August 30, 2003


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August 29, 2003

Data Mining the Amazon

couchprojects | Data Mining the Amazon

[via Magnetbox]

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The Surest Sign Electonic Music is Dead (for the now)

Is the utter garbage mixing people accept at the best parties. Anything goes as long as its not 'electronic'. More when I reach a proper keyboard...

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August 28, 2003

22 Greatest

Discovered Move the Crowd through my logs. Damn, nice to see someone is this weblog space likes hip hop. And if someone listing the22 Greatest MCs I'm going to join the fun, as Slick Rick said, here we go:

2 Rakim
3 Nas
4 Tupac
6 Snoop
7 Scarface
8 Ghostface
9 Method Man
10 Milk D (Audio 2)
11 Andre 3000
12 Jay Z
13 Slick Rick
14 Ludacris
15 Big L
16 Lord Finesse
17 UGK
18 Eminem
19 DMX
20 Eightball & MJG
21 Melle Mel
22 MOP

Honorary mention:
Chuck D
Ice Cube
De La Soul
50 Cent

Few notes on the unconventional and the top.

takes it cause of staying power, a year back I'd say Rakim but still blows up a room like no other. What kills me though, was that it was his second single and first hit and he's speaking like he's already made it. Retarded confidence. Peep any freestyle footage you can get, absurd shit.

Rakim needs no explanation. Nas is the personal fav, Tupac probably deserves that 3 spot, but whatever this is my list. Plus Nas is still ripping it, but then maybe Pac is too...

KRS and Snoop round out the god level. The rest are ill, but not immortal. Milk D makes it on the strength of one song only, Top Billin is an absolute classic, never pauses, flows in and out of the choruses seemlessly, flawless. Ludacris gets no respect what's up with that, didn't get mentioned once in the Move the Crowd list or discussion. Scarface is crazy underrated too, same with Eightball & MJG and UGK. I'm from NY I'll admit the South reps hard.

Lord Finesse and Big L get the NY battle kings award. "I'm like Bevis I get nothing but head"... Finesse especially is criminally underrated, while L gets mad respect in certain limited circles. Aight gots to cut this off I got work to do.

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Beyond Smooth?

Noted without comment for future exploration:

On the other hand, Delueze is perfectly aware of the existence of several nonmetric geometries and uses a single term ('smooth space') to refer to all of them: "It is the difference between a smooth (vectorial, projective, or topological) space and a striated (metric) space..."

from the footnotes of DeLanda's Intensive Science & Virtual Philosophy.

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Who's Making the Killing?

Arms And The Man is the site. "Who's Making A Killing On Killing In Iraq?" is the theme. Warning: this is not a positive site. Unless of course you own stock in Halliburton, Bechtel and the like...

[via Daily Kos]

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Hit the Breaks

Accelerating Change Conference 2003 has got to be the scariest name for a conference I've ever heard. Conclusive evidence that the high tech "visionaries" have lost all contact with the reality of earth? Their logo sure makes it seem that way, as does the inclusion of delusional fanatics Ray Kurzweil and K. Eric Drexler (peep Tim Oren's reaming of his vision.)

I mean seriously "Accelerating Change" who the fuck are we kidding? I'm all for using tech to change the world. But if we want to do it be best do it right. And that means careful and rigorous implementation of new tech, not an acceleration. If anything we need to slow down the rate of change, least we smash head long into a nightmarish future. Looks like a few in silicon valley still are taking hits of the VC crack pipe... At least they included the clear thinking Tim O'Reilly. Scary shit, from the people who brought you the dot com bubble. Can someone from the Bay's Whole Earth crew introduce the concept of sustainability to these fools?

[via Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Accelerating Change Conference 2003]

update: the above is probably at touch unfair, the organizing organization address some of these critiques on their site. 'We recognize that humanity's central choice in technology development is not a blind advocacy of acceleration, but a selective catalysis. Thus our more complete, implied, and ungainly title would be: "Institute for Selectively Accelerating Change."' But that's a cop out in my book, adding a word to dramatically change the meaning is not "ungainly" and the logo is patently absurd. But they obviously aren't quite as pie in the sky as they might be on first look. Still the overall critique holds, tech change alone is not going improve the world, the issues are far broader then these people want to admit...

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Healing Freeway Scars

Wow, this is good, I pretty much agree with
City Comforts gushing write up.

The skinny? The city of Columbus Ohio (which I have mad love for btw, hi Jen and Ed!) recently built a freeway overpass with stores on either side. Why is this important? Because having a freeway run straight through an urban area divides a city in
disparate sections, its an action segregation, striation and division. It blocks the flow of people from place the place, and discourages people from walking or interacting with their neighbors a few hundred feet across the freeway.

By making a freeway overpass just another urban street Columbus has gone a long way toward healing those divisions. It rejoins the neighborhoods on either side of the freeway, reenabling a healthy flow between the two sides. It's a model for urban spaces reclaiming space from the divisive culture and actuality of the freeway.

Of course we'll need to be on the watchout for any potential draw backs. I'm a little concerned about the viability of a freeway overpass as a place of business. The fumes can not be good. Rents a presume will be lower, which might be a good thing. Perhaps these can be used as urban incubation spaces, where new business can experiment with low overhead? Overall this is a good thing I think, but it still needs study.

[via the excellent Beyond Brilliance: Healing Freeway Scars]

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Guerilla Peace

"It's not a guerilla war that's killing us," Rumsfeld explained. "It's guerilla peace."

- Opinions You Should Have

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August 27, 2003

Dark Bays (current location = San Francisco)


Flew into the SF Bay Area last night. Jet Blue was a smooth as always, arrived at the airport 30 minutes before departure. Headed straight to the auto check in kiosk and had the boarding pass within minutes. Got marked S (for extra security scrutiny) as usual. At least I got to cut the line for being late. Got inspected more thoroughly then ever, although I've yet to find an inspector who hasn't missed at least one compartment... Arrived at the gate with 10 minutes to spare, should have gotten food. Somehow got an exit row seat to top it off, nice.

Shit, San Francisco is a really dark city, isn't it. Known it for a while, but I never really realized it until last night. Not dark as in ominous, but just plain dark as in not well lit. The BART trains are dimmer then any public transit I can remember. And the SF street lights are sparse and perhaps less powerful then I'm used to. Guess its part of being closer to nature and better for the environment. No wonder everything closes by 10pm.

Funny growing up in NYC has left me both semi nocturnal and extremely into brightness. I like working late at night, but preferably its under floodlights. Must be a 21st century condition..

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Segregating Architecture

According to their site, Chicken & Egg Public Projects: "conceives and develops interpretive environments and interactive strategies that advance public understanding of cultural and social issues."

Check out their Architecture of Segregation project:

Architecture of Segregation explores how racial attitudes shaped urban, suburban, and rural landscapes that maintain divisions in American society. This multidisciplinary project examines the ways in which forces ranging from violent individuals to institutional practice to government policy embedded racial biases in everyday spaces, places, and structures during the second half of the twentieth century. Through collaboration with a network of scholars and institutions, Architecture of Segregation will comprise a major publication, national traveling exhibition, web site, and educational activities. These products, conceived to engage a broad audience, are intended as a stimulus for public discussion, continued scholarly research, and new directions in public policy.


Architecture of Segregation asks: How have racial attitudes shaped the built environment? What are the structures of a closed society? How do these keep races apart, even in the absence of prejudice? Architecture of Segregation will encourage the general public, scholars, policy makers, and the media to consider these questions as they reexamine the twentieth-century construction of the American home. By concentrating on familiar spaces and activities, it will encourage the public to understand the forces that shaped the landscape and to recognize how that landscape shapes their behavior and beliefs. With this understanding, they can consider rebuilding a divided United States.

A book and traveling exhibition are in the works. Keep an eye out.

[via Social Design Notes: Architecture of Segregation]

Posted by Abe at 02:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 26, 2003

Retro + Soul = Techno?

Shit I'll say it, maybe I already did, but somehow the best album of the year so far is Beyonce's. I was thinking that before I notice the hidden gem "Work it Out". On casual listen I must have marked it as quality filler, a Houston girl paying homage to Archie Bell and the Drells. What I didn't notice though was underneath Beyonce's retro beltings was a slamming Thomas Brinkmann track.

Well actually its a Neptunes beat, yeah another Neptunes beat, but it may as well be Brinkmann. An angular soul guitar looped with minimalist precision, so fucking tight. And Be cuts lose like she feels pain like Mary J, damn so hot. Can someone hook Brinkmann up with a real singer please?

Posted by Abe at 12:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Terminate with Extreme Prejudice

Schwarzenegger on power:

'My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it,' he once explained. 'People need somebody to watch over them.... Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.'

and freedom:
bq. 'The only thing that makes me nervous,' he has said, 'is when I don't get my own way.'

- Demisemiblog

como se dice nazi en California?

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Beyond Design

Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity, is the best double barreled weblog I've seen. Thoughts on the best and worst of urban design, peep it.

[via No Sense Of Place]

Posted by Abe at 09:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 25, 2003

"we never had Al-Qaeda before this occupation"

I'm so angry and frustrated. Nothing is moving forward- there is NO progress and this is just an example. The media is claiming Al-Qaeda. God damn, we never HAD Al-Qaeda before this occupation... fundamentalists kept their heads down. Now they are EVERYWHERE- they 'represent' the Iraqi people on Bremer's puppet council...

Baghdad Burning

those are the words flowing from Iraq. God damn, how fucking retarded are Bush and the neocons. How could they plan a war without planning in the least for the occupation. Its pretty clear now that this invasion is a colossal failure, WMD or no WMD. Before war, no Al Qaeda. Now Al Qaeda. America is less safe, Bush failed once again, same way he's failed in most every other venture he's been in. I mean this is the man who traded away Sammy Sosa. Bush = Failure, its a simple equation, let it be known.

And since this is making me a bit upset, lets cut to some humor:

Today President Bush said the situation in Iraq had deteriorated to the point where he had no choice "but to declare war on that country."

"I've just become aware that good people are dying out there. Terrorists run rampant, killing people, blowing up oil pipelines, wreaking havoc, maybe just plain reaking. They've got to be stopped."

Bush said that he had recently learned that since May 1, 2003, Iraq has become the "number one nexus of the terrorist activities in the world," and he called it "the nexus of the axis of evil," speaking from his ranch in Texas.

He said that it was a difficult decision but he had "no choice" given the state of the country at this time.

"Whoever is running that country has allowed it to turn into a hornet's nest that threatens the stability of the Middle East, and with it, the safety and security of the United States, and of the world."

Opinions You Should Have - August 2003 Archives

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August 24, 2003

A Blossoming

Its been a long time coming and its so close I smell it. Creative doldrums have dominated the past few years in music and style. These are dark economic times and creativity has been nursing a major hangover after partying like 1999 for most of a decade. But I see buds breaking, rhizomes reemerging above the ground. A new mutant aesthetic is on its rise. Imagine it as a building. It has history, 100 years back it was a tenement. 2 years ago it was crumbling husk of shattered brick wall. Weeds growing everywhere, graffiti covering all smooth surfaces. Today you enter through a side door, black painted steel covered in tags, stickers and stencil. You are in the back, you are in a garden. Bamboo shoots and white orchids. A small stream wanders through. The walls are covered with the original graf, throw-ups mixed with fantastic wild style pieces. You turn and head up the stairs, clear plastic meets plate glass, you are back in a dream of the future. Hi tech form and function. You reach the landing and pause, the wall is a shifting plastic, the latest of tech you presume. But the door is almost floating in it. The doorway has moldings, left over from a past life perhaps? Layers of paint are peeling of the door like a beach shack, the knob is dented copper.

You enter to a space of pure light, projections dance around you all walls, floors and ceiling, this is pure information transformed in pure beauty. Needless to say the sound system is slamming. Your eyes shift to the corner, an space between the walls you missed on the first scan, you head into it. Another staircase, heading up. The walls are covered with drawings, their are hundreds of stories on these walls, dozens of artists intertwined as they tell their tales. Perhaps you spend years deciphering them, but more likely you reach the landing and a door slides upon for you. Now the floors are hardwood. Large windows cut into exposed brick on three walls give you a view back into the street, you are still in your city. The back wall is bookshelves, the collection is of course flawless, there are comfortable chairs, you'll need to return to read. Display cases filled with scientific curiosities are scattered through the space, their is much to learn. But first you push forward rooms splattered with paint, rooms that make you think you are pac man, a fireplace someplace, a rec room, low ceilings for intimacy, high ceilings to uplift the soul. Intricate carvings contrasted with minimal simplicity. This is a meshwork, a space of cross breeding. At first perhaps you attempt to localize everything, give it a name, a place, a time. But this doesn't last long, the handcrafted weaves back and forth with the digital, the historical melds seamlessly with the hi tech.

Who created this space, a graf artist? media mogul? perhaps a woodworker, but then maybe it was a plastics designer. You look for the cracks separating the spaces, and they are not there. There must be a point where one craftsman transitions to another, but you can not put your finger on it. Could it be that this space was not created but grew instead? I suppose that means its still growing.

Posted by Abe at 06:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Black Ecstasy

Sort of sad that Simon Reynolds is talking about nadirs so much lately, cause its looking increasingly like the best music critic of the 90's is dangerously close to his own nadir. ? please Simon, how long before you realize that the British just can't make hip hop. Like all British hip hop the beats are solid. And like the best of the bunch the content of the lyrics is pretty intelligent. But fuck he could have wrote a book or something cause it ain't hip hop unless the shit flows. And Rascal's flow is about as forced as the case for the invasion of Iraq...

Now lets get to the irony. Not sure what's up with Mr. Reynolds, but he claims not know whether David Banner's Like a Pimp is hip hop's nadir or the start of something entirely new. Truth is its a manifestation of something Reynolds predicted a few years back in more astute times, black American ecstasy music. A song of pure E stabs, makes my skin tingle just listening to it. Who needs a groove when the beat keeps lifting that E higher and higher? Bone Crusher goes one better with an E rushing voice, who needs Mentasm when you can just use your lungs?

I'm beginning to think much of the British Rave Explosion E was laced with major amounts of speed. Would certainly explain the constantly escalating BPMs of the early 90's. Its not a property of the E at all, and the dirty south is showing just how effective the slowed down E sound can be. Finally, been waiting for this music for a while now. This is the sound of ecstasy plus soul, lets hear it multiply.

One last thought, could it be that Timbaland, in all his genius, might have actually slowed down this development? Don't think he actually eats the pills, but his excellent ear has been offering up audio close enough for the crowd. Fake black ecstasy for the club. And being on top of his game and commercial gold equals soundwave domination. But now the homegrown producers have found the space to emerge; the real black ecstasy sound is stepping forth. Tellingly their models seem to be DJ Screw and Manny Fresh, not Timbaland and Dre. This is music for the mixtape economy not the major label economy.

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August 23, 2003



don't forget to peep the scale version.

[via alphaChannel -fair and balanced]

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August 22, 2003



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August 21, 2003

"work" it

v-2 Organisation | news | Real value and the nature of work

Read it. Its probably my favorite thing that I've read from Adam, and he's a damn good writer. Hits a central question of the 21st century straight on. Hopefully I'll have some answers soon. And even more hopefully you will have some answers soon.

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One from the Logs

:: souljerky/threshold ::

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August 20, 2003

War + Video Fog

CBSNews has some stunning video footage filmed during the bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq the other day. RealVideo unfortunately, if anyone knows of a QuickTime version please let me know.

The footage captures the fog of war as good as anything. Noise, blackness, smoke, confusion, blow out to white as they get outside and figures shift in and out of view on the overexposed film. If it wasn't so tragic you could call it beautiful. Instead its a disaster.

Posted by Abe at 11:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 19, 2003

August 18, 2003

August 16, 2003

antics and gang rape


hallucinations & antics . tobias c. van Veen .. ./ /. . ./ .. /. /. /. . .. . ./ ./ . /. .. . .. / /. has been playing fast and loose with its text size and now has the best looking weblog around.

On a more serious note tobias also brings ill news: 'Polish artist DOROTA NIEZNALSKA was sentenced to 6 months of confinement in her community for "violence to religious feelings."'

Among the suggested punishments *GANG RAPE*. An ill world indeed. Damn.

Posted by Abe at 03:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack



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August 14, 2003

Friendster Warfare

Damn, the friendster war is heating up.

Pretty fucking absurd, if you invented a wildly successful product would then wage war on your users and try and destroy everything they like about your product?

The weirdest bit is that friendster is still growing rapidly despite a management that is completely hostile to the actual users. And on the flip,, listens closely and talks to its users, but is pretty much still born so far. None of the dynamism of friendster there, despite the fact that they welcome it. Could it be that friendsters antagonistic relationship to its users actually helps drive some of its success. Action is more fun if its illegal after all...

[via connected selves: Attack of the Smartasses]

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August 13, 2003

Fair Enough


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"Its time the Christian right meet the right Christians"

I'm purely agnostic myself, but you can't help loving that zing of Al Sharpton's "right Christian" quote. Good to see that meme percolate a bit. All Brill has started blogging on the theme and sent me this link to an extensive exploration of Lakoff's Moral Politics. And of course I just love reading from intelligent people with very different world views from mine.

The Right Christians: George Lakoff, Tucker Carlson, Danny Goldberg

Good stuff, breaks down Lakoff nicely. Have to say its pretty odd switching back towards this mode of thinking after being immersed in D+G's journeys of deterritorialization. Two very different world views, be interesting to bring them together. And yeah I'll get back to Lakoff soon enough. The utility of his ideas calls, even if I suspect they are somewhat inaccurate...

Posted by Abe at 01:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 12, 2003

Amis on Porn

' "Answer me something," I said to John Stagliano. We were stepping out of the porno home - on to the porno patio with its porno pool... "How do you account for the emphasis, not just in your . . . work but in the industry in general, how do you account for the truly incredible emphasis on anal sex?" After a minimal shrug and a minimal pause Stagliano said, "Pussies are bullshit." '

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Martin Amis on the pornography industry

[via die puny humans:]

Posted by Abe at 08:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 11, 2003

Ideal Driven

That idealism is what I find so compelling at the best Spanish restaurants, and so sadly missing in France. The nouvelle cuisine movement burgeoned at the end of the hopeful 60's, nurtured by a belief that honest cooking -- mindful of culinary tradition, natural products and individual creativity -- could make a better world. That optimism has curdled. Besieged with soaring costs and smothering regulations, French chefs think more imaginatively about brand extension than about recipe invention. They cling to past glory, to a tradition of nouvelle cuisine that is becoming as hoary as Escoffier. In Spain, as García Santos says, young chefs still touchingly believe that they can change the world.

- Arthur Lubow A Laboratory of Taste

Posted by Abe at 12:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Pragmatic Optimism

Recently I've been falling into what I call a "critical trap". Too much critique with too little construction. Its an easy path for me, but not one I'd like to follow. Critique is a useful tool when wielded wisely, but in a society where "critical theory" is a serious academic pursuit and newspapers employ thousands of "critics" its a tool that used far too often. I might be a pragmatic mofo, but ultimately I'm an optimist. I have a faith that we as humans can solve more problems then we create. I don't think it will be easy, but I know it can be done.

As a pragmatic optimist their is a blinder style of optimism that grates on me badly. In the tech/culture world it manifests itself frequently as a blind faith that the internet tech will make the world a better more open place. I would agree that its possible that it might, but think it will take massive effort and serious insight to make it happen. Blind optimism to me is a trap, a lazy path that promotes technology only to allow that tech to be co-opted by the power hungry. And I've taken criticizing that "blind" optimism. In reality though, blind or not the optimism is energy that should be focused towards the issues at hand. The issue of how. How do we build a better world? How do we use technology to build a better world?

The case of Howard Dean and fundraising provides a telling example. Every serious candidate for US president has a system set up for people to donate money online. But only Howard Dean is using it to raise serious money. How? By working like a mofo and figuring out how to really make the system work. Just putting up a web page that allows people to donate $20 with their credit card does not mean people will use it. Bob Graham is not raking in the dollars via his donation page. Howard Dean is. How? By making people feel like they are getting their money's worth.

In old school fundraising (well from the past decade or two), most donations where on the $1000-$2000 level. But people don't just give $2000 and get nothing back. They get a dinner with the candidate. Odds are they'll only get to shake the candidates hand, snap a photo and then sit down at a table with a bunch of other donors. Doesn't sound like much, but its actually a great deal. Networking with other wealthy individuals generally leads to more wealth and power. A photo of you with a prominent politician impresses clients and employees, it puts the donor in a position of power. Its not a bad deal if you have the $2000.

Now if you give $200 to Bob Graham online, what do you get? A thank you email most likely, plus some mailings asking for more money I'd guess. Not very exciting. Probably not getting your money's worth. Give $200 to Howard Dean online and its a bit different. You feel like you are part of a community. You feel like you can communicate with Dean online. His people read your comments on his blog. If you have a website they make you feel like they value it. They have opened up a channel of communications with you. And communications with a potential president of the US is damn valuable. You feel like you get your monies worth.

The Dean online communications set up takes serious effort to set up and maintain. Its hard work keeping things updated and staying on top of the world of the web. It takes time and skilled manpower. And it took real insight and experimentation by Dean's team to make it work. A blind optimist would argue that the internet will revolutionize online fundraising by enabling smaller donations. And as it turns out it did. But it took crazy hard work. Only one candidate has managed to make the system work right. The rest have all the tech set up, but don't know how to use it. They are not using the web pragmatically, they are not testing and experimenting with the form to make things happen. And make no mistake, it takes tremendous energy to make things happen.

So yeah, we can improve the world. But its going to be a hard job, and its up to us to figure out how its done.

Posted by Abe at 11:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 10, 2003

Six Million Degrees of Bull$&*t (choose one)

So I've already torn into the "proving" of the six degrees of separation. And then Clay Shirky drops this gem of a turd on the study.

The most important finding, though, was that while chains can be connected in a few hops, few are. Of over 60,000 volunteers, only 384 chains, around 3%, were actually connected.

Now Clay put it politely. I'm not going to. This means the study is a big steaming pile of horseshit. Its getting hyped as "proving" the six degrees theory when in fact it disproves it completely. Blows the fucking theory out the water with an RPG. Only 3% of the chains actually connected at all! That means we are completely disconnected from most people, not connected. Something has gone horribly wrong in the spreading of this story. Perhaps its the researcher trying to salvage their hypothesis from a study that proves them wrong, or maybe its the media hyping the wrong thing. Probably a bit of both.

Now in all fairness this study seems a bit flawed, I have a feeling it amplifies the distance between us somewhat. But 97% is a big number. The connections are not getting made. We are separated from most of the world by an infinite number of degrees. Out own larger social sphere is close knit. But outside that sphere there are vast oceans of separation, connected only tenuously by the few individuals that daringly cross cultural borders. Like it or not we still live in a world of disconnect and discrepancy. And my tollerance for those who sell us myths of connection to make us feel better about our concentration of power is getting dangerously thin.

Posted by Abe at 05:28 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Ragga Fashion + Dance

BBC - Reggae - Fashion and Dance

Check the videos, wish their was more. Good intro though.

[via Submunition: Reggae Fashion and Dance]

Posted by Abe at 04:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 09, 2003

(Re)Touching Reality

Greg's Digital Archive

Damn, ever wonder why so many women have body issues? Here is one big reason shown in action. Its not all good when it comes to photoshop. Well its nice on the eyes, but nasty on the psyche.

Posted by Abe at 08:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tropical Invention Paradise

Social Design Notes: Gaviotas

wow, just read it, its great stuff, hard to find a real sum up pull quote, but this is a start:

Gaviotas provided a chance to plan a tropical civilization from the ground up, instead of depending on technologies developed for northern climates. ‘When we import solutions from the US or Europe,’ said Lugari, founder of Gaviotas, ‘we also import their problems.’

Posted by Abe at 07:55 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The Technoarchy

Technoarchy: a form of oligarchy where society is controlled by those who use technology the best. Unlike traditional oligarchies technoarchies are generally emergent. For the most part they are not created deliberately, but rise out of the properties of the dominant technology of the time, ie the networked computers of the 21st century.

According to google it was used with a potentially similar meaning once before, in an essay I have yet to get my hands on. If anyone knows of any other prior uses, please let me know. Same goes for other words with a similar meaning.

Expect an essay in the near future.

Posted by Abe at 02:44 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Punk Rock Cell Phone



My Treo 300 cell/pda broke the other day. Not in any digital or electronic way, its a pure mechanical failure. Phone and pda work great still, but the flip mechanism for opening the device is straight busted. Flip open the phone and the top half is left dangling. Worst part about it is anyone with a couple weeks of high school physics could have predicted this issue, the failure is engineered right into the device. Every time you open the phone, a strong metal spring pushes the soft plastic flip top open. Hard metal pushing on soft plastic, its going to break, guaranteed. And I've only had this particular Treo 300 for 7 months.

Planned obsolescence sucks no matter how you cut it, but I've come to expect I'll be getting a new phone every 12-18 months or so. 7 seems a short for an obvious design flaw. Especially since the replacement model isn't even due out for another few months.

Anyway despite this problem I still think the Treo's are the best devices on the market. The killer app in a palm for me is email, so it needs to be a phone combo. And it needs a keyboard. The Treo is the best of that small bunch.

Anyway for reasons I'm not going to go into here, I'm keeping my current Treo till the new model comes out, rather then having insurance replace it. So that means I'm going full cyberpunk on it. A pda phone held together with wire, velcro and electrical tape. Its the new style, you hear me? All those shiny new devices need to get out like Tom Cruise, its all about the hacked up tech pappi.

Posted by Abe at 02:20 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 08, 2003

Six Degrees of Bull$&*t

Ok its time to put it to rest. This six degrees of separation thing is getting distorted beyond belief. The basic story as its told is that everyone world is connected to each other by a chain of five friends, which is 6 degrees of separation. The initial source of all this was a study in the 60's by Stanley Milgram, but that study was too flaw to actually prove anything. But now a more rigorous study has been done.

Study: It's a small world, to a degree | CNET

Now what this study proves is that on average people seem to connected by about six degrees. But the general perception seems to be that it proves that everyone is connected by about six degrees. And that's bullshit. Check this quote:

People are more likely to try to find people whom they think will be easy to find, said Watts, who calls himself a mathematical sociologist. "We realized the demographics of our users--they were U.S.-based and heavily college-educated,'' he said. "People get the name of a professor and they say, 'This is easy, I could see how this would work,' and they do it; whereas if they get someone whose name they can't pronounce in a country they can't point to on a map, they say 'I don't know.'"

In other words people in similar demographics are tightly connected, but people in different demographics are not very connected at all. Odds are most people in the US and Slovenia are separated by far more then six degrees.

Two men, one in Croatia and one in Indonesia, proved the most elusive; a Cornell University professor got the most hits, Watts said in a telephone interview.

I can't tell for sure, but it looks like a lot of people might never have ever figured out a connection to those men. What this means is not the world is tightly connected by six degrees of separation, but that certain communities are densely connected, while others are not connected at all.

This draws the picture of a world of social clouds, where groups of thousands and hundreds of thousands are clustered in social groupings, with almost no connections to other social clouds. A lot of us are connected no doubt, but a lot of us aren't either and lets not forget that.

Posted by Abe at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 07, 2003

Visualizing Friendster


[via connected selves: visualizing friendster]

Posted by Abe at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Open Source Philosophies: 3 Takes

tobias c. van Veen sent along:

The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical Poststructuralist Anarchism

Raises some interesting parallels between the open source movement and various forms of poststructuralist thought. And then it stops, just as the questions get interesting. I assume (hope) there is more to come.

Brought to mind Manuel DeLanda's Open-Source A Movement in Search of a Philosophy, which raises a couple sharp questions, but never digs for any answers.

And finally, because not all anarchism is poststructuralist, its worth pointing to Eben Moglen's Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright. As best as I can tell from his writings and some of his lectures I've sat in on Moglen subscribes to a hyperlogical view of anarchism, if the whole world thinks like programmers, we'd be in utopia. Super intelligent but quite strange all the same.

Bottom line, open source + philosophy = more exploration needed

Posted by Abe at 11:37 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 06, 2003

Gross National Cool

Both TIME Magazine, and Foreign Policy are talking about what they call Japan's "gross national cool". No indication of how both publications ended up using the same term, wonder what the story is. In anycase this is as good an indicator as I've seen that Japan's cultural capital has peaked, watch out for the backlash. No guarentee's though, history tells us its usually a bad idea to underestimate Japan.

[via and Joi Ito's Web]

Posted by Abe at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Gregory Bateson has managed to get his fingers into far too many pies... His name pops up everywhere it seems, he must be the only thinker who served as an inspiration for both the freaky ultra scientific psychology of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Delueze and Guattari, who took the concept of plateaus directly from Bateson. On top of that he was a well respected anthropologist and extremely influential in the development of cybernetics.

And yeah I haven't read nearly enough of his work, just a couple anthropological essays.

[via Interconnected]

Posted by Abe at 11:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 05, 2003

What the Wha? Bush Admits He Destroyed the Economy

George W Bush: Yes. No, to answer the last part of your question. First of all, let me -- just a quick history, recent history. The stock market started to decline in March of 2000. Then the first quarter of 2001 was a recession. And then we got attacked in 9/11. And then corporate scandals started to bubble up to the surface, which created a -- a lack of confidence in the system. And then we had the drumbeat to war. Remember on our TV screens -- I'm not suggesting which network did this -- but it said, "March to War," every day from last summer until the spring -- "March to War, March to War." That's not a very conducive environment for people to take risk, when they hear, "March to War" all the time.

Damn. you read it. He said it. Could it be he can't make the connection that his drive to war is what was producing that "not a very conducive environment for people to take risk"? And he lets his scapegoats in the media off the hook before even dropping the bomb. Whoa. I usually try and give the fool a little credit, he can't be as dumb as it seems if he got to the White House, inbreeding and all. But this is retarded. Can someone give him an IQ test so we can know the real answer once and for all?

[via Eschaton + original source]

Posted by Abe at 08:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Growing Digital Trees


ecotonoha [medium high bandwidth flash link]

wow. Yugo Nakamura does it again, still the best and most refined Flash artist on the web today. Funded by a big corp in order for them to look better of course, but hey they are growing trees, and I'd rather they spend money on things like this.

[via moock]

Posted by Abe at 08:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A Beef with Chicken

A note to vegetarians: this entry is about meat. If you don't like it don't read it or at least don't comment on it. I was a vegetarian for a year. It sucked. I have canine teeth for a reason and its not to go malnourished or to keep large corporate soy farms in business. Death is a natural part of our world, accept it please, or at least don't push your subhuman eating preferences on to others...

Anyway, I've been noticing a bit of trend lately, people who will eat beef but not chicken. Used to be that all meat eaters ate chicken, it was the safe meat. About 3 years ago I stopped eating chicken, seemed to be making me sick. Still never proven it, but I was getting ill all the time and stopping the chicken habit stopped that. I blamed it on all the hormones and crap pumped into chickens.

Mind went a bit wild justifying my new anti-chicken diet. Chickens are the dirtiest of food animals. Birds are delicate, they can't handle the hormones the way cows can. They are dirty, cooped up eating their own shit, with beakless mouths. Etc, ect. BS really, but good enough to win some arguments. And now suddenly people seem to agree with me. "I'd rather eat beef", "chicken's are dirty", "unhealthy" all buzzing around me.

Anecdotal evidence of course, but I've got a decent track record at eyeing trends early, is it time for the backlash against chicken?

Posted by Abe at 06:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 04, 2003

You Have Total Creative Freedom


Funkstörung Isolation Remix

"Isolation Remixes" is open to the global creative community. Designers and creatives are invited to remix any of the photographs provided on this site. Photographic Library will be updated each month with new photographs to give you more interesting and exciting objects to remix.

Selected remixes will be published in an art-book (minimum 60 pages) together with the new Funkstörung album, each contributing artist will receive a free copy of the book when it is published. A few selected artworks will be displayed on the website as well as being exhibited in Europe and Australia during late 2003 - early 2004.

The selected images will also be compiled into a motion graphics clip for the new Funkstörung music video. Chosen music video clips will appear on the new Funkstörung Album as well.

[via Wooster]

Posted by Abe at 09:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Infoporn on the Rise?

The Economist has a good overview of info visualization software. Nothing really new, but as par for the Economist its very rational and well written. If you take its neoliberal tilt into account, the Economist tends to be ahead of the mainstream info curve on these things. Signs of a infoviz explosion? (bubble?) Early to say.

Has anyone out there actually played with Paul Hawken's Grokker?

[via Submunition: Economist: Grokking the Infoviz]

Posted by Abe at 12:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 03, 2003

Terrifyingly Ambiguous Headlines

The headline reads: U.S, Officials Preparing for New Terror Attacks

So does that mean Bush administration is preparing to terrorize us some more? I'm certainly more afraid of John Ashcroft then "terrorist"...

Posted by Abe at 06:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Post A Thousand Plateaus I'm back to my usual read a lot of books at once style. Here is the state:

From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe

Wolfe slices through the bs of modernist architecture with his usual flare and wit. It came out in the early 80's which probably added a cocaine fueled bitchy edge to all. Quite enjoyable, even if the targets are damn easy ones. Read it course with a grain of salt of course, not all the modernists are as bad a Le Corb...

Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

A good 2 hour scifi read to cleanse the palette. Ignore the fact the "deep philosophical questions" are a silly bore and its an entertaining read.

The Twenty-First-Century Firm : Changing Economic Organization in International Perspective by Paul DiMaggio (Editor)

Its a collection of essays by various authors so its a bit hard to judge the whole book at this point. The intro however is an excellent introduction to the current state of thinking on the organization of firms. The whole field is still too deeply interwoven with free market capitalist thinking, but its ripe for a divorce. And that's the exciting part. There is a new approach to political economy in the making and some the roots (rhizome?) are nicely traced in this book.

Posted by Abe at 05:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Towards Transparent Shopping

Consumerium is link from my comments page. Its a wiki site, and a bit indirect in stating its goals, but what I make of it is they are trying to build a handheld tool to access product data while you shop. Could be amazing if they succeed. Need to pick between two cereals on the shelf? What if you could instantly see that one company is involved in several lawsuits claiming they mislead consumers about chemical contamination of their products. Valuable information, but damn hard to access when you really need it in the shop. Looks like Consumerium is out to change that.

Big caveat though. Like many open source and social software projects, their is very little on their site to give confidence that they will actually be able to build their dream. Don't get your hopes up. Still I wish them all the luck, can't wait to see this product turn real.

Posted by Abe at 04:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 02, 2003

Street Powers (of Ten)


So MapQuest now gives you the option to see an aerial photo of maps you look up. That's where I grew up. Surprising just how green the area is. You can scale the photos just like a regular online map, which means you can roll your own little Powers of Ten too. Props to anyone who can name the landmarks on that photo above.

[via Kathryn Cramer: Habitats: Compare & Contrast]

Posted by Abe at 01:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 01, 2003

Magic Propaganda Mill


[via Wooster Collective]

Posted by Abe at 02:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack