Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When Humans Ruled The Earth

The advent of internet dating is the point of speciation between humans and cyborgs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Look Around You/ Look Straight Upward

Look around you.

Mistakes have the potential to occupy a good percentage of your thought in the aftermath. You can replay the events over and over again from slightly different angles looking for insight.

Maybe you should have told him/her the truth.
Maybe you should have asked better questions.
Maybe you should have left it alone.
Maybe you should have stretched beforehand.
Maybe you should have just stayed in bed that day.

But after looking at it from the point of view of every detail you can recall, the peripheral stuff just fades away and all you're left with is feeling the impact over and over until there is no more sensation and the wound is healed.

Look straight upward.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get Out Your Phones and Hold Hands in a Circle for the Augmented Reality Seance

Glen Toothman hopes to revolutionize your experience of mourning for the dead with his product, the Memory Medallion. He has begun selling attractive metallic buttons to be attached to grave markers, which house barcodes. When the barcode is scanned by a smartphone the visitor will gain access to a website with photographs, biography, a 1000 word story and a short video put together by family.

If his plan catches on in the deathcare business, the etched dash between birth and death dates will be replaced by snapshots of vacations and family reunions reanimated to the gentle beat of The Beatles' "In My Life".

This brings too much life into cemeteries. There is comfort and harsh truth within the lifelessness of tombstones. It's a place where we can remember someone who once was, but more importantly, it is a sanctuary for the process of letting go and accepting their absence.

If the memory medallion catches on, our cemeteries will be haunted by digital ghosts. Limited and unambiguous summaries of the person's character will be comprised of a dozen photos and a video montage. Our deceased loved ones will become immutable music videos and nothing more. Happy and hollow tributes void of nuance will disturb the silent tranquility of lawn, granite, and shedding magnolia and will possess our phones like demons wearing the false faces of our departed loved ones.

Tombstones should not be subject to outdated technology.

Tombstones should not project candy-coated obituaries.

Tombstones should be the fossilized remains of a memory of a memory.

(Note to my next of kin: That, being said, let's hack the shit out of that technology. Anyone walking by my grave should feel their phone vibrating in their pocket as they receive a beyond-the-grave collect call from an artificial intelligence replica of my voice complete with all my most unpleasant personality traits and opinions.)

((Real note to my next of kin: just kidding. You know I want to be cremated and blasted into space like James Doohan.))

Quoting Stephen Hawking Makes You Right

We continue to misinterpret Stephen Hawking's ideas to fuel our own agendas.

It's bad enough that he has had to sit quietly while his ideas have been turned into premises for unsciency sci-fi action movies...

...but now we have Christians praying for his soul and atheists waving his name around like a victory flag over the proclamations of headlines.

"Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe" - CNN.com

"God did not create the universe, says Hawking" - Yahoo! News

"God Has No Role in Universe, Says Stephen Hawking" AOL News

"Somebody's Going To Hell! Stephen Hawking: "God Not Necessary" Geelkologie

Stephen Hawking: God did not create UFO Digest

Stephen Hawking U-turns on God's creation of Universe" Wired

"Stephen Hawking changes tune on God" USA Today

"Hawking: Religion will be defeated by science" cnet.com

"Stephen Hawking Settles the God Question Once and For All " Discover

My understanding is this: In his 1988 book, "A Brief History Of Time" he said that one's belief in human evolution and faith in a Christian God were not necessarily mutually exclusive. In 2010 he said that the physics of gravity allow for the Big Bang to happen spontaneously, and thus it does not necessitate a God to ignite the first spark.

Neither of these statements reveals anything about Hawking's alleged religious faith or lack thereof.

A super-genius cyborg made a statement regarding the Universe on an inhumanly enormous scale, and journalists turned it into a human interest piece.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Instantaneous Engineer

Consider the following excerpt from HG Well’s The Time Machine.

“You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness nil, has no real existence…Neither has a mathematical plane. These are mere abstractions.”

“That’s all right,” said the Psychologist.

“Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence.”

“There I object,” said Filby. “Of course a solid body may exist. All real things..."

“But wait a moment. Can an instantaneous cube exist?”

“Don’t follow you,” said Filby.

“Can a cube that does not last for any time at all, have a real existence?”

I am not a daydreamer. I am an Instantaneous Engineer. I plan and build intricate mechanisms, complete in their gears and function, existing in all 3 spatial dimensions fully formed and yet not materialized by duration. I invent and follow my inventions along their tangent timeline to their logical end and the change/ruin they bring onto society. Then I backtrack to the same moment of conception and pull my creation back out of the world, never to solidify.

My instantaneous creations are devastating so I spin them only onto paper, recount only the vaguest of hints at the destruction they wreak when they endure. I should let them dissolve completely, but in my vanity I doodle their caricatures in tight margins and bury their codex under my pillow to comfort me while I dream dreams I will never recall.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Fun With The Crystallizing Universe!

Dear Scientists,

A few months ago I proposed a theory that what we experience as passing time is actually the crystallization of the universe. My friend Trilety was kind enough to let me know that I didn't think of that one. Actual scientists like yourselves, George F. R. Ellis of University of Capetown and Tony Rothman of Princeton University, beat me to this idea back in December of last year with their paper, Time and Spacetime: The Crystallizing Block Universe.

Apparently, I read this at the time it was published and it seemed so much like one of my fake ideas that that's where my brain filed it. Sorry.

But while I have your attention, maybe I can throw out some more related ideas and you can take them or leave them based on how well you think they fit your real science. Here we go:

We both agree that he present is the freezing point at which the past crystallizes out of the future, but what if it isn't instantaneous? What if it happens in a short but gradual duration like the dendritic growth process of solidifying crystals, reaching like angular limbs out of the liquid of infinite possibilities. Steadily the limbs grasp onto each other and grow, solidifying into a beautiful, unchangeable geometric patterns. No pattern can be determined until after the moment has ceased shifting into our consensus reality.

This makes me think about how confusing and amorphous the experience of the present is in moments of great change. For instance, during the events of 9/11 I felt like there were thousands of possibilities colliding at once, anyone or anything was responsible for the disaster simultaneously, until a Declaration of Reality was announced on the radio declaring a culprit and the unsteady plasma of undetermined reality cooled into President Bush's desired shape. History was written as such, and time moved on.

The question is this: Can we take a pickaxe to the past and crack it wide open again to reflect the future's absurdity onto the past? Can we destroy the solidity of the past leaving us afloat in the undetermined, where all possibilities and impossibilities co-exist?

To live in the future is to be many places at once.

To live in the past is to be frozen/catatonic/paralyzed.

To live in the present is to live blindly and infinitely.

I don't think we have to choose between these options. To be complete and well-balanced people we can switch tracks for differing Time Points Of View. We are able to jump back and forth like switching songs on a record for alternate perspectives on the events that surround us, but we must always remember to return to the present from time to time.


The present is the only instant in which we can enact change!

And how do we navigate time efficiently in a world where it all looks completely different as viewed from past, present or future.?

Picture this: a 4D computer model that maps every possible fissure in the amorphous future. We can now see every concievable outcome of every concieveable choice laid out face up before us like a gigantic deck of cards.

Now pick a card.

Choose wisely. Look carefully at them all and choose the one that looks like the future you want to live in. Now, in order to make that dream come true all you need to do is trace the path of choices backward to the present and concentrate on making your life match that path as best as you can.

Do we already have a program that is capable of such computation?

Yes. It's called your brain!

Navigating the desired path among infinite futures is exactly what our brain has evolved to do and it is the exact evolutionary purpose of imagination. So allocate your internal RAM to this application, readjust the settings as choose what shape you want the future of our world to crystallize into.

Got it? As scientists I am sure that you will be able to fold these explosions of concepts into a cohesive and testable hypothesis. I look forward to reading about your results on the web.


Richard R. Penner

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mo Cap Romance

Lonely male researchers at Northumbria University in Britain recently launched an investigation into how they should dance in order to best attract women. The scientists took anonymous motion capture footage of men dancing in order to remove confusing variables such as social status, height, athletic physique, winning smile, perfect hair, or a competent grasp on contemporary fashion. With the digital avatars now on equal playing field with the scientists, the motion capture footage was shown to to women to be rated for sex appeal.

The researchers are now practicing gyrating with "a high degree of variability and amplitude of movements of the head and pelvis."

Next, they plan on studying the sex appeal of female dance by dressing women in spandex motion capture suits and having them dance in their lab while they film them; which is, in theory, a much better way for the scientists to meet women.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Night of the Living Word

The Florida preacher has cancelled his plans to burn copies of the quran on the 9th anniversary of the attacks on September 11th. President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates impressed upon the Rev. Terry Jones that this act would result in more violence and terrorism.

Burning books can ignite wars, but you can delete a hundred thousand bible.pdf's with no effect on the real world. Both printed books and e-books are easily duplicated, exist in millions of backup copies all over the world, and the information that defines each will not be permanently lost from the destruction of a few symbolic copies. What makes these acts different? What is it that imbues the physical object of the book and the act of incineration with such power?

If burning a book is like sacrificing a beloved but abundant animal, deleting a file is akin to recycling an empty can of beans. There are no emotional repercussions because a digital file is lifeless. Both contain the same information, but where exactly where does the life that is extinguished in a physical book's destruction reside? Does the living word reanimate the dessicated wood pulp within the page? Is the soul of language sleeping within the curves of the ink letters or born of the ritualistic actions that a pen or printing press must go through to conjure the symbols onto paper? The data spreadsheet resulting from the Human Genome Project is not the same as the first cry of a newborn human baby, and so perhaps we are similarly aware that ones and zeros only ever amount to a blue print, and that pixels are mere simulation.

Would we mourn for Wikipedia as we did for the Library of Alexandria?

Once we create a digital file worth crying or killing over we will know we have achieved Artificial Life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take 007 mg Twice Daily Or As Needed

James Bond's debonair, suave calm under the most deadly of situations is less impressive when you consider that a man in his line of work would be prescribed some serious beta blockers.

Take into account that he was on performance enhancing drugs for "cool".

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Formal Attire. Casual Anarchy.
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Here at R!R!R! we believe that T-shirts are inner wear. They are powerful totems you carry with you beneath your formal attire. Colored ink seeps into the cotton and sinks deep into the flesh surrounding your heart to inflame your internal strength. The printed image may express any number of images or messages that speak to the core of who you are, so keep those statements hidden under your dress shirt. Your T-shirt is a superhero uniform emblazoned with the logo of your true name. Don't show off your superpowers and never speak of your secret identity in public. Only whisper it privately to those proud few who have the privilege of removing your clothing.

Speaking your true name aloud will only weaken it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dreams Are Looking For a Few Ambitious Hackers.

Dreams are clues to personal potential, but they also hint at our potential as an evolving race of post-human cyborgs. Dreams are perfect for hacking. They are the biological half of a neural interface to a shared, interactive cyberspace (one that will actually appear spacial!)

The reason that dreams seem so strange is that the server is down, and will remain down until we can build it.

Dreams are a placeholder for something great to come. What we get when we lay our heads on the un-sync-able ipod dock of our pillows at night is a glitchy feedback loop. Echoes upon echoes of our own psyche are amplified back onto themselves ad infinitum, stretching ourselves and our most meaningful memories into grotesque or sentimental parodies of themselves.

When we sleep we are standing between two parallel funhouse mirrors, unaware that we are lost in a maze. We will each continue to stare at our unfamiliar selves until technology helps us locate each other. Together we can navigate out of this maddening funhouse into a world of limitless possibilities.

This year, millions all over the world went to see Inception and Avatar. And when that infernal top refused to tumble, Nolan buried deep in our minds this idea: the closest thing we currently have to a shared dreamstate is when we convene in the cushioned seats of the cinema. Christopher Nolan and James Cameron are the architects of intricate dreamworlds that nearly the entire world entered into and played out the same experiences. The dreams they created seemed to be pointing toward what dreams are capable of becoming. If we want more we need to build a neural interface, lie down at the roots of the Pandora in-tree-net and log in to a world where cubicles fade away and we can all ride our dragons in aerial synchronicity.