watterson on comics

[Jake Rossen:] Where do you think the comic strip fits in today’s culture? [↑Bill Watterson:] Personally, I like paper and ink better than glowing pixels, but to each his own. Obviously the role of comics is changing very fast. On the one hand, I don’t think comics have ever been more widely accepted or taken as seriously as they are now. On the other hand, the mass media is disintegrating, and audiences are atomizing. I suspect comics will have less widespread cultural impact and make a lot less money. I’m old enough to find all this unsettling, but the world … Continue reading

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african seed control

Seed and the control of seed lies at the heart of agriculture.     In Africa around 80% of seed comes from local and community saved seed resources. This seed is adapted to local conditions. It forms an integral part of community food security and agricultural integrity. This entire traditional system is now under threat.     A broad front of commercial interests, aided and abetted by the World Bank, the American Seed Association and government agencies, along with front groups, academics and so-called philanthropists, are endeavouring to alienate this crucial resource. [...]     What is at play here … Continue reading

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transformation of reality

I well remember going to conferences in 2006 and 2007 where trendy social theorists presented papers arguing that these new forms of securitization, linked to new information technologies, heralded a looming transformation in the very nature of time, possibility—reality itself. I remember thinking: “Suckers!” And so they were. (Graeber 2011: 15) Ich erinnere mich an Vorträge aus den Jahren 2006 und 2007, in denen Gesellschaftstheoretiker auf der Höhe ihrer Zeit darlegten, dass diese neuen Formen der Verbriefung in Verbindung mit den neuen Informationstechnologien eine bevorstehende Transformation der Natur von Zeit und Möglichkeit—ja der Realität ankündigten. Ich weiß noch, dass ich … Continue reading

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the coming war on general computation

The copyright war was just the beginning  The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.     The problem is twofold: first, there is no known general-purpose computer that can execute all the programs we can think of except the naughty ones; second, general-purpose computers have replaced every other device in our world. There are no … Continue reading

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science as servant

A 1946 advertisement for the ↑Bendix Corporation, scanned and put online by Paul Malon—↑click for larger versions, in order to be able to read all of the small text, too. The slogan ‘Creative engineering makes science your obedient servant’ not only perfectly sums up the immediate post-war era stance of absolute belief in technological feasibility, but also unmistakingly voices where science’s proper place in society should be. I maintain that the understanding of said era is quintessential for understanding our contemporary world: In present day society, the term ‘science’ has great potency. Not only is ‘science’ more or less equivalent … Continue reading

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science fiction debt

Jo Walton’s ↑The Best Science Fiction Ideas in any Non-Fiction Ever: David Graeber’s Debt: The First Five Thousand Years has some nice ideas about why so many science fiction readers and writers are fascinated by ↵anthropologist David Graeber’s book ‘Debt’ (2011): One of the problems with writing science fiction and fantasy is creating truly different societies. We tend to change things but keep other things at societal defaults. It’s really easy to see this in older SF, where we have moved on from those societal defaults and can thus laugh at seeing people in the future behaving like people in … Continue reading

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arkham city rant

This was intended to become a longer rant from me—after the installation of ‘↑Batman: Arkham City‘ (Rocksteady Studios 2011) crashed my brand new system so badly that I had to jump back several recovery points to get it up and running again. But then, on ↑the official forums, I found the posts and threads by KIO. His forum post signature already sums it up: ‘DRM limitations are a punishment for the paying customer and an encouragement to seek better service elsewhere … And then they complain about piracy.’ No reason any more for me to write myself, because KIO already … Continue reading

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what is he?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #19 What is the man in the picture?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and solution (14 March 2012): Again Alexander Rabitsch ↵did it way … Continue reading

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orwellian documentaries

In the sidebar of his blog ↑Dialogic blogger Thivai Abhor maintains a nice list of documentary films which are available online. After having skimmed through a bit, my personal interests were most matched by the three shortly described below. But Dialogic also points to ↑Top Documentary Films, a blog reviewing, commenting, and linking to 1800+ documentary films, all available online, and ↑sorted into categories. ‘↑All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace‘ (Curtis 2011) A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything … Continue reading

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