Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh Man


The Wrestling Ampersand

The 'meme-' root/word is not synonymous with 'mime-'. The words are related, in that memetics works via mimicry - a meme propagates upon human mimetic iteration. The human is the information carrier/copier.

The distinction between the two words, 'meme-' and 'mime-', is where memes also move via artifacts. You don't really do anything with a book, or a painting. So when you use one of these artifacts, and another person watches, and goes to mimic you, they may not truly 'see the picture'.

Mimicry is not the exclusive means of memetic propagation, and that is where the two words differ.

Also, mimesis is a word, but memesis is not. Unless one is referring to the genesis of a meme, which could easily be called its memesis, but memesis isn't being talked about these days anyway. Or at least when its is, it's equated and conflated with 'mimicry', like man wrestling with the ampersand.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quantum Protocol

all text below are not the entire articles linked, but excerpts:

Rapid Response: Navy’s Mad Scientists Seek ‘Sixth Sense’
Spencer Ackerman
March 21, 2012

The Navy says the sixth sense is the way to win wars.

Promising “new insights into intuitive decisionmaking,” the futuristic Office of Naval Research is putting together a new program to turn what it actually calls a “sixth sense” into a military advantage. “Evidence is accumulating that this capability, known as intuition or intuitive decision making,” the scientists say in a new proposal, “enables the rapid detection of patterns in ambiguous, uncertain and time restricted information contexts.” Mastering with intuition, the Navy says, should help troops with “Cyberwarfare, Unmanned System Operators, Information Analysts, Small Unit Leaders and other domains.”

The Navy doesn’t want to reserve the power of intuition for seasoned sailors. By commissioning greater study into how it works, the Office of Naval Research wants to “train non-experts to be more effective decision makers.” First, it has to create a “computational model” of how intuition works, followed by “training techniques & technologies that enhance intuitive decision making performance.”

The Navy isn’t the only one intrigued by neurology’s prospects for warfare. Years ago, Darpa sponsored a program called Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts, which sought to break down the cognitive silos between textual data, imagery, audio and other sensory information. And last year, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency sought to get the entire body involved in analyzing satellite data.

“Analytical decisions are sequential, methodical, and time consuming,” says Cmdr. Joseph Cohn, another Office of Naval Research official. “Intuitive decisions rely on a more holistic approach and take place very quickly — on the order of 100s milliseconds.” In other words, if you master intuition, it’ll be hard for an enemy to act faster than you.

Augmented Cognition (AugCog) and Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts
Pentagon Preps Mind Fields for Smarter War Stations
Noah Shachtman

The U.S. military is working on computers than can scan your mind and adapt to what you're thinking.

Since 2000, Darpa, the Pentagon's blue-sky research arm, has spearheaded a far-flung, nearly $70 million effort to build prototype cockpits, missile control stations and infantry trainers that can sense what's occupying their operators' attention, and adjust how they present information, accordingly. Similar technologies are being employed to help intelligence analysts find targets easier by tapping their unconscious reactions. It's all part of a broader Darpa effort to radically boost the performance of American troops.

The computer learns how to use you, instead of the reverse: If a person's getting too much visual information, send him a text alert. If that person is reading too much at once, present some of the data visually -- in a chart or map.

"We began with the idea that there was too much information out there these days for anyone to comprehend," says Schmorrow. "So how can we present it in a way that people will remember? Proffitt tells me, 'And wouldn't it be even better if we could figure out what people were doing, what they were thinking, so we could present them with the right things?'" -Navy Commander/Darpa AuCog Program Commander Dylan Schmorrow and University of Virginia psychology professor Denny Proffitt

[By 2007] Darpa's involvement in Augmented Cognition program has mostly wound down. But the other military services -- as well as academic and corporate labs -- have picked up on the agency's efforts.

Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts: Even the best parsers of satellite imagery often miss the terrorist hideouts or missile silos hidden in the pictures taken from orbit. In tests, the Darpa project is improving these intelligence officers' accuracy as much as 600 percent. The secret is tapping into their unconscious minds.

this one is just a nod to Vernor Vinge's 'wearable computers':
Military Wants to Read Satellite Info by Playing Dance Dance Revolution
Spencer Ackerman
May 10, 2011

[National Geospace Intelligence Agency, NGA]

...the military’s professional interpreters of satellite data want a more efficient way of reading the intelligence they get from overhead. Fingers on keyboards are so passe. It’s time to combine exercise and surveillance.

...something’s lost by static keyboard tapping. And that something could be an enemy target, or a missile deployment or an impending natural disaster. “Our thought processes are intimately related to the parts of our body we use to accomplish a task,” the agency contends in a new plea for small businesses to change the dynamic. “Many analysts describe a reduced ability to envision themselves ‘in the image’ when they are working on workstations with digital imagery compared to searching using films.”

While keeping an analyst’s eyes focused on the screen, the “novel methods” NGA wants would, theoretically, allow an analyst to “walk” through an image on a trackpad beneath her feet.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Suburban-Spawned Auto-Centric Anti-Culture

(we can just call it Sprawl)

Granted, Sprawl has left its mark on the surface of the American landscape and the collective psyche alike. But what does it mean to measure the all-encompassing value of a thing?

Say what you will: Were Sprawl not to separate the people of 20th century American culture, isolating them beyond the limits of normal, natural, communal interaction; would not the internet be something other than the virtual public domain that it is?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Intramental Userface

It is the pheromone that phrenzies the horses of Plato's carriage. It is the GPS Device that guides the driver.

"They pull on the strings of existence, but not by their own design. Only because they feel it on their fingers do they say they have done it.

It was really someone else."

-the intermental database

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Indigenous Cultural Property

On Origin, the Idea, and Society:

Thomas Jefferson once said in a letter to Isaac McPherson on August 13, 1813:
"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson (August 13, 1813)

Another limitation of current U.S. Intellectual Property legislation is its focus on individual and joint works; thus, copyright protection can only be obtained in 'original' works of authorship.[^] This definition excludes any works that are the result of community creativity, for example Native American songs and stories; current legislation does not recognize the uniqueness of indigenous cultural 'property' and its ever-changing nature. Simply asking native cultures to 'write down' their cultural artifacts on tangible mediums ignores their necessary orality and enforces a Western bias of the written form as more authoritative.

Philip Bennet, "Native Americans and Intellectual Property: the Necessity of Implementing Collective Ideals into Current United States Intellectual Property Laws", 2009

Monday, March 19, 2012


Johan Lehrer
MARCH 3, 2008

[To compare the majesty of the human brain to our well-worshipped computers]..

Markram estimates that in order to accurately simulate the trillion synapses in the human brain, you’d need to be able to process about 500 petabytes of data (peta being a million billion, or 10 to the fifteenth power). That’s about 200 times more information than is stored on all of Google’s servers. (Given current technology, a machine capable of such power would be the size of several football fields.) Energy consumption is another huge problem. The human brain requires about 25 watts of electricity to operate. Markram estimates that simulating the brain on a supercomputer with existing microchips would generate an annual electrical bill of about $3 billion. But if computing speeds continue to develop at their current exponential pace, and energy efficiency improves, Markram believes that he’ll be able to model a complete human brain on a single machine in ten years or less.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The English

A masterpiece of minimalism, English has only four verb forms:

"as if suffixes were expensive and the designers of the language wanted to economize"

Words and Rules
Steven Pinker

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just Wait...

The only difference between the real and the imaginary is time.

-Vernor Vinge

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mass Transference Device

Note to the Reader

In this story, humanity is headed for an end point, like the Big Bang, but in reverse, and for humans only. Humanity can avoid this moment of absolute concentration (or do they only speed its advance) by replacing “themselves” in the world with their self-replicates, and then by themselves going backwards through the trajectory of progress. From that point on, humans “progress backwards”, becoming less and less reliant on technology and approaching the original collective consciousness we were all part of before we became individuals (which is not much different than the anthroposphere concept of our future, as presented in the story, only it would be happening in reverse).

This transition is especially difficult because humans, by approximately the year 2070 will have bred out of themselves the ability to live without their anthropospheric bubble. They need, somehow, to breed back into their race, the ability to live like they used to (in the days of the early 21st century).

It is the written thought of his ancestors that Hassam Flessihfo uses to help him make this backwards transition. Together with his partner he passes on his reformed “genes” to his son Samm Ashcroftt, who in turn becomes the first human born with the ability to survive in complete independence of the anthroposphere.

But, it is the “genetic code” of the author himself, being manipulated through the very act of writing the book, that begins the chain reaction allowing Hassam to leave the collective human network in the first place. And it is the poem that has already been buried in the ground that will give him the wisdom to succeed. This is a story about a future which is actually created by the author himself, in real space, in real time.

There are intricacies, such as the use of time travel to extract materials from an earth in the past and bringing them backwards through time to the present, hence bringing with them surplus time-energy used by the materials to create themselves. There are speculations as to the fate of our social structure in the face of ultimate technological convergence. There are strange, fantastical scenes of life outside the sphere which encompasses human existence, where people have to revert back to the struggle against gravity – a force which has been, naturally, deselected by the people of the future.

This story also consists of journal records kept by the author. Many of the passages herein, upon which the story is built, are not, in fact, fiction (in that they were not intentionally written for this story). They are true struggles of a person trying to cope with the inadequacies of the human race, and the mysteriousness of one’s personal vision in life.

One of the basic premises of this book is that, in the future, time does not exist, and so it makes no difference that this story is being written now, but experienced in real life at some point in the future. The story and the actual events are one and the same. The very fact that it is being written is proof enough that it already exists. Even if it exists only in the form of written thought, that thought can be inspired by someone in the future, changing the way they think. Do people change the world, or do thoughts change the world? In this case, it is both, and any contradiction has been (successfully or unsuccessfully, it is yet to be judged) designed out of the authored system.

In this projected existence, people will lose their ability to create their own world. They will be given false choices that present the illusion of being creator. This, it can be argued, is already happening, even, and especially, in the midst of the cooperative/collaborative spirit of this early 21st century. It can be argued that we cooperate not for ourselves, but for the Greater Good, thereby losing sight of our own personal vision, which, in turn, is essential for the persistence of the collective. Without the self-sustaining strength of the individual, the collective falls apart, or in the case of this story, it collapses into itself, into non-existence, swallowed up by the vast nothingness of the universe – a universe once inhabited by humans, but now no more. We must not lose our ability to create our own world. This story is simply a reference, an example, of how one goes about doing this.

This is not science fiction. Neither is it based in religion, or philosophy, and it is not about a futuristic vision of the world. This story is about reconnecting, or just maintaining connection, with the Earth, the Universe, and the mystery of Life. This story is about the indisputably most pressing struggle of our time, or of any time, as long as we are human. This story is of the struggle for self-actualization.