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Technology, Art, and Power

Internet

“Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works”

So it was as proponents of the Hollywood-funded bill curmudgeonly shot down all but two amendments proposed by its opponents, who fought to dramatically alter the document to preserve security and free speech on the net. But the chilling takeaway of this whole debacle was the irrefutable air of anti-intellectualism; that inescapable absurdity that we have members of Congress voting on a technical bill who do not posses any technical knowledge on the subject and do not find it imperative to recognize those who do.

This used to be funny, but now it’s really just terrifying. We’re dealing with legislation that will completely change the face of the internet and free speech for years to come. Yet here we are, still at the mercy of underachieving Congressional know-nothings that have more in common with the slacker students sitting in the back of math class than elected representatives. The fact that some of the people charged with representing us must be dragged kicking and screaming out of their complacency on such matters is no longer endearing — it’s just pathetic and sad.

There’s nothing as frightening as anti-intellectualism. This bill was written by the MPAA/RIAA, and the idea that those voting for or against the bill do not know what a DNS server is — smells awful.

via Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works | Motherboard.

Nyan Cat progress bars for Mac

nyan

Nyan cat powers my progress bars. Here’s how.

An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community (4chan /b)

This just in:

“Analyzing ephemerality via two weeks of of site activity, we found that the median thread spends just ?ve seconds on /b/’s ?rst page before being pushed off by newer posts, and that the median thread expires completely within ?ve minutes. Even in a world informed by Twitter and newsfeeds, where content is out of users’ attentional sphere quickly, we argue that such rapid content deletion drives many of /b/’s community dynamics. On /b/, ephemerality and deletion create a powerful selection mechanic by requiring content the community wants to see be repeatedly reposted, and potentially remixed. We believe this is critical to the site’s in?uence on internet culture and memes.”

Read the full paper here (PDF). (also).

If you haven’t seen /b/, then I’ll let you find it.

All Slashdot Fortune Cookies

Due to a fortunate error over at Slashdot, all the fortune cookies ever written for the site appeared in the footer like an overload of wisdom. I’ve saved them for the sake of history below:

  • Try the Moo Shu Pork. It is especially good today.
  • Try to get all of your posthumous medals in advance.
  • Try to have as good a life as you can under the circumstances.
  • Try to relax and enjoy the crisis. — Ashleigh Brilliant
  • Try to value useful qualities in one who loves you.
  • Tuesday After Lunch is the cosmic time of the week.
  • Tuesday is the Wednesday of the rest of your life.
  • What happened last night can happen again.  (more…)

What I use and why

Thinking about Kevin Kelly’s book “What Technology Wants” encouraged me to consider the tools I use. What’s redundant? What tools can I do without? Am I ready for the technopocalypse? Will I need to learn to write with MY HAND again?

More than almost everyone I know, I’m a try-er and join-er. If there’s a ‘beta invite’ sign-up form, I’ll sign-up. At every point in my computer-life history, I’ve used the most up-to-the-minute services and websites if they help me do what I want to do. That also means that I’m forever canceling and culling my subscriptions to these sites and ‘Here’s our new features’ emails. Deleting old accounts, erasing my usage history, and obliterating my connections to things I don’t use is a weekly affair.

Right now, I’m using what I want, what I need, and what I can put up with. A hard balance. I’m always interested in the solutions other people find to their problems, so I thought I’d join that conversation by posting what I use, what I use it for, and why. You can spend a lifetime finding the right tool for the job. That journey has required a great deal of experimentation over the years.

(more…)

The ‘Assembly’ art project, a choreographed ‘mass visitation’ to disable a website

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have recently become a mainstream term: A large number of computers overload a server with traffic in the attempt to disable it. A DDoS event can also be coordinated in the vein of Internet art. During the middle of October, jstchilln.org, for a project by Brad Troemel, proposed

“to drain the maximum amount of bandwidth or potentially freeze the website to a standstill […] On November 1st we encourage you to open as many tabs of Jstchillin.org as possible and leave them open all day. In doing so, participants may group together to temporarily remove this website’s existence on the Internet, putting a halt to its undesired effects on our community and the world at large.

A vote was taken to decide what website to ‘visit.’ What happened?

I had been following thejogging after discovering ‘Perfo Rmanceart‘, a Facebook user who conducted interesting and obnoxious online experiments like spamming the Guggenheim Museum’s Facebook page with links. thejogging was a stream of interesting experiments so when I saw the above page I went into my RSS reader and recorded the site’s final moments:

[iframe http://player.vimeo.com/video/18349005?byline=0&portrait=0&color=ffffff 563 422]

This kind of experiment interests me because it pushes the boundaries of Internet freedom and Internet art in a very public and well-documented way. In light of the DDoS attacks between Tumblr & 4chan and the more politically-motivated attacks against Paypal & Mastercard in response to their stance towards Wikileaks, this project is extremely interesting. Below is a bit more about this work:

  1. The artist’s statement at the beginning of the project
  2. A chronology of events and an essay written post-project: ‘Notes on Assembly’
  3. Brief interview with the artist, Brad Troemel, 12/2010.

(more…)

Geocities offered as 900GB torrent

Update: The torrent (641 GB) is here. And also available at Reocities.com.

I love this kind of stuff:

But you see, websites and hosting services should not be “fads” any more than forests and cities should be fads – they represent countless hours of writing, of editing, of thinking, of creating. They represent their time, and they represent the thoughts and dreams of people now much older, or gone completely.  There’s history here. Real, honest, true history.  So Archive Team did what it could, as well as other independent teams around the world, and some amount of Geocities was saved.

How much? We’ll never know. One of the Archive Team members called Yahoo! to find out the size and was rebuffed. When we called later in the year to ask exactly when the site was going down on October 26th, we were told that the person who spoke to us last had been let go. It must be like spring break down at that place.

But we know we got a bunch of Geocities sites – a significant percentage, especially of earlier, pre-acquisition data. We archived it as best we could, we compared notes, we merged and double-checked and did whatever needed to be done with what we happened to have.

So now, on this one-year anniversary, Archive Team announces that we are going to torrent it.

YES THAT IS RIGHT, WE ARE RELEASING GEOCITIES ON A TORRENT.

To be notified when the torrent is released, send an email to geotorrent@textfiles.com. Mash on the spinning molecule above to see the sort of beauty that has just been saved.

Cue the memories:

A case for deleting our pasts

In Andrew Sniderman’s ‘My Beef with Gmail‘ he writes:

The hidden danger of Gmail is that it creates a link to the past that is too strong, too convenient. Our mistakes and our frailties lie right below the surface, revisited with ease. It is possible that Gmail users who don’t delete their messages have created their very own historical panopticons. We may be able to see our entire written record, but it also looks at us. Preservation gives the past more weight than it sometimes deserves.

There’s something to be said for more forcefully living in the now by automatically deleting everything over a year old on all accounts: who needs old tweets, emails, or text messages? Any platform that involves an ‘archive’ should have a ‘don’t delete this’ checkbox. After a year passes WHOOSH. Whoosh being the sound of the unprotected messages vaporizing. I believe this is also the sound of being encouraged to move on into the now.

It’ll reduce the acres of server farms necessary to keep your past alive and speed up all queries made into your past.  Of course I understand the need for a reflective journal and personal letters. A majority of the content deleted will be Bacn anyways. Time to slice up the “infallible memory”:

The obvious solution, of course, is to delete. Yet my index finger still quivers above my mouse when I ready an archival guillotine. Somehow Gmail has managed to make trashing messages feel like an act of cowardice. Gmail earns our appreciation for the small conveniences of infallible memory, but we ignore the virtues of forgetting.

We cannot lament all footprints that fade in a snowstorm.

Lamest ad ever (Phoenix NAP)

Phoenix%20NAP%20:%20Security%20Contact

spotted here.

I hate advertising…

The Beautiful Brain

Site of the week! (a non-recurring weekly feature on Moneydick.com)

The Beautiful Brain

The Beautiful Brain explores the latest findings from the ever-growing field of neuroscience through monthly podcasts, essays, reviews, galleries and more, with particular attention to the dialogue between the arts and sciences. The site illuminates important new questions about creativity, the mind of the artist, and the mind of the observer that modern neuroscience is helping us to answer, or at least to provide part of an answer. Instances where art seeks to answer questions of a traditionally scientific nature are also of great interest, and for that reason you will hear from artists as well as scientists on The Beautiful Brain.

Their most recent post: “Exquisite Data: a Review of Cajal’s Butterflies of the Soul” is completely RAD.

I recently worked on plopping in a new WordPress theme, various voodoo, and awesomification:

The%20Beautiful%20Brain%20%7C%20Art%20and%20Science%20of%20the%20Human%20Mind%20:%20The%20Beautiful%20Brain