The Plan

Posted by on June 15th, 2011
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Bruce Sterling’s SXSW speech – excerpt 4

Posted by on March 26th, 2011

Presenting the final transcription, the longest excerpt from Bruce Sterling’s closing speech at SXSW, which takes us into the third chunk of it’s rough recording.

I hope it moves you, like it moved me.

[After much deserved ripping on the Catholic Church..]

The population sits on the couch and plays video games. Terrified.

The US.. come back from Europe, hanging out in the US.. first thing you see in the US is obese people. It’s calamitous. And they weren’t like that in 1975… but imagine if the Statue Of Liberty looked like that? You came in to New York Harbor, Staten Island.. the Statue of Liberty was clocking in at around 350 pounds. Maybe she had a Wii exercise bat instead of a torch. It brings out one’s inner Bill Hicks, ladies and gentlemen. God bless the guy, where ever he is, if he was looking down at Texas right now he would not be a happy man. He’d be scolding you worse than me.

So, you know, it’s pretty bad and it’s sleazy and it’s kind of frozen and crazy and we all know that and we pay no attention to it and kinda hope it just goes away on its own. That’s the one attitude Americans fully share with Italians now and that’s what worries me. What worries me is the response to things that really require courage and focused effort and Passionate Virtuosity to carry out.  Like, say, earthquake rescue.

Just go read what happened to L’Aquila. The small, beautiful, medieval town that was leveled by an Italian earthquake. Italians, they know what earthquakes are, they know what volcanoes are, they even know what tsunamis are.. the one massive horror the Japanese have named for everybody else, ’cause they get more of it than everybody else. At least they know what to do when it happens. L’Aquila happened, nothing much went on.. TV appearances.. cheer leading.. the place is still a wreck.

And for us it was that BP offshore oil mess. Freaking nothing happened. Government did nothing. They were not capable of doing it. They pretended to be able to do something. Suppose it had been ten times worse? You think there’s another government somewhere, that was gonna help people from the consequences of an industrial catastrophe like that? So clearly outlined, and there’s nuclear things happening in Japan.. they’re in there working around the clock. Who would save us from a BP?

They’re incapable of rapid, decisive action. The world sometimes demands that of people. You can’t sit on the couch eating chips and maneuvering, verbally, all the time. Like a Gothic Mansion, like a Vampire Geyser, instead of a President.

There’s infinite wars on Abstract Nouns. Wikileaks and Facebook, which freaking didn’t even exist as entities maybe 5 years ago, they’ve got more political clout on the planet right now than the State Department and the Pentagon combined! It’s a weird situation and it’s not something to applaud [as they audience starts applauding and quickly stops] but everybody knows it. They’re all reading the State Dept cables going “this is awful.. I can’t believe they’re so helpless.. why does no one listen to them? They have no class” The calamity. It’s like Gothic torpor in a coffin of earth.

So what? They pretend to govern, we pretend to obey. Italians do that now.. Americans do that now.. Soviets used to do that.. that’s what they were great at, maintaining the pretense that it was alright.

Who’s the real.. who are the real victims of a decaying status quo? Who suffers when your society is incapable of focused action or intentional innovation? It’s young people. It’s people under 25 who are the victims of a decaying status quo. It’s a Gerontocracy. The demographics are easy to predict. Nobody ever looks at them, because nobody ever wants to get old. One of the main reasons these guys can’t do anything, they’re too damn old, ladies and gentlemen.

Berlusconi and his crowd are people in their 70s and they’ve got the younger people outnumbered. The reason Egypt won, is it’s a huge number of kids.. they were just able to outnumber and beat up the cops in the street.. they threw Mubarak out because they had the numbers game on him. That’s not what happened in the Developed World. They are.. the people under 25.. unemployed people.. you know ‘em, you may be them.. they’re a minority, they’re a disenfranchised minority now. AND I WANT TO FORMALLY DECLARE MY PASSIONATE SOLIDARITY WITH THE MILLENNIALS! Boomers, SHUT THE HELL UP!

What’s left of our Civil Rights that you campaigned for? The one thing you might brag about, death of Totalitarianism and national governments. All national governments are weak now, yours is weak.. everyone else’s is weak for [the] same reasons. That’s alright, Totalitarianism.. seeing that off is a great achievement.  1989, your high water mark. Get the heck out of the way. Pack it in Boomers!

What you should be studying right now? Collaborative Consumption. Technomadism. De-materialize people. Vanish! Let it go, give it away. Share it or stop it. Stop clinging to your entitlements. You’re like some kind of Dickensian, Gothic creatures now.  You’re turning in to Miss Havisham, with a wedding cake covered with spiders.

You’re top-heavy with age. You’ve got the votes and the money, you’ve got no conscience. Get out of the way. Over the long term your attitude is fatal. You must support younger people. Who is going to feed you? Who is going to supply those entitlements? What medical care will you have? What pension? What security?

Precarious employment for people who’s excess wealth is supposed to be underwriting your security? It’s built on sand! You are not looking in the longer term there. You are sucking the blood of your children! You’re like those Twilight guys. This Edward, 110 year old character, still hanging out in High School. Hitting on this moody, Mormon High School chick. There’s a reason why that’s the fable of your times, it’s like you.

Get the fuck away!

You need to take power, Millennials. I’ll vote for ya. I’ll do it! I’m groovy. I’ll sleep on the floor with ya. I’ll live out of a backpack. I’ll be precarious. Proud and pleased to do it, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to adulthood.

You know what you guys need? A global youth movement, good old fashioned style. You need a general strike. They’re not gonna employ you, get the hell away from them. See if they can wash their own dishes, flip their own burgers.

Move to Austin. Leave wherever you are, move to Austin. Take over the town.. take over regional governments. Just withdraw from places that are top heavy with the elderly people, they can’t stop ya. Make friends with the Army and the Cops.. you are the Army and the Cops! You’re not gonna see any 60 year old guys who are in the Army and Cops, they’re not gonna hit you with sticks. They’re all guys your own age, beating you up in order to disadvantage themselves.

And don’t listen to any grey-haired professors explaining why change is impossible. This is an era of Organized Deception, where it takes tremendous effort just to speak factually about simple consequences of our real life. The incompetence of the Powers That Be hangs over your future life like a shroud…

Days of Rage, baby!


Obligatory Wikileaks Post

Posted by on December 20th, 2010

Every time we witness an act that we feel to be unjust and do not act we become a party to injustice. Those who are repeatedly passive in the face of injustice soon find their character corroded into servility. Most witnessed acts of injustice are associated with bad governance, since when governance is good, unanswered injustice is rare. By the progressive diminution of a people’s character, the impact of reported, but unanswered injustice is far greater than it may initially seem. Modern communications states through their scale, homogeneity and excesses provide their populace with an unprecedented deluge of witnessed, but seemingly unanswerable injustices.  –Julian Assange

I’ve been putting off laying out my thoughts on Wikileaks, because, honestly; the situation evolves so often that It’s hard to really assay from a high altitude.  First of all, I believe it is absolutely imperative that, if you want to really have an idea of Assange’s likely agenda and why Wikileaks is releasing “unimportant things”…

…though be sure my blood boils every time I hear someone call something like the US warning Germany to not pursue the CIA kidnapping and torture of an innocent German citizen “unimportant” or “gossip”…

…and why the paranoid over-reaction of the US and their allies – especially their corporate allies is probably part of that agenda as well — then you need to read this: “State and Terrorist Conspiracies” and “Conspiracy as Governance”.    After that, you’ll probably want to just go ahead and read Aaron Bady’s excellent breakdown of those essays.  I really feel that these documents are they key to actually exploring the Wikileaks phenomenon with any accuracy.

The short version is that yes, Assange does seem to want to use Wikileaks’ form of journalism as a weapon.

Y’see, they say journalism is the art of controlling your environment, but that’s all wrong. I can’t control anything with this typewriter, all this is, is a gun. It’s only got one bullet in it, but if you aim right, that’s all you need. Aim it right, and you can blow a kneecap off the world… – Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan

He is, by his own admission, using journalism as a tool to create systems disruption in conspiratorial forms of government in the style of 4G Warfare.  His conspiracies are not those of the Alex Jones and David Icke type, but the simple banal ones that drive what passes for government in many parts of the world.  The shameless collusion of corporate interests and governments, the systems and structures that rule by secrecy – quite often because the truth of how they move in the world would be horrifying to the people that they claim to represent or govern.   The goal, aside from exposing real crimes, is to disrupt the systems by which those conspiracies do business.  This is why the diplomatic cables leaked contain a high degree of innocuous fluff as well as seemingly TMZ-worthy gossip – not because those particular factoids in and of themselves have value, but because the availability of them causes systems disruption.

Or, as Bady put it:

In this sense, most of the media commentary on the latest round of leaks has totally missed the point. After all, why are diplomatic cables being leaked? These leaks are not specifically about the war(s) at all, and most seem to simply be a broad swath of the everyday normal secrets that a security state keeps from all but its most trusted hundreds of thousands of people who have the right clearance. Which is the point: Assange is completely right that our government has conspiratorial functions. What else would you call the fact that a small percentage of our governing class governs and acts in our name according to information which is freely shared amongst them but which cannot be shared amongst their constituency? And we all probably knew that this was more or less the case; anyone who was surprised that our embassies are doing dirty, secretive, and disingenuous political work as a matter of course is naïve. But Assange is not trying to produce a journalistic scandal which will then provoke red-faced government reforms or something, precisely because no one is all that scandalized by such things any more. Instead, he is trying to strangle the links that make the conspiracy possible, to expose the necessary porousness of the American state’s conspiratorial network in hopes that the security state will then try to shrink its computational network in response, thereby making itself dumber and slower and smaller.

And, as anyone can see from the news, so far the reaction of Wikileaks’ targets has been just that.  The US discusses new interpretations of the Espionage Act to cover more forms of journalism, introduces the information-protecting SHEILD act and bullies private companies to cease their tacit support of Wikileaks.  Meanwhile, credit card companies react to the leaking that they were in collusion with the US government in international affairs by removing avenues of fiscal support for Wikileaks and… colluding in government affairs!  The over-reaction and internalized self-inflicted systems disruption is the point.   In the face of the threat of real transparency, systems that thrive on secrecy will make their natures known and also make their own ability to operate more difficult.   It is, sadly, very similar to the reaction that Al Queada was attempting to – and did – provoke with their 9/11 attacks and the failed and threatened attempts thereafter.

However, wanting to provoke disruption in the kind of systems that interpret transparency/lack-of-secrecy/public action/journalism as some kind of damage or a threat to their existence isn’t Terrorism, unlike Al Queada’s own take on 4G war.   And if it is, then I find myself in the strange position of finding myself and most of the people I know and love, suddenly cast as terrorists.

No lives have been lost due to Wikilleaks (though the life of whistleblower Bradley Manning certainly hangs in the balance) and contrary to what a lot of media-wonks have stated they have redacted information with the cooperation of several newspapers – but not the US government whose aid they’ve solicited, repeatedly.  If anything the greatest flaw in Assange’s master plan is Assange himself — both in his highly questionable actions regarding Swedish rape charges but also in his apparent bouts of unchecked ego and the cult of personality that has formed up around him.   To quote anarchist writer Magpie:

The second reason I’m fine with Assange having been arrested is that no revolutionary organization should be so top-down structured that removing the head destroys the body. I can’t believe I would have to even worry about that in the internet era, when dealing with tech-savvy folks. Decentralization is clearly the only useful way to run an organization that will run into conflict with the state or capitalism. When I heard Assange was arrested, I was sad, but I figured it wouldn’t really affect Wikileaks at all. If Wikileaks is/was something worth supporting, it will function just as smoothly without its founder.

Assange, to the detriment of Wikileaks, has become a cause célèbre to the kind of folks who can’t wait to jump into a cult of personality with very little information, while Bradley Manning – the man who put the bullet in the gun for Assange and Company to aim at the world – sits in solitary confinement in a military prison with the very real specter of capital crimes and lethal injection hanging over his head.  Suddenly half the story of wikileaks has become the story of how various celebrities make fools of themselves when faced with the idea that someone they champion is also wanted for questioning regarding rape.

What good has wikileaks done?  It’s shown that government transparency is possible even if it’s not wanted.  They’ve shown that a small group of volunteers can fight a war against the most powerful forces on earth without ever firing a shot or raising a fist in violence.  They’ve given the tools to do the same to many, many other people and organizations.  They’ve forced governments and their allied entities to once again show their true nature and to damage their own ability to act.  They’ve given any number of people who “know” their masters do horrible crimes in their name more solid proof of those crimes and their weight in human lives, as well as the tools to actually do something about them.  They, like so many other journalists and whistleblowers before them, have put an actual price tag on the futures we’ve sold for a slick AT&T phone and no health care.

There are many problems with Assange’s master plan, however much I support it in theory.  It makes the (logical) assumption that the degradation of signal within a conspiracy to act, and its inability to function with anything resembling efficiency will be interpreted by the systems around it as damage.  What he’s not taking into account is the ability of these same systems  to spin “damage” as “efficiency and security”.  Look at the recent TSA regs, or almost any bit of Homeland Security legislation since the Patriot Act.  Look at the banking industry failure.  Look at how the “Transparency President” has upheld the Patriot Act and strengthened wiretap laws.  America in particular has a deeply ingrained tendency – thanks to the very systems Assange seeks to break down – to interpret cultural, societal, and infrastructural damage as “progress” and “security.”  His view of systems as wanting to embrace radical transparency fails on contact with the current state of the human element much in the way that  Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to get Facebook users to embrace personal transparency have.

The irony there is that Assange, himself, exemplifies the tendencies that allow this to happen.  We, as people, tend to like Leaders.  Just as Assange, the current “leader” of a “leaderless network” has become the focus for a cult of personality that has made it easy for the Heihachi cybercrime ring to hijack Anonymous in his name, call down celebrity support that muddles the issue with rampant fan-worship and rape apologisim, and for detractors to write the whole event off as the machinations of a terrorist rapist – the American Culture of Fear allows ex-comedians, Australian billionaires, ex-war heroes, religious pundits, Muslim-hating IRA supporting Representatives, Secretaries of State, supposedly progressive Presidents, and charismatic soccer moms from Alaska to reassure vast swathes of people that institutional damage is not damage, or censorship – it’s normal and good.

The real problem is that the rest of the “work” of Wikileaks relies on us.  It relies on the concept of Wikileaks – no matter the name – still existing when their current directors are in obscurity or holes in the ground and Assange is just a punchline on next-month’s late night TV.  If people don’t act on what they reveal, or don’t continue to campaign for transparency, then Wikileaks will just be a 3 minute blip on some “I Love the Oughts” retrospective show and their sacrifices – especially Manning’s, a soldier who knowingly put his life on the line for an ideal – will be for naught.


Robot Submarines

Posted by on August 7th, 2009

Technabob.com, blogging about the “the frighteningly successful Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Autonomus Underwater Vehicles competition (AUVSI AUV)” :

The contest pitted robot submarines developed by competitors from various universities around the world, all of them eager to bring us closer to Armageddon, one torpedo-carrying robot at a time. The competition was judged by Kelly Cooper, program officer at the Office of Naval Research, and she said that this was the first year that a robot submarine was able to finish the obstacle course with time to spare. She seemed so scared of the results that she temporarily forgot what her department was. Here she is and her palpable fear caught on cam, along with a bunch of future Resistance members paradoxically cheering Skynet’s prototypes.

Earth. Check. Sky. Check. Water. Check. We now have no place to run from the robots.


“You Weary Giants of Flesh and Steel”

Posted by on July 4th, 2009

As some of you may know, I live in the US, and today, July 4th, is the day we celebrate beer and large colorful explosions.  Also, guns.   There’s some rehtoric about liberty and Independence in there, too, but you’ll get as many answers about what that means as you’ll find people to ask.

However, a bit more recently (set your wayback machines for 1996) Grateful Dead lyricist, former campaign manager for Dick Cheney, cattle rancher, and Co-founder and Vice-Chair of the Electronic Frontier Foundation John Perry Barlow sat down in Davos, Switzerland and wrote “A Declaration of the Independance of Cyberspace”.

What follows is one of the most famous and influential statements on the liberating potential of telecomunications technology:

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

It’s easy to look back on this ancient relic of the first days of “cyberspace” and dismiss a lot of it as fantasy, wish-fulfillment and undelivered promises.   Of course two months ago, the cyber-pundits that dismissed Twitter as “for Twits” hadn’t seen the most innocuous of information technologies turn, however briefly, into the voice of a national revolution.

So, almost 13 years have come and gone since the piece was written.   The “Walled Garden” model of information control on the internet came, went, and is coming around again.  Virtual Worlds are here, but not in the way they were invisioned back then, and dreams of immersive Virtual Reality are shifting towards visions of intergrated Augmented Reality.   Whole nations seek to control the flow of information across their borders more than ever before and corporate giants seek your consent in controlling the information you have access to.

My question for you is this:   Do you think that the “Declaration of the Independance of Cyberspace” is still relevant?  Is the vision of a kingdom of the mind as presented there still one that can or should come to pass?  Or have the shapes of the technologies involved changed the shape of what technologicaly-assisted freedom and liberty look like?


Super Soaker Flamethrower and other Hacks

Posted by on May 23rd, 2009

The Super Soaker holds liquid, but who said it had to be water?

Link and video via disinfo.com.


This Modern Life and the New Humanity

Posted by on April 29th, 2009

While I live in a country where 40-50 percent of the population thinks that Evolution is a strange and threatening idea in the same vein as Vaccines or Gay Marriage, there’s still iqnuiry within the scientific comunity as to how evolution is effecting our daily lives.   This was apparently the hot-button topic at this month’s meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Chicago.

“For most of the last century, the received wisdom in the social sciences has been that human evolution stopped a long time ago,” Harpending said. “Clearly, received wisdom is wrong, and human evolution has continued.”

Several anthopologists posit a scenario where evolution has not just continued, but is speeeding up due to sheer number of breeding people an an increase in the amount of external pressures placed upon humans.

The massive AIDS epidemic that’s raging in southern Africa , for example, is “almost certainly” causing gene variants that protect against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to accumulate in the African population, Harpending said.

When he was asked how many genes currently are evolving, Harpending replied: “A lot. Several hundred at least, maybe over a thousand.”

Another anthropologist, John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison , said, “Our evolution has recently accelerated by around 100-fold.”

A key reason, Hawks said, is the enormous growth of the world’s population, which multiplies the size of thegene pool available to launch new varieties.

“Today, beneficial mutation must be happening far more than ever before, since there are more than 6 billion of us,” Cochran said.

The changes are so rapid that “we could, in the very near future, compare the genes of old people and young people” to detect newly evolving genes, Cochran said. Skeletons from a few thousand or even a few hundred years ago also might provide evidence of genetic change.

So while it’s doubtful you’ll evolve a mutant healing factor in time to costume as Wolverine for this week’s movie premeire, I am actually pretty fascinated by the idea that there may soon (if there aren’t already) discernable genetic differences between generations.   So while every generation always treats the next as a horrible alien species – monsters with different ideas and  music and goals – what if one day that’s actually true to the point where they couldn’t even successfully interbreed?

[Via Yahoo! News]


The Elements of Information Control

Posted by on March 13th, 2009

Via imgfave.com, from information-control.org.


We are becoming a new species, we are becoming Homo Evolutis

Posted by on February 6th, 2009

From ars technica, comes the words of Juan Enriquez, who is the Chairman and CEO of Biotechonomy:

The day may come when we are able to take the best biology of the known animal kingdom and make it part of our own. This isn’t just about being a bit stronger, or having perfect eyesight our whole lives. All of our organs and limbs have weaknesses that can be addressed, and there are also opportunities to go beyond basic fixes and perform more elaborate enhancements. At a private lunch on Thursday, Enriquez spoke of a young girl who, after suffering a knee injury, received tendon replacement therapy centered around tendons grown in a lab. It not only fixed her knee, but made it stronger than normal. Later in life as she pursued life as a professional skier, the coach actually asked that she have the same surgery on her other knee to increase her abilities.


The Box is Free… the Use Costs Money

Posted by on January 7th, 2009

     Cory Doctorow’s fantastic and amazingly useful novel Little Brother posits a world where Microsoft has started giving out gaming hardware (a new generation X-Box) for free as a loss leader and makes up the profits on the back end with pay-per-use subscription fees and games.     The free and ubiquitous X-Box hardware is uncerimoniously hacked and then becomes the base unit of a vast undernet, allowing the protagonist and others to operate out of sight of the DHS.

     Well, first of all the Paranoid Linux distribution that was one of the fictional resources of the book is now in real development.

     Now?  Microsoft has submitted a patent for a free or subsidized computer system that would make its profits off of a pay-per-use or subscription system.  

     US patent application number 20080319910, published on Christmas Day 2008, details Microsoft’s vision of a situation where a “standard model” of PC is given away or heavily subsidized by someone in the supply chain. The end user then pays to use the computer, with charges based on both the length of usage time and the performance levels utilized, along with a “one-time charge”.

Microsoft notes in the application that the end user could end up paying more for the computer, compared with the one-off cost entailed in the existing PC business model, but argues the user would benefit by having a PC with an extended “useful life”.

“A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected,” reads the patent application’s abstract.

“The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed,” the abstract continues.

Integral to Microsoft’s vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier.

     Sure if such a box ever sees the light of day, it will require some serious hacking.  But once upon a time Cable couldn’t be stolen, iPhones and X-Box’s were unhackable, and CDs and DVDs were supposed to be impossible to copy.  

     Welcome to 2009, where Microsoft is trying their best to see you living in a more fictional world.    Also welcome to a world where companies are trying their damnedest to change how you think about the things you posess and who really owns them.    Food for thought and fodder for Grinding? 


Trend blend for 2009

Posted by on January 4th, 2009

Via futurismic.com, the good, bad and awesome predicted for 2009.


The Revolution is happening online

Posted by on November 26th, 2008

The revolution will not be televised. As BoingBoing alerts us though, it sure seems to be happening online. Take the scene in Iran:


Iran: A nation of bloggers from Mr.Aaron on Vimeo.

Also, if you missed it earlier, I feel obliged to re-link to the Coilhouse article, “Music is the Weapon of the Future“.

There is no They. That is all.


Guide to the Internet

Posted by on November 14th, 2008

Handed out at Wizard World Texas:

It was neat to see the grinder logo front and center. The Doktor is everywhere.


Prodigy – Illuminati

Posted by on August 13th, 2008

Time for a musical interlude, with rapper Prodigy‘s hella SF new video Illuminati.

YouTube Preview Image

via The Ubermensch


Square Watermelons

Posted by on July 5th, 2008

    - photo via treehugger.com

We know it sounds like putting a square watermelon in a round hole: but Wal-Mart claims it is the nation’s largest buyer of locally grown produce. The scaling of centrally managed industrial agriculture in the USA will be transformed.

Photo and article via treehugger.com

The square watermelons would fit so much easier in my fridge….


The First Genetically Modified Human Embryo: Advance or Abomination?

Posted by on May 12th, 2008

Scientists have created the first genetically modified human embryo.

What does this mean to you?

Led by Nikica Zaninovic, researchers at Cornell University added a green fluorescent protein to an embryo left over from assisted reproduction. They destroyed the embryo five days later. It is believed to be the first documented genetic modification of a human embryo.

British newspaper The Times reports that Zaninovic’s feat was announced at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in 2007, but was only publicized recently when the United Kingdom’s reproductive technology regulators reviewed the research. The House of Commons is about to consider legislation permitting this and other controversial reproductive technologies, such as the creation of chimeras — human-animal hybrid embryos.

The research raises a number of thorny ethical questions. Though adding a fluorescent protein was merely a proof-of-principle step, scientists say that modified embryos could be used to research human diseases. They say embryos wouldn’t be allowed to develop for more than a few weeks, much less implanted in a woman and brought to term.

If the embryos were allowed to develop, genetic modifications — which would be permanent and passed to future generations — might prevent disease. Modifications might also be used for other reasons — physical appearance, intellectual prowess, personality — though the necessary science remains hypothetical at this point. Developing such techniques would necessarily entail trial-and-error and risk-taking with human life.

Link via Wired

Watchdog groups are already all over this. Grinders, what do you think?


ESOZONE

Posted by on May 9th, 2008

ESOZONE and Grinding have conspired to offer a special limited offer to Grinding readers.

From now until midnight PST if you enter the code “hplate” and then select “Show Additional Prices” you’ll be able to select tickets for the entire weekend for $39.95 instead of the normal $50.00.   Tickets are available for sale here.

Some of the things you can expect to see at Esozone are:

  • Radionics Devices and Infernal Machines
  • Brainwave Technology
  • Avant Ritual Theater
  • Interactive discussion and workshops
  • Esoteric Futurist Art and Music
  • Singular Individuals of Genius
  • The Unexpected…

Although ESOZONE : the other tomorrow takes place formally within the walls of The Watershed Building, it is an immersive experience that begins precisely the moment one decides to arrive there. It is itself a collage of happenings that cannot properly be recorded or spoken of, as it can only be experienced first hand and colored by individual experience. Esozone is what you, the participant, make of it.

The intent behind Esozone is to create a space for post-reality denizens to exchange ideas, play together, and indulge their senses. It is an attempt to bring esoteric subjects to new people, and bring esoteric people out of the woodwork. It is a place for new art to arise and creative catalysts to be unleashed.

On arrival, the event has already begun. It is already happening now in dreams and potentia, simmering until it comes to a full boil in the material realm. It continues when someone leaves the physical event to have a private romp with someone they never met. There is no substitute for being there.

Esozone is of both fiction and fact, while it is especially the space in between. You are invited.


Secret underground warehouse in Tokyo

Posted by on April 21st, 2008

In this video, a camera crew follows a city official to a trapdoor hidden in a Tokyo sidewalk, which opens to a narrow stairway leading to a giant underground warehouse stocked with emergency supplies.

YouTube Preview Image

Located 20 meters (65 ft) underground, the 1,480 square meter (16,000 sq ft) space contains emergency supplies to be distributed to the public in the event of a major earthquake. Items include 5,000 blankets, 8,000 rugs, 4,000 candles, 300 cooking pots, 200 t-shirts, and emergency medical supplies. A conveyor belt system is installed to help transport the supplies up to street level.

The underground warehouse is connected to an unnamed station on the Oedo line, Tokyo’s deepest subway. Apparently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government maintains more than one of these warehouses, but the locations are kept secret.

Link via pinktentacle.com

My only question – where are the H-plates?


‘Darwin chip’ brings evolution into the classroom

Posted by on April 20th, 2008

A new “Darwin chip” could make evolution as easy as pressing play.
Researchers have created an automated device that evolves a biological molecule on a chip filled with hundreds of miniature chambers.

The molecule, which stitches together strands of RNA, became 90 times more efficient after just 70 hours of evolution.

“It’s survival of the fittest,” says Brian Paegel, a biochemist at the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, who led the study with colleague Gerald Joyce.

The experiment could be used in the future to evolve molecules – or even cells – to sense environmental pollutants, Paegel says.

Link via newscientist.com


I Am Legion

Posted by on April 2nd, 2008

Slashdot has pointed up the latest caper of the German Chaos Computer Club – they reproduced a plastic foil with the fingerprint of German Secretary of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble in 4,000 copies of their magazine Die Datenschleuder — ready to glue to someone else’s finger to provide a false biometric reading. The CCC has a page on their site detailing how to make such a fake fingerprint.

This is an amazing simple way to mainpulate biometrics – the step by step guide was produced in 2004.

Imagine a movement of Anonymous individuals loose in a city all with the fingerprints of a high ranking official…

Welcome to the Future.