[ B l o g / / Archive]

Sudo Sandwich Bot 
This week in "It Came From The Internets":

sudo: a unix shell command which runs commands following it with as the "super user" account.

sandwich: a quick and tasty snack.

xkcd: an internet comic for nerds.

The brilliant minds at NYC Resistor have taken this XKCD comic and made it real.


The Grimace Project: Great Cartoon Emotion Generator 
Grimace is a free Flash-based web component which displays emotions through facial expressions of a comic-like face. It is based on the idea that the face can serve as an accurate representative of emotional information, which is difficult to express verbally.

The face is simple yet highly expressive and can represent subtle emotional changes through arbitrary blending of 6 basic emotions. The design is derived from the book Making Comics by Scott McCloud. Possible applications include experimental research settings and the augmentation of textual descriptions on websites with emotional information.


Spirituality and Indiana Jones 
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this series is that, if you watch the films in sequential order—the second film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), is actually a prequel that takes place one year before Raiders—you can chart a spiritual journey of sorts from paganism to Judaism to Christianity and, now, alas, to some sort of post-religious, pseudo-scientific, New Age sensibility. In a strangely microcosmic and presumably unintentional form, the spiritual journey of Indiana Jones happens to match that of the civilization which produced him.

Smell: Brain Encodes Complex Plumes Of Odors With A Simple Code 
In the real world, odors don't happen one puff at a time. Animals move through, and subsequently distort, plumes of odor molecules that constantly drift, changing direction as the wind disperses them. Now, by exploring how animals smell odors under naturalistic conditions, Rockefeller University scientist Maria Neimark Geffen and her colleagues reveal that the brain encodes these swirling, and complex patterns of molecules using surprisingly little neural machinery.

Gender and "Great American Novel" 
Why is it that novels about men in boats (Moby-Dick, Huckleberry Finn) are treated as important, while ones about women in houses (House of Mirth) are not?

A grand theory of suicide? 
Most people who commit suicide have a mental disorder - anorexia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder are the most common, but an elevated suicide risk is part and parcel of many of the others, too. People who kill themselves also generally feel deeply depressed and hopeless at the time.

What the statistics do not tell us - and what psychologists most want to know - is exactly which people are most at risk. The vast majority of depressed, hopeless people do not commit suicide, so why do some do it?

In 2005, psychologist Thomas Joiner, a suicide specialist at Florida State University in Tallahassee whose own father committed suicide, set out to answer that question. By studying suicide statistics and paying particular attention to the groups with above average rates, Joiner believes he has found a common thread others have missed. "It was the first grand theory of suicide in quite a while," says Nock.

Ground Zero: Nuke your neighbourhood 
This mapplet shows the thermal damage caused by a nuclear explosion. Search for a place, pick a suitable weapon and press "Nuke It!"

Glitch Art: Flickr pool 

Watching boomers in turmoil is worth a recession 
Baby Boomers had it all: the jobs, the safe money, luxurious retirement at 55. Watching it fall apart can be amusing for their children...

1996: Jurassic Web 
The Internet of 1996 is almost unrecognizable compared with what we have today.
It's 1996, and you're bored. What do you do? If you're one of the lucky people with an AOL account, you probably do the same thing you'd do in 2009: Go online. Crank up your modem, wait 20 seconds as you log in, and there you are—"Welcome." You check your mail, then spend a few minutes chatting with your AOL buddies about which of you has the funniest screen name (you win, pimpodayear94). Then you load up Internet Explorer, AOL's default Web browser. Now what?

New Fish Species Bounces Like Ball On Seafloor 
Members of Histiophryne psychedelica, or H. psychedelica, don't so much swim as hop. Each time they strike the seafloor they use their fins to push off and they expel water from tiny gill openings on their sides to jettison themselves forward. With tails curled tightly to one side –which surely limits their ability to steer – they look like inflated rubber balls bouncing hither and thither.


The Long Story Of The Cardboard Box From The Sky / Part 4 
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It's really a long story.

Burning Questions: What Does Economic "Recovery" Mean on an Extreme Weather Planet? 
It turns out that you don't want to be a former city dweller in rural parts of southernmost Australia, a stalk of wheat in China or Iraq, a soybean in Argentina, an almond or grape in northern California, a cow in Texas, or almost anything in parts of east Africa right now. Let me explain.

As anyone who has turned on the prime-time TV news these last weeks knows, southeastern Australia has been burning up. It's already dry climate has been growing ever hotter. "The great drying," Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery calls it. At its epicenter, Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever this month at a sweltering 115.5 degrees, while temperatures soared even higher in the surrounding countryside. After more than a decade of drought, followed by the lowest rainfall on record, the eucalyptus forests are now burning. To be exact, they are now pouring vast quantities of stored carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas considered largely responsible for global warming, into the atmosphere.

In fact, everything's been burning there. Huge sheets of flame, possibly aided and abetted by arsonists, tore through whole towns. More than 180 people are dead and thousands homeless. Flannery, who has written eloquently about global warming, drove through the fire belt, and reported:

"It was as if a great cremation had taken place... I was born in Victoria, and over five decades I've watched as the state has changed. The long, wet and cold winters that seemed insufferable to me as a boy vanished decades ago, and for the past 12 years a new, drier climate has established itself... I had not appreciated the difference a degree or two of extra heat and a dry soil can make to the ferocity of a fire. This fire was different from anything seen before."

Australia, by the way, is a wheat-growing breadbasket for the world and its wheat crops have been hurt in recent years by continued drought.

Meanwhile, central China is experiencing the worst drought in half a century. Temperatures have been unseasonably high and rainfall, in some areas, 80% below normal; more than half the country's provinces have been affected by drought, leaving millions of Chinese and their livestock without adequate access to water. In the region which raises 95% of the country's winter wheat, crop production has already been impaired and is in further danger without imminent rain. All of this represents a potential financial catastrophe for Chinese farmers at a moment when about 20 million migrant workers are estimated to have lost their jobs in the global economic meltdown. Many of those workers, who left the countryside for China's booming cities (and remitted parts of their paychecks to rural areas), may now be headed home jobless to potential disaster. A Wall Street Journal report concludes, "Some scientists warn China could face more frequent droughts as a result of global warming and changes in farming patterns."

Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie: The Subject of Language 

India's euphoria: "Aren't our slum people the world's best?" 
India's euphoria at Slumdog Millionaire's Oscars reveals much about its national character.

Postmodern Racism 
Zizek contends that today's racism is just as reflexive as every other part of postmodern life. It is not the product of ignorance in the way it used to be. So, whereas racism used to involve a claim that another ethnic group is inherently inferior to our own, racism is now articulated in terms of a respect for another's culture. Instead of "My culture is better than yours", postmodern or reflexive racism will argue that "My culture is different from yours". As an example of this Zizek asks "was not the official argument for apartheid in the old South Africa that black culture should be preserved in its uniqueness, not dissipated in the Western melting-pot? (The Fragile Absolute, or Why the Christian Legacy is Worth Fighting For) For him, what is at stake here is the fethishistic disawoval of cynicism: "I know very well that all ethnic cultures are equal in value, yet, nevertheless, I will act as if mine is superior". The split here between the subject of enunciated ("I know very well...") and the subject of the enunciation ("...nevertheless I act as if I didn't") is even preserved when racists are asked to explain the reasons for their behavior. A racist will blame his socio-economic environment, poor childhood, peer group pressure, and so on, in such a way as to suggest to Zizek that he cannot help being racist, but is merely a victim of circumstances. Thus postmodern racists are fully able to rationalize their behavior in a way that belies the traditional image of racism as the vocation of the ignorant.

Release Festivities for Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector 2 
monochrom content info
An adventure marches on! Let the proletarians sing with joy! Let us celebrate a glorious triumph!
Where? When?

At Chez Poulet (3359 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco, so-called "United States of America")

Saturday, March 7, 2009. 8 PM.

His Excellency Commissar Nikita Perostek Chrusov will be giving a speech and demonstration! Music! Dance! Dialectics!

Filthy $5 entry fee (but no one turned away, comrades!)

Link to SUZ game page (but Sector 2 is not yet available online)
Facebook Event link
Upcoming Event link

Roboexotica 2008 on Boing Boing Video 
monochrom content info
Boing Boing video features Roboexotica 2008.
Robots that serve cocktails. That's the premise behind the Roboexotica festival in Vienna, Austria, which unites two things cherished by nerds around the globe -- alcohol and DIY robotics.

Eddie Codel and monochrom's Johannes Grenzfurthner were there, and shot video of the proceedings (and the drinkings, and the fallings, and the weirdness) for us to enjoy. So, enjoy. And do not drive or operate heavy machinery after doing so.


Sleep Deprivation Could Cause Mental Illness 
Take anyone with a psychiatric disorder and the chances are they don't sleep well. The result of their illness, you might think. Now this long-standing assumption is being turned on its head, with the radical suggestion that poor sleep might actually cause some psychiatric illnesses or lead people to behave in ways that doctors mistake for mental problems.

Waiting for "The Final Plague" 
We should be and we can be doing a much better job to predict and prevent pandemics. But the really bold idea is that we could reach a point—and this is a distant point in the future—where we become so good at this that we really reach a point where we have the "final plague," and where we are really capable of catching so many of these things that new pandemics become an oddity. I think that is something that we should certainly have as an ideal.

Obama's Elf 
... he doesn"t want to be Obama's Elf anymore:

monochrom / press review collection 2008 
monochrom content info
Finally, in case you are interested: a collection of 2008 monochrom press reviews.
Link (PDF)

Love on Twitter 

Blackwater and Friends: No Mercy for Mercenaries 
After raking in more than a billion dollars from its contracts in Iraq, Blackwater is finally being forced to leave the country that it has terrorised for so long. But the notorious mercenary firm's departure will likely have more symbolic significance than any real impact on the day-to-day lives of Iraqis.

First, only Blackwater as a corporate entity - which just changed its name to Xe in an effort to shake its bad reputation - is being given the boot. Iraqi officials have said that its operatives will be allowed to stay in the country by switching companies, as long as they have clean records. While this sounds reasonable, making that determination will be next to impossible. According to US officials and the contractors themselves, the actual number of shootings in Iraq by private military companies is far higher than is publicly acknowledged and they are rarely reported by the individuals involved.

Second, Blackwater never was a lone bad apple. The entire mercenary industry is rotten and needs to be discarded. Consider Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, the two mercenary outfits that will be filling the hole left by Blackwater. In 1999, for example, Dyncorp employees were implicated in a sex ring in Bosnia that involved the trafficking of women and children as young as 12 years old. When whistleblowers came forward to expose these heinous crimes, they were promptly fired.

And there is no sign that firm has cleaned up its act in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US state department has repeatedly rebuked Dyncorp for being unprofessional and "too aggressive". In one embarrassing incident, a BBC correspondent actually saw a guard from the company slap the Afghan transport minister.

Natural antifreeze may keep Mars running with water 
There's nothing like a little antifreeze to thaw out a frozen planet. Thanks to chemicals called perchlorates, liquid water may play a bigger role on Mars than expected, which is good news for the search for life.

An Alienation Artist: Kafka and His Critics 
The most common complaint among revisionist biographers and doting critics of Franz Kafka is that, in the eighty-odd years since his death, the deification of the writer has reduced his work to the level of the aphorism. If Kafka has not yet found his way onto the walls of every dentist's waiting room, the photograph of his stony countenance and doleful eyes, so frequently invoked as a stand-in for his vision of the world, sometimes seems to be everywhere else, including the cover of novelist Louis Begley's recent book-length biographical essay on Kafka, The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head. His stories are still read widely--less so his novels--but have in the popular imagination been subsumed by a one-word slogan: Kafkaesque. That grainy likeness is its logo.

Jane Austen's Bennet girls go zombie slaying 
It is a truth commercially acknowledged that Jane Austen's high-spirited heroines can be recast as Hollywood brats or Bollywood sirens, wittily navigating the eternal perils of class, romance and unworthy men.

Few challenges, however, are as unusual as the latest foe facing Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice – a plague of the undead sent to reduce the picturesque villages of Longbourn and Meryton to smouldering ruins.

Hollywood studios are bidding to turn a radical reworking of Austen's most popular book, now called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a parody to be published in April, into a blockbuster movie.

Desperate for new ideas, studio chiefs hope "P&P&Z" will mark the bloody birth of a feral offspring of classic British literature: "monster-lit".

The Long Story Of The Cardboard Box From The Sky / Part 3 
monochrom content info
It's really a long story.

Roivoire's Scarflettes! 
Ooh... beautiful stuff. Check out roivoire's Etsy shop.


50% of Charges Against Pirate Bay Dropped 
There has been high drama on the second day of the Pirate Bay trial. Due to serious shortcomings in the prosecution evidence, around 50% of the charges in the case are going to have to be withdrawn. The defense describes it as a 'sensation', seeing half of the charges being dropped on the second day.

Will Technology Make Movie Stars Obsolete? 
Nearly an hour of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button only seems like it has Brad Pitt in it. What the audience is really seeing is computer wizardry. So: How long before Hollywood decides that living, breathing movie stars are no longer necessary?

Human Evolution: Last-Minute Changes 
Scientific orthodoxy says that human evolution stopped a long time ago. Did it?
The debate over the validity of evolutionary theory may be real enough when it comes to religious belief and cultural outlook. But it has nothing to do with science. No evidence seriously contradicts the idea that the plant and animal species found on Earth today are descended from common ancestors that existed long ago. Indeed, the evidence for natural selection is infinitely stronger than it was when Charles Darwin proposed it 150 years ago, mainly because later discoveries in the field of genetics supplied the biological mechanisms to explain the patterns that Darwin and his contemporaries were observing.

But scientists do disagree over the pace and time-span of human evolution. Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending begin "The 10,000 Year Explosion" with a remark from the paleontologist Stephen J. Gould, who said that "there's been no biological change in humans for 40,000 or 50,000 years." They also cite the evolutionist Ernst Mayr, who agrees that "man's evolution towards manness suddenly came to a halt" in the same epoch. Such claims capture the consensus in anthropology, too, which dates the emergence of "behaviorally modern humans" -- beings who acted much more like us than like their predecessors -- to about 45,000 years ago.

The Best Conservative Movies 
Fuck... 'cause some of them I really like.

Cotton candy may help grow human tissue 
Cotton candy may have found a new role: helping scientists grow replacement tissues for people.

Hamsters On Treadmills Provide Electricity Through Use Of Nanogenerators 
Could hamsters help solve the world's energy crisis? Probably not, but a hamster wearing a power-generating jacket is doing its own small part to provide a new and renewable source of electricity.


Facebook's New TOS: "We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever." 
monochrom content info
The Consumerist reports:
Facebook's terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.
Well, I guess I have to remind you about our micro-music myfacespace... you know.

"Eskimo" words for Snow 
Stuart P. Derby discusses what is probably the most often mentioned factoid in folklore linguistics, the great number of words for "snow" in the "Eskimo language":
Does "Eskimo" REALLY have some megaboss number of words for snow? Well that depends on what "megaboss" means, of course. And it also depends on what language you decide is "Eskimo". The dialects spoken by coastal native peoples from the east of Siberia to Greenland are classed as Eskimo, but many scholars divide them into two languages, Yupik and Inuit, with some scholars further sub-dividing these dialects. Inuit (also called Inupik) is the best candidate from a folkloric point of view, being spoken most widely, from Greenland to northeastern Alaska, having been written earlier (1742), having about twice as many speakers, and having had longer and greater contact with "Western Civilization". (Greenlandic Inuit contains 4 words borrowed from medieval Norse.[1])
Derby counts 10 words for snow and ice in Labradoran Inuit and 49 words for snow and ice from West Greenlandic.


Iraqi National Museum, Badly Looted After Invasion, To Reopen 
The long-awaited reopening marks a milestone in the government's efforts to retrieve and preserve artifacts and archaeological sites from Iraq's history after almost six years of theft, destruction and violence. [...] Officials have since struggled to rebuild the museum's collection, recouping about a third of what was looted.

Jerry Lewis' Typewriter 
Certainly a masterpiece.


Fever Vs. Cancer 
Conventional wisdom long held that the human immune system was no match for cancer. Born of native cells, the logic went, cancer fooled the immune system into concluding it was harmless. Thus protected from attack, cancer easily thrived until its host died.

A deeper understanding of our biological defenses has changed that. The human immune system does battle cancer. But we could better optimize our defenses to fend off malignant disease. That's clear from cancer treatments attempted in New York City and Germany as early as the 19th century. Those experiments and other undervalued evidence from the medical literature suggest that acute infection—in contrast to chronic infection, which sometimes causes cancer—can help a body fight tumors.

It's not the pathogens that do the good work. But the way our bodies respond to the pathogens is key. Infection events, especially those that produce fever, appear to shift the innate human immune system into higher gear. That ultimately improves the performance of crucial biological machinery in the adaptive immune system. This lesson comes, partly, from doctors who risked making patients sicker to try to make them better.

Go: Computers conquer the final frontier 
Go -- the Asian board game once thought too complex for computers to master -- is finally succumbing to silicon power. Today at AAAS, a computer program bested an American professional.

The loser, James Kerwin, played with a sizeable handicap, but computer programs are getting better by the week, says Robert Hearn, a mathematician at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire. Based on predictable advances in computing power, he reckons that a program will beat the best professional Go players within 28 years.

Hackers and technology in the Amish community 
Kevin Kelly writes about how the Amish, usually thought to be Luddites, adopt modern technology:
Ivan is an Amish alpha-geek. He is always the first to try a new gadget or technique. He gets in his head that the new flowbitzmodulator would be really useful. He comes up with a justification of how it fits into the Amish orientation. So he goes to his bishop with this proposal: "I like to try this out." Bishop says to Ivan, "Okay Ivan, do whatever you want with this. But you have to be ready to give it up, if we decide it is not helping you or hurting others." So Ivan acquires the tech and ramps it up, while his neighbors, family, and bishops watch intently. They weigh the benefits and drawbacks. What is it doing to the community? Cell phone use in the Amish began that way. According to anecdote, the first Amish alpha geeks to request permission to use cell phones were two ministers who were also contractors. The bishops were reluctant to give permission but suggested a compromise: keep the cell phones in the vans of the drivers. The van would be a mobile phone shanty. Then the community would watch the contractors. It seemed to work so others early adopters picked it up. But still at any time, even years later, the bishops can say no.

Ask the GOP oracle 
Really. Try.
Link (via lx_barth)

Cold War Unicorn Set 

Purpose, Meaning & Darwinism 
Mary Midgley meditates on mind and meaning among the mutations.

Uranium Poisoning Treatment Developed 
The use of uranium as a nuclear fuel and in weapons increases the risk that people may come into contact with it, and the storage of radioactive uranium waste poses an additional environmental risk. However, radioactivity is not the only problem related to contact with uranium; the toxicity of this metal is generally more dangerous to human health.

Researchers led by Chuan He at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory (USA) have now developed a protein that binds to uranium selectively and tightly. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, it is based on a bacterial nickel-binding protein.


Decoding Sarkozy 
Alain Badiou's book on Sarkozy reveals the philosopher's own advocacy of change based in reality, which is beginning to displace the old 'new philosophy' of Bernard-Henri Lévy et al.
During the French presidential election campaign of 2007, there was a murmuring of something beyond the Sarko-Ségo fanfare. Audible enough to shake up the blogosphere, and much to the delight of his students, Alain Badiou decided to dedicate his seminars at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure in Paris to the campaign and its result. These seminars were published by Nouvelles Editions Lignes under the title De Quoi Sarkozy Est-il le Nom? They have now been published in English by Verso as The Meaning of Sarkozy.

"Advertisement Age" about BB/Cheetos/monochrom 
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Advertisement Age reports about the BB/Cheetos/monochrom story.

The Long Story Of The Cardboard Box From The Sky / Part 2 
monochrom content info
It's really a long story.

Photorealistic paintings of dishes and a dishwasher 

Wikipedia, echo chamber of verifiability 
From slashdot:
"Germany has a new minister of economic affairs. Mr. von und zu Guttenberg is descended from an old and noble lineage, so his official name is very long: Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg. When first there were rumors that he would be appointed to the post, someone changed his Wikipedia entry and added the name 'Wilhelm,' so Wikipedia stated his full name as: Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Wilhelm Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg. What resulted from this edit points up a big problem for our information society (in German; Google translation). The German and international press picked up the wrong name from Wikipedia — including well-known newspapers, Internet sites, and TV news such as spiegel.de, Bild, heute.de, TAZ, or Süddeutsche Zeitung. In the meantime, the change on Wikipedia was reverted, with a request for proof of the name. The proof was quickly found. On spiegel.de an article cites Mr. von und zu Guttenberg using his 'full name'; however, while the quote might have been real, the full name seems to have been looked up on Wikipedia while the false edit was in place. So the circle was closed: Wikipedia states a false fact, a reputable media outlet copies the false fact, and this outlet is then used as the source to prove the false fact to Wikipedia."
Wikipedia has thus successfully created truth.

Georgi Arbatov discusses Putin's Russia, US foreign policy and nuclear proliferation 
From his country dacha, the Soviet Union's top America-watcher discusses Putin's Russia, US foreign policy and nuclear proliferation. (By Jonathan Power.)
Georgi Arbatov, the éminence grise of the Soviet foreign policy apparatus, was waiting for me at the bus stop an hour out of Moscow. A little bowed at 84, he grabbed me by the arm and leant on his homemade walking stick, cut from a nearby birch, and led me through the wood I had arrived in to a clearing in which stood a small, shabby block of flats, paint peeling in the entrance, a year's dust and leaves on the staircase. Like his mentor, Yuri Andropov, the former KGB chief and later head of the Soviet Union, Arbatov has always shunned many of the perks of the apparatchiks, content with a modest flat in the city and this "dacha" in the countryside.

We talked, as we did 30 years ago, over vodka, coffee, cucumber and beetroot. The adviser to every Soviet president from Brezhnev to Gorbachev remains as lucid as he was when he told me in 1978 that if the west pursued a closer relationship with China, turning China "into some sort of military ally to the west"... then there would be "no place for détente."

Let the kids break it! For science! 
Neil DeGrasse Tyson, seems to be a great guy.


A True Shift: Food and Sex and Human Culture 
Of all the truly seismic shifts transforming daily life today — deeper than our financial fissures, wider even than our most obvious political and cultural divides — one of the most important is also among the least remarked. That is the chasm in attitude that separates almost all of us living in the West today from almost all of our ancestors, over two things without which human beings cannot exist: food and sex.

The question before us today is not whether the two appetites are closely connected. About that much, philosophers and other commentators have been agreed for a very long time. As far back as Aristotle, observers have made the same point reiterated in 1749 in Henry Fielding’s famous scene in Tom Jones: The desires for sex and for food are joined at the root. The fact that Fielding’s scene would go on to inspire an equally iconic movie segment over 200 years later, in the Tom Jones film from 1963, just clinches the point.
What happens when, for the first time in history, adult human beings are free to have all the sex and food they want?

Blog reactions: Boing Boing, Cheese and Us 
monochrom content info
Media agencies... reaction thingies:

Federated Media

Physics Experiment with Exploding Sledgehammer 

"Warning! This may be illegal and may be unsafe in your area. Please do not do this if it is unsafe or illegal!"


Parking ticket leads to a virus 
Hackers have discovered a new way of duping users onto fraudulent websites: fake parking tickets.
Link (via Franky)

Next Friday: Unix Time Number Reaches 1234567890 
Friday, February 13th 2009, 23:31:30 GMT... special point in time. Why? Unix Time reaches 1234567890. Let's party. (via metalab)

A World Without Time: the Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein 
Book by Palle Yourgrau.
Mathematician Kurt Godel is widely regarded for his 1931 incompleteness theorem, which found that not everything can be proved. Godel then turned his attention to time, a subject that he mulled over with his good friend and sometimes foil Albert Einstein, In 1949, Godel postulated a theorem that stated, "In any universe described by the theory of relativity, time cannot exist." The premise centers on the idea that if a spaceship goes fast enough, it can travel through the past, present, and future. If we can revisit the past, asserted Godel, then it never really passed. But a time that fails to pass is no time at all. Einstein was never able to refute Godel's idea. Yourgrau reports that no one else has done so, either, though, he acknowledges, few have tried. Although Godel's idea has been largely disregarded, Stephen Hawking has attempted to disprove it through his "chronology-protection conjecture." Yourgrau asserts that Godel was a truly subversive thinker, far ahead of his, and perhaps current, time, The author considers the validity of Gddel's idea and argues that mathematicians and physicists alike should revisit Godel's theorem. In doing so, the author provides fascinating insight about Godel's relationship with Einstein and how this contentious idea challenged and inspired them both.

Military Robots and the Laws of War 
It isn't just on the ground: military robots have been taking to the skies—and the seas and space, too. And the field is rapidly advancing. The robotic systems now rolling out in prototype stage are far more capable, intelligent, and autonomous than ones already in service in Iraq and Afghanistan. But even they are just the start. As one robotics executive put it at a demonstration of new military prototypes a couple of years ago, "The robots you are seeing here today I like to think of as the Model T. These are not what you are going to see when they are actually deployed in the field. We are seeing the very first stages of this technology." And just as the Model T exploded on the scene—selling only 239 cars in its first year and over one million a decade later—the demand for robotic warriors is growing very rapidly.

Zones of Proletarian Development 
Zones of Proletarian Development (by Mastaneh Shah-Shuja) is an attempt to theorise the anti-capitalist movement from a neo-Vygotskian perspective. Using Marx, Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Activity Theory it analyses a series of proletarian activities including recent May Day celebrations in London, carnivalesque football riots in Iran, the anti-poll-tax rebellion and the anti-war movement. It concludes by looking at past and current proletarian organisations and makes a number of proposals for future modes of organising conducive to radical consciousness and autonomous activity.


Stellar Dust Disaster 
Texas-size asteroids make for exciting summer blockbusters, but when it comes to long-term damage, they're not the most menacing threat out there. Lurking at the edge of our galaxy are giant molecular dust clouds -- agglomerations of hydrogen gas, small organic molecules and minerals -- roughly 150 light-years across. If our solar system hit one, it would take 100,000 years to pop out on the other side.

Do not push this button 

Defecating Birds: The Flickr Pool 

Female as a human enhancement? 
A rather nice argument by Robert Sparrow (A Melbourne based bioethicist) suggests that the transhumanist arguments that human enhancement is a moral imperative imply that we ought to use reproductive technology to ensure that our children are female rather than male.

The core of the argument is that women have a significant number of advantages over men in terms of longevity etc and given that we could do without men (using IVF etc) then the pro-enhancement argument implies we ought to do so. Full article here:
Men on a slippery slide in future hermaphrodite world

Vatican CSI: The Pope questions apparitions of Virgin, but only some 
This is just too precious: Pope Benedict XVI is about to release a handbook to distinguish genuine divine apparitions from fake ones. You see, the Church has counted 295 apparitions of the Virgin Mary between 1905 and 1995, but only 11 of these are considered "genuine." Funny, I would have ventured to say that they are all bogus, but clearly I'm not the Pope.

Benedict thinks that one can tell the difference between real and fake apparitions "with utmost rigour," and his new guidelines call for a series of steps to curtail false claims that might divert some faithful away from the Church and into (other) cults. Here are the steps that will be taken according to the Vatican's version of CSI (actually the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith):

To begin with, the Church will tell the alleged witnesses to simply shut up. If they don't comply, this will be taken as evidence that their claims are false. If you don't follow the logic, don't worry, it gets worse.

Next, the Vatican will call in some psychiatrists -- interestingly, either Catholic or atheists (what about Muslim or Jewish ones?) -- to certify that the visionaries are not nuts or hallucinating. (Good luck.)

Then the Church task force will consider the subject's education. You see, if they are too educated they may have had access to reports of previous apparitions, which would have given them the know-how for effective fakery. This essentially eliminates anyone with a computer that can do google or wiki searches.

If the alleged visionary has successfully passed the preliminary tests, then he or she will be questioned by, I kid you not, demonologists and exorcists -- just to make sure that the apparition is divine, and not a dirty trick perpetrated by good old Satan. The implication, of course, is that a relatively well educated person like the Pope actually believes in the literal existence of an actively plotting Satan. Oh boy.

Just in case you were wondering, by the way, today is not April 1st, and the above material is not taken from the Onion.

Great China earthquake may have been man-made 
Was last year's devastating China earthquake, which killed 80,000 people and left more than 5 million homeless, really just a tragic natural event? Speculation is growing that the magnitude-7.9 quake may have actually been triggered by the tremendous water weight behind a nearby dam.

For Prompt Control Of Senile Agitation 

The Long Story Of The Cardboard Box From The Sky / Part 1 
monochrom content info
It's a long story about sponsors, cheese, phone calls, FedEx and confused Soviets.

The Dark Knight: Have the Nolan Brothers been reading Borges? 

Torture Chic: Why Is the Media Glorifying Inhumane, Sadistic Behavior? 
In his first days in office, President Barack Obama took a pen and signed executive orders halting the use of torture, shutting Guantanamo and banning secret CIA prisons overseas, as he vowed to fight terrorism "in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals."

Shortly thereafter, a poll showed that Americans did not overwhelmingly support the president's rejection of the Bush administration's use of torture as an instrument of the state.

In their zeal to legalize torture and trounce the Bill of Rights, the Bush team crafted a media campaign to sell the "War on Terror" as a righteous quest retribution for 9/11, inciting fear of future carnage to justify violating the Geneva protocols and the U.S. Army Field Manual. While the Bush torture policy made stunning progress through the courts and the legislature, with the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, there followed an increase in the normalization of torture images in popular culture, a growing acceptance of violence as effective, routine.

When photographs of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib appeared in 2004, Bush's approval ratings sank, yet torture themes multiplied in film and TV. From 2002 through 2005, the Parents Television Council counted 624 torture scenes in prime time, a six-fold increase. UCLA's Television Violence Monitoring Project reports "torture on TV shows is significantly higher than it was five years ago and the characters who torture have changed. It used to be that only villains on television tortured. Today, "good guy" and heroic American characters torture -- and this torture is depicted as necessary, effective and even patriotic".

Bank of England's "Dress for Success" code for female employees 
The Bank of England held "Dress for Success" day. On that day, they sent out a memo to female employees detailing just how they should dress for success, important now more than ever in These Economic Times, the worst financial crisis Britain's dealt with since the Depression.
"Look professional, not fashionable; be careful with perfume; always wear a heel of some sort — maximum 2 inches; always wear some sort of makeup — even if it’s just lipstick." Shoes and skirt must be the same color. No-no's include ankle chains — "professional, but not the one you want to be associated with;" white high heels; overstuffed handbags; an overload of rings, and double-pierced ears.

Small Male Chimps Use Politics, Rather Than Aggression 
With most mammals, the biggest and most aggressive male claims the alpha male role and gets his choice of food and females. But a new study from the University of Minnesota suggests that at least among chimpanzees, smaller, more mild-mannered males can also use political behavior to secure the top position.

Minds and Computers: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence 
A book by Matt Carter.
Could a computer have a mind? What kind of machine would this be? Exactly what do we mean by "mind" anyway?

The notion of the "intelligent" machine, while continuing to feature in numerous entertaining and frightening fictions, has also been the focus of a serious and dedicated research tradition. Reflecting on these fictions, and on the research tradition that pursues "Artificial Intelligence", raises a number of vexing philosophical issues. Minds and Computers offers an engaging, coherent, and highly approachable interdisciplinary introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence.

Readers are presented with introductory material from each of the disciplines which constitute Cognitive Science: Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology, Computer Science, and Linguistics. Throughout, readers are encouraged to consider the implications of this disparate and wide-ranging material for the possibility of developing machines with minds. And they can expect to develop a foundation for philosophically responsible engagement with A.I., a sound understanding of Philosophy of Mind and of computational theory, and a good feel for cross-disciplinary analysis.

Mars rover recovers after bout of amnesia 
The Mars rover Spirit is driving again this week after the ageing craft suffered a mysterious bout of forgetfulness.

An Opec for gas? 
Russia and Ukraine fell out over the price of gas, and people in eastern Europe suffered the consequences. But the dispute affects countries further down the pipeline – particularly in Europe, which seems unable to formulate its gas consumption policy.

Invention of San Francisco 

A few days past the anniversary, but this is an interesting story of how proto-cities formed and competed for prominence in the American old west. And more to the point, how San Francisco won prominence by use of linguistic jujitsu.


Burma: Leading saffron monk's memoir 
Burmese monks are known to have played an important role in their nation's politics throughout its history. While they did not partake in mundane political processes, they traditionally held positions of moral authority, and dispensed wisdom and guidance to past kings, rulers and governments in Burma. On some occasions, emissaries from the monasteries were dispatched on peace missions to avoid war with foreign powers.

Buddhist monks gave council to past monarchs, ranging from the first King Anawrahta of unified Burma in Bagan, to the last King Mindon and his son King Thibaw, guiding them on how to properly conduct themselves as responsible rulers. Burmese monks fulfilled their obligations toward their religion and the people in the past as royal advisers, and most importantly, as the guardians of sacred rights and responsibilities of all citizens.

Radio! Here's to You! 
It is a great medium for denying the empty cult of celebrity: watch a screen talk-show and you are at least partially mesmerized by Hollywood glamour. On the radio you judge more squarely ("Who on earth is that giggling idiot?"). Radio is democratic, portable, open, free to hear and cheap to make. It is a pocket university.

There have been many Lincolns over the years 
Except for the miracles of Sherman's and Grant's decisive victories in the field, Lincoln would have been defeated in 1864. How different things would look... but...
For a country said to be uninterested in its past, this would seem to be a giant exception to the rule. Yet the deeper reasons for such enduring, even obsessive, interest in these subjects, permeating both the scholarly world and the general public, are not immediately obvious. There are few if any decisive new facts remaining to be unearthed, few glaring lacunae in the historical record crying out to be filled, few interpretive gambits that have not been tried at least once. There continue to be bands of Lincoln assassination enthusiasts who find it irresistible to speculate about what did or did not happen those fateful days in the spring of 1865. But they don’t explain the passionate interest in the man, any more than the popularity of Shakespeare’s plays derives from the rather tiresome search to ascertain their “true” author.

In the year 292,277,026,596 
You probably have heard about the year 2038 problem...
The year 2038 problem (also known as "Unix Millennium bug", or "Y2K38" by analogy to the Y2K problem) may cause some computer software to fail before or in the year 2038. The problem affects all software and systems that store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 January 1, 1970. The latest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038. Times beyond this moment will "wrap around" and be stored internally as a negative number, which these systems will interpret as a date in 1901 rather than 2038. This will likely cause problems for users of these systems due to erroneous calculations.
Solution? 64-bit! But...
Most operating systems for 64-bit architectures already use 64-bit integers in their time_t, and these operating systems are becoming more common, particularly in desktop and server environments. Using a (signed) 64-bit value introduces a new wraparound date in about 290 billion years, approximately[3] on Sunday, December 4, 292,277,026,596.

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monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, context hacking and political activism. Our mission is conducted everywhere, but first and foremost in culture-archeological digs into the seats (and pockets) of ideology and entertainment. monochrom has existed in this (and almost every other) form since 1993.

Booking monochrom:

External monochrom links:
[monochrom Wikipedia]
[monochrom Flickr]
[monochrom blip.tv]
[monochrom GV]
[monochrom Youtube]
[monochrom Facebook]
[monochrom iTunes]
[monochrom Twitter]

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 2 / The Adventure Game

Climate Training Camp

Krach der Roboter: Hello World!

Slacking is killing the DIY industry (T-Shirt)

Carefully Selected Moments / CD, LP

Freedom is a whore of a word (T-Shirt)


International Year of Polytheism 2007

Santa Claus Vs. Christkindl: A Mobster Battle

Could It Be (Video clip)

Pot Tin God

Hacking the Spaces

Kiki and Bubu and The Shift / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Self / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Feelings / Short film / Short film

Sculpture Mobs

Nazi Petting Zoo / Short film

The Great Firewall of China

KPMG / Short film

The BRAICIN / Short film

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 1 / The Adventure Game

I was a copyright infringement in a previous life (T-Shirt)

Brave New Pong

Leben ist LARPen e.V.

One Minute / Short film

Firing Squad Euro2008 Intervention


A tribute to Honzo

Lessig ist lässig

I can count every star in the heavens above -- The image of computers in popular music

All Tomorrow's Condensations / Puppet show

Bye Bye / Short film


PC/DC patch

Proto-Melodic Comment Squad


The Redro Loitzl Story / Short film

Hax0rcise SCO

Law and Second Order (T-Shirt)

They really kicked you out of the Situationist International?

Death Special: Falco

Applicant Fisch / Short film

When I was asked to write about new economy

Taugshow #6

Taugshow #7

Taugshow #9

Taugshow #10

Taugshow #11

Taugshow #14

Taugshow #15

Campfire at Will

Arse Elektronika 2007, 2008, 2009 etc.

The Void's Foaming Ebb / Short film

Remoting Future

When you / Short film


Free Bariumnitrate

Toyps / Typing Errors

ARAD-II Miami Beach Crisis

The Charcoal Burner / Short film

Digital Culture In Brazil


Nation of Zombia

Lonely Planet Guide action

CSI Oven Cloth

Dept. of Applied Office Arts

Farewell to Overhead

Google Buttplug

Fieldrecording in Sankt Wechselberg / Short film

Dark Dune Spots

Campaign For The Abolition Of Personal Pronouns


Space Tourism

In the Head of the Gardener

Entertainment (Unterhaltung) / Short film

Cthulhu Goatse

Nicholas Negroponte Memorial Cable

Coke Light Art Edition 06

Experience the Experience! (West Coast USA/Canada Tour 2005)

April 23

Overhead Cumshot

Irark / Short film


Instant Blitz Copy Fight

A Patriotic Fireman

A Micro Graphic Novel Project

Noise and Talk

The Exhilarator


SUZOeG Training / Short film

The Flower Currency


A Holiday in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf

How does the Internet work?

Paraflows 2006 and up

Special Forces

Coca Cola

About Work

Turing Train Terminal

Me / Short Film

Massive Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling Network


Some Code To Die For

The Year Wrap-up

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf Metroblogging

Project Mendel

Display, Retry, Fail

Manifesto of Ignorantism


Towers of Hanoi



Every Five Seconds an Inkjet Printer Dies Somewhere




We know apocalypses

452 x 157 cm² global durability

A Good Haul

Blattoptera / Art for Cockroaches

Minus 24x

Gladiator / Short Film


An attempt to emulate an attempt

Paschal Duct-Taping

Laptop Crochetication


Somewhere in the 1930s

Soul Sale

The Department for Criticism against Globalisation

Dot Smoke

Georg Paul Thomann

Nurgel Staring

War On

Let's network it out


Mackerel Fiddlers


Disney vs. Chrusov / Short film

Bulk Mail

Easter Celebrations

Mouse Over Matter

Condolence for a Crab

Force Sting

Turning Threshold Countries Into Plows


A Noise

A. C. A.

Hopping Overland

Achy Breaky Heart Campaign

Hermeneutic Imperative III

Holy Water / Franchise

Roböxotica // Festival for Cocktail-Robotics


Engine Hood Cookies


The Watch

Creative Industry 2003

This World

Cracked Foundation For The Fine Arts

Sometimes I feel

Fit with INRI

Growing Money

Catapulting Wireless Devices

Buried Alive

Illegal Space Race

Magnetism Party

Brick of Coke

1 Baud

Scrota Contra Vota

Direct Intervention Engine

Oh my God, they use a history which repeats itself! (T-Shirt)


Dorkbot Vienna