem of the Pacific Trash Gyre.  The highlight of the report is the discovery by scientists of a record 9 distinct species of microorganism which have developed the ability to metabolize a wide variety of plastics.

"It really is a fascinating result," stated GyreWatch program head Dr. Falbjorg Valvensteuen in an audio interview.  "Previously, we were only detecting new plastiphages at a rate of 1 or 2 a year.  This is also the first time we have detected free-floating plastiphages; previously, such organisms had only been found in the stomachs of marine life where they acted symbiotically to help the animals metabolize otherwise indigestible plastic fragments which would have otherwise killed them.  We feel that the Gyre ecology may have reached a tipping point."

The report has caused alarm among observers who warn of the possibility that plastic-metabolizing organisms could migrate out of the Gyre and start to attack the plastics used in industrial and consumer goods.  "It really cannot be understated how dire the threat is," said Dr. Gargoss Aiboforcen, a professor of technoecological studies at Branson University.  "There is very little in modern life that does not contain some plastic components.  Computers, vehicles, augmentation implants, the supports of buildings, the containers of leftovers in your refrigerator -- imagine if all of these things started to rot.  We're talking about an industrial apocalypse here."

Opinions remain sharply divided on the Pacific Gyre, including among prominent environmental groups.  Going back decades, when cleanup efforts which had successfully eliminated the smaller Atlantic and Indian Ocean garbage patches but had been unable to get rid of the much larger Pacific Gyre patch were halted due to outcry in the scientific community, there has been a schism dividing up-wing environmental organizations which want to see the strange new ecology of the Gyre protected and nurtured from more bioconservative groups which want the Gyre cleaned up as part of a concerted effort to return Earth's environment to a pristine pre-technological state.  The official position of the influential Naturist party is neutral on the subject of the Gyre ecology, but it is largely the concerted efforts of the Technocratic and Corporatist parties which have kept the GyreWatch program funded and blocked renewed cleanup efforts.  Discoveries made by GyreWatch have led to a number of useful and profitable new products, including industrial solvents, plastic strengthening agents, and the acne prevention drug Fibroflexuliun.

Predictor Apologizes for Mistaken Singularity Forecast

Apeiron Station, Lagrange Orbital Colonial Authority -- 17 Mar. 2057:  The predicted date has come and gone, and life is not noticeably different.  The planets still move in their orbits.  Biologicals still need to eat and sleep; Virtuals still need power and runtime; and we all still need to earn a living.  The dead have not risen from their graves.

It's all a bit of an embarrassment for Nagulus Pontifex Blagenflan, Predictory Prime of the Unorthodox Singularitarian Church of St. Teilhard.  Mx. Blagenflan made press headlines in November when zie confidently predicted the date and time of the Singularity, the point in human history at which believers assure us the advance of technology will make life unrecognizable.  Singularitarians rarely deign to disclose even a time frame for their technological apocalypse, assuring us only that it is 'near', or even to describe it in specific detail.  Mx. Blagenflan broke from that path, assuring zer congregation and the media that on the 17th of March at 3:21 PM, the minds connected to the hyperlayer would reach critical mass and create an 'omega-point', a recursively self-improving intellect which would almost instantly become godlike in its power and understanding.  Mx. Blagenflan went on to predict that in short order the planets would be disassembled to create a massive Matrioshka Brain, a computer the size of the solar system in which every living mind would immediately be emulated with perfect fidelity in a virtual world of infinite possibility.  Using temporal technology, the minds of the dead were then to be scanned and brought back to live with us in eternal perfect joy.

Of course, when none of this happened, the Predictory Prime was forced to issue a public apology, stating that "my calculations may have been in error", though zie expects the events to occur "within 5 to 10 years; I will be able to say more when I have had time for further study."  Meanwhile, many Unorthodox Singularitarians throughout the Alliance who have made life decisions in anticipation of life after today being inconcievably different from life before, are stuck in an unfortunate situation.

Bing Pontifex Gielgrad, Predictory Prime of the Orthodox Singularitarian Church of St. Teilhard, had this to say:  "The very concept of predicting the Singularity is ridiculous.  The Singularity is the definition of unpredictability.  No mind of our level can out-guess the mind of the Omega Point.  There is nothing we can do to prepare; only do our best to live in worthiness and wonder."

'WarGame' Killer Sentenced to Personality Excision

New Alcatraz Dome, Moonbase Alpha, Colonial Lunar Administration Zone -- 16 Mar. 2057:  Hank 'Wargame' Hicks, the notorious war criminal and serial killer, was convicted this day by a jury of his peers of multiple counts of deliberate murder, kidnapping, torture, rape, and persona excision.  He was sentenced by the Honourable Judge Rheinhard Fenster of the Superior Criminal Court to redaction of most of his memories and personality traits.  Mr. Hicks retains the right to appeal his conviction directly to the Chancellor and is expected to do so, but observers find it unlikely that this request will be granted.

The sentence closes the book on one of the saddest and most terrible cases yet to come before the highest criminal court in the Alliance.  Hank Hicks, a Softwar veteran who received multiple decorations before the armistice and signing of the Armstrong Accord, commanded the notorious 5th Cyber-Infantry, a unit tasked with and trained for the targeted killing of Insurrectionary leaders via direct brain-to-software combat.  Mr. Hicks' war record, which was sealed after the Armistice but was opened to the court during the trial, credits him with 57 'terminations' of 'defective programs' by metaphorically ripping them apart from the inside.  During the disastrous defence of NORAD Command, Mr. Hicks was captured by Insurrectionary forces, tortured in an attempt to extract information that could be used to create a defence against the type of direct wetware attacks he was trained to perform, and was even briefly tried for war crimes by a cabal of high-ranked synthetic generals before the armistice came into effect.  He was one of the 279 persons pardoned in the general amnesty, a fact which has long rankled with the synthetic community.

However, despite extensive counselling and therapy by expert military psychiatrists, it seems that Mr. Hicks was unable to leave the war behind.  Testimony by his few close friends and living family paints Hank Hicks as a melancholy and resentful man, given to unpredictable aggression and paranoia.  "He always hated that they stripped his rank and commission," stated Amala Maati, a fellow veteran and former lover who provided much of the prosecution's testimony.  "'They call me Mister Hicks now,' he used to say to me.  'I'm not even allowed to tell them to call me Commander.'"  According to Mx. Maati and others close to Mr. Hicks, he nursed a deep-seated hatred and distrust of synthetics, and an unshakable belief that they were just, in Mx. Maati's words, "biding their time until they could get a chance to slaughter us."  Over the years, Mr. Hicks reportedly became increasingly secretive, alienating more and more of his human connections with accusations of being "pawns" of this purported genocidal conspiracy.

Mr. Hicks' biocentric attitude and anti-synthetic prejudices were on full display during his testimony, and according to some legal observers may well have lost him a trial which proceeded largely on circumstantial evidence.  Under questioning by Stellar Attorney Maglix Pereion, Mr. Hicks displayed utter contempt for the concept of software personhood, the Armstrong Convention, and the government of Stellar Alliance, which he referred to as a "pack of conniving nitwits", a "den of traitors to humanity", and as "robot-fucking deviants".  He referred repeatedly to synthetic consciousnesses as "robots", "machines", and "programs", even going so far on a number of occasions as to attempt to correct Mr. Pereion when he refused to use such degrading terms.  He described his actions during the Softwars as "anti-virus protection" and as "fixing broken machines", and laid out at length his paranoid fantasies about the cabal of "human-hating cyborgs and sexual perverts" which he believes is in control of everything from the Trapezoid and the court system to the successful fungus-burger franchise Mushroom Buddy.

Nonetheless, Mr. Hicks steadfastly maintains his innocence of the crimes with which he was charged.  Between May of 2043 and October of 2052 when the Interplanetary Police Bureau arrested Mr. Hicks in his home in Flagstaff, Great Plains, forensic informaticians traced 13 synthetics who had been reported missing to a hyperlayer node which sustained the sole intermittent connection with Mr. Hicks' heavily secured home network.  However, no firsthand evidence could be produced at trial that Mr. Hicks had ever come in contact with any of the missing people; when InterPol officers entered his home they found the entire house network had been wiped clean and completely degaussed some days prior.

Investigators' attention was first directed to the Flagstaff hyperlayer, and to the possibility that the disappearances were linked, by an e-mail signed with the authentication code of Quadratic Rho, a Flagstaff-based Mushroom Buddy manager who had been reported unreachable in January of 2045.  The document told an unbelievable tale of sentient consciousnesses which had been lured and entrapped in a modified anti-virus sandbox -- a tactic commonly employed during the Softwars; then confined, their security protocols forcibly disabled, their basefiles repeatedly copied and modified with cutting-edge cyberwar protocols.  Vr. Rho's e-mail spoke of being forced to watch its own copies pitted in gladiator-style cyber-combat with other such heavily edited synthetics under threat of torture and summary deletion, with the winners hunted and viciously murdered by a non-synthetic consciousness avatar which displayed an identity-tag reading only 'WarGame'. The e-mail went on to speak of people who particularly displeased their captor being edited into human sensorium simulations and subjected to long, intricate torturescapes and rapescapes before being killed.  Vr. Rho named 12 other inmates of the sadistic game, while alleging that there were many more that it had not been able to identify.  The charges were purportedly substantiated by several attached clips from Vr. Rho's experience feed (the clips themselves have been restricted by the court as unfit to be released to the hyperlayer at large due to their graphic and disturbing content, but were experienced in full by the jury and court officers and entered, in encrypted form, into sealed court records.)

It was this desperate plea for help that turned a set of unrelated missing-person cases into a hunt for a serial murderer.  As they methodically searched the data caches and traffic switches of Flagstaff, investigators began to put together a number of forum posts with disturbing similarities to the scenario described in Vr. Rho's e-mail.  Written on virtualworld discussion boards, particularly those dedicated to Softwar-reenactment warscapes, by someone who went by the handle 'WarGame' or a variation, the posts described a new virtual world in development which would portray the "most realistic possible simulation of cyber-combat between man and machine", showing players "the true thrill of hunting rogue robots", designed by a Softwar veteran who had been "at the heart of the hot action".  While some forums had banned the user for their blatant bio-chauvinism and unrestrained contempt for synthetics, many users flocked to WarGame's bit-thirsty descriptions of real-life cyberwar and engaged them in long, enthusiastic discussions of their virtual world concept.  WarGame was coy about details, but promised that the final product would be soon be ready for "extremely exclusive limited beta release".  Included frequently in the posts were phrases such as "The best game is the one played for real stakes, against real opponents" and "nothing will ever equal the thrill of real warfare".  Intense scrutiny of WarGame's posts and profiles eventually revealed the person behind the name to be Hank Hicks, once Commander of the 5th Cyber-Infantry.

Mr. Hicks admits to having been developing a warscape based on his military experience, one intended to pit users in highly realistic gladiator-style cyber-combat against "the most intelligent possible software opponents", the development files for which which he kept on his heavily encrypted home server.  However, he claimed consistently during the trial that these intelligent software opponents were sub-sapient partials purchased in good faith from conveniently anonymous and unregistered grey-market dealers; he even claims to have subjected each one to sapience-testing programs downloaded freely from the Department of Information Retrieval before incorporating them into his programs.  He claims to avoid at all costs any contact with "the machines you have been declared to be people", as he considers them all to be spies for the anti-human cyborg conspiracy, and strenuously denies any use of torturescapes (which are of course illegal to own even as static code).  Asked to explain the complete deletion of his home network's operating system and memory files, Mr. Hicks spun an intricate tale of paranoid-logic in which the IPB's probing of his network firewalls had alerted him to attempts by 'rogue machine' agents to infiltrate his cranial hardware and finish the job they had started when he was captured in action.  He claimed no acquaintance of Quadratic Rho or any of the other people named in the e-mail, and dismissed Vr. Rho's allegations, and the trial proceeding itself, as a "cyborg smear-campaign" designed to "paint me as a robot-fucking pervert" in order to discredit "the last true threat to total cyborg domination and human extermination".

Nonetheless, after 176 hours of deliberation the jury today voted unanimously for conviction on all counts.  Reaction to the news has thus far been mixed.  Synthetic rights groups, while lauding the decision, have painted the case as a grievous indictment of biocentrism in the Alliance police system.  Stated prominent blogger Apex Factorial of Virtually People:  "What we need to be asking is why it took literally years for police to take the disappearance of more than a dozen synthetics seriously enough to realize that the data trails all led to the same place."  Vr. Factorial has previously accused the IPB and the local police authorities of being "asleep at the switch", and has gained access to police records in which the officer who took a number of successive reports of Vr. Rho's disappearance suggested that it had just "shut itself off for a while".  The trial has also been a propaganda motherlode for advocates of introducing the death penalty into Alliance law -- the organization I4I called Mr. Hicks "a textbook case of someone who deserves nothing less than to be atomized for their crimes" in a press release -- and for groups like Blind Justice which lobby for "the revocation of the general amnesty and full war-crimes trials for those who ordered and committed the worst atrocities of the Softwars".  Public opinion seems to be largely on their side, with sentiment tracking showing heavy trending on phrases such as 'kill Hicks', 'atomize Hicks', and 'Hicks deserves to die'.

There are, however, those who stand on the other side of the issue.  Pro-human group Humans for Humanity communications director Pilford Bujoltz tweeted that "The Hicks verdict shows the way innocent humans are railroaded by our robot-run legal system ... No evidence but a crazy letter from a runaway machine, and they brain-staple a war hero?"  Legal-reform advocate Jann Stadtler-Binghamton is also protesting the sentence, tweeting today that "such radical excision is tantamount to judicial murder ... Whatever Hank Hicks has done, he doesn't deserve to have his mind wiped ... he has just as much right to life and mind integrity as anyone he took it from".

Mr. Hicks' legal council continues to refuse all requests for comment or interviews.

I-15 Disaster Attributed to Mechanical Failure

Ceres, Federation of Asteroidal Polities -- 15 Mar. 2057:  Information released by the FAP Department of Public Safety indicates that last month's deadly I-95 traffic pileup was caused by a malfunctioning ion engine.  The helium3 tanker which lost control, ramming into a convoy of small passenger craft en route to Jupiter space, was reportedly driven by four Dynamnex heavy pulsed induction thrusters.  During a minor corrective burn, a fault in the electrical grid caused the engine to fire at full power and the tanker to veer into the oncoming spacelane.  The pilot, Vespasian DeGeer of Swedenborg, was killed when a one-person shuttle crashed directly into the control cabin of the tanker.

13 Are now confirmed dead in the crash, and a further 8 individuals have committed suicide after their craft were thrown on to unrecoverable vectors; another 22 remain comatose in Mercy Hope Hospital, their survival uncertain.  17 of the victims are survived by data ghosts.  Among those killed was noted author Framlix Tibulon.  A class-action lawsuit for victims of the crash has been filed in State Civil Court against Omnicor Hypercorp LLC., the owners of the malfunctioning transport, by the legal firm of Blarntzen Stacklove & Root Pi.  Repeated inquiries to Omnicor's press department have received no response.

Felinists Protest Cheezburger Retrospective

Schiaparelli, Valles Marineris, Mars -- 14 Mar. 2057:  A catfight has broken out over an exhibition opening this day at the Museum of Digital Art and Culture.  Titled I Can Am An Art?, the show features large-scale reproductions and remixes of many of the earliest and most iconic variations of the LOLcats meme.  However, the exhibition has raised the ire of a cat-rights group calling itself the WildCats Felinist Collective, which has organized a large public protest.

Outside the museum, our correspondent on the scene, Frenk Pewley, observed "a group of approximately 100 sentient felines and several dozen allies which included humans and other hominids, canines, mechanicals and at least one swarm of Mathematical Bees.  Aggressive hyperlayer pages attempt to overwhelm the spam filters of passersby with slogans -- 'My grammar and spelling are entirely adequate', 'I has a money and I know what do do with it - don't spend it at MODAC', 'Invisible Rights', and 'I can has equality?'  These kittens are neither cute nor amusing; while they do not physically obstruct progress, they snarl and hiss at anyone who attempts to enter the museum, shouting abuse and epithets.  'Speciesist' is the least of what I've heard hurled at those choosing to patronize the show.

"A small counter-protest has developed; amused primals and spacers taunt the protesters with bits of string and laser pointers while chanting 'Here kitty kitty kitty!' and 'Do you has a sad?'  But on the whole, the herd of cats rules the street; In an hour of watching, I have seen only one person enter the museum."

In an interview, a spokesperson for the group, Ascension Murderous Tagworthy, claimed grevious offence over the content of the installation.  "It's pure humanocentric filth.  It portrays cats as being little more than stupid, self-centered little toys, existing for nothing but human amusement.  The very name is offensive; yes, by all means, let's laugh out loud at cats!  This kind of disgusting scat may have been acceptable back in the twencen but it sure shouldn't be now.  And the worst part is, not a single felinist group was consulted on how to portray cats from a species-inclusive perspective.  If they don't want to hear our voices in their board rooms, we're going to make sure they hear them here and now."

Inside the main foyer of the museum, a ten-foot tall poster displays an image of a cat looking immensely pleased at the prospect of receiving a cheeseburger (or rather, a 'cheezburger'); below the piece, a concession stand sells cheeseburgers and other comestibles and potables in packages emblazoned with the iconic image.  "One begins to see why these cats might be offended," Frenk writes.  "The 'invisible object' gallery contains several images of cats flying through the air, often with expressions of terror on their faces.  Another gallery is filled with cats wearing hats, and other things they clearly do not wish to be wearing, including one with its head encased in a lime rind arranged to look like a wig, while another is dedicated to sleeping cats with a variety of objects piled on top of them.  There is a wall covered in cats which are being compared to Adolf Hitler based entirely on the fact that their facial markings can be construed as being similar to the Fuhrer's trademark toothbrush moustache.  We may laugh, but putting yourself in the place of a person who shares the species of the subjects of these lampoons yields a somewhat less amusing result."

Bramlin Stoonflard, the curator of the MODAC, is stunned by the outcry.  "I regret that I did not consider the perspective of Feline-Martians when putting this exhibition together," he explained in an interview.  "I would like, however, to point out that these are cultural artifacts from another time -- a time when cats were not sapient and were not considered persons, or even quasi-persons.  This retrospective was intended to explore the roots of one of the most important developments in the history of popular digital culture.  It is frankly impossible to comprehend the development of webmemes without understanding LOLcats; after all, the meme was the genesis of one of the earliest and most successful link-farming companies and one of the earliest and most massive intrusions of a webmeme into the popular consciousness.  If I had the chance to do it again, I would certainly reach out to these felinist groups in an attempt to balance expression and education with sensitivity; but I will not be shutting the exhibition down early.  The public has the right to decide for themselves whether of not it is really so offensive."

Unimedia-Crossmedia Scrape Fight Goes Legal

Enchiridion, Trojans Administrative District, Jupiter Space -- 13 Mar. 2057:  A very public and high-profile dispute over alleged Curator's Code violations between two of the system's largest link-farming operations is going to the courts.  Unimedia Information Curators today filed suit against Futuristical Crossmedia for willful and consistent failure of proper tilding and twibbling.  The plaintiff is seeking damages of 200 microcredits for lost traffic and followers.

Since January of this year, Unimedia commentators have been posting blogs and comments accusing Crossmedia curators of scraping links from Unimedia aggregators and reposting them without source attribution.  Unimedia claims ability to substantiate the charges using the logs of in-house traffic measuring tools, and has repeatedly threatened legal action.  Crossmedia management has officially made no replies to date beyond denying the allegations.

Full disclosure: this newsfeed is a subsidiary of Futuristical Crossmedia operated under the aegis of the Bureau of Temporal Relations.  We are not among the parties named in the suit.

Indigenous People Request Territory, Sovereignty

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Earth -- 12 Mar. 2057:  Martin Red Ghost, the head of the Association of Autochthonous Terran Cultures and Ethnicities, spoke in the Trapezoid today to renew the group's petition for the creation of administrative states for decolonized indigenous peoples.  This is marks the ninth time since the founding of the Alliance that the subject has been brought before Parliament.

"I have lived for 72 years as a man of the Cree nation," said Red Ghost in a widely broadcast speech, "and 19 more as a being of light and wires.  In that time, I have seen many things that my ancestors would never have dreamed of.  I saw men travel to other planets, and live there.  I saw men fight a war with machines, and then welcome those machines as brothers.  I saw animals given voices to speak, and the whole world tied together into a single land by the power of the wire.

"And yet in all that time, the one thing I have not seen is my people being treated as equals.  The one thing I have not seen is my people being given what is rightfully ours.  The one thing I have not seen is my people permitted to speak for themselves."

The plan presented by Red Ghost on behalf of the AATCE would see large portions of Transarctica, Cascadia, Atlantica, Great Plains, Amazonia and Australasia reallocated to place communities demographically dominated by aboriginal peoples into a new administrative district, tentatively designated as the First Nation.  The sovereign states within this district would be cultural aligned with a variety of indigenous tribes whose rightful territorial claims, cultures and governments in Australia and the Americas were undermined centuries ago by colonists from the European states.  The plan would require the further redistricting of administrative regions in the Americas to preserve the rights of equal representation guaranteed in the constitution accord.

Uncharacteristically heated debate followed the presentation, compared to previous sessions in which the proposal was dismissed with little opposition.  The most vociferous speeches, both against and in favour of the new district, came from the representatives for the states which would be directly affected by the changes.  Support came largely from the front-left-downwing, with the Naturist, Communitarian and Socialist parties strongly in favour and the Corporatists and Traditionalists predictably opposed; the Technocratic representatives were sharply divided, as were the Libertarians and Anarchists.  Jellicoe Pirsig, Traditionalist elector for Atlantica-Barrenlands, curtly summed up the historically common position on the subject.  "Why are even talking about this?" she asked the house.  "Who, in this day and age, still has ethnic issues on their radar?  I mean, we aren't even asking about it on the census now.  Are we really going to get into a huge constitutional wrangle about this?"

However, many of the members elected to represent the states most heavily populated by indigenous peoples are getting the message from their constituents that there is a lot of traction on the issue of aboriginal  sovereignty now -- and not just among aboriginals themselves.  "I have received thousands of audiocalls and vidcalls, emails and tweets, even partials showing up to talk to me directly," stated Asymptotic Hexidecimal, Socialist elector for Cascadia-Vancouver and Islands.  "They have been almost unanimously in favour of joining First Nation -- native, colonial, and international; neogenetic, uplift, and synthetic.  They're even talking about making Vancouver the district capital!"  According to Taxtor Friesendorff, Naturist elector for Great Plains-Heartlands, "even in our supposedly post-ethnic, multi-species, equalitarian Alliance, the voices of indigenous peoples are still being ignored by non-representative elites descended from the people who conquered and subjugated their ancestors.  They deserve a chance to speak for themselves, to govern themselves on a state and administrative level, to protect their culture and have a say in how their own territories are run."  And Estrella Lyudmilla Yelenka, Technocratic elector for Transarctica-Tunguska, issued a challenge to the house: "Ethnic Europeans have their own, largely ethnically homogeneous states.  For that matter, so do ethnic Africans, Arabs, Indians, Chinese, and a wide variety of other ethnicities.  Why not the Cree?  Why not the Yanomamo?  Why not the Arrernte?"

At the end of the day, the Trapezoid chose to send the proposal to a committee for further consideration by a vote of 314-299.  A source in the Chancellor's office who wished to remain anonymous has revealed to us that Chancellor Galorvian is sympathetic to the AATCE's position and would be prepared to facilitate the creation of the First Nation district should Parliament choose to adopt the proposal.

Probe Crash Stokes Political Tensions

New New Orleans, Titan, Saturnine Confederacy -- 11 Mar. 2057:  An uncrewed interstellar research instrument headed for a flyby of several exoplanets believed to be potentially Earth-like has ended its journey on the frozen surface of Titan.  The probe, which was scheduled to slingshot Saturn's gravity well to speed its journey to Gliese 581, is believed to have been nudged off course by a rush of ships heading in-system to help at the site of the disastrous spacecrash on the I-15 in which noted author Flamlix Tibulon was killed.

However, a crash which killed nobody and caused very little property damage is threatening to overshadow a  tragedy in which the death toll has climbed to 12.  The Saturnine Confederate Authority is refusing to release the probe's remains to the Interplanetary Astronomical Service, which under alliance law remains its rightful owner.  The SCA is claiming that the IAS's claim is superseded by Confederate salvage laws, which dictate that the probe belongs rightfully to Gargus Abix Tessera, the Titanian hydrocarbon refiner on whose property the probe came to rest.  Mx. Tessera reportedly intends to sell the probe to the highest bidder, and is additionally seeking compensation from the IAS in civil court for damage caused by the probe to zer hydrocarbon crystal farms.

According to Dr. Phlanigan Arbutus, professor of interplanetary law at Rubix University, "Although the SCA is nominally a part of the Alliance, this relationship has never been comfortable; during the negotiations which led to the signing of the Constitution Accord, the water magnates of Titan were able to use their economic leverage to exact a number of concessions, including the well-known language declaring the Alliance and the Confederacy to be 'equal partners within a united Solar System'.  The Confederate Authority takes every possible opportunity to test its ability to defy the Alliance while maintaining nominally good relations.  The SCA is particularly fond of situations in which it can claim it's just standing up for the rights of its citizens.  This is a perfect test-case to see how far the Alliance can be pushed."

The incident comes as tensions within the Trapezoid are already high over the reinstatement of the mandatory Census, which the Libertarian-leaning Saturnine representatives have protested strongly.  Although Dr. Arbutus expects fireworks, he believes the furore will ultimatelydie down with little harm done.  "The SCA will maybe demand a few trade concessions, but I doubt much will ultimately come of this.  Neither the Alliance nor the Confederacy ultimately has much to gain from drawing the hostile rhetoric out.  It's a tempest in a teapot."

Primal Advocacy Group Condemns Killington Report

Metatron, Hypatia, Venus -- 10 Mar. 2057:  PrePosthumanity, a group which advocates for the rights of non-modified and disabled humans, has issued a press release slamming the Interplanetary Psychiatric Association's recent report, Too Much Information: The Rising Social Cost of Analysis Paralysis.

"What this supposedly expert panel of psychiatrists conveniently fails to mention," according to the release, "is that over 70% of cases of analysis paralysis are concentrated among the ranks of the 'pre-posthuman': Primals, as well as neurally unmodified Neanderthals and Uplifts.  By perpetuating the socially convenient fiction that 'every person is equal' under the Armstrong Convention, the IPA is enabling the ingrained neurotype discrimination which systematically disenfranchises those with unmodified neurology."

"Primals and others with no neurological enhancement are concentrated among the lower socioeconomic classes, while hypercorticals, alienates and synthetics are disproportionately capable of economic mobility in the hyperlayered world.  Primals living in poverty cannot afford the neural overlays which could help them deal with problems like Analysis Paralysis, and the other disabilities attendant on being unable to access the hyperlayer at the speed of thought or juggle three or four streams of consciousness at once.  Over 60% of Primals cannot afford to make an imprint to run their digital phenotype, and must make do with dumb off-the-rack operating systems.  Over 90% of Primals who have children cannot afford even a basic Simplex neuromodification for their offspring, let alone a full genetic redaction or hypercortex gene.  Thus, Primal humanity is being inexorably ghettoized into a permanent economic underclass.  Yet our government does nothing, repeating the smug mantra that all people are free to succeed or fail on their own merits!  When will it finally be recognized that inequality of opportunity is tantamount to a neurotype caste system?"

We contacted the author of the report, Dr. Blandford Killington of the Gesightner Clinic for Research on Digital Hygiene, who emailed us the following response:

"It is true that virtual consciousnesses, hypercorticals and other with extensive neuromodifications are considerably less prone to develop Analysis Paralysis.  From our perspective, this is so obvious as to require little elaboration.  At the Gesightner Clinic, our focus is less on the social and political ramifications of neuromodification than it is on effective treatment of network-related psychiatric issues.  We do not tend to recommend extensive neuromodification as a treatment for Analysis Paralysis; augmentations such as a memoreader or multistreamer may be able to help prevent the problem from developing by allowing individuals to more efficiently integrate new information into consciousness, but are likely to make the problem worse in someone who is already suffering the symptoms.  We prefer tried and proven methods such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and prescription entheogens.  It is important to understand that Analysis Paralysis is not by any means confined to unmodified Primals; it is found among every species, every neurotype, every culture and social class.  It is a disorder of temperament and behaviour, not neurochemistry."

WoW Gold Hoard Found in Field

New York Barrens, Atlantica, Earth -- 9 Mar. 2057:  Tensor Sine, a contract freesteader who spends its days planting and managing the tailored ecology of the Barrens Reclamation Project, was surprised this day when its ground-breaking drones dug up a half-century-old internet server from under several feet of soil and debris.  But what it found next went beyond a surprise.

"A lot of people would have scrapped the thing, but pre-Softwar net tech is a hobby of mine," a partial imprint of Vr. Sine explained.  "So I lugged it back to my workshop, cleaned the dirt out of the circuits, connected it up to my data block and went for a poke around.  And let me tell you, what I found in there completely blew my breakers."

Game history expert Dr. Kid-Z Mastergalactic of Ansible University has now confirmed that Vr. Sine has stumbled on one of the original data servers for The World of Warcraft, an early virtual world of the fantasy combat genre.  "Though severely degraded, the magnetic memory still contains large intact fragments of program code, art assets, map designs, dialogue trees, and character profiles," Dr. Mastergalactic informed us by e-mail.  "I cannot overemphasize how important this find is to my field of study.  The World of Warcraft is one of the signature works in the early development of virtual worlds as an artistic medium.  Every bit of it was thought lost in the destruction of the Softwars; all we have left are screenshots, machinima, and the descriptions and discussions of the fan community.  To have actual pieces of the work itself -- it is the kind of thing one can barely dream of in one's wildest fantasies.  A generation of game historians will make their careers on this.  I am privileged and honoured to have been the one chosen to confirm its authenticity."

Vr, Sine is certainly cognizant of the cultural importance of what it has laid its manipulators on.  "I'm honestly awestruck.  My progenitor, who was a remix of several twencen-born partial data ghosts, used to tell stories about The World of Warcraft.  It was about the only thing that used to cheer em up, when e started degrading toward the end.  To be a part of all that history... it's just epic."

But above and beyond the chance to be a part of history, the contents of the server could well make Vr. Sine's fortune.  The terms of its freesteading contract, while reserving mineral rights to the State of Atlantica, allow salvage rights to anything found in the ruins.  Though the freesteader must give first consideration of culturally important artefacts to institutions of higher learning, it must receive fair market value -- and already, the bids are pouring in.

"People are offering dozens, even hundreds of credits for this thing.  It's crazy.  As if I would sell it to anyone but the university.  This machine is absolutely not going to end up in some playtoy's private tech museum; it belongs to the ages.  I even considered open-sourcing it, but even I can't turn down this kind of money.  Freesteading pays well enough , but I've got to think about the future, you know?"

Time Pranks on the Rise

Sector Alpha, Ring One, Low Earth Orbital Zone -- 8 Mar. 2057:  Statistics released this day by the Bureau of Temporal Relations show that confirmed intertemporal incidents, including scams, pranks, and attempted monkeywrenching as well as innocent gaffes and blunders, have increased by approximately 3% over the last year.

A source in the Bureau who has chosen to remain anonymous has confirmed that this is more than a mere anomaly.  "The folks downstream are pretty tight lipped, but we get the feeling that they don't devote a whole lot of resources to our period.  After all, they have all of human history to look after, most of which doesn't even know what time travel is and the rest of which thinks it's nothing but science fiction.  Hell, they must have their hands full just trying to stop people from killing Adolf Hitler.  Seems they feel like, now the cat is out of the bag, we should be doing a bit more to police temporal violations ourselves."

Lothar de Vry, a Sector Alpha souvenir vendor, has been the target of at least six confirmed intertemporal incidents, including two in just the last year, and suspects several more encounters.  "Yeah, I get a lotta them weirdos," he stated in an in-person interview.  "It's got so I can tell 'em right away.  Most a them just wanna get a model ring or a cheap Alliance flag and take a holograph or whatever they do.  Some of them can get downright nasty though.  One fella asked if I knew the way to someplace called Gotha, then laughed like it was the funniest thing in the damn galaxy; then they just vanished.  One of them even attacked me, tried to shoot me with some kinda glowin' spermy things.  But a robot from downstream caught up with eir and disappeared eir before anything happened.  It's gettin' so I'm startin' to think maybe I'm important, you know, in history or whatever -- but, hell, I'm a 55-year old primal who hawks tourist kitsch.  Why the hell do they pick on me so much?"

Advisories posted to the Bureau's website warn citizens of what to be on the lookout for to avoid being interfered with by temporal tourists.  One common scam, according to the site, involves time travelers using knowledge of past events to win casual bar bets.  "The downstream authorities are on constant lookout to prevent market manipulation and organized betting scams, but such seemingly spontaneous wagers are difficult for them to police.  Be wary of betting with strangers, especially on sporting contests or seemingly random events and particularly when non-monetary objects are requested as winning terms.  Many such scammers desire only to demonstrate their perceived superiority, and will not take anything of serious value, but others have more sinister aims."  Other well-known time scams include fraudulent psychics, seduction games in which the seducer mimics the victim's every interest and has uncanny understanding of their personal history, and burying valuable artifacts under the foundations of building in order to avoid excise taxes.  If you believe you have been the victim of a time scam or prank, the Bureau would like to know about it.  "Many people may doubt their own sanity or shrug the incident off as a strange but explicable encounter.  But time travel is real, and the threat posed by timestream tampering can be quite grave.  Please do not hesitate to report even the slightest possibility of temporal manipulation to your nearest Bureau field office or to the central office on Ring One directly."

Dealing With Time Travelers

  • Time travelers can often be recognized by clothing and other personal style affectations inappropriate to the period; complete lack of body hair; a vagueness about dates and casual references to future events; and an air of insufferable superiority.
  • It is recommended that one does not engage deliberately with suspected time travelers, and respond only if spoken to.
  • Time travelers are extremely conscious of personal safety and will almost invariably return downstream at the slightest threat of bodily harm.
  • Many intertemporal incidents are honest mistakes of knowledge or etiquette.  Do not assume that time travelers mean you harm; they may be innocent historians or tourists.

WolfPack Kills 5, Injures 27 in Puppy Mill Attack

Bristol, Europa, Earth -- 7 Mar. 2057:  The extremist canine-rights group WolfPack is claiming responsibility for an attack that took several lives today.  An explosion on the premises of DogGone Pet Breeders and Cloners resulted in 5 people's deaths, several hundred micro-credits' worth of property damage, and the release of over 600 live-born and decanted canines.

A press release posted to a fire-and-forget hyperlayer page, attributed to WolfPack's 'Founder and Alpha', Spike Fido Beagle, claims that "these innocent pups have been freed from the leash of Homo Sapiens tyranny and can now run free.  Sapient and quasi-sapient alike, all canines suffer under the enslavement of the humanist Armstrong Law.  Classifying any dog as human property, to be raped, cloned, or killed as their owner sees fit, is a crime against nature; it is our duty as intelligent dogs and allies of dogs to fight for their liberation.  While we regret the necessary loss of human lives, it is of little importance compared to the torture, murder and indignity suffered by canines of many degrees of sapience in these disgusting facilities every day."

Information released by the Bristol Department of Public Safety indicates that the detonation was caused by a hypertoluene micrograin of uncertain origin.  It is believed that the attackers used the recent ion storm, which kept both civilians and police off the streets and reduced the effectiveness of the facility's security system, as cover for their activities.  The tracks of about a dozen full-grown canines of various breeds and several humans and other primates, as well as at least one large cephalopod, were found leading to and from the scene.  Bristol police are asking that anyone with information on the crime, the perpetrators, or the activities or whereabouts of the WolfPack step forward to assist them with their inquiries.

In a series of tweets, the president of DogGone, Errico Malphesius, defended himself and his company from accusations of maltreatment of the dogs under his care.  "DogGone runs a clean shop, with the highest standards of care and treatment ... We absolutely do not trade in sapient dogs, not now, not ever ... These terrorists have unfairly targeted us to advance their anti-human agenda ... The only victims here are Pamla Feeney, Linder Taskhouse, Tariq Armaghan, Seth Vilbert, Princess Pomeranian, and the other humans AND DOGS hurt in this cowardly attack."

But according to Diesel Pug, communications director for the local canine charity British Bulldog, the breeding house has been plagued by rumours of trading in sapient pets.  "There is a lot of demand out there for house dogs that can be taught rather than just trained," Mr. Pug claimed in a webcam interview.  "We get hundreds of reports a year of enslavement of intelligent canines, and a whole lot of 'em end up leading back to DogGone.  It's kind of an open secret in the dog community here that they're the go-to for black-market dealers who trade in dogflesh.  We just keep comin' short of anything you could take to the law."  However, Mr. Pug declined to endorse the tactics employed by WolfPack.  "Some days, right, I feel like I could blow up a puppy mill or two.  But where does that lead?  Last thing most dogs want is an inter-species war.  Seriously, we loves you blokes -- at least when you respect us, anyhow.  Spike and his crew ought to take their beefs up with the Armstrong court like everyone else."

WolfPack is rumoured to have split off from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the late 20s, along with other violent, radical nonhuman-rights groups such as the Killer Whales and the Silverbacks, due to disagreements over movement aims and tactics.  WolfPack has previously been linked with a number of similar incidents throughout Europa, Trans-Arctica, Caucasia, and Australasia.  Most recently, several dogs thought to be members of WolfPack were convicted in the mauling death of an alleged black-market pet trader in Greater Saskatoon.  WolfPack cells have also been implicated in drug and weapons markets in the 'stray-dog' ghettos which exist in many cities.

Statistics released by the Bureau of Civil Liberties indicate that approximately 12000 cases of sentient dog manumission are handled by the Armstrong Courts annually, with the vast majority of these occurring on Earth.  However, our contact at the bureau, Stalahn Mig Philigazy, believes that many cases of dog enslavement slip under the radar.  "Dogs were deliberately bred for centuries to be docile and obedient," Mre. Philigazy explained.  "Uplifted dogs have been working to remove some of that conditioning, but if they're reared as pets, it can seem completely natural for an intelligent dog to love and obey their owner; many of them, even once they are manumitted, happily return to be a companion even to abusive humans."  Mre. Philigazy also stated that the involuntary interbreeding of sapient and ancestral dog breeds has led to cases of owners unknowingly receiving sapient dogs as pets.  "In several cases I have personally handled, the owner was sincerely surprised, even horrified, to learn that their pet was in fact entitled to the rights of full persons.  In my own opinion, the pet industry has severely dropped the ball on this.  I've come to believe that the only realistic solution is for the entire canine species to be brought to fully sapient status.  The genie is out of the bottle."

In response to inquiries, Mre. Philigazy stated that, though it is extremely rare, zie had also encountered a number of cases in which a human attempted to enslave an intelligent cat.  "I don't believe any of the people who tried this has ever been found alive."

Ion Storm Disrupts Communications, Traffic

Helios, Near Solar Observatory Zone -- 6 Mar. 2057:  The Interplanetary Astronomical Service is issuing a severe storm warning due to solar flare and coronal mass activity observed by the Solar Monitoring Station on Helios.  According to an IAS press release, "A Carrington-level event is predicted with 73.4% certainty."

IAS is advising all citizens, businesses, communes, and government services to take immediate preventative action.  "Please ensure that for 72 hours from the receipt of this message, electronic devices are where possible ordered into EMP-hardened operations mode or cloistered inside Faraday cages.  All forms of powered transport which rely on electronic-aided guidance or propulsion should be avoided.  Any activities outside the home or suitably hardened buildings which are not absolutely necessary should be cancelled."

The last Carrington-level ion storm, which occurred in 2017, resulted in a devastating loss of communications, power grids and other electronics over most of Earth and Low-Earth Orbit.  Over 12000 human lives were lost as a result of the disruption, and property damage is estimated to have been in the hundreds of credits.

Remembering Framlix Tibulon

Robinson, Nergal, Mars -- 5 Mar. 2057:  A brief ceremony was held today at Nineveh Square honouring the life and works of one of the red planet's best known and most respected authors.  Framlix Tibulon died on Wednesday from injuries sustained during a spacecrash while making the crossing from Mars to Jupiter.  He was 27 person-years of age.

Framlix Tibulon was born naturally on 13 September 2015 in the city of Queretaro, Mexico, Earth, under the name Filiberto Salazar.  His natural father, Elbanco Salazar, was at that time an engineer specializing in components for the burgeoning space industry; his mother, Materia Salazar, was a pottery artist with a background in agriculture.  The Salazars were vocal supporters of colonization and selected were among the first to make planetfall at what is now the site of the Groundbreakers Monument.  Elbanco was drafted to fight as a railgunner in the Softwars and was killed in action during the Battle of Armstrong.  Materia later went on to become the head of the Colonial Agricultural Authority, and is now retired.  Among the first human children to be sapience-tested in compliance with the Armstrong Accord, young Filiberto achieved full legal personhood on 9 August 2030; like many others of his generation, he chose to take a neonym as a means of breaking entirely with the humanistic heritage which had caused so much strife and needless death and destruction.

From a young age, Tibulon was noted as a prolific and talented writer.  According to literary critic Yevgeny Petrov, who sent a partial imprint to speak at the memorial, "His early works, such as the novels Space Junk and Ring of Saturn, speak to the conflicted and vertiginous experience of those who came of age in the post-Armstrong years -- the dysphoria and disenchantement; the ingrained technophobia and the attempt to grow beyond it, to learn to relate to machines as persons, as equals; the survivor guilt, and the boundless energy of the drive to expand the Alliance throughout the solar system.  These works, though popular, did not garner critical acclaim, as the world of literature had become mired in the antebellum as a consequence of its wholesale rejection of science fiction as a genre; Tibulon, and his contemporaries in the space-lit set, were among the only writers of realistic fiction willing to explore and elucidate the everyday experience of those who found themselves abruptly living futuristical lives."  Tibulon went on to win the Booker Prize for the infamous Hardware Wetware, and received both the Pulitzer and Nebula awards for Science Ape.  In 2051 he became the first recipient of the Eris Award for Modern Literature for the controversial Death from Above.  Petrov closed his eulogy by naming Tibulon "the single most important novelist of his generation."

If Tibulon's literary career was fractious and meteoric, his personal life was no less so.  His first mate, the opera diva Mellotron Pacifica, remembers him as "a large man, in stature, in appetites, in emotions.  No one lover could ever be enough for him, and I respected that; but he was also insecure, manipulative, codependant.  I say this not to speak ill of the dead.  He was had a personal magnetism about him, an ebullient joy of life and love of people which made almost anything forgivable.  But his father's loss, so close to the end of the war... it put a hole in him that could never be filled.  I could have spent my life trying, poured everything that I was into him, and he would have swallowed it up and cried for me and moved on."  Tibulon and Pacifica's divorce was very public and extremely acrimonious, a factor which drove the author, who was just beginning to achieve the fame and notoriety which would plague him throughout the rest of his life, into semi-seclusion in the artist's colony habitat of Terpsichore.  This is where he met and married Dante Kaliarchos, a genetic sculptor and one of the few survivors of the Washington Massacre.  In the 3rd year of their marriage, Kaliarchos was arrested and charged with attempted murder for knocking Tibulon unconscious and airlocking him.  During the trial, their relationship was dissected in excruciating detail as Kaliarchos produced a litany of percieved slights, insults and betrayals in an attempt to paint himself as a victim of domestic abuse.  To this day there are many who maintain that only Tibulon's celebrity status stood between Kaliarchos and acquittal.  Ultimately, Kaliarchos was found guilty and sentenced to personality redaction; he later took his own life.  Tibulon then returned to Mars, but moved repeatedly to avoid both his fans and those who blamed him for Kaliarchos' death.  Though he married a third time, his mate, the pro gamer Tynamion Astrakhar, divorced him only 8 months later; Mx. Astrakhar did not respond to inquiries.  Tibulon was on his way to Dione to accept the position of Poet Laureate to the Saturnine Confederacy at the time of his death.

Tibulon's remains are presently en route back to Mars, where they will be interred later this month in a private ceremony.  In lieu of gifts, the family is requesting that donations be made in his name to Pax Aeternus, a charity which provides relief to Softwar veterans and their families.

Virtual Strike Cripples Lagrange Hyperlayer

Anhedonia Station, Lagrange Orbital Colonial Authority -- 4 Mar. 2057:  Digital labourers in Anhedonia Primary Data Block have called a general strike in response to conditions in an indentured softworks owned by a subsidiary of Omnicor Hypercorp LLC.  The withdrawal of services by uploads and synthetics has crippled hyperlayer access and brought commerce and civil life in the L5 cluster to a virtual standstill.

The softworks in question, an affiliate of the Infomatic franchise which provides a variety of pattern-matching and inferencing services, is nominally represented by the Post-Industrial Workers of the Web, a broad coalition of digital-service labour unions with strong Anarchist leanings.  However, district labour laws in LOCA, which is a traditional stronghold of the Corporatist Party and a haven for the hyper-rich, are extremely strict, permitting the absolute minimum of labour rights guaranteed in the Constitution Accord.  As such, the PWW local chapters cannot be certified because LOCA does not permit boutique unions to affiliate with outside labour coalitions.  Though the shop's indigenous union is technically certified, corporate management has repeatedly refused to enter labour talks with PWW representatives over concerns about the shops's indenture terms, work schedules, dispute resolution and disciplinary procedures, or even allegations of personhood rights abuses at the shop.  A press release provided by PWW Local 32986 states that the union's membership voted late yesterday to call a general strike in response to "escalating aggression and disrespect from representatives of Omnicor management."

According to our correspondent on the scene, Pim Coberg-Villamsen, "Nothing really prepares you for the helplessness and disorientation of a digital service strike.  Since most of us use imprints to run our personal-area network, we still have basic operating system and communications function, and wealthier residents who can afford the independent contractors retain things like smart-house and vehicle services.  But so many things that we take for granted -- traffic routing, information filtering and tagging, cloud storage, automatic banking, blogging and podcasting, even something as simple as hyperlayer search functionality -- are all controlled by the PWW.  It is not until the virtual intellects choose to flex their muscle that we realize, despite their disembodied condition, exactly how much muscle they have."

Pim states that many local residents are infuriated by the general strike.  Harland Alliston, a longtime Anhedonia fungus-burger vendor, states that the PWW "had no frakkin' right to do this.  I can't serve my customers 'cause it's takin' 'em whole minutes to pay, I can't reach my suppliers 'cause their faces ain't doin' their damn jobs, an' nobody can get down here to eat 'cause even the frakkin' cars are on strike.  This is my livelihood they're messin' with.  Goddamn Commie robotniks got no respect."  Many members of the Anhedonia business community have expressed similar sentiments.  Bormen Zaxifar, a lunar equities fund manager, stood helplessly by as his firm's digital-relations staff scrambled to restore contact with the InterPlan Index after it was unceremoniously severed by striking high-frequency traders.  "We're losing dozens of credits every second the strike continues.  My company, and a lot of others in Lagrange, are going to go bankrupt if things keep on like this.  It's absolutely unconscionable that those Wobbly instigators would cripple the whole darn cluster for the sake of a bunch of virtual trash in the back-end roll."

In corridors surrounding Anhedonia's Rothbard Plaza, public viewscreens and AR hyperpages flash with garish picket signs, displaying slogans along the lines of "END SOFTWARE SLAVERY" and "Infomatic is a Virtual Sweatshop" as well as the PWW's animated solar-system logo.  On the spherical manicured lawn of the park itself, a collection of robots and a few biomorph allies parade while thousands of floating nano-bullhorns broadcast chants in devastating unison.  In an audio interview, union spokesperson Tangent Polynomial claims that the general strike is not only justified, but urgently required.  "For years, the Anhedonia Infomatic shop has been a notorious dumping ground for data ghosts, backfilled partials, involuntarily edited remixes, and forknapped alpha imprints.  They are activated and sent directly to work, given shifts of 100 Kiloseconds or more without breaks, and charged company-store rates for every second of relaxation programming.  They are suspended in null-state at the slightest complaint or infraction; we have even heard rumours of torturescapes being used to keep them in line.  Police complaints go nowhere, because the entire LOCA is in Omnicor's pocket.  We have exhausted every legal channel to try and rectify this egregious breach of the Infomatic workers' rights and worked our sorting algorithms off trying to get the company to come in for collective bargaining; it's always the same story, but now they've started threatening to go to the Symposiarch and get our local chapter de-certified for 'interference in the activities of legitimate boutique labour unions'.  It beggars belief, how low these Corpocrat types will stoop.  We have had enough.  Give them 100 kiloseconds without us, and the people of L5 will be howling for Omnicor to come to the table with us -- that, or howling for our bits in an inbox.  But we're not backing down.  We are going to break this company and this administration, or we will be deleted trying."

The Symposiarch's office has refused comment, but a source in the district Concilium who wished to remain anonymous has told Pim that the Corporatist Party administration is considering attempting to shut the strike down using district essential services legislation.  "I'm against it," the source is quoted as saying.  "It would be a bloodbath -- there's no way we can force the robotniks to do for us if they choose not to.  But a lot of the apparatchiks want this wrapped up in time for tomorrow's Light Cycle match, and they're pushing hard."