IN CONGRESS, July 4 1776, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

A New Future for the Mayonnaise Liberation Front

As a lot of you know, I have a largely derelict site over at the world needs more mayo, which used to be the blog site (and was largely derelict). As I’ve been reworking a lot of my personal domains and trying to get a better handle of what I’m doing with them, I’ve come upon a new website idea.

I’ve been interested in the video game business for a long time. I’ve been playing games for an eternity (since there was such a thing, actually), and I’ve got a lot of opinions on the business. So, I’m going to start posting commentary on the video game industry over at the world needs more mayo.  My first post will be in a few days, and will largely deal with some commentary about E3 and the naming of the site.

Please feel free to comment and participate, especially if you agree with me about the state of the industry.

The Importance of Community (and Ownership)…

As a lot of you know, I spend a pretty reasonable amount of time on Second Life. As I’m fond of saying… “because I don’t have a first one.”

As of late, there’s been a bit of an Exodus from Second Life by many of the extremely creative people that made Second Life unique. This post is only marginally related to their direct complaints, so I won’t address them individually. But there is a common thrend amongst the complaints.

That common thread can be best called “ownership issues.”

Communities are funny things. People feel like they need to belong to a community, but they also feel entitled to “ownership” of that same community. Doubly so if they’ve had to invest any kind of personal effort into joining and maintaining “community resources”.

People have complained profusely about Facebook’s constant moving target called their “privacy policies”, but you really don’t see much in the way of people leaving Facebook. There might be a few cranky people who leave (and those are mostly techie types anyway), but the average member of Facebook doesn’t have that much invested into the site. It’s an interesting tradeoff: the less you have invested in a particular place, the less likely you are to leave when things start to piss you off.

A few of you have noticed over the years that I don’t tend to use a lot of the “social media” sites. I almost without exception prefer to host my own versions of the tools: I use my own URL shortener, my own picture gallery site, and even LiveJournal has largely been replaced by a WordPress installation on a webhosting service. I use Twitter and Facebook, but largely for “throwaway” things: if Twitter died tomorrow, yeah my Tweets would be gone, big deal.

People become attached to places that they’ve helped to build. Many of the wonderful areas that have disappeared have had a serious impact upon the “playability” of Second Life. Two of the areas I specifically frequented (and are now gone) were beautifully and lovingly crafted, and I got a great amount of enjoyment from these areas.

In both of these cases, the places aren’t gone. They are both trying to migrate to the Open Simulator Grid (OSGrid), a variation of Second Life that is built from the open source components of the SL codebase that one can run on independent servers. OSGrid is not for the feint of heart: even getting the code working requires fairly advanced system administration skills, and a fairly powerful and well-connected host if you’re going to run a site with any popularity. I myself have experimented with the software, and the best way to describe the difficulty for me was “interesting.”

Even with all the faults of OSGrid, the reason people left Second Life is this lack of “ownership.” In both cases, people spent hundreds of hours trying to create and develop something special, and in both cases they were screwed over by some recent Linden Labs policy change that made them feel marginalized. They felt that it was better for them to go their own way, tread into unsupported territory rather than have to deal with everything they’ve built and designed get hosed because somebody changed some middling policy without asking for input.

And who can blame them? People spend a lot in resources to try to make something cool in Second Life, only to have their work devalued because of some change in policy.

The lesson here? You can’t trust anybody, the best you can do is to be as self-reliant as possible.

Maybe we’ll see you on OpenSimGrid.