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I'm going out on a limb and saying that NYAFF is the best film festival you can see in New York City.

Why is that, you may ask? Well, I will cite the following:

Read more... )
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No Piggery pork share this week, but the Paisley Farms share was a true haul - I got a basil plant!! What CSA actually gives you a living plant, I ask you?? An awesome one.

So in addition to this excellent basil plant (which smells very much of anise/licorice) I also received: a bag of red beans, my Omega 3 eggs, more/bigger rapini, a head of what looked like butter lettuce, red leaf lettuce, kale, miscellaneous turnips and radishes, more red mezclun, and some bok choi.

I plan to take some of those bacon ends from last week (which I dumped in the freezer for future use) and braise the kale and last week's chard together with them and a bit of vegetable stock. Salads of various combos of the greens will also be happening. I'm also going to take the turnip/radish greens and see if I can make soup with them. I'll probably also do a repeat of the sausage and rapini, but this time cook the rapini a bit more successfully. Not sure what my plans for the bok choi are... maybe try and make a little stir fry with them? I'll probably also roast some of those root veggies, though I've been slicing up radishes to put in salads.

That's all for now - tune back in next week to see what kinds of coolness comes in the next Piggery shipment! I sense that sausages will be in my future...
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This year I re-joined Paisley Farms CSA, and signed up for The Piggery CSA. I'm getting veg, fruit, and omega 3 egg shares from Paisley picked up on a weekly basis, and a "quarter hog" share from The Piggery every two weeks. For an average weekly cost of about $57, I'm getting all kinds of amazing stuff; here's a report of week one and what I'm doing with it.

My first week of Paisley included the following: turnips, radishes, soy beans, rapini, green leaf lettuce, red mesclun, romaine, chard. Piggery sent me some bacon ends, a quart of pulled pork, a half pound or so of mortadella, and a hunk of pate. I had friends over for dinner Thursday night and made salad with radishes and grape tomatoes, sausage and sauteed rapini, and a big bean salad with soybeans and other beans from my Winter share. I kind of went overboard with the beans, I keep forgetting that a few beans go a long way. And I definitely could have done a little better with the rapini - I blanched it at first, and that worked out okay in terms of cooking the leafy parts, but what I should have done was take those off and then keep cooking the stems more; some of them were a bit too stick-like, I think further chopping/blanching/saute of the stems would have worked better, and the leaves would have stayed greener. Anyway, the salad turned out great! Salad is pretty easy, and the natural flavor of the radishes was really fresh and earthy.

I didn't serve any of the Piggery food at dinner, but I've been eating and enjoying the heck out of it. The pulled pork is very tasty, a spicy, hearty mix of meat and sauce. The mortadella is smoother and creamier than any other deli meat I've had, and the pate is tasty as all get out.

I'm very much looking forward to next week's haul - no pork next week, but that's okay; I don't think I could possibly eat more than what I've got. I'm glad it's every other week!
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I'm very disappointed by the ongoing exclusivity between Apple and AT&T. The new iPhone looks like it's going to be a fantastic piece of equipment, with the addition of another camera and flash, gyroscope, high resolution display, and built-in antennas to improve reception, Apple is following their formula of creating a device with great hardware improvements, and it's compelling to own one of these new machines. Unfortunately, I simply cannot go on using AT&T's service any longer. I have owned an iPhone for two years, and in that time I have never been able to place a call without it dropping the connection. Never.

The current state of affairs is unacceptable. As a result, I'm not going to upgrade my phone - I won't buy an iPhone 4 until it has been successfully jailbroken and unlocked. And I plan to cancel my AT&T contract, pay the termination fee (which is about another month worth of service) and use another service that will undoubtedly not overcharge me for ridiculously poor service. Monopolies are anti-capitalist! When the new iPhone is successfully freed, I'll sell my current iPhone jailbroken and unlocked, and that should cover most of the cost of a non-contract iPhone 4.

At this point, it's likely that AT&T exclusivity really will continue until 2012. I see no reason why I should stand for this arrangement, which literally amounts of racketeering.
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Sorry folks, but religious fantasy does not equal science fiction. Ever.

If you haven't seen the end of LOST yet, you don't care enough about the show to care about spoilers, so, here goes:

The Hydrogen Bomb goes off. Daniel Faraday's plan succeeds, even though he dies, and he knows this because he's a mega-genius, right? He clearly had a plan and knew what he was doing. But how does he succeed?

Because another universe is created by the convergence of energies at the explosion - a "big bang" so to speak. In this new universe, the island has sunk because the arcane energies keeping it afloat and outside of space and time have been spent. Faraday knows this is what's going to happen - but he also knows that consciousness can transcend space and time, as that was the heart of his research. So his plan is that his consciousness, and everyone else's who was ever trapped on the island, will be transferred into the new universe.

Once the bomb has gone off, the Monster has already lost the game and he/it doesn't even know it - because the universe only has room for one timeline, and the previous universe is now a temporal anomaly and will slowly decay into non-existence. As people die in the Lost universe, they "wake up" with all their memories in the new universe. Except, of course, for Jacob and the Monster, because THEY NEVER EXISTED OUTSIDE OF THE ISLAND. Hence, the monster loses, and Jacob's endgame is to make neither of them ever exist. This is why babies generally cannot be born on the island, because the universe doesn't like paradoxes.

The whole last episode could have been this fantastic climax of destruction and apocalypse, with EVERYONE dying, except Desmond (who survives right up until the finish and who has the ability to cross between universes because of his exposure to the EM pulse) and he gets to explain exactly what happened to the Monster and why he's doomed to non-existence (Desmond secretly gets the explanation from Faraday in the new universe). The Monster, after having killed everybody and thinking he has succeeded, screams "Noooooo!!!!" as the old universe crumbles into oblivion. Faraday gets to explain everything to all the Losties who gather together at the concert, and now get to live the rest of their lives thanks to the proper application of science!

See how frigging easy that was? No god, no purgatory, no baloney, no cop out. You could even say that the "ghosts" on the island were just alternate universe echoes of people's stray consciousness skipping through time and space because the island was a nexus of time and space.

The writers were LAZY, and religious fantasy is NOT a substitute for actual science fiction. The end.
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Try to imagine my surprise when, upon receiving my "free leather wallet" for signing up for a premium account on Ars Technica, I found several cards inside the $29.00 value object reading "Christ Rules" in Greek script.

Is it Ars Technica's policy to back proselytizing religious organizations? Does Ars Technica care at all about its non-Christian readership? Jews, Muslims, pagans, atheists, Buddhists... the list can go on and on. Why on Earth would a news organization about science and technology want to back a non-secular commercial enterprise?

After finding the crypto-religious message, I immediately threw the wallet into the trash. I'm sick and tired of "well meaning" religio-fascists imposing their standards and values on me. You might as well have put an anti-choice advertisement with sad people and a fetus inside the package yourselves, because your money is undoubtedly ultimately backing the Christian Right's agenda. Yes, I'm sure some child in Rwanda is getting into an orphanage, and I'm equally sure the missionaries will tell that child that Jesus' love made it possible.

What a horrible, awful mistake you've made. I hope your editorial and business staff are capable of making more conscious choices in the future.
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Some of you know that I've been hitting the dating scene pretty hard the last couple months. Recently it seems like things have accelerated a bit; right after Valentine's Day this year, my profile on OKCupid started getting a LOT more attention. I'm generally blaming V-day for this phenomenon, even though I did make a few minor tweaks to my profile - if it was only the tweaks (some different photos and a few more daring words), the difference in attention is just astounding. We're basically talking about an order of magnitude in difference.

All of which brings me to the topic of this post: my opinion of all the classes and books and what-not that are being sold to teach people how to make their dating lives infinitely more complicated. Now I won't try to deny the power of psychology and manipulation. People who are really good at tweaking the perceptions of others succeed very well at getting people to go on dates with them, and even get into bed with them. All that is awesome, I say go ahead and go get what you want. But as for me, I'm not the kind of person who can have sex with just anybody; so there's no point in just going out and trying to get any random woman into bed with me. I don't enjoy that at all, that kind of thing just feels totally empty and unfulfilling.

I am actually terrible at doing manipulative stuff like this. I couldn't tell a lie to save my life. I frequently get manipulated by others. And I wouldn't succeed at manipulating someone who WANTED me to tell them what to do. And yes, I realize that there are people out there who market their techniques as responsible and good-natured, but when you get right down to it, all they're really teaching people to do is how to be coy and deceptive about their actual motivations and feelings. Some people call this "the chase" and quite a few people actually enjoy this back and forth game playing stuff. And there are many folks who actually say that this is the heart of dating itself, that this is exclusively what dating and courtship is all about!

My response to this is BULLSHIT. And my evidence to prove that it's bullshit, that everything that all these people have to sell you is a huge crock, is very simply this:

When you meet someone and you have chemistry with that person, everything goes completely out the fucking window.

When real chemistry kicks in, you stop caring about your requirements; it doesn't matter that the person is hairy, or blonde, or has green eyes or drives a Porsche. You ignore the rules you set down for yourself, you call the person whenever the hell you want, you just do ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO to spend time with that person that drives you crazy. A lot of the techniques people sell try to simulate chemistry, and fool people into thinking they have it with you; but inevitably that kind of thing runs out of steam, because you just can't fake the real thing, and then one or the other people involved just breaks things off and you move on.

The bottom line is that if you have no actual chemistry with a person, all the PUA and NLP and blah blah blah in the world isn't going to create actual love. It's not even going to create a fun dating situation. I suppose if all you care about is non-emotional, non-attached dating/sex, chemistry doesn't factor in at all and you'd have a vested interest in continuing to play with games and rules, and you probably would also get an equal amount of satisfaction out of using cucumbers and cutting holes in ripe melons.

Unfortunately, it's really hard to find real chemistry. It's an exceedingly rare thing. Plenty of people go through their entire dating lives and never encounter it, and all they ever experience is how it gets simulated with "the chase". It's no wonder people think that the games are all there is! Because not only is it hard to find chemistry, it's even harder to find mutual chemistry. Unrequited passion happens all the time, and people get rejected and they think "If only I had said the right thing, or done the right thing at the right time." But no, that's not how it works. You can't make somebody feel that spark with your deeds or words. It only comes if it's meant to be there, and no one, not even the people who feel it, have any control over it. All this pick up line crap and rule junk is just plain old hubris. Getting somebody interested in you via artificial means is not the path to real chemistry.

My dating handbook would be extremely simple: Go on dates. If there's mutual chemistry, keep dating; if not, move on ASAP. There's no reason to complicate things, or for anyone to feel bad about chemistry not happening. Real chemistry doesn't happen 9 times out of 10, maybe even 99 times out of 100! It's just not a big deal - it's only going out on a date for pity's sake. There's no reason to classify people's personalities or analyze their childhoods or past relationships, or come up with excuses as to why you can't see them again. If it's not there, it's not there, move on!! No need to unload your baggage or pick more up. No drama necessary.

As for the chapter in my dating handbook on how to deal with unrequited chemistry... um... yeah. Those pages would actually just be a bunch of blotchy tear-soaked ink stains and bad poetry. I have no fucking clue how to work that shit out, I doubt I ever will.

But I think that I am very lucky in that I have felt real chemistry, mutual and unrequited, several times in my life. I'm even starting to think that the reason I've gotten to experience it is because I lack the ability to hide my emotions and intentions. By making myself vulnerable and wearing my heart on my sleeve, I've managed to get involved with some amazing people who have changed my life, and as a result I know exactly what it is I'm looking for.

I hope I find it again soon. (And hopefully it will be the mutual kind)
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I'm really starting to wonder about this "NoSQL movement". Everything I've read so far seems to have a severe case of tunnel vision - the only database anyone mentions in these NoSQL articles is MySQL, and they discuss how they have all these issues scaling it... and gee, it really sucks that you can't easily make schema changes all the time when you're running in production, or add indexes, or what have you.

Well kids, I hate to say it but:

a) Spend a little more time on your database designs. The more you think out your design, the fewer changes you'll need to make later.
b) Figure out how to actually make a RELATIONAL database, use primary keys, try to actually take advantage of all the features of the system.
c) Learn when to normalize and denormalize your tables.
d) You probably don't need to go to the database every single time your user makes a request, so try and be a tiny bit more clever about caching and database connections.
e) Oh, and last but not least... use a database that CAN SCALE, like Oracle or SQL Server. Yeah, I know, they cost money, but guess what? You get what you pay for. All the Fortune 50 are using Oracle and SQL Server in production, and they don't complain about how it's not scaling.

None of these issues seems to be a particularly good rationale for abandoning the RDBMS / ACID paradigm. I guarantee that nine times out of ten developers who complain about the limitations of RDBMS could solve all of their problems by following any of the advice above, and the NoSQL technologies will only matter for extremely specialized cases. Look at what you sacrifice when you go this route:

"No schemas: NoSQL databases lack SQL's pre-defined table schemas, which makes changing data models simpler, but also offers no protection against invalid or outdated values in records." Are you high?

"No, or limited, data joins: generally speaking there are no built-in methods for chaining requests together in the style of SQL joins. Data denormalization must happen at the application layer." Man, sucks to be an end user! Oh, and how does it "solve" the problem if you're just moving the work from one layer to another?

"Restricted query interfaces: SQL is a mature and powerful query language, and the APIs available for NoSQL systems are not always as flexible. But, there are new capabilities here as well, such as CouchDB's flexible map-reduced based views." Wow, who cares? I'd like to be able to do a GROUP BY and not be worried that it's not implemented properly

I really don't see it. I mean, what problem are these guys solving, really? They're trying to create this whole new way of handling data that isn't robust, instead of using tools that actually work, just because they cost money? That's fine if you're a billion dollar company like Google or Amazon, who probably don't actually care whether or not their NoSQL projects succeed, but why spend all this time and money chasing a solution that will probably take decades of development and tuning?
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"Digital computers are examples of large and versatile electronic devices which can be used for generating complex timed patterns of movements. The basic component of a modern electronic machine like a computer is the semiconductor, or which a familiar form is the transistor.

Survival machines seem to have bypassed the cam and the punched card altogether. The apparatus they use for timing their movements has more in common with an electronic computer, although it is strictly different in fundamental operation. The basic unit of biological computers, the nerve cell or neurone, is really nothing like a transistor in its internal workings. Certainly the code in which neurones communicate with each other seems to be a little bit like the pulse codes of digital computers, but the individual neurone is a much more sophisticated data-processing unit than the transistor. Instead of just three connections with other components, a single neurone may have tens of thousands. The neurone is slower than the transistor, but it has gone much further in the direction of miniaturization, a trend which has dominated the electronics industry over the past two decades. This is brought home by the fact that there are some ten thousand million neurones in the human brain: you could pack only a few hundred transistors into a skull." --Richard Dawkins
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Only Apple can implement this feature, because it would involve a background process running on the iPhone to continuously check the time and then launch the processes; but I want a "macros" feature where the device would "replay" a series of touches I make on it at scheduled intervals.

In other words: I launch a Macro app, press the "record" option, and then a little blue bar appears at the top of the screen (like when I'm making a phone call) and says "Touch here to finish recording macro". It then makes a history of whatever app(s) I'm touching and where on the screen I'm touching. I stop the macro, then set it to replay at certain times - hourly, daily, weekly, and so on.

It would be an enormously valuable piece of automation - imagine using it to take stop motion pictures, send email notifications, or play a certain song at certain times... it would reduce using apps to the level of repeatable, atomic actions and allow people to be even more productive. They would just need to tie it into the native timer used by iPhone OS.

There's no reason why Apple couldn't implement something like this by their next OS release.

(This post was motivated by a desire to replace my clock radio by using an alarm on the iPhone to launch the NPR app and listen to the live stream of WNYC)
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No handwriting/gesture recognition or pen computing. No cameras. No haptic feedback. No voice control demonstrated, though I can't see why they'd remove that. 3G only on more expensive models, and no announcement of carriers other than AT&T though the devices aren't locked so one presumes other carriers will support it.

Saying that the iPad is "between" smartphone and laptop is disingenuous. It's actually below both of these, because it's a step backwards in user interaction and device communication. You can't use the iPad for augmented reality the way you can an iPhone or iPod touch. And why isn't there any interaction between the iPhone and the iPad? Why not forget 3G with the thing entirely and let me tether my iPhone to it? Where is the much vaunted ecosystem - why isn't there a role for iPhone/iPod to play with the iPad? You still really need to own a computer of some sort with a USB port and iTunes on it so you can sync the iPad to it, so it's not like the iPad eliminates the need to own a computer.

The iPad is basically a competitor to the Kindle and the Nintendo DSi, and it's a way to lock down content further using specialized hardware. A simpler mobile device, aimed at a market that wants as little to do with computers as possible. Really the only "innovation" here was using the larger screen size to reintroduce features into core apps and put a prettier face on them. Having more screen real estate means being able to do more with iPhone OS widgets and such, but that's about all that changed. I really, really hope that they port these core application interface changes back to Mac OS - it will be very disappointing if they don't.
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The Apple Tablet, which seems at this point will be revealed to the world on Wednesday, will very likely be a respectable accomplishment in the engineering of computing hardware. It will be light, have good battery life, have touch-sensitivity, and a nice big screen - it will probably also have some great processing speed and power for its form and size. It will surely also keep a lot of laps very warm!

But what's really impressive about Yet Another Computer? Sure it will be beautifully designed, but what's it going to change about the way people use computers?

Computers are inherently limited by their input capabilities. I would argue that the reason why the iPhone has been so innovative is simply because it incorporates more types of sensor and allows for different kinds of measurement and input. The early iPhone had an accelerometer, GPS, and a still camera all in one - at the time this was impressive because the higher computing ability of the platform allowed for some impressive applications that turned the data from these inputs into even more interesting data. Social networking via mobile device finally became possible.

The next iPhone introduced a compass, video recording, and Voice Control - and all of these were also very interesting additions. Augmented reality applications now entered the fray, thanks to the compass. Streaming video and live broadcasting applications are now commonplace. Dictation applications are also starting to pop up (voice translation applications can't be too far behind).

So my guess with the new Apple tablet coming out is that it will only truly be innovative if it incorporates more sensor inputs. I don't think this is actually too likely, because I'm not sure that there are many other input devices that are "mainstream" in devices at this point. Maybe infrared sensors, in the sense that the Wii uses them to detect motion and distance from Wiimotes? But I'm not seeing that just yet. Perhaps a gyroscope of some sort, to improve accuracy compared to an accelerometer? Both are possible, but neither really opens up new opportunities for innovative ways to use personal computing devices.

Here's a short list of additional types of inputs and ways they could be used innovatively:

1) EEG/neural interfaces - biofeedback to determine my mood; an iPod that plays sad or happy music to match my feelings when appropriate. On/Off control by thought, change volume by thinking "louder" and "softer", the ultimate remote control. Agents that suggest things to do based on my current mental state. ("Go to bed, you're tired.")

2) Temperature sensors - computer wakes up when I enter the room and the temperature rises. Automation of heating and cooling and lighting systems.

3) Biosensors - detect my internal/external temperature, my heart rate, blood pressure. Health applications are obvious. But how about using these to detect moods? Or lies, for that matter? Who doesn't want to carry around a personal lie detector in their pocket that buzzes them when the person across from them changes their tone of voice, captures their microexpression on camera, and notices their skin temperature rising slightly? EMG (Electromyogram) to detect when my muscles are flexing and react to a twitch or flicking movement of a hand.

All of this doesn't even approach the topic of innovative outputs. Projectors pop immediately to mind, and projection technology is just peeking over the top of the horizon now. Personal projectors are not far off. And painting an image onto a wall with a projector, and then feeding it via camera into an augmented reality app for even further enhancement could create some really interesting positive feedback loops.

I don't believe that the new Apple tablet will incorporate any of what I've described above. But this is the path that future innovation needs to take, to keep adding more and more input devices to collect more and more types of data, as clearly demonstrated by the advancements made by the iPhones. I do think that it's likely that the tablet will have some kind of gesture and handwriting recognition, in the form of pen computing. It would be ridiculous for Apple to release a tablet that didn't have that, and there was some previous evidence of work at the OS and API levels showing recognition of handwritten Chinese and Japanese characters. I think it's also possible that there might be increased haptic sensitivity - maybe better measurement of pressure on the screen surface, maybe even temperature measurement, and possibly even vibrational feedback. Having a front facing camera might also be a no-brainer; dual cameras are better than one or none.

The bottom line is this: the future of computing is nigh, and we are all going to become Batman. And it's going to be awesome.
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Batman and Robin - Seems like this is delayed for some reason. I still recommend picking it up though, it seems to be readily available as back issues on all the shelves (don't know why, it's a good book).

Top 10 Season Two - I think I hear crickets.

Red Mass For Mars - Wait a second... where the heck did all these comics go?

Walking Dead - If you haven't read this by now, you might want to just forget it and wait for the TV series they're producing based on the books. Otherwise, it's all available for you in convenient collections.

Anna Mercury - The last issue of this was pretty boss, and contained the "big reveal". Hopefully the next issue is coming soon.

Viking - Still liking this piece, but each issue feels a little disjointed from the last, and it's hard to understand the character continuity. It's a failure in writing, but I'm trying to ignore it and see where things lead.

Buck Rogers - I am really digging this book a lot. The writers are taking some really bold strides with their style, and readers need to work to keep up, but it's a rewarding story with some great art and design.

Doktor Sleepless - I'm wondering whether I should just ditch this book at this point. Warren, are you stretching too thin??

Gravel - If you hadn't heard, Warren Ellis's Gravel was picked up for a movie deal. Conveniently for you, the books are now available as collections, on shelves now!

Irredeemable - This "Superman goes nuts" story is still going well, and is now leading up to...

Incorruptible - I used to be derisive of Mark Waid, but lately he seems to be going back to his roots. BOOM! Studios is the label on this book and Irredeemable, and this latest entry is building the universe around his own superhero world gone wrong. The story here is of a villain who basically has a nervous breakdown when "The Plutonian" runs amok in Irredeemable; his reasoning is that, if the most powerful superhero has gone batshit, the end is nigh and survival is literally the only thing that matters and it's time to "step up" and save everyone (including himself).

No Hero - This book is done, and I'm glad for it. Warren needs more time to work on other things.

Ignition City - Another Ellis book that is finished, and also glad for it. Would have liked a little more in the ending myself, but this seems to be Warren's style these days.

Incognito - Ended VERY well. I really hope to visit this world again soon!!

Supergod - Warren's latest: what happens when we actually create godlike superhumans? A take on dystopic Singularity... since the first posthumans are beyond our understanding, our expectations and interactions with them are completely off the mark. They're not here to save the world, they're just going to destroy it.

Astonishing X-Men - Ellis has been doing a sporadic run on this title, and it varies in quality; it has held up okay, but again he seems to be working so hard on so many things that his entire work overall suffers. I'm sticking with it though.

Thor - For some reason I haven't been mentioning Thor enough. JMS of Babylon 5 and Rising Stars fame penned an excellent run of the book, and now he's basically all wrapped up with it - but the new team has completely picked up the ball where he left off, and it was such a seamless transition I didn't notice JMS wasn't on the book. If the JMS run is collected now (I'm not sure I haven't been paying attention), go pick it up!

Superman: Secret Origin - if you liked the Geoff Johns Superman, you need to pick this series up. It's excellent stuff, it synthesizes all the best things about Superman mythos into a coherent and enjoyable story. Geoff's Superman is to me the definitive Superman.

Punisher MAX - I think this is basically the only MAX book left out there, but it's totally worth getting. Steve Dillon of Ennis/Dillon and Preacher fame is the artist, so it takes me right back to the good old Ennis/Dillon Punisher days. And the first arc is all about Punisher versus Kingpin, so it's classic classic stuff.

POWERS - Oh hey, POWERS! Another new series? Is every issue of POWERS issue #1 now? Heck I don't care, just keep making the damn books!

Graphic Novel BONUS: R. Crumb's The Book of Genesis Illustrated! I finally got a copy of this, after the first printing completely sold out all over the universe. It is literally every single work of the first book of the bible, chapter and verse. And I've never read the whole thing, so it just goes to show you that I will literally read ANYTHING if it comes in comic book form and is well illustrated. All I have to say is: there was a whole lot of begatting going on in those early days, when people lived for like a thousand years or so.
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Going to classes at NYCResistor and working with electronics has really opened up my mind and broadened my horizons. I've always wanted to solder and do more with kits and bits and pieces of things, and now that I've started playing around I feel more empowered than I ever have before, maybe even surpassing the feelings of empowerment that came from learning how to program.

This is stuff that actually AFFECTS THE REAL WORLD. I mean, it amazes me that I now have the basic abilities required to make devices that DO STUFF. Now that I've built some kits, made some basic circuits, and loaded code onto chips, I've started thinking about the world around me and what parts make up the devices I use every day. I now routinely take things apart and stick the pieces I want into static bags. Just today I grabbed an old night light with a light sensor on it, tore the plastic off it and found a tiny little circuit with the sensor, a resistor, and a transistor hooked up to the prongs for the outlet. My plan is to unsolder the bits off the board and rebuild the circuit and figure out how to hook it into my Freeduino.

Because now I'm thinking things like: I can make automatic blinds that open and close according to the amount of light I want in the room. I can make a pseudo-random cat treat feeder which dispenses occasionally when my cat steps on a pedal, and use that to break my cat's bad habit of constantly wanting food and waking me up at all hours (he'll mess with the feeder instead). I can hack that new Jedi mind trick/EEG reader toy that's coming out this holiday season and create a thought controlled puppet/robot.

I'm in a whole new world. I only wish I'd started down this path sooner!
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I'm considering coming up to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving weekend - who is around, and wants to hang out that weekend?
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http://www.minduploading.org/
http://www.neuralprostheses.org/
http://www.syntheticneurobiology.org/

When digital consciousness is achieved, and people can make copies of themselves, they'll be able to synthesize myriad individual experiences into a single meta-self. This meta-mind will exist like a carrier wave that can either house in a central repository and work on the job of filtering and synthesis, or float among its multiple consciousnesses to experience life in real time. The individual mind at that time can be said to have meta-consciousness, or to be m-conscious.

Additionally, life recording and lifelogging will allow people to directly share experiences. When full HD video, audio, and portable fMRI and other sensory apparati make it possible to fully document experiences and feelings and thoughts about experiences, and those experiences are copied and shared, m-minds will incorporate the lives of others into their own. People will be able to know the intent of artists when experiencing their works, they'll have empathy on a level never before known; and through the filters of multiple consciousnesses, they will be able to comprehend various experiences in multiple ways. This is the future of culture - directly experienced meta-culture, and selves incorporating chosen pieces of others directly into their consciousnesses and m-consciousness.

Multiple m-consciousnesses of various configurations may also exist, but unless one goes through the effort of balancing the load between all of them equally, one m-self will be larger than all others. And it would probably also be desirable to have a single m-mind that contains all experiences from all conscinesses and m consciousnesses, simply to have that type of total synthesis available.

The most likely path to this scenario involves a combination of neurobiological engineering and synthetic biology integrated with electronic devices. Biological experience as encoded on neurons will be translated into digital electromagnetic signals for rapid translation and telecommunication. Storage media will be synthetic biological drives, external clusters of neurons with electronic interfaces to devices and biomechanical selves, and electromagnetic and photon echo interfaces for biological selves.

Periodically the m-self, or overself, will send filtered updates back down the line to its underselves; judiciously edited experiences that are appropriate for each underself. Relations between selves and m-selves will seem familial on the surface, and conflicts will surely arise, and may seem like a case of schizophrenia or disassociative identity disorder.
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Technology: from stone to steel to silicon

Hippocampus replacements happening now

Upper limits on intelligence? Computability (NP-completeness), time, size and number of molecules in universe

Technology and culture are intertwined (Stephenson's "feed" versus "seed")

What if the Singularity has already happened multiple times over the life of the universe, and the current amount of non-dark matter is what's left over? (older ultimate intelligences have used all their available resources in the universe)

If cognitive biases occur due to structural evolutionary accidents in the brain, what kinds of biases will occur in designed intelligences?

Biological neural drives will happen before designed intelligences.
- Photon echoes on retina for human-computer interfaces (Ed Boyden, MIT Media Lab)
- External memory storage devices
- An optimally engineered bio-drive of microtubules that can be connected to for the transfer of memory back and forth with human brain
- Learn skills, knowledge transfer at will, absorption of artificial memories

Neural Remixing
- Life recording, full HD audio and video, with multiple perspectives
- Translate digital recordings into bio-storage, mapping to microtubules
- Directly upload other people's life recorded experiences into your memories
- Loss of individuality? Suffusion of identity?
mik3cap: (Default)
So here's a love story about two fish. The first fish I fell in love with for all the wrong reasons. It was a beautiful fish, the texture was really flavorful, it was very meaty, and even better - as if a fish needed to be better - it was raised in the supposed highest standards of sustainability. This company claimed it was the first sustainable agriculture company in North America. I was in a relationship with this fish for many years. And one day I got a phone call from the head of PR for the company; he asked me to cook a lunch for a group of top food editors and writers and prepare a meal based on this fish and speak about the company's sustainability. Great, I thought, what better way to speak about the plight of the oceans, the state of fisheries around the world than through this prism of responsible, sustainable agriculture?

Read more... )
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Hayao Miyazaki has made a wide range of wonderful fantasy anime, and they each seem to be tailored to a particular age group. His major feature films seem to fall on a scale of Totally Germane For Toddlers to I'm An Adult And I'm Cringing Slightly. This is how I would rank his films on this scale:

  • My Neighbor Totoro, 1988 (Any age can watch this and enjoy it)
  • Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, 2008 (This actually has a "bad guy" in it and thus is one step higher)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service, 1989 (Kiki has a lot of challenges within herself to overcome, and some conflict)
  • [EDIT: Porco Rosso, 1992 (Nobody dies, very little conflict besides dogfights where no one gets hurt)]
  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky, 1986 (Lots of conflict, actual bad guys and high stakes adventure)
  • Spirited Away, 2001 (Many nightmarish monsters, but nobody actually gets hurt)
  • Howl's Moving Castle, 2004 (Depicts war, people get hurt)
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 1984 (Psychadelic monsters and situations, blood and conflict)
  • Princess Mononoke, 1997 film (Lots of blood and death and suffering and weird shit)

Somehow I have missed seeing Porco Russo [sic], and thus cannot place it accurately on the scale. I should rectify this. I suspect it's in the middle somewhere, since it's about a flying ace pig.

[EDIT: I have since seen Porco Rosso and have placed it]
mik3cap: (Default)
If, after rating songs, I could "trade in" the stuff I rate at 2 stars or 1 star for other songs... like get "store credit" for stuff I don't like.

This would be great feedback for publishers and artists, because they'd know what I don't like. And it's a win for me because it means I can try out more music and "keep" the songs I like in my library. I don't need any money back, I'd just like to license different content and find music I enjoy!

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June 2010

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