Borg Complex: A Primer

technology, technodterminism, borg, the borg, borg complex

A Borg Complex is exhibited by writers and pundits who explicitly assert or implicitly assume that resistance to technology is futile. The name is derived from the Borg, a cybernetic alien race in the Star Trek universe that announces to their victims some variation of the following: “We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.”

http://thefrailestthing.com/2013/03/01/borg-complex-a-primer/

“We’re surrounded by objects and systems that are too big or too opaque to understand — everything from the global banking…

“We’re surrounded by objects and systems that are too big or too opaque to understand — everything from the global banking system, to the Edgerank algorithm Facebook uses to order your newsfeed,” says Webb. “And the effect of this alienation is felt subtly: I believe it means we can never build a good mental model of the technologies we use. We’re constantly having our expectations slightly violated, we feel a little itchy, like we don’t fit comfortably in our own world.”

The Virtual Haircut That Could Change the World. (viatimoarnall)

The True Story of a 1967 “Contact” Incident

first contact, radio, radio astronomy, LGM, SETI, pulsar

At the time, the dawn of radio astronomy, the discovery of a source of regular pulses in space was a huge surprise. “We had to face the possibility that the signals were, indeed, generated on a planet circling some distant star, and that they were artificial,” said Hewish later. The timeline behind the discovery stretches over 6 months or so. In August 1967, Bell noticed regular signals at the same sidereal time each day. Almost immediately, the team considered the possibility that the signals were generated by Little Green Men or LGM as they called it.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/511136/the-true-story-of-a–1967-contact-incident/

BLDGBLOG: Optical Calibration Targets

optical calibration, drones, infrastructure, CLUI, optical resolution, imaging, aerial photography

Although I am truly fascinated by what sorts of optical landmarks might yet be developed for field-testing the optical capabilities of drones, as if the world might soon be peppered with opthalmic infrastructure for self-training autonomous machines, it is also quite intriguing to realize that these calibration targets are, in effect, ruins, obsolete sensory hold-overs from an earlier age of film-based cameras and less-powerful lenses. Calibrating nothing, they are now just curious emblems of a previous generation of surveillance technology, robot-readable hieroglyphs whose machines have all moved on.

http://bldgblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/optical-calibration-targets.html

“A post-democratic society is one that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy, but in which they increasingly become a formal shell”

democracy, politics, LSE, post-democratic, post-industrial

The term was indeed a direct analogy with ‘post-industrial’. A post-industrial society is not a non-industrial one. It continues to make and to use the products of industry, but the energy and innovative drive of the system have gone elsewhere. The same applies in a more complex way to post-modern, which is not the same as anti-modern or of course pre-modern. It implies a culture that uses the achievements of modernism but departs from them in its search for new possibilities. A post-democratic society therefore is one that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy, but in which they increasingly become a formal shell. The energy and innovative drive pass away from the democratic arena and into small circles of a politico-economic elite. I did not say that we were now living in a post-democratic society, but that we were moving towards such a condition.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/30297

Introducing The Paper Bay

academia, guerilla open access, research, publishing, piracy, thepaperbay

It’s a beautiful business to be in: publish research that you took no part in, claim the copyrights to the results of that research, publish the research in a very expensive journal, publish reprints at exorbitant fees and finally, when a more efficient distribution method appears get rid of all the costly components of the business but keep the prices the same. According to one person I spoke to who is knowledgeable about the publishing field the profit margins dwarf even those of the publication of pornography.

http://www.jacquesmattheij.com/introducing-thepaperbay

“Glitch” by Kyle Thompson I wanted to emulate the look of a VHS or computer glitch. Combining the way the image disintegrates…

kylejthompson:

“Glitch” by Kyle Thompson
I wanted to emulate the look of a VHS or computer glitch. Combining the way the image disintegrates with an image of some one seemingly breaking apart themself.   To do this I actually removed and altered the data of the edited photo (meaning that most of this is was done in a HEX editor rather than an image editor).   

Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship

politics, democracy, oligarchy, status quo, instituions, re-election, charlie stross

Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change. They have done so by converging on a common set of policies that do not serve the public interest, but minimize the risk of the parties losing the corporate funding they require in order to achieve re-election. And in so doing, they have broken the “peaceful succession when enough people get pissed off” mechanism that prevents revolutions.

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/02/political-failure-modes-and-th.html#more

Caffenol Recipes

Caffenol, film, developer, photography, DIY, coffee

Caffenol Recipes that are proven to work can be found here. If not stated differently, the temperature of the solution should be 20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit. For all other temperatures, please adjust the developing time accordingly. If you have never used caffenol before, I suggest that you start with films that are proven to deliver decent results, for example the 400 ISO films Ilford HP5 Plus, or Kodak TMAX 400. Slow films that work are Ilford FP4 (ISO 125) and Ilford PanF (ISO 50). Developing times and links to example pictures can be found in the Film Development Chart.

http://www.caffenol.org/recipes/

Restoration, thinking paths and obliquity

Restoration, thinking paths, obliquity, rest, prodcutivity, serendipity, research, renewal

the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

http://www.contemplativecomputing.org/2013/02/restoration-thinking-paths-and-obliquity.html

The Wikemacs Experiment: 300 Days Later

emacs, wiki, community, engineering, revision, culture

It really sucks that when Bozhidar Batsov put his big talk about how shitty EmacsWiki is into action, the only thing we got out of it was another shitty wiki. It bugs the everliving hell out of me that even though engineering is supposed to be a rigorous discipline, we throw all kinds of shit at the wall to see what sticks, without ever looking at the walls in the last four or five rooms to see what the hell worked the last time.

http://wrttn.in/3afc42

Convictions For File-Sharing Violate Human Rights

falkvinge, copyfight, free culture, culture, europe, ECHR, copyright

It is, in other words, no longer sufficient to justify a sanction or any other judicial order restricting one’s artistic or journalistic freedom of expression on the basis that a copyright law provision has been infringed. Neither is it sufficient to consider that the unauthorised use, reproduction or public communication of a work cannot rely on one of the narrowly interpreted exceptions in the copyright law itself, including the application of the so-called three-step test […]

http://falkvinge.net/2013/02/07/court-of-human-rights-convictions-for-file-sharing-violates-human-rights/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Falkvinge-on-Infopolicy+%28Falkvinge+on+Infopolicy%29

Present Shock: The End Of Time Is Not The End Of The World

Douglas Rushkoff, review, present shock, technology, society, narrative, stories, collapsonomics

To the problem of narrative collapse, Rushkoff suggests that young people have reacted to the loss of storytellers by realizing they have to become the storyteller. The gamer can write his own next level. We can be fragmented by allowing ourselves to operate on the (non-temporal) time scale of computers or we can program our computers to keep us in sync with our own goals and our own lives. Technology is, in fact, neutral. It doesn’t “want” things to be a certain way. But all technologies are ste up by people with certain biases, but those biases are often unclear until they play out in the real world. So civilians do have an opportunity to intervene in technologies that they dont’t fully understand because they do have the capacity to understand the impact of those technologies on their lives.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/12/22/douglas-rushkoffs-present-shock-the-end-of-time-is-not-the-end-of-the-world/

The Kraken Awakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us

squid, sea, architeuthis, kraken, fishing, photography

Despite its status as the largest invertebrate on the planet, no one had ever seen, much less photographed, a live giant squid in its habitat until 2004. On September 30, at precisely 9:15 A.M., near Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, a 26-foot-long giant squid attacked a baitline that Dr. Tsunemi Kubodera and his research team had rigged with a strobe and a digital camera, timed to snap an image every 30 seconds. Within days, cephalogeeks all over the Web were posting links to astonishing photographs of the animal vrooming up out of the deep and grabbing the bait “in much the same way that pythons rapidly envelop their prey within [their] coils…immediately after striking,” as the researchers put it.

http://boingboing.net/2013/01/28/the-kraken-awakes-what-ar.html

Four Futures

futurism, scenarios, capitalism, abundance, scarcity, egalitarianism, hierarchy

Taken to its logical extreme, this dynamic brings us to the point where the economy does not require human labor at all. This does not automatically bring about the end of work or of wage labor, as has been falsely predicted over and over in response to new technological developments. But it does mean that human societies will increasingly face the possibility of freeing people from involuntary labor. Whether we take that opportunity, and how we do so, will depend on two major factors, one material and one social. The first question is resource scarcity: the ability to find cheap sources of energy, to extract or recycle raw materials, and generally to depend on the Earth’s capacity to provide a high material standard of living to all. A society that has both labor-replacing technology and abundant resources can overcome scarcity in a thoroughgoing way that a society with only the first element cannot. The second question is political: what kind of society will we be? One in which all people are treated as free and equal beings, with an equal right to share in society’s wealth? Or a hierarchical order in which an elite dominates and controls the masses and their access to social resources?

http://jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/

There are two schools of thought on emergence. In weak emergence, the new properties arise as a result of the interactions at an…

“There are two schools of thought on emergence. In weak emergence, the new properties arise as a result of the interactions at an elemental level and the emergent property is reducible to its individual components, that is, you can figure out the steps from one level to the next, which would be the deterministic view. Whereas, in strong emergence, the new property is irreducible, is more than the sum of its parts, and because of the amplification of random events, the laws cannot be predicted by an underlying fundamental theory or from an understanding of the laws of another level of organization.”

Gazzaniga, Michael S.Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain. New York: Ecco, 2011. (viacarvalhais)

Little Printer: A portrait in the nude

domus, BERG, little printer, object, mary poppins, magic, design, UI, UX

Little Printer is a product of now. It is a product, a tangible thing, but is also a product, in the sense of a consequence, of contemporary culture. It humbly and accessibly exemplifies how physical and digital have merged to become one, to become hybrid objects, to demonstrate how objects might become networked, and how domestic objects might behave.

http://www.domusweb.it/en/design/little-printer-a-portrait-in-the-nude-/

Paul Prudence interviews Mitchell Whitelaw

art, generative, futurism, utopianism, dystopianism, interview, paul prudence, mitchell whitelaw

It might be argued that some of the main themes infused in generative art are those to do with a kind of techno-utopianism and futurism. Have you come across any generative artworks that deal with dystopian themes or have a sense of anachronism about them? More importantly are the technologies and software used in creating these artworks inherently defining their aesthetics?

http://teemingvoid.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/interview-with-paul-prudence-for-neural.html