The White Whale Laughs Last
“Movies are about telling the same lies over and over again,” Michael says at one point. “You know, good beats evil, things happen for a reason, attractive people are interesting.”
- Grand Theft Auto V Is a Return to the Comedy of Violence
Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?
- Tim Leary
His essential claim is that there is no great gulf between nonliving, unconscious gizmos like computers and light switches, on the one hand, and the human brain, on the other. Our strong feeling that there’s something special and inexplicable about consciousness is largely an illusion. It will fade as science advances, like the illusion that the Earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. Biologists used to believe that living things are made of some special material, some elan vital that sets us apart from the stuff of rocks and minerals. Now that we know about DNA, we no longer need an elan vital. Someday we won’t need consciousness either. There’s no metaphysical difference between your body and your mind, or between your laptop and your necktop, so to speak.
- Is the Brain No Different From a Light Switch? The Uncomfortable Ideas of the Philosopher Daniel Dennett
“life is a trap for logicians; it looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is. Its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait.”
- G. K. Chesterton
The title of this article was written by Mark V. Shaney. Mark was a member of a UseNet News group called net.singles, a users group chock full of dating tips, lonely heart chatter, frank discussions of sexual problems and high tech missionary gospel about the sins of premarital smut-typing. Mr Shaney was a little goofy but he was always there. He chimed in with poetic opinions on romantic empathy: “As I’ve commented before, really relating to someone involves standing next to impossible.” And he had a great Groucho Marx sense of humor: “One morning I shot an elephant in my arms and kissed him. So it was too small for a pill? Well, it was too small for a while.” And his idea of a good closing was: “Oh, sorry. Nevermind. I am afraid of it becoming another island in a nice suit.” _–_–_–_-Mark

Who is Mark V. Shaney? Some people on the Net thought he was smart and sensitive, some thought he was on drugs, many had him pegged as just another nut. But they never guessed that Mark V. Shaney was lines of code written by rob and brucee running on a Bell Labs computer. Mark Shaney program read all the messages in the group and spit messages back into the Net. The human net.singles didn’t catch the pesky little binary corespondent because of all the real nuts in this users group who were misdirecting -real honest to goodness damaged flesh and blood neural-nets spewing crazy flames all the time. And what if – “I spent an interesting evening recently with a grain of salt” was signed “Bob Dylan?” No one thought old Bobby was a program when he wrote – “He screams back you’re a cow, give me some milk or else go home.”
- I Spent an Interesting Evening Recently with a Grain of Salt via Fresser via Dan Catt
Back in the late 1960s, Peter Glaser proposed the idea of solar powered satellites (SPS), what he envisioned as space-based photovoltaics that could transfer energy wirelessly back down to Earth.
- How space-based solar power will solve all our energy needs, iO9
Does Alexander know that DMT already exists in the brain as a neurotransmitter? Did his brain experience a surge of DMT release during his coma? This is pure speculation, of course, but it is a far more credible hypothesis than that his cortex “shut down,” freeing his soul to travel to another dimension.
- This Must Be Heaven by Sam Harris, Newsweek
The Finite Watch
The simple answer, that we so pine for, is that all conscious states emanate from some finite combination of physical states of the brain. That everything any human being could ever feel, because 'feeling' really is at the root of everything we do, will be able to be traced back to a specific combination of physical things. Switches, synapses, chemicals, whatever it is, will have figured out the code and be able to replicate the code. Because we know that, with exponentially increasing computation power, in the not so distant future, we'll be able to get our arms around any code, assuming it is finite.

This of course makes one huge assumption, and that is that the code is in our brain. This idea is so easy to understand and fits so easily into our current, mainstream knowledge base, that its hard to imagine any other answer. Which of course is one of the signature traits of our current, mainstream culture, a complete and utter lack of imagination. We can't imagine that there are things we don't know and therefore we refuse to build models based on things we don't know, we only build models on what we do know.
A new biological robot has been made from rat heart cells and synthetic materials, a new study says—and the machine could someday lead to others that will attack diseases inside the human body.
- Crawling Bio-Robot Runs on Rat Heart Cells, National Geographic via Fresser
Basically, when you buy or rent something like a movie, you’ll only be granted a “license” for a certain number of people to watch it. If Kinect detects more people in the room than you had a licence for, it can stop the movie, and even charge you extra.
- Microsoft patents spying on you with your TV's camera and fining you if there are too many people watching, BoingBoing
This too shall pass. View the full archive.