May 1, 2009

Head-banging not included

"Bohemian Rhapsody" performed by a group of computers.
Read the tech aspects at The Walrus

April 30, 2009

Mr. Roboto-Styx(1983)

Domo arigato, mr. roboto,
Mata ah-oo hima de
Domo arigato, mr. roboto,
Himitsu wo shiri tai

You're wondering who i am-machine or mannequin
With parts made in japan, i am the modren man

I've got a secret i've been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain i.b.m.
So if you see me acting strangely, don't be surprised
I'm just a man who needed someone, and somewhere to hide
To keep me alive-just keep me alive
Somewhere to hide to keep me alive

I'm not a robot without emotions-i'm not what you see
I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free
I'm not a hero, i'm not a saviour, forget what you know
I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control
Beyond my control-we all need control
I need control-we all need control

I am the modren man, who hides behind a mask
So no one else can see my true identity

Domo arigato, mr. roboto, domo...domo
Domo arigato, mr. roboto, domo...domo
Domo arigato, mr. roboto, domo...domo
Thank you very much, mr. roboto
For doing the jobs that nobody wants to
And thank you very much, mr. roboto
For helping me escape just when i needed to
Thank you-thank you, thank you
I want to thank you, please, thank you

The problem's plain to see: too much technology
Machines to save our lives. machines dehumanize.

The time has come at last
To throw away this mask
Now everyone can see
My true identity...
I'm kilroy! kilroy! kilroy! kilroy!

April 29, 2009


The computer age is not to be stayed, as anyone knows who has been billed for another citizen’s charge account or has wondered what has happened to his paid-up magazine subscription. The computer science is already so advanced that experts envisage a huge National Data Center to speed and simplify the collection of pertinent information about Americans. Properly run, it could be a boon. But any person who has seen an FBI file or been party to a U.S. government “security check” has reason to know how the abuse or misuse of dossiers of unevaluated information can threaten an individual’s rights. A professor of law at the University of Michigan here discusses the precautions necessary to protect citizens from “governmental snooping and bureaucratic spinelessness or perfidy.” Professor Miller has testified on the subject before the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure. On page 58, Bob and Ray show what can happen if the safeguards fail.

The modern computer is more than a sophisticated indexing or adding machine, or a miniaturized library; it is the keystone for a new communications medium whose capacities and implications we are only beginning to realize. In the foreseeable future, computer systems will be tied together by television, satellites, and lasers, and we will move large quantities of information over vast distances in imperceptible units of time.

The benefits to be derived from the new technology are many. In one medical center, doctors are already using computers to monitor heart patients in an attempt to isolate the changes in body chemistry that precede a heart attack. The search is for an “early warning system” so that treatment is not delayed until after the heart attack has struck. Elsewhere, plans are being made to establish a data bank in which vast amounts of medical information will be accessible through remote terminals to doctors thousands of miles away. A doctor will then be able to determine the antidote for various poisons or get the latest literature on a disease by dialing a telephone or typing an inquiry on a computer console.

Read it all at Modern Mechanix

April 27, 2009


In the next world war
In a jackknifed juggernaut
I am born again

In the neon sign
Scrolling up and down
I am born again

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

In a deep deep sleep of the innocent
I am born again

In a fast german car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

Hashima Island

Last night I happened upon the History Channel's 'Life After People'. From the previews, I thought it looked ridiculous, and it was. Apparently, the History Channel has become the what if channel.
But what could be more modular man than the world after people? What is more transient than the passing of time without humans?
The most interesting part was on Hashima island, an old mining island off Japan that has been deserted since '74. They used it as an illustration of attrition in the absence of man. It reminded me of scenes from The Road, or of being a kid in eastern Washington and finding empty mining sites in the mountains, as if one day everyone just up and walked away.

I found this video from Thomas Nordanstad, its worth the watch:

HASHIMA, Japan, 2002 documentary version from Thomas Nordanstad on Vimeo.
Hashima island at wikipedia

This Diseased Utopia: 10 Thoughts on Swine Flu and the City

It's interesting to note, however, that swine flu, unsurprisingly, comes from "close contact with pigs" – that is, spatial proximity between humans and their livestock.
Swine flu, we could say, is a spatial problem – an epiphenomenon of landscape.
I'm reminded here of a point made recently by geographer Javier Arbona. Referring to the increasingly popular and somewhat utopian idea that, in the sustainable cities of tomorrow, agriculture will have returned to its rightful place in the city center, Arbona asks: "Did everyone think that so much lushness and farming envisioned in the city aren’t going to open up new Pandora’s boxes of infectious diseases and sanitation problems as we come into contact with more manure, more bacteria, and more wild animals that we urbanites are not at all 'naturalized' to?"

Track the Flu here