“Urban oyster-tecture infrastructure would take up more land than standard techniques, but the end result is beneficial for everyone and everything. It is nearly self-sustaining and creates value-added urban landscapes. Many impaired estuaries in coastal areas are an unsightly blight. Redesigning them to be a hub for oyster-tecture could bring them back to life as new park space, preserves, and wild lands. They also provide a charming example for cities trying to differentiate themselves by showing their commitment to sustainability and the future.”—oyster-tecture, by Neil Chambers. An interesting perspective on urban futures through the oyster lense, so to say. (via betaknowledge)
Of course here sustainability comes into play. If we charge the next generation of journalists with upholding journalistic standards, they must somehow become removed from institutional structures that do not serve balanced reporting. How can we do that?
One way is to equip them with the tools to begin collectives, to build loose digital reporting networks, to become stakeholders in their own media enterprises, to use all available channels to reach audiences far greater than perhaps print or even radio ever could. And, to earn a living from their work. Every journalist has the power to become a media organisation. The tools are there, the audience is there, the need is there.
“The possession of Knowledge, unless accompanied by a manifestation and expression in Action, is like the hoarding of precious metals-a vain and foolish thing. Knowledge, like wealth, is intended for Use. The Law of Use is Universal, and he who violates it suffers by reason of his conflict with natural forces.”—The Kybalion (via lucifelle)
Back in the USSR, to spy on your conversations, the KGB had to come and install a bug in your apartment. That was quite a job in itself. One agent was assigned to track each of your family members, to find a time when there was nobody home. Another agent had to then stand watch, while a couple more would pick the lock, move a piece of furniture, neatly cut out a piece of wallpaper, drill a hole, install the bug, glue and retouch the wallpaper so that it looks undisturbed, and put the furniture back in place. Then the conversations overheard by this bug had to be recorded, and someone had to stand by to swap the bulky reel-to-reel magnetic tapes. Finally, somebody had to go through all the tapes, listening for seditious-sounding snippets of conversation. Often the entire eavesdropping mission failed because of some trivial oversight, such as a deadbolt locked one turn too many or a cigarette butt of the wrong brand left in an ashtray, because it would cause the quarry to suddenly become careful, turning up the radio or the television when discussing anything important. Even if something vaguely seditious could be discerned, it sometimes happened that the person charged with listening turned sympathetic toward his quarry, in a sort of reverse Stockholm syndrome, because the dissidents he was spying on turned out to be forthright, honorable, likeable people—unlike his own detestable superiors. If found, the seditious content had to be laboriously transcribed.
If it became necessary to map out the quarry’s social connections, the process was, again, laborious. Transcripts of phone conversations and surveillance tapes had to be correlated against photographs of persons walking in and out of the apartment or seen talking to the quarry. Sometimes letters had to be steamed open and read to determine the nature of the relationships. If seditious documents were found, which were normally typed, then an attempt was made to determine their origin based on the ownership of the typewriter, which could be matched by comparing minor imperfections in characters and small deviations in their alignment against a library of typed samples maintained on file, except that the documents were often typed through five layers of carbon paper, making the characters too blurry to make such identification possible.
Compare that to the situation in the US today, where CIA/FBI/NSA/Homeland Security is quite far along in forming one giant security apparatus that dwarfs the quaint old KGB in both intrusiveness and scope, though probably not in effectiveness, even though modern technology makes their job trivial to the point where much of it can be automated. There used to exist privacy protections written into US law, but they are in the process of disappearing as a result of new legislation, such as the CISPA bill making its way through Congress now. But whether or not a sweeping abolition of privacy rights makes it into law, your online privacy is gone. Since the government can now detain you indefinitely without ever charging, trying or sentencing you, and has full access to your digital data, legal niceties make little difference. Nor does it matter any longer whether or not you are a US citizen: the firewall between CIA (which was supposed to only spy on foreigners) and FBI has disappeared following 9/11, and although this practice violates several acts of Congress, you would be foolish to wait for anyone to do anything about it.
5) All of which is to say, talking about whether or not Facebook can make money at advertising is missing the point. What FB probably won’t mention in a conference call is all the lucrative government contracts that are available for at least the next foreseeable century, selling data to whomever. Data mining could easily be the next military-industrial complex. Hell, even if data mining turns out to be next to useless for tracking people’s pseudonymous twitter handles or whatever, that’s no reason it couldn’t be insanely profitable. I mean, the F-35 is going to cost $323 BILLION to even get a single plane ready to stealthily violate the sovereignty of some country’s borders, and it hasn’t even blown up a single suspected insurgent SUV yet. Asking how Facebook is going to make any money in advertising is like asking how Lockheed is going to make any money selling aircraft to the dwindling middle class.
In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.
"I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything" was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn’t take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ”Stop!” in frustration.
With no way of preventing blowback, or unexpected, potentially even counter-productive, second-order effects, today’s social actants have to be prepared to relinquish control. This is a war on timidity. The actant of 2012 has to be prepared to make decisions with incomplete information, optimising their plans within the constraints of the visible and the known. She understands the intrinsic value of prototyping, beta testing, simulation, and roleplay. These are, in Cascio’s words, tools and strategies which deploy ‘iteration in service of complexity, diversity as a means of dynamic integration into a changing environment.’ (Cascio, 2011)
Equally, the gonzo futurist knows when not to act. She recognises the difference between playing dead and saying no. She keeps a small footprint, and has a bug-out bag locked and loaded by the door.
The gonzo futurist hails the social possibilities of acting-in-concert-with-others. Though careful to avoid reinscribing the dynamics of groupthink, she recognises the importance of the time-limited, stand-alone project. Hers, after all, is a post-auteur world. Though superempowerment promises to arm the individual with tools of unprecedented potency, from garage biotechnology through 3D printing and autonomous drones, ‘there is no necessity or inevitable rule that such individual empowerment will be inclusive, extensive and equitably distributed or dedicated to collective benefit.’ (Sardar, 2010: 4) The most effective way to forestall the more dystopian scenarios is to identify a tribe-of-affinity; your personal community-of-interest. As Montuori says, ‘in postnormal times, creativity will have a few surprises in store for us … [and] may paradoxically become normal in the sense that it will not be the province of lone tortured geniuses any longer (which it was not anyway), but an everyone, everyday, everywhere, process’ (Montuori, 2011: 221-222)
"Where in my article did I say, come and save us?" Ms Eltahawy asks, her voice rising so that people on nearby tables turn to look. "What I was saying to the outside world was: okay, outside world, here’s what I want you to do now. When they tell you that this is our culture, stay out of it, listen instead to the voices of the women in the region who are fighting. The region is going through an incredibly exciting time, and if we don’t have this conversation as the revolutions are happening, then once again women will lose."
"When I get this titanium plate removed, I’m going to get tattooed on this arm the name of Mohamed Mahmoud street, where I was attacked, to forever honour the martyrs of that street," she says, with a naughty smile, like a wise daughter who knows the family secrets and is going to tell. "Then on this arm, I’m going to get Sekhmet, who is the ancient Egyptian goddess of retribution and sex. She has the head of a lioness."
So the reason that Tumblr wasn’t loading correctly in Chrome OS was some sort of conflict with the HTTPS Everywhere plugin. No networked manifestos involving security culture, because the security culture plugin is blocking access to the go-to manifesto platform. Go figure.
‘Control Space?: Cinematic Representations of Surveillance Space between Discipline and Control’
Recent developments in surveillance practices and their related technologies suggest that the heretofore dominant Foucauldian paradigm of discipline may no longer be an adequate theoretical framework in which to discuss space within surveillance studies. This space, most readily associated with the architectural model of Jeremy Bentham’s now ubiquitous Panopticon, required that the body be isolated and contained within institutional sites of confinement which arranged space in a manner that was “segmented, immobile [and] frozen” in order that the disciplinary mechanism might observe and control the individual at will and eventually produce docile bodies (Foucault 1995: 195).
That is, under the discipline paradigm, urban space, and the surveillance carried out within such areas is, in the first instance, communicated through the material structures of the built environment: institutional architecture designed after the logic of the Panopticon. In the control model, however, urban surveillance can be said to be characterised by an emphasis on the use of digital surveillance practices, leading to a view of the city and its inhabitants which largely resides within a computer mainframe, thus raising the question of an adequate and understandable means of representing intangible strings of data cinematically.
There’s that guy again, cruising down the block, scanning the airwaves for an open Wi-Fi network named “LINKSYS” or “NETGEAR” that the owner didn’t bother to password-protect. Maybe he’s just a freeloader. But what if he’s an identity thief out to view your browsing history and — gasp — maybe even your bank statements! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could both beautify your home and make your Wi-Fi network just disappear?
“No matter where you go these days, there are machines tracking you movements, scanning your face, this world of technology built by the government and the military,” says George, an artist in residence at Eyebeam who is curating this show. “But I think the point of this exhibit is to show that it doesn’t have to be some dystopian world. We can break these technologies open, we can remake them into art, we can open source them and teach everybody how they work.”
“KNOWDRONES provide drone replicas and educational materials to support citizen action to achieve an international ban on weaponized drones and surveillance drones - war drones. Currently replicas of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, shown in the photo, are available to individuals and organizations for $350 plus shipping, to cover the material costs. However, the replicas will be provided for less in those cases in which eagerness is high but funds are low.”—Knowdrones (via iamdanw)
“Sometimes, however, the car has to be more “aggressive.” When going through a four-way intersection, for example, it yields to other vehicles based on road rules; but if other cars don’t reciprocate, it advances a bit to show to the other drivers its intention. Without programming that kind of behavior, Urmson said, it would be impossible for the robot car to drive in the real world.”—How Google’s Self-Driving Car Works - IEEE Spectrum (via iamdanw)