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September 2009
 
 
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July 21st, 2009 11:27 pm

In the void created by the lack of career capping interviews there are lots of holes and assumptions the computer-based devotees of Kubrick can get lost in. Kubrickian conspiracies are claimed to surround everything from the CIA, FBI, LSD, NASA, fluoride, Manifest Destiny, Royalty, Buddhism, the Kennedy assassination, pedophiles, Satan worship, Sun worship, phallic worship, systematic abuse of women, Jewish, Mason, secret society ruling class theories, nuclear holocaust, prison systems, military conditioning, numerology, Aliens, chess, all schools of philosophy and so many other sub theories it can be a challenge to separate lore and legend from artistic prophecies and true intent. That A Clockwork Orange is rife with it's own presentation of conspiracies as is Dr. Strangelove and many of the passages of dialog in 2001 directly speak of government plans in withholding evidence of extra terrestrials or conditioning the population slowly to accept there presence by design doesn’t help separate what is his belief and what is his satire. EWS is in some ways an extension of The Shining’s pleasure retreat of the world rich and elite as Wendy is told "All the Best People" have stayed at the hotel, directly across from the gaze of a Native American Chieftain. On the surface it is about child abuse but the subtext of The Shining is the annihilation of a people and the expansion westward. Hollywood is in some ways the end result of moving to the west coast and crossed with his observations about making and watching war movies in the middle of his own war movie Full Metal Jacket and with how Lolita’s mentions the “Art Films” Quilty makes, the red carpet rituals in EWS might reflect some thoughts on the Hollywood beauty factory. A Clockwork Orange is in some ways a treatise to the subliminal power of music and the programming power of drugs and movies. Barry Lyndon is the same to visual art and how to read a painting, secondly how to read a movie visually thru symbols and composition. Cross-referencing his films in this way may be over thinking, but better to think than to miss it all.

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July 20th, 2009 12:51 am

I go to the police station every day, but they just tell me to be patient and wait,” said Patiguli Palachi, whose husband, an electronics repairman, was taken in his pajamas with four other occupants of their courtyard house. Ms. Palachi said they might have been detained because a Han man was killed outside their building, but she insisted that her husband was not involved. “We were hiding inside at the time, terrified like everyone else,” she said.

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July 19th, 2009 08:14 pm

A Message From Behind Closed Doors

It's been a terrible and awkward week this week here in Xinjiang, but things are finally calming down.  For the first few days, the entire province was shut down, and although slowly things are being switched back on, sadly, the internet is not one of them.  International phone lines have also yet to be returned.

Rumor around town is that this current phone and internet blackout could last anywhere from 3 more days to three more months (Oct. holiday).  Until this black hole that we are living in returns to life, this blog will be taking a short break.  I see no other solution.  I am also unable to check my email, so please forgive me if I haven't replied to you.  Things have calmed, but life in Xinjiang is definitely changing.

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July 14th, 2009 04:50 am

"Saint Peter, a 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai"

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July 13th, 2009 12:41 pm

Even historians -- or especially historians -- recognize that world events are shaped in part by deep economic, demographic, and technical trends, but only in part. Real human beings make real decisions that have real effects. (Cf: LBJ in 1964, Bush-Cheney in 2001, JFK-Khrushchev in 1962, etc.) If we recognize that a collision with China is possible, but only one of several possibilities, then we act so as to reduce that possibility and increase the probability of better outcomes. If we think breakup is inevitable, as Ferguson is arguing, then the odds of a collision in fact occurring become higher than they would otherwise be. (Because each side interprets the other's moves in the darkest way and responds in kind.)

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July 13th, 2009 09:16 am

I come up with a nefarious plot — this time about a bunch of scammers who are trying to get themselves an information channel with lower latency than anyone else has access to, in order to run the mother of all forex front-running scams. (It's the same fake-Asian-Republic scam, but in this remix it's a shell game; what they're after are the rights-of-way to the played-out trans-continental gas pipelines that terminate in the 'stan in question, through which they intend to run dark fibre that will allow them to front-run the big currency transfers that daily travel between Europe and the Pacific Rim by way of undersea cables, which add precious milliseconds of latency as they skirt the edges of continents.)

And then this shows up in my blog-hoovering. Goldman-Sachs, the FBI, and a gigantic can of worms. Possibly there's nothing to it, but some of the more alarming speculation is treading so close to my plot that it's looking like Madoff 2.0. (Specifically: Goldman-Sachs run large chunks of the network backbone for the NYSE. Goldman-Sachs have an automated low-latency trading system. If they were Very Naughty People, which of course they aren't, they could conceivably do deep packet inspection on traffic over the NYSE backbone, look for big trades, throttle the IP packets while the trade was in progress, and get their own trades in a few milliseconds in advance — front-running, in other words, but on an heroic scale. But they wouldn't do that because they are investment bankers and as we all know all investment bankers are utterly trustworthy models of law-abiding probity at all times, even when offered the opportunity to clean up $100M in profits per day with no come-back. NB: Sergei Aleynikov is not, to the best of my knowledge, an investment banker: but all I know about him is hearsay and should be discounted accordingly.)

Gaah.

Truth stranger than fiction. Right now there is thunder and lightning outside. Ominous mood building.

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July 12th, 2009 07:30 pm

Fearing the genericizing and potential loss of its trademark, Google has discouraged use of the word as a verb, particularly when used as a synonym for general web searching. On February 23, 2003,[6] the company sent a cease and desist letter to Paul McFedries, creator of Word Spy, a website that tracks neologisms.[7] In an article in the Washington Post, Frank Ahrens discussed the letter he received from a Google lawyer that demonstrated "appropriate" and "inappropriate" ways to use the verb "google".[8] It was reported that, in response to this concern, lexicographers for the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary lowercased the actual entry for the word, google, while maintaining the capitalization of the search engine in their definition, "to use the Google search engine to seek online information" (a concern which did not deter the Oxford editors from preserving the history of both "cases").[9] In October 25, 2006, Google sent a plea to the public requesting that "you should please only use 'Google' when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services."[10]

Interesting that they discouraged the use of "to google"...

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July 9th, 2009 05:58 am

Like A DVR For Life

July 8th, 2009 | people I know

Clayton "Siege" Cubitt:

Clayton Cubitt: I think photography is moving towards seamlessness. The future of photography won’t be about capturing a decisive moment by timing a shot perfectly. Cameras will capture everything – thirty or sixty frames per second. Then you choose. Like a DVR for life.

Tokion Magazine: Doesn’t that sound like cheating?

Clayton Cubitt: If you think a photographer’s creativity comes from their shutter finger, then it’s cheating. But if you think the creativity comes from the setup, the perspective, from the editing and the craft, then I think it’s no big deal.

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July 8th, 2009 01:45 am

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So I say our decisions about culture at large, about the question of how to spend our 100 million hours, I say these are rooted in personal ability to wield the tools of production. And as we said, 100 hours practice would get you a really long way.

Here’s my challenge. Right now, put aside 100 hours over this summer. Do it right now, in your head. Put that time aside. 100 hours. 8 hours a week for the next 12 weeks. One hour a day, or one working day a week. It’s one summer out of your entire life, it’s nothing. Okay, you’ve got that 100 hours?

Now for the next two days, go to talks and start conversations with people you don’t know, and choose what to spend your 100 hours on.

I guarantee that everyone in this room can produce something or has some special skill, and maybe they’re not even aware of it.

Ask them what theirs is, find out, because you’ll get ideas about what to learn yourself, and decide what to spend your 100 hours on. Do that for me.

Because when you contribute, when you participate in culture, when you’re no longer solving problems, but inventing culture itself, that is when life starts getting interesting.

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July 8th, 2009 01:00 am

Google is developing an operating system (OS) for personal computers, in a direct challenge to market leader Microsoft and its Windows system.

Google Chrome OS will be aimed initially at netbooks, the low-cost portable computers that have turned the PC world upside down.

Google said netbooks with Chrome OS could be on sale by the middle of 2010.

I wonder what it'll cost.

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July 8th, 2009 12:58 am

I have the utmost respect for an author -- or any artist -- who is willing to throw away the easy conventions of success, and embrace new, untested models.  Think of the mass of musicians who keep coming out with what's effectively the same songs, over and over, or the directors who "specialize" in repeating car stunts in one action movie after another.  There's lots of money in sticking to form and producing version x in a predictable, safe, never-ending series.

Mieville is different. 

While he's been categorized into a literary movement called The New Weird, his latest book proves that he doesn’t want to be labeled.  He has the guts and the creativity to invent something different, and for that, he deserves our support.  We should want to take risks with artists who are wildly inventive, dedicated, and unique. 

I gave up on "The City & The City."  But please buy it anyway.

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July 8th, 2009 12:57 am

So. They have this huge map of the Web and are aware of how people move around in the virtual space it represents. They have the perfect place to store this map (one of the world's largest computers that's all but incapable of crashing). And they are clever at reading this map. Google knows what people write about, what they search for, what they shop for, they know who wants to advertise and how effective those advertisements are, and they're about to know how we communicate with friends and loved ones. What can they do with all that? Just about anything that collection of Ph.Ds can dream up.

Tim O'Reilly has talked about various bits from the Web morphing into "the emergent Internet operating system"; the small pieces loosely joining, if you will. Google seems to be heading there already, all by themselves. By building and then joining a bunch of the small pieces by themselves, Google can take full advantage of the economies of scale and avoid the difficulties of interop.

Kottke on Google, in 2004.

(via Waxy.org)

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