The Orange Revolution's Kiev Values

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 05, 2009 | 3:59:47 PM

*Everybody raids everybody else in Ukraine while Putin shuts off the gas
to Europe.

*Sooner or later these reckless shenanigans ought to send fossil-fuel prices through
the roof again (if you can get the fuel at all).


Putin's threat follows a raid yesterday by armed secret service agents on the Kiev headquarters of Naftogaz.

The raid is part of a bitter power struggle between Ukraine's president, Viktor Yushchenko, and the country's prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.  (((Proof positive that heroic street-level revolutionary dissidents can become their own worst enemies.  I know that Putin is doing his best to destabilize the Ukraine, but gosh, he didn't need this eager help from the poison survivor and that knot-headed Gas Princess.)))

(((I know this sounds remote to some readers, but I know people in Belgrade who freeze when this stuff happens.)))   Yushchenko, who controls Ukraine's SBU security service, ordered the raid in an apparent attempt to seize the contract signed by Tymoshenko and Putin, which ended January's gas war.

The deal with Gazprom led to the resumption of transit gas supplies to Europe after Ukraine agreed to pay a price for its own gas approaching market levels.

Yushchenko is now trying to sabotage the deal in an attempt to undermine Tymoshenko, his former ally turned bitter adversary, analysts suggest.

The Putin-Tymoshenko deal eliminated the shadowy intermediary company RosUkrEnergo – whose owners have allegedly agreed to back Yushchenko's attempts to win re-election in next year's presidential election, they add.

Tymoshenko has furiously accused Yushchenko of corruption. Yesterday she criticised the raid on Naftogaz and said that the security forces loyal to the president were "out of control".

"The SBU is blatantly breaking the law and the president is covering up for them," she said, adding that the raid violated the constitution.

This morning a group of unarmed men turned up at the offices of Ukrtransgaz, the company that runs Ukraine's pipelines.

According to Naftogaz, the group left the company's premises an hour later after a standoff with members of parliament who had rushed to the scene. An SBU spokeswoman, Maryna Ostapenko, said its officers were conducting a criminal investigation into "abuses in the gas sector". (...)

Craigslist's Chicago Values

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 05, 2009 | 3:46:27 PM

"The single biggest source of prostitution in the nation."

arstechnica:  Sheriff files lawsuit over Craigslist's red-light district -

Plutopia's Austin Values

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 05, 2009 | 3:31:54 PM

*Well, what the heck, *I'm* surely going to this...


March 1, 2009 (Austin, TX) – As SXSWi has grown in popularity, attendance has swelled and corporate-sponsored parties have popped up like mushrooms in cow shit. The typical party affords participants the opportunity to stand in very long lines for warm beer, chips and salsa and an opportunity to schmooze with fellow attendees.  Plutopia offers a refreshing alternative to this formula with an evening of cutting-edge technology, art, music, and performance on Monday, March 16, 2009 from 6 p.m. to midnight at Palmer Events Center in Austin.

Founded by Derek Woodgate of The Futures Lab and Jon Lebkowsky of Social Web Strategies and, formerly, FringeWare, “Plutopia is a futurist think tank that produces events,” says event producer Maggie Duval.  "The word ‘plutopia’ came out last year as we were thinking about pluralist utopias - bright green alternatives to apocalyptic and dystopian visions. We didn’t want just one idea; we realized there are an infinite number of possible futures and outcomes, and they might all be realized, depending who and where you are. This event is designed to explore those potential scenarios on a local to global scale.”  And for those who are just looking for a great party, she adds, "this all comes with lots of truly glorious music and many opportunities for social engagement."

The theme of this year’s event is Living Systems. Participating artists were invited to explore what constitutes a living system, resulting in a convergence of local, national and international creative pioneers from the fields of futurism, technology, sustainability, media and art.

“Our events are about putting things together in new and different ways that, combinations and associations you wouldn't normally f ind,” said Duval. “There will be tons of things to play with and interact with.”

Musical headliner will be Ian MacLagan and the Bump Band. Ian MacLagan is a living system unto himself. “Mac’s 40-year-career is a node on huge spiderweb network where if you tug on any thread, or musician in the network, it goes back to Mac,” said Duval. “He has played with everybody.” The event will also feature 15 other bands, including Hipnautica, Black Pig Liberation Front, Exstus, Tolera Storm, DJ John Gomi and Beatimprint.

Representing the sustainability community will be Urban Roots, an Austin group that teaches urban youth how to grow their own food and learn entrepreneurial skills, Austin Green Art, which will have a mobile farm, and Edible Austin, which will have farmers on hand to answer questions.

Plutopia will be showcasing a diverse group of performers and speakers. The Heather Gold Show will be returning to Plutopia for the second time with Something From Nothing,exploring "how we discover the value hidden within ourselves and around us and turn 'nothing' into something." Futurist author Bruce Sterling will talk about his new project, The User’s Guide to Imaginary Gadgets. Transhumanist philosopher Natasha Vita-More will be doing a presentation on The Media Arts of Human Enhancement.

Scattered throughout Palmer Event Center’s main exhibition hall and atrium will be 70 art installations and exhibitions with artists from Austin, San Francisco, New York, Britain and Thailand. Notable artists include Stanza, Max More, Allucquere Rosanne Stone and Christian Kerrigan.

Plutopia is free to SXSW badge holders, and is open to the general public. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit EFF-Austin and Urban Roots.

Plutopia’s 2009 Sponsors include The Futures Lab, SXSW, Laughing Squid, FG Squared, Door64, Social Web Strategies and Texas Rollergirls.

For more information, see www.plutopia .org. For media inquiries and artist interviews, please contact Jon Lebkowsky, jonl at

V. Vale's San Francisco Values

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 05, 2009 | 3:22:49 PM

*Y'know, I don't normally post these RE/SEARCH emanations, but every once in a while somebody blunders onto this website through a Google search, and then they read one of these V. Vale things and their head explodes.  Makes it worth it right there.

*I ran into Vale  a few months ago in Barcelona, and he looked just as chipper as he always does; you think he'd be some kind of absinthe-reeking, impossibly sinister transgressive bohemian, but no, he's basically a poetry-bookstore clerk perkily nourished on brown rice and veggies.


RE/SEARCH | 20 Romolo #B | San Francisco CA 94133 | 415.362.1465 | |

**IF YOU LIVE IN San Francisco BAY AREA, PLEASE **REPLY** TO THIS NEWSLETTER IF YOU WISH TO RECEIVE LAST-MINUTE LOCAL NEWS OF RE/SEARCH-recommended EVENTS! In subject line please write "local subscribe"

1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR Re: Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, Annie's Social Club, etc
2. Counter Culture Hour featuring Eric Debris from Metal Urbain, 1977 French Punk Band.
3. What We've Attended/What We've Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We've Been Sent..
5. Stephane von Stephane on traffic tickets, "Enemy of the State," "Dark Angel"
6. Ian Webster on Shows at Annie's Social Club, The Uptown
7. Recommended Links
9. Feedback from Readers
please add to your ADDRESS BOOK. If you change your email, send it plus your "old" email address to delete. Lastly, forward our newsletter to your friends! If you are on aol, please make sure you can receive our newsletter -  we get the most returns from addresses at AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo!

+AT LAST: our BURNING MAN LIVE book is allegedly being shipped THIS WEEK -- we'll believe it when we see the shipment at our warehouse ! Our thanks to all who pre-ordered -- we'll ship 'em out ASAP!
+IN STOCK/Now Shipping: PRONNOVATION: P0RNOGRAPHY & TECHNOLOGY, some color photos ("A  must!" - Charles Gatewood) $25 plus $5 ship  (only 1000 printed! - blame it on "the times"...) Printed in Austria.
+ IN STOCK: LEARY ON DRUGS - recent RE/Search book $20 plus $5 shipping -  (only 1500 printed)
+BRAND NEW, JUST IN: Noir Satanist JIMMY VARGAS's new CD: BLACK HALO 5 & 6, 2005-2008 $16 plus $5 shipping (15 copies)
+WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS T-shirt in SIZE LARGE almost sold out! If you've ever wanted it, order it now; who knows if it will ever be reprinted, in this economy!
+ RE/Search LOGO T-shirt $25. S,M,L,XL. Red logo on 100% cotton Black T-Shirt. Only 100 made.
+ INCREDIBLY STRANGE MUSIC VOL ONE - has "the best" LUX INTERIOR/IVY interview!  Last copies $25 plus $5 shipping.
+INDUSTRIAL CULTURE HANDBOOK HARDBACK deluxe paper $40 plus $5 shipping ($60 on amazon)
+PRANKS 2 deluxe paper $25 plus $4 ship - AUTOGRAPHED BY YES MEN! (ask for it) - newsletter special
+PRANKS deluxe hardback printed on glossy paper $40 plus $5 shipping (not available elsewhere)
+SEARCH & DESTROY- 8 original issues (1977-79) only $40 plus $10 shipping (includes one 1987 reprint).  Experience  Punk Rock as it was happening...

   1.  MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR: We hope to see you at the (FREE) Anarchist Book Fair Sat-Sun March 14-15 11-6pm at County Fair Building, Lincoln/9th Ave. This is one of the great social gatherings of the year, with visitors from all over the world, and RE/SEARCH will be selling books at discounted prices, along with Charles Gatewood, City Lights, Manic D, and Ken Knabb of Situationist International renown. For schedule and other information see

If you live in the Bay Area and have never been to the Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel (California/Powell St, SF) we urge you to go there during Happy Hour (food used to be free, but now they charge) and experience the every-20-minute rainstorm, the Tikis, and the general ambience -- walk around and appreciate all the details! We hear that the Tonga Room may soon be closed, so please sign this petition to Save the Tonga Room

We are, like everyone else, soliciting feedback as to the "true" state of the economy now. Walking around North Beach and San Francisco, we see all these expensive restaurants filled with -- tourists? -- and life seems to be proceeding as "normal." Yet we feel like we're living in the days just before the Fall of Rome, or before the Black Plague hit, or before the Great Depression launched its Slow Motion Apocalypse [thanks, Joe Donohoe]. Should we be hoarding water purifiers, rice and beans, and flashlight batteries? We notice that cornflakes are very hard to get at Trader Joe's -- next time they come in (if they ever do), we'll buy ten boxes. We feel the end of all the cheap Chinese-made staples we rely on is nigh; when China finally wakes up and stops sending us "merch" on credit, everyone will wake up and realize that nothing is manufactured in America anymore, and  further, nobody remembers how to manufacture anything. The de-industrialization of America by global corporations (saying Eff You to labor unions) has left us citizens staring around dazedly in a false economy, then going back to our web surfing. The whole country is like a hospice full of mental patients who no longer know how to do anything that requires skill (besides consume) in the real world. The future heroes will be machinists, plumbers, welders, electricians, sewer workers, mechanics, and construction workers. Please send us your thoughts, especially if you live in some place other than San Francisco!

Just got the mail (Wed, March 4) and discovered a new favorite, all-color, beautifully designed art book: ROBERT DELFORD BROWN: MEAT, MAPS AND MILITANT METAPHYSICS. Now, we at RE/Search have long considered Robert Delford Brown to have been, like Duchamp, one of the most varied and comprehensive "predictors" of what future culture would look like, and we featured him in our first PRANKS! book (still available from us). Briefly, he crossed more barriers between art and non-art than almost any other artist, and his output still remains challenging, outrageous, and thought-provoking -- not to mention, inspirational. We can't recommend this book highly enough (the production by Mark Bloch is "perfect"), and, probably like our RE/Search books, you will need to order it direct -- in this case, from Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th St, Wilmington, NC 28412. (Disclosure: this book contains an interview with WALTER HOPPS by V. VALE, on the creative output of Robert Delford Brown.)

We're looking forward to the THROBBING GRISTLE concert in San Francisco April 23 -- seems impossible it could really happen -- and hope that most of our readers will support this ultra rare occurrence, like seeing Hailey's Comet. RE/Search put Throbbing Gristle's Genesis P-Orridge in Search & Destroy #6, RE/Search #1, RE/Search #4/5: William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle and Brion Gysin; the INDUSTRIAL CULTURE HANDBOOK, MODERN PRIMITIVES and MODERN PAGANS.We guarantee you that the evening will be "interesting." For us the reunion concert will function like a kind of historical / biographical marker... stages along life's way.

   2.  Counter Culture Hour - V. Vale talks with Eric Debris of METAL URBAIN about the early French Punk Scene, etc.  NOW ON-LINE AND on cable access San Francisco 6:30pm Pacific Time, Sat March 14, 2009 on-line ( - channel 1) as well as cable Channel 29, San Francisco.
     Would you like to have a Counter Culture Hour showing in your town? Please write and ask us how you can do this!
      Now, if you live near Albany, New York, you can check the March schedule for VALENTINE'S Club. Evan Keller will screen our Counter Culture Hour interview  featuring JIHAD JERRY (Gerald V. Casale, DEVO). Write us for more details -

   3. What We've Attended/What We've Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We've Been Sent

() Another ineffably poignant, memorable evening at our favorite club in San Francisco, Annie's Social Club, Folsom/5th St: Sat, Feb 28, with Naked Lady Wrestlers (featuring Max Volume), No Alternative (Max Volume on bass), and Negative Trend (with guest vocalist Zach Williams (son of Ricky Williams, Sleepers vocalist) doing a Sleepers song -- "he sounded like a teenage Ricky Williams." For some reason, seeing Ricky Williams' son singing (at age 21) was particularly moving...

Best of all was the opportunity to talk with five musicians from the 1977 San Francisco "Punk Movement" and revel in their rebelliousness (still sustained), mordant wit, acute memories, and especially to discover how their musicianship has grown quite naturally (despite Punk's critique of musical virtuosity for its own sake)  -- well, after all, evolution is an inevitable consequence of sustained exploratory improvisation, play, practice, and sheer creative inventiveness.

Refreshingly, there were no monster-size egos present. Johnny Genocide coaxed haunting, beautiful, echoing, feedback guitar sounds out of his amp, in his version of Link Wray's "Rumble." Michael Belfer (Sleepers/Tuxedo Moon guitarist) told a hilarious story of being present when Mark Pauline detonated a birthday cake for Steven Brown of Tuxedo Moon, spraying and temporarily deafening sisters Janie and Jerry when they jumped INTO the cake as some kind of "Punk Theatre." Max Volume played amazingly rapid-fire bass as well as he plays guitar, and talked about what he brought to the Bay Area Punk Scene. Bruce Loose of Flipper, as sardonic as ever, discussed philosophy and crime, and how some of the best stories that happened in the 70s Punk Era could not be told, as certain individuals are still alive. Flipper has began rehearsing with a girl bassist. Craig Gray, Negative Trend guitarist, clearly remembered a conversation I had had with him back in 1977 on "how to write songs," and delivered a particularly scathing critique of Facebook, MySpace, and the Internet in general -- very funny. (Guess you had to have been there...) Chris Olson, original OFFS drummer, gave me his CRUELSWEET FOLIO #3 CD ( If only all of us could be in the same room more often, rather than once every thirty years...

() Last month we attended the celebration for Rene Daalder's film on Timothy Leary at 111 Minna St and met a woman who gave us some advice: "Whenever anyone asks you to do anything, tell them NO. No matter what it is. Just say NO. NO. You have to practice saying this. NO. That gives you time to walk away and deliberate about the request. Otherwise, you simply don't have enough time, solitude and calmness to THINK..."



FREE, Thursday, March 5, 8 pm. Gomorrah, movie about La Camorra crime tribe in Naples, Italy, now more powerful than Sicily's Cosa Nostra. The book (which the movie was based on) was so popular in Italy that the author, Roberto Saviano, remains under permanent police protection. New Nothing, 16 Sherman, SF.
FREE, Thursday, March 5, 7pm. John Law signing his new book, The Space Between, a collection of 3 stories inspired by Law's obsession with bridges. City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave, SF. "I'm also presenting a slide show with stories of various Bridge adventures over the years. After the signing/reading/slide show at City Lights, we may have yet another 'adventure'..." - J. Law. RE/SEARCH WILL ATTEND!!

FREE: Thur March 5, 6pm, SF Public Library, Main Branch, "Evolution of San Francisco" lectures by Rand Richards, Chris Carlsson, Peter Booth Wiley. Followed by book signing and sale.

FREE, Friday, March 6, 6 pm. Visit Andy Warhol's 1960's New York @ Amoeba's 3rd Annul Art Show. Dress in '60's clothes. The event will be a recreation of Warhol's Factory. If you bring a Campbell's soup can for donation, you'll be entered in a contest to win prizes. Featuring Velvet Underground cover bands. 1343 Powell Street  (@ Doyle St.), Emeryville, CA.

Friday March 6, 7 pm. Poetry & Pizza. Monthly event featuring local poets and free pizza. The event is usually held at Escape From New York Pizza in the Financial District but it's in Potrero Hill this month. San Francisco Center for the Book. 300 De Haro. St (@ 16th St.), San Francisco. $5,

Saturday March 7,  8 pm. Monochrom Presents: Soviet Unterzoegersdorf release party. "The computer game is a tribute to the proud yet imperiled republic of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf (pronounced «oon-taa-tsee-gars-doorf»), the last existing appendage republic of the USSR." Special Non Player Guest Characters: // Jello Biafra, Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, Emmanuel /Goldstein, Mitch Altman, Bre Pettis, David 'DaddyD' Dempsey, Kyle Machulis, MC Frontalot, Eddie Codel, Irina Slutsky, Christian 'plomlompom' Heller, Jason Scott Sadofsky, Hans Bernhard, Robert Stachel (maschek) -- and many more. Ticket Info: $5 entry, display passport for free Vodka shot. Chez Poulet, 3359 Cesar Chavez Street, San Francisco. RE/SEARCH WILL BE PRESENT - monochrom's new PRONNOVATION book will be available for autographing!!

FREE, Sat March 7, 7pm-midnight. Serpent Mother Art Opening On Treasure Island.
"Join us for a special art exhibition of the Serpent Mother. There has never been a sculpture like the Serpent Mother. The warmth of her embrace and her coiling design create an atmospheric space in which over a thousand people can stand. Her 168' long stainless steel spine coils around the massive space, while her 20' long neck and head tower over her audience.

"The audience takes control, however, by directing her movement, raising her hydraulically- actuated neck and opening her fanged mouth. Full audience participation makes each installation a singular experience - come make it happen. We hope you will join us for this fun and free gallery reception. Links: 200 California Ave., Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, 94130 See for directions."

Sat March 7, 8pm, World Premiere of The Paul Dresher Ensemble Production of Schick Machine Collaboratively created by: Paul Dresher - Composer, Instrument Inventor and Builder, Steven Schick - Performer/Percussionist, Rinde Eckert - Director/Writer, Matt Heckert - Mechanical Sound Artist, & Others. The mysteriously-packed subterranean workshop of the (possibly mad,  possibly genius) inventor, sound collector and audio philosopher Lazlo Klangfarben. His invention: the Schick Machine - an uber-algorhytm, a logic instrument made from a giant motorized hurdy gurdy that produces heavenly sounds, a deconstructed pipe organ played with electrical mallets, and indescribable metal machines that seem to be alive. You ask:  "What IS this stuff? DINKELSPIEL AUDITORIUM, 471 Lagunita Dr, Stanford University PALO ALTO. FOR TICKETS PHONE: 650-725-ARTS (2787) Or on-line at

Sunday, March 8. Indie Mart. Local  designers, vintage, music, good times. The Independent, 628 Divisadero St. (@ Hayes St.), San Francisco, $2 suggested donation.
Sunday, March 8. 7:30-10:45 pm. Lupino Noir. At 7:30pm: The Bigamist (1953). At 9:45. Outrage (1950). Ida Lupino, who has been called "the poor  man's Bettie Davis," left Warner Bros and started her own production company with her husband, making low-budget films, including the two noir films shown at Lupino Noir. PFA Theater, 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. $7.

FREE. Thur, March 12, 5-8pm Opening, The Art Gallery, 1650 Holloway Ave, SF 94132. 415.338-2580. Mgr Daniel Paez. - DON ED HARDY ("From his passion for tattoo...filled with layeres of visual references and an ecstatic spirit, his mixed-media objects are very personal.") Also artwork by Beiing artists Huang Yan and Liu Xiaodong, and Korean-American artist Debbie Han. Curator: Daphne Fang.

FREE, Friday, March 13, 7 pm. Independent Erotic Film Festival 2009 Party. DJ, Panel Discussion, free cocktails, presented by Good Vibrations. Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission Street (@ 11th St.), San Francisco.
FREE, Sat March 14, 11 am-6 pm and Sunday, March 15, 11 am-5 pm. 14th Annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. Presented by Bound Together Anarchist Book Collective. Speakers include Diana de Prima, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz,  among others.  RE/Search will be there with Charles Gatewood. We'll have a few promotional copies of various RE/SEARCH books at half price! This is possibly the best free event of the year! SF County Fair Building, 9th and Lincoln in Golden Gate Park. Delicious Vegan food, too.

Pay-What-You-Can, Thursday, March 19, 8 pm. The Symmetry Project performance. "A journey through perception, two naked bodies interact through a highly structured improvisational score. Revealing the body's awkwardness, it's monstrosity, its potential failure & finiteness, they create space for the unknown, the ecstatic, & the infinite." CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission Street, San Francisco.

$$$: March 27-29: writing weekend workshop with Beat Legend/EtAl DIANE DI PRIMA FOR WOMEN ONLY in a beautiful heated cabin near Sebastopol. TUITION $350 (includes accommodations) $100 deposit required in advance. INFO: GERI DIGIORNO (707) 763-4271

FREE, Noon. April 1 (April Fool's Day!) 2009. The 31st Annual St. Stupid's Parade. Embarcadero Plaza. Market/Embarcadero streets. Bring pennies, socks, dead lottery tickets, signs, tar, feathers, and a stupider-than-thou attitude. We think that the parade will end at North Beach Playground. Columbus/Greenwich. That nite there will be a bash with numerous bands at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St. Details at - thanx, Bishop Joey.

FREE, April 9, 6 pm. Underground music legend Dex Romweber live. Made famous by "psycho-surf-rockabilly -garage-punk" combo Flat Duo Jets. Was in 1987 cult classic film Athens, GA Inside Out with B-52s and REM and now has a new album out, which includes guest appearences by Neko Case, Cat Power, Exene Cervenka, and Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids. Amoeba Music, 2455 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley.

FREE, Sunday, April 12. 2 pm. Dance Salon: Performance and Talk with Emerging Choreographers, featuring Bare Bones Butoh revisiting childhood experiences with Southern Baptist tent revivals in rural Oklahoma; Boathouse & Co. Productions merging a classic story with present-day themes; Jennifer Gwirtz exploration of birth & the mother/child relationship; & work from Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble. CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission Street, San Francisco.
Thurs, April 23. Throbbing Gristle. TG will play a 75 minute set. Only 200 tickets left! Grand Regency Ballrooom, 1290 Sutter Street & Van Ness, San Francisco. $30.  Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetiime event. (Throbbing Gristle were featured in our RE/Search #4/5 and our Industrial Culture Handbook)

April 24, 2009: Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 90th Birthday! Send him a card c/o City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF CA 94133.

   5. Stephane von Stephane  Memo from Meta-center; state of things, recently; as bizarre as always. Channeling Lenny Bruce; What the fcuk, how did Cheney and cronnies get away with bleeding the country dry and padding their pals' wallets with military Iraq destruction/ reconstruction contracts? How the fcuk do we let that happen? The 9/11 excuse to take away our civil liberties is p-ssing me the hell off lately.
    I got a traffic ticket in Oaktown; cruised partially through a right turn on red, stopped, but not long enough or in the right place according to the surveillance tapes of myself which I had the pleasure to view a month later at the police station. It was late at night, no traffic, extremely dark corner off a freeway exit in a sketchy area of town. I just wanted to get the hell around the corner and to Jack London Square to spend money at the movies in Oaktown. After this I no longer want to visit Oaktown for any reason at all. $381 for a kind-of, but-not-really, Moving Violation? That's a load of cr*p! It
was so damn dark until suddenly 3000 flashes of light! I was so stunned and blinded I could have run over anyone or anything in my path. Absurd and dangerous! So, I get pretty pictures of me in the mail and the surveillance tape makes it look like it's mid-day sunshine, you can see every detail, when in fact, one could barely see the crosswalk at the stoplight!!!
    I think people would actually feel safe to stop there in the appropriate place and for the appropriate amount of time if there were a few light standards there and a person could actually see a few feet ahead of their vehicles. But, NO, the city likes the income from these surveillance tickets too much. I feel like going into the courthouse with 50 cameras attached to my body and taking flash photos of the judge. "How do YOU like it, huh?" Stunned??? Blinded??? Of course I wouldn't make it past the metal detector in a camera 'art' statement outfit. I'd be in contempt of court if I tried to take a photo, no doubt.
    I just watched 'Enemy of the State' (director Tony Scott) on the TV yesterday. Great film. Came out in 1998 and is about sneaky government plots and spy satellites. Predates but is prophetic of a post 9-11 world. Rent it. This reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows, 'Dark Angel' (by James Cameron). Came out in 2000, was canceled the next season (after 9-11). Rent it. It is about a slightly future world where communications systems are blown out of whack and the U.S. has become 3rd-world-ish. A group of genetically engineered (very pretty) assassins are being trained in a top secret government facility. Some have escaped and are trying to lead 'normal' lives. This show also pre-dates but prophesizes a post 9-11 world, and was replaced by FOX with the show '24'; a perfect propaganda piece to make us learn to love the rogue Counter-Terrorist agent who breaks all the rules (and infringes upon people's civil liberties). What perfect timing that was, now that I think of it. Big Brother IS watching us.
    War is Peace. Love is Hate. Etc. Etc. Turn your neighbor in before they turn you in. It's here. It's fear, get used to it. Maybe things will change with Barry O. Bam-Bam in office. One thing is certain: Hillary looks hot in her Secretary of State travelin' togs. ~ Stephane von Stephane

   6.  Ian Webster on Shows at Annie's Social Club, The Uptown:

    Dec 27, 2008, Annie's Social Club. The Jack Saints ( opened with a fast and furious Punk set, followed by a minimalist, PETA, fluffy furry duo called Lost Puppy. Horror-X then brought their slightly over-modulated brand of Punkabilly to the stage (moustache and fedora). The headliners, Unko Atoma, straddled the precarious line between Pop and Punk, ranging from unison/harmonic vocals on some numbers to a cover of "The KKK Took My Baby Away."
    Jan 4, 2009, Annie's Social Club. Clodhopper is one of the angriest bar bands I've heard in recent times. Next were the TOILING MIDGETS, whose heavily chorused minor chords occasionally rose to intense peaks. Saw Meri St-Mary, Ronnie Guitar, Paul Draper (ex-Sleepers) and the late Ricky Williams' son ZACH, amongst others.
    Jan 31, 2009, The Uptown, Oakland. The Pleasure Kills ( opened the evening with edgy Pop-Punk. Lydiot's excellent voice and Jeffrey Ject's showmanship on the keyboard were especially entertaining. Next The Disciples ( presented a more raw emotionality, with savage, nihilistic rage. Finally, Punk Rock veterans THE AVENGERS played a set of their anthemic classics. In the audience were Alan Korn (ex-Catheads), Meri St-Mary (Housecoat Project, Sex Is A Witch), Carol Detweiler (Pink Section), Dominique leslie (Animal Things), Jimmy Crucifix, Carol Lennon and Nicki Sick (Verbal Abuse), among others.
    Feb 13, Rock-it-Room. on a tip from Mia (Frightwig)'s daughter, I went to see Maniac Martys (myspace/maniacmartyrs) perform at a Battle of the Bands contest -- and they were the most original band of the evening. The theremin/synthesizer played by Gremeleon (aka Greg Burger) complemented Mia d'Bruzi's psychedelic guitar. Britannic Zane (vocals, programming), Doctor Sparrow (drums) and Rachel Thoele (bass, ex-Sex Is a Witch and Mudwimmmin) provided a rhythmic base for the vocals of Deadsey McAllister, Dick Fitzwell, and Bonnie Bess (the Opera wench). - Ian Webster

   7. RECOMMENDED LINKS - thanks to our friends Phil G, Ferrara, James McN-, Derek B. &  Others who send us links.

()  from Jon Sarriugarte:

() from Johnny Strike:

() from gary c:

() from Bruno R:

() from Phil G: <>

() from Alan K: "1976 Santa Cruz Poetry Festival I mentioned that featured Burroughs, etc.   It's at ""

() from Margaret T:  - Curt McDowell: an uneven dozen broken hearts. Feb 15 - Mar 29, 2009, Sundays (noon-5pm)  [ 2nd floor projects ]

() from Ken Knabb: "Kenneth Rexroth's review of Harold Gilliam's "San Francisco Bay"
The site also presents a rich selection of Rexroth's San Francisco newspaper
and magazine columns -- . Sometimes
chatty, sometimes scathing, but always provocative, Rexroth examined every
facet of San Francisco's cultural and political life as it was happening during the pivotal period from 1960 to 1975.

() from Robert Turman: new radio show started this week Wednesdays at midnight EST

() from Karen M: smoking baby:


() from James McN: (Pete Townsend)

() from Lena S:   "Toxicology Lyricists" and "Dro-oling Hillbillies" are my particular favorites from the Official Proceedings.

() from Winston S:

() from Michel Pennec: : , a video I shot at last year's Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival.

() from Terese L:"

() from Robert H:  "Nice survey. Anything comparable in S.F. or LA?"


() "If you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning." - Andy Warhol

() "If you look at a thing long enough, no matter how beautiful it is, it becomes ugly." - Anonymous

()  "Rogue state" is a term for a state that threatens world peace. Usually a rogue state meets specific criteria: it is ruled by an authoritarian regime that severely restricts human rights, sponsors terrorism, and seeks or utilizes weapons of mass destruction...and [deploys] the suspension of law in a state of emergency-branded "the war on terror." - received email, no URL

() "The challenge is to not become cynical; for the artist, cynicism is death." - Robert Fripp, recent diary entry

()  "The stock market and the International Banking System are all a kind of Ponzi scheme..."

() "We buy things. We wear them or put them on our walls, or sit on them, but anyone who wants to can take them away from us. Or break them... Objects survive us and go on living. It's stupid to believe we own them... and for them to be so important." - Donna Leon, "Quietly in Their Sleep," p.74 (US paperback)

() "The important trail to follow was the one left by money." [Where did Bernard Madoff's $50 Billion end up?] "The place where it began was usually a given: the person from whom the money was taken, either by force or by craft. The other end, where the trail finished, was the difficult one to find, just as it as the more vital one, for it was there that would be found the person who had practiced the craft or the force. CUI BONO?" [Who gains?] ... "find the end of the trail." ibid, p.30

() "If you put people on a diet, they start thinking about food. Or if you make someone stop smoking, all they think about is cigarettes..." ibid, pp.184-185

() "The Voyage of the Beagle ... It's an important book, probably one of the most important books of the modern world. That and The Origin of Species." ... It would be a lovely book to read on vacation, I think. All those beaches. All those lovely animals." ibid, pp.105-106

() "In the future Internet landscape, free writers and musicians will replace paid writers and musicians. Quantity will replace Quality." - Andre Peret


()  "I used to work with Timothy Leary in the 80's and early 90's and I was googling something and stumbled on the RE/Search site. Of course, I've known your publications for many years but didn't know you had released LEARY ON DRUGS! [So I ordered it.] I miss Timothy terribly...I would love to hear Tim's wisdom and wit at a time like now. Hope you are well. Best - Andrew in Europe"

() "Dear V. - Thank you for your William S. Burroughs birthday party Feb 5 at Beat Museum, it was nice and quiet evening with good energy, thank you for Charles Gatewood and thank you for photos and stories...
    "I know you did not have time to read some material by W.S.B. you prepared  (you had those piles of papers;  I wondered what healthy virus was there). Here is the question: maybe you could put some of those materials on the web?!!  I would be delighted to read it. Thank you for your spirit and things you've done and still doing.
    "I am a little guy from Poland who lives in Oakland and learns English (and American culture) from guys like you and my favorite American writer: William B. Burroughs. - dziekuje  (thank you... in Polish)"

() from Kimric Smythe: " I am ashamed that I was not aware of this till now.
"Bob May, 69, died in Lancaster, CA on January 18th from congestive heart failure. The actor performed on many TV shows but is best known for performing The Robot on Lost in Space. Though May didn't perform the voice (Dick Tufeld did that), he took the role very seriously and made a point of learning all of the other actors' lines so that he'd be ready to respond. May and his wife lost their home in November when wildfires destroyed an upscale mobile home park in the San Fernando Valley."

() "The Genius Of The Crowd - Charles Bukowski

"there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

"and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

"those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

"beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

"but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to ki-ll you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

"like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock
"their finest art" - sent by Graham Rae

"Think that snow is falling.
Think that snow is falling everywhere all the time.
When you talk with a person, think
that snow is falling between you and
on the person.
Stop conversing when you think the
person is covered by snow.
-- Yoko Ono, summer 1963"

()  from Graham Rae: "Ben & Jerry created a "Yes Pecan!" ice cream flavor for Obama. They then asked people to come up with a name for a George W. Bush ice cream flavor. Here are some of their favorite responses...
  *       Grape Depression
        *       Abu Grape
       *       Cluster Fudge
   *       Nut'n Accomplished
      *       Iraqi Road
      *       Chock 'n Awe
    *       Wire Tapioca
    *       Impeach Cobbler
*       Guantanamallow
  *       imPeachmint
        *       Good Riddance You Lousy M-therfucker Swirl
        *       Heck of a Job Brownie
   *       Neocon Politan
  *       RockyRoad to Fascism
    *       The Reese's-cession
        *       Cookie D'oh!
                Nougalar Proliferation
        *       Chunky Monkey in Chief
        *       George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate
   *       WMDelicious
        *       Chocolate Chimp
        *       Caramel Preemptive Stripe"

() from Graham Rae again: "CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYBODY WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930's 1940's, 50's, 60's and early 70's !

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.
Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Bubble Gum and some firecrackers to blow up frogs with.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old buggies and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY, no video/dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents.
Only girls had pierced ears!
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time...
We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL !
I can see you all nodding your heads and saying, "Yes, that's right!"
And YOU are one of them!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.
And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were."

MARCH 2009 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale, Ilana Fried & other contributors. Newsletter and website powered by
DISCLAIMER : If you're receiving V. VALE's newsletter, it's because you **or someone you know** has sent your address to us, or signed our mailing list at an event!
RE/SEARCH | 20 Romolo #B | San Francisco CA 94133 | 415.362.1465 | |

Kim Stanley Robinson: Postcapitalist

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 04, 2009 | 11:16:39 AM

*Y'know, he's a science fiction writer, and he's never lacked for out-there visionary brio either, but here he is really, really trying to talk coherent practical sense to the unwitting public here. I'd give him a medal, if I had a medal to give.

"Given this analysis, what are my suggestions?

"Believe in science.

"Believe in government, remembering always that it is of the people, by the people, and for the people, and crucial in the current situation.

"Support a really strong follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol.

"Institute carbon cap-and-trade systems.

"Impose a carbon tax designed to charge for the real costs of burning carbon.

"Follow the full “Green New Deal” program now coming together in discussions by the Obama administration.

"Structure global economic policy to reward rapid transitions from carbon-burning to carbon-neutral technologies.

"Support the full slate of human rights everywhere, even in countries that claim such justice is not part of their tradition.

"Support global universal education as part of human-rights advocacy.

"Dispense with all magical, talismanic phrases such as “free markets” and promote a larger systems analysis that is more empirical, without fundamentalist biases.

"Encourage all business schools to include foundational classes in ecology, environmental economics, biology, and history.

"Start programs at these same schools in postcapitalist studies.

"Does the word postcapitalism look odd to you? It should, because you hardly ever see it. We have a blank spot in our vision of the future. Perhaps we think that history has somehow gone away. In fact, history is with us now more than ever, because we are at a crux in the human story. Choosing not to study a successor system to capitalism is an example of another kind of denial, an ostrich failure on the part of the field of economics and of business schools, I think, but it’s really all of us together, a social aporia or fear. We have persistently ignored and devalued the future—as if our actions are not creating that future for our children, as if things never change. But everything evolves. With a catastrophe bearing down on us, we need to evolve at nearly revolutionary speed...".

American press too stupid, evil and cowardly to live, alleges left-wing reporter

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 03, 2009 | 9:57:57 AM

*Some stinging stuff here, but how come EVERYBODY ELSE's newspapers are also dying? In London KGB guys are buying newspapers for one pound.

The American Media Misdiagnosis

By Robert Parry

March 2, 2009

It’s widely agreed that there are a number of factors dragging down American newspapers, including the economic recession and the impact of the Internet, but a reason rarely mentioned is that the national news media failed in its most important job – to serve as a watchdog for the people.

As Americans look out over the wreckage of the past three decades – and especially the last eight years – there have been too many times when the constitutionally protected U.S. news media didn’t raise the alarm or even joined in spreading misinformation that advanced the disastrous mismanagement of the U.S. economy and government.

Not that anyone should derive pleasure from watching once formidable institutions like the New York Times and the Washington Post fade into pale shadows of their former selves. (((There must be SOMEBODY enjoying this -- Rush Limbaugh, Voice of the People, leaps to mind.)))

But it also must be acknowledged that decisions by senior management of those and other top news organizations contributed to their own decline, especially the failure to stand up to the Right’s increasingly effective propaganda that emerged in the late 1970s in the wake of Richard Nixon’s Watergate debacle and the American defeat in Vietnam.

The Right was determined to prevent “another Watergate” and “another Vietnam.” So, key Republican strategists, such as former Treasury Secretary William Simon, (((I don't know Mr Simon personally, but I bet he's kinda surprised to learn that he destroyed American journalism))) went to work building their own media infrastructure, which included special groups to attack mainstream reporters who got in the way.

Rather than standing up to this pressure and defending the kind of aggressive journalism that exposed Nixon’s criminality and the lies behind the Vietnam War, many major news organizations consciously retreated from that watchdog tradition. [See Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

At the New York Times, neoconservative executive editor Abe Rosenthal talked about moving his newspaper “back to the center,” by which he meant to the right. Washington Post chairwoman Katharine Graham also was uncomfortable with the adversarial position of her newspaper and sidled up to President Ronald Reagan when he came to power in 1981.

When I was hired at Washington Post-owned Newsweek in 1987 – supposedly to pursue the Iran-Contra scandal that I had helped expose while at the Associated Press – I was surprised to find senior Newsweek executives fretting about the possibility that Iran-Contra could become another Watergate.

The very company (the Washington Post), which was credited with blowing the whistle on Nixon’s Watergate crimes, seemed not to want “another Watergate,” in part because it might damage the generally friendly dinner-party relationships that had developed with the Reagan insiders, which in turn might upset Mrs. Graham. (((The press belonged to those rich enough to buy ink by the barrel.)))

I ran into this corporate reality when I pressed ahead with an investigation showing that the Iran-Contra scandal was not a rogue operation run by White House aide Oliver North and a few men of zeal – but rather was authorized and directed by President Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush with the active support of the CIA.

(((I'm thinking a CIA news magazine is in order, because otherwise it's going to become impossible for the CIA to plant stories. I mean, plant them in WHAT? They can't even leak stuff, there's nothing to leak on.)))

(((If the KGB owns a London newspaper why is the CIA sitting still? Aren't they supposed to be promulgating "intelligence"? Can't they at least start a blog?)))

I encountered hostility from Newsweek’s top brass in New York and little support from my immediate superiors in Washington. The message was that the Iran-Contra scandal should be wrapped up quickly, that it should not go any higher, and that additional digging would not be “good for the country.”

It was known inside Newsweek that executive editor Maynard Parker was cozy with key neoconservatives and the CIA, (((I hate to break it to this guy, but CIA people tend to be multilingual and highly educated, and they therefore know that neocons are ex-Trotskyite neanderthals))) while Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas was a great admirer of the neocon writers at The New Republic. It soon became clear that battling to tell Iran-Contra truths was not a route to career advancement.

Changing Journalism (((Kind of like "climate-changing journalism" -- maybe we should cut to the chase and describe the present scene as "global disaster journalism")))

More broadly, the character of journalism was changing, too.

Instead of the Watergate/Pentagon Papers image of scrappy reporters and hardened editors standing up to the powers-that-be, star journalists and well-paid executives were partaking in the riches and comforts of a then-booming industry with extra money to be made on TV pundit shows – if you stayed safely within the bounds of Washington’s “conventional wisdom.” (((CLASS WAR ON RICH JOURNALISTS! Get the popcorn.)))

In short, many people in the news business stopped being outsiders keeping an eye on the insiders for the American public, but rather they became insiders themselves.

And the fastest way to lose your lucrative insider status was to offend the Right, which was building a vast media infrastructure that could easily pick off the few reporters and editors who resisted this new paradigm.

By the time I left Newsweek in 1990, I was convinced that the mainstream U.S. news media had moved beyond a point where it could be reformed. It was becoming incapable of examining complex cases of wrongdoing either by the government or the private sector.

Yet, when I approached liberal foundations with my first-hand insights – and my recommendation that they must begin investing aggressively in a counter-media infrastructure – the reaction I received was usually one of bemusement. “We don’t do media” went one typical reaction. ((("Because we don't have money.")))

So, the downward media spiral continued, accelerated by the emergence of right-wing talk radio (which hammered even mildly center-left politicians like Bill Clinton) and cable news (which obsessed 24/7 on sensational crime stories, such as the O.J. Simpson case).

One of the reasons I founded in 1995 was that the market for well-documented stories about the serious wrongdoing of the Reagan-Bush-41 years had disappeared. That information was considered too historical as well as too risky.

By then, top media commentators also had bought into the insiders’ faith in globalization and deregulation as well as the value of a “tough-guy” foreign policy and a dismissive attitude toward tree-hugging environmentalists.

You could safely protect your future as a big-name media star if you parroted Bob Woodward's view that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was a “maestro,” if you followed the foreign policy lead of neocons like Charles Krauthammer and Fred Hiatt, or if you echoed Gregg Easterbrook’s critique of environmental extremists. (((At least he names names, which is kinda nice.)))

In Campaign 2000, the Washington press corps sank to its junior-high worst when it ganged up on nerd Al Gore and fairly swooned at the feet of big-man-on-campus George W. Bush.

Not only was there no warning about the danger of putting an unqualified dauphin like Bush in charge of the federal government, the major U.S. news media – led by the New York Times and the Washington Post – paved the way by treating Gore as a delusional braggart. [For details, see Neck Deep.]

The Bush-43 Era

Then, with Bush in place, the U.S. news media spent the crucial summer of 2001 obsessed with one of many white-girl-goes-missing stories – about Washington intern Chandra Levy who had had an affair with a Democratic congressman, Gary Condit. (((Hey, I hear an indictment is at hand. Apparently not, though.)))

(((Countdown ticking for first Obama-Administration centipede sex scandal.)))

Almost no attention was paid to the growing alarm inside the U.S. intelligence community about the prospects of a terrorist attack from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization. And once the attack took place on 9/11, the news media lined up unquestioningly behind Bush, who then mounted a public relations campaign to justify invading Iraq.

Besides failing to ask tough questions of Bush, the major U.S. news media joined in cheerleading for the go-go financial era, offering little or no substantive criticism of the dangers from a deregulated global economy. Indeed, any commentator who dared challenge the conventional wisdom about “free markets” and “free trade” almost surely would get drummed out of the media insider club.

(((Unless they were George Soros. Or, come to think of it, Warren Buffett.)))

The Washington Post became a prime example of all these trends – and did so in contradiction to the political views of much of its community, one of the most liberal in the country. Though facing competition only from two right-wing newspapers (the Washington Times and the Examiner), the Post charted a neocon editorial direction that often insulted its more liberal readers.

A typical day in the life of the Post’s editorial section offers up the writings of neocons like Krauthammer, William Kristol, Robert Kagan and editorial page editor Hiatt. (Hiatt oversaw an ugly campaign to discredit Iraq War critic Joseph Wilson, whose wife, covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, was exposed by senior officials in the Bush administration.) (((Wait a second, I thought the CIA were all neocons.)))

Besides the neocons, you might find more traditional conservatives like George Will and Kathleen Parker, plus laissez-faire economic writer Robert Samuelson and pro-Iraq War “insiders” like David Ignatius, Jim Hoagland and Richard Cohen.

Liberals, such as E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson, are almost always in a distinct minority.

So, when the Washington Post complains about its 77 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings, its loss of advertising during the economic downturn, its three rounds of staff buyouts, or its circulation struggles in the face of Internet competition, many Washingtonians may be inclined to say simply, “it’s your own damn fault.”

(((Unless they're French, in which case they look at their endless torrent of Carla coverage and they're like, "Sacre bleu.")))

Liberal Failings

But blame for America’s media mess also must fall on wealthy liberals and progressives (((can't we blame some of the poor liberals -- come on, they were citizens too))) who have largely stayed on the sidelines as the right-wing juggernaut rolled over honest reporters during the past three decades and thus made the fabrication of a false national narrative much easier.

The Left’s failure to engage on media also represents possibly the biggest threat to the young Obama presidency and to its ambitious reform agenda, which includes broader availability to health care, stronger environmental protections, more resources for education, help to unions, and investments in the national infrastructure. (((There better not be any rich guys or CIA people involved in this effort.)))

George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California-Berkeley, described this problem in a HuffingtonPost article on Feb. 24 entitled The Obama Code. Though the article focuses on how Obama frames his rhetorical arguments, Lakoff adds near the end:

“The conservative message machine is huge and still going. There are dozens of conservative think tanks, many with very large communications budgets. … About 80 percent of the talking heads on TV are conservatives.

“Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are as strong as ever. There are now progressive voices on MSNBC, Comedy Central, and Air America, but they are still overwhelmed by [the] Right's enormous megaphone.

“Republicans in Congress can count on overwhelming message support in their home districts and homes states. (((What's left of 'em.))) That is one reason why they were able to stonewall on the President's stimulus package. They had no serious media competition at home pounding out the Obama vision day after day.

“Such national, day-by-day media competition is necessary. Democrats need to build it. … The President and his administration cannot build such a communication system, nor can the Democrats in Congress. The DNC does not have the resources.

“It will be up to supporters of the Obama values, not just supporters on the issues, to put such a system in place. Despite all the organizing strength of Obama supporters, no such organizing effort is now going on.

“If none is put together, the movement conservatives will face few challenges of fundamental values in their home constituencies and will be able to go on stonewalling with impunity. That will make the President's vision that much harder to carry out.” (((Except when there are riots in the breadlines.)))

So, while it is undeniably true that the mainstream news media has failed the American people – and that the nation is paying a terrible price for that failure – it’s also true that liberals and progressives have contributed to the problem by seeing media as someone else’s responsibility.

Combined with the Right’s disinformation and the cowardice of the mainstream, the Left’s media blindness – the “we-don’t-do-media” syndrome – has enabled the unfolding American political/economic disaster, which has now carried the country and the world to the brink of a global depression.

It is way past time for people of goodwill to respond.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to


Javascript, the world's most misunderstood programming language

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 03, 2009 | 9:15:10 AM

*Critics of my Webstock critical speech are correctly pointing out that Javascript, "the duct-tape of the web," has almost nothing to do with Java, even though it was thoughtfully named "Java."

*Also Javascript has little or nothing to do with 'scripting.'

*And that is true! I was wrong! Literary critic that I am, I failed to see through the Web 2.0 veil of maya. I did not realize that "Javascript" is not just an oxymoron, but a flat-out deceptive obfuscation!

*Fail early, fail often, ladies and gentlemen.

"He looked out of his window and saw an oak tree, and at that moment the name of his language was changed to 'Oak'."

I am in Austin, where I am not parking my nonexistent car

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 03, 2009 | 8:46:01 AM

City may replace parking meters with solar-powered kiosks

Machines, which accept coins, debit cards and credit cards, would cost $8.4 million.

By Sarah Coppola


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Austin's old-fangled parking meters could soon be swapped for sleeker, more versatile models.

On Thursday, the City Council will vote on an $8.4 million contract with New-Jersey-based Parkeon for up to 750 solar-powered parking kiosks that accept coins and credit and debit cards. Parkeon would install 500 kiosks in and near downtown in September, October and November.

Austin's current 3,800 coin-only meters are 13 years old, and they broke 14,000 times last year, causing the city to lose as much as $500,000 in fees, fines and staff time.

"The existing meters were only designed to last 10 years," said Robert Spillar, Austin's director of transportation. Spillar said the city plans to replace most of the old meters....

I'm heading for Austin.

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 2:05:16 AMCategories: Arphid Watch  
*Just to be in Austin! Unlike Katherine Albrecht here, who is already in Austin, campaigning to liberate Texan puppies from RFID.

Hi, all:


I flew this morning to San Marcos, Texas, to weigh in against the city's mandatory dog microchipping ordinance. Now that a dog has died in his owner's arms, it's time we alert local officials to the dangers posed by the chips and start saying "no." Chipping should be a voluntary decision made by a pet owner, in consultation with his or her veterinarian, after weighing the risks. It should never be required at the point of a government gun.


I will be in Austin, Texas, tomorrow (Monday) for a media tour and a book signing in the evening. If you're in Austin, please join me at Brave New Books, across from the UT Austin campus, at 7:00 PM. I'll be signing copies of "Spychips" and will have DVDs available, too. (Or bring your own copy and I'll be glad to sign it!)

(((If you attend this gig in Austin, lemme know if she's signing the edition with the Bruce Sterling preface, or the Sterling-free SPYCHIPS edition fully-suited to Christian Mark O' The Beast campaigners.)))

I'll be joined by anti-NAIS campaigner Judith McGeary, anti-REAL-ID campaigner Sheila Dean, and fellow radio host Deborah Stevens. Four freedom-loving activist chicks in one bookstore? Wow! I hope they have the fire extinguishers on standby.... I hope you can come and join us. And if you're not in Texas, you can catch the video simulcast at starting around 7:00 Central.


Then on Tuesday, I'll be giving several talks in the San Marcos area (about 30 minutes south of Austin) on RFID, culminating in a candlelight vigil from 6:00-8:00 PM outside the San Marcos City Hall. All Texans are urged to join us and make your feelings known about mandatory microchip implants. Kids, dogs, friends, and guitars are all welcome. Local organizers will provide signs and flameless candles.

The vigil is being held in memorium for Charlie Brown (the chihuahua who died last month). (((<--- !))) We will gather outside the Council chambers during the San Marcos city council meeting which will decide the fate of the ordinance. I have sent an informational packet to the Mayor, to each City Council member, and to each member of the Animal Control board, and offered to testify at the meeting.

Details on both events can be found at the website under "Texas Protest." To learn more about implantable microchips, read our FAQ at:


An interview I did with Bob Unruh of WorldNet Daily made it to the front page of the Drudge Report today:;=90008

The article sounds the alarm on Janet Napolitano's recent statements about dumping the unpopular REAL ID program in favor of the much worse "Enhanced Driver's License" program. (Can you say... Spychipped! RFID-laced! Remotely trackable! 30-foot read range! National ID card! NOOOO!!) I don't have to tell you what a bad idea that is.

The WorldNet Daily / Drudge article was based on an interview I did with Michigan State Rep. Paul Opsommer, which I have posted on my website here:;=article&id;=3040&Itemid;=134


After all the bad news, I have some very good news. The world's most private search engine, Ixquick, is sponsoring me in an upcoming series of privacy videos. Starting in the next few weeks (as soon as we get the video studio set up) I will be recording one video per week on current privacy and technology topics. We'll keep you posted on where you can watch them as soon as the project goes live. Whee!

Meanwhile, I hope you've made the switch to Ixquick, the only search engine that has been third-party-certified (and certified by me) not to record your IP address. Given the way things are going these days, I urge you to dump the search engine "big guys" and made the switch. You don't need your every search going into a DHS dossier.


That's it for now. Wish me luck and say a prayer for me -- and the dogs (((<---))) -- as I share what I know about microchip implants with the good people of San Marcos.

In freedom,



Dr. Katherine Albrecht

Syndicated Radio Host, "The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show"

Genesis Communications Network, M-F 4-6 PM EST

Show Website:

Listen Live: (Click "Stream 2")


Archives of all past shows available at Founder and Director, CASPIAN Consumer Privacy Co-author of "SPYCHIPS: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID" The award-winning bestseller and definitive critique of RFID WEBSITES: Human/Animal Chipping: RFID: Shopper Cards: Bio online at: ============================================================ USE IXQUICK, THE PRIVACY-PROTECTING SEARCH ENGINE ============================================================ ===================================================================== ABOUT CASPIAN

CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999 and irresponsible RFID use since 2002. With thousands of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.

You're welcome to duplicate and distribute this message to others who may find it of interest. =====================================================================

Jonathan Zittrain riffs on fungible brainpower

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 10:28:58 PM

"Brought to you by Nokia."


"Routing Burger King Orders to Montana or Bangalore

"Then, in the mid zone, you have enterprises like LiveOps. LiveOps is a firm where to apply to work as a contractor for it, you endure an approximately fourteen hour test, administered completely over the Internet, by a computer, to you, through your computer. It makes sure you can be set up with all the equipment you need, a headset, a microphone, a camera, and all that on your computer. Then, it tests your reading comprehension, your alternate language skills, so it is not just English, all that kind of stuff. About 3,000 people, a week, apply to work at LiveOps. About 30 stagger out the other end, having survived this sort of vetting. Then, they get interviewed by a human and if they succeed, they are now in LiveOps. What that means is that day in, day out, any time; they can kind of jack in at their home and say, "Alright, I'm ready for work". Then, the work they are given is scaled to their own skill levels. They might find themselves taking orders for Dominos Pizza, for about 20 minutes. They get bored with that and they unplug, and they are given a new set of scripts. Suddenly, they are the American Red Cross and they are taking donations or assisting in families finding one another after a hurricane hits New Orleans. Then they jack out of that and they see another menu of things they might be asked to do, where they just transform into different characters, associated with different organizations. If the kid in the crib nearby starts crying, they can unplug after their call, and then be offline.

"You can start to make it so that it is actually rational to have somebody placing an order at a Burger King, through a speakerphone outside the restaurant, in their car, and that order is getting routed through the Net, to who knows where, Montana, Bangalore, you name it. The person takes the order and then hits send and relays it back to the restaurant, where the person inside prepares it and hands the sack of food over to the car, two minutes later. It is cheap networks that make that a rational thing to do...."

Well, here comes another shot at federal cybersecurity

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 11:53:51 AM

*Hope springs eternal...

--Proposed 2010 Budget Allocates US$355 Million for DHS Cyber Security Efforts (February 26, 2009)

President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2010 includes US $355 million for Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Cybersecurity Division and its efforts as part of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. The funds would be "targeted to make public- and private-sector cyber infrastructure more resilient and secure." The requested amount marks a 21 percent increase over the US $294K designated for cyber security in the fiscal 2009 budget.

[Editor's Note (Pescatore): I hope the bulk of that goes to in creasing the security of public-sector systems, software and services. Especially to accelerate the government focus from reacting to incidents towards preventing them.

(Paller) I have been enormously impressed with the transformation in federal cyber leadership since Admiral Brown came to DHS and Mischel Kwon took over US-CERT and made it a proactive source of real-time actionable information for the feds, and the Trusted Internet Connection got moving and the Software Assurance Project brought out the Top 25 and NCSD's helping to tune the CAG - all of which is already starting to make federal cybersecurity measurably better and more proactive.]

(Northcutt): Let's hope they spend it wisely. The URL for the budget is below and page 71 is where the discussion begins. What caught my eye is that in the highlights cyber security comes before terrorism:

Climate Crisis, 1953 AD

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 8:07:35 AM

*Read it, and scramble for the hills.

And now, a break for some refreshing music criticism

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 7:31:57 AMCategories: Musica Globalista


"First there is a continuity of infrastructure -- as you came and took your seats some of you will have heard that track "Pirates Anthem" by Home T, Coco Tea, Shabba Ranks -- that is from 1989, 1990 I think, so just at the very moment before the continuum gets going-- and a key part of the infrastructural foundation for the continuum is pirate radio -- there are pirate radio stations that have shifted their music policies as the scene's music has gone through drastic changes -- a fantastic example here is Rinse FM, everyone I'm sure is aware that this stationshas been the don of grime and dubstep for the entire Noughties -- well Rinse FM started in 1994, it was a jungle pirate originally -- Rinse as you know if were on the scene then is an absolutely key jungle buzzword --- as in "rinse out the sound", "absolutely rinsing set Mr DJ" -- unlike for example Kool FM, which was the leading jungle pirate probably and which stuck with jungle, Rinse went garage in 1999 -- but that was at a point where garage was already becoming an MC dominated music, they had crews like Pay As You Cartel on their station, garage rap some called the sound then, and of course that turned into grime -- so Rinse becomes the leading station for grime and dubstep -- and right now Rinse is dominated by funky house and I believe is the leading pirate in London for funky -- now that fact in itself would seem to prove funky is part of the continuum."


Boym on Sottsass

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 5:34:20 AM

*I don't know which is more beautiful in its utter out-thereness; that vase, or this essay.

What Bruce Sterling Actually Said About Web 2.0 at Webstock 09

By Bruce Sterling EmailMarch 01, 2009 | 4:33:42 AM
*By the garbled reportage, I'd be guessing some of those kiwis were having trouble with my accent. Here are the verbatim remarks.


Bruce Sterling, Wellington, Feb 2009

So, thanks for having me cross half the planet to be here.

So, just before I left Italy, I was reading an art book. About 1902, because we futurists do that. And it had this comment in it by Walter Pater that reminded me of your problems.

Walter Pater was a critic and an artist of Art Nouveau. There was a burst of Art Nouveau in Turin in 1902 -- because what Arts and Crafts always needed was some rich industrialists. Rich factory owners were the guys who bought those elaborate handmade homes and the romantic paintings of the Lady of Shalott. Fantastic anti-industrial structures were financed by heavy industry.

I know that sounds ironic or even sarcastic, but it isn't. Creative energies are liberated by oxymorons, by breakdowns in definitions. The Muse comes out when you look sidelong, over your shoulder.

So Walter Pater was a critic, like me, so of course he's complaining. The Italians in 1902 don't understand the original doctrines of the PreRaphaelites and Ruskin and William Morris! That's his beef. The Italians just think that Art Nouveau has a lot of curvy lines in it, and it's got something to do with nude women and vegetables! They're just seizing on the superficial appearances! In Italy they call that stuff "Flower Style."

And that's your problem, too, here in New Zealand. Far from the action here at the antipodes, you people, you just don't get it about the original principles of Web 2.0! Too often, you've got no architecture of participation, sometimes you don't have an open API! Out here at the end of the earth, you think it's all about drop shadows and the gradients and a tag cloud, and a startup name with a Capital R in the middle of it!

And that's absolutely the way of the world... nothing any critic can do about it. People do make mistakes, they interpret things wrongly -- but more to the point, they DELIBERATELY make mistakes in creative work.

Creative people don't want to "do it right." They want to share the excitement you had when you yourself didn't know how to do it right. Creative people are unconsciously attracted by the parts that make no sense. And Web 2.0 was full of those.

I want you to know that I respect Web 2.0. I sincerely think it was a great success. Art Nouveau was not a success -- it had basic concepts that were seriously wrongheaded. Whereas Web 2.0 had useful, sound ideas that were creatively vague.

It also had things in it that pretended to be ideas, but were not ideas at all: they were attitudes. In web critical thinking, this effort, Web 2.0, was where it was at. Web 2.0 has lost its novelty value now, but it's not dead. It's been realized: it has spread worldwide.

It's Web 1.0 that is dead. Web 1.0 was comprehensively crushed by Web 2.0, Web 2.0 fell flaming on top of web 1.0 and smashed it to rubble.

Web 2.0 is Wikipedia, while web 1.0 is Britannica Online. "What? Is Britannica online? Why?"

Web 2.0 is FlickR, while web 1.0 is Ofoto. "Ofoto? I've never even heard of Ofoto."

Web 2.0 is search engines and Web 1.0 is portals. "Yeah man, I really need a New Zealand portal! I don't think I can handle that information superhighway without a local portal!"

What do we talk about when we say "Web 2.0?" Luckily, we have a canonical definition! Straight from the originator! Mr Tim O'Reilly! Publisher, theorist, organizer, California tech guru!

"Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an 'architecture of participation,' and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences."

I got all interested when I heard friends discussing web 2.0, so I swiftly went and read that definition. After reading it a few times, I understood it, too. But -- okay, is that even a sentence? A sentence is a verbal construction meant to express a complete thought. This congelation that Tim O'Reilly constructed, that is not a complete thought. It's a network in permanent beta.

We might try to diagram that sentence. Luckily Tim did that for us already. Here it is. (((Web 2.0 Meme Map.)))


The nifty-keen thing here is that Web 2.0 is a web. It's a web of bubbles and squares. A glorious thing -- but that is not a verbal argument. That's like a Chinese restaurant menu. You can take one bubble from sector A, and two from sector B, and three from sector C, and you are Web 2.0. Feed yourself and your family!

Take away all the bubbles, and put some people there instead. Web 2.0 becomes a Tim O'Reilly conference. This guy is doing x, and that guy is doing y, and that woman is the maven of doing z.

Do these people want to talk to each other? Do they have anything to say and share? You bet they do. Through in some catering and scenery, and it's very Webstock.

Web 2.0 theory is a web. It's not philosophy, it's not ideology like a political platform, it's not even a set of esthetic tenets like an art movement. The diagram for Web 2.0 is a little model network. You can mash up all the bubbles to the other bubbles. They carry out subroutines on one another. You can flowchart it if you want. There's a native genius here. I truly admire it.

This chart is five years old now, which is 35 years old in Internet years, but intellectually speaking, it's still new in the world. It's alarming how hard it is to say anything constructive about this from any previous cultural framework.

The things that are particularly stimulating and exciting about Web 2.0 are the bits that are just flat-out contradictions in terms. Those are my personal favorites, the utter violations of previous common sense: the frank oxymorons. Like "the web as platform."

That's the key Web 2.0 insight: "the web as a platform."

Okay, "webs" are not "platforms." I know you're used to that idea after five years, but consider taking the word "web" out, and using the newer sexy term, "cloud." "The cloud as platform." That is insanely great. Right? You can't build a "platform" on a "cloud!" That is a wildly mixed metaphor! A cloud is insubstantial, while a platform is a solid foundation! The platform falls through the cloud and is smashed to earth like a plummeting stock price!

Imagine that this was financial thinking -- instead of web design thinking. We take a bunch of loans, we mash them together and turn them into a security. Now securities are secure, right? They are triple-A solid! So now we can build more loans on top of those securities. Ingenious! This means the price of credit trends to zero, so the user base expands radically, so everybody can have credit!

Nobody could have tried that before, because that sounds like a magic Ponzi scheme. But luckily, we have computers in banking now. That means Moore's law is gonna save us! Instead of it being really obvious who owes what to whom, we can have a fluid, formless ownership structure that's always in permanent beta. As long as we keep moving forward, adding attractive new features, the situation is booming!

Now, I wouldn't want to claim that Web 2.0 is as frail as the financial system -- the financial system that supported it and made it possible! But Web 2.0 is directly built on top of finance. Web 2.0 is supposed to be business. This isn't a public utility or a public service, like the old model of an Information Superhighway established for the public good.

The Information Superhighway is long dead -- it was killed by Web 1.0. And web 2.0 kills web 1.0.

Actually, you don't simply kill those earlier paradigms. What you do is turn them into components, then make the components into platforms, then place more fresh components on top. That is native web logic.

The World Wide Web sits on top of a turtle, and then below that is an older turtle, and that sits on the older turtle. You don't have to feel fretful about that situation -- because it's turtles all the way down.

Now, we don't have to think about it in that particular way. The word "turtles" makes it sound absurd and scary, like a myth or a confidence trick. We can try another, very different metaphor -- as Tim O'Reilly once offered us.

"Like many important concepts, Web 2.0 doesn't have a hard boundary, but rather, a gravitational core. You can visualize Web 2.0 as a set of principles and practices that tie together a veritable solar system of sites that demonstrate some or all of those principles, at a varying distance from that core."

Okay, now we've got this kind of asteroid rubble of small pieces loosely joined. As a science fiction writer, I truly love that metaphor. That's the web. Web pieces are held by laws of gravity, and supposedly the sun isn't gonna do anything much. Right? The sun is four and half billion years old, it's very old and stable. Although the web sure isn't.

Let's look at a few of these Web 2.0 principles and practices.

"Tagging not taxonomy." Okay, I love folksonomy, but I don't think it's gone very far. There have been books written about how ambient searchability through folksonomy destroys the need for any solid taxonomy. Not really. The reality is that we don't have a choice, because we have no conceivable taxonomy that can catalog the avalanche of stuff on the Web. We have no army of human clerks remotely able to tackle that work. We don't even have permanent reference sites where we can put data so that we can taxonomize it.

"An attitude, not a technology." Okay, attitudes are great, but they're never permanent. Even technologies aren't permanent, and an attitude about technology is a vogue. It's a style. It's certainly not a business. Nobody goes out and sells a kilo of attitude. What is attitude doing in there? Everything, of course. In Web 2.0 the attitude was everything.

Then there's AJAX. Okay, I freakin' love AJAX. Jesse James Garrett is a benefactor of mankind. I thank God for this man and his willingness to look sympathetically at users and the hell they experience. People use AJAX instead of evil static web pages, and people literally weep with joy.

But what is AJAX, exactly? It's not an acronym. It doesn't really stand for "Asynchronous Java and XTML." XTML itself is an acronym -- you can't make an acronym out of an acronym! You peel that label off and AJAX is revealed as a whole web of stuff.

AJAX is standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS.

AJAX is also dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model.

AJAX is also data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;

AJASX is also asynchronous data retrieval using XML-http request. With JavaScript binding everything.

Okay, that was AJAX, and every newbie idiot knows that Web 2.0 is made of AJAX. "AJAX with JavaScript binding everything." JavaScript binding everything -- like the law of gravity, like there's a sun somewhere. Okay, that sounds reassuring, but suppose something goes wrong with the sun. Sun were the guys who built JavaScript, if you recall.

That sounds kind of alarming... because Sun's JavaScript, the binder of AJAX, is the core of the Web 2.0 rich user experience.

JavaScript is the duct tape of the Web. Why? Because you can do anything with it. It's not the steel girders of the web, it's not the laws of physics of the web. Javascript is beloved of web hackers because it's an ultimate kludge material that can stick anything to anything. It's a cloud, a web, a highway, a platform and a floor wax. Guys with attitude use JavaScript.

There's something truly glorious about this. Glorious, and clearly hazardous, bottom-up and make-do. I'm not gonna say that I will eat my own hat if the Internet doesn't collapse by 1995. Guys say that -- Metcalfe said it -- he had to eat the damn hat. That doomsayer, man, he deserved it. He invented Ethernet, so what did he ever know about networking.

What I have to wonder is: how much of Javascript's great power is based on an attitude that Javascript is up to the job? Duct-taping the turtles all the way down.

I certainly don't want to give up Javascript -- but is Sun the center of the web 2.0 solar system? Sun's not lookin' real great right now, is it? That is our solid platform, our foundation? Can you have Javascript without a sun? Duct-tape in the dark?

eBay reputations and Amazon reviews. "User as contributor." Are "user" and "contributor" the right words for the people interacting with Amazon? Let's suppose there's a change of attitude within Amazon; they're going broke, they're desperate, the stock price has cratered, and they really have to turn the screws on their users and contributors. Then what happens? This is a social attitude kinda held together with Javascript and duct tape, isn't it?

I mean, Amazon used to sell books. Right? You might want to talk to some publishers and booksellers about the nature of their own relationship with Amazon. They don't use nice terms like "user and contributor." They use terms like "collapse, crash, driven out of business."

The publishing business is centuries old and bookstores have been around for millennia. Is Amazon gonna last that long? Are they a great force for our stability? Are we betting the farm on the Web 2.0 attitude of these guys?

Blogs -- "participation not publishing." Okay, I love my blog. Mostly because there's never been any damn participation in it. My blog has outlived 94 percent of all blogs every created. I've got an ancient turtle of a blog.

I may also have one of the last blogs surviving in the future, because the rest were held together with duct tape and attitude. Try going around looking for a weblog now that is literally a log of some guy's websurfing activities. Most things we call "blogs" are not "weblogs" any more.

Even MY ancient writer-style blog isn't quite a weblog. My blog isn't participatory, but it's got embedded videos, FlickR photos, links to MP3s.

You can go read my blog from four years ago. Five years ago. Still sitting there in the server. Absolutely consumed with link-rot. I'm blogged to stuff that has vanished into the ether, it's gone into 404land. It had "granular addressibility," just like Tim recommends here, but those granules were blown away on the burning solar wind.

Not that I'm the Metcalfe prophet of doom here -- there were more granules. Sure. I got supergranules. I get granules direct from Tim O'Reilly's tweets now, I get 140-character granules. And man, those are some topnotch tweets. Tim O'Reilly is my favorite Twitter contact. He is truly the guru. I don't know anybody who can touch him.

I also know that the Fail Whale is the best friend of everybody on Twitter. He's not a frail little fail minnow, either. The Fail Whale is a big burly beast, he's right up there with the dinosaurs.

Let me throw in a few more Web 2.0 oxymorons here because, as a novelist, these really excite me. "Web platform," of course -- that one really ranks with 'wireless cable,' there's something sublime about it...

"Business revolution." Web 2.0 was often described as a "business revolution." Web 1.0 was also a business revolution -- and it went down in flames with the Internet Bubble. That was when all the dotcom investors retreated to the rock-solid guaranteed stability of real-estate. Remember that?

Before the 1990s, nobody had any "business revolutions." People in trade are supposed to be very into long-term contracts, a stable regulatory environment, risk management, and predictable returns to stockholders. Revolutions don't advance those things. Revolutions annihilate those things. Is that "businesslike"? By whose standards?

"Dynamic content." Okay, content is a stable substance that is put inside a container. It's stored in there: that's why you put it inside. If it is dynamically flowing through the container, that's not a container. That is a pipe. I really like dynamic flowing pipes, but since they're not containers, you can't freakin' label them!

"Collective intelligence." Okay, there is definitely something important and powerful and significant and revolutionary here. Google's got "collective intelligence." I don't think there's a revolutionary in the world who doesn't use Google. Everybody who bitches about Google uses Google.

I use Google all the time. I don't believe Google is evil. I'm quite the fan of Sergey and Larry: they are like the coolest Stanford dropouts ever.

I just wonder what kind of rattletrap duct-taped mayhem is disguised under a smooth oxymoron like "collective intelligence."

You got to call it something -- and "collective intelligence" is surely a lot better than retreating to crazed superstition and calling it "the sacred daemon spirits of Mountain View who know everything."

But if collective intelligence is an actual thing -- as opposed to an off-the-wall metaphor -- where is the there there? Google's servers aren't intelligent. Google's algorithms aren't intelligent. You can learn fantastic things off Wikipedia in a few moments, but Wikipedia is not a conscious, thinking structure. Wikipedia is not a science fiction hive mind.

Furthermore, the people whose granular bits of input are aggregated by Google are not a "collective." They're not a community. They never talk to each other. They've got basically zero influence on what Google chooses to do with their mouseclicks. What's "collective" about that?

Talking about "collective intelligence" is like talking about "the invisible hand of the market." Markets don't have any real invisible hands. That is a metaphor. And "collective intelligence" doesn't have any human will or any consciousness. "Collective intelligence" isn't intelligently trying to make our lives better, it's not an abstract force for good.

"Collective credit-card fraud intelligence" -- that is collective intelligence, too. "Collective security-vulnerabilities intelligence" -- that's powerful, it's incredibly fast, it's not built by any one guy in particular, and it causes billions of dollars of commercial damage and endless hours of harassment and fear to computer users.

I really think it's the original sin of geekdom, a kind of geek thought-crime, to think that just because you yourself can think algorithmically, and impose some of that on a machine, that this is "intelligence." That is not intelligence. That is rules-based machine behavior. It's code being executed. It's a powerful thing, it's a beautiful thing, but to call that "intelligence" is dehumanizing. You should stop that. It does not make you look high-tech, advanced, and cool. It makes you look delusionary.

There's something sad and pathetic about it, like a lonely old woman whose only friends are her cats. "I had to leave my 14 million dollars to Fluffy because he loves me more than all those poor kids down at the hospital."

This stuff we call "collective intelligence" has tremendous potential, but it's not our friend -- any more than the invisible hand of the narcotics market is our friend.

Markets look like your friend when they're spreading prosperity your way. If they get some bug in their ear from their innate Black Swan instability, man, markets will starve you! The Invisible Hand of the market will jerk you around like a cat of nine tails.

So I'd definitely like some better term for "collective intelligence," something a little less streamlined and metaphysical. Maybe something like "primeval meme ooze" or "semi-autonomous data propagation." Even some Kevin Kelly style "neobiological out of control emergent architectures." Because those weird new structures are here, they're growing fast, we depend on them for mission-critical acts, and we're not gonna get rid of them any more than we can get rid of termite mounds.

So, you know, whatever next? Web 2.0, five years old, and sounding pretty corny now. I loved Web 2.0 -- I don't want to be harsh or dismissive about it. Unlike some critics, I never thought it was "nonsense" or "just jargon." There were critics who dismissed Tim's solar system of ideas and attitudes there. I read those critics carefully, I thought hard about what they said. I really thought that they were philistines, and wrong-headed people. They were like guys who dismissed Cubism or Surrealism because "that isn't really painting."

Web 2.0 people were a nifty crowd. I used to meet, interview computer people... the older mainframe crowd, Bell Labs engineers and such. They were smarter than Web 2.0 people because they were a super-selected technical elite.

They were also boring bureaucrats and functionaries. All the sense of fun, the brio had been boiled out of them, and their users were hapless ignoramus creatures whom they despised.

The classic Bell subset telephone, you know, black plastic shell, sturdy rotary dial... For God's sake don't touch the components! That was their emblem. They were creatures of their era, they had the values of their era, that time is gone and we have the real 21st century on our hands. I am at peace with that. I'm not nostalgic. "Even nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

Web 2.0 guys: they've got their laptops with whimsical stickers, the tattoos, the startup T-shirts, the brainy-glasses -- you can tell them from the general population at a glance. They're a true creative subculture, not a counterculture exactly -- but in their number, their relationship to the population, quite like the Arts and Crafts people from a hundred years ago.

Arts and Crafts people, they had a lot of bad ideas -- much worse ideas than Tim O'Reilly's ideas. It wouldn't bother me any if Tim O'Reilly was Governor of California -- he couldn't be any weirder than that guy they've got already. Arts and Crafts people gave it their best shot, they were in earnest -- but everything they thought they knew about reality was blown to pieces by the First World War.

After that misfortune, there were still plenty of creative people surviving. Futurists, Surrealists, Dadaists -- and man, they all despised Arts and Crafts. Everything about Art Nouveau that was sexy and sensual and liberating and flower-like, man, that stank in their nostrils. They thought that Art Nouveau people were like moronic children.

So -- what does tomorrow's web look like? Well, the official version would be ubiquity. I've been seeing ubiquity theory for years now. I'm a notorious fan of this stuff. A zealot, even. I'm a snake-waving street-preacher about it. Finally the heavy operators are waking from their dogmatic slumbers; in the past eighteen months, 24 months, we've seen ubiquity initiatives from Nokia, Cisco, General Electric, IBM... Microsoft even, Jesus, Microsoft, the place where innovative ideas go to die.

But it's too early for that to be the next stage of the web. We got nice cellphones, which are ubiquity in practice, we got GPS, geolocativity, but too much of the hardware just isn't there yet. The batteries aren't there, the bandwidth is not there, RFID does not work well at all, and there aren't any ubiquity pure-play companies.

So I think what comes next is a web with big holes blown in it. A spiderweb in a storm. The turtles get knocked out from under it, the platform sinks through the cloud. A lot of the inherent contradictions of the web get revealed, the contradictions in the oxymorons smash into each other.

The web has to stop being a meringue frosting on the top of business, this make-do melange of mashups and abstraction layers.

Web 2.0 goes away. Its work is done. The thing I always loved best about Web 2.0 was its implicit expiration date. It really took guts to say that: well, we've got a bunch of cool initiatives here, and we know they're not gonna last very long. It's not Utopia, it's not a New World Order, it's just a brave attempt to sweep up the ashes of the burst Internet Bubble and build something big and fast with the small burnt-up bits that were loosely joined.

That showed more maturity than Web 1.0. It was visionary, it was inspiring, but there were fewer moon rockets flying out of its head.

"Gosh, we're really sorry that we accidentally ruined the NASDAQ." We're Internet business people, but maybe we should spend less of our time stock-kiting. The Web's a communications medium -- how 'bout working on the computer interface, so that people can really communicate?

That effort was time well spent. Really.

A lot of issues that Web 1.0 was sweating blood about, they went away for good. The "digital divide," for instance. Man, I hated that. All the planet's poor kids had to have desktop machines. With fiber optic. Sure! You go to Bombay, Shanghai, Lagos even, you're like "hey kid, how about this OLPC so you can level the playing field with the South Bronx and East Los Angeles?" And he's like "Do I have to? I've already got three Nokias." The teacher is slapping the cellphone out of his hand because he's acing the tests by sneaking in SMS traffic.

"Half the planet has never made a phone call." Boy, that's a shame -- especially when pirates in Somalia are making satellite calls off stolen supertankers. The poorest people in the world love cellphones. They're spreading so fast they make PCs look like turtles.

Digital culture, I knew it well. It died -- young, fast and pretty. It's all about network culture now.

We've got a web built on top of a collapsed economy. THAT's the black hole at the center of the solar system now. There's gonna be a Transition Web. Your economic system collapses: Eastern Europe, Russia, the Transition Economy, that bracing experience is for everybody now. Except it's not Communism transitioning toward capitalism. It's the whole world into transition toward something we don't even have proper words for.

The Web has always had an awkward relationship with business. Web 2.0 was a business model. The Transition Web is a culture model. If it's gonna work, it's got to replace things that we used to pay for with things that we just plain use.

In Web 2.0, if you were monetizable, it meant you got bought out by the majors. "We stole back our revolution and we sold ourselves to Yahoo." Okay, that was embarrassing, but at least it meant you could scale up and go on.

In the Transition Web, if you're monetizable, it means that you get attacked. You gotta squeeze a penny out of every pixel because the owners are broke. But if you do that to your users, they will vaporize, because they're broke too, just like you; of course they're gonna migrate to stuff that's free.

After a while you have to wonder if it's worth it -- the money model, I mean. Is finance worth the cost of being involved with the finance? The web smashed stocks. Global banking blew up all over the planet all at once... Not a single country anywhere with a viable economic policy under globalization. Is there a message here?

Are there some non-financial structures that are less predatory and unstable than this radically out-of-kilter invisible hand? The invisible hand is gonna strangle us! Everybody's got a hand out -- how about offering people some visible hands?

Not every Internet address was a dotcom. In fact, dotcoms showed up pretty late in the day, and they were not exactly welcome. There were dot-orgs, dot edus, dot nets, dot govs, and dot localities.

Once upon a time there were lots of social enterprises that lived outside the market; social movements, political parties, mutual aid societies, philanthropies. Churches, criminal organizations -- you're bound to see plenty of both of those in a transition... Labor unions... not little ones, but big ones like Solidarity in Poland; dissident organizations, not hobby activists, big dissent, like Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia.

Armies, national guards. Rescue operations. Global non-governmental organizations. Davos Forums, Bilderberg guys.

Retired people. The old people can't hold down jobs in the market. Man, there's a lot of 'em. Billions. What are our old people supposed to do with themselves? Websurf, I'm thinking. They're wise, they're knowledgeable, they're generous by nature; the 21st century is destined to be an old people's century. Even the Chinese, Mexicans, Brazilians will be old. Can't the web make some use of them, all that wisdom and talent, outside the market?

Market failures have blown holes in civil society. The Greenhouse Effect is a market failure. The American health system is a market failure -- and most other people's health systems don't make much commercial sense. Education is a loss leader and the university thing is a mess.

Income disparities are insane. The banker aristocracy is in hysterical depression. Housing is in wreckage; the market has given us white-collar homeless and a million empty buildings.

The energy market is completely freakish. If you have no fossil fuels, you shiver in the dark. If you do have them, your economy is completely unstable, your government is corrupted and people kill you for oil.

The human trafficking situation is crazy. In globalization people just evaporate over borders. They emigrate illegally and grab whatever cash they can find. If you don't export you go broke from trade imbalances. If you do export, you go broke because your trading partners can't pay you...

Kinda hard to face up to all this, especially when it's laid out in this very bald fashion.

But you know, I'm not scared by any of this. I regret the suffering, I know it’s big trouble -- but it promises massive change and a massive change was inevitable. The way we ran the world was wrong.

I've never seen so much panic around me, but panic is the last thing on my mind. My mood is eager impatience. I want to see our best, most creative, best-intentioned people in world society directly attacking our worst problems. I'm bored with the deceit. I'm tired of obscurantism and cover-ups. I'm disgusted with cynical spin and the culture war for profit. I'm up to here with phony baloney market fundamentalism. I despise a prostituted society where we put a dollar sign in front of our eyes so we could run straight into the ditch.

The cure for panic is action. Coherent action is great; for a scatterbrained web society, that may be a bit much to ask. Well, any action is better than whining. We can do better.

I'm not gonna tell you what to do. I'm an artist, I'm not running for office and I don't want any of your money. Just talk among yourselves. Grow up to the size of your challenges. Bang out some code, build some platforms you don't have to duct-tape any more, make more opportunities than you can grab for your little selves, and let's get after living real lives.

The future is unwritten. Thank you very much.

Web Semantics: Typical Read-Slaves in the Sharding Database

By Bruce Sterling EmailFebruary 28, 2009 | 1:25:16 AMCategories: Web Semantics  

*Got some awesome techie Sanskrit here.

"As our database has grown, we have tried to iteratively deal with the scaling issues that come with rapid growth. We did the typical things, like using read slaves and memcache to increase read throughput and sharding our database to improve write throughput...."

Inexplicable Non-Anglophone European Gadget Sites

By Bruce Sterling EmailFebruary 28, 2009 | 8:58:41 AMCategories: Imaginary Gadgets



ZAZA design

Carla Bruni Centipede

By Bruce Sterling EmailFebruary 28, 2009 | 8:03:15 AM

*Man, that was a close one. Carla dodged a covert-ops bullet there. No wonder Sarkozy handed her an encrypted cellphone early in the relationship.

*The woods are full of these predators now. Pray they haven't hacked the Blackberry of Michelle Obama.

Marc-Antoine Moretto and Kamel Bahaj are accused of trying to sell the recordings of the French First Lady to two magazines, the newspaper Le Monde reported.

The pair allegedly tapped Miss Bruni's phone in February 2006 - almost two years before she married President Nicolas Sarkozy, the paper said.

At the time the former supermodel was still in a relationship with Raphael Enthoven, the father of her eight-year-old son, Aurelian.

Details of Miss Bruni's conversation were not revealed, but a police source described the recordings as "intimate discussions with friends and family made on her private mobile phone". (((Imagine learning that someone has done this to you.)))

The two men under investigation also allegedly obtained recordings of mobile phone conversations of the French singer Patrick Bruel.

Paris detectives arrested Mr Moretto and Mr Bahaj earlier this month after an 18-month investigation, but details of the police action have only now been reported.

The pair have been charged with invasion of the First Lady's privacy and are due to appear in court later this year.

French privacy laws are notoriously tough and the media has traditionally respected the right of public figures to a private life. (((A civilized people.)))

(((Carla trying on her halo:)))


LIFT: Philips Design Probes

By Bruce Sterling EmailFebruary 27, 2009 | 11:39:49 AM


LIFT09 videos hot off the hard-disk

By Bruce Sterling EmailFebruary 27, 2009 | 5:40:26 AM

*Check out that Patrick Gyger presentation, science fiction fans.


EDITOR: Bruce Sterling

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