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Tuesday, August 15, 2000
the hinger

molten man is about to destroy the city with his diarrhetic lava for no other reason except that he's EVIL! well that won't do, so the hinger steps in and creates a MORAL CONUNDRUM, being he explains to molten man that his long suffering from explosive hemorrhoids was the result of experiments performed on his anus as a child by a super secret government agency run by his FATHER because it was the only way to CURE global homosexuality! realizing this now, molten man must now weigh his imminent anger (causing mayhem and destruction with potential for loss of innocent civilian lives and untold property damage as well as the interruption of a productive work-day and decline in city-wide morale) vs. what is now known as his father's caring sacrifice of his child on the alter of sexual reproduction for the entire world! molten man's decision rests with whether he thinks the chronic pain in his sphincter is more than the accolades he might receive from his apparent anal martyrdom, which went ignored for so long by the public! as molten man consideres this dilemma recently brought to light, the hinger steps in and plugs his ass with a lubra-sealed flame retardent cork plastered in tucks medicated pads, at once extinguishing the fire and offering soothing relief. again the hinge of JUSTICE swings round - GOOD always prevails!

Monday, August 14, 2000
came across this article (excuse the link gymnastics) in the FT on net metering and alternative power generation. it's really cool to see how the right policy prescriptions can lower barriers to the adoption of new technologies that are arguably needed in order for sustainable human development to take place without degrading the environment.

i think it has the potential to mirror organic growth of the internet into a distributed network of information exchange. a decentralized power grid with many nodes harnessing energy from the natural world (ostensibly through renewable means) would have as wide ranging impact on our material level of existence as the internet has on our mental plane, i think :)

for more information on net metering check out this paper from the DOE's green power network. i also found these cool pictures from the smithsonian national museum of american history on alternative power generation sites. there were also these electric power ads of yesterday!

Sunday, August 13, 2000
the wooden man

the wooden man stands
holding his hands up high

in the summer he picks up leaves
to shade him from the sun

and in the winter he needs the warmth
so the wooden man drops them

Saturday, August 12, 2000
puzzlement and annoyance in decatur

A sweet, toasted odour hangs over Decatur, Illinois. It comes from the corn-processing plant that dominates the gritty, blue-collar town. But that was about the only pleasant thing about the atmosphere in Decatur this week.

On Wednesday, the Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, which operates a plant in the town, announced one of the most serious product recalls of recent years. It said it was calling back 6.5m tyres - including 2.7m Wilderness All Terrain tyres made at its Decatur plant - after a series of accidents in which 46 people have died.

The Wilderness AT tyres - fitted as standard to Ford Explorer sports utility vehicles - are made at a number of Firestone plants in the US. But the company is only offering to exchange those made in Decatur, a plant with a long history of troubled industrial relations. Even this week, workers were demonstrating outside the factory in a dispute over a new labour contract.

Friday, August 11, 2000
went to see time regained and thirteen. i've never read proust before, but the movie was alright. it starts out really trippy like it was taking place in the white room at the end of 2001, but then it settles into more conventional narrative flashback sequences and then blah, blah, but it ends pretty well. thirteen, though, was by far more awesome - the best movie i've seen this year! it actually parallels time regained pretty closely but way more engaging and accessible, i think. plus it takes place in richmond, vag!

Thursday, August 10, 2000
In Praise of Idleness

principia discordia (thing)

Wednesday, August 9, 2000
another great link from kerplinky! it's googie! carey sez, "Now I know what the hell that is!" there's also a nice quote from ray bradbury!

"I was raised in a time, in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, when people had stopped believing in themselves. I saw that disbelief, the reason that no longer gave itself reasons to survive, and was moved, depressed and angered by it . . . . . Everywhere was professional despair, intellectual ennui, political cynicism . . . . The impossibility of change was the vogue. . . . Bombarded by dark chaff and no bright seed, what sort of harvest was there for man in the latter part of the incredible twentieth century? Forgotten was the moon, forgotten the red landscapes of Mars, the great eye of Jupiter, the stunning rings of Saturn.

"....Life has always been lying to ourselves . . . . to gently lie and prove the lie true to weave dreams and put brains and ideas and flesh and the truly real beneath the dreams. Everything, finally, is a promise. What seems a lie is a ramshackle need, wishing to be born."

which i might add parallels heilbroner's misgivings on "progress," de long's "slouching towards utopia," barbara marx hubbard's "conscious evolution" and howard bloom's "the reality of the mass mind's dreams," just to bring it all together :)

take for example troy james hurtubise, who i learned about watching one of those shock video fox shows (when animals attack, et al) and as written up nicely by outside magazine. inventor of the ursus mark VI (and soon to be unveiled mark VII: specs!) he's bringing to fruition the imaginal longings of a visionary subset of the human population. made possible courtesy of a 1984 grizzly attack, verhoeven's landmark 1987 release of robocop and spinoff technologies from NASA (confluence! consilience!) i would say his inspiration is of the same stuff which brought us battletech clan elementals (or for those of the more alien persuasion, invid gurab shock troopers :) but with slightly altered path dependence. btw, if you're interested in group decision making as enabled by the internet check out the symbiotic intelligence project. (via peterme)

oh, and i would totally fight a bear in an ursus mark VI.

Tuesday, August 8, 2000
html couplets

before reality tv
the prisoner
reverse-shoplifting by "tom veil" (via bovine inversus)

emotions
eric (via kerplinky)
responsive face

diaries, wow
mop damnit (via tom)
valueape dreams

european devolution
towards corsican independence
gypsy nation (via bow)

Monday, August 7, 2000
hey, i'm house sitting for my cousins in skokie while they're away in disneyworld! it's pretty cool, i get to water the plants and take the communter rail into work, or what i like to call, the hive :) my cousin's daughter is almost three, when she gets back she'll be attending a montessori school! which i guess are getting pretty popular nowadays.

one of the highlights of living in the northern suburbs, as tom has pointed out, is being able to pickup WNUR and listen to this is hell saturday mornings, which robotwiz is always plugging (and who plug jorn back: he's looking for a new place to live, btw, so if you know anyplace decent and affordable in the chicago area..)

been looking up more stuff on robert heilbroner. apparently he's on staff in the econ department at the new school for social research. who would've thunk it? the new school's "cyberspace campus!" btw's been advertising lately on FEED :) also found this booklist review from amazon by mary carroll on visions of the future:

...argues an elegantly simple thesis: throughout some 150,000 years of history, "humanity's worldly expectations [embodied]. . . . no more than three distinct visions of the future," visions that both reflected and articulated the three era's distinctive experiences with and interpretations of reality. Until the early eighteenth century..., virtually all cultures expected both an earthly future controlled by "the same forces--divine, natural, or man-made--that had produced the past" and some form of life after death. During the industrialized world's 250 years, changes wrought by science and technology, capitalism, and popular political movements produced a vision of endless earthly progress. At some point between World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Heilbroner suggests, this vision fell apart, as the people who most benefited from Yesterday's faith in progress discovered that science and technology, capitalism, and popular movements are not necessarily unalloyed goods. A thoughtful, challenging reading of our current anxiety as something more fundamental than "fashionable pessimism."

saw loser last night, with mena suvari conspicously reprising jennifer jason leigh's role in fast times, but in a college setting. the "loser" really wasn't that much of a loser, which i thought kind of sucked, um, from a plot development standpoint.

Saturday, August 5, 2000
i was reading through eh.net's book reviews (i'd recommend:

  • j. bradford de long's review of landes' the wealth and poverty of nations,
  • joel mokyr's review of diamond's guns, germs and steel: the fates of human societies,
  • susan ariel aaronson's review of sassen's losing control? sovereignty in an age of globalization,
  • gregory clark's review of snooks' the dynamic society: exploring the sources of global change (wacky!)
  • and stanley engerman's review of weber's the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism)

and came across this review by ross b. emmett on michael c. carroll's a future of capitalism: the economic vision of robert heilbroner. specifically, what sparked my attention were these passages:

Carroll argues that Heilbroner combines Marx's socioanalysis with a pscyhoanalytic perspective on human behaviour and an economics focused on how power and social organization intersect in the material provisioning of humankind..., in order to reveal the internalized institutions and values which compromise the capitalist system... to show how his [heilbroner's] analysis focuses on the interlocking nature of, and tensions among, three central internalized institutions and values in capitalism: the drive to accumulate capital, the market, and division between private and public realms.
...uncovering the central contradictions of capitalism allows some tentative conclusions about its further development. Can the system sustain the drive to accumulate? Probably not, but capitalism has proven remarkably resilient; it has the capacity to transform itself even though changes may also create constraints for the system. The system's real enemies, therefore, are the disruptions which reveal its endemic self-contradictions: structural unemployment, for example, which emerges from the drive to accumulate and the market's organizing features, yet undermines future productivity, aggregate demand, and people's hopes for their future. Or globalization, which by extending the market's organization around the world in the absence of a global institutional base, jeopardizes the system's separation of the public and private worlds in the drive to "accumulate, accumulate, accumulate." In these, and other disruptions, Heilbroner sees the evolution of capitalism continuing.
Heilbroner is a modernist, despite his criticism of the type of modernism inherent in the 20th century economics. Heilbroner's modernism appears in the search for the underlying unity of capitalism, the effort to give it a singular meaning, and the quest to identify its future. Like Marx before him, and numerous other hermeneutic scholars of the mid-twentieth century, Heilbroner searches for unity beneath the fragmentation, even if only to reveal the nature of the fragmentation.
The hermeneuticist's approach to unity and fragmentation has been at the center of my attention over the past couple of years, as I have been engaged in a series of discussions on hermeneutic theory with a number of my colleagues in other disciplines. One of the key issues we have identified as a source of division among us is the difference between those who believe that hermeneutic theory provides the capacity for creating meaning and unity in the midst of a fragmented social system, and those who believe that hermeneutics provides a means of uncovering meaning, unified or fragmented. The former group identifies the difference between hermeneutics and science with the distinction between unity and the fragmentation of knowledge--despite epistemological claims for science's unique role in creating knowledge, science fragments, while hermeneutics unites... The latter group, myself included, identified hermeneutics with the uncovering of meaning/s, and sees the quest for unity (in either hermeneutic theory or science) as a peculiar attribute of modernism. In this latter way of thinking, texts such as Heilbroner's are the sites of multiple meanings, and their interpretation may gain more from trying to locate those different meanings (contextually, or in terms of various interpretive communities) rather than the quest to render them coherent and consistent. In a similar fashion, capitalism is over-determined: a social framework being pulled in various directions by a host of competing self-contradictions and tensions; generating multiple meanings and an array of present realities and future posibilities.

they got me thinking about tony's concerns regarding the capitalist metameme, which sounds very similar in fashion to the discussion noted above, but with qualitative differences...

i've been having these inklings lately (ur-thoughts really :) floating around at the edge of my awareness, unfixed but present and itchy! something along the lines of 'God' and 'Science' being the collected mental artefacts of the premodern and modern worlds, respectively, or so defined. anyway, i was reluctant to call 'God' and 'Science' memes because i found the term misleading as their conception begs continual thought and expression that in my mind are more accurately|properly characterized as processes rather than ideas with implicit boundaries, which the idea of memes seems to imply. and i realized the issue (what's at stake!) was simply|merely one of semantics, a question of language. i was privileging the words over the ideas and left it at that.

so i started reading this review and i was like, huh, capitalism would fit in nicely as a postmodern metameme that subsumes 'God' and 'Science' under a commercial rubric. but, as these things go, the more i read the more complicated it became (complex!) and it did become an issue of semantics|resolution. capitalism was just a red herring :)

Thursday, August 3, 2000
stand on zanzibar

before snow crash and transmetropolitan, and before neuromancer and shadowrun, and even before blade runner (but not do androids dream of electric sheep? :) came the prototypical cyberpunk novel by john brunner!

i borrowed a dusty old tome from the providence athanaeum a while ago, but never finished reading it for some reason. anyway, i just picked up another copy and it's so great reading it. it's like reliving the age of anxiety, only if i had a choice i'd have worked in a more pressing nuclear threat.

btw, for all you synth freaks out there carey sends reason.

Wednesday, August 2, 2000
been watching a ton of bookTV, lots of interesting stuff. there's:

for those who care, it's JUICY!!

noticed for the first time that the fitplex next to my apartment teaches carlos gracie jiu-jitsu (of UFC fame!) there are deadly fruitarians who walk among us.

Tuesday, August 1, 2000
found notebooks (not to be confused with booknotes :) via sylloge who describes it as "absolutely, bar none, without any hesitation, the best site I have come across on the web in as long as I can remember," which is all fine and good except for the one immutable constant as the northern star fact that ed finds the best links :)

case in point! hacking the brainstem: postmodern metaphysics and stephenson's snow crash, a discourse on irrationalism by david porush who i think gives erik davis a run for his money on delineating the posthuman condition. bringing together cybernetics and cyberpunk, postmodern and number theory he explores "a whole new, hitherto inconceivable, realm of abstraction, a hyperspace of irrationality founded on rational mathematics,... when the last barriers between self and the world dissolve, with the aid of clever hardware, the word ends and reality's system crashes." [emphasis added :]

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