heretics house tripoli

Much has been said and written about the role of social media and the Internet during the Arab Spring. Especially the liberating potentials of these technologies are discussed, even anthropologists are belabouring the topic. But, and that’s the ↵core theme of cyberpunk, technologies are fundamentally ambivalent. Just yesterday ↑Jamming Tripoli: Inside Moammar Gadhafi’s secret surveillance network by Matthieu Aikins was published by Wired: [The] activists would suffer greatly at the hands of Gadhafi’s spy service, whose own capabilities had been heightened by 21st-century technology. By now, it’s well known that the Arab Spring showed the promise of the Internet as … Continue reading

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colonial crimes records

again a glimpse into the heart of darkness Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.     Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.     … 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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fistful of quarters

Joshua Bearman’s article ‘↓The perfect game‘ (2008) since years slumbers on my HDD—luckily it’s still available online for everybody. Testimony to the amazing zen-like perfect-flow achievable in high-end arcade gaming. Additionally there are two magnificent documentaries on the subject: ‘The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters’ (Gordon 2007) and ‘Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade’ (Ruchti 2007). Here are the trailers and what ↑filmcritic‘s ↑Anthony Burch has to say on the two documentaries:  the king of kong  Put this one at the top of your “Must Watch Now” list. Like, right now. Beyond functioning as an entertaining if somewhat shallow look … Continue reading

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turing’s cathedral

Here’s the official synopsis of historian of science ↑George Dyson‘s latest book ‘Turing’s Cathedral’ (2012): “It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence,” twenty-four-year-old Alan Turing announced in 1936. In Turing’s Cathedral, George Dyson focuses on a small group of men and women, led by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, who built one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. Their work would break the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things—and our … Continue reading

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forget your past

Last summer photographer ↑Timothy Allen met Alexander Ivanov, a colleague of his, at a photo festival in Bulgaria: ‘Back then he showed me some pictures of what looked to me like a cross between a flying saucer and Doctor Evil’s hideout perched atop a glorious mountain range.’ This winter Timothy went there, 250km from Sofia, and took ↑glorious pictures of the Buzludzha monument, a gigantic, now abandoned and decaying monument to socialism. The pictures show the building from the outside, the inside, and even from the sky. Goes well with the ↵cosmic communist constructions photographed by Frédéric Chaubin. via ↑entry … Continue reading

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