Thursday, March 28, 2013

March: Executive Summary


Some cool T-shirts, and some not-cool T-shirts.

From Tim Maly's "Quiet Babylon's Algorithmic Rape Jokes in the Library of Babel," object spam in Second Life:

Why is it always the T-shirts with the sexist slogans? Why are so few other clothes sexist in this way? Name three sexist macs.

Also: Neatorama's perfunctory timeline of the T-shirt. Also, a game: contort your T-shirt into a t-shirt. Now do an R-shirt.

Compare Pete Ashton's early comments on the T-shirts episode (& his later reflection on how those comments got widely disseminated, and led to phone calls from news networks, and getting called a sub human piss man and worse (not by the people ringing up from the news networks. Just by some twerts)).

Scott Lash on Bruno Latour's parliament of things: "Objects that Judge."

My incident report from my e-vendory tower. "As seems to be the case pretty often with net culture, the theory we devise for it turns out to be applicable to things that pre-dated it." Has anyone seriously attempted to theorise ideology as code from the perspective of computer science, not semiotics, information theory and systems theory? For all that the humanities' construal of ideology draws on the imagery of programming, and stresses process and autonomous virulence, my sense is that the default analogy for some aspect of ideology would be inert data. Anyone want to give me some tips / a reading list?

"Or to put that another way, is Solid Gold Bomb now aware of just how much nasty is stuff is out there, waiting to be said?" Compare nick-e melville's planned/ongoing Imperative Commands project.

In South Africa the horse meat scandal may contain giraffe meat scandal. (Reuters).

A piece from last November about 3D-printing and crapjects (Changeist). "In my mind's eye, I picture the trashpickers of LA, wandering over a field of discarded chess pieces and napkin holders, tossing aside misshapen busts of Mozart and two-headed Star Wars stormtroopers, pushing past a half-finished TV stand or crunching through the remains of several attempted drone-prints."



A short film based on Tim Maughan's short story "Paintwork":

Credits over at Wired. La Jetée cited as an influence. Bruce Sterling comments, "Very convergence culture. I wonder what it would look like if a hundred million dollars had been spent on it?" Maybe like it was influenced by 12 Monkeys?

Martin Lewis of Everything is Nice has an interesting review of Maughan's "Limited Edition".

"On one level, I honestly wanted them to get away with their Smash/Grab! Then I remembered myself." Like Lewis, Niall Alexander is reviewing the BSFA-nominated stories, except almost heroically law-abidingly.

"Limited Edition" itself available in Arc. Free, because they know you'd just nick it.

Also compare: my Crot riot Hax tumblr from August 2011. But I miss its old skin.



Keep Calm and Groupon. I may have been fired as Groupon CEO, but I have knowledge of a very advanced level of Battletoads. Basically this is still a win. (Wired).

Nima Shirazi on Argo. "Over the past 12 months, rarely a week - let alone month - went by without new predictions of an ever-imminent Iranian nuclear weapon and ever-looming threats of an American or Israeli military attack. Come October 2012, into the fray marched Argo, a decontextualized, ahistorical "true story" of Orientalist proportion, subjecting audiences to two hours of American victimization and bearded barbarians, culminating in popped champagne corks and rippling stars-and-stripes celebrating our heroism and triumph and their frustration and defeat." Compare some of Shirazi's earlier comments.

Solar-system-in-context-visualisation. @DJSadhu's "deep space hand cam." (Via Metafilter).

Max Planck (b. 1858), an inspiration to all workers in the field of theoretical physics, has piecemeal replaced his body with CMB measurement and imaging instruments, solar arrays, attitude control thrusters etc., and launched himself into a massively elliptical orbit to capture the oldest light in the sky. Planck's portrait of the infant universe (

Wired article: I will seek "most badass" moon in solar system.

"Visceral" attempt at playground autism simulator.

The lorem ipsum is a standard piece of dummy text used by typesetters. BLOKK is for "clients who don't speak Latin." Hipster ipsum: "Forage stumptown pork belly DIY, vegan do american apparel ad irure art party bicycle rights tofu carles. Try-hard et id fingerstache mustache. Enim single-origin coffee beard fap. Disrupt williamsburg farm-to-table, accusamus odio assumenda elit street art aliquip. Consectetur photo booth put a bird on it trust fund, blog actually sed meh wayfarers leggings +1 gentrify placeat. Whatever et YOLO VHS butcher, occaecat umami intelligentsia do mollit brunch food truck farm-to-table anim. Pitchfork vinyl organic, next level labore magna non bespoke salvia letterpress neutra pug synth 8-bit."

Joan Slonczewski on Charlie Stross's blog on mitochondria and outsourcing the human; mitochondria have been in the public eye in the wake of some slightly misnomered "Three Parents?" articles.


Clarkesworld in March included: Alethea Contis on fairy tales. "Do we even know who our children are?" Compare Tolkien. Also includes Aliette de Bodard's tale of rebellion, e-ancestors, "The Weight of a Blessing." De Bodard talks through the process of writing it on her blog. Also includes: "The Last Survivor of the Great Sexbot Revolution," by AC Wise. Compare article about sexbots (h+), the uncanny valley, and "Shiri: buttocks humanoid that represents emotions". Roxxxy is the best-known existing sexbot. David Levy's Love and Sex with Robots ( SexBot at TVTropes. Black Mirror "Be Right Back" Q&A with Charlie Brooker. Wong Kar Wai's 2046:

Related: Kyra-Wardog on Clarisse Thorn's Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser (FerretBrain).

Also cf. weird to the Wise: "Where Dead Men Go To Dream" by A.C. Wise at Weird Fiction Review.



NASA's Curiosity continues pootling around Mars having infinitesimal adventures (BBC).

Dennis Tito's forecast private Mars flyby: poop shields up! Evacuative action!

Do you know of Mars One, the nonprofit-with-profit-elements that plans to put humans, hopefully including me, on Mars but doesn't plan to bring us back? Its financial model focuses on media revenues. Is this really possible?

A BBC reporter embedded with the French Foreign Legion in Mali takes the "Mars" angle.

A candle flame in zero G:


The 64th Eastercon was held in Bradford at the end of March.

"Though you don't know it, at the heart of the Internet's magic is a router that can manage TCP/IP over destiny. It can send packets where they will fulfill the truest desires of true love, where they will turn farce into tragedy, where truth is weighed in the balance and whence inspiration comes." Some flash fiction Cory Doctorow wrote at the con.


Syndicate: had the first in the series, with Sophie Robinson, Dorothy Butchard, Calum Rodger and Iliop. Prompted me to reinstall JanusNode (see TED talk titles) & fend off carious PiP with image macros.
No writing whatsoever. Reading: Peter F. Hamilton's Great North Road. Read Asher's "The Other Gun." Musil paused. Saw Lust/CautionCharade, some Bradley.
No kip-ups. One leg squat. Khan: v. minor; intro to exponents, radicals, scientific equation, & some linear equations & functions stuff.

Some arithmetical knowledge seems to exist in me an odd hybrid form between a fact (e.g. 2+2=4) and a rule or set of rules in action (e.g. 2553+14885=32323). It perhaps relates to the different forms of doubt/reliability in the phenomenal experience of doing arithmetic. One way of describing the difference between those forms of doubt/reliability is as the difference between knowing that some procedure will work, and also knowing why it works. I think that's a pretty common way of putting it. I was wondering if that expression could mask alternatives though, or deter usefully baroque and obsessive explorations of that feeling? What is it that will satisfy you, phenomenally, that you know why a procedure works? I was trying out some percentages. "So-and-so has x in her bank account on Wednesday, y on Thursday. By what percentage has her bank account increased?" First of all, (a) smash capitalism. And (b), I could familiarise myself with the contour "y-x=z, z/y*100 is the answer I need." I think that I might feel I knew why I should apply that pattern, and not only which pattern to apply, if I can shift around one variable and the others correspond in the right proportions, and perhaps with the self-moving quality of dreams. The sense of the appropriateness of those proportions presumably comes from that moving system coinciding periodically with knowledge stored more like a fact. The ghostly joints briefly line up with 1 being 50% of 2, etc., and you feel that you have tested and confirmed your deeper knowledge of this percentages procedure. I wonder also if there's actually an interplay between visual and linguistic forms of knowledge here? If so, would some aspects evolve into another irreducibly arithmetic form, once you got really good? Compare perhaps those moments where a mathematics teacher completely fails to teach. "You can see that the answer is . . . you can just see that, right?" Is that only a failure of pedagogy or also of introspection? Also think of someone's mathematical capacities atomising along lines derived from the familiarities of expertise. Many bridges evolving into fewer. Disused connections subtly destroyed as one heuristic gets ninja-substituted for another, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment