March 20, 2009

More human than human

Jean Baudrillard as quoted by Nicholas Carr

Ecstasy of the social: the masses. More social than the social.

Ecstasy of information: simulation. Truer than true.

Ecstasy of time: real time, instantaneity. More present than the present.

Ecstasy of the real: the hyperreal. More real than the real ...

Thus, freedom has been obliterated, liquidated by liberation; truth has been supplanted by verification; the community has been liquidated and absorbed by communication ... Everywhere we see a paradoxical logic: the idea is destroyed by its own realization, by its own excess. And in this way history itself comes to an end, finds itself obliterated by the instantaneity and omnipresence of the event.

Nicholas Carr's post

Rushkoff follow-up

Douglas Rushkoff writes:

First off, and I can’t stress this enough: Commerce is good. Commerce is not the problem. Monopolies are.

Except in a few rare cases, corporate charters and centralized currency were never intended to promote commerce. They were intended to prevent locals and non-chartered entities from creating and exchanging value. They are not extensions of the free market, but efforts at extracting value from the free market. Corporate monopoly charters were extended to a king’s favorite companies in return for shares. Then, no one else was allowed to do business in that industry. Centralized currency forced businesses to run their revenue through the king’s coffers. Likewise, in its current form, centralized currency is more akin to a ponzi scheme of interest rates, each borrower paying up to the banker above him.

More from Douglas Rushkoff
Read Rushkoff's first article

Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice

March 19, 2009


1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

Yes We Can!

Rob Horning writes:

This Gawker item about the Facebook redesign offers a useful phrase for thinking about Twitterification generally: We are expected to be, or become, “omnivorous consumers of momentary trivia.” Not only that, but we are expected to produce that trivia ceaselessly and eagerly. This calls to mind Foucault’s ideas about power exercising itself not as repression—that is, as forbidding us to speak or to act in certain ways—but as permission, as a kind of broad encouragement to speak (albeit through discourses that constitute our identities along certain prescribed lines). Our participation lets power work through us, which we can experience as being exciting—as being part of the action; we are all under surveillance, but we understand that emotionally as “Hey, we’re all celebrities!” Foucault calls it “control by stimulation.” This is why people seem to feel compelled to use Twitter. We want to participate, want to be counted, want to count.

More from Rob Horning

Scenes from the Recession

Hotel property manager Paul Martinez kicks in a tenant's door after no one answered the knock during an eviction February 26, 2009 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The tenant said that he was laid off from his job in a retail store two months ago and had fallen behind on his rent payments at the low-budget hotel. (John Moore/Getty Images)

More scenes from the recession

Thanks Rich for the heads up.

An Economic Crisis 500 Years In the Making

Douglas Rushkoff writes:

With any luck, the economy will never recover.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. If you had spent the last decade, as I have, reviewing the way a centralized economic plan ravaged the real world over the past 500 years, you would appreciate the current financial meltdown for what it is: a comeuppance. This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself, and ultimately a good thing.

More from Douglas Rushkoff

Thanks Rich for the heads up.

March 18, 2009

Traffic cameras billed as answer to Chicago's budget deficit

Red-light cameras have been combined with short yellow lights to catch drivers and raise city revenues across the country. Now an insurance-checking camera company has presented Chicago with a new twist on the idea—instead of speeders, go after the uninsured.

More at Ars Technica

Intercept(ion) Modernisation Programme

U.K. to monitor, store all social-network traffic?

The U.K. government is considering the mass surveillance and retention of all user communications on social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo.

Vernon Coaker the U.K. Home Office security minister, on Monday said the EU Data Retention Directive, under which Internet service providers must store communications data for 12 months, does not go far enough. Communications such as those on social-networking sites and via instant-messaging services could also be monitored, he said.

More at CNET

The McCain Twitterview: Nice try, but no cigar

Chicago (IL) - Yesterday, George Stephanopoulos, a reporter from ABC, conducted an interview with Senator John McCain -- only it was not your typical interview. It was a new type of interview, a short, 15 minute "Twitterview" conducted over 140 character "tweets" sent back and forth on the popular social networking and microblogging website Though it was a major move in the face of journalism, it has been criticized for its lack of depth.

More at TG Daily

March 17, 2009

Save Me from This Squeeze

Clay Shirky writes:

That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. (Luther and the Church both insisted, for years, that whatever else happened, no one was talking about a schism.) Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify.

More from Clay Shirky

2000 Man

'2000 Man', The Rolling Stones

Well my name is a number
A piece of plastic film
And I'm growin' funny flowers
In my little window sill

Dont you know I'm a 2000 man
And my kids, they just don't understand me at all

Well my wife still respects me
I really misused her
I am having an affair
With a random computer

Don't you know I'm a 2000 man
And my kids, they just don't understand me at all

Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy proud of your sun
Oh daddy, your brain's still flashin'
Like it did when you were young
Or do you come down crashin'
Seeing all the things you'd done
All was a big put on

Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy proud of your son
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy proud of your son

Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy proud of your sun

And you know who's the 2000 man
And your kids they just won't understand you at all

March 16, 2009

Japan's HRP-4C 'fashion model robot' unveiled, already harassed

While that perv in the back is busy shooting HRP-4C's firm buttocks shaped from a glossy Stormtrooper alloy, the rest of us can marvel at the fact that Japan has produced a walking, talking fashion robot.


March 15, 2009

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...1011101101


Ever have a super needy significant other that demanded all of your love and attention and would freak whenever you would leave them alone? Irritating, right? Now imagine the same situation, only with an asexual third generation humanoid robot with 100kg arms. Basically you get Fatal Attraction with a terminator cast in the lead role. Such was the torture subjected upon Japanese researchers recently when their most advanced robot, capable of simulating human emotions, ditched its puppy love programming and switched over into stalker mode. LOVE…..KILL….LOVE….KILL!

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