October 30, 2003



Jason Salavon is a computer artist of the Maeda type. He makes his own software to make the art. His latest takes every Playboy centerfold for each decade and averages the results. Beautiful and abstract, but still data rich in a way.

The picture above is me remixing the 70's.

[via collision detection: The average Playmate]

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Word Spread: Mutiny

DJ Spooky and Synchronic Records
in conjunction with Mutiny Sounds Productions
invite you to a special preview screening of:

Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music
Directed by Vivek Bald
Produced by Claire Shanley and Vivek Bald

Featuring: Anjali, Asian Dub Foundation, Black Star Liner, FunDaMental, Hustlers HC, Invasian, Joi, Kaliphz, DJ Ritu, Talvin Singh, State of Bengal.

Sunday November 9

Plus trailers for
AfroPunk (2003)
by James Spooner
Bombay Eunuch (2001)
by Alexandra Shiva, Sean MacDonald, and Michelle Gucovsky

Doors open at 7:30pm
Screening at 8:00pm

So I'm supposed to spread the word, but I'm not quite sure how far... That's all the info, but you'll need to email for the RSVP address until I find out if I can publish it. And yeah just for clarity, its "Asians" in a UK not US context, meaning Indian and Pakistanis.

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October 29, 2003


Joshua Marshall points out an important fact. Wars don't end when the "winner" says they are over. They end when the "loser" says they are over, or at least stop fighting. Too bad Bush doesn't read the press, he might learn something important one day...

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October 28, 2003


We are pretty used to Bush sticking his foot in his mouth. And we are pretty used to him talking out his ass. But this might be the first time he's managed to stick his foot so far in his mouth its come out his ass...

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the-the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice."

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Kind Words

Wow, loads of kind words floating around for yours truly, and better yet they all come from people who deserve some attention back.

City Of Sound has a fabulous series of fragments going up right now. Excellent stuff, they look like the sites title, very urban, very architectural, with a real feeling of rhythm and motion.

The always fabulous TWANBOC has moved on to Woebot, a site I utterly failed to assist on as promised. My bad. Actually looks better for it though, thoroughly enjoyable.

Catchdubs is all new to me and damn good, chock full of linkage. "Kinda Bjork-y" is kinda a compliment and kinda leaves me a bit confused... But hey I'll take what I can get. Lead me to this great little graphic design battle.

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Ego + McGinness + live site

EGO is Ryan McGinness' design firm, and they've recently either launched their site, or recently made the bulk of it accessible to my popup blocking browser.

Not quite sure how many people are in the firm, but if its small then I'm not quire sure if they sleep at all...

Great Stuff. One pet peeve they are guilty of though, using an impersonal email as contact info on the site. Personally I believe that all companies should have a human face. And part of that requires listing a human name and a named email as contact info. Seeing things like "info@blahblah.com" "contact@egosum.com" just leaves me cold. Tells us your name, really. Or just make one up. But make an effort to appear human, ok?

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October 27, 2003

Yet Another Small Step Towards 1984

It doesn't stop does it? What doesn't you ask? The Bush administration's war on reality of course. Perhaps one could even call it a desperate war.

The latest?

The White House web site changed one small file recently. A file called robots.txt. Robots.txt is used mainly by search engines like Google. The White House changed it in a what that Google will no longer index any story on the White House about Iraq.

The purpose? No one really knows, but the best guess is they want to prevent Google from caching the pages. Why? To rewrite history of course. They got caught once before, changing all references to the end of combat in Iraq, to read the end of major combat. Now it seems they are prepping to change whatever they want. Guess pretending to own a country makes you think you can do these things...

[via Calpundit: The White House Memory Hole]

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October 26, 2003

Quest Lovin'

Touré interviews Ahmir Thompson aka Questlove, the music man powering the Roots, in the Believer. Good shit man. Packed with hip hop knowledge...

Here is Quest on sampling and copyright:

My life's goal is to find a happy medium for sampling to be not only legal but for the right parties to benefit from it. There have to be sampling laws. The survival of hiphop is based on that. Just make it legal and have an actual scaled rate for it. I mean, Pete Rock is wasting some of the best years of his life right now because he's being handicapped because he can't sample. It's way too expensive. The reason why Jay-Z was able to make The Blueprint [filled with great soul samples] is because the motherfucker's got a $2 million recording budget. He could pay for samples like that.

So true on Pete Rock, knew a kid, a beat junkie, who had a spot up in the Bronx that no one knew about. Chock full of samples no one knew about. He'd roll buy and spend whatever he had. One day he goes to the shop and its empty. Owner's like "yeah some guy name Pete Rock came by and bought the whole store". True? Probably. Copyright is hindering a whole genre (or several really), so much music ready to be made if the copyright laws where just loosened up...

Anyway, the interview is hot, skip too it y'all.

[via Move the Crowd: ?uestlove Breaks it Down]

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October 25, 2003

Linkage; O25 2003

Yehudit Sasportas: great artist, always forget the name.

Yehudit Sasportas: a PDF

collision detection: "neuromarketing" in the New York Times Magazine: excellent article on the neuroscience of marketing technique.

collision detection: I love the smell of fresh Cadillac in the morning: Mr Clive Thompson is on a roll today.

Telegraph | 'Send me back. It's worse here': The dark and nasty realities of returning "home" from war. Iraq sounds more and more like Vietnam 2003 to me...

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Look Look, This Is Cool (Hunted)

aka notes from the Look-Look Magazine Launch.

3 observations:

Amateur is in.
Fawns are the new black.
I think there were more cameras in attendance then people.

So Look Look Magazine had a launch party. One of many I suspect, but being the NY launch for an LA mag this is probably one of the better. Art world, fashion flavored, big photos, good party. The mag itself is "amatuer", art and photos from "youth", which now seems to mean under 30. Ok. Its a better looking mag then most of the ones filled with "professional" photos and art. Its a dirty little secret that most "pros" in the 21st just know the tech a bit better then most, talent is optional.

But the event. At some point the spider sense went off, something ain't right. I think it was watching the aging art ladies ogle the 15 year old kids playing live classic rock (really fucking well I might add) that set it off.

Where to begin? As it turns out Look-Look is a trend forecasting (aka cool hunting) firm run by one DeeDee Gordon, who is damn prominent in the field. The whole mag is put together by their "correspondents" aka "cool", "youth", who get photographed, interviewed and probed for insight that can be sold to corporate America for big old checks.

Now I don't want to come off as critical here, because this is not a straight forward situation. Its easy to make a story of Corporate International exploiting youth culture while craftily covering their tracks. And its not like that story would be false. But its important to realize this is a two way communication. Its a bit unclear whether the whole thing is perverse or subversive. Perhaps its the corporations being exploited to support Look-Look's agenda? The balance of the whole situation is hard to gauge. Is this a way to distribute corporate wealth to deserving artists and give new voices a forum to emerge? Or is it a way to sell more Pepsi? Both I suspect. Tread carefully in these waters. Risky but perhaps rewarding.

More soon.

extra bonus, can't quite figure out what this poorly named group is about, but the issues are similar and the spanking new Josh Davis created site is quite beautiful.

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$2 a Day

in America, to clean Wal-mart floors. Disgusting. What can you eat on $2 a day, Bazooka Joes?

Body and Soul: Wal-Mart's agenda has more.

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Notes From the Ghostly Party:

Electronic music didn't die, it just turned into indie rock.

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October 24, 2003

Notes From the Output/DFA party:

Roll in sort of early. An absolutely generic electropop band is on, complete with an Aryan Debbie Harry wannabe. Turns out her name is Ilsa or something of the sort and she's wearing silver pants that may as well have been Daniel Poole circa 92. In retrospect this was a warning sign.

So when did Love and Rockets change their name to Colder? A bit darker, more textured and apparently they now claim to be French. Still as mediocre as ever though, go read the comics they are brilliant.

Downstairs was better. First up good shit I've never heard before, mixed badly (James Murphy?). Rhythmic and textured, need to hear more to describe properly. Then came somewhat familiar stuff, mixed well (Trevor Jackson aka Playgroup?). DJ drops Higher State of Consciousness, crowd goes bananas. With chocolate sause. Almost made me want to dig out the oversized raver jeans from the closet. Luckily for the world I don't have a closet.

The rest of night was dark and northern European. I think I'll be passing on the Belgium New Beat revival, thank you.

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October 23, 2003



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Proceed to Explore: Kodwo Eshun

Amazon flaw/glitches aside, Kodwo Eshun is a name that's been percolating around the periphery of my dataspace for a while now. Time to learn more. Starting point is this interview.

More soon?

Posted by Abe at 08:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

What the Hell is Amazon Thinking???

So Amazon.com has turned on some fabulous new feature. Search inside a book. Allows you to find words that appear inside the text of a book, not just in the title and metadata. Sounds great, yes? And I'm sure it is at times.

But. the. implementation. sucks.

A lot.

Problem is its on by default with no obvious way to turn it off. And its a big problem.

How big? Well I just did a search for Kodwo Eshun who I believe has written all of one book. Amazon now returns 16 results. His book is the last of those 16 results. The proceeding 15 mention him once or twice in the text. What the fuck? That's not an improvement, that's a disaster. More popular authors return almost worthless results. Searching for Braudel and Capitalism like I did last night should give me the handful of books he wrote on the subject, not a few hundred results.

This is a mess. Its compounded by the fact that each result is now twice as long as it was a couple days ago. The lists of results are noisier then a deaf death metal band. Bad. I need to figure out how to turn this off... No luck so far. And yeah you can send email to Amazon here. I'm disappointed.

Posted by Abe at 08:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Abstract Experiment + philip sherburne

another brilliant music writer switched to Movable Type. We are proud to be hosting Philip Sherburne's newest blog. This one with pictures and hopefully to be filled with frequent posts. Enjoy my friends.

and yeah if you support what we're doing feel free to donate toward the webhosting bill. I'm feeling like an update in plan is needed soon. Just click the image below and give what you can, it goes straight to the hosting company without ever crossing my path...

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

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Design Critique Please

Beautiful readers, these are beta versions of a logo and site, any and all critiques are both welcome and desired, fire away if you will. Obviously more functionality is to come on the site.

And of course wonderful clients are very welcome...


oooh, and a secret too, keep those voices low, so I heard this is a site you can grab by the heart and lead around, give it a try its easy and fun...

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Quicksilver, Quick Review

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver?

A disappointment, but as disappointments go its damn entertaining. Makes a good history book. Pushes the boundries of Science Fiction. Not a novel, this is strictly genre my dear. Stephenson's artform is the plot and the words are some clunky means to the end. There are over 900 pages of those words, so focus on the plot, ok love? Its pretty fun and a hell of a lot more accessible then those Braudel books it takes so much from.

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October 22, 2003

Remember How Amazing that Abstract Dynamics Experience Was?

Once again our friends in the Ad business are fucking with our minds. Or trying to at least. Remember how manipulative those old advertising techniques were? Well now they are worse. Er, if they actually work of course.

Up now is "memory morphing", which apparently involves implanting false memories into "consumers" (you know you and me), through ad slogans. So if Oldsmobile puts out an ad saying "remember how great that first blow job in the back of an Olds was?" a whole handful of us will remember just that experience. Lets hope it wasn't all at the same time.

Sadly enougth this stuff probably works. Didn't half the country claim to have gone to Woodstock? And 0% of the country vote for Nixon? This time I'm starting early aight?

Remember how great it felt to vote against Bush in 2004? I thought so. Lets roll.

Oh and yeah read about it here: in the Independent

[via Jens Christoffersen @ No Sense of Place
who need to fix their archives]

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A New Military?

Whiskey Bar: Looking for a Better Body Count deconstructs the latest Rumsfeld follies and asks us is Donald Rumsfeld the new Robert McNamara?

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How visual simplicity can harm usability

How visual simplicity can harm usability, so true.

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October 21, 2003

To All My Wonderful Readers

You are all very beautiful and flawless readers, and I love you very much. Extremely intelligent too. However I'm not sure I'll actually be writing anything, is it too much to ask you to forgive me?

In the meantime one Mr. Clay Shirky has some interesting things to say about
restaurants, reviews and reviewers, please enjoy and come again soon.

All my love,

oooh, oooh, oooh, a ps bonus, new Banksy! new Banksy:BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Graffiti star sneaks work into Tate

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October 20, 2003

"Classic" Video Games + Today's Kids

on Handheld Football:

Brian: What's this supposed to be?

EGM: Football. It's one of the first great portable games.

Brian: I thought it was Run Away From the Dots.

on Tetris:

Tim: Which button do I press to make the blocks explode?

EGM: Sorry, they don't explode.

Becky: This is boring. Maybe if it had characters and stuff and different levels, it would be OK. If things blew up or something or—

Sheldon: If there were bombs.

Becky: Yeah, or special bricks. Like, if a yellow brick touched a red brick it would blow up and you'd have to start over.

John: Why haven't I won yet? I've paired up so many of the same color.

EGM: Don't worry about colors.

John: I just lined up six of the same color. Why didn't they blow up?

EGM: Nothing blows up.

Kids Play

[via the Noah Sachs Report]

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October 18, 2003


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The William A. Blaze Cold Weather Tactics

The days are getting colder and shorter in the northern hemisphere. (in other words its fall -ed.) That means its time for a lesson in the William Blaze psychological tactics for cold weather. I'm always pretty shocked at how many smart experienced people have not learned this simple technique, so listen close my friends.

Its really simple actually. All you need to do is make sure that you don't leave the house completely bundled up.

You need options to get warmer. If you blow them all before you leave the house, you are going to suffer. Don't put your hat on until you get outside and feel cold. Don't zip up for a while. Don't wear your scarf until a bitter blast of wind hits you. Etc, etc.

Its a simple tactic and it works because of one simple reason. Cold is a psychological state. Actually that's not 100% true, there is a certain point where the cold becomes a physical threat to a human, but that point is very rarely reached in urban areas south of Canada or Scandinavia. Also note that this is for moving humans, its an entirely different story if you are sleeping or sitting in the cold.

99% of the time though, the cold you experience is not going to hurt you. Its just a psychological state. And once you are feeling cold, its not going to go away until you do something to get warmer. So the tactic is obvious, always have options to get warmer.

So I'm walking out the door. I've got on several layers, all unzipped (well except that one you perv), I've got a hat, in my pocket (actually several, but one is wool), and I've got a scarf in my bag, or loosely over my shoulders. I step outside and try and embrace the cold. Occasionally it works, a crisp sunny winter day can greet you beautifully. Generally though I get slapped in the face by that fucking cold.

Time to get warm. Zip up a layer. Oh that feels nice and warm. Keep moving towards that destination. Damn that wind sucks, time for hat. Oh, its nice and warm now. Ride that warm as long as you can. Its all in your head. At least until the wind comes back around, screaming "it's cold" in your face. Zip up another layer, warm it up again. Repeat, repeat until you run out of options. You should be at your destitination before that happens anyways, you hot little thing.

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"Do You Have A Minute For Greenpeace"

The Greenpeace street soldiers have one of the most insidious selling tactics around. They swarm a neighborhood asking everyone "do you have a minute for Greenpeace?"

And what are you going to say, no? Its a hard call, your traditional instincts are thrown off, to just say no is like saying "no, I don't have even a minute for Greenpeace, because I'm scum who doesn't care for the environment". But if you say yes they are going to beg for money and take your time. Over and over again. They've been at it for a couple years now, I assume that means its quite effective.

Me, I've developed a rote response, a substitute for no. "Not at the moment", works like a charm. Of course I have a minute for Greenpeace. I used it to put a link at the top of this post. But I sure don't have that minute on the street, love.

Posted by Abe at 02:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 17, 2003

A Couple (Black) Soldiers a Day is OK...

Holy shit...

"You have to go where the target audience is," says Col. Thomas Nickerson, director of strategic outreach for the U.S. Army Accessions Command, who says that the Army just reached its recruitment goal of 100,200 enlistees this year. "Our research tells us that hip-hop and urban culture is a powerful influence in the lives of young Americans. We try to develop a bond with that audience. I want them to say, 'Hey, the Army was here -- the Army is cool!'"

Salon.com Life | The Army be thuggin' it

In other words, the Army's target market is young poor males. They are recruited with visions of pimping in a Hummer, then shipped off to Iraq where they become a different sort of "target market". And its ok if a couple of them die a day, cause they make great flypaper for terrorists. You know those people we are trying to trap in Iraq, the country that really doing better then the media tells us.

At least they are honest for once.

I think I'm going to be sick, have a great weekend everyone.

[via S/FJ]

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Linkage; O17 2003

Habitat Perspectives - latest bit of moblog hype. I say it looks nice and this stuff isn't going to change the world...

Social Software Mind Map.pdf (application/pdf Object) - maybe its useful, maybe its a mess. Probably both.

Silence of Solidarity (application/pdf Object) - Haven't finished it, but I will link to it.

Fernando Lagreca - Suave - Mellow, electronic, from Barcelona. Free MP3s!

blog.art nuff said.

Posted by Abe at 11:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Ok I have to admit I'm a bit relieved that the Cubs and Red Sox lost. Not that the all underdog series wouldn't have been amazing, it sure would have. Amazing timing too. A perfect bread and circus, two legendary teams neither of which has won the World Series in nearly a century going for the crown. A nation glued to Fox TV while the White House quietly implodes. It would have been the first time someone bought a baseball team for Bush...

But now everything is back to normal.

Er, I guess someone could probably get paranoid about that too. Can someone get these fools out of office so we can enjoy our sports again?

Posted by Abe at 01:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 16, 2003

Escape from Woomera

The Game is the ultimate piece of art, capable of incorporating all forms of art and expression known to humanity, expressed using all forms of technology, from the ancient to the bleeding edge, without compromising its identity as a game.

zero-game studio art

Now that's a touch extreme, but you can see where they are coming from, there is a lot of potency in video games.

Case to point the second political video game we've seen in as many weeks. Once again via Ashley Benigino's wonderful site.

You are a refugee, you've travelled ages across oceans for a better life. And now all that's left to do is ESCAPE FROM WOOMERA. Woomera being the place where the Australian government is keeping you prisoner. For you and me its a game, for many its a reality.

Why Escape From Woomera?

The videogame is the most rapidly evolving, exciting, subversive and feared cultural medium in the world today. It's akin to graffiti on the cultural landscape. As such it is ripe for an injection of interesting and progressive ideas that can effect social change. We are a team of game developers, digital artists and media professionals, committed to the videogame medium - not merely as a vehicle for conceptual new media art or profit-driven entertainment - but as a free, independent art form in its own right. The creation of Escape From Woomera is part of a larger goal: the rise of a counter-culture of developers and gamers who create and engage with game art outside the mainstream corporate industry.

Posted by Abe at 05:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Subversive Object

It should be mass reproducible and dirt cheap, 10¢ would be great, $1 ok.

It's a tiny speaker, very discreet.

It loops a special message over and over again.

You can't stop it until the batteries run out.

Maybe you can call it distributed broadcasting, or maybe its really shortcasting I don't know.

I want it, for er artistic purposes.

If its not feasible now it will be very soon.

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October 15, 2003


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Your Digital Vote...

The computerized voting scandal hits a mainstream paper. And it smells just as rotten as it did when only the fringe covered. Is this a real issue about to break into the big time? I think we'll find out in the next year my friends.

Posted by Abe at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 14, 2003

Aspen Mag

Aspen must have been the Visionaire of its day, except er... it was intelligent, you know with actual writing (by actual hippies no less). But yeah, it was a magazine in a box, with all sorts of goodies inside. Ubuweb has archived all 10 issues of the magazine extensively, enjoy the wander.


[via thingsmagazine.net: daily links, photos and new writing about objects]

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October 13, 2003

Correction: Bitpass Loves Paypal

According to senior Bitpass executives, the whole Bitpass Paypal drama reported here earlier was all a simple mistake. Everything has been corrected, Bitpass and Paypal play nicely together again, as they should. Please disregard any earlier remarks and remember I'm not a journalist I just pretend to be one on the interweb sometimes.

Original text, no longer valid is below. Please also note that Josh Ellis is actually a Bitpass contractor, not employee, a fact I was not aware of at the time.

----------- no longer valid ----------------------

Just got off the phone with Josh Ellis of Bitpass and its official, Paypal has shut down Bitpass' seller account on Saturday and has given them 7 days to prove their service is not in violation of the US Patriot act as reported originally on Waxy.org.

All indications are that this is an act of fear, Paypal is striking out at Bitpass in one of the few ways its can. This is anti competitive practice in a nasty way and is getting close to an anti trust violation. Money is a dirty business even when its digital my friends.

As for the actual threat to Bitpass' functionality, its not that large. Bitpass is not reliant on Paypal, they can function just fine with people using credit cards to fill their accounts. So its just a legal drama at the moment, lets see where it leads.

-------------end no longer valid text-------------------------

as you can see this lead nowhere, mistakes were made and mistakes where fixed. Go use Bitpass, ok?

Posted by Abe at 03:45 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Free Advertising

So is nikeground.com a clever hijacking of the Nike brand to make a critical and artistic point or is 0100101110101101.ORG a clever Nike marketing vehicle disguised as an arts organization? And does it really matter to Nike in the end?

Quite honestly I think it'd be more interesting if Nike was pranking the cultural jammers, then vice versa. Are these heads ever going to learn that free advertising is still free advertising no matter how clever the critique is?

So how much is that ad space on the American flag actually worth?


[via notes from somewhere bizzare: Pranking the brand: Nike Ground]

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October 12, 2003

Stupid Predictions Time: Dean v. Clark

Ok, here is the deal. I'm going to make some dumb predictions on the eventual Democratic nominee for president next year. If I some turn out to be right you give me lots of respect and props. If I turn out to be wrong, we just forget the whole thing. Sounds fair? Good, I love you all.

So baring any crazy twists and turns (note this is an escape hatch) I think its Clark vs. Dean for this presidential nomination. Which sort of makes it a traditional top down approach vs a new school bottom up emergent technique, although I'm sure Dean has plenty of top down in him. Doesn't matter Clark's top down is going to win it. He's got Gore's veteran team, without its two major flaws; Al Gore himself, and the need to distance
the campaign from Clinton. Good shit, note how quickly Clark was able to grab first tier status.

Now if this goes down the really interesting stuff comes if Dean rolls in second place with a healthy amount of delegates. And more importantly a very potent bottom up team. A team that isn't exactly going to be under control by Dean and his advisors. The Clark people might not want Dean involved in their campaign as VP or whatnot. But they will want his machine supporting Clark. Only problem is that Dean isn't building a political machine, he's growing a political organism. Its living and breathing on its own, and its big and dangerous. The Clark people will be scared shitless of it turning against them in the general election, and they don't exactly have any precedent to base their actions on. Its going to be interesting...

Dean is developing a whole new political model for the US. Should he win outright it will be the new way to wage a campaign, bottom up all the way. But somehow I doubt he's going to win it all, I just don't see his model scaling large enough. But if he does well enough to have major impact on the results, something he's pretty much done already, then a whole lot of interesting crossbreeding is about happen. I'm keeping my eyes open.

Its pretty damn hard for grassroots to grow up to the height of the trees, but it might just attract some animals that can significantly shift the ecosystem...

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Plame Gaming

Whiskey Bar: Latest on the Plame Game parses the latest info on America's little spy political scandal. This one is far from over kids. Nothing new, but a lot of clarification going on, looks like the original leaker (George Tenet head of the CIA?) is out to shear away all the various defenses the White House is using to cover over the crime.

One thing that struck me big time. If Tenet (or who ever this leaker is) wanted to he(or she) could just drop the full factual bomb into the media. Next Sunday's Washington Post might have a story with all the names and dates in it if the leaker wants it to. "Dick Cheney called Novak at 12:15 on July 13th" or whatever. In other words at least one side in this fight has a nice load of ammo left. The politicing continues, same as it ever was.

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October 11, 2003


I'm a touch worried the one of my favorite words, serendipity, is about to become a buzzword du jour. Perhaps it already has, oh well perhaps some good will come of it.

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Referenced for Future Reference: 5050 Ltd

5050 Ltd makes interesting technology + fashion thing things.

[via styleborg]

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Chicago Acid Trax

Don't call it a comeback. Chicago acid house is due in for a retrofit, no? 3 trax. For friend's archival use only of course. Limited time offer. Enjoy!

Pierre's Pfantasy Club Got the Bug
Mike Hitman Wilson Bango Acid
Lidell Townsell I'll Make You Dance

Posted by Abe at 09:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 10, 2003

Narrative Politics

Its always nice to see an idea you've been pushing for a while achieve some real coherence and media. Well sort of...

Anyway the Guardian give a phenomena I've been dancing around a proper name and explanation. Narrative Politics. This is important pay attention if you care who runs your government:

The key to the election of Governor Arnie is a phenomenon which might be called narrative politics. American electoral campaigns have tended to be driven by the theory of retail politics the candidate made as many speeches, shook the maximum number of hands, accrued the largest air-mile account as possible. Races were won by imprinting a face and a few simple policies through ceaseless repetition.

But, in recent American elections, the centrality of chapped hands and battered soles to a candidate's chances has been balanced against the quicker, simpler power of narrative politics. The victor was likely to be not the man who put in most hours but the one who told the most extraordinary story about himself.

Hence George W Bush - a notoriously indolent campaigner - was able to match the more assiduous Gore because his candidacy was a better yarn: a son following his dad into the Oval Office, a drunk sorting himself out, a child taking revenge on the administration that beat his father.

Previously, the election of the wrestler Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota was an extreme example of narrative politics - voters bored with the process waking themselves up with an unlikely plot twist - but even Clinton can be seen as a beneficiary of this electoral mentality. In 1992, the entry into the White House of a womanising, draft-dodging poor Southern boy whose father had died before he was born was simply a better story to tell history than the re-election of the patrician George Bush senior.

A rough rule of narrative politics is that the candidate whose life story makes the best Hollywood movie will win the race. Which is why Schwarzenegger represents the greatest triumph of the theory to date. In the past, narrative politics has had to be combined with retail politics: Clinton, like Reagan before him, had spent years shaking hands and practising legislation.

Schwarzenegger, who had done the retail part unknowingly in multiplexes over decades, relied during his campaign entirely on his narrative: his pitch. Beginning with the neatness that a man who had made a film called Total Recall should be competing in a recall election, his run for governor was such a bold and ridiculous tale that you kept thinking it needed a script editor.

There is a lot more too it though. Narrative politics is a big part of the reason Dean did so well this year, his story is more interesting. Its the reason so few Senators win presidential elections, a life in DC is about as boring a story as there is. Its the reason Wesley Clark is leading polls for Democratic Presidential nominee after being in the race for only seconds, he's got a better story then the rest of the fools.

Of course there is more to it. You need to appear trustworthy and competent. You need to at least have vague stands on push button images. But more then anything a good candidate needs to tell a story. A good one. One that people can tell their friends.

Their is a nasty flip side to it of course. A boring ass candidate can win by telling negative stories about the other candidate. If you can't be the hero, turn your opponent into a villain. Dirty politics, but that's how the game gets played.

So who is the hero of 2004? I'm listening, tell me some stories and maybe I'll tell my friends.

[digsby has more and provided the original link]

Posted by Abe at 04:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

They Asked Me All These Questions

And last year they didn't bother to print any of the answers. This year I'll just put them here.

Btw anyone know when all the magazines shifted to the Jewish calendar? They seem to think the new year starts in October...


Best Artist:
cause they seem to be the only ones going forward with this looking backward thing.

Best Album:
Outkast Speakerboxx/The Love Below
P-funk on one side, Prince on the other, 2003 ice cold pimping in a dirty south manner all the fuck over the place.

Best Album To Get Busy To
Beyonce Dangerously in Love to get to the bedroom
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever to Tell to take it to the morning light

Best Music Label:
Soulseek - cause they seem to have everyone, good prices too...

Best Live Event/Festival:
The Rapture live
Best Alternative to Dealing Drugs:
Selling CD-Rs of the Rapture album at their show seven (or more?) months before it finally hits the shops.

Best Club or Venue:
The Hole, cause it was a dirty nasty year.

Best Music Trend:
Disco Punk / Rock n Roll with that dancefloor production, cause it can be live raw and well produced all at the same time. At least if the DFA touch it.

Worst Music Trend:
Motherfuckers sounding like Rod Stewart and shit. Extra bullet holes if they look like him too.


Best Graphic Designer
Ryan McGinness cause he actually thinks, a lot.

Best Artist / Pimp / Con man
Miltos Manetas

Best T-shirt Line:
Fruit of the Loom, who else?

Best Media Item (book, movie, DVD):
Manuel DeLanda - Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy - because Delueze is dead but he's still smarter then the rest of us.

Best Video Game
September 12 [ http://www.newsgaming.com/newsgames.htm ] cause video games are powerful

Add your own Best of 2003:

Best Ecstasy Song that No One Realizes is an Ecstasy Song:
David Banner: Like a Pimp

Best Band Name:
Crack We Are Rock

Best way to capture the 80's revival in 5 inches and put it in your pocket:
Playgroup Party Mix

Best Funky Political Punk group everyone should have been listening to instead of the Gang of Four:
X-Ray Spex

Best Bootleg:
Beyonce 'In the Club'

Best Explanation of Why Electronic Music Sucked So Hard This Year:
Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music

Best Cultural Trend:
The Black Bloc, cause politics is hipper then music now and it should be.

Posted by Abe at 02:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I Love Me Some Angry Ass Jesus

Margaret Cho has a blog and of course its fucking brilliant.

The Roman Catholic Church is talking about how condoms don't block AIDS. I don't know what to say about that. And taking the vow of celibacy doesn't prevent pedophilia. What is wrong with them? If they oppose all forms of birth control, then when do we get to actually fuck? Or how do we get to fuck?


I am so angry, I don't want to just rip up a picture of the pope. I want to rip him a new asshole, wearing a condom, and I don't even have a dick, but this is the one time I wish I did. Fuck you John Paul whatever the fuck your fucking name is you fucking gold vestment tall ass hat wearing shit head. Why don't you just fucking die already? Doesn't God need a personal assistant? Fuck Fuck Fuck you. No seriously. Fuck you. You are not God's representative. God would not do that to people. God loves unconditionally. All are welcome in the true House of God. We need Angry Jesus to storm the Vatican right now, kicking out the money changers and the temple prostitutes and the child molesters. I love me some Angry Ass Jesus. Make your own loaves and fishes muthafucka! Get out of my Father's house!!!

Posted by Abe at 01:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 09, 2003

A Noose Tightens

White House to Overhaul Iraq and Afghan Missions

Was the headline on Monday. The story, Condi Rice is taking over responsibility for Iraq from Donald Rumsfeld and the Department of Defense. That sounds sort of major, no? It sure isn't getting coverage like its a big time story. Perhaps that has something to do with it coming out the day before the big California recall election? Perhaps the Bush administration timed it very deliberately?

I for one would like to know more. By all appearances Rumsfeld is deep in the presidents doghouse. But still with his job. That leaves very few people with power hanging around our dear leader. Are they circling the wagons? Or perhaps tightening the noose around their own neck?

There is more story here, lets not let it go forgotten, ok love?

Posted by Abe at 10:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Link In

Jim Moore has some very kind things to say about us. Thank you Jim!!! And a big welcome to all visitors from his fabulous site.

While on his site make sure you read this post. Its about the role of internet organization in politics and the Wesley Clark campaign specifically. Good stuff. I was actually planning on addressing it when I had more time. For now a quick note:

Its not about top down vs. bottom up, its about top down and bottom up working together.

More soon.

Posted by Abe at 10:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Link Out

The abstract experiment continues as I try do my small part in furthering the music weblog world by giving writers proper Movable Type sites. My motives are selfish, I want RSS feeds and all these music blogs are on blogspot... Beyond that though the theory is that communication tools like RSS will help this little part of the blogsphere grow to be healthy and strong. Hence the "experiment" bit.

In any case we are now proud hosts to two new music(ish) weblogs. Sasha Frere-Jones may well be the best music critic of the now, so get reading. And his friend Jessica Hopper seems pretty brilliant too. Its all there for your reading goodness.

And of course if you know of any people with real taste in music who need to be equipped with weblog, send them my way...

Posted by Abe at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Playing Political Games


go play this game, really. We need more like this. The power of video games to effect your world view has never been clearer.

newsgaming is the group, give them love.

[notes from somewhere bizzare]

Posted by Abe at 11:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Harlan Ellison on Gov Arnold

I thought, early on, that it was a great slate with Gary Coleman and Schwarzenegger both running: remember in MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, the behemoth called "Master Blaster" - this seven-foot-tall brain-damaged, muscle-bound giant, with the midget strapped to his shoulders? Wow, what a terrific Governor we'd have if we just cranked Gary Coleman down onto Ahnuld's shoulders!! As long as nobody blew a high-pitched dog whistle, we'd be in sweet milk an' honey.

[via Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things]

Posted by Abe at 11:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 08, 2003

DJ v. Blogger

Anne discovers iWire teasing us about his "bloggers are like DJs thesis", and I for one want to hear more.

Its actually a subject I've thought about a bit. Not to get too detailed, but both are excellent examples of "human filters". Both involve large amounts of sifting through the surpluses of western society in order to highlight their choices. The blogger focus on information, while the DJ on music, both of which there is far to much of for most people to have to time to find the best of on their own.

As information multiplies and the ability to produce recorded music increases the need for this filtering becomes more and more crucial. Instead of filtering all recordings we just filter all the djs (and music critics too) and rely upon those that filter to our taste. Same with blogs.

But there are also some very potent differences. Among the most interesting is the approach to time. A blogger and a DJ are in completely different spheres. Blogs and time is pretty simple, its a full on charge straight ahead. Newest first, and keep putting that new stuff first. No real beginning, no real end to it. The DJ on the other foot, is all rhythms and loops, repeat, rewind, rebuild and redefine. A blog filters a post once and then runs along to the next little blip. The DJ might filter a record into every set. A breakbeat, grunt or snare, might get repeated for ever, shifting slightly with each reiteration, occasionally exploding across a million records like G.C. Colmen's "Amen Brother".

The DJ and time are perhaps in a deep love/hate relationship, the DJ a slave to time, she has perhaps an hour or two allocated to spin those records. But if they are spun right time, the master, disappears completely. All that is left is a moment, a moment on the dancefloor, a moment in the club. A moment that might last forever, as the universe collapses inward on each dancer.

And now time tells the blogger, get your ass back to work... To be continued, perhaps by me perhaps by another filter...

Posted by Abe at 10:49 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Pitaru: sonicWireSculptor

When I ran into Amit Pitaru a few weeks back at the Phunk Studio opening, he mentioned that he had a new project he was finishing up. As usual Amit is exploring the relationship between drawing and sound in highly innovative ways. This time its built in Java. sonicWireSculptor is up now, enjoy.

If you can't get the Java running, or just want to see more, make sure you dig around Amit's site for older work, including his collabs with James Patterson.

The picture below is from me playing with the whip tool, believe me the results are better when Amit uses it.


[thanks due tomoockblog for pointing out that is was up!]

Posted by Abe at 05:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Some Things Never Die

The trailer for Tupac Resurrection is up and its hot. Shit, if he's still alive he best get visible again and run for president... could have used him in that Cali recall race. Speaking of which the antic muse puts in some good last words. Except of course its far from over...

[Tupac news via Move the Crowd]

Posted by Abe at 12:37 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Blogging for Dollars

Weblogs, Inc. is the latest attempt to make cash off weblogs. This one's got renowned booster/asshole Jason Calacanis on board. The focus is niche industry blogs and I wouldn't be surprised if they become one of the first companies to really make cash in this space.

One flaw popping at me though. No RSS. Now I can understand why a business wouldn't want to use RSS, it lets people read the site without actually visiting it. And in targeted niches a blog might be able to reach 99% of its target audience without RSS. Might. And for something like Calacanis' personal blog, his readership will suffer. Personally I'd read it if it was in my RSS feeds. But that feed does not seem to exist...

Posted by Abe at 11:34 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Conal on Arnold

A little dark of an image for my site at the moment, but ace political poster artist Robbie Conal has a new Arnold poster.

[via Mercurial]

Posted by Abe at 10:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

California Tearing

To all my fabulous Californian friends,

I heard about what happened last night, and I'm writing you to express my deepest condolences. Don't worry, I forgive you. These are troubled times and we all make mistakes. This recall thing is a funny drug, no? I hear they might get another shipment in the spring. Fear not, I won't tell on you.

Lets look on the bright side ok? The inaugural orgy should be a blast! A couple girls I know in Austin are already planning a trip, but you didn't hear that from me...

Remember, its going to be ok.

All my love.

Posted by Abe at 09:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 07, 2003


Still trying to figure out what I make of this statement for the Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2004 conference.

In light of these uncertain and violent times, cultural studies scholars have a moral obligation to police this crisis, to speak to the death of people, culture and truth, and to undo the official pedagogies that circulate in the media. We must seek non-violent regimes of truth that honor culture, universal human rights, and the sacred. We must seek critical methodologies that protest, resist and help us represent and imagine radically free utopian spaces.

And so, too, must this Crossroads Conference—this international gathering of voices—seek a new politics of resistance and truth, a politics of opposition, a world-wide joining of hands in the "globalization of dissent" (Roy, 2001, p.33). "A new day has dawned, to be met by a humankind's refusal to allow men to any longer make and wage war in the name of vainglory, profit and corrupt political ideologies" (Sontag, 2003, p. 3).

It is up to the poets, writers, artists, and scholars in cultural studies to make sense of what is happening.

There is a lot I agree with, to an extent, in those words. I'm all for "non-violent regimes of truth that honor culture, universal human rights, and the sacred" of course? But there is an odd tension to it all and some dark philosophies seemingly underlying it all. "Speak to the death" what a strange phrase.

Refusal, opposition, dissent, there is a negativity pulsing through it, occasionally offset with bursts of visions of a better world. But where is the "how"? How does seeking "critical methodologies that protest (and) resist" "help us represent and imagine radically free utopian spaces". Could it be that two halfs of the same statement are actually in opposition to each other? Where along a path of resistance, protest and opposition, does the construction or emergence of something better begin?

Posted by Abe at 08:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack



To all my beautiful friends in California,

Today is a special day, and I hope you don't mind if I ask you to do a small favor for me. Somewhere in your sunny state are these small dark holes known as polling places. Could you possibly find the time to visit one for me? You can look at it like an exciting trip to the seedier side of life, sort of like Tijuana, only closer to your house. Once you get there please vote NO on this recall thing, will you? I know you like drama out there but really it works better on the studio lot then in the governor's mansion. After that vote then maybe check off this Bustamonte dude's name on the ballot. He's a bit of a sleazy politician I know, but it'd be pretty cool to have a Mexican governor, yes? And if you don't vote for him, this rapist dude is going to win and raise your electric bills again, not cool.

So yeah, can you do this one for me, I'd appreciate it. New York is a blast, but I hope to be out your way sometime soon. Hope this mess is all cleaned up you know.

All my love,

Posted by Abe at 10:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 06, 2003

- ---


Posted by Abe at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Brands of Russian Prisons


Russian Prison Tattoos

It is not known when tattooing first became a common practice in Russian prisons and Stalinist Gulags. Soviet researchers first discovered and studied this underground activity in the 1920s; photographs of prisoners from that period suggest an already elaborate and highly developed subculture. More than simple decoration, the images symbolically proclaim the wearer's background and rank within the complex social system of the jailed.

[via notes from somewhere bizzare]

Posted by Abe at 02:14 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Comparative Border Crossings

tobias c. van Veen clued me in to the ACLA 2004 Conference, with some pretty interesting looking panels:

  • Global networks after de Landa’s A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History and Negri’s Empire
  • Global Dandyism
  • Geo-philosophy: Transversals and Passages via Deleuze and Guattari
  • Global Terrorism and Cultural Representation
  • Memory and the City

So that parts good. Then the scary bit. ACLA stands for the "American Comparative Literature Association". I don't know about you but that makes me think of frail academics engaging in a gradual process of forgetting that the world outside of the library actually exists... I didn't catch much reference to policy, economics or any sort of active attempt to alter conditions at all really in the proposals. Must be nice not to be a realist...

update: Anne Galloway brings notice of another potentially interesting conference, this one a bit more politicized, with something of a dark voice.

Posted by Abe at 10:47 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 05, 2003



Posted by Abe at 10:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Stamen Design got a new site and its tasty. Take some Designer's Republic, a little Yugo Nakamura, mix it into a base of usable Flash content management and add a lot of home grown drawings and photography and maybe you sort of have a sense. Make sure to sample this client work too.


Posted by Abe at 09:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Truth in Advertising

TruthInAd.mov (video/quicktime Object)

This video has been circulating for years and its still one of the funniest things on the interweb. I dig it up a few times a year. This time I archive it for you.

all my best

Posted by Abe at 07:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Dietch Projects overflowed itself once again, with and Yoko Ono openings on the same night at the two Soho spaces. Perfect opportunity to run into old friends...

Actually between the crowds was some decent art. Ono pretty much followed a two part formula. 1- if you can't make it good, make it big. 2- pimp John Lennon's shit until she dies. Really it was better then it sounds. "Imagine Peace was the theme, the photos where absolutely enormous, impressive solely on their size, but impressive none the less. The human size animal traps would have been cooler if they actually worked. The blood and rag covered refugee camp was truly disturbing. No idea what the giant shoes where doing in there... Not exactly coherent, but yeah its not as bas as it sounds.

McGinness is more interesting though, walking the graphic design/art border tighter then anyone. As an artist? Well his stuff looks good. Really nice silkscreens, they'd match a lot of couches. Aesthetically its all good. But should they be limited editions or one offs just to up their retail value? If that's what it takes to get paid, sure I guess. But damn why not reproduce? I'm all for artists getting paid big dollars, but the artificial scarcity bit still turns me off. Plus McGinness is a way smarter designer then artist, the creativity shines a lot brighter inside the books.


Posted by Abe at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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Day 76: "I want to know the truth."

from :Brian Flemming's Weblog: 76 Days

That's the good Mr. Bush's sequence of action after a top White House official apparently committed a felony and blew the cover of an undercover CIA agent in a nasty political maneuver. Great to see such a decisive former CEO in the White House.

[via Whiskey Bar: Manhunt]

Posted by Abe at 03:57 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 04, 2003

Ice Cold Music

Ran into some magazine friends on the way to coffee, doing their little man on the street segment. One of the questions: what is your favorite album of 2003?

Er, um, yeah, um...

damn I actually ended up saying Outkast. Are things really like that? Don't get me wrong, the album is hot. But underneath all the dirty south heat and fuzz its also so... ice cold. I can't shake this feeling that Andre isn't really flying the freak flag high, he's just acting the part. And he's not quite sure if he want's to play Prince or play Iceberg Slim. Compared to this live D'angelo bootleg looked in my Winamp he's just faking the funk, and doing a damn good job. I'll take it for now, but damn...

What else is there, 50 Cent? too thug. Beyonce? too much filler and the two of her best songs are albumless bootlegs (the In the Club cover and Ghostface's Summertime). White Stripes? too much of the same thing. The Rapture? probably not going to actually come out till 2007, really should have followed their tour selling CD-Rs. Manu Chao? Same live set that's been on bootlegs for 2 years now. Sure one of the Swisha House CD's captures the skrewed and crunk perfectly, but there are too many to deal with... And no, I will not mention any of that wannabe hip hop out of east London. But Playgroup's Partymix captured the year's zeitgeist best, with a bunch of semi-obscure eightie's dance tracks...

3 months left...

Posted by Abe at 06:22 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 03, 2003

Google = Evil?

I've had some concerns about Google for a while now, plus one bad experience with them. Now its starting to look like the concerns are real and the bad experience not exactly unique. Not cool. Google seems to rapidly getting less human, more profit motivated and more powerful. Lets hope the competition can step up quick. An open source non profit search engine would be ideal. Actually having a couple competing non profit search engines would be ideal...

Posted by Abe at 05:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Michael Wesely


the photos of Michael Wesely. Some excellent work, hidden inside some of the worst navigation I've ever encountered online.

[via Conscientious: Michael Wesely]

Posted by Abe at 05:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Posted by Abe at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2003

The End of Open?

Clay Shirky has some unusually dark thoughts on the future of openness:

I also have the same pit in my stomach about email in 2003 that I did in 1997 about usenet. I loved usenet as well, too literally and too well — in the early 90’s, I poured two years of my life into that sink. But by 1997, I could see that the twin pressures plaguing usenet — volume and spam — had no easy solution. That’s how I feel now about email, and what makes it worse is that its starting to be how I feel about openess.


And the thing that makes me sickest is that I may already have lived to see the high water mark of openess in my lifetime. Email’s loss (and in some ways its already happened, so enormous is its current debasement) is both tragic in and of itself, and possibly a warning about the future.

Now I'm certainly not going to argue that he's definitely wrong, unfortunately there are very real risks to the future of open systems. But at the same time I think he's not giving openness enough credit. In essence he's saying that the problems of spammers, free riders and shear volume are going to outstrip our ability to counter these issues within open systems. Here are a few reasons I hope this isn't going to be true:

  • Not all open systems are automatically at risk to these threats. How do you spam my RSS feeds for example. Open systems can be coded to narrow the volume of information, not increase it.
  • As more and more systems fall to these vulnerabilities, more and more effort will be placed in creating solutions. Better spam filters for instance. Imagine a spam filter that ranks your incoming mail by where someone is in your social network. Friends obviously shoot right through to your inbox, as do people fully interwoven in your personal network (ie they are friends with 4 of your friends). Those on periphery of your network or not in it at all get additional scrutiny, perhaps they get crossed referenced with people that appear in your RSS feeds or to directories of company's reputations.
  • The proliferation of human filters. This is key, as the shear volume of information increases there is tremendous value placed in filtering and sorting information. This creates a valuable market niche that people are rushing to fill. DJs filter the massive amount of recorded music. Bloggers filter their niches, while services like the Lycos 50 filter popular culture. In many sense the internet functions like a city with information industry ala Jane Jacobs The Economy of Cities. Specialization begets more specialization, creating a rich meshwork economy.

Guess we'll be finding out soon. I'm certainly not writing off email yet, although I'll certainly admit its getting more and more of a chore and less and less of a pleasure. Ultimately I think we'll have something much better and I have hope it will be an open system.

Posted by Abe at 10:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Move On the Plame Affair

MoveOn.org: Investigate the White House

yes MoveOn sends me too many emails, but this one seems pretty worth it. A criminal act was committed when the wife of Gulf War 1 hero Joseph Wilson identity as an undercover CIA operative was leaked. The White House has already stonewalled the investigation for two months. Time for an independent investigation.

Posted by Abe at 12:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Un Animation Du TechnoHouse Musique


In July 1993 I took a Techno Sound-system to West Africa and made a documentary.

dammmmnnnnn! read the whole jammy, you hear?

The film is available too, although it seems to be served off some 56k line or something. Can't wait to peep.


Posted by Abe at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slime and Defend

"It's slime and defend," said one Republican aide on Capitol Hill, describing the White House's effort to raise questions about Mr. Wilson's motivations and its simultaneous effort to shore up support in the Republican ranks.

"So far so good," the aide said. "There's nervousness on the part of the party leadership, but no defections in the sense of calling for an independent counsel."

- White House Looks to Manage Fallout Over C.I.A. Leak Inquiry

no comment...

Posted by Abe at 10:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 01, 2003

Abercrombie & Zizek


I keep meaning to write a little about the Slavoj Zizek issue of A&F Quarterly, but I keep forgetting as I don't own a copy of the issue, nor can I find any good images online. A&F Quarterly is a magazine cum catalog that has turned Abercrobie & Fitch into one of America's top clothing retailers for teenagers. It's known for masterfully pushing sex and homoerotism to the precise point where it outrages parents and excites kids while still being acceptable corporate behavior. All (or most at least) of the photos are by Herb Ritts, 80's master of the underwear ad.

The latest issue adds a twist, all the copy in the massive photo spread that takes up half the large magazine, is written by philosopher Slavoj Zizek. And it reveals one thing, Zizek's work is a far better copywriter then philosopher...

Ok that's unfair. I never managed to read any sizable amount of Zizek's work, although I've tried quite a few times. Put fcuk he sure is a good copywriter. And his philosophy often reads more like ads for his mind then actual thinking.

Got to stop talking shit, someday I'll read him properly...

Posted by Abe at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Joseph Wilson Gulf War Hero

I'm think we need start addressing Joseph Wilson properly, people seem to be getting the wrong ideas. From here on in I'll be referring to him as "Joseph Wilson, Gulf War hero" or "Joseph Wilson the hero of the first Gulf War" The evidence:

...Wilson was one of the key players. As the acting US ambassador on the ground in Baghdad in the weeks leading up to the war, the White House consulted Wilson daily. In those weeks, he was the only open line of communication between Washington and Saddam Hussein... Furthermore, Wilson was formally commended by the Bush administration for his bravery and heroism in the weeks leading up to the war. In that time, Wilson helped evacuate thousands of foreigners from Kuwait, negotiated the release of more than 120 American hostages and sheltered nearly 800 Americans in the embassy compound.

"Your courageous leadership during this period of great danger for American interests and American citizens has my admiration and respect. I salute, too, your skillful conduct of our tense dealings with the government of Iraq," President Bush wrote Wilson in a letter. "The courage and tenacity you have exhibited throughout this ordeal prove that you are the right person for the job."

- Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill: Does a Felon Rove the White House?

[link via The Right Christians]

Posted by Abe at 07:42 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

19th Century Chess in DC

Talking Points Memo has an interview with Wesley Clark. Guess Clark sees the Bushco as a 19th Century flashback of sorts as well:

CLARK: But, in the odd kind of geopolitical chess board game this administration seemed to want to play, they seemed to assume that you could get your forces into Iraq, and, like a game of checkers, you could skip across the Middle East--plop, plop, plop--as though in some metaphysical sense, it was easier to come ashore up through the Euphrates and Tigris valleys into the heart of the Middle East and southwest Asia, and then cross into the mountains of Iraq--excuse me, of Iran--or pivot and go towards Syria. It was analytically, geometrically satisfying, even though those of us who understood the situation at the time said it made little sense. It was old-think. It was 19th century geostrategy--

TPM: So, the Great Game? A sort of a new version of the Great Game?

CLARK: It was the Great Game with modern equipment, and hypermodern risks. And, in reality, the problems with Osama bin Laden were not problems of states. They were problems of a supranational organization which alighted in states, used states, manipulated elements of states, but wasn't going to be contained and destroyed by attacking and replacing governments.

Posted by Abe at 03:04 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack