Zero Something…

It all starts at zero.

Post Human Lady Gaga?

h+ magazene has an interesting article about Lady Gaga as a model for the “post human” next step.

Gaga may be the first version of a human being we have seen capable of thriving in the era of the social web. She is shiny, clickable, and malleable in the face of endless attention fragmentation. She is an adaptive strategy. Without any solid or “real” self, her identity becomes whatever it needs to be, immune to the toxic shock of the incoming century, fully geared up to party in the ruins. Is it any wonder that she’s provoked the response she has, both adulation and hatred? She’s the first non-boring thing to happen in pop music for almost fifteen years.

I’ll agree she is certainly “non-borning” and I do like the visuals she presents; no I’m not talking about the half nakedness. It reminds me a lot of what I’ve seen in Second Life and the way out outfits people wear and the worlds they create in the virtual, except she is doing it in RL (real life), kind of. Yes it’s a music video and not “real”. I got the cultural references for Thelma & Louise and Kill Bill , I’m not sure if there was a Cell Block Tango reference. Even so, after reading h+ analysis I do think the video makes a bit more sense.

Do check out her video.

After that also take a look at Pomplamoose for a different kind of surreal. Nataly Dawn has a self awareness of appearance and presentation that no less impressive then that of Lady Gaga. I don’t know for sure but Jack Conte likely does most of the music production and layering. Again this is no less impressive that any other modern music work. Their work is just as much about transforming current media and cultural references as that of Lady Gaga.

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Cult Of Personality

Wikipedia defines cult of personality in terms of a political leader manipulating mass media to build support. This can happen but more likely a cult of personality develops because of some kind of grass roots support for or hero worship of a person, not necessarily a political leader.   

As I watch the inauguration proceedings I am struck by the behavior of the crowd. At various times chants of “Oboma Oboma” sweep through the crowd. I have never seen this at any inauguration event. That doesn’t mean it’s never happened I just don’t remember seeing it or hearing it on any of the past inauguration events. I’ve seen them sense President Carter took office.

The whole Obama phenomena of hope is a little disturbing. A large number of people seem willing to place all of their hopes for something better on this man and the government he will expand. Let me point out here that government only has the power people are willing to give it. In this case apparently many people are willing to give up nearly everything for this man and the government he plans to create. This kind of faith in a single person is the accurate definition of cult of personality (YouTube).

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Storm

Just discovered this guy. Love it. I can’t say how many times I’ve been is this kind of situation and didn’t handle it with nearly so lovely a verse. But before you read on proper credit should be given to the author. Tim Minchin. I’ll have to get a DVD. Thanks to my friends on Facebook and YouTube for making me aware of this.

Storm

Tim Minchin

In a north london top floor flat,

All white walls, white carpet, white cat.

Rice paper partition, Modern art And Ambition


The host’s a physician,

Lovely bloke,

Has his own practice,

His girlfriend’s an actress -

An old mate of ours from home,

And they’re always gret fun,

So to dinner we’ve come -


The fifth guest is an unknown,

The hosts have just thrown us

together for a favour.

The girl’s just arrived from Australia,

And she’s moved to North London,

And she’s a sister of someone.

Or has – some connection.


As we make introductions,

I’m struck my her beauty,

She’s irrefutably fair,

With dark eyes and dark hair.

But as she shits, I admit:

I’m a little bit wary,


As i notice the tip,

Of the wing of a fairy,

Tattooed on that popular area,

Just above the derrière,

And when she says “I’m Sagittarius!”


I confess, a pigeonhole starts to form,

And is immediately filled with pigeon,

When she says her name is *Storm*


Conversation is initially bright and light-hearted,

But it’s not long before Storm gets started.


You can’t know anything.

Knowledge is merely opinion.


She opines over her Cabernet Sauvignon

Vis-`a-vis, Some unhippily empirical comment made by me.

Not a good start I think, We’re only on pre-dinner drinks,

And across the room my wife widens her eyes,

Silently begging me “Be nice!”


A matrimonial warning, Not worth ignoring.

So,


I resist the urge to ask Storm,

Whether knowledge is so loose weave,

Of a morning, when deciding whether to leave,

Her apartment by the front door,

Or the window on the second floor.


The food is delicious,

And Storm whilst avoiding all meat,

Happily sits and eats,

As the good doctor slightly pissedly

holds court on some anachronistic aspect of medical history.


When Storm suddenly insists:

But the human body is a mystery

Science just falls in a hole

When it tries to explain the nature of the soul.


My hostess throws me a glance,

She, like my wife, knows there’s a chance,

I’ll be off on one of my rare, but fun, rants.

But I shan’t, My lips are sealed,

I just want to enjoy the meal.


And although Storm is starting to get my goat,

I have no intention of rocking the boat,

Although it’s becoming a bit of a wrestle,

Because, like her meteorological namesake,

Storm has no such concerns for our vessel.


Pharmaceutical companies is an enemy,

They promote drug dependency,

At the cost of the natural remedies,

That are all our bodies need,

They’re immoral and driven by greed,

Why take drugs when herbs can solve it?

Why do chemicals when

Homeopathic solvents can resolve it?

I think it’s time we all return to live,

With natural medical alternatives.


And try as I like,

A small crack appears in my diplomacy dyke.


By definition, (I begin)

Alternative medicine, (I continue)

Hs either not been proved to work,

Or been proved, not to work.

Do you know what they call

‘Alternative Medicine’

That’s been proved to work?


– Medicine


So you don’t believe in any natural remedies?

On the contrary, Storm, actually,

Before we came to tea,

I took a natural remedy,

Derived from the bark of a willow tree.

It’s a painkiller, virtually side-effect free.

It’s got a, a weird name,

Darling, what was it again?

Maspirin?

Baspirin? Oh, yeah -

Aspirin!

Which I paid about a buck for,

Down at the local drugstore.


The debate briefly abates,

As my hosts collect plates.

But as they return with dessert,

Storm pertly asserts,

Shakespeare said it first:

There are more things in

Heaven and Earth,

Than exist in your philosophy

Science is just how we’re trained, to look at reality,

It doesn’t explain, Love or spirituality.

How does Science explain

Psychics, auras, the afterlife,

The power of prayer?


I’m becoming aware,

That I’m staring,

I’m like a rabbit suddenly trapped,

In the blinding headlights of vacuous crap.

Maybe it’s the Hamlet,

She just misquothed,

Or the fifth glass of wine I just quaffed.

But my diplomacy dyke groans,

And the arsehole held back by its stones.

Could be held back no more.


Look up, Storm, So I don’t need to bore ya,

But there’s no such thing as an aura,

Reading auras is like reading minds,

Or tea leaves, or star-signs,

Or meridian lines.

These people aren’t plying a skill,

They’re either lying, or mentally ill.

Same goes for people who claim

To hear God’s demands,

Spiritual healers who think

They’ve got magic hands.

By the way, why do we think it’s okay,

For people to pretend they can talk to the dead?

Isn’t that totally fucked in the head?

Lying to some crying woman whose child has died,

And telling me you’re in touch with the other side?

I think that’s fundamentally sick.

Do I need to clairify here,

That there’s no such thing as a psychic?


What are we – fucking two?

Do we actually think that

Horton heard a Who?

Do we still believe that Santa brings us gifts,

That Michael Jackson didn’t have facelifts?

Or are you still so stunned

by circus tricks,

That we think te dead would,

Wanna talk to pricks like John Edward?


Storm, to her credit,

Despite my derision

Keeps firing off cliches

With startling precision

Like a sniper using

Bollocks for ammunition.


You’re so sure of your position,

But you’re just close-minded,

I think you’ll find tat

Your FAITH in science and tests,

Is just as blind as the

faith of any fundamentalists,


Wow, that’s a good point,

Let me think for a bit.

Oh wait, my mistake,

That’s absolute bullshit.

Science adjusts its views

Based on what’s observed.

Faith is the denial of observation,

so that belief can be preserved.


If you show me that, say,

Homeopathy works,

I will change my mind,

I will spin on a fucking dime.

I’ll be as embarassed as hell,

Yet I will run through the streets yelling,

It’s a MIRACLE!

Take pysics and bin it!

Water has memory!

And whilst its memory

Of a long lost drop of onion juice is infinite,

It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it.


You show me that it works,

And how it works,

and when I’ve recovered,

from the shock,

I will take a compass and carve

‘Fancy That’,

On the side of my cock.


Everyone’s just staring now,

But I’m pretty pissed and I’ve dug this far down.

So I figure.. In for a penny, in for a pound!


Life is full of mystery, yeah,

but,

there are answers out there.

And they won’t be found,

By people sitting around,

Looking serious,

And saying: Isn’t life mysterious,

Let’s sit here and hope,

Let’s call up the fucking Pope,

Let’s go on Oprah,

And Interview Deepak Chopra.


If you must watch telly,

you should watch Scooby-Doo,

That show was so cool!

Because every time

There was a church with a ghoul,

Or a ghost in a school,

They looked beneath the mask.

And what was inside?

The fucking janitor,

or the dude who ran the water slide!

Because,

throughout history,

every mystery

ever solved,

Has turned out to be -

Not Magic!


Does the idea that

there might be knowledge frighten you?

Does the idea that

one afternoon on Wiki-fucking-pedia

Might enlighten you,

Frighten you?

Does the notion that there might not be a supernatural,

so blow your hippy noodle,

that you’d rather just stand in the fog of your

Inability to google?


Isn’t this enough?

Just,

this world?


Just,

Beautiful, Complex, Wonderfully Unfathomable,

Natural World?


How does it so fail to hold our attention

That we have to diminish it

with the invention

of cheap man-made

myths and monsters?

If you’re so into your Shakespeare,

Lend me your ear

To gild refined gold,

To paint the lily,

To throw perfume on the violet,

Is just fucking silly

Or something like that.

Or what about Satchmo?

I see trees of green,

Red roses too…


And fine, if you wish to,

Glorify Krishna and Vishnu,

In a post-colonial,

Condescending,

Bottled-up-and-labeled

kind of way,

Whatever, That’s okay.


But, here’s what gives me a hard-on,

I’m a tiny, insignificant

Ignorant bit of carbon.

I have one life,

And it is short and unimportant,

But thanks to recent scientific advances…


I get to live twice as long,

As my great-great-great-great

uncleses and auntses.


Twice as long!

To live this life of mine,

Twice as long,

To love this wife of mine.

Twice as many years,

Of friends, of wine,

Of sharing curries and getting shitty,

At good looking hippies,

With fairies on their spines,

And butterflies on their titties.


And if perchance, I have offended,

Think but this, and all is mended,


We’d as well be ten minutes back in time

For all the chance you’ll change your mind.

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Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Welcome to the culture war. I’ve started noticing more and more that friends won’t say Christmas in reference to December 24/25th. I’ve also noticed that these friends don’t claim to be Christian. So I guess this makes some sense. But. It is Christmas and yes it is a Christian holiday but it wasn’t always a Christian holiday. Then there’s the work ‘holiday’ which we will get to later.

So here are the facts. About this time of year, somewhere close to the winter solstice, there have always been some kind of festival. It doesn’t matter what culture existed there was some kind of festival. It just happens that the the Christians conquered the western world. If the romans had prevailed we would most likely celebrate Saturnalia but they didn’t and we don’t.

If you were born and raised in the Americas or Europe you were born into western culture and you and your family adopted western traditions. Christmas is no more or less culturally important on the world than are Qing Ming or Cinco De Mayo and if you look you will find these holidays also present in western culture. I” submit that this is a result of the Greek/Roman nature of western culture. When ever the Romans would conquered an area they would adopt the gods and celebrations of the peoples they were trying to win over. It’s a seriously sneaky way to take over a people. The Catholic missionaries to Mexico found that All Saints’ Day corresponded well with an Aztec festival already being celebrated. As a result we now have Day of the Dead.

Christmas is just another one of those holidays that got incorporated and adopted by the dominate culture. In this case it was Christian culture. There shouldn’t be anything embarrassing to the non Christian in saying Merry Christmas. Christians use this time to celebrate their new life rebirth beliefs and there’s noting wrong with recognizing it. In fact those who refuse to recognize this are truly assaulting another culture in much the same way they accuse Christian culture of doing. This may indeed be fact, and this article seems to prove that point, but those wanting to break from Christian culture should not commit the same assault. Simply recognize the the history of your own culture and honor it’s significance in shaping your world and realize that anything new is going to likely be based on what has been. Don’t go denying a people their celebrations just because they aren’t yours.

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Losing My Religion

Belief in God is irrational and doesn’t make sense. Then you bring up Pascal’s Wager that if God exists “… you gain all” if he doesn’t  ”you lose nothing”. But that isn’t quite the case. I titled this “losing my religion” not losing my faith. Religion is the organization that gets established around a spiritual belief system. Religions establish codes of conduct and behavior, they hold out rewards, eternal life, for good behavior there by seeking to control your behavior. Organization of unprovable and unscientific beliefs is religion and it’s primary goal is to control behavior. 

Faith is irrational it’s a choice you make to believe in something that just can’t be shown to be true or factual. That’s fine but when a group gathers around such beliefs they unfortunately become a religion and start espousing their beliefs as truth, they often never say fact. This “truth” becomes the central principles of the religion and conditions for membership and inclusion in the group. If you happen to ever disagree with the “truth” you will loose your membership (membership is one of the rewards of faith). Next are the demands to limit your associations with those outside the “faith,” the unbelievers, the ones not ready for “truth”. If you associate with the unbeliever you must evangelize them and win them over to the love and belonging that exists among those who believe. Once you believe and are accepted for membership then you too can start the reward and punishment cycle. The worst part is the genuine, so you thought, friendships you build among the members but if you ever misstep they are very willing to punish you by withholding friendship. Religion like this is a hideous thing.

Pascal’s wager is essentially a restatement of the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle essentially states that you shouldn’t do something if something bad might happen. This idea is easily disproved because inaction is as likely to cause harm. For example if you build a nuclear power plant it could leek and cause some people to get cancer and die. On the other hand if you don’t build it energy costs could go up and someone won’t be able to afford heating and will get sick or die. Either scenario might take place, one might even be more likely than the other but neither can be proven as a result of the action or inaction. It’s simply ridiculous to live your life according to such rules.

I continue to believe in God, yes capital G, because I choose to. I fully understand it’s irrational and doesn’t make sense and doesn’t fit with my general skepticism. It truly is faith. I do however completely reject the organizations and rules built around faith in the irrational. They are generally evil without knowing they are. They think they are helping you and have the truth. You will often hear a phrase like “being free isn’t really freedom” (that’s significantly different than “freedom isn’t free”). That some how only being part of a group gets you true freedom. They will espouse ideas that being free is being alone and being outside the group makes you powerless. Groups are fine but they are not the source of authority. Groups only have power over you if you give your self to them. You made the choice to join and you can make the choice to leave. You may loose friends if you leave because for them membership has become a condition of friendship. Just because you think your group isn’t a “religion” doesn’t mean they aren’t. Think about it commit heresy and use your critical thinking to evaluate your “religion”. You might loose your religion but I bet you won’t loose your faith and you may even gain more freedom.

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Zero and One

Found this video today on YouTube. I directly credit this to my use of “zero” for a username and the name of this website. Note that the song/video was produced in 1984 well before what we know as the internet. I do think there was some vision of the future being shown here.

This video is from the Home of the Brave movie by Laurie Anderson and has a cameo appearances from William Burrows and features Adrian Belew on rubber neck guitar. I’ll credit Laurie with my interest in both art and Technology.

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Happy Halloween

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If not here, there.

“If we don’t, someone else will.”

“Displace action.”

“Squeeze it here and it comes out there.”

“Prohibit it here and it will happen someplace else.”

“Inevitable”

“Nisi hic , quam illic.” (If not here, then there.)

Looking for the proper phrase for things that will happen even if we prohibit it. Particularly in the area of technology research.

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Apple to Make HDTVs?

cnet UK claims “Apple to release networked HDTVs“. Ummm right. I initially thought this was a silly idea but it’s actually possible.

First the silly part. Why would Apple make a TV set? They don’t manufacture LCD screens or Plasmas they do repackage LCDs from manufactures like Philips in some nice designs and none of those are of HD resolution, in fact 2 of them are higher resolution screens than HD (1920×1080). For an HDTV I would rather buy something from Panasonic or Samsung than Apple. It just seems like someone whose made TVs for decades would do a better job and could sell the same thing cheeper than Apple.

But lets put some facts together. Apple has never been one to be satisfied with the status quo or the the standard device or to be just another player in a market. Apple has always made something just a little better than what everyone else is making. Take the iPod for example, it isn’t just an MP3 player, a Mac isn’t just a PC. Apple adds value, fine I’m an admitted kool-aid drinker but PC World did list the MacBook Pro as the fastest Vista laptop they had tested.

Blue-ray is going nowhere fast and the HD transition is not going well.

Cable companies are having a hard time fitting HD content into their lines without a lot of comression and quality loss and right now, satellite and simple antennas give consumers the best every day quality for HD. In tests AppleTV devices presented HD content in better quality than cable provider.

Apple may well make a home viewing screen for video content. Note I didn’t say TV. It may have an HD tuner in it but Apple will probably rely on broadband for content delivery. It will be the ultimate a la cart choice for consumers. But Apple will need to up their selection of current TV shows via iTunes to really sell it to consumers. They must guarantee that consumers can watch their favorite programs as soon as they’re broadcast. Many of the current cable/satellite networks that aren’t now on iTunes will also need to be added. That’s the only way to really make it work. The consumer will need to have at least the same selections on this device they have now with cable or satellite.

The Value added that Apple will bring is higher resolution than HD. Other manufactures are already making 4K (4 times HD) devices such as Sony’s SXRD 4K projector and the 150″ Panasonic plasma. Content is already being captured in 4k also using the RED 4k camera and others. Macs can already can edit this raw content with their pro video apps. 

So if Apple makes a “TV” it will have a resolution of 3840 x 2160. The current 30″ Cinema Display comes in at 2560 x 1600 which is about 2 times HD and about half 4k. (see HDTV resolutions at Wikiedia) Apple has made it clear they want to have resolution independence in their OS and the devices that run it and they very nearly have it now. When will the AppleCinema (my term) come out, if ever? Macworld 2009. Macworld 2009 will happen in January about one month before the analog turn off and HD rollout. I do think the AppleTV is due for a major revamp and this may be it with the introduction of separate 2k and 4k displays up to 50″. Only time will tell.

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That’s Right…

XKCD is one of the best web cartoons out there. Their post for Monday was particularly appropriate for me. Be sure to hover over the image to see the title text.

See XKCD “Tones”

I spent Monday building my new lawn.

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