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Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations no longer shine

Wired News: Transforming Thoughts Into Deeds
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:50 am EST, Jan 20, 2004

] Five quadriplegic patients might be months away from
] testing a brain-computer interface created by
] Cyberkinetics, a privately held company in Foxboro,
] Massachusetts. The company's system, called BrainGate,
] could help patients with no mobility to control a
] computer, a robot or eventually their own rewired
] muscles, using only their thoughts. If the trials go
] well, a product could be on the market by 2007.
] "It looks a lot like the Matrix," Surgenor said, referring
] to the sockets in the backs of the movie characters' heads
] that allowed them to log into the Matrix grid.

One step closer to the CyberPunk future envisioned by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling in the '80's.

Wired News: Transforming Thoughts Into Deeds

MemeStreams - The Year in Graphs 2003
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:04 am EST, Jan 20, 2004

Rattle wrote:

For several months now, work has been underway building the next version of MemeStreams. It has been necessary to recode most of the site from scratch, so its taking awhile. At any given time the trials of life, lack of funding, bad timing, hardware failure, and general bad luck is screwing up the works. However, we _are_ making progress.
While these graphs may be fun to look at, the data they are built with is what's really exciting.. The same thing that allowed me to make these graphs is what's going to lead to improvements in the capabilities of the Reputation Agent.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy browsing through this review of the past year!

Wow. The underlying data would be really valueable for anyone doning social-network research.

MemeStreams seems small. Is this a result of the interface or is it really small? It would be interesting to see graphs of usage over time for the frequency with which folks read, recommend, and post. Even better would be summary data in a tabular form that one could crunch.

A philosophical question. Is MemeStreams going to be a single community where everyone reads more or less the same set of posts, or a community with multiple foci of interest? How will the new developments support the one versus the other approach?

MemeStreams - The Year in Graphs 2003

Consciousness, by Susan Blackmore
Topic: Science 8:22 am EST, Dec 24, 2003

Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion?

This groundbreaking book is the first volume to bring together all the major theories of consciousness studies--from those rooted in traditional Western philosophy to those coming out of neuroscience, quantum theory, and Eastern philosophy.

Susan Blackmore, the author of The Meme Machine, was written a book about a wide variety of issues, including lucid dreaming, philosophy of mind, and cognitive neuroscience.

Consciousness, by Susan Blackmore

Seeing the Futures
Topic: Society 10:39 am EST, Dec  9, 2003

In an increasingly decentralized world, in which previously insignificant actors and factors can play a decisive role, strategic planning can leave decision-makers flat-footed.

In its unidimensional reliance on a single future, strategic planning hardens the "official future" agencies internalize, and thus prepares them poorly for appreciating rapid changes in circumstance and for making agile adaptations.

The idea is not so much to predict the future as to consider the forces that will push the future along different paths, in order to help leaders recognize new possibilities, assess new threats and make decisions that reach much further into the future.

Seeing the Futures

Building Intelligence to Fight Terrorism
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:37 am EST, Dec  5, 2003

Know Thy Enemy.

The cold war intelligence model in which analysts became specialists is ill-suited to the challenge of counterterrorism. Incremental changes implemented since 9/11 are not enough. Policymakers must build a new intelligence system to fight terrorism.

Nearly two years after 9/11, it is clear that actions couched as emergency measures represent important building blocks for a new generation of intelligence policy.

Building Intelligence to Fight Terrorism

Journal of Memetics- Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
Topic: Science 8:20 am EST, Dec  4, 2003

A goldmine of memetic discussion I recently found published on the internet with no subscription fee. Just click on "index of all issues". The advisory board contains the memetic heavyweights Susan Blackmore,Gary Cziko, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett,Liane Gabora, and David Hull.

Journal of Memetics- Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission

Intel scientists find wall for Moore's Law | CNET
Topic: Technology 6:33 pm EST, Dec  3, 2003

] Moore's Law, as chip manufacturers generally refer to it
] today, is coming to an end, according to a recent
] research paper.
] Resolving these issues is a major goal for the entire
] industry. Under Moore's Law, chipmakers can double the
] number of transistors on a given chip every two years,
] an exponential growth pattern that has allowed computers
] to get both cheaper and more powerful at the same time.

Moore's law hits a wall at about 2021, when fundamental physics prevent devices from becoming any smaller. After that it will
be ncessary to take other steps (larger chips, 3D chips?) to continue the performance increase.

Intel scientists find wall for Moore's Law | CNET

Wired News: Gizmo Puts Cards on the Table
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 6:19 pm EST, Dec  3, 2003

] Researchers in Dublin, Ireland, have developed a way to
] help people who are far away from their loved ones feel a
] little closer, using a pair of kitchen tables equipped
] with radio tag readers, projectors and computers running
] on Linux and Macintosh operating systems.
] ...
] The two-way system, part of Media Lab's Habitat project,
] sends images of those tagged objects back and forth
] between the tables through the Internet, providing
] participants with a pictorial record of their partners'
] activities.

It must be like living with ghosts. The images of stuff move, but the other person isn't displayed.

Wired News: Gizmo Puts Cards on the Table

Epson-News Release
Topic: Technology 8:59 am EST, Nov 20, 2003

] Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson") has developed the uFR
] ("Micro Flying Robot"), the world's smallest flying
] prototype microrobot.

neat... robots kick ass.

Epson-News Release

RE: Social discrimination by iTunes playlist | Wired News
Topic: Technology 8:47 am EST, Nov 20, 2003

flynn23 wrote:
] Which brings me to an ultimate conclusion: what if you really
] can have anything you want, anytime, anywhere? What if you
] really could have every song, movie, book, performance -
] instantly at your fingertips, all the time? Would that be
] better or worse than not having that capability? For my entire
] life, I have wished for this ability, but when I really think
] about it - sometimes it was the lack of exposure; the lack of
] acessability - that made something truly valuable. Sometimes
] it was having to imagine(!) what something would've
] sounded/looked/felt like that helped me to create things for
] myself. Maybe that's better?

inignoct wrote:
] ... we are heading for a world in which the base of common
] knowledge will be far, far greater than ever before, because
] it's so easy to see and hear new things...
] ... sitting down with my ipod
] and a glass of scotch and just listening to a record would
] seem like a waste of time to many, but to me, the focus is
] part of the experience. [emphasis added]

The base of common knowledge will be enormous, but it will be "common" only in the sense that it is accessible by all. A person's individual experiences could become ideosyncratic and shared more closely with a self-selected group of friends than with some vase undifferentiated mass. A work or experience would be valuable to an individual not because it is scarce or expensive, but because one has invested personal effort in finding and appreciating it.

The result could just as easily be the balkanization of mass culture rather than the homogenization and trivilization of culture. That would be a more intersting world than one where everyone had the same shared experiences.

RE: Social discrimination by iTunes playlist | Wired News

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