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Tuesday, May 21, 2002
reciprocal exchange

We are constantly giving or receiving in ways that require us to project society into the future as the expectation of reciprocity, as contracts in other words. Mauss wanted the citizens of capitalist societies to see the logic of giving that still underpins our complex interdependence-- and not just at weddings or Christmas. Exchange is more than the interplay of private interests, more than the coercion of state laws. It is the way that human beings reconcile their individuality with belonging to others in society. [a continuous process of social life in which men reciprocally define objects in terms of themselves and themselves in terms of objects]


OVERLAYING LAYERS OF DATA OVER THE PHYSICAL SPACE. I will use the term ³AUGMENTED SPACE² to refer to this new kind of space which is slowly becoming a reality. As I already mentioned, this overlaying is often made possible by tracking and monitoring the users; that is, delivering information to users in space and extracting information about these users are closely connected. Thus augmented space is also monitored space. [about bodies morphing and gene splicing african dieties and hyper intelligent genetically modified animals and 3 gendered aliens]

[:: comment! :]

Monday, May 20, 2002
defrosted my freezer yesterday :) it was fun. also it feels like fall for some reason. like i saw some leaves turning this morning! and i saw a dead bird by the sidewalk on the way home.

i actually stepped on a dead bird on the sidewalk the other week. in the rain. it had been decomposing for awhile. i wasn't looking where i was going.

[which reminds me of another rainy day the other day, facing a pretty dumb (yet somehow memorable :) dilemma: the choice between a couple hot dogs for dinner (v.unappetizing!) or getting soaked. walking home in the downpour i felt pretty dumb, but kinda glad, too! oh and i dreamt i was super late returning some dvds to blockbuster :]

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Sunday, May 19, 2002
cool chemicals (via carey :)

Special nerve endings in the skin, and especially on the tongue and cheeks and palate, are designed to measure temperature and give a gentle (or not so gentle) warning when they come in contact with surfaces that are too hot or too cold. Our mouths know the difference between ice cubes and hot soup. Still, these nerves are chemical machines, and there are chemicals that can fool them. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers, is "hot" because its precise molecular shape locks onto our heat receptors, triggering physiological reactions like sweating and flushing. Similarly, menthol - the distilled essence of peppermints - triggers a sensation of cold that deadens pain in the same way ice does.

But menthol and capsaicin have very distinctive flavors and odors, which make them instantly recognizable and often offensive, even in tiny concentrations. The German molecule known as cyclic alpha-keto enamine, however, is a self-contained miniature ice age. It's cool to the touch and taste, like mint, but it produces a whopping 35 to 250 times the cooling sensation, with no intrinsic taste or smell. Large amounts of it can be added to anything. This could lead not only to bizarre new flavorings for Skipper to enjoy - SuperBerryIce and Hot Coffee Chiller, Megamint and even Frost Habanero - but also to cooling, time-release skin products for Ken and Barbie's day at the beach.

cool fish!

Virtually blind and eel-like with small tentacles around its jawless mouth and pincherlike teeth on its tongue, the hagfish is the world's oldest vertebrate with habits to match its unlovely appearance.

When annoyed, it exudes gobs of slime from hundreds of ducts lining its naked pink body — not discreet smears, but bucket-filling blobs and clumps of sticky, fibrous goo — in amounts massive enough to suffocate the unfortunate fish that tries to eat it.

It also slips into the mouths and other openings of dead and dying fish and eats them from the inside out. Gill netters talk with disgust of hauling up seemingly normal fish, only to find a hollow shell with a squirming hagfish inside.

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Saturday, May 18, 2002
put simply, mind speed is what we’re seeing when we can’t believe our eyes (via plastic)

Jason Kidd sees more. He sees more on the basketball court, on the freeway, in the movie theater. After he and his wife watch a movie, he routinely asks her if she noticed some subtleties in the film's background. She rarely does, even though she has learned to look for them. Reporters who have spent time with Kidd say he invariably finishes their sentences, slightly under his breath, as a prelude to his answer. In a practical sense, this mental acuity allows Kidd to make high-speed decisions in the open court, decisions that go far beyond the mundane choices of shoot-or-pass. His refined sensory awareness is not limited to the basketball court; it's part of who he is.

This is why Kidd performs physical feats that can't be practiced, or repeated, or sometimes even believed. It is why some witnesses say he threw a pass on Feb. 22 against the Knicks that came straight out of Area 51. After a steal in the Knicks forecourt, 70 feet from his own hoop, he saw Lucious Harris down court, breaking to the basket through a floor scattered with Knicks and Nets. This is where the story takes on some fourth-dimension quality, and where it becomes slightly unbelievable. With the window of opportunity opening and closing in roughly half a second, Kidd wound up and threw a 60-foot bowling-ball pass -- complete with an Earl Anthony follow-through -- in the direction of Harris. Witness reports vary, but the ball bounced at least three times and was thrown with enough backspin to avoid defenders and somehow curve back -- on the third or fourth bounce -- to hit Harris in stride for a layup.

so, decide for yourself: is he okay? and if he says he is, do you believe him? (via dirtynerdluv)

Kim is understandably uncomfortable with the attention. As a subject, he is somewhat problematic. When someone's hobbies are video games and sleeping, when someone enjoys nothing more than an afternoon at the mall, you know going in it's not going to be a weekend with Robert Downey Jr.

However, the man's sleeping skills are beyond dispute. He is a mythic sleeper, a veritable Hypnos. His teammates call him The Lion (as in The Tokens' 1961 hit song, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"). He sleeps in the training room, by his locker, on buses and planes. On this Sunday morning, Journey is emanating at tarmac-level decibels from the clubhouse stereo. (Yes, Journey -- the world champs are what's termed a veteran ballclub.) Morgan points to the stereo and says, "You want to know how BK can sleep? You could put him in a chair, with his ears next to that stereo blaring '70s hits, and he could be asleep before you turn around. I'm telling you, the man can sleep. That hasn't changed. I don't know where he is right now, but I guarantee you he's either sleeping or working on his motion."

[:: comment! :]

Friday, May 17, 2002
rule 110 (via boingboing)

Rule 110 states that a cell becomes white if its previous color and its two neighbors are all black or all white or if its previous color was white and the two neighbors are black and white respectively; otherwise the cell becomes black.

dis-recommended (notebooks :)

This is almost, but not quite, a case for the immortal "What is true is not new, and what is new is not true". The one new, true thing is a proof that the elementary CA rule 110 can support universal, Turing-complete computation. (One of Wolfram's earlier books states that such a thing is obviously impossible.) This however was shown not by Wolfram but by Matthew Cook (this is the "technical content and proofs" for which Wolfram acknowledges Cook, in six point type, in his frontmatter). In any case it cannot bear the weight Wolfram places on it. Watch This Space for a detailed critique of this book, a rare blend of monster raving egomania and utter batshit insanity.

[also, btw, manute bol v refrigerator perry (celebrity boxing), notebooks on the diameters of their nipples, (unique identification :) momo! (parts) and funny papers (gulfstream, blogdex) oh and i've been thinking about an andrew w.k./norah jones mixup. party hard!]

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Thursday, May 16, 2002
hey, ask a question! get a response :) also, here's something else to check out!

"don't hate me cuz i'm bootiful," nico sez :)

[:: comment! :]

Wednesday, May 15, 2002
why video isn't film

DV--and video in general--has some unique aesthetic qualities worth considering in their own right. Footage shot on digital video- -even after it's transferred to film for theatrical release-- looks noticeably less crisp than footage shot on film. Because DV handles high-contrast lighting less efficiently than film, the shadows are denser and the bright spots or highlights blow out. Where a well projected film can produce a remarkable sensation of deep space (the effect you get from looking through a window), video emphasizes the plane of the screen--its images seem flatter. A more subtle difference is in how the two media render moving objects. When the pixels which make up a video image are in sharp focus, moving objects have harder edges than they would on film and appear artificial; if the focus is softened, objects appear blurry or smudged.


Arguments for the use of DV often refer to motion picture film--quite correctly--as 19th century technology. But it's worth keeping in mind the nineteenth-century French historian Michelet's belief that "every era dreams its successor." Movies, then, were the medium in which the nineteenth century dreamed up the twentieth. By all indications, the twentieth century's dream of the twenty-first may well be digital. If so, I hope that it discovers in its own medium a purpose loftier than mere simulation. It would reflect poorly on the richness of our collective dreamlife if we were unable to manage more than a flashy imitation of our predecessors. [the anatomy of digital cinema]

what am i doing?

"As we retrace Leonard's steps, we are immersed in an ongoing, eternal moment: With no memory to build from, Leonard is constantly starting over, reassembling his world almost from scratch, aided only by notes, Polaroids, and the most recent five minutes' discoveries. So while Memento has all of the accouterments of a classic "whodunit," at its heart and through Leonard's eyes, the film is more of a "what-am-I-doing"?"


"You don't know who you are," Teddy says, referring, of course, to his role as arbiter of society, as symbol of human reality to Leonard. Teddy thus acts as a mirror, reflecting Leonard's morality back at him, saying, "I gave you a reason to live."

Of course, in Leonard's specific ethical architecture, this statement may be greeted by only one logical action: murder. It is only by killing the "other," by zeroing the moral equation, that Leonard's moral system achieves fullness. His ethical mandate, fueled by a complete but highly nihilistic set of moral precepts, can only be satisfied by the rote extermination of a randomly selected class of persons--in this case, the class of Caucasian males whose names are "John G." [there is no spoon]

[:: comment! :]

Tuesday, May 14, 2002
computational equivalence

If I thought that the draft I had glimpsed in 1992 was provocative, it was nothing compared with the scope and sheer chutzpah of the finished product. Scheduled to reach stores in May, A New Kind of Science will ignite controversy in the scientific world. The self-conscious comparisons with Newton's 1687 Principia will undoubtedly earn Wolfram both attention and derision. Some early readers are drawing analogies instead to Galileo - not in terms of scientific achievement, but heresy.

coherent information

As if saying that he runs the Pokey page isn't enough of a giveaway, the link takes you to "Pah and Panda's Home," basically the story of Steve and his fiancé (who he met through a Pokey fan chat, incidentally). On that page, it openly says that Steve is Pokey's creator. If you browse around some of the pages I mentioned, you can see that he doesn't seem to be all that crazy.

[:: comment! :]

Monday, May 13, 2002
comparative aging

  • things have been going well and all, but i'm beginning to notice that i'm becoming more and more of a reclusive hermit bastard. i rarely do anything during the day at all, with the exception of going to eat at various places with josh or angele now and then. i like this life. it's very easy and gives me an enormous amount of time to sit and think about things. i think about a lot of things. i never get bored. there's always something to do. something to read about. something to break. something to draw. something to fix. something to plan. something to buy. something to sell. something to miss and think about doing again soon.

  • With all due respect, Captain, it may or may not be true that American youth culture will "rock" the world's repressive regimes, but using "amplified heavy metal guitars" as a synecdoche for modern American pop music is just a leeeetle dated, and raises the question of just how clued-in to the power of global youth culture the speaker actually is.

    It's a bit like asserting that, by gum, we'll beat those dictators with the help of our hep-cat kids, because our kids have dune buggies, Bryl-Creme, and wild saxophone music. You'll see, by cracky! (wheezes) (pounds cane on floor)

    Okay, it's not really that bad. And certainly I'm as much of an old fart as you are. There's no escaping it, if you live.

mefi's demon

  • I delete things that are a blight on the site... I think the site is better off whenever a post is deleted, otherwise I would never delete a post. Keeping the quality of the site high is the only reason I do anything here.

  • It got me to thinking about cached web pages... It seems like no matter what you do on the web, odds are it's saved somewhere, wether it's google, the wayback machine or any other projects that I don't know about. If you wanted to entirely erase something you did last year on the web, what would you do?

[:: comment! :]

Sunday, May 12, 2002
the metanarrative of contemporary america (via blogdex & co.)

The standard metanarrative in European society for a very long time was the idea of a world unified by the Christian faith, which would eventually lead to economic prosperity on earth by turning Europe into a civilized, well tilled place safe from Barbarians, or at least gave a transcedental meaning to peoples' earthly suffering by promising them an afterlife, and by making everyday tasks somehow meaningful.

Of course, in modern life, we are not living in such a single minded society, and no single institution ties everything together. Also, of course, we don't daily live our lives with a unified belief that the things we do are somehow directly related to an eternal goal.

Which may lead some to think that we live in a society without a metanarrative at all. But only idiots and sages can live their life without some kind of reference to a "greater scheme", and I think that America is no different. We as a society and as individuals do believe in a metanarrative.

a map to utopia (via blogback mit caterina)

Every human institution has a guiding mission statement or philosophy. Yet there is no specific global plan for Humanity's future. Without a plan, happenstance determines destination. Instead of leaving its fate up to chance, Humanity should select its own destination.

Since Utopia is the best Humanity can perceive, Utopia should be Humanity's guiding philosophy.

[:: comment! :]

Saturday, May 11, 2002
nobel economist argues china's growth stats are legit

Peter Brookes, deputy assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific affairs, said the Bush administration was wary of China's intentions toward Taiwan — which Beijing views as a renegade province. The main reason for concern is the buildup of offensive ballistic missiles on China's southeastern coast across the Taiwan Straits.

Observers have also expressed concerns about technology transfers to China, as it becomes a global hub for electronics manufacturing.

While promising to defend Taiwan, Brookes added that the Pentagon will continue to seek military contacts with China's military. "We do not view China as an adversary," Brookes said.

intel to assemble pentium processors in shanghai

"At this point in time we have no plans for wafer fab manufacturing but we continue to investigate the options," Barrett said.

"The general areas we will look at would be the availability of the labor force, the cost of doing business, the infrastructure," he said. "There has to be a strong infrastructure in place to support the basic utilities, chemicals and the process equipment that we use."

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