Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 11 09:49
*French leak-clone wannabe attempts suicide. http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2011/01/09/le-createur-du-site-wikileaks 13-tente-de-se-suicider_1463078_3224.html *This leaking stuff isn't for sissies. *Fifteen young men found decapitated in abandoned cars in Acapulco. There's a society with some violence issues. I wonder where they came from, and what they did to give offense.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 11 09:53
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/nasa-satellites-capture-amazing-pict ures-of-queensland-floods-20110106-19gql.html *Australian CO2-mining district under water.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 9 Jan 11 10:26
<53> "The monkeys in our heads are rattled, they're bouncing and swinging out of control. Streams of thought block awareness of the moment. We're somnambulists in a world of persistent dreams that are not necessarily our own. The voices in our heads are not inherently our own, and not inherently friendly. And there are so many of them." As usual you two are hop,skip and jumping through so many ideas it's going to take months to digest. Rereading the conversation and this just leaps out. That is beautiful prose Jon and totally nails it, for my head at least.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 9 Jan 11 10:48
<94>*When "your information medium, communication medium, and social medium are all precisely the same," you are looking at the world through a pinhole. It may well be that certain aspects of "information, communication and sociality" are converging through TCP/IP right now, but that situation won't last. Been thinking about this for days. Your pinhole analogy is apt and scary. And I'm glad it won't last. But for now, it's truly being manipulated by the media and spin masters. It's like they focus that pinhole as a laser beam to warp and weave those voices Jon is talking about. And the speed with which this stuff gets disseminated is unreal. Sarah Palin has already wiped her website: RT @sarabethbrooks: quick scrub of @sarahpalinusa's website no longer lists @Rep_Giffords , it did an hr ago: (from Twitter). So much for owning your own words.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 11 11:04
The crazy doesn't stop. Fred Phelps says "God sent the shooter... mouthy witch Sarah Palin had Representative Giffords in the crosshairs on her website. She quick took it down, however, because she's a cowardly brute like the rest of you. The crosshairs to worry about are God's... and he's put you in his, and your destruction is upon you. You should have obeyed. This nation of violent murderers is in full rebellion against God. God avenged himself on you today by a marvelous work in Tucson. He sits in heaven and laughs at you in your affliction. Westboro Baptist Church prays for more shooters, more violent veterans, and more dead. Praise God for his righteous judgments in this earth..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpkxoql4xz0
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:10
RT @dangillmor: Today's mediastorm is a reminder of @cshirky's great line: Fact checking is down, but after-the-fact checking is way up Another from Twitter.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:12
*The Right deserves a scolding for their culture war, but the killer was a longhaired, pot-smoking science fiction reader. Hope they don't round 'em all up. *If everybody Sarah Palin targeted gets shot, that sure would mean a bunch of dead Republicans.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:13
#116: I've already seen people say that since he has Mein Kampf listed as a book, he must be a Socialist, because Nazis are the National *Socialist* party.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:46
And they're quick to point out that Fred Phelps is a Democrat.
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Sun 9 Jan 11 16:45
From email@example.com: There's been a certain amount of discussion so far about the past and especially past literature. This is not strictly in the same area but I'll toss it out and see if it sticks. I'm interested in Bruce's thoughts on History/Futurology in these times of rapid growth as someone who's turned their hand to factual futurology occasionally. The most thought provoking event I went to last year was Doctorow vs Gibson where Gibson talked a lot about the contraction of now. Back in the 50s, "Now" seemed to be at least 5 years long. That allowed people to think in terms of predicting the future 20 years or so out. Sometimes it seems these days that "now" is more like 5 months long and future prediction is only remotely reliable 2 years out. A few datapoints. Last year was probably the first year when the total information in the world doubled in under 12 months. Bizarrely, there'snot enough long term storage to store it all so a lot of that information is in short term storage and will be forgotten. That information generation is still accelerating. Another one. Most of China's provinces expect >10% growth next year but central gov is telling them to slow down for energy supply and environmental reasons. This level of growth is not exclusively Chinese and is happening in other pockets as well. Much to think about here. Not least of which is the hierarchy of control in China and it's inability to actually control what's happening. The provincial governments are just as much bystanders in this game as the central one when it's the burgeoning middle class and entrepreneurial companies that are driving it forwards. We humans have a hard time understanding high rates of compound exponential growth. It makes history irrelevant when what happened 3 doubling periods ago is now only 7% of the total. It makes the future hard to see when today is going to be only 7% of the total in 3 doubling period's time. When the doubling period is under one year, that's only a 6 year window. To make the example more extreme, the total information at the end of this year will be 7 times the total at the beginning of last year. That's a 24 month window. When I say history is becoming irrelevant, I'm not talking so much about the nuggets of great art or the important events but things like people's personal photos / blogs / diaries. I'm trying hard not to fall into the Singularity or 2012 delusion here but this feels like a sound barrier like shockwave that we're accelerating towards. The problem is that in many areas we're on the steep part of the S-curve. While we can see the peak and it's associated slow down or overshoot/crash, in many cases (energy supply, pollution limits) it still feels like it's a long way off. But that's the understanding exponential growth problem. When you're down to 50% of remaining resources it still feels intuitively like there's plenty of head room, but actually you're only one doubling period or less away from running out if the rate of use is roughly the same order as the size of resource. The end of the runway a mile away has a way of sneaking up on you when you've hit 100mph and you've still got your foot hard on the gas.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 11 21:13
When the "Y2K bug" was acknowledged, and I was working on a mitigation project, I was talking to a nontechnical friend of mine who was ready to move to the desert with stores of food and guns, convinced disaster was certain. And it might've been rough - but mitigation teams all over the world were aware of the problem, doing the analysis, making the necessary adjustments. The Y2K problem was clear, discrete, easy to understand, and solveable. That's a good problem to have. Julian is talking about wicked problems. A wicked problem is "a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems." (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wicked_problem) Global climate change is wicked problem, hard to solve because it's not well understood, and there are conflicting and contradictory interests creating a fog of information, disinformation, and misinformation. But... What Julian says in that last post, and what I've said so far in this one, is more shadow than light - concepts and abstractions obscuring what's real. The deeper we get into the fog, the less real we are, the harder it is to solve the wicked problems.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:51
http://thismodernworld.com/archives/5557 *I wouldn't claim there's no American political violence lately, but really, by the Red-State Blue-State standards of Chickamauga and Gettysburg, it's been very low-key. Even this particular horrid incidents ranks as a "tragedy" rather than some incipient coup. It'll fade like most other American lone-gunman massacres. Unless it turns out the guy had an accomplice, which I doubt. My favorite Twitter barometer, @SarahPalinUSA keeping a low profile lately. When this thing blows over like that indignation over Columbine, she'll be back. Not to demand blood or anything, because Sarah's not violent. She'll be reassuming her favorite role as innocent Christian martyr to the Liberal LameStream Media lynch mob. Of course every fellow "common sense conservative" knows Sarah had nothing to do with the trigger pulled on a fellow female American politician. The more that partisan lightning falls on her, the more it affirms her cultural importance. She's the woman who resigned from elective office to assume the role of the Tea Party Joan of Arc. Sarah's opponents keep thinking that the smell of loathsome opprobrium will drive her out of American public life. That's what the Right thought about Bill Clinton. Sarah is here to stay. Unless, that is, somebody shoots Sarah. Then there will be hell to pay. And the likelihood of that? It just shot way, way up.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:53
Well, we're cruising to a close in a bloody haze of maniacal gunfire, so I want to write a little concluding essay here, about a certain Brazilian pop musician, and why she makes me eagerly anticipate what comes next. I happen to be quite the Cibelle Cavalli devotee, and it's not because of her music (although her music is pretty good, if you like exotic Brazilian electronica with diva vocals). Pop stars are always interesting to me, while musicians interest me only on occasion. Musicians create works of music. Popstars create wannabes. Musicians can be very private people, while popstars are public media figures who inspire some social emulation. Here I think Cibelle has rather a lot to offer, as a contemporary working artist in a 21st-century avant-garde position. I surmise that this decade is gonna reveal a lot more people who are doing what Cibelle is doing -- following her strategy, although, likely not quite in the way she is doing it.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:54
First, she's offshored. She's based in London (to the extent that she's based anywhere), although she's originally from Sao Paulo. So she represents Brazilian Globalization. She's not American, yet her fan-base is extensively globalized (her record label is Belgian. She tours Turkey, Europe, and the US). Second, she's electronic and digital. She's got a band, or at least some London guys willing to accompany her in some of her peregrinations, but as her career has advanced since 2003, she's gotten steadily more network-centric and hardware-centric -- less pretty-girl with acoustic guitar, way more techno DJ on the net. Third, Cibelle does elaborate, artsy, even vaudeville-style performances with lighting, props and costumes. "You had to be there," and that's the point. That's how you get people to pay to come in the door. Musicians can't sell music now; journalists can't sell journalism. So "events are the new magazines."
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:57
Fourth, Cibelle has a cluster of allies who support her, and these people are not musicians. They're the "Abravanista" movement, based in Sao Paulo. Cibelle sometimes refers to herself as an "Abravanista activist," and if you think of her as a Sao Paulo Abravanista evangelist instead of some crooning diva with a guitar, all of a sudden her seemingly scattered activities get a lot more coherent. The Abravanista people are difficult for me to describe. I don't yet understand them. They're very Brazilian, and deeply into performance art, video, painting, couture, and gay liberation. Trying to sum them up in a few words of American English is like trying to sum up the Brazilian Tropicalia movement. You kinda know the Abravana crowd when you see them, because they're long-haired big-city disco people with glitter clothes, neon and body paint. Yet they're into a headspace that lacks a non-Brazilian equivalent. Interestingly, and maybe kind of synchronistically, the art term "Abravana" comes from a famous young woman who was a Patty Hearst kidnapping figure in a huge Brazilian political-violence scandal. Patricia Abravanel was dazed, and suffering Stockholm syndrome from her week-long kidnapping ordeal, so after this colossal, televised fracas, she cheerily told the media that nothing had threatened or scared her, and that she felt great. So Abravana means, basically, "Fuck it." It means, "no matter how personally and politically awful this is, I won't allow myself to engage with this and be traumatized." So the Abravanista crowd are a kind of "oh fuck off" counterculture who have gone into a vibrant, post-traumatic creative scene. It's this air of surreal nihilism that puts some iron in their bones. It's why I take them seriously and consider them global-scale trend-setters as an art movement.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:02
I got interested in Cibelle, because she sings in English, and is big on Twitter and seemed approachable and aware of her online fan base. She's easier to parse than most Brazilian artists. So, nowadays, we do know one another, although we've never met. I closely follow her doings. I do that mostly because, I must say, she cheers me up. She leads by example. Americans, over our dual histories, have commonly looked on our cousins the Brazilians as a cheery, colorful, exotic and perky society. They're not, but that something that they offer us that we Americans understand. Can't be helped, there. It's like Americans, a historically fortunate society, being known worldwide for our moaning, downtrodden blues music. In point of fact, the Brazilians have an exceedingly dark history, with every kind of marauding and torment and hunger and fearsome Third World suffering. Brazilian musicians in particular tend to get harassed by the blinkered authorities. Mellow, perky Brazilian musicians have a mortality-rate like you wouldn't believe. I went to Sao Paulo and I asked around for Cibelle records. They all knew who she was, but they all assured me that Cibelle was much better-known in London. She's become a foreign-guy's pop star. So, wow, maybe I should go to Dalston in London to get the real deal? How convenient. I know that sounds ironic, but frankly, I admire that situation. That was a gutsy choice for her to make, as opposed to hanging out in the neighborhood, trying to make the ultimate Brazilian Female Vocalist National Vinyl LP.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:02
Fifth, (I'm still counting) Cibelle has got a theorist angle. Cibelle hangs out with painters and installation people, and is therefore keen on art manifestos. I had only the vaguest idea what "anthropophagy" and "Brazilian syncretism" were all about, but I listened to thoughtful people she was listening to, and, well, now I'm starting to get it. Only a really, really big, young, multiracial, multiethnic country like Brazil or the USA could get behind some anthropophagic syncretism. It's an alternative model for a global, rootless, massive culture. It's like magic-realist globalization. I've never yet done any anthropophagic Abravanista syncretism, but I'm pretty into Postmodern subjectivity fragmentation. Gimme enough cachaca and lime juice, and hey, I might be able to hold my breath and get over there from here.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:07
As a sixth and final twist -- and it's something I can't resist -- Cibelle practices folk design-fiction. In her performance alter-ego as "Sonja Khalecallon," Cibelle creates elaborate fake video ads for fake consumer products. The "Anti-Skeptic Lotion," the "Fresh Eye-Drops," and the all-too-apt "Fuck-It Button," a wall-mounted device which transforms you into an instant Abravanista. Cibelle also has a non-fake, genuine alliance with Melissa, a with-it Brazilian shoe company that makes plastic designer shoes. Popstars have been doing product-support for ages now. The Spice Girls were all over that, and Posh Spice in particular is moving into couture retail, rather like Jade Jagger and Stella McCartney. But Cibelle is the first pop-star I've seen who has moved into that mode of earning a living and just, well, syncretically cannibalized it. She's become a "multiartist" rather than a musician, mostly by soaking up these various changes in culture and media and trying to personify them. She's like a sponge in a bucket-full of paints. She'll never be Lady Gaga, and M.I.A. is a lot more politically edgy if that's what you're looking for, but Cibelle, for me, is the avant-garde. Not in her music so much as her cultural activities, her global position.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:08
So: you wanna know what a plausible pop-star looks like ten, fifteen years from now? She's very into performance, dress shoes and clothes. She's cloud-centric and globally mobile. She comes from a social movement rather than a recording label or a publishing house. She's a syncretic multi-artist model-actress web personality, with a catchy soundtrack. Her fans are her participants. And she's female, young, and Brazilian. That's the scenario. And you know, it's not that bad. It's okay. That somebody who personifies a culture we don't quite have yet. It could be a pretty good culture, if its activists know what they are doing. I look at Cibelle and I get the reassured feeling that I get from Brian Eno. It's not that I love everything that guy creates, or that I embrace every idea among Eno's many skyrocketing ideas, but, y'know, Brian Eno has fucking got it going on. As a creative, you can see or hear stuff that Brian Eno was doing thirty years ago, and you can think, "Hey, that might work right now. I should try that." The guy's lived example makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. And if you keep getting out of bed, hey, you'll live long enough to sum up another year.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 10 Jan 11 06:41
I just shared that essay with my fellow Plutopians... members of the team at Plutopia Productions, http://plutopiaproductions.com, where I'm Chief Digital Officer (a title we ran across that so fits my predilections). A few posts back, Julian Bond commented on the accelerating future (nodding to John Smart), the contraction of "now," singularity, resource depletion, hitting a wall (actually, his metaphor was about reaching the end of the runway)... the existential anxiety you feel when you're MacGruber and you see the tock ticking down on the time bomb in the vault of your experience. Plutopia emerged from my conversations with Derek Woodgate (now Chief Creative Officer for Plutopia Productions), from our various salons about culture and the future and our thoughts about experimenting with the event form, creating a new kind of event - what derek calls a "sense event." I say a new kind of event - similar things are happening in Europe, events like V2 and Crossing Borders and Ars Electronica are probably similar to the kind of events we're assembling... your term "anthropophagic syncretism" is probably an apt description for the kind of deeply integrated technology-focused multicultural experiences we're creating. (Just thought of Liza Sabater's - @blogdiva's - label "culture kitchen" - maybe we're a cultural Kitchen Aid, real MixMasters.) In our world the ticking time bomb is transformed into a metronome, every tick a celebration of possibility; every end a new beginning, a kind of radical optimism about human resilience and culture. Our next Plutopia event (March 14 during SXSW Interactive in Austin, http://plutopia.org) is themed "the future of play," a celebration of *homo ludens,* an experiential ludic manifesto. In the very worst of times, you can't break the cycle with despair. The Abravanistas have it right: "she cheerily told the media that nothing had threatened or scared her, and that she felt great... fuck it!"
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 10 Jan 11 07:03
Cyber Yippies, woohoo!
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:04
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375444,00.asp Lady Gaga, creative director at Polaroid and industrial design maven.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:08
*I just renewed my FlickR "Pro" account for another year. *Last time, though, I renewed it for *two* years.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:08
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0A73IEtM5I *Cibelle in Sao Paulo visually backed-up by the Abravanista clique.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:19
Hoping we get to talk about SXSW and Plutopia on Inkvue.well sometime soon. Austin is one of the 'nodes' for creatives and it would be great to have your inputs about what's happening and some historical perspective as well.
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