The Blog


02 Mar 2014

Such commentary. Much thoughts.
From http://corydoctorow.net/post/78171742952

Is Red Bull the new CocaCola or Disney of imperialist aggression symbology?

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First world problems seen on a G+ comment. Ugh! So much fail here.

I've been thinking for a while about how to give homeless people money on the street now that I don't carry cash anymore. I think there can be a device of since sort that everyone would carry for that purpose. Of course, those of us with smartphones would use our bitcoin (or whatever) wallet app.
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01 Mar 2014

The first day of Spring is here. Since Winter was cancelled and we got an Endless Autumn instead, expect snow and blizzards any day now.

Meanwhile the new leaf, buds and blossom seem to be only days away. And the animal life is going at it in full noisy tilt with all the mating rituals as everyone pushes, shoves, shouts and sings in their quest for a mate.
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28 Feb 2014

Friday cocktail: Savoy Hotel Special Cocktail #1

- 50ml Gin (robust like Beefeater)
- 25ml French  Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
- 5ml Grenadine (or Pomegranate syrup) (2 barspoons)
- 2.5ml Absinthe or Pastis (1 barspoon)
Shaken, Cocktail Glass, Lemon peel squeezed (or flamed)

I'm guessing the grenadine and absinthe quantities as the Savoy Cocktail book is fairly vague on proportions. 2 and 1 dash respectively to 2/3 Gin and 1/3 French.

Beautiful colour, not too sweet, complex flavours. The delicate pink makes it look like a girl's drink but it's not. Think of it as more like a lilac shirt worn with a suit!
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26 Feb 2014

I'm trying to find a UK source for this honey but failing. It used to be carried in large M&S but they've stopped stocking it. Anyone know a good French Deli in SE UK or London that might carry it? Or an online delivery service that doesn't charge ridiculous postage costs?

Bernard Michaud, Miel L'Apiculture, Miel De Provence in 250g or 500g cartons.

http://www.mielapiculteur.fr/miel-de-provence.html 
 Miel de Provence »
Miels régionaux · Miel de GASCOGNE · Miel d'AQUITAINE · Miel de BOURGOGNE · Miel des PAYS de LOIRE · Miel de POITOU-CHARENTES · Miel de la CHAMPAGNE · Miel du GÂTINAIS · Miel de Provence · Miel de Provence 250g · Miel de Provence 500g · Miel de Provence 1kg · Miel de montagne ...

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20 Feb 2014

Just coming up to 20 Years since the release of Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Vol II.

Which reminds me that I freaked out my 8 year old daughter by playing it loud in the room below hers after she'd gone to bed.

Little known fact. In late 1994, the Japanese anime series Macross Plus debuted. Set in a future time, in its first episode there's a moment when a rotating video ad at a bus stop promises the release of AFX's Selected Ambient Works Vol. 23 2038-2040, complete with that first ambient collection logo.

http://thequietus.com/articles/14552-aphex-twin-selected-ambient-works-volume-ii-review

And by the way. It's not ambient music to fill in the spaces behind whatever else you're doing. It should be played loud and given attention.
 The Quietus | Features | Anniversary | Lingering Memory: Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II, 20 Years On »
Two decades since the release of Aphex Twin's second collection of Ambient Works, Ned Raggett revisits an album whose enigmatic internal logic remains as intriguing and beguiling as ever

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Just another test for the Google Plus API.
https://soundcloud.com/ghostek/shackleton-you-bring-me-down

It appears that G+ embeds a live player for soundcloud in the post, but none of this turns up in activities.list. This issue is logged in https://code.google.com/p/google-plus-platform/issues/detail?id=407 but there's been no progress.
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16 Feb 2014

Re the floods. ‘For all the community spirit on show, when people feel under threat it’s not the 'big society' but big government that they long for.'
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/14/floods-washing-away-founding-logic-david-cameron-government

So what do we want central government (or even local government) to do in the long term to manage our environment? We live in a managed landscape that has developed over thousands of years of occupation. One way or another that has to continue. If that management is done collectively it will have to be paid for collectively. So how do we want to be taxed and our taxes spent to pay for it? We're getting dangerously close to political ideologies when we ask these questions. 
 These floods are washing away the founding logic of David Cameron's government »
Jonathan Freedland: By announcing that 'money is no object', the prime minister has performed the last rites on the notion of inevitable austerity

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10 Feb 2014

The Wire meets NSA and the War on Terror meets New Aesthetic meets Design Fictions

First article in Greenwald's new journal 'The Intercept' https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/10/the-nsas-secret-role/
vs
James Bridle's art project "Under the shadow of the drone" James Bridle - Meet The Artist

Wondering if the US would like to take humans out of the loop completely. Here we have NSA Sigint leading to geo tracking cell phone SIMs then calling in a drone strike on the cell phone's last known location. So no humint checks on the intelligence side. The humans controlling the drone are on the other side of the world so no body bags. And no human checks on the fall out. It's assumed that the phone is held by an "unlawful enemy combatant" no matter where in the world they are. The other side responds with a kind of Russian Roulette where they have SIM swapping parties. If they've worked that out, you'd expect them to be using large quantities of 'burner' phones. Or just reverting to paper.

Here's a member of the team talking,
“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”
 The NSA's Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program - The Intercept »
The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

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09 Feb 2014

Woosh. An hour's lecture on the Critical Design movement.

Critical Exploits - Tobias Revell
via
http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2014/02/design-fiction-tobias-revell-critical-exploits-lecture-lighthouse/


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Yes, but is it art? Well, is it? Is it? Really?

What if? ... Then what? Laugh. Ah-hah. But so what? What happens next?

How do you measure success? Did it change the world?

Via http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/critical-exploits and

http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/

seeAlso: Under the shadow of the drone. James Bridle - Meet The Artist

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08 Feb 2014

On the Weaponization of Bullshit among a Cargo Cult of Aestheticizers who mistake themselves for artists.

Which, among other things, explains the fascination of hipsters for steampunkian gothic high tech.

If nothing else, it's an entertaining read!

http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2014/02/07/an-information-age-glossary/
 An Information Age Glossary »
We live in an information-rich environment, but our minds are still wired for an environment of information scarcity. It still hasn’t really hit us that in the last 20 years, we’ve experienced a transformation that is as dramatic for our

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06 Feb 2014

Who's hub motor is that? What chemistry are the batteries?


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05 Feb 2014

"By some estimates, the internet now uses 2% of the world's electricity"

I'm not even sure what that means but it sounds deeply scary when linked to the usual tech industries exponential growth. It feels like we're only a few doubling periods away from mankind devoting all it's remaining resources towards maintaining the computronium. But then we're still a long way from constructing nested Matrioshka shells to capture and completely use all the sun's energy output. 

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/internet-sustainability-renewable-power
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrioshka_brain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerando
 The internet can be a force for sustainability if powered by renewables »
The good work of web pioneers is held back by other tech giants who refuse to admit the impact of their energy use

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04 Feb 2014

We'll fill in the missing colours in each other's paint by number dreams.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54307735@N00/12301320885/

Or just be happy idiots and struggle for the legal tender

with a nod to Jackson Browne - The Pretender
 geoff mcfetridge always great! »
Explore Ben Wilson Design's photos on Flickr. Ben Wilson Design has uploaded 7891 photos to Flickr.

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30 Jan 2014

A doomer quant produces a plausible economic model for why the axe begins to fall in 2015 and the available solutions won't help. You scared yet? Don't mind me, I'm just indulging my usual pessimism. 
http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/01/29/a-forecast-of-our-energy-future-why-common-solutions-dont-work/

The comment below caught my eye, especially in the light of the Cameron-Osbourne view of the world; that combination of austerity and fracking. I've been wondering what they know that we don't because their policies look so brutal and self(elite) serving. Perhaps they aren't showing any long term views on planning because they've been advised that there is no long term for business as usual. But there is short term mitigation that allows a select few to enjoy a wealthy lifestyle and use it to build a defensible position.

I am also wondering if this unusually coherent, world-wide motivation to forestall collapse implies a sort of stair-step phenomenon rather than a fast, continuous dropoff. Say, on a roughly 6-10 year cycle, we have a financial crisis and sharp economic dropoff, followed by a series of “extraordinary measures” to cloak the reality of the situation, ala 2008-2009, a few years of steady-ish state, then another crisis. Human misery spreads, but propaganda, financial market manipulation, and increasingly oppressive governments keep things from spiraling out quite as fast as you predict. Given the unusual shared-motivation of world powers to figure out creative new ways to coordinate on mitigating the crisis, perhaps this cycle might repeat itself 2-3 times before the stresses finally start toppling major governments. 
 A Forecast of Our Energy Future; Why Common Solutions Don't Work »
In order to understand what solutions to our energy predicament will or won't work, it is necessary to understand the true nature of our energy predicament. Most solutions fail because analysts ass...

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23 Jan 2014

Stories to help us imagine the future
The Archdruid uses a bunch of old SciFi books from his childhood to try and introduce a new way of thinking about the future via story telling. These are stories to help us make sense of a future after this civilisation has squandered its resources. But they're post-apocalyptic stories without the apocalypse. Somewhat like AD 700 Europe post the Roman Empire, where the artifacts remain but the social organisation is long gone. And done without the diabolus ex machina of a nuclear war or pandemic or whatever to bring civilisation crashing down.
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/return-of-space-bats.html

- M. John Harrison - The Pastel City
- Edgar Pangborn - Davy
- Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin - The Masters of Solitude
- Walter M. Miller - A Canticle for Leibowitz

This stems from a feeling that we currently only have two stories about the future. Either we have an inability to imagine a future that’s actually different from the present. Or the only alternative is no future at all. What we find difficult is a story of gradual decay of current structures allied to a transformation into something else. This is the danger of thinking that climate change or resource limits or whatever necessarily produce a Hard Stop. That's actually the least likely outcome. Our current institutions won't just stop over night any more than the baker stops baking bread because the government has been overthrown. Even in the local revolutions and wars of the last 50 years, life carries on.

I wonder if this inability to imagine the future is why 5 minutes in the future SciFi is quite common and appealing, as in William Gibson's collapsing present. As I've said before, accelerating exponential growth (reducing doubling times) means we've forgotten the past so it disappears from view quicker and quicker. We don't remember the lessons of the past because they're behind the wall of progress. And we can't see the future because the changes are coming too fast. So we sit in this bubble of the present where both sides are mirrors reflecting our present back at us. And that bubble is now months wide instead of decades. And that's not a good thing like some Buddhist detachment from the world of illusion but rather the madness of a disconnection from reality.
 Return of the Space Bats »
"Some seventeen notable empires rose in the Middle Period of Earth. These were the Afternoon Cultures. All but one are unimportant to this narrative, and there is little need to speak of them save to say that none of them las...

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18 Jan 2014

The picture says it all

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/01/signifying-nothing/
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/empire.jpg

Those serried American flags beneath their burnished and distinctly imperial eagles.
 Craig Murray » Blog Archive » Signifying Nothing »
The image was the thing. Those serried American flags beneath their burnished and distinctly imperial eagles. Obama's speech on the NSA was devoid of meaningful content. The threats against Snowden and the references to America's right to spy on its potential enemies – which seemed to mean ...

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It’s as though they think some good fairy promised them that there would always be enough energy to support their current lifestyles, and the only challenge is figuring out where she hid it.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/seven-sustainable-technologies.html
 Seven Sustainable Technologies »
Last week’s post on the contemporary culture of apocalypse fandom was also, more broadly, about the increasingly frantic attempts being made to ignore the future that’s looming ahead of us. Believing that the world as we know...

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17 Jan 2014

Towards a new form of music criticism in a post, post[1] world.
http://www.tinymixtapes.com/features/the-trouble-with-contemporary-music-criticism

I especially liked the critique of List criticism that just gives you a
list of retro-historical references. I find myself wanting to do this all the time. "This sounds like that (and they did it better!)" As he says: This type of review says so little it might as well read: #ChewedCorners #Paradinas #chillwave #italodisco #pianohouse #hiphop #hardcore #footwork #UKfunky #house = 7.1/10. 

http://thefantastichope.blogspot.com/2014/01/further-to-this-debate-about-retromania.html has a dissenting view.

[1]Try this. http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/473/Bruce-Sterling-and-Jon-Lebkowsky-page04.html#post84
Elsewhere in media art, the unprecedented use of the word “post” is unprecedented to the point where culture is so over itself to the point that what remains is a “super-hybrid” mélange of unicorns, kittens, animated GIFs of lactation, and the truckload of memes.
 The Trouble with Contemporary Music Criticism | Article | Tiny Mix Tapes »

1
Two hundred years before the release of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, people were losing their shit over a different sort of robot entirely. This one was known as the Mechanical Turk, and it was built at the end of the 18th century by a guy named Wolfgang von Kempelen. The Mechanical Turk comprised a puppet dressed in Turkish robes, sitting on top of a box containing an apparently complex set of mechanics. And it played chess. The Turk w...

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16 Jan 2014

On Silicon Valley "extracting financial value from the economy and transferring that financial wealth, which changes who holds real physical wealth, but doesn't much increase it." 
http://www.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/1vc481/howling_at_the_end_of_net_neutrality_and_an/

With a wonderful re-statement.

With apologies to Alan Ginsberg: I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by viral social media, screaming hysterically naked at video-advertising pre-rolls, dragging themselves through the mobile gaming marketplace looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
 Howling at the End of Net Neutrality and an Opportunity for the Rent-Seeking Economy : dredmorbius »
[My comment](https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7063690) to Hacker News on opportunity availed by [the probable impact of net neutrality on startup ...

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