The Hive (website)
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The Hive was a website that served as an information-sharing forum for individuals and groups interested in the practical synthesis, chemistry, biology, politics, and legal aspects of mind-altering drugs. Participants ranged from pure theorists to self-declared organized crime chemists (claimed to be retired but with excellent connections) as well as forensic chemists, who (much like their quarries) used the Hive to keep abreast of developments in clandestine chemistry. Most members were simply curious about psychoactive chemicals and allied issues. At its peak, the Hive had thousands of participants from all over the world.
Although it had been in operation since 1997, the Hive gained broader awareness in 2001 when a Dateline NBC special The "X" Files aired. This investigation into the use and production of MDMA featured the Hive and its founder, 'Strike' (Hobart Huson). Strike was the founder and site designer of the Hive as well as the author of several popular books (Total Synthesis I and II, and Sources) instructing readers how to synthesize a variety of amphetamines, obtain equipment and chemicals, and avoid prosecution. He remained anonymous until Dateline's investigation and interviews revealed that Hobart Huson (owner of the Strike-recommended laboratory supplier "Science Alliance") was the man behind Strike. The NBC program showed Huson/Strike at his office/chemical warehouse, complete with a stuffed bee sitting by his computer. The program led to Huson's arrest and imprisonment, but also spurred the site's growth. 'Rhodium' and a small group of dedicated individuals actually ran the Hive and its sister site Rhodium.ws for most of the sites' lifespans.
While The Hive was a public forum for asking questions and exchanging information, Rhodium.ws hosted a collection of drug synthesis information in more condensed and organized form, much of it derived from messages posted on the Hive. It also had a large collection of articles from academic journals, plus considerable general-purpose information on practical chemistry. Rhodium's site was also taken offline shortly after the Hive. Most of the archive is hosted by Erowid. Scattered across the net is more than 1.73 gigabytes of files that were once part of Rhodium's archive.
The Hive was shut down in 2004. Although the domain still exists and full copies of the message database were retained, the forum has not re-opened to the public, nor have existing archives been disseminated . Even before it went offline altogether, certain especially sensitive or synthetically useful threads were being hidden from the public message database. Around one gigabyte of user-harvested data from The Hive can still be found online, but the far greater portion remains held privately by former administrators. The failure of Hive management to share its archives after shutdown remains a bitter pill for some former contributors in light of the vast time and effort invested by members. It is possible, with the takedown of megaupload.com, that many of the Hive's remaining files have been lost, as the two major backups are now gone.
The Hive in popular culture
The Hive has had genuine cultural reach not only limited to the Internet. Among expressions popularized on the web by The Hive:
- SWIM: "Somebody Who Isn't Me", a general-purpose description used by many posters when describing illegal activity, i.e. "SWIM needs some help crystallizing methamphetamine." Many posters changed the last letter to the first letter of their online name, so somebody named Crystal might speak of his adventures in the third person as "SWIC" (Somebody Who Isn't Crystal). It's unlikely that this sort of linguistic evasion would provide any genuine protection against prosecution should the posters be identified by law enforcement.
- Bees: Contributing members of The Hive.
- Honey: Originally freebase MDMA, later extended to other psychoactive amines including methamphetamine.
- Former location of The Hive (now defunct)
- Erowid, archive of Rhodium content
- Tor Mirror, another archive of Rhodium content (includes the-hive.ws searchable web boards before being taken offline)
- "Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power – review". The Guardian.
- "How the Internet powered a DIY drug revolution". Daily Dot.
- "Kitty litter". Vice.
- Power, Mike (2 May 2013). Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High. Portobello Books Ltd. ISBN 9781846274596.