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Tuesday, October 31, 2000
bruce sterling on french literary theorists in his new book Zeitgeist

"You can tell they know what's really going on, because when you read what they say, it sounds really cool and convincing, until you realize that even though you know it, you can't use that knowledge to change anything. If you can understand reality, then you can't do anything. If you're doing anything, it means you don't understand reality."

peter chung on animation (via carey :)

"For me, a degree of ambiguity, or mystery, is the key ingredient of any artistic statement."

be sure to check out these commercial clips & thumbnails and his essay on the state of visual narrative in film and comics.

terrors of the night! by patrick s. farley

alex sacui's secret/plan.html (via the glossosaur :)

Monday, October 30, 2000
when i first started web surfing after i got to college (really just an extension of hanging out in libraries and bookstores looking for stuff to read) one of the first sites that wowed me was this great collection of essays that turned me on to a lot of new ideas and stuff (along with the imdb when it was hosted out of mississippi state :) lots has changed since then, but the public netbase didn't seem like they were up to much so i paid them no mind.

so i was looking around on (because who would post an interview with benedict anderson on virtual communities?) and i find it's like some kind of hangout for the digerati with recent posts from such luminaries as bruce sterling, douglas rushkoff and julian dibbell! anyway, i noticed konrad becker was also posting... and it turns out the austrian government is trying to shut down the public netbase for sketchy reasons. if you feel you've been at all enlightened by the public netbase over the years, i'd encourage you to show your support and sign their petition! erik davis did and it's halloween :)

Friday, October 27, 2000
booknotes did a search on coptic+codex and nag hammadi the other day and came up with a bunch of links. the one i thought was pretty cool was the wheel broken at the cistern.

FEED : growing interest in the idea of utopia

looking through peterb's picks from memepool and came across this 1993 review of data on asian-americans commissioned by the department of defense's DEOMI. also the philosophical revelations of sinistar!

Thursday, October 26, 2000
just looked over to the left column on guardian u. and it had all these great links! what caught my attention was alan moore on comics in salon, but there was also:

left links rule.

Wednesday, October 25, 2000
"no soap. radio!?" also interrobang (via favabean :)

on colonialism and the scientific tradition in developing nations (via scitech)

postmodern encounters book series!

nice bad subjects intro on the spirits that drive us.

what's modest mouse up to? nude as the news interview with isaac brock from insound. also weird al!

here's a meerkat (via zen calm ink :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2000

  1. the origin of writing, lon cayeway
  2. kid a in alphabet land, carl steadman
  3. abc primer, gilles deleuze
  4. talMUD, david porush

Monday, October 23, 2000
disassociative thoughts

this may sound kind of dumb, a tautology if you will – stating the obvious :) but i’ve been thinking about associations (words, memories, ideas) and the process of recall and everything and how i’m always trying to fit stuff together and like how if it doesn’t i can put it in “storage,” held in abeyance, like a puzzle piece left to the side :) anyway, i was just thinking that one of the things i like most is when i encounter an idea foreign to the nature of the structures of association i’ve built up, um, that causes spontaneous self-disassembly. it’s obvious, like a punch in the nose or a funny joke (that you were doing something wrong or were way “out of it”), and the world you thought you knew, your personal diegesis, comes crashing down around you. i always thought that feeling (otherwise known as novelty :) was pretty cool, cuz it’s like you made a breakthrough, a connection of sorts, and it’s like you’re hanging on to something weird and wonderful that you can tell other people about!

Friday, October 20, 2000
a transcript of a talk given by amory b. lovins on natural capitalism, sustainable development and design. (via gulfstream)

You can see this in action in a city I’m just back from, Kutachibra, Brazil. It’s a city of 2-1/2-million, that population’s quadrupled the past 20 years. The per capita budget of that city is about 15 times smaller than that of, say, Detroit, Michigan. So you might expect that starting with the normal poverty of southern Brazil, this is not a very nice place. It’s actually quite remarkable that it solved its problems better than practically any OECD country, city I know, any rich country, because it’s treated its formidable economic and social and ecological needs not as competing priorities to be traded off, but as interlocking, interlinked design elements with synergies to be captured. This was done largely by architects, largely by women, and now it’s one of the great cities of the world by design, integrating from the beginning hydrology and physiography, waste and nutrient flows, transport and land use, participation and dignity, education and health. They didn’t do any big mega projects to do one thing, brought to you by the sellers of complexity, they did a zillion micro-projects, usually by the private sector with community help and choice, and from the bottom up, and each designed to do as many different things as possible. Multiple benefits from single expenditures.
And they set the rules right, they got the cybernetics right. So for example, the world’s best public transport system, with three-quarters of all the commuting being done by bus, whose unsubsidised cost is 75-Australian cents per ride anywhere in the city. The ten competing bus companies are quite profitable, and they’re rewarded not for how many people they carry but for how many kilometres of route they serve. So they have an incentive to spread out fairly all over the city.
And there’s a lot civil society needs to do to bring about that sort of result. I think markets make a wonderful servant, a bad master and a worse religion. If we try to substitute markets for ethics, politics and faith, we can really get in a lot of trouble. Markets are very good at what they do, but their purpose is quite far from the whole purpose of the human being. But if we believe as I do, that governments should steer and not row, they’ve got to be steering in the right direction, and I think it would be very promising as tax changes are in the air, to think about how to help business stop the waste, in all of our interests. And one very good way would be gradually to shift taxation away from the things we want more of, like jobs and income, and on to the things we want less of, like resource depletion and pollution. This would make the economy more balanced, more fair, more efficient and a very powerful instrument for healing society and the earth.

download the book!

the guy i almost was by patrick s. farley from the inaugural issue of e-sheep :)

developmental insights into evolving systems: roles of diversity, non-selection, self-organization, symbiosis by normal n. johnson from the symbiotic intelligence project at the los alamos national laboratory.

A simple model problem with many optimal and non-optimal solutions - an agent solution to a maze - illustrates the entire developmental history. Within the model, the agents evolve their capability from a random approach to an optimized performance by natural selection. As the agents develop improved capability, natural selection becomes rare, and an emergent collective solution is observed that is better than the performance of an average agent. As the collective, self-organizing structures are incorporated into individual capability within a stable environment, constraints arise in the agent's interactions, and the system loses diversity. The resulting Senescent system exhibits reduced randomness due to the rigid structures and ultimately becomes fragile. Depending on the degree environmental change, the Senescent system will either "die," or collapse under environmental stress to the Mature or Immature stage, or incorporate the constraints system-wide into a new hierarchical system.

Thursday, October 19, 2000
slowdive mp3s

Wednesday, October 18, 2000
an interview with benedict anderson on virtual communities.

great backgrounder by anderson on socio-political dynamics in south-east asia :) Thailand, as everywhere else in capitalist South-East Asia, many upper class and middle-class parents have decided to sidestep the national education system as far as possible, sending their children to local 'international' high schools and on to colleges in, depending on income levels, the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia. Some of these young people never return home, and those who do rarely wish to take up positions in the educational system.

neal stephenson on china.

suck on jeremy rifkin's the age of access and david brooks' bobos in paradise.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000
looked up diegesis in my trusty 5th ed. of bordwell & thompson's film art and came across this added clarification :

The diegesis includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown onscreen [or the mise-en-scene :]

also found this book - the gnostic apostle thomas: "twin" of jesus? by herbert christian merillat.

The rediscovery of Thomas and the revival of interest in Gnosticism in the twentieth century have coincided with new attempts by scientists in many disciplines to understand the nature of human consciousness -- the mark of our species -- and with fresh speculations about what lies beyond the blurred edges of their fields. Many interpreters of traditional religions have reached for insights beyond those found in their traditional scriptures. "Thomas" would be comfortable, it seems, in the company of both groups -- people who have thought in terms of systems, but systems significantly open-ended, where a major interest lies in what can be glimpsed through the gaps in the structures, that which hovers tantalizingly in gleams and suggestions.

Monday, October 16, 2000
The gap [cause|correlation, map|territory, thought|deed, etc…] is even bigger when we try to apply natural languages to the description of emotions and sensations. This seems close to impossible. How can one even half accurately communicate one's anguish, love, fear, or desire ? We are prisoners in the universe of our emotions, never to emerge and the weapons of language are useless. Each one of us develops his or her own, idiosyncratic, unique emotional language. It is not a jargon, or a dialect because it cannot be translated or communicated. No dictionary can ever be constructed to bridge this lingual gap. In principle, experience is incommunicable.

--sam vaknin, the basic dilemma of the artist

so i’m intrigued by sam vaknin’s concept of “the gap” and how it is filled by belief and/or bridged by some measure of (false?) understanding. if i may, i’d like to (re)appropriate the concept of “the singularity” for these purposes, not as some technological event horizon of global awareness or whatever (as the case may be :), but as a metaphor for the self.

there’s a concept in art semiotics known as diegesis, described in words of art as, “[a]n old term for an utterance, in whatever form… that makes no evaluation and draws no conclusion,” or “the apparent narrative as it is produced in the mind of the reader, rather than literally on the page.” in other words, a story :) in even more recent uses it has been applied to “game-play,” or how the world models reality, in RPG campaigns. (btw, further research suggests it’s also the name to some sort of proto-gospel!) godard famously filmed a clash of diegeses in weekend when out of the blue alice in wonderland rudely interrupts the narrative structure of the movie, several times i might add. so annoying.

anyway, the idea is that the created reality of any artwork -- what is evoked -- is an act of interpretation by the reader or audience, the production of meaning lies therein. extending this, our experience of reality is also essentially an interpretive act based on how receptive we are to objective, or at least external (not me), stimuli and its transformation|collapse to the discrete subjective identity that each one of us represents--a singularity :) how reality is interpreted though is very important, because it must be done without evaluation or drawing conclusion. otherwise it wouldn’t seem very real!

now vaknin postulates that the space between out there (you-consensual, experiential reality) and in here (me-quirky, introspective self) can be bridged by a meta-language, “a language common to all humans, indeed,… the language of being human.” the meta-language, of course, being the cosmic fudge factor/error correction device/bullshit generator :) that artists employ to communicate and impart meaning, or lack thereof, which is still apparently a statement of sorts. or rather, “[t]heirs is the job to experience (mostly emotions), to mould it into a the [sic] grammar, syntax and vocabulary of a universal language in order to communicate the echo of their idiosyncratic language.”

(while i don’t disagree with vaknin’s interpretation of the gap and the necessity of a meta-language in the absence of pure empathic communication, i do feel that he’s sort of placed on a pedestal the specialized role of the artist as some kind of über-communicator. i mean, if anything, given a meta-language is “common to all humans” then we’re all artists! or i’d like to think that anyway :)

what i find interesting, though, is how this meta-language might closely resemble some kind of event horizon with a chaotic boundary condition that demarcates the self and other. like there’s an apparent barrier, our consciousness, that separates us from the rest of the universe, beyond which we lack a means of communication. it’s just that unless you “test” a certain point you can’t really tell whether it’s a part of you or not, so the limits of ourselves are pretty fuzzy, but i guess worth exploring :) and it gets more interesting in the space between people! in the community of eyes, the attention economy and all that, the only real stuff comes out of the gap.

Friday, October 13, 2000
two exerpts, superorganism and isolation - bowling alone, from the lucifer principle by howard bloom.

also the multidisciplinary (along the lines of edge, conspicuously lacking eo wilson) international paleopsychology project!

loom of the moon, ulysses, james joyce, from borndigital, also molly's thoughts :)

sam vaknin on sam vaknin (via ptypes)

pretty cool surf engine

btw, the jimi hendrix experience box set rocks.

Thursday, October 12, 2000
reasoned approach to psychedelic/entheogenic drug research, as well as to religious understanding (via abuddha :) from the heffter institute!

terence mckenna obit. from his brother, dennis.

misterpants on cooperative driving :)

the gospel of thomas homepage [via borndigital! (via abuddha :) :]

In the Thomas gospel, which was deleted from the New Testament at the Council of Nicea in the fourth century and only recently re-discovered as a 'Dead Sea Scroll," an apostle asks Jesus: "When will the kingdom of God Come?", and Jesus answered: "The Kingdom of God will not come by expectation. The Kingdom of God is all around us right now, we just choose not to see it." This is Buddhism, it is Shamanism, it is psychedelic. The Church does not like it, because it's a thing they can't control.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000
i was being chased by someone (it could have even been a mob). it wasn't like they were mad at me, or at least i didn't know the reason why they were chasing me, so i kind of had the feeling like i was being hunted. anyway, i tripped (or just fell) and they caught up with me. this was the part that was most vivid, because as i was pushing myself up i remember thinking they were going to shoot me in the back of the head. and i think because that's what i feared, they (he/she/faceless presence) shot me in the back of the head. twice. i never thought to look back, to plead or scream. i knew it was inevitable, that i was going to die, and i resigned myself to it.

i could feel the bullets pierce the base of my skull, two quick jolts that kind of tickled, and i died. in my dream/nightmare i lost consciousness, but slowly, in stages as if i was inhabiting the film version of my death, where i lie there slumped over, inanimately relaxed, my self draining away--like janet leigh in psycho face down in the tub, her eye staring, but not seeing into the void.

and i was like that for awhile, forever. oblivion. nothing. i wasn't anything, connected to anything. i was nowhere, did not exist. but after awhile, strangely, i got up... i thought i was dead, but by this time i kind of knew i was dreaming. it felt weird being back, not quite like keanu reaves realizing he's "the one," but sort of--more like mork calling orson. what was i doing here? it seemed like that i was wondering that made me more tangible, more aware of myself, and it was actually kind of comforting in a way, for some reason. i could explain it as a dream, but beyond that i dunno. i can't remember what happened next. i guess i woke up.

btw, new paper at the process physics site!

Process physics is seen to realise Wheeler's suggested informational 'it from bit' program via the sequence 'bit-->gebit-->qubit-->it', but only by modelling Gödelian limitations on informational completeness at the bit level. Process physics is at the same time deeply bio-logical - reality is revealed as a self-organizing, evolving and competitive information processing system; at all levels reality has evolved processes for self-replicating information.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000


the future of the future (from wired)

the big issue (from forbes)

the great canadian guestions (from the dominion)

philosophical musings by sam vaknin (via shmuel vaknin, ph.d.)

essays by mark driver (via memepool)

chapter synopses! of several books on the sociology of culture (from the soc dept, uchicago)

more sociology (than you probably care to know about :) here and here

from an interview with al gore by nicholas lemann courtesy of slate's ebook Sons (via the nubbin :)

He thought for a minute, and then explained that race matters, in a way, less in the South today than in the rest of the country, because the civil-rights movement had put many Southerners, more than people in the rest of the country, through a real transformation. “They emerged from that experience far more enlightened about the true significance of race in our society, and far more able, as a result, to transcend it,” he said. “The basic formula is not that complicated. It’s a two-step process. You have to first establish absolute and genuine mutual respect for difference. And that respect for difference has to include both an appreciation for the unique suffering that has come about because of the difference, and the unique gifts and contributions that have come about because of the difference. And a basic appreciation for the unique perspective that is based on that difference. Then the second step is a transcendence of that difference to embrace all the elements that we have in common in the human spirit.”
My tape ran out--forty-five minutes had passed. I fumbled as I tried to turn it over, and Gore, after watching me for a while, told me how to accomplish the job properly. He had stopped speaking while the tape was not running, and as soon as I had it going again he resumed. “For those who have not been through that searing, transformative personal encounter with the civil-rights revolution a common mistake is to move directly to step two and bypass step one--in other words, to say, ‘Can’t we just get along?’ To say, ‘Let’s transcend this essentially meaningless, artificial distinction called race.’ And it’s a noble, if naive, thought. Worse than that, it can be”--another long pause while he searched for the right word--”disrespectful of the person of another race you’re relating to, because it’s all too easy for someone in the majority, in a culture shaped by the majority, in a political system largely controlled by the majority, to blithely ignore, or not notice, the profound differences in opportunity and privilege that are pervasive in the experience of someone in the minority in that culture. And if you, as a member of the majority, say, ‘Let’s just transcend this distinction,’ without any apparent appreciation for what the distinction means in the life of the person you’re trying to communicate with, all of your seeming good faith will come off as”--another pause--”contextual hostility.”

a reminder from celia farber of ironminds (via the nubbin :)

Gosh, I think I did just write the piece I couldn’t write after all, but it began as a letter to you, as my editor, because it’s up to us to make sure we don’t belt out right-sounding pieces that are coming from phony, damaged, shutdown places. I think we all need to be a little less proud of our ability to live unfeelingly. Women, men, all of us.
That’s all.

converging on opportunity, an amazing packet put together by david porush (via abuddha :)

Monday, October 9, 2000
i'm a mosquito, not a vampire. i attack my victims with a light touch, leave only swelling and do not generally kill although i may carry disease.

Sunday, October 8, 2000
by way of explanation (if there really is such a thing as explanation! stepping into the world of symbolic representation):

*barron’s and the wsj aren’t exactly progressive politics, but to paraphrase c.s. lewis on social analysis and the natural law (or the way of heaven :), it’s often not the degree, but the effort!

*framing art is a nice exposition from the idler by sam vaknin and an unwitting rebuttal|reformulation of william (the FT’s art critic) packer’s assertion that "significance must be imposed, discovered, won" in his review of a gillian wearing retrospective.

*an interview with gillian wearing :)

And I change my mind about Gillian. She's normal, but not in the way I thought. What's nice about her is that, actually, she's an unusual, quite eccentric person, a 'proper' artist - but that's all hidden behind her easy-going mask of ordinariness. She's like her subjects. She's like everyone else. Normal, but not at all underneath. An undercover correspondent sending weird dispatches back from the frontline of the mundane. 'Oh, I don't think anyone's ordinary,' says Gillian Wearing. 'Everyone's different. Everyone has something special about them.'

*i’ve made my way to richmond, vaginia! where daily i wear a groove between home and work along the canal walk :) an overly-developed (but seldom used!) riverfront park just south of historic downtown richmond, otherwise known as the “shockhoe slip” :) along the james river where i have seen many kayakers.

*amazon women on the moon really is a great movie :P

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