Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Spring Journal

I have an earlier link to Spring Publications, however they no longer publish the Spring Journal, that happens here at Spring Audio Journal and Books. See the site for who is who.

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Sunday, July 28, 2002

Interview: Vinge's View of the Singularity

best picture of him i could find

And a quote from the Interview:
One of the reasons that I use the term "Singularity" is to invoke the notion that it is something that you can't see into or beyond. Nevertheless, I like to think about what things would be like afterwards! (Call me inconsistent, what the heck!) There are a variety of analogies that I can come up with to imagine the situation afterwards.

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Vernor Vinge: The Singularity

This essay was quoted in the Chapter by Lyle Burkhead (see earlier entry on Meaning. However Lyle Burkhead's link did not work, but the Wayback machine found it. This is a real classic. Of course this ability to recall links from the dead upsets some people. I enjoy having this essa as it matches a book I have True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier celebrating Vinge's idea. Here is an opening quote in the essay defining Singularity.
The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.
Update: Actually it is available online without the Wayback Machine.

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Cooper Black

A big download but a nice example of what can be done on the web, and a great story. I recall having this typeface in letraset to make brochures and so on in the early 70s. Mastication Is Normal: Behind the Typeface

Update: I just noticed that on win98 I don't see this font as intended. You can ask anyone with XP to sent you the coopbl.ttf file. I had to copy the fonts out of the special Windows/Fonts folder to a new folder in XP to see them.) On the Win98 machine in the Windows/Fonts folder I went to File > Install New Font, found the folder where I had saved them, Presto! I had a go at Stencil and Brush Script MT Italic as well We use both for some documents at Mt. Lyford Horse Treks.

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van Gogh - Amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh: (Wheat Fields with Reaper at Sunrise

Yes there is a site for the Van Gogh Museum With its own great online collection. There is also a Gallery on a different website, where I got the picture shown here.

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National Gallery Of Art - Washington

vincent painting Emperor Moth

I love art galleries, online too. Vincent van Gogh's Emperor Moth is shown here from an exhibition at the National Gallery Of Art - Washington Interestingly the exhibition is over but the site, with commentary remains. I wonder if the Dutch museum has the same stuff online?
Van Gogh's Van Goghs: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam is no longer on view at the National Gallery of Art. Our exhibition-related Web features, however, are still available

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Saturday, July 27, 2002


I am noticing a particular style of futureology... I have not really grasped it fully, it might be a syndrome, which is a sort of illiteracy. Some tech has different meaning to others, and it is quite an art to get the difference. It is easy to over estimates the power and impact of technology as such, but underestimate the power and impact - i.e. meaning - of specific technology. Technology is media, it mediates between us and the world, and so lumping it all together as having one big impact - the message of technology - makes some sense. "Man is a tool using animal".

But finer perception is needed. Looking at "technology" like that is to see all of the inventions in a meaningless way, like looking at the alphabet as 26 letters. The alphabet becomes more interesting once arranged in words, words have more meaning in their context too (Jaron Lanier mentions the importance of say, "I do" in certain contexts.) McLuhan was a literary critic and so looked at media with a sort of super-literacy. For example moveable type was, according to McLuhan and it makes sense, the fore-runner of the whole of industrialisation because it unconsciously impacted how we saw the world, as bits we could put together in different ways. Lego. The NET extends other media and exponentially extend moveable type, even if nothing more was ever be invented, we will be - are now - totally transformed once again, it keeps happening only faster and it is hard to notice.

This is a chapter, Singularity or Automorphosis, out of an online book Nanotechnology without Genies, (c) 1999 by Lyle Burkhead. Where does this interesting chapter fit into my hypothesis?

Adding this link on Sunday, 25 August 2002: Vernor Vinge on the Singularity
I have argued above that we cannot prevent the Singularity, that its coming is an inevitable consequence of the humans' natural competitiveness and the possibilities inherent in technology. And yet ... we are the initiators. Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things. We have the freedom to establish initial conditions, make things happen in ways that are less inimical than others. Of course (as with starting avalanches), it may not be clear what the right guiding nudge really is.
Here he makes it clear that some small tiny thing, unknown to us now could be triggering the avalanche. That allows the future to remain an unknown. This is from a 1993 article - better than the interview I post later.

I heard someone say in the movie about Stanley Kubrick, that 2001 was the first SF movie that left the future unknown.

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Friday, July 26, 2002

Joys of interactive media

An article in 21C Magazine by Jaron Lanier on the movie Minority Report including his role in talking it over with Speilberg. I think the futurology of the movie was flawed, but I like this last comment by Jaron:
... movie people as a whole have trouble understanding the joys of interactive media. It's just a different culture. A dystopian movie about virtual worlds, like The Matrix, can make its way through Hollywood and be distributed, but a utopian movie about an interactive future seemingly cannot. Movie people are subliminally terrified by interactivity. It spells not only a loss of creative control, which movie people would miss more than you can imagine, but also a loss of business model. Napster lurks implicitly inside every shared virtual world that's under the control of its users. The world that seems utopian to me is dystopian to Hollywood.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

The Deceiving Virtues of Technology

An essay by Steve Talbott it is available in NetFuture #125 I have since read it more fully and find I have two points to make (for now): One, it is about technology not cyberspace, which is fine of course, but the latter is so much more probing, and later in the debate this lack of an experiential perspecive becomes more important. He is machine not experience focussed. Secondly, it is about the journey of the Self. It might sound esoteric, but Self even with a capital, is not the soul, the focus on Self places us in a different realm. Cliff Bostock, puts it this way in the Decoding Hillman essay.
For Hillman it is enough to continually deepen one’s sense of life’s beauty. This is soulmaking. We should not confuse the soul with the Self. The soul seeks and expresses difference. It delights in multiplicity. It confers meaning by processing images and, most important, it is not “inside” us. It is an "other." It is with us. It is connected to the soul of the world, but it is most definitely not “us.” In Hillman’s world, we live as poets, not as Christs-in-training.
I mentioned this article in an earlier post, and there was mention of a conversation with Kevin Kelly on this topic. I am curious and have found these links:

The next issue of netfuture #126 where the discussion begins.

The debate goes on later... around a different topic but similar theme.

And again here:

Update, Sunday, 4 August 2002:

I have read all the above conversation and I recommend it. It is a discussion, in the end about machines having, or not having life. All the way through was struck by the absence of either ST or KK using the word soul, which is the essence of life, with its roots in the word breath. It is also linked in by Jung at least, with the word Anima, that which animates us. Let me deal with one point here before I stop updating this item:
There is always such a rock-bottom lifelessness in the machine, which betrays itself, not merely at the bottom, but at any level of description you choose. The organism, on the other hand, is enlivened from within, which means, among other things: all the way down.
I take this as meaning that KK is wrong because in the end, no matter how complex the machine it is just a whole bunch of little things like a hammer. I am with KK here, even a hammer is more than the sum of its parts, and while it is "made not born" it has soul. "All the way down" we have stuff with soul. It takes a knack to see it. Now that puts my response to them both in danger of being dismissed as "mystical". OK, maybe, but it is experience that imbibes something with soul and experience is the basis of empirical science. Experience is in the realm of consciousness. Let's role-reverse with a hammer and speak for it. I like the way ST suggests we do that with rats we use in experiments (though he uses different words.)

I will find a link for role reversal here before I stop updating this item.

I want to link to Moreno. He had a lot to say on all this in the 30s. Zoomatrons, God is dead but God enters the world on the psychodrama stage, in other words through the psyche, through this spehere that is neither matter or abstraction but medial to use a word I have heard from Clarissa Pinkola Estés, who attributes it to Toni Wolffe. The medial is between the matter and spirit. (Page 289 Women Who Run With The Wolves) I also recall a word: metaxy, which points to the same idea.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Jung Society of Atlanta - Decoding Hillman

Another item by Cliff Bostock, just great. Decoding Hillman. Images of James Hillman, which I will not reproduce here, out of respect for the man, though I support Cliff Bostock having them there, because they are central to his essay, but that's enough. Cliff quotes “literalizing the process of deliteralizing,” Catherine Keller’s critical phrase in the article.

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David Tacey

A great article by David Tacey, author of Remaking Men. It is about the Post-Patriarchal Psyche and Jungian conservatism in the mythopoetic movement.

Here is post of mine in an online group discussing the book with David Tacey in 1998. I am more interested in the whole discussion now!

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What is Archetypal Psychology?

A useful, brief definition by Ben Sells

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Hillman on Justice and Beauty

Hillman request that these words are not quoted beyond this site. I presume making the link is ok. A speech I'd say made on On October 21st 2001 The potent paragraph for me in this item is the one about psychology being beyond the human. When I read Re-Visioning Psychology for the first time I was *shocked * by the idea that there was a psychology that was not a humanism. I thought we were all humanists these days. It makes sense to me now to be humble enough to see us humans as a part of something bigger, and subject to forces we can barely tune into.

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Mapping the degrees of word separation

Thanks miles for this liink, it is a place where we can actually do what is mentioned in the nature Item. Great. Lexical FreeNet query results

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Illuminated Manuscript

me at the PC drawn in paint looking a bit silly.

This is me right now. Self portrait. Drawing on the PC is hard, I'll do more on the Palm, it is easier.

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Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus

map of words
Several people have recommended the Plumb site in response to my post yesterday about visuals for the degrees of separation between words. This is a beautiful thing, but I now have this notion of conduit words, and would like to see all the ways of getting from say, sheep to soul. Or maybe the the top conduit words. Would they have a map? There would be so many ways to look at that data.

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Letter writing

I see my journey in cyberspace as epistolary. The email is the return of the letter! It is an art. Are weblogs letters? In a way. The letter shown is from a site full of illustrated letters. I felt an affinity as I illustrate this weblog with pictures I like from the web. But I could make them! I'm inspired. Here is the commentary:
Painter John von Wicht (1888-1970) often personalized his letters with bold abstractions. In this note to his friend Will Barnet, von Wicht takes up a familiar topic among artists --the trade-off between teaching and painting. He also mentions his upcoming residency at Yaddo in Sarasota Springs, New York.

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Monday, July 22, 2002

Web Pioneers

It is still hard for me to accept that the Net has a history. It feels like a very new thing. I am on it all the time, but I am still getting used to it. I still find it magical. It has gone very fast for me. I was here early by some standards, and had a sense of its potential, but then it passed me by somewhat. That "book" about Psyberspace is still a dream. Not a dead dream, mind you. The Wayback Machine (which I have linked to before) has a Web Pioneers feature. And yes, it all looks like the past. Pioneer websites. What attracted me to the pioneer item was stumbling upon (not with the software agent, but by reading my zine linked earlier) an item we had on the old BBS by Bruce Stirling. This is pioneering work I enjoy, and it reads well now 11 years? later. Nice easy style. I think I'll quote from it often.
Here's the President of the United States speaking at a library in 1890. ``The boy who greedily devours the vicious tales of imaginary daring and blood-curdling adventure which in these days are far too accessible will have his brain filled with notions of life and standards of manliness which, if they do not make him a menace to peace and good order, will certainly not make him a useful member of society.'' Grover Cleveland hit the nail on the head. I feel very strongly, I feel instinctively, I feel passionately that I am one of those nails. Not only did I start out in libraries as that greedy devouring boy, but thanks to mindwarping science fictional yellow-covered literature, I have become a menace to Grover Cleveland's idea of peace and good order. Far too accessible, eh Mr President? Too much access. By all means let's not provide our electronic networks with too much access. That might get dangerous. The networks might rot people's minds and corrupt their family values. They might create bad taste. Think this electrical network thing is a new problem? Think again. Listen to prominent litterateur James Russell Lowell speaking in 1885. ``We diligently inform ourselves and cover the continent with speaking wires.... we are getting buried alive under this avalanche of earthly impertinences... we... are willing to become mere sponges saturated from the stagnant goosepond of village gossip.'' The stagnant goosepond of the global village. Marshall MacLuhan's stagnant goosepond. Who are the geese in the stagnant pond? Whoever they are, I'm one of them. You'll find me with the pulp magazines and the bloodcurdling comics and the yellow-covered works of imaginary daring. In the future you'll find me, or my successors, in the electronic pulps. In the electronic zines, in the fanzines, in the digital genres, the digital underground. In whatever medium it is that really bugs Grover Cleveland. He can't make up his mind whether I'm the scum from the gutter or the ``cultural elite'' --- but in either case he doesn't like me. He doesn't like cyberpunks. He doesn't like cyberpunks. That's not big news to you people I'm sure. But he's not going to like cyberpunk librarians either. I hope you won't deceive yourselves on that score.

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Understanding Internet - Extension of Media

The article, Understanding Internet - Extension of Media is interesting for the idea in its title, which it explains well on a practical level, e.g. Net phone extends the phone. However, the authors do not appreciate the fullness of their insight. Media is the extension of man, and the Internet is the extension of media! That is powerful if we think of the potency of McLuhans insight in the first place.

Media = extension of our senses

Internet = an extension of Media

The implications (which the article does not explore) of McLuhan's insight included the way media impacted our sense ratios and how, as it extended, it also amputated.

As media extends it amputates old media. The music recording industry for example is running around like a wounded bull. And what happens to the sense ratios in "man" under this exponential eruption!

It has been noted by a more than a few who try to place the Net in McLuhans sensory schema that the Internet is an extension of the nervous system. Well, it has stopped making sense. We have moved into a realm where this exponential leap has finished off the senses and is now working on the psyche, cyberspace is an extension of the soul.

It is for this reason that simply looking for a metaphor that will fit in the way metaphors have worked for other phenomena will not satisfy. How does Psyche in the story of Eros and Psyche relate to the psyche? Could she be the goddess of cyberspace? How is Psyche extended? What is amuptated?

More sites on this theme:

Item last updated Monday, 26 August 2002. Understanding Internet - Extension of Media

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Net Nostalgia

Log -- David Chess writes and links about it. Makes the same point I just made about weblogs and zines etc., that is how I found his site.

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zines and weblogs

I came to the net in 1993 when online zines were the equivalent of weblogs. Slower, less native to the web, morphed from fan-zines on paper. Here is a swag of them. e-zine-list: John Labovitz's e-zine-list There was a Psybernet one, came out twice. Here is the second one, mostly all my snippets. John has discontinued maintaining the list, replaced by blogdex?

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The net is tuning in to me!

This will be the last time I say stumbleupon found this for me. But it did. This is not after hundreds of results. I have listed all my results here bar one or two, hiking and another on Stevie Wonder. They were OK for me but not this weblog. I love this one from Marvin Minsky Because it is from 1982, because it is part of the history of psyberspace, because it is in text and because it is a little self-reflective right now. Here, after the title stuff is the final paragraph of the essay.
WHY PEOPLE THINK COMPUTERS CAN'T Marvin Minsky, MIT First published in AI Magazine, vol. 3 no. 4, Fall 1982. Reprinted in Technology Review, Nov/Dec 1983, and in The Computer Culture, (Donnelly, Ed.) Associated Univ. Presses, Cranbury NJ, 1985 Just as Evolution changed man's view of Life, Al will change mind's view of Mind. As we find more ways to make machines behave more sensibly, we'll also learn more about our mental processes. In its course, we will find new ways to think about "thinking" and about "feeling". Our view of them will change from opaque mysteries to complex yet still comprehensible webs of ways to represent and use ideas. Then those ideas, in turn, will lead to new machines, and those, in turn, will give us new ideas. No one can tell where that will lead and only one thing's sure right now: there's something wrong with any claim to know, today, of any basic differences between the minds of men and those of possible machines.

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Sunday, July 21, 2002

Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz

More from stumbleupon - The William P. Gottlieb Collection, comprising over sixteen hundred photographs of celebrated jazz artists. Burrow down to hi-res photos.

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Bush - Heir to the Holocaust

Before I have even rated pages in stumbleupon the third link they returned was this one. The whole of Clamor Magazine is interesting. "While the Enron scandal currently unfolds, another Bush family business scandal lurks beneath the shadows of history that may dwarf it."
But while President Bush publicly embraced the community of holocaust survivors in Washington last spring, he and his family have been keeping a secret from them for over 50 years about Prescott Bush, the president's grandfather. According to classified documents from Dutch intelligence and US government archives, President George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush made considerable profits off Auschwitz slave labor. In fact, President Bush himself is an heir to these profits from the holocaust which were placed in a blind trust in 1980 by his father, former president George Herbert Walker Bush.

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Small word network

English words are connected by just three degrees of separation. Writes Phillip Ball, on the Nature site. 2 July 2002
The researchers traced the links between 30,000 English words in an online thesaurus. For example, the word 'actor' can be connected to 'universe' through two intermediaries. The thesaurus lists 'character' as a synonym for 'actor'; 'character' is also equated with 'nature'; and 'nature' with 'universe'. Moving from 'actor' to 'universe' in the network of words therefore takes three steps. To the surprise of Motter and colleagues, they found that the same was true of just about any randomly chosen pair of words in the thesaurus. The English language, in other words, enjoys just three degrees of separation.
Word Association has long been standard fare in psychotherapy, not just as formal tests but as a way of seeing into dreams or noticing themes and archetypes. Given this new research some might think that anyone can link anything, making nonsense of the lot. My hunch is no, making links is not nonsense. The art of seeing these links is profound. Also consider this: if linking like this is so prevalent then there must be a choice of conduit words (my word for the linking theme word) and thus highlighting one over another will have some impact. I doubt a computer could do that, though a computer could be a great aid here. I bet that there are some words that are stronger, more prevalent than others as conduits - eye. ear, head, arm, etc. earth, air, fire, and water? At last there might be a clearer reason why Tarot, astrology and alchemy can be so profound; they channel the immediate through "star" words that make archetypal sense of experience. Thanks Josh for the link! Love to see a visual map of this!

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Saturday, July 20, 2002 - personalized websurfing

It looks good, about to investigate this! It could be I Like This! The project Dan I did not quite do in about 1995?
Update: Hmmm, I filled it all in. It works technically. I got some OK recommendations. Is it "feature" based or "collaborative filtering"? The name is wrong IMO, as is the choice of rating: Bad, Good, Great. This sounds like a popularity quest which is what we DON'T need more of. Bad good great... Match for me. would be better or even better ''I Like This''. Still it is delivering OK! For example I got this in the first go: Biblioteca Arcana That is quite me.

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Generation txt and Class

The paper by Vicente Rafael, Professor, Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego states ''This is a work in progress; please do not quote from this draft or cite without the author's permission. I welcome feedback; please feel free to e-mail me at" I have emailed and asked permission to link and quote - will remove if not granted. I link this because I have the question on my mind about the class nature of info tech generally, about its impact as part of the forces of production, but also about the use of communications, does it impact what actually happens in a qualitative way. Does a better linked crowd become more revolutionary or just more potent? How does the flatness of the net impact on leadership? Does the group have a life of its own and can we trust it? Vicente L Cell Phone and the Crowd
From the perspective of Generation Txt, a certain kind of crowd comes about in response to texting. It is one that bears, in both senses of that word, the hegemony of middle class intentions. Texting in its apolitical mode, sought to evade the crowd. But in its reformist mode, it is credited with converting the crowd into the concerted movement of an aggrieved people. In the latter case, the middle class invests the crowd with a power analogous to their cell phones: that of transmitting their wish for a moral community, whereby the act of transmission itself amounts to the realization of such a community. Such a notion assumes the possibility of endowing the crowd with an identity continuous with that of middle class texters. However, this assumption had another aspect. Not only did it lead to the fantasy of ordering of the masses under bourgeois direction. As I demonstrate below, the middle class interest in ordering the crowd also tended to give way to a different development. At certain moments, we also see the materialization of another kind of desire this time for the dissolution of class hierarchy altogether. How so?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Wired 3.06: A Globe, Clothing Itself with a Brain

Classic Wired from 1995. I recall reading this at the time and feeling annoyed with myself that I had not written it, as I thought along these lines in 1992. Now I don't really mind :) writing is hard. There are about a hundred links in Google to Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg and they all reference this one article! An obscure Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,set down the philosophical framework for planetary, Net-based consciousness 50 years ago. By Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg

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linuxodyssey - New Phase

Here is my message to linuxodyssey on Yahoo, where I have chronicled my free software adventures.
New Phase, lets call it phase 3. The first was my go at Debian way back in July 1999. Then Mandrake 8.1 on the Dell, which ended with severe problems. Now Red Hat 7.3

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xrefer - dialectical materialism

xrefer Came up with this item on dialectical materialism. Just a standard encyclopeadia item really, but what a great little search engine for when you want a classic encyclopaedia entry!
... the basic aims and principles of dialectical materialism remain very much in harmony with the fundamental spirit of progressive, rational scientific thought, which continues to perceive a fundamental opposition between scientific theories and religious myths, to address the scientific challenges posed by the failure of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century mechanistic programme, and to seek a scientific metaphysics as the basis for an enlightened view of the world.

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... if it isn't intelligence, has often been mistaken for it

Playing God is an essay by Douglas Rushkoff
From Evolution to Emergence
There are a few faiths in which congregants are invited to participate in the creation and interpretation of the underlying narrative. Certain Jewish sects spurn answers in favor of more questions and interpretation; Quakers enjoy a dogma-free, town-meeting-style Sabbath. Most religious traditions, though, simply treat their believers as a "mass" who must depend on priests or ministers for access to the "story." But just as the Internet has led patients to information about alternative medical treatments (often against doctor's orders), it has given congregants something in the spiritual realm that is very rare-the ability to find alternative stories about who we are, who made us, and why. More important than any one story we may have discovered or written, the experience of sifting through them all and writing our own has changed our relationship to religion, perhaps forever. The Internet is anathema to unitary narrative. If you want to understand life only as a story etched in stone, you had better stay away. Every early culture composed stories-myths-to explain the basic facts of existence. For centuries, we have understood our world-even our sciences-as being somehow authored: that things were set in motion by someone or something. We cling to the belief that our existence proceeds by design. That's why Darwin's theory of evolution was such a threat to our narrative understanding of the world, and why creationists resist its implications to this day. But even those of us who believe in evolution have been able to impose a kind of narrative on top of it in which we imagine matter and life to be groping steadily and consciously toward complexity, with evolution itself as the agent of that grand authorial entity we dearly hope exists. Now our computers are forcing us to entertain new, even less linear models for why things happen. One of these models, described in Steven Johnson's new book, Emergence, explores the way everything from ant colonies to ancient cities finds its order. It turns out that queen ants issue no decrees, and ancient cities still in existence today had no official planners. The necessary preconditions must exist, but it now appears that life, organisms, communities, and order arise-emerge, in other words-from the bottom up. There is no central story, yet there is radical change and something that, if it isn't intelligence, has often been mistaken for it. And what is the chief prerequisite for emergence to occur? You guessed it: networking. Interconnectivity is what allows an "it" to become a "they." Instead of acting on its own, each atom, molecule, cell, organism, or community can act as part of a larger complex-a networked being.
OK, if it isn't intelligence, what is it? Is there some sort Chardannian teleology? Is it just nature, bell curves and Bradford's Law? There is a method in the swarming mobs of a net-work. Emergence looks interesting. How does it relate back to the old classic on this, Engles'
[5:34 PM | wl |

The Spam Has Got To Go

Well said by John Patrick. He has a solution, digital ID, which may happen one day - I don't know. However here are some simple steps I use and which are OK, and if enough people use them then spammers will be more discouraged:

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Howard Rheingold's new book: Smart Mobs


The big battle coming over the future of smart mobs concerns media cartels and government agencies are seeking to reimpose the regime of the broadcast era in which the customers of technology will be deprived of the power to create and left only with the power to consume. That power struggle is what the battles over file-sharing, copy protection, regulation of the radio spectrum are about. Are the populations of tomorrow going to be users, like the PC owners and website creators who turned technology to widespread innovation? Or will they be consumers, constrained from innovation and locked into the technology and business models of the most powerful entrenched interests? HOWARD RHEINGOLD: SMART MOBS [7.16.02]

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One more from Karsh

marshall mcluhan

Could not resist this one from George Eastman House Yousuf Karsh Series

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Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh

The news of the death of Yousuf Karsh led me to the amazing Google Image search led to Peter Fetterman Gallery : Yousuf Karsh where the images here, just a sample, come from. They are for sale for thousands of dollars. Wonderful to see them here on the Net. Here is a quote from IHT:

Working with a large-format view camera and a battery of artificial lights (he was said to carry 350 pounds - nearly 160 kilograms - of equipment on his trips abroad) he aimed, in his own words, "to stir the emotions of the viewer" and to "lay bare the soul" of his sitter. (NYT)
SHS ArtWeb: Photography - Yousuf Karsh - Nice selection with links to big images.
Yousuf Karsh on the Internet

Pablo Picasso

Karsh - Winston Churchill

Albert Einstien

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Our life is not of our making, it is of our allowing.

This is not a link at all. It is a snippet from my Palm, one that as far as I know, I wrote though can't really recall doing so! I like it and it is central to my philosophy.
Anything can be imagined, yet sometimes the mind is blank and nothing will come or it repeats the same image over and over. Imagination takes work, work to *allow* the images to present themselves. Yet if they present themselves, what do we have to do with their creation? What emerges from the void is not of our making but of our allowing. The emergence of experience is an autonomous process like the breath. We can stop and start it, allow it, but in the end it is life for ever re-emerging in us. Our life is not of our making, it is of our allowing. Our experience of meaning is out of our hands, it is generated through a web or a net of previous givens.

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Jung bit

I am tidying snippets off my Palm like this one from a NewsScan Daily. Sticking it all on the web is the way for me to build my memory.
And what is the collective unconscious? It's a level of awareness below that of one's personal unconscious, and is unknowingly shared by people across different traditions and cultures. At this level Jung saw "archetypes" of demons, sages, dreams, etc. common to all humankind and all human history.

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America's Pipe Dream

Want to keep this link handy, an article by George Monbiot who seems a reliable source of info:
But Afghanistan's strategic importance has not changed. In September, a few days before the attack on New York, the US Energy Information Administration reported that "Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export pipelines through Afghanistan." Given that the US government is dominated by former oil industry executives, we would be foolish to suppose that a reinvigoration of these plans no longer figures in its strategic thinking. As the researcher Keith Fisher has pointed out, the possible economic outcomes of the war in Afghanistan mirror the possible economic outcomes of the war in the Balkans, where the development of "Corridor 8", an economic zone built around a pipeline carrying oil and gas from the Caspian to Europe, is a critical allied concern.

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Jack Lule: Myth as Filter

An excerpt from: OP-ED | Lule: Myth In Journalism Which makes sense of one aspect of the process of finding stuff online. The conversational part is not made all that clear here, but is implicit. (See my earlier item for continuity.)
As Myth, News Will Be Crucial But Conflicted In An Online World Myth and the new technology may seem to be an unlikely pair. But we have already seen that myth has adapted to every storytelling medium from tribal tales to cable television. The new technology is no different. The combination of myth and online news, though, will produce intriguing, paradoxical, perhaps ominous, results. The information model of journalism, already in great disrepair, will be dismantled by the marriage of myth and new media. News is losing whatever franchise it had on whatever information is. Information is no longer some scarce resource, a commodity that newspeople can cull and sell. Our society rapidly moved from information explosion to information overload. Information is everywhere. From online events calendars to live, continuous congressional coverage, anyone can give and get information online. If news is only information, news is nothing. Yet information overload offers opportunities to news: as myth. In the throes of all this information, the need for myth increases. People grapple with the meaning of rapidly changing times. People seek out ways in which they can organize and explain the world. People need stories. Myth has long played these roles. Myth has identified and organized important events in the lives of individuals and societies. Myth has interpreted and explained the meaning of the past, the portents of the future. Myth has offered the stability of story in unstable times. Decades ago, Marshall McLuhan foresaw the increasing need for myth to organize experience in the face of information overload. "You cannot cope with vast amounts of information in the old fragmentary classified patterns," he told literary critic Frank Kermode in a 1964 interview. "You tend to go looking for mythic and structural forms in order to manage such complex data, moving at very high speeds."

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Monday, July 15, 2002

The war on terrorism is a charade

Can people see through this? citizen spies in the US and the imperialism disguised as war on terror. John Pilger Puts it well:
As the West prepares for an assault on Iraq, John Pilger argues that 'war on terror' is a smokescreen created by the ultimate terrorist ... America itself

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Autonomous psyche

A page on my own site... full of good intentions, but forgotten. Perhaps linking it here will help. Remind me to update the Writing index. I am now doing all my writing on the web, though I keep some files unlinked.
I am collecting snippets here on the autonomous nature of the psyche or soul.

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McLuhan quotes Auden

Marshall McLuhan: New Media As Political Forms

Writing in Encounter (April, 1954), Auden discusses ''The Word and the Machine.'' Poets today, he says, envy ''not the rich or the powerful but the scientists, doctors, machine designers, etc., for whose happiness our age seems designed as earlier ages were designed for great landowners, for these people enjoy the satisfaction both of meaningful work and of an unequivocal social position. When I am in the company of scientists, I feel like a curate who has strayed into a drawing-room full of dukes.''

A few years before, Mr. Auden's colleague Stephen Spender was wanly asking why, when he met a communist, did he feel so small? Both having failed in the thirties to find a satisfactory lyrical idiom to glorify the machine might now unite in the matter of dukes. Or doesn't it matter that the machine has now brought English noblemen to the pass of purveying homemade jam at the roadside? The fact of the matter is that Mr. Auden typifies our current failure to examine the forms of technology, past and present, as art forms. He concludes his essay:

Is there something in the essential natures of the machine and the Word which makes them incompatible, so that at the slightest contact with the former the Word turns into lifeless words? Is even the mechanical printing press, but for which I would never have been able to read the books that formed my life, nor for that matter be writing this article now, an evil? Sometimes I have an uneasy suspicion that it is.

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Sunday, July 14, 2002

McLuhan Studies Issue 2

This is a useful link as it is straight to the current studies at the uni of Toronto.

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Marshall McLuhan

Posting this so I can update my McLuhan page.
Marshall McLuhan is making a comeback or at least many his ideas are. Twenty years after his death, many of his thoughts and ideas about technology are cropping up again. Especially now that many of these ideas seem quite prophetic. During his lifetime, many readers of his work assumed that his theories on mass communication revolved around television. Looking back on his work, many admirers are now realizing that most of his thoughts apply to the Internet. In his 1962 book, The Gutenberg Galaxy, he predicted that the print culture would eventually be replaced by the electronic age. In his well-known 1964 book, Understanding Media, he goes on to foretell how technology has and will continue to change social relations and attitudes. In fact, he describes future society as a global village in which "we are all within reach of a single voice or the sound of tribal drums." McLuhan understood the incredible impact that technology would have on the world and added many new quotes to the language that are recognized today, one of the most familiar being, "the medium is the message." While still controversial in some circles, McLuhan's ideas remain thought provoking and enlightening.

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if it works, it's obsolete

Of all the McLuhan sound bites I have noticed in my current binge this one stands out. Maybe Windows has some life in it yet. From a nice Biographical Profile: Marshall McLuhan. This is not bad either: Wired 5.06: Street Cred "I am resolutely opposed to all innovation, all change. But I am determined to understand what is happening, because I don't choose just to sit and let the juggernaut roll over me."

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Online or Invisible?

Article by Steve Lawrence, NEC Research Institute
Articles freely available online are more highly cited. For greater impact and faster scientific progress, authors and publishers should aim to make research easy to access.
I wonder what wealth lies off-line? I wonder too what wealth lies buried and unused behind various proprietary systems? The un listed however can be searched! It is via relationships. People know stuff and will send you stuff. But then again some people are not "online" - still someone is bound to know them. It adds up this: cyberspace is beyond any specific technology to access it.

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Bradford's Law

It does not really seem to be a very well know phenomena outside of highly specialised circles - sort of proving his point. It seems to me it is as useful an idea as Bell's Curve. Or is that just the bell curve :) It strikes me that wealth is distributed in the Bradford way. This page is succinct. I'd like some graphics though.
Bradford’s law, sometimes called Bradford’s law of scatter, is useful, not just for writers and bibliographers, but for librarians doing collection development as well. 1/3 of the literature in a field can be covered in a small collection of core journals. To cover 2/3 of the literature, multiply the number of journals in the core by a constant (n) which varies by field. To have a comprehensive collection, multiply the number of journals in the core by the square of the constant.

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Easter Saturday 2000 recycled

I was looking for something in the old EditThisPage weblog I kept and was struck by a lovely (if I say so myself) sequence of posts, I have reproduced them here more or less as they were there. I like to keep a series of great pix going in the links. I did that even in the old links pages. I'd never post one I do not like. Aesthetics count and I like to keep tweaking the look. The photo from the Chester Street garden is nostalgic, we moved out last November! -- Animal Magnetism: Making O'Reilly Animals pelican

''From start to finish, an O'Reilly animal requires anywhere from 8 to 20 hours of manual labor. And for reasons no one can fully explain, hand-drawn animals on high-tech computer books became a wild success.''
I think it is because computers were never about the thing itself... the fetish is about the living and organic thing they do. I feel an affinity with the O'Reilly images as I have used the William Morris tapestry in as a logo for years, I see a similarity... the same idea, something, in this case, hand crafted, beautiful and symbolic of the Psybernet work... (tree of) life work contained in the (circle) groups. With that in mind I kept looking. How is this for something Psybernet, more Morris stuff, the harvesting of our work? POMONA: (Note: the site has since gone) "Welcome to the first test MP3 audio webcast from
This is a recording of interviews and conversations at the Mobilization for Global Justice in Washington DC. Please subscribe to our newsletter for updates and how you can create your own MP3 news/talk webcasts in the near future. will be providing free webspace, discussion boards, polls, and a whole lot more! Stay in touch! Listen to the unedited MP3 WebCast streamed by "
Well if this was a test it worked beautifully and it seems great to be able to get the feel from people on the spot... as it is right there. What a contrast the sounds of a demonstration are with my autumn shot in the garden today. Autumn2000

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More on self-organisation

Here is more on the chaordic principle that I sensed was missing from the firstmondy item linked below. I still don't really get how Visa works, but I love the line ''Visa has been called "a corporation whose product is coordination." Hock calls it "an enabling organization." Here is the item: The Trillion-Dollar Vision of Dee Hock
This is one of Dee Hock's favorite tricks to play on an audience. "How many of you recognize this?" he asks, holding out his own Visa card. Every hand in the room goes up. "Now," Hock says, "how many of you can tell me who owns it, where it's headquartered, how it's governed, or where to buy shares?" Confused silence. No one has the slightest idea, because no one has ever thought about it. And that, says Hock, is exactly how it ought to be. "The better an organization is, the less obvious it is," he says. "In Visa, we tried to create an invisible organization and keep it that way. It's the results, not the structure or management that should be apparent." Today the Visa organization that Hock founded is not only performing brilliantly, it is also almost mythic, one of only two examples that experts regularly cite to illustrate how the dynamic principles of chaos theory can be applied to business.

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OtherWise Dee Hock - The Birth of the Chaordic Century: Out of Control and Into Order (Part 1 of 2)

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Mindjack - Feature - Reading McLuhan

Commentary by Melanie McBride on a book about McLuhan by Donald F. Theall.

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Mindjack - the beat of digital culture

Plenty of it here. Items on McLuhan. Rushkoff, Jon Lebkowsky items. A weblog, with posts from Bryan Alexander.

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Saturday, July 13, 2002

The Best Critical Thinking on the Web

Here is a page of links. Collected by Roger Bourn. I have looked at one or two with interest, but can extrapolate that at least some will be to my taste from this one by Jerry Pournelli, on writing - especially paragraphs, which I am sure I have linked in the past, and which I need right now! This is the blurb on Roger's site:
Welcome! Here is a collection of the best writing to be found concerning Critical Thought, and the Paradigm (and Ethics) of computing in our daily lives, with a list of the best writers who exhibit Critical Thinking in their work. Refresh this page often, as this site is growing. You are welcome to send additions.

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Where should I file soul?

I transferred the Psyber-L mailing list to Yahoo the other day and had to put it in a category. There never is one for what I want. Soul does not fit under Health, or Computers, or Hobbies or Religion for that matter. Psychology might be ok, except that it has been corrupted - that means it would be filed in among advertising, PR, HR and CBT and so on, not always good company for the soul. This article from First Monday by Marcia J. Bates explores the problem: After the Dot-Bomb: Getting Web Information Retrieval Right This Time
Succumbing to the "ontology" fallacy The hot new term in information organization is "ontology." Everybody's inventing, and writing about, ontologies, which are classifications, lists of indexing terms, or concept term clusters (Communications of the ACM, 2002). But here's the problem: "Ontology" is a term taken from philosophy; it refers to the philosophical issues surrounding the nature of being. If you name a classification or vocabulary an "ontology" then that says to the world that you believe that you are describing the world as it truly is, in its essence, that you have found the universe's one true nature and organization. But, in fact, we do not actually know how things "really" are. Put ten classificationists (people who devise classifications) in a room together and you will have ten views on how the world is organized.
Got this from Cory in boing boing, he liked it. I noticed that in a discussion, Cory with Justin the topic comes up again, and Justin makes it very clear:
Nice rant about categorization. Talking about the universe and washing machines, you nail a problem I've had writing on the web about my life. For example, I'm in love with a woman and I want to write about her on my site. Where do I file her in my hierarchical life-cum-directory structure? Under San Francisco, where we met? Or Oakland, more precisely, which was somehow created as a subdirectory of San Francisco? Or maybe Japan/Tokyo where we had the first date of the rest of our lives. Maybe I'll marry this woman and so maybe she should be her own subdirectory! Or a subdomain off I link to her site in the meantime; but wouldn't it be nice to say a few tender words as I pass a web surfer from my site to hers?
I think the answer is in the direction of better conversations, and automated mass conversations via collaborative filtering, like in our project that never eventuated I like this! Update:I have read Marcia J. Bates' article with interest. It has some great ideas and information, SDI = ''push'' technology which has a long history. faceted classification would be worth studying up, the Bradford Distribution is a concept that made immediate sense. HOWEVER, the overall thesis, that some sort of rationality of classification could prevail and actually be useful I have doubts about. I remain positive about the idea of groping through a tangle of information. Not information, relationships, conversations. No where in the article does she really mention *self organising information* emails stored on my computer are self organising. I can search them by title, or test date, author etc. And no where does she mention the word chaordic, or collaborative filtering. My hunch is that there is great value in the work Marcia does in specific niche areas. BUT. Just as she says linguists are not much good at thinking systemically about information retrieval, I am now thinking that information researchers do not grasp the nature of... surfing the noosphere. God, there is hardly a way to speak about the soup we are in, but I bet that someone right in there well netted-in could find anything on the net, by hunches, by surfing through the links on likely pages, by blogging, by Googling through usenet and asking the odd guru. That way we'd not only find the information, but learn that we did not actually need it, or that there was a new paradigm, or what to do with it once we had it, or that it was not actually cataloged anywhere, but in my grand mothers drawer. I'll sprinkle hyperlinks through all of the above in good time as I think on this one I am with Justin - it is a rhizome like beast. I also want to follow up on Cory's piece about cataloging.

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A Linux user goes back

The article is worth reading. Here is an email I sent to Tony in response:
Hi Tony, Your item makes good sense to me, as I am back here in XP *unable* to do what I want in GNU/Linux. One thing you do not mention that will take me back as soon as I am able... the *values* implicit in the GPL. Human knowledge is built on the shoulders of those before us for a long time, that tradition is under severe threat, and the GPL is one of the more hopeful phenomena of this era. I like it when RMS says thing like "I don't care!" to many of your valid points. Freedom is more important, the freedom to build knowledge for the use of us all. I will pop this on my weblog, and if in the millions of emails you will get, you manage to respond to this in some way, I will link to that too. Thanks, Walter

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Friday, July 12, 2002

Re: bill's test

From my post to the mailing list:
It turns out that it works fine in IE but not Mozilla (at least 1.00 release candidate 3 - I will try an upgrade). What I had done to create the corruption was to omit a closing quote around a url in a link. Easily fixed in safe mode in IE. My IE was crashing, but that is another story, reinstall, reactivation 24 hours later... Now IE is working, Blogger is working, Yay! I will keep you posted re latest version of Mozilla, as it would be good to have that functionality there too. Can others use Safe Mode to fix such things in Mozilla? Walter

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bill's test

Here is the test post I mentioned, click safe mode, and then edit this to see for yourself how easy it is to fix.

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Using the Way Back machine

FWR #10: Chaos Spirituality Fun to go back to '96.

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Thursday, July 11, 2002

New McLuhan book - Probes

Here is the jacket summary on the Ginko Press site, looks like a site worth noting: (thanks for the link Josh)
Until now no book has explored the full expanse of Marshall McLuhan's thinking or writing. The Book of Probes is an exciting new publication that brings together for the first time a collection of his most prescient aphorisms and excerpts from his prolific life's work. It is a revolutionary book that distills the wisdom and wit of the brilliant man who was first to understand and articulate thoughts on media, privacy invasion, the information environment, and much more. McLuhan's bold perceptions, such as ''obsolescence is the moment of superabundance'' he called 'probes' and they gleam today like hidden gems in his many books, in more than 200 speeches, in his classes (especially the Monday Night Seminars), and most of all in the nearly 700 shorter writings that he published between 1945 and 1980. Over the past couple of years Eric McLuhan, Marshall McLuhan's son, and William Kuhns have combed through all of his writings to extract and compile a complete collection of 'probes' which has become The Book of Probes. Not only are these one hundred percent McLuhan's own words, these are McLuhan's finest words and, incredibly, most 'probes' are so fresh they will be new to even the most avid McLuhan readers and enthusiasts. The Book of Probes opens a new portal to McLuhan's mind and sets a new precedent as to how we will interpret and appreciate McLuhan in the future. Readers will marvel at how the consistency, the clarity of concept, and the abundant wealth of observations, some made twenty or thirty years apart, dovetail to form a whole. Art Director and Designer David Carson presents McLuhan's work with refreshing new visual insight, and in doing so has added his indelible mark to a body of work that is destined to be recommissioned and reinterpreted by countless generations to come. With commentaries by Eric McLuhan and Terrence Gordon, author of Marshall McLuhan – Escape into Understanding.
Also on the Ginko site: Letter from Marshall McLuhan to Harold Adams Innis amazon

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With a name like mine, what could I do but link? The reason this site was in the news today is because of dark swap.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Links as a pseudo-monetary unit?

Jill Walker's (jill/txt) article:Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web
Links have always been fundamental to the web. In the last few years their value has become regulated as search engines and other systems that find and define the structures of the Web increasingly index links and anchor text in addition to keywords and page content. In these projects, links are seen as objective, democratic and machine-readable signs of value. This paper discusses the implications and the power structures inherent in this relatively undiscussed but influential change in the structuring of the World Wide Web.

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the toothpaste is already out of the tube

Those are the words of Gene Kan on file sharing as reported in a Wired article on his death by Michelle Delio Quiet, Sad Death of Net Pioneer A sad story indeed.

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Daniel Pádua, has come up with an idea. I did his thing. Maybe this will help in the process of making amore intelligent Web. A bit like the promise of XML bot more organic. And here is my bit as part of a post:
Google! DayPop! This is my blogchalk: English, New Zealand, Christchurch, City, Walter, Male, 56-60!

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NetFuture: Technology and Human Responsibility

This site was recommended by Dolores on Techne & Psyche. I found some of a discussion she reccomends thus:
the ongoing dialogue between Steve Talbott (editor of NetFuture ) and Kevin Kelly (editor-at-large of Wired) which began with Steve's essay The Deceiving Virtues of Technology. Their forthright give and take cuts through to the deeper issues concerning technology and how it is changing our sense of what it means to be a human being.

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Monday, July 08, 2002

Political Corrections

Political Corrections From The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension

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E.l.e.c.t.r.i.c D.r.e.a.m.s - Articles

Index to a wealth of articles, many about dream sharing online. I am looking for dreams that help define cyberspace, that reveal cyberspace, any offers?

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More from Axis Mundi

Marshall McLuhan
''That is why we must, to use them at all, serve these objects, these extensions of ourselves, as gods or minor religions... Physiologically, man in normal use of technology (or his variously extended body) is perpetually modified by it and in turn finds new ways of modifying his technology. Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms.The machine world reciprocates man's love by expediting his wishes and desires, namely, in providing him with wealth.''

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Axis Mundi Plan

This site is by Brett Breitwieser who is on the wavelength - where psyche meets cyberspace - or in his words: "the polytheistic psyche meets the polycentric web..." Links to McLuhan, Chardin, Hillman. A nice find for me but also disturbing as it picks up on all those far right politics of the soul we find occasionally in Hillman and Camille Paglia, who is heavily linked. I hate that smart attack on the "politically correct" (nasty sarcastic phrase that it is.) It also looks like this is a site that literalises polytheism rather than using it as a way of psychologising, in other words they make it into a church. Easily done when one advocates seeing the sacred in everyday life.

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Cadmus the Phoenician


Phoenicia, Phoenicians: Cadmus the Phoenician - Another telling of the myth.
Unfortunately, now Cadmus had no men. He looked to the gods and since he had sacrificed the cow, Athena answered his plea. "Don't worry," said the goddess. "Just plow a field and sow the dragon's teeth in the furrows." Cadmus followed Athena's strange advice and as soon as the teeth were sown, fully grown warriors sprang up. They all ran at Cadmus and again he feared for his life, but again Athena stepped in. "Throw a rock among them!" she told Cadmus. Again, Cadmus did as the goddess said, and at once the warriors fought each other fiercely, accusing their neighbor of being the thrower of the rock. In the end, only five remained living, and those were wounded badly. Cadmus nursed them back to health and they helped Cadmus establish the city of Thebes.
Is this then the five vowel sounds?
Updated this item: 10 August 2002

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Harold Innis

Having found this site (see previous Item) and noted the paucity of references to him, here he is again, Harold Innis:
"Innis sees communication media as extensions of the human mind and believes that the primary interest of any historical period is a kind of bias resulting from the predominant media in use. In other words, what happens, and what seems significant in a historical period are determined by the media. "Heavy media such as parchment, clay, or stone are lasting and therefore time-binding. Because they facilitate communication from one generation to another, these media favored relatively close communities, metaphysical speculation, and traditional authority. "In contrast, space-binding media such as paper are light and easy to transport, so they facilitate communication from one location to another, fostering empire building, large bureaucracy, commercialism, and the military. "Speech as a medium, because it is produced one sound at a time, encourages people to organise their experience chronologically. Speech also requires knowledge and tradition and therefore supports community and relationship. Written media, which are spatially arranged, produce a different kind of culture. The space-binding effect of writing produces interests in polotical authority and the growth of empires across the land. "Innis grew increasingly pessimistic later in life. Changes in communication technology were seen as a revaluation of community and a of loss culture and freedom. What Innis saw most clearly was that the main meaning of electronics was not in the provision of entertainment and information through radio and television. he recognized that the speed and distance of electronic communication enlarged the possible scale of social organization and greatly enhanced the possibilities of centralization and imperialism in matters of culture and politics."
Update: There are two spellings of Innis on the site but I have (I think) corrected this item to Innis.

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Cadmus - teeth/letters

I learnt about Cadmus from reading McLuhan - was he onto it! Here is a snippet from a small potent piece about the Greek god of the alphabet (and hence, eventually, the Internet!). This is from a site, Mots pluriels "a refereed electronic and international journal open to literary-minded scholars wishing to share their points of view on important contemporary world issues." I can't find the context or the author of this item.
The alphabet is a magic technology. These dragon's teeth/letters contain the magic of fertility and trans-substantiation. Teeth/letters grow magically into soldiers. The alphabet, as we see again when we reread the story of Moses in the court of Pharaoh, unleashes a new power in its users to convert one thing into another. The secret lies in the alphabet's magic ability of abstraction. This can become that because more information can be held more compactly and meaningfully in the head, and manipulated mentally. Pictographic writing is either literal - this is this - or else it is iconic: this stands for that (and only that). The alphabet endows its user with a mental plasticity that is impossible for pictography. Letters signal hidden connections and correspondences, tracing the roots of meaning that lie beneath the surface of language. To illiterates or to cultures still using pictography, the alphabet fulfills Clarke's Law: it must seem like a form of sorcery for the powers, the grammar and glamour, it grants to those who commandeer it.
Another snippet - variation - on the Cadmus story, DRAGONSTEETH
When Jason sows the dragon's teeth, each tooth transforms into a fierce warrior. But Jason, by magic, kills all of them and claims the golden fleece. The myth goes on from there, but our concern is with the sgnificance of the dragon's teeth. The dragonteeth-become-warriors represent the letters of the alphabet (also credited to the legendary Cadmus). Why warriors? Because the invention of writing made possible extending communication to aid long-distance strategy in warfare. A strategic leader would send a long-distance runner to a tactical leader in the field. The illiterate runner might be able to remember many details (illiterates often compensate thus), but within serious limits. An illiterate messenger bearing a long, written scroll could transmit extensive military orders to a field commander. Thus was the city-state extended to the empire -- BY THE ALPHABET!
This is from John Hays - and is the thesis I have understood as coming from Harold Innis.

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Sunday, July 07, 2002

Psychological space

John Suler -Internet Psychology: The Basic Psychological Features of E-Mail Communication
E-mail is not just electronic mail sent via the internet. E-mail communication creates a psychological space in which pairs of people -- or groups of people -- interact. It creates a context and boundary in which human relationships can unfold.
Well put.

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The Binary Nature of Freedom

An item by "beppu" - Some interesting ideas, free software as a metaphor for human freedom. Noting the importance of GPL in our everyday lives - he claims it is at the root of the Internet, may be true? There is something not quite right about the style though and the angle, I can see why they did not print it. However I like the direction he is pointing to. There could be a lot more education about the GPL, its importance. For example download sites and Linux mags could do more to mention the licence.

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Saturday, July 06, 2002

Headline Muse

I just found a Jungian site I have not seen before! Headline Some interesting stuff, such as this: Film Commentary: "Wake Up Neo": The Matrix of C.G. Jung Tom Flynn. Or this: Terrorisn is the Alchemy of the Soul by Gene C. Toews.

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characteristics of digital identity

Eric Norlin writes in the TDCRC Mailing list:
One of the key characteristics of digital identity is the fact that it acts as an enabler. Real world identity is inalienable at birth. It is not given to you, per se. Virtual identity does not require an authentication to partake -- log on to a network and begin (assuming it’s a public network). But digital identity enables -- as a bridge between the real and virtual worlds, it allows an individual entity (be they person, device, computer or organization) to interact in a privileged domain.
(Found via Doc)

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Thursday, July 04, 2002

Good idea!

You should define an acronym whenever you use it, or at least once per post. How to do it The first time you use an acronym, mark it up with an tag, like this: The first time you use an acronym, mark it up with an <acronym> tag, like this:

<acronym title="cascading style sheets">CSS</acronym>

This item is hot on daypop and no wonder. Mark has created profiles of users who would benefit. Lovely, see Bill's story for instance.

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Janis Ian - On the Other Side!

Janis Ian writes what is sort of well known and obvious, but great to hear from someone like her.
It's absurd for us, as artists, to sanction - or countenance - the shutting down of something like this. It's sheer stupidity to rejoice at the Napster decision. Short-sighted, and ignorant. Free exposure is practically a thing of the past for entertainers. Getting your record played at radio costs more money than most of us dream of ever earning. Free downloading gives a chance to every do-it-yourselfer out there. Every act that can't get signed to a major, for whatever reason, can reach literally millions of new listeners, enticing them to buy the CD and come to the concerts. Where else can a new act, or one that doesn't have a label deal, get that kind of exposure? As artists, we have the ear of the masses. We have the trust of the masses. By speaking out in our concerts and in the press, we can do a great deal to damp this hysteria, and put the blame for the sad state of our industry right back where it belongs - in the laps of record companies, radio programmers, and our own apparent inability to organize ourselves in order to better our own lives - and those of our fans. If we don't take the reins, no one will.
I wish some NZ would do the same, perhaps they have?

[10:49 AM | wl | permalink

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Trying to sell what they get for nothing?

PETER MEYERS writes in the NYT, A Dispute Over Wireless Networks
Many Wi-Fi networks, intentionally or otherwise, allow passers-by to use the networks without any password. And there are tools that amplify the Wi-Fi radio signal, enabling it to be delivered over an even larger area, like a park. Many broadband providers fear that every user of a free wireless network is one less paying customer. "Our goal is just to protect our customer base," said Mr. Rosenblum, adding that Time Warner Cable currently had no plans to extend this enforcement campaign to other areas that it serves.
Maybe it is a fantasy and I just dont get the science, but I have a sense that companies are trying to bottle air and sell it, and stop anyone from breathing who does not pay up. Maybe there are some gadgets involved and some regulations required, but that is about it. It is probably like music. Once there was a lot of cost in copying and distributing music. Now that is free but the old companies will not accept that. They want to make it scarce by technological and legal means. Now that is perverse use of tools (though probably familiar law.)

[4:15 PM | wl | permalink

The weblog of the book

NoLogo Worthwhile site.

[3:02 AM | wl | permalink

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Building the noosphere

In a BBC News item Write here, right now Mark Ward writes, quoting Matt Jones:
The warchalks are intended to let people know about the open nodes that many people are happy for others to share. Jones said he did not think there was much danger that it would be taken over by anyone malicious to post notice of corporate networks that are not doing enough to protect themselves. "If someone is chalking it up they are doing something quite beneficial to the network operators by saying I have spotted this. Then they can decide to secure it or instigate a free wireless type scenario."
This is an item that makes the whole thing easier to grasp if it is all a bit new - as it was for me. I'd love this - hope there are these hotspots wherever I go!

[10:48 PM | wl | permalink

Lain item: the real world and wired world start mixing

There is a problem with the lain item below, can't edit it. Interesting stuff though - there is something very psyberspacy about it all. I want to explore it more. It is addressing the Matrix type stuff but perhaps in a more psychological way? I don't get it yet. Is it written by Japanese? Is "psyche" a translation from the Japanese, or does it go back to the Greeks via the west?

[3:16 AM | wl | permalink

Pioneer Anime : Lain

lain image
lain site
''There is the world around us, a world of people, tactile sensation, and culture. There is the wired world, inside the computer, of images, personalities, virtual experiences, and a culture all of its own. The day after a classmate commits suicide, lain, a thirteen year-old girl, discovers how closely the two worlds are linked when she receives an e-mail from the dead girl: "I just abandoned my body. I still live here..." Has the line between the real world and the wired world begun to blur? layer 03: PSYCHE lain receives mysterious circuit called "Psyche" that improve functions of any type of NAVIs. layer 04: RELIGION lain is into remodeling her NAVI after getting Psyche. Outside of her room, the real world and wired world start mixing.''
I find it all intriguing, mainly because it is so psybernett-y and so matrix-y. ''Has the line between the real world and the wired world begun to blur?'' What a nice question... and though it seems that it is treated literally here, as if the dead can email from the grave, the power of that notion is interesting. Like all stories, their truth is not related to what actually happened. The two headings, Psyche and religion - are just interesting. Update: Later I return to this theme in my weblog post re Axis Mundi Plan. It comes up there because of the church thing they have going.

[2:30 AM | wl | permalink

Monday, July 01, 2002

Information fights to be free

Browsing this thoughtful, analytical site: zeligConf I found and liked this item from Aris Papathéodorou -- Networks for technical/scientific knowledge exchange:
In concrete terms, this means that the productive cooperation practices, well tried in software, can and must be extended to other cognitive fields, and to other social subjects. Beyond the slogan, it is about inventing now social and material structures making possible an effective circulation of technical knowledge, of peculiar uses and practical innovations. It is about creating structures of public access to skills involved in a full use of the potentialities of free software and Internet, to give every user the possibility to access the "source code" of communication's technosciences.
That this should be under threat, that it has become an issue to fight for is so sad. So much good will! So much knowledge and it is somehow being well repressed, almost without our realising it. We are creeping toward the world described in Richard Stallman's short story: The Right to Read. (link to the Google cached version as I could not get to the GNU site's version.) I linked to this site ages ago too.

[8:41 PM | wl | permalink

Upgraded the tools

I did it, upgraded to Blogger Pro, I wanted to be able to make links to specific posts. Spell check etc. But now there is another damn learning curve - like how do I use the spell check? Later: Ok, I can check the spelling! From the Blogger site, my old "Blog This!" does not show it - YET. Testing it now. Seems to work. I won't be going on about it all, but one thing is really good, the small screen problem I had in Mozilla is fixed. Still later... have been unable to publish (till now if this is through!). Later... there were problems - promptly fixed by blogger - thanks Bill!

[8:24 PM | wl | permalink

PC Magazine - WiFi explained Broadband Block Party July 1, 2002 By Rob Flickenger (thanks Cory at BoingBoing)

[8:17 PM | wl | permalink

The show must go on!

Google -- This is the thread where streamer, p2p radio was announced. I have a sense of the importance of this sort of development and of people like this becoming heroes of a new era. That would be a victory for what is right.

[7:39 PM | wl | permalink

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