expressing things that matter; an old story

I was touched by this story in today’s Boston Globe.

I liked the human crafstmanship in the telling, and deeply moved by the dramatic yet universal tale of the failure to live up to our potential.

So I gave it to my 11 year old daughter to read. I asked her why she thought I wanted her to read it. “So I won’t take drugs. Duh.”

I said, “something like that, but there’s something else….” But she had already left the room, singing Avril Lavigne.

MIT AI researchers develop healthy technoparanoia

Or, so says The Onion, in any event.

“The more we thought about it, the less we were able to laugh off the threat of killer machines,” said Dr. Henry K. Arronovski, a leading expert in the field of heuristics classification. “It really started to freak us out. What if, decades from now, humans end up in a virtual-reality construct designed to blind them to their enslavement to the hivemind—all because of the work my colleagues and I started?”

Added Arronovski: “I want no hand in creating a world where only Keanu Reeves can protect my great-grandchildren from a giant drill that plummets through the ceilings of subterranean cave dwellings.”

As a true technoparanoaic, I guess I wish there were more truth to the story. . .

Fileswapping: A coda

just a brief coda on my predictions for file swapping. According to The Washington Post, fileswapping is up again in October and November after declining steadily from June to September. I note that coincides somewhat with the college year, if new students get oriented in August/Sept., get a taste of broadband, and start fileswapping. that last is just speculatiuon on my part.

Stay tuned . . . .

Nanomeme Syndrome

In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology, for there is nothing even remotely visible to create proof of existence. On the atomic and molecular scale, data is recorded by sensing and probing in a very abstract manner, which requires complex and approximate interpretations. More than in any other science, visualization and creation of a narrative becomes necessary to describe what is sensed, not seen. Nevertheless, many of the images generated in science and popular culture are not related to data at all, but come from visualizations and animations frequently inspired or created directly from science fiction.

From “The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the construction of a new science” in Volume 1, Issue 1, of Technoetic Arts, a journal of speculative research, by Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna, some legitimate hardcore nanotechnologists. Gimzewski won the Forsight Insitute’s Feynman Prize in 1997 for leading the team that made that nifty IBM logo written in atoms.

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Two Wetmachine Con Artists

Your wetmachine host (that would be moi, John Sundman) and prolific wetmachiner and legal good-guy Harold Feld will be panelists at the Science/Speculative Fiction convention (“con” )

Arisia , to be held in Boston this weekend.

(It was at last year’s Arisia that Harold & I met, and I was so impressed with his general smartosity that I invited him to blog here. Lord only knows why he accepted the offer.)

If you’ve never been to an SF con (as I had not been before 2000), let me warn you that, in full conformity to stereoptype, cons are populated by weirdos. However, con-goers, who sometimes call themselves Fen, are some damn smart and well-read and thoughtful and articulate weirdos. And actually, come to think of it, now that I’ve been to about a dozen cons and have been on more than a dozen panels myself, I guess I’m one of the Fen too. Damn, how did that happen?

A of A Technology Sighting

Slashdot put me on to this link about scientists claiming ability to predict earthquakes, basically based on the same kinds of data and statistical methods that I imputed to Monty Meekman (page 63 in the first edition). However, whereas Monty evidently could predict earthquakes to the minute, the UCLA scientists (at the above link)are claiming that they can predict to within months. So I guess Monty is still on top.

At some point I will post a more thorough “Acts of the Apostles technology siting” story, in which I’ll provide links to random stuff I invented for “Acts” that has since made its existence in our universe. It will have about 15 entries.

I’m still trying to cajole (??) Ron, heretofore silent Wetmachiner, to write the story for me, because he’s been sending me “AofA Technology Sighting Newsflashes” for about three years. But if Ron continues to maintain radio silence I may have to take matters into my own hands. Hope I don’t have to! Ron, that’s a hint.

Mark Lombardi, fallen artist of the conspiracy-obsessed

Next time my bizniz takes me to San Francisco I’m going to make a pilgrimage to see the works

of



Mark Lombardi
, the self-murdered artist/martyr of the conspiracy-obsessed.

I only recently learned of Lombardi’s work. Evidently he had been a minor artist with a small cult following until September 11, and since then he’s become, so far as I can tell, a minor artist with a large, fanatical and growing cult following.

His preoccupations closely parrallel mine– we both subscribe to Ishmael Reed’s notion that history is the story of warfare among secret societies. But whereas I tend to think obsessively about technology and write stories, Lombardi thought obsessively about money and power and drew pictures.

I should point out that when I say “minor artist” I mean no slight. This fellow’s work absolutely captivates me, and if I don’t manage to see it in San Francisco I’ll drive to Iowa, if I have to, to see it in person.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: More Than A Toaster With Pictures

My colleague Cheryl Leanza and I wrote an article for the American Bar Association Communications section defending media ownership limits and explaining why the old rules should be retained. It’s written with lawyers as the target audience, but we think we put it in English. It is available here.

Stay tuned . . . .