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Topics - Faust

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16
You are being deceived.

17
Techmology and Scientism / How To See The Future - Warren Ellis
« on: September 07, 2012, 08:55:27 pm »
This is a really inspirational piece by Warren Ellis,

Quote
HOW TO SEE THE FUTURE
Warren Ellis

The concept of calling an event Improving Reality is one of those great science fiction ideas. Twenty five years ago, you’d have gone right along with the story that, in 2012, people will come to a tech-centric town to talk about how to improve reality. Being able to locally adjust the brightness of the sky. Why wouldn’t you? That’s the stuff of the consensus future, right there. The stories we agree upon. Like how in old science fiction stories Venus was always a “green hell” of alien jungle, and Mars was always an exotic red desert crisscrossed by canals.

In reality, of course, Venus is a high-pressure shithole that we’re technologically a thousand years away from being able to walk on, and there’s bugger all on Mars. Welcome to JG Ballard’s future, fast becoming a consensus of its own, wherein the future is intrinsically banal. It is, essentially, the sensible position to take right now.

A writer called Ventakesh Rao recently used the term “manufactured normalcy” to describe this. The idea is that things are designed to activate a psychological predisposition to believe that we’re in a static and dull continuous present. Atemporality, considered to be the condition of the early 21st century. Of course Venus isn’t a green hell – that would be too interesting, right? Of course things like Google Glass and Google Gloves look like props from ill-received science fiction film and tv from the 90s and 2000’s. Of course getting on a plane to jump halfway across the planet isn’t a wildly different experience from getting on a train from London to Scotland in the 1920s – aside from the radiation and groping.

We hold up iPhones and, if we’re relatively conscious of history, we point out that this is an amazing device that contains a live map of the world and the biggest libraries imaginable and that it’s an absolute paradigm shift in personal communication and empowerment. And then some knob says that it looks like something from Star Trek Next Generation, and then someone else says that it doesn’t even look as cool as Captain Kirk’s communicator in the original and then someone else says no but you can buy a case for it to make it look like one and you’re off to the manufactured normalcy races, where nobody wins because everyone goes to fucking sleep.

And reality does not get improved, does it?

But I’ll suggest to you something. The theories of atemporality and manufactured normalcy and zero history can be short-circuited by just one thing.

Looking around.

Ballardian banality comes from not getting the future that we were promised, or getting it too late to make the promised difference.

This is because we look at the present day through a rear-view mirror. This is something Marshall McLuhan said back in the Sixties, when the world was in the grip of authentic-seeming future narratives. He said, “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

He went on to say this, in 1969, the year of the crewed Moon landing: “Because of the invisibility of any environment during the period of its innovation, man is only consciously aware of the environment that has preceded it; in other words, an environment becomes fully visible only when it has been superseded by a new environment; thus we are always one step behind in our view of the world. The present is always invisible because it’s environmental and saturates the whole field of attention so overwhelmingly; thus everyone is alive in an earlier day.”

Three years earlier, Philip K Dick wrote a book called Now Wait For Last Year.

Let me try this on you:

The Olympus Mons mountain on Mars is so tall and yet so gently sloped that, were you suited and supplied correctly, ascending it would allow you to walk most of the way to space. Mars has a big, puffy atmosphere, taller than ours, but there’s barely anything to it at that level. 30 Pascals of pressure, which is what we get in an industrial vacuum furnace here on Earth. You may as well be in space. Imagine that. Imagine a world where you could quite literally walk to space.

That’s actually got a bit more going for it, as an idea, than exotic red deserts and canals. Imagine living in a Martian culture for a moment, where this thing is a presence in the existence of an entire sentient species. A mountain that you cannot see the top of, because it’s a small world and the summit wraps behind the horizon. Imagine settlements creeping up the side of Olympus Mons. Imagine battles fought over sections of slope. Generations upon generations of explorers dying further and further up its height, technologies iterated and expended upon being able to walk to within leaping distance of orbital space. Manufactured normalcy would suggest that, if we were the Martians, we would find this completely dull within ten years and bitch about not being able to simply fart our way into space.

Now imagine a world where space travel to other worlds is an antique curiosity. Imagine reading the words “vintage space.” Can you even consider being part of a culture that could go to space and then stopped?

If the future is dead, then today we must summon it and learn how to see it properly.

You can’t see the present properly through the rear view mirror. It’s in front of you. It’s right here.

There are six people living in space right now. There are people printing prototypes of human organs, and people printing nanowire tissue that will bond with human flesh and the human electrical system.

We’ve photographed the shadow of a single atom. We’ve got robot legs controlled by brainwaves. Explorers have just stood in the deepest unsubmerged place in the world, a cave more than two kilometres under Abkhazia. NASA are getting ready to launch three satellites the size of coffee mugs, that will be controllable by mobile phone apps.

Here’s another angle on vintage space: Voyager 1 is more than 11 billion miles away, and it’s run off 64K of computing power and an eight-track tape deck.

In the last ten years, we’ve discovered two previously unknown species of human. We can film eruptions on the surface of the sun, landings on Mars and even landings on Titan. Is all of this very boring to you? Because all this is happening right now, in this moment. Check the time on your phone, because this is the present time and these things are happening. The most basic mobile phone is in fact a communications devices that shames all of science fiction, all the wrist radios and handheld communicators. Captain Kirk had to tune his fucking communicator and it couldn’t text or take a photo that he could stick a nice Polaroid filter on. Science fiction didn’t see the mobile phone coming. It certainly didn’t see the glowing glass windows many of us carry now, where we make amazing things happen by pointing at it with our fingers like goddamn wizards.

That, by the way, is what Steve Jobs meant when he said that iPads were magical. The central metaphor is magic. And perhaps magic seems an odd thing to bring up here, but magic and fiction are deeply entangled, and you are all now present at a séance for the future. We are summoning it into the present. It’s here right now. It’s in the room with us. We live in the future. We live in the Science Fiction Condition, where we can see under atoms and across the world and across the methane lakes of Titan.

Use the rear view mirror for its true purpose. If I were sitting next to you twenty-five years ago, and you heard a phone ring, and I took out a bar of glass and said, sorry, my phone just told me it’s got new video of a solar flare, you’d have me sectioned in a flash. Use the rear view mirror to imagine telling someone just twenty five years ago about GPS. This is the last generation in the Western world that will ever be lost. LifeStraws. Synthetic biology. Genetic sequencing. SARS was genetically sequenced within 48 hours of its identification. I’m not even touching the web, wifi, mobile broadband, cloud computing, electronic cigarettes…

Understand that our present time is the furthest thing from banality. Reality as we know it is exploding with novelty every day. Not all of it’s good. It’s a strange and not entirely comfortable time to be alive. But I want you to feel the future as present in the room. I want you to understand, before you start the day here, that the invisible thing in the room is the felt presence of living in future time, not in the years behind us.

To be a futurist, in pursuit of improving reality, is not to have your face continually turned upstream, waiting for the future to come. To improve reality is to clearly see where you are, and then wonder how to make that better.

Act like you live in the Science Fiction Condition. Act like you can do magic and hold séances for the future and build a brightness control for the sky.

Act like you live in a place where you could walk into space if you wanted. Think big. And then make it better.

http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=14314

He's right, and it's a strange effect, I read about awesome new breakthroughs like the HIV cure, or the fact that there are now artificial eyes with 640 x 480 resolution and improving all the time.

And then I forget about it and think about how dreary everything is. It stands in stark contrast or at least along side the likes of Charlie brookers Black mirror, we either take technology for granted or use it for banalities like facebook.

18
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Injured crow
« on: August 16, 2012, 07:25:38 pm »
This is weirding me out. When I got home today there was crow sitting in our front garden. I think he might be injured because he isn't flying away even if you approach him.

When I was going to the shop he was still there so I threw some bread out to him. About five minutes ago he started tapping at the front door. I open the door and he just sits there looking at me.

If it is injured I suppose I could get a vet for it, do they collect injured animals? Would they even bother with an old crow?

19
Featured / Another topic
« on: August 14, 2012, 10:02:26 pm »
Now to get a bunch of smart ass replies.


20
Featured / A topic
« on: August 13, 2012, 04:19:48 pm »
A post

21
Hey,
So it's been almost a year since the EB&G debacle and I've been
somewhat surprised to find the resentment I felt, melt away.  That has
been replaced by the realization that someone stuck out their
figurative leg, I saw it - then eagerly tripped myself up over it.
I ignored the advice I was given, and I fucked up.

Going back to the Original Snub - it is an intrinsically Discordian
behaviour to illuminate ones conceits and fancies by orchestrating
them into Chaos.  If you can't laugh when the joke is played on
you, then the joke is still on you.
  If you don't choose to throw
out the bitter tea, then you're stuck drinking it.  Recognising all
this, I could no longer hold onto my cherished resentment.

Having a cause, a forum, a vision to protect - it blinded me,
it flattered me, it seduced me.  Then it stole my
wallet and left me tied to the bed.  It exposed me, and I was
found wanting.  Now replace "it" with "I".  I don't know how I could
have successfully dealt with the threats I perceived to EB&G,
but I do know that I failed utterly and made countless stupid mistakes
and errors of judgement.  Shamefully, it's taken this long to accept
responsibility for what happened.

I still consider myself a Discordian.  But I miss reading and
discussing Discordian ideas and bullshit.  And PD remains the best
place for that.

I'd like to come back.

I don't know how that would be possible.

I pissed off and alienated everyone I considered a friend.  I tested
patience past its limit.  I declared futile war on PD knowing that I
had no allies.  And while the fight was a lot of cathartic fun, in
truth I held neither the charisma nor skill to achieve anything else
other than waste everyones time.  Too much of it was lame-drama and
attention-seeking.  For the cause!  Eggs, Omelette, etc.

Ah whatever - I am sorry for my part in the whole affair - and at
least I'd like to ask for the forgiveness of the community.  I miss
you guys.  I have no interest in settling scores, dredging up old
fights nor starting new ones.  When I wasn't feuding, I think most of
my contributions to PD were generally positive - I'd like to get back
to that if possible.


Acknowledging that I have no right to ask any favours from you - I
would deeply appreciate it if you could post my apology to Apple Talk,
regardless of the decision.  While I understand that PD is not an
e-democracy, and the decision rests with the admin team - if the
community is vehemently opposed to the idea then there's probably not
much point considering it.

Thanks,
CU

22
http://gizmodo.com/5898585/itll-soon-be-illegal-to-troll-in-arizona


The wording on this is so vague it could be applied to anything based on electronic communication. How does one enforce and prove that the crime was committed?

23
Techmology and Scientism / Tech Journal
« on: March 01, 2012, 10:51:46 am »
I will go into more detail on this later but because people are complaining about how quiet it is here I'm going to start updating this thread with what I know: Hardware. I won't be posting anything sensitive to the projects but I want to go into detail where I can.

Over the last year I've been working on an indoor location system to track firefighters while they do their training. This is fun and excruciating location is a really difficult one to use. In short the higher your resolution the more difficult it is to accurately say where someone is. For this project we need down to 0.5m accuracy with the ability to distinguish between multiple people huddled together.

Without going into the gritty of it (NDA) we kitted out the test site with an array of sensors that give us the location of people going through, proximity and pressure sensors were used to give us these location. This style of location system has been done before but it's problem is it cannot distinguish between people. We've done it optically using a kinect style approach and not to toot my own horn I am pretty damn happy with the results, we locate and identify people and ID them within the test grid with a perfect accuracy for up to four people, any more than that and the optical system doesn't hold up but that's something we are working on (the main limiting factor is the Sheer amount of data generated from the optical system so the more machines you have to crunch the numbers the higher your resolution can go).

One of the other projects that we are working on that we are really happy with is a multitouch exhibit for a space/science museum. The emphasis being on collaboration and several users interacting at once, something that isn't often done well with these things.

Pictures to come.

24
Could I get some people to like this comment Regarding SOPA Ireland?

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=313436838694175&id=185032148201312

25
Aneristic Illusions / sopa in ireland
« on: January 24, 2012, 06:01:00 pm »
http://stopsopaireland.com/

I can't personally say much about this, but I hope and pray this doesn't go through.

26
Principia Discussion / We've been Invited to a party in Vienna: OM 2012
« on: January 12, 2012, 03:08:17 pm »
Quote from: Großmeister RA-Punzel der Dunkelbunte

Dear brothers and sisters, holy and unholy, dear fucked ups and everyone else,

as Grandmaster of the discordian temple in Vienna I have recognized the 21. December of 2012 as try of the illuminates to bring us the Eschaton.
It is clear that 2021 = 20+1+2 = 23 is year of illumination and therefore there has to be an OM regardless of the nonsense I told you before.

For this reason the temple is gathering on the 23. of may in Vienna at the holy address Ruckergasse 50/23 to start the OM 2012 so we all can live happily eveter after this damn 21. of December. Or just to have fun. Or both.
Feel invited if you are around.

If you need more information please ask. Please ask. Please ask. There will be a colorful leaflet too when I am in the mood of making one. Maybe I will even translate our website some time > tempel.eris23.com


23 Hossa!! and Ewige Blumenkraft
Grandmaster RA-Punzel the Dark Colored 23°=5^
Rebirth of RA-Punzel I. and  "Sabbatarius Veneficus"

27
Literate Chaotic / Comic Reviews and discussions
« on: January 09, 2012, 12:32:30 am »
Every so often I post about the comics I'm reading and while we've had the odd thread about Grant Morrison and Alan Moores stuff
most other comic book threads have fizzled out.

Shade, The changing man by Peter Milligan

I'm Just after finishing the seventy issue arc by Peter Milligan and I've found commentary/reviews online to be lacking, I can only assume this was a series that has either been forgotten about or didn't have huge numbers in its later years, which is a damn shame, It's excellent.

Vertigo is a line that prides itself on publishing books with unusual themes, concepts or morality, and I haven't read a title that better encapsulates this.

From the very start we are never fully sure where we stand with Shade, wether we can trust him or not from from his first incarnation as the possessed death row convict and psychopath Troy Grenzer, travelling with the daughter of his victims.

A recurring theme of shade is shifting identities and an endless growth, death reinvention cycle of all of the main characters persona's, something that if you get immersed in the story can be often painful or melancholy to experience.  As soon as you think you have shade figured out he changes again and you are never fully sure if it is for the better.

This is one of the strongest titles Vertigo has completed, my only complaint is I wish there was more. I'm really pleased to see that shade is being used in the DCU and hopefully people take an interest in where the character has come from like I did.

28
Aneristic Illusions / Occupy Cork Claims Property
« on: January 03, 2012, 11:31:01 pm »
http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0103/occupy.html

Last night the cork occupy crowd took a 6 story vacant property. Here's why they haven't been immediately kicked out;

  • The mortgage on the building is now owned by Nama, the property black hole
  • The developer who cannot afford to repay it is unable to get the support to kick them out
  • The building has stood unused for close to two years and
  • It's actually going to be used for something useful

Everyone in Ireland hates the property developers so I could see a lot more of this happening very soon.
What would happen if this was attempted elsewhere such as the UK or US?

29
Bring and Brag / A fragment
« on: December 30, 2011, 11:18:04 pm »
By now the personality reassignment pill was old news, a common practice prescribed by even the most old fashioned and mistrusting of medical professionals. Narcotics dealers stood on dank street corners doling out idealised personas, counterfeit identities crudely carved together, all with superhero morality and tireless vigour but devoid of depth or substance.

Progress does not slow, not now or ever, the great wheel churns out new products without a second thought of the consequences. Collateral damage chalked up to beta testing hiccups.

Scientists were working on a breakthrough; harnessing the essence of an existential crisis and trapping it in physical form.

These were given bank accounts to fill and licences to use, papers and jobs. All expected to work or starve, to justify their own existence or be swept away by the unstoppable hustle and bustle of every day life.

30
Aneristic Illusions / More NOTW hacking bullshit
« on: December 21, 2011, 02:47:17 pm »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16283935

I don't know an awful lot about this James Hipwell guy, but the casual nature of the hacking he describes has me dumbfounded. I have yet to come across any kind of working phone hacking stuff online, what they are describing is the police forensic tool used on phones in investigations. The only way journalists without any tech knowledge could have operated easily with this kind of stuff means that not only were they in bed with the providers but would have had to have been given police training in how to use their software.

Or maybe he's just saying this for sensationalism. Naming the Sainted Mccann's is a dangerous move. It will more then turn people from mild apathetic anger into a pitchfork mob if they confirm the mccanns phone was hacked.

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