Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The memetic DNA of assorted eschatologies ...

... this article on Future Hi has some succulent speculation for your delight and mine. Darwin + Lamarck x Jung = bio-memetic drive, evolutionary teleology. Oh hell yeah.


Our modern prescriptions for the Singularity thus form a significant -- and far more rewarding and technologically correct -- revision of the older eschatological models. These newer prototypes have their template in the earlier visions, however surcharged they may be with the theoretical promises of the mid twenty-first century. But whether seen through the blinders of tribal theism or through the google-eyed wonder of open source technology, the End promised by both the visionaries of yesterday and the futurists of today are one and the same -- a New Heaven and a New Earth.

The fact that there is a Singularity of one type or another expected by every long-lived memetic structure in human history seems to indicate that humankind was hardwired with a ‘Singularity code’ from the start -- that it is an integral product of our forward evolution, an inescapable eventuality designed to fire at a crucial crossroads in the forward advance of our Collective Consciousness.

Paul Evan Hughes, everybody. Give this man a round of applause.

Heroin addiction, a thing of the past (Or Just Heroin?)?

New Scientist:

Scientists have not only identified a critical gene involved in heroin addiction relapse, but they have also successfully blocked it, eliminating cravings for the drug.

The study was conducted on heroin-addicted rats. But the researchers now think that, within a few years, better treatments will become available to human heroin users ...

No comment.

Bwahahahahahaha ... Ugh? No, just Bwahahahahahaha ...

Whitley Streiber (whoever e may be):

A huge floating reef made up of millions of disposed condoms has been discovered in the mid Pacific. The condom mass is two miles long, up to sixty feet deep, and in places so tightly compressed that a small plane could be landed on it ...

If this doesn't cause the invention of nano-dissassemblers, I don't know what will.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Getting there first (without breaching causality) ...

... not quite sprinklefiction but close enough:

"Has he sittled in yet?"

The captain's companion clearly would be facepalming where it not for decorum.

"Sittled, sir?"

"Yesyes" the captain replied impatiently, walking on his hands, tail twirling absently. He turned around, loose-lipped upside-down grin showing vast white teeth
"Sittle. As in moving slower than light? You are familiar with the concept of the car, yes?"

Perhaps in an AU (or is that EU) ...

... this would have rocked.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Thoughts at 5:30 AM (Or a gene, a meme and a *logicalnextstep* walk into a bar) ...

paul evan hughes, of Future Hi and silverthought, believes that three supermemes have been fighting for human mindshare over the course of recorded human history. You can probably guess what they are (although I have my suspicions as to why he left out science): Christianity, Islam and ... Judaism?!

When biological life began, the gene was born. Slow and non-lamarkian but effective enough in the absense of competition. This state of affairs was maintained until some bright spark figured out language.

That was not the birth of the meme. It was simply the time when the meme grew legs.

With language came the possibility of acquiring knowledge and passing it on and adding to it and passing it and so on. But still, our storage methods were inefficient; mnemonics, fragile papyrus, undersized stone tablets; Darwin was still having his way with us. Information can die too. To paraphrase Manfred Macx, we live in a lossy medium.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Insert title here ...

... Considering the brouhaha that went down a couple of years back over removing the Ten Commandments from a courthouse, I can only wonder how long it'll be till swearing on the bible is the target of the atheist hordes.

And now on Gigaville ...

... the battle rages on.

"He hit him so hard everyone in the room fell down!"

(Backdated post from 11 AM, same day)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Sony did not invent the brain ...

Every time you pray or proselytize, you are playing the God meme in your ThinkMan.

There's a lot of music in church.

More coming.

(Backdated post from Sunday, May 29)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Immortality is underrated ...

... The Crown, Hannibal Tabu's treatment of immortals, black people and general kickassery.

Go. Read. Now.

(Backdated post from 11:53 PM May 28)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And ye shall be as gods ...

Weepee Zeta (as different from Weepee Prime) is a full-on posthuman universe, emphasis on post. The closest thing to humans is a collection of beings known as The Late. I'll leave their nature to your imagination.

Anyhoo, I would like to discuss posthuman fiction. Here's the problem: it isn't. Even Greg Egan's Diapsora/Wang's Carpets fall prey to what I will call the "ancestral" flaw i.e. having a lead character who is fascinated by or simply prefers the old ways. This is of course a writing mechanism to make the story comprehensible and engaging to us poor dumb present-dayers, understandable yes but still loathed. I very much want to see an entire book of characters that absolutely do not resemble us in any fundamental way.

I'm sure someone among our far-future descendants may look back and wonder about us; try to imagine what our lives were like, what it would be like to experience the universe as we did; in short, what it would be like to be us.

What a dumbass that would be.

Moving on, there's a theory that if we ever attain a benign Singularity, we will hit a wall and stagnate away into extinction. Why? Because without suffering, we have no desire to strive. That's true as far as it goes but hardly applies to posthumans that (I'm guessing) would have mastered motivation engineering.

Quite a few writers make their future characters miserable in their glorious future. Why? Because we have things so great? Of course, Transmetropolitan-style future-people would be just as miserable as we are. As we are. That's the key, you know. We have to change 'cause methinks it's almost time to hop off the gene train and become glorious tulpa. What comes after the meme? Damned if I know. Magic? The Magicalypse?

And no, I don't think going upload is the answer. That way lies solipsism; the whole point, after all, is to explore this universe not dive headfirst into our own behinds. I think extremely durable dirtspace bodies with supersenses would be much more promising. Look further ahead: do you see cosmological engineering? Figuring out ways, not to escape, but to postpone the end of the universe? I do.

Beat entropy and become God. Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What comes after ...

... this? In my humble opinion, games that build themselves around you, adapting to your mood and mindstate on the fly, intuitively creating levels and bosses out of the labyrinths and demons of your own subconscious. Freudian psychotherapeutic gameplay, anyone?

(Backdated post from May 28, 9:48 AM)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Post-Google ...

... if you wanted to design a world-beating search engine, you'd need it to do the following:

- find words inside image files (.jpg, .bmp, .gif etc.)

- find words beginning or ending with specific letter(s)

- find sentences beginning or ending with specific word(s)

- find stuff in Flash

- find pages by date according to when they first went up rather than their last update.

Now now kids, if Google incorporates these tomorrow, you saw them here first.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

See you Saturday ...

... going off the grid for undisclosed reasons.

Something nifty for your enjoyment: Madness Combat

The amazing thing is that he's so ... workmanlike about it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

For the Empire!

Darth Vader, ladies and gentlemen:

I was having my morning tea when the new girl came through to tell me the Emperor commanded my presence at the palace.

"Is your breakfast quite satisfactory, Lord Vader?" she asked.

It was not, but we shall let her next of kin worry about that.

Glory be.

The Post of which I spoke ...

... Today's key word is biomimetics, helicopter with flapping wings, hammerhead-shark submarine etc.

So. Is this just a CG designer quirk or could it be yet another depth to plumb? As you can see, I chose the latter.

Theory: all our technology arose from trying to do the things that animals can that we can't. Every animal is uniquely adapted to an optimal environemnt: blowfish in the sea, birds to the air and so on. These adaptations make them greater and lesser than we are, trapping them in ecological niches even as they free them from all the crap we have to deal with.

Douglas Adams: Mankind thinks it is more intelligent than dolphins, for instance, because it's invented so many things: New York, wars, etc, while the dolphins just mucked around in the water and had a good time; whereas dolphins think that they are more intelligent than man for precisely the same reason.

We need to fly? Build a plane! Need to visit the Marianas Trench? Build a bathysphere or a sub! The beauty of intelligence + language = tech and more is that we can exist simultaneously at all points on the food chain - as well as outside of it. The tragedy is that nothing we've done is new. We haven't surpassed nature at ... anything really, even information storage! Human brain & DNA still pwNs our current best computers. But there is hope. With the sheer variety of computational advancements being made almost daily (quantum, t-ray, photonic, nano etc.), we can expect to surpass slow carbon soon enough.

That said, even if we win here, we're still just building better mousetraps (or mice as the case may be). Everything we do down here is inspired by what we know down here. How can we claim to be the captains of our own destiny when we're still playing out evolutionarily scripted parts? That leaves only one choice.


There are no spacegoing animals (except us), thus no inspiration, no accreted blueprint. Is that recipe for disaster or is it our one shot at originality, our final break from genetic causality? You decide.

Dolls, dogs and gods ...

... Or random thoughts on Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Just saw this yesterday (May 15th). I watched the original for the first time last week. In this, I am fortunate because I don't have the bias of having had my young mind beaten into shape by the first one - and I had all the philosophical insights fresh in my mind.

Mamoru Oshii suffers from an extreme version of the Kojima curse - he is compelled to pummell you repeatedly with his influences - The Bible, Descartes, Milton, quote after quote after quote after quote, to the point of irrelevance. Half the conversations are back and forth quotefests. Of course, one can argue that since the characters have cybernetically enhanced brains, that translates to massive amounts of mnemonic storage and maybe even conversational expert systems. Still ...


Visually, nothing you've ever seen comes close; be it live-action, be it videogame cutscene, I don't care; GITS2: Innocence looks a thousand times better. My god, the "aemaeth" VR-mindjob scene ... you know what? Just go and watch it. No writer could do it justice ...

The music. Ah yes, lovely. They brought back the guy that did the "Making of a Cyborg" track from the first one and, near as I can tell, had him do a sequel to his own song. Haunting ...

On the actual theme of Innocence in the movie, the first and most obvious sign is that there are no full-on titty shots (worthy of note since we are dealing with a gynoid apocalypse here) anywhere in the movie, unlike the first one where every second scene had a topless Motoko.

Then there's the repeated appearance of dogs; self-explanatory, I trust.

But of course, the real innocents are the killer dolls ...

Crab Claw fight scene - I never knew Batou was so nimble, always saw him as more of a tank, Zangief as opposed to Ryu, y'know?

Biomimetics: Why does a helicopter/VTOL need wings? That actually flap? Hmm *rubs chin* that leads me to an entirely different post ...

Why is the Yakuza bloodbath scene labeled "Togusa's Office" on the DVD? The whole thing was Batou's idea ...

Final thought: the first one was about cresting the man-machine merge, Innocence is about coming out the other side and finding your back to humanity (what's so nifty about humanity anyway?)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Remember, YOU DON"T KNOW ME ...

... for reasons only Hannibal will know, no post till Sunday night.

In the meantime, tide yourself (selves?) over with Star Wars Gangsta Rap.

/We got Death Star/
/We got Death Star/
/We got Death Star/
/We got Death Star/

(backdated post May 16)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Metrosexual! *teehee*

The guy doing Vader's Blog is such a goddamn genius I'm going out of my way not to find out who e (sic/genderless pronoun) is; it would destroy the illusion.


"M'lord, the Millennium Falcon has entered the system."

"Very good." I turned to face the metrosexual city administrator as he strained to appear at ease, sweat running down his brow in a constant, beading film.



*wipes eyes*


eFf Tee Ell ...

Am 90% through Newton's Wake: A Space Opera by Ken Macleod.

Some thoughts:

"The Idiot's Guide to Singularitypunk"

Badass yet flawed heroine, Lucinda Carlyle, descendant of Glasgow gangsters, is a combat archeologist. For those not in the know, it means a typical dig for her is more shooting than shoveling.

Standalone story - surprising and a good thing too; I'm sick of trilogies.

Unlike Stross in Accelerando, Macleod pulls the standard cop-out for this genre and writes about the people who got left behind.

Another long pause. The ship contemplated certain mathematical relationships that gave it a sense of satisfaction.

This while waiting for its human to finish a thought. I thought that line was pure genius. Your mileage may of course vary.

I will also say that, by the end of Chapter 3 Side 1, your opinion of the term "Just add water" will be forever changed.

Macleod, near as I can tell, is the first person to use FTL as a word, a verb no less. Fittle he says. Cute.

Mortality takes on a very different importance when you have uploads and backups at your disposal. There's a Broken Angels-reminiscent part where Lucinda has to gather a team for a one-way mission into a radioactive zone. Her first recruit had the following to say when she told him he was first:

"That's good," he said, to her surprise. "It means we're not cluttered up with artillerymen, grunts, scientists and such, all quite redundant on this exercise ..."

I can't tell if this is a poke at Broken Angels or just that particular genre trope of "badass team goes into dangerous area. Many die."

Posthuman tech is surprisingly amenable to the likes of us. Too amenable, methinks.

What can't it do?

I love this kind of thing: ingenuity overcoming limitations and such.

A crooked radar antenna aboard Europe's Mars Express spacecraft has straightened out after being exposed to sunlight for several minutes. The fix gives fresh hope that a second boom will be deployed, allowing the experiment to begin scouting for underground water on Mars.

Mission officials in Darmstadt, Germany, commanded the first of two 20-metre-long fibreglass booms on the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) experiment to pop out of its storage box on 4 May. It had been folded there since before the mission's launch in June 2003.

But engineers studying data from the spacecraft's gyroscopes, which measure its rotation, noticed on 7 May that one of the boom's 13 folded segments had apparently not locked into a straight position as planned. The problem appeared to arise from an outer segment, most likely the tenth.

On Tuesday, Mars Express team members began tests to straighten the boom. They rotated the spacecraft so that the kinked segment was facing the Sun for about 5 minutes, then moved it back into darkness.

On Wednesday, they received telemetry from the gyros showing the action was a success. "The boom is now straight," announced Fred Jansen, the spacecraft's mission manager. "It's a great relief."

Kinks and wrinkles

Jansen says a wrinkle in the fibreglass tube may have hardened into a kink during the nearly two years the craft has spent in the cold vacuum of space. When exposed to heat from the Sun, the wrinkled fibreglass would have expanded, making it more elastic. Then the spacecraft's rotation may have snapped the segment into its correct position...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Smarter than thou ...

... I want one of these. Badly.

Step into my mind ...

The teleological progression of the cosmos (yes, it is teleological), if plotted on a graph, would be a sine wave.

Downslope: first the expanding universe, then the stars, then the planets, then the atmosphere; each iteration of the universal progression is smaller, finer than the one before. Why?

This continued until biological life formed. Trough.

Upslope: The size downturn reverses with eukaryotes, bacteria, cell colonies, multicellular organisms and so on. Even when we hit human, the scale-shift skips to the things we make, build and/or control. Things continue to get bigger and bigger (buildings, vehicles, agro-engineered foodcrops, societies etc.) Industrial Age, Information Age - Boom!

Downslope again: miniaturization rules the day. This is where we are now.


Every time life hits a new paradigm, the slope is reversed. By this logic, the next iteration of life will be technological. Shrinking computer chips, quantum physics, nanotechnology - as our tech grows more capable, we are probing smaller and smaller, hoping to understand the vast. Our growing knowledge creates the seeds for the next upslope.

What would that be? Space travel, of course; (the whale effect = larger and larger spacecraft - as soon as we actually get off the f#&king ground ) terraforming and/or space habitats logically follow. What comes after? Megascale engineering of course.


You want a really wild vision? Megascale existence ...

To be continued.

New face, same as the old face ...

This is good.

Forensic archeology. I wonder if an archeological singularity is possible.

If the position wasn't already taken ...

... I would worship Warren Ellis.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Straight to Medusahead ...

... this is biting social commentary, is what it is.

stopmefromindentingwillyou - ganked from Posthuman Blues (too good not to.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

I want to get awaaay, I wanna flyyyyy away ...

Those eyes, those eyes ...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Continued ...

... while it would suck to have swarms of governmental imago-stratellites counting the threads in your underwear with t-rays and muon-based sensors, spreading the tech far and wide would nicely short-circuit that problem.

Aside from the obvious (driving maps and such), other benign applications could be:

- beam to internet-enabled sunglasses and voila! Tourism without departure (virtual tourism to those of you who don't live inside my head)

- feed to tech-savvy blind people so they can navigate any city in real-time. On a smaller scale, it could even be used for individual buildings.

- automated Zipcars?

- enhanced gerrymandering? Teehee.

Stross was right ...

... the Panopticon Singularity is here.

Not that I'm pessimistic or anything. This does have some very very cool applications. More on that later today.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Have you surfed the Googlenet today?

Thursday, May 05, 2005


... or as you yanks know it, MRS GREN, the eight characteristics of living things.

Aaaaaanyway, behold: it lives. It is a thing of weird beauty.

Feels unfinished though.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Time travel continued ...

Hmm, where was I? Oh yes, virtual time machines.

Friday May 6 '05 11:45AM approximately: No, priority (or prioritity, depending of course on your stance on syllabic consistency).

The adult is thinking further and further ahead, making plans, worrying about bills, perhaps saving for er children's future. Sort of an inverse to the "watched pot" rule, where worrying about what comes next makes it come all the faster

Thursday May 5th '05 (1PM 0r th3r3abouts): Ok, Let's talk about Einstein, specifically his layman's explanation of Relativity. Nice as girlfriends and sex and all that good stuff are, we'll keep this PG for the moment. When you're five years old for instance, an hour can seem an eternity. When you're 50, an hour isn't nearly long enough. Relativity?

*Editing as we speak*

(Thursday May 5, 1PM or thereabouts): In a frivolous reapplication of the Stross/Moravec theory of acausal Turing-machines, this post will never be finished and yet always be updated. Not making sense? You're still thinking in the causal paradigm.

case in point ...

... causality violation?

Snake is Dead!

Ocelot is dead!

Time Paradox! Time Paradox!!

*when did i post this again*

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Angels are all Broken ...

... and it is good. Finished Broken Angels. Beyond awesome. Quellcrist Falconer = brilliant. Richard K. Morgan = brilliant.

Funny thing: behind all the blood and ultranoir, the Carbonverse is well on its way to The Singularity.

You think I'm kidding? Read the books.

Sprinklefiction ...

... Ta-Da!

The war you say? Alright, I'll tell you about my war, all one day of it" The old man shuffled around in his seat, decided he was comfortable, then deflated into it.

“There we were, the bright young stars of our nation’s military elite; the few, the proud, the badass. Armed to the teeth, stoked on fire and rhetoric, we were out to kill some transcie scum. We gravchuted down three miles past the Utopolis coastline, stealthed to the nines. The kimpeeks and infoboys had the area pegged as one of their monopole factories.”

I couldn’t help laughing: And you all just thought you’d loot the place, ey? Just like that?

“Hey, nobody said propaganda had to be true. And nobody said I have to stay awake past ten.”

Deepest apologies, said I.

He eyed me balefully for a moment, then reclined into his seat once more. “The Generals figured it’d be easy pickings, them being pacifists and all. Idiots.”

I take it …

“That things didn’t go well? Ha!” He barked hateful old-man laughter “We had the place surrounded by 0300 hours. Sent in EMPwalkers, whisperbombs, everything. Went in 0312” He paused. It took a moment to realize he was asleep.

“No, I ain’t, dumbass. Now ask me a question.” Or pretending to be.

Then what happened?

“We woke up at 0900. The factory was gone and so were our clothes. We all smelled like flowers.”

Crouching Angels, Hidden Markets ...

... hey, am I the only one who noticed that the Altered Carbonverse and Market Forces are in the same continuity? I first noticed this back in Altered Carbon when Kovacs acquired the Nemex, Faulkner's weapon of choice.

But the obvious clincher was in Broken Angels when someone starts talking about War-Based Markets and ConflictfreakingInvestment ... and then someone mentions Shorn.

Who knows, maybe Kovacs is Suki's great-grandson? >8^)

Over and Out.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Bwaahahahahaha ...

... my first example of governmental incompetence.

May there be many more.

Or not.

I'm conflicted.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Weaaaak .... speeeeciessss ...

... I was in the movie theatre yesterday, watching the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Mos Def is a genius (pay attention to the scene in the Vogon Hold. The Hold, not the airlock).

Anyway, before the movie started, I got to see the trailer for Stealth. There's a part where one of the pilots (the white guy) goes "We have things that machine will never have, like Instincts, judgment ..." something to that effect.

I'd like to address this. In scifi, a lot of hullababoo is made about how human "instinct" is somehow superior to machine calculation and such. The name of a certain Penn & Teller tv show springs to mind.

Fact is, we were originally designed for a simpler milieu, one where you only needed to know a few things: "pointy bit goes in the animal" and "fire hot" for example. When a buffalo is charging you through a field, you don't count grass blades. You just don't have the bandwidth to spare. Not our fault.
Your brain filters out everything that isn't essential, all 70% of it.

Then that whole intelligence thing happened. Next thing we know, we're building castles and submarines and internets. Now, we live in a superhigh-content, non-physical environment. Now, everything is essential. But our brains are still filtering.

What then is instinct? Instinct consists of leftovers, the sensory dregs, the fraction that manages to get past limbic censors. Your senses catch a whole lot more than your brain can process, so "gut feelings" and "hunches" are the result. Your brain squeezing out dingleberries, to be blunt and ugly about it.

Would a computer have this problem? Absolutely not. A computer would not have a subconscious or an unconscious for that matter. Total self-perception, total self-prediction; a level of confidence unmatched by even the greatest human dictators. What we call instinct would for an AI-type mind simply be a subsection of a sensory grid. Your computer warrior would be able to count the grass, the hairs on the buffalo's hide, the immediate atmospheric conditions and still have enough time to go "Ole!" on the poor animal's posterior.

In short, Stealth is going to suck. And I'll see it anyway.

Explosions are cool.

This is in fact your daddy's Google ...

... like I said, hilarious.

Saw a crossdresser on the train yesterday afternoon. First I saw er as a woman, then I looked under the lipstick and saw a man, then the curves suggested woman but a faint air of discomfort/embarassment/determination hinted at man again.

I had to pull out before the Medusa Fractal could suck me in. Remember the ending of Animal Farm? It was just like that, except with gender rather than species.

Is this the future: liquid humanity?


Finally, The Duat is coming.