wood s lot - Oct. 2000
Phil Agre offers some reflections which are timely in light of major elections looming in Canada and the U.S.:
Projection is insidious. Let us consider two analogous examples ("politically correct" and "liberal media") of the projection that is hidden in the currently fashionable jargon....
Fortune has an interview with an embittered James Cramer:
Nobody really cares for the Internet--except for the newspapers and magazines that live off the advertising on it, and people who can't sleep and need something to do. It has created an undisciplined culture of slothfulness and foolishness that's now a culture of despair.
Jim Holt in the current Lingua Franca -
HYPOTHESES: What Have I Done To Deserve This? Explaining Retribution
IN THE UNITED STATES, nearly two million people are kept in prison at any given time, and dozens are executed each year. That adds up to quite a lot of suffering deliberately inflicted by the state. How can we justify it?....
Prophet with a Typewriter
ORWELL: Wintry Conscience of a Generation. By Jeffrey Meyers. Norton. 380 pp. $29.95
Reviewed by Christopher Hitchens
The short life (1903-50), during which Orwell combated all "the smelly little orthodoxies," as he termed them, has been related by several biographers and is scheduled to be told by many more as the centennial of his birth draws close.
subtle aid to meditation ?
keep your eye on the status bar
The Opening of the Evangelical Mind in this months Atlantic online: This lengthy article has some good historical background stuff and is, surprisingly, sympathetic. Interesting take on affinities with postmodernism:
"When evangelicals read authors like Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jacques Derrida, they cannot accept pronouncements about the insufficiency of meta-narratives or the impossibility of grounding truth....But everything else about postmoderism appeals to them....
The Role of Quantum Mechanics in Brain Function: An interview with Dimitri Nanopoulos, Ph D
What has been discovered is that inside the neurons there are structures that are called microtubules that have been pushed forward by Dr. Hameroff and Professor Penrose of Oxford. Microtubules can support quantum waves that somehow transfer information. What is happening is that these quantum waves can really suffer spontaneous collapse because of the gravitational effects described before. The final decision of how we are going to react to an external signal, we believe, is due to the gravitationally induced spontaneous collapse of the brain wave function
A little something from the past:
Media Temporalities in the Internet: Philosophy of Time and Media with Derrida and Rorty
Check out the softly | seething | teeming | tintinnabulation fun, courtesy of the Mad Scientist at
"It looks and works like a radio, but it's an internet radio, so instead of picking up just 20 stations, it could pick up 20,000," says James Gable, the president of Kerbango. "And it does it without using a personal computer!"
Online Journalism Review offers some thoughts on technological directions in presenting the news
Immersive News Technology: Beyond Convergence
The editor at vtheory expresses his reservations about the desirability of an Owen Barfield revival (see previous post).
Canadian content - Coach House Press (35 years publishing the likes of Margaret Atwood and Ondaatje) offers on line readings such as Kenneth Goldsmith's "Fidget" (reviewed in the current Utne)
"To experience Fidget, Web site visitors choose between a text, a sound, or a java applet version in which sentences float and collide, creating a work of art that's visually . . . well, fidgety."
Fidget is a transcription of writer Kenneth Goldsmith's every movement made during thirteen hours on June 16, 1997 (Bloomsday). This online edition includes the full text, a self-running Java applet version written by programmer Clem Paulsen, and a selection of RealAudio recordings from Theo Bleckmann's vocal-visual performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art on Bloomsday 1998
Salon: From March 9,2000; Maybe the Net doesn't change everything
"The Social Life of Information" Dumpster-dives into the muck of failed predictions to show why the future isn't so likely to just let go of the past. In a measured series of eight essays, authors John Seely Brown, Xerox's chief scientist and director of the company's legendary research facility Xerox PARC, and Paul Duguid, a historian and social theorist at the University of California at Berkeley, gently deflate the most extreme claims of "the blinkered euphoria of the infoenthusiasts," as they term technology boosters.
see also THE FUTURE DOES NOT COMPUTE--Transcending the Machines in Our Midst, by Stephen L. Talbott
Perhaps its's time for an Owen Barfield revival, at least according to these submiters for a recommended reading list
Ptolemy Tompkins, author of Paradise Fever, suggests Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield, for it "paints a picture of the universe as an arena for the evolution of human consciousness more convincingly than any other book I know.
Millennium Apocalypse Updates Conspiracy & End Time Prophecy: bringing you all you could ever need to know about The New World Order, The One World Religion, Masons, British Israelites, Rosicrucians, Pokemon Mind Control, The Southern Baptist Convention and other dire portents.
Oklahoma City, the site of the outrage perpetrated by clandestine Luciferian Masonic (CLuM) Wizard Timothy "Macbeth" McVeigh, is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 77 and U.S. Route 66.
For more zany fun see also Watch Unto Prayer
From Edge.org a fine essay on the dominant viral meme of cyberculture with objections which appply to any totalizing acceptance of meta-narrative - with feedback from George Dyson, Freeman Dyson. Cliff Barney, Bruce Sterling, Rod Brooks, Henry Warwick, Kevin Kelly, Margaret Wertheim, John Baez, Lee Smolin, Stewart Brand, Rod Brooks, Lee Smolin and Daniel C. Dennett.
One Half Of A Manifesto
The distance between recognizing a great metaphor and treating it as the only metaphor is the same as the distance between humble science and dogmatic religion. During the last twenty years a stream of books has gradually informed the larger public about the belief structure of the inner circle of Digerati, starting softly, for instance with Godel, Escher, Bach, and growing more harsh with recent entries such as The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurtzweil....
Lanier (coiner of the term Virtual Reality) explains his newly jaundiced eye on the brave new world of cyber/nano-tech culture in an interview at Salon: Artificial stupidity
Lanier's upstart argument yields a uniquely here-and-now version of computer science ethics and an entirely different, but equally frightening form of what Lanier calls "Bill's version ... of the Terror."
(via Follow Me Here)
A New Scène Seen Anew:Representation and Cruelty in Derrida's Artaud
by Colin Russell
"As many post-structuralists argue, the individual who goes beyond the structures by which others govern themselves steps into an abyss, since all our learning is focussed on mastering the structures. There one encounters freedom, but at the price of losing the advantages of the system. Artaud felt that his body was appropriated by God, and that in recovering the full presence of the original moment of theatre, he could reappropriate his body and experience the communion with sacredness, without God. The theatre that he posited in order to accomplish this cannot be realized, for there is no origin without a past, nor a moment without a repetition, nor presence without absence.
A touching story from Lingua Franca's archives:
Despite his remarkable scientific achievements and the intense drama of his personal life, George Price has remained a relatively obscure figure in the history of science. And yet he played a key role in shaping the conceptual basis of sociobiology and its offshoot, evolutionary psychology
A memorable week for Canadians - October 5, 2000
"While our politicians were, for the most part, prosaic in reacting to the former prime minister's death, or just plain pedantic (Stockwell Day), petty (Lucienne Bouchard), partisan (Joe Clark), self-centred (Brian Mulroney) or boorish (Mike Harris), ordinary Canadians were poetic and extraordinarily eloquent in capturing the essence of Trudeau and his meaning for Canada."
THE SORT OF MAN MOST OF US WOULD WANT TO BE
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky offers up his FAQ's on the meaning of life, transhumanism, Extropy, ultratechnology, and the other things that make life fun
"Do I have free will? "Free will" is a cognitive element representing the basic game-theoretical unit of moral responsibility. It has nothing whatsoever to do with determinism or quantum randomness. Free will doesn't actually exist in reality, but only in the sense that flowers don't actually exist in reality.
Got it? "
speaking of free will.....
DETERMINISM AS TRUE, COMPATIBILISM AND INCOMPATIBILISM AS BOTH FALSE, AND THE REAL PROBLEM