Alt DNS proposed

A new proposal aims to help micronations severe their dependency on macronational top-level domain names by introducing an alternative domain name server system.

NationDNS, a new intermicronational organization created by Jonah Aragon, will develop custom country-code top-level domain names (ccTLD) for participating micronations on the FreeNIC alternative DNS root system.

“Using Austenasia [as an example], they could be granted the ccTLD .aa, which would give them the ability to crate websites such as finance.gov.aa [or] foreignaffairs.gov.aa,” said Aragon in announcing the initiative. Participating micronations might also be permitted to sell their assigned ccTLD as a means of raising revenues, similar to how Tuvalu sold rights to the .tv ccTLD to television companies.

The deployment of each custom ccTLD would require some manual adjustment to each user’s computer settings according to Aragon. “It isn’t a difficult change … it just isn’t default so there’d need to be some end-user educational involved,” he said, hoping to minimize any related concern.

And minimize the concerns he did. Several MicroWiki Community micronations have voiced their interest in participating, including Glastieve, Madrona, and Nordkavn, though no timeline has been announced for the deployment of their related ccTLDs.

Aragon’s effort is the first since the early 2000s, when Cesidio Tallini created alternative TLDs for his “Fifth World Community”. Tallini’s TLDs ultimately saw limited use outside of his micronation’s immediate sphere.

Aragon hopes to avoid that outcome by expanding NationDNS to offer full-service hosting packages that include such benefits as monetization to encourage use of the alternative DNS. Those services are expected to come online as early as May 28th.

 

Alt DNS proposed

Sakasaria supports BOINC

Building on its scientific focus, Sakasaria has announced that it will share its surplus computing power with the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) system.

The announcement, made on April 6th by President John Gordon, indicated the micronation’s contribution will be led by the Sakasarian Institute to Science and Technology (SIST) through its Project Icarus. The Institute forms a central role in the micronation, which possesses a strong national scientific culture.

By installing open-source software on its computers, Sakasaria will allow BOINC to use its processing power to increase network processing capacity in specific scientific studies as chosen by the contributor. When those computers are not being used locally within Sakasaria, it is estimated that 80% of their available power will be diverted to BOINC. When they are in use, the contribution will drop to an estimated 20%.

SIST will focus the contribution of Project Icarus to four of the nearly three-dozen studies using BOINC: Climate Prediction, SETI@home, MilkyWay@home, and LHC@home.

Climate Prediction bills itself as the world’s largest climate modelling experiment, relying on donated home computer resources to estimate climate change’s impacts on the world. It represents the area of greatest concern for Sakasaria. “We want to bring climate change to the forefront of conversation wherever possible,” Gordon told the Coprieta Standard.

The remainder of the studies are related to physics, astrophysics, astrobiology and astronomy. SETI@home supports the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program to make contact with intelligent life from other solar systems, MilkyWay@home seeks to create a highly-detailed 3D model of our galaxy, and LHC@home contributes resources to support particle and accelerator physics research with the Large Hadron Collider.

Gordon sees Project Icarus as a natural fit for his micronation. “[The] Sakasarian Federation’s science focus is to gain knowledge on unknown questions and contribute to the scientific community’s findings and new discoveries,” he said in his comments to the Coprieta Standard.

Also included with the announcement was a local study to be undertaken by SIST. It will collect soil samples within Sakasaria to test pH levels, assess agricultural viability and identify in-situ microscopic life. Results from that study are expected to be published in a quarterly journal on September 1st of this year.

 

Sakasaria supports BOINC

Cinema sweeps Micras

Efforts to simulate a film industry in Caputia have triggered a cultural phenomenon across the Micras community as other micronations adopt the idea.

The creation of detailed fictional stories in support of cultural development has long been a centrepiece of Micras nations; however, until now, the art of cinema had never drawn particular attention during the community’s nearly 20-year history.

That changed with the release of Caputia’s related MicrasWiki article on March 15th, in which the micronation established a wide-ranging simulation that included film festivals and nine films. The titles and plots of the simulated films in some cases invoke events and characters that exist within Micras’ geofictional history. Others are tongue-in-cheek references to real films, such as Goldspectre, a reference to James Bond. One Caputian film, La Fin Absolute du Monde, is even accompanied with a full Wikipedia-esque plot summary.

The effort was quickly replicated, to varying degrees, by other micronations in the following days, including the Florian Republic, Kasterburg, Nova England, and Shireroth.

All of the works provide an insight into the cultural values and focus of each micronation, as well as the degree of seriousness with which they take simulationism. The sole work of Nova England is a film about obnoxious foreigners beseiging the regulars of a local pub, while Shireroth’s extensive library comments on many aspects of that micronation’s two-decades.

There are no plans announced to attempt to script any of the films or transform them into animated films, let alone live-action. For now, they remain a cultural stub in their micronations.

Cinema sweeps Micras

Religious “disorder” strikes

“Nonsense as salvation!” cried the visitor standing on a pulpit before the Micronations.Wiki community forum on January 23rd, lamenting the absurdity of it all. To a passerby, the visitor might have been easily mistaken an eccentric Monty Pythonistic fan. Not quite, on closer look.

The visitor was the self-styled Sludge Pope, announcing his founding of Dysnomia, a new micronational religious group that encourages its followers to laugh at the absurdity that is their daily existence. “The world is going to end, and soon … when push comes to shove and the curtain falls, will your routine have saved you?” he challenged, “Will you be laughing, or will you be weeping?”

Beneath the tongue-in-cheek pessimism is a message of optimism and empowerment that bears relevance in today’s increasingly uncertain geopolitical landscape. It encourages people to accept that the end is inescapable, whether it is one’s death or the forewarned end of the world. Living life happily and fully is key.

For Dysnomia, requiring conformity and order to reach a promised end like other religions is redundant; it encourages “chaos.” There are no special steps or rituals that will save you from death, so do whatever you want, so long as you abide by its central tenets. Those tenets include avoiding wasting each other’s time with emotional dishonesty and toxic behaviour, avoid nonconsensual acts, and questioning everything. Disorder, insofar as it describes the dynamism of independent human decision-making, is the expectation.

But how is it a religion, one may ask? Alone, the philosophies that guide Dysnomia are more recognizable as those that govern non-religious humanism and scepticism. Cue Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord. As the personification of chaos, making Eris the singular religious deity of Dysnomia was a natural choice for the Sludge Pope. In practice, followers are not expected to believe in or worship Eris, either spiritually or symbolically; they are merely expected to blindly follow her to the end.

Given the absurdity of it all, that lone religious characteristic may just be a cheeky commentary on the reality that underpins the world’s major religions. Anything else might risk creating some sort of order.

Religious “disorder” strikes

The more things change …

From March to April, the Coprieta Standard asked members of the micronational community to participate in the Micronations 2017 survey. The survey was a repeat of the Micronations 2007 effort in an attempt to illustrate changing trends clearly. We are grateful that 85 micronationalists, compared to 71 in 2007, spared time to participate, and with the end of 2017 upon us, we are excited to share the results.

Overall, the numbers show that trends in micronationalism tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary in pace; however, in some areas, significant statistical changes were observed.

Demographics

Where in the world are they?

Micronationalism is a global phenomenon and the survey reinforced that reality, with respondents from every continent except Antarctica and Africa. Yet, the community’s population is overwhelmingly centralized on the continents dominated by Anglo/European ancestry. In 2017, 49.4% of respondents were in North America, while 42.3% resided in Europe. 5.9% identified as living in Australia. North America and Europe nonetheless lost “market share” in micronationalism – dropping from a combined 94.3% in 2007 to 91.7% this year – suggesting that the global phenomenon is slowly becoming truly global.

Still the realm of the young …

In 2007, 70.4% of respondents were 25 years old or younger. This trends continues today, with 70.6% reporting the same. The data indicated that the community is nonetheless becoming younger overall: in 2007, 12.7% were 41 years or older; in 2017, it was just 3.5%.

Younger and wiser?

Perhaps contrary to the old adage that wisdom grows with age, the micronational community, despite being younger overall, is increasingly well educated. In 2017, 58.8% of respondents were either graduates with a Bachelor degree, or currently attending university/college. This is a more than 10% increase from 2007, when 47.8% reported the same. There was a small drop in the number of micronationalists still in high school at the time of the survey: 24.7% in 2017, versus 28.1% in 2007.

Little Napoleons everywhere …

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Micronationalists still overwhelmingly prefer to lead their own micronation, to the tune of 69%, a jump from 59.2% in 2007.

Micronational Profile

Growing old in micronationalism …

The community’s population has grown old with it over the 10 years between our surveys. In 2007, 70.4% of respondents participated in micronationalism for 5 years or less, while only 4.2% were involved longer than 10 years. This year, only 55.2% of respondents reported 5 years or less; 21.1% reported more than 10 years of participation.

Citizens of the world?

In 2007, 70.4% of respondents participated in two micronations or less during their time in the community. As the total years in the community have increased, unsurprisingly, so has the total number of micronations each respondent participated in. In 2017, the 70.4% dropped significantly to 48.2%, while 20% of this year’s respondents reported holding more than 10 citizenships during their participation (one respondent reported 50 total over their years!)

But still intently focused at any given time …

Despite the more open approach to moving around the plethora of micronations within the community, when our respondents choose a home, they generally remain dedicated to it. This year, 50.6% reported being currently active in just one micronation (versus 23.9% in 2007), while 16.5% reported two micronations. That dedication is intently focused: only 34.5% reported visiting other micronations in a non-citizen or -diplomatic capacity once a month.

While one might reasonably expect the simulationist community to be the highest incidence of multiple citizenships (especially on Micras where micronationalists often maintain multiple “characters” in different micronations), the most active respondent – in 7 micronations – was a secessionist.

The Internet giveth …

As a community that is fundamentally dependent on the Internet for its existence, it is no surprise that 61.9% of respondents reported discovering micronationalism online, up from 45.1% in 2007. The second popular means of discovery was by personal referral via friends/colleagues/others at 11.9%, a drop from 19.7% a decade ago.

Involved as King (or Queen) …

Those who make the leap into micronationalism are more likely to found their own micronation. In 2017, 89.3% reported doing so, compared to 77.5% in 2007. Compared to the 69% who prefer to lead suggests that a negative experience at the helm of a micronation has helped some respondents find their niche as being the power behind the throne.

Age-old strife?

There are few topics more divisive in the community than whether true micronationalism is the domain of secessionists, simulationists, or both.

In 2017, 35.7% of respondents identified as secessionist, striving to build their micronation into a real country, while 64.3% were simulationist, enjoying micronationalism as a hobby.

While this fundamental approach to the community’s purpose is stark, the numbers suggest animosity between the two groups is on the decline. In 2007, 32.7% had a negative view of secessionism, while 27.3% had the same view of simulationism. Back then, the community was largely a collection of fence-sitters on the matter, with 54.5% having a neutral view of simulationism, while 49% were neutral about secessionism.

This year, the number of fence sitters on both sides of the equation dropped significantly: just 11.9% were neutral about simulationism, while 20.2% were about secessionism. The movement of opinion was generally in the positive direction on both sides. The percentage with a negative opinion about secessionism dropped to 28.2%, while only 16.5% viewed simulationism negatively.

Though each camp was viewed more positively, opinions about the importance of both camps cooperating to the future of the community fell this year. In 2007, 50.7% believed such cooperation important, while this year 46.4% did. Back then, secessionists were more likely to believe in the importance (59.1%) than simulationists (46.9%). In 2017, both sides remained believers, with simulationists virtually unchanged at 46.3%, though secessionists fell to 46.7%.

Finally …

Greater hope in the “YA” in YAMO being misplaced?

Whether future cooperation between or within the ideological camps is best facilitated via intermicronational organizations is less clear this year. In 2007, an overwhelming 71.8% of respondents labelled such organizations as pointless. With the general success of the GUM (especially) in the intervening period, community members are more willing to express faith in YAMOs. Only 31% now see the organizations as pointless; however, that in itself is not as large a vote of confidence as suggested. Those who think the organizations are useful grew less drastically from 29.2% to 46.4%. The remainder decided to sit on the fence and enjoy the show.

Falling participation no longer the biggest threat …

In 2007, immigration and participation levels (42.3%) were the biggest threat to the community’s future according to respondents, while immaturity was second at 28.2%. This year, those threats essentially switched places, with 46.4% worried about the negative impact of immaturity, while 31% still fretted about new blood joining the community. The threat posed by macronational government remained essentially unchanged (4.2% in 2007 v. 4.8% this year).

Thank you again to all those who participated in the survey. If we’re around in 2027, we look forward to doing it all again! Happy New Year and all the best in 2018!

The more things change …

GUM activity raises wider concern

MICROWIKI – A decline in activity amongst the membership of the Grand Unified Micronational organization has reignited ongoing concerns of a wider decline in the MicroWiki community.

A trend that had not gone unnoticed by community participants anecdotally was reinforced as fact by the latest quarterly statistics report released by GUM on October 20th.  That report saw a 40% decline in respondents, from 26 member micronations in the 2nd quarter of 2017, to just 16 in the latest quarter ending September 30th.

The decreased activity in GUM, as well as community Skype chat rooms, is a regular topic of discussion in the weeks since then.

One prominent MicroWiki participant, Anthony Clark referenced the trend as the primary motivation for taking an indeterminate leave of absence from micronationalism. “I’m spending too much time flicking between windows on my laptop to see if anything’s happening, when, invariably, it’s not,” he said a statement on October 21st.

For John Marshall, the decline is a self-fulfilling prophecy. “When I post stuff and get no responses or replies or feedback, I’m not inclined to continue to post,” he voiced in reply to Suzuki Akihonaomi’s efforts to identify the root of the problem. Others, such as Marka  Mejakhansk, see the situation as part of the natural ebb and flow of Internet micronational activity, a reality since the turn of the millennium regardless of community.

Yet, things may not be as discouraging as perceived. A recently returned member of the community, Akihonaomi, on October 29th, began publishing activity statistics for the MicroWiki forums in a wider effort to address the decline. While the forums only received 228 posts in September, October was more robust in terms of activity, with 377 posts. Comfortingly, the increase was not the direct result of a tunnel-visioned discussion on the activity woes; however, it masked another concern – a largely flat trend in the number of new users and discussion threads.

Meanwhile, unsubstantiated rumour suggests GUM may in part be the cause of the decline. “It would seem that some individuals do not wish to return to the [MicroWiki] forums until the GUM is completely dead … if the GUM dies, several users will return to active status” postulated Akihonaomi while referring to a purported protest movement against the organization.

Such rumour aside, as one of the remaining relevant, active, intermicronational organizations, GUM at the very least is a bellwether for the community’s activity. Regardless of any such protest, the organization continues to draw membership applications, including two that were on yesterday’s Quorum meeting agenda. That it has not passed any substantive resolutions beyond the purely administrative since the end of July is not alarming, given that such periods of uninspiring usage are not uncommon for any intermicronational organization.

As for the MicroWiki forums, versus long-term trends, the perceived drop in activity is not significant, suggesting concerns are misplaced. Post-per-day averages in September and October, based on Akihonaomi’s reported statistics, remained 2- and 4-times the long-term post-per-day average of 3.18, respectively. A cursory view of the forums through November indicate another, relatively, healthy month.

That the bottom of activity in the community is so much below that recently seen appears to validate the natural ebb and flow cycle to which Mejakhansk referred, as opposed to a more concerning structural problem.

GUM activity raises wider concern

Locally-developed game launched

LUCÍUSU – The first computer game to be developed based on a part of Micras culture since the turn of the millennium has been released.

The Ballad of Old Lake Morovia: Part One was developed by Passio-Corum founder and leader Queen Esper (formerly known as Opyeme Time) and incorporates the story of fictional-pirate Captain Ismael Hatch, who plundered the Strait of Haifa on Micras. In the game, the user, playing Hatch, is a pawn of the Lake Morovia Blockade Fund who learns of dark, insidious forces that control the Strait while on Black Hatch Island.

The game was developed using RPG Maker MV and is available for download on both Windows and Linux.

It is the first major game developed based on a Micras theme since the popular Control of Destiny Series that incorporated the Shirerithian religion of Soloralism nearly 15-years ago.

Locally-developed game launched