atlantis

Quite vividly do I remember when I sat in my parents’ living room on 12 April 1981, watching the launch of ‘Columbia’ on television. The ↑first flight of a ↑Space Shuttle into orbit. During the years when men walked the moon I was too young, and hence have no recollection of that at all. For me the Space Shuttle program was, like the Cold War, something that defined the world of my childhood. The Space Shuttles transposed what I read in comic books and science fiction stories into empirical, everyday reality. In July this year the era came to an … Continue reading

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the machine stops

  ‘↓The Machine Stops‘ is a science fiction short story or novella by ↑E. M. Forster, first published in 1909. Here is the story’s setting as ↑Wikipedia’s plot summary has it: The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard ‘cell’, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Travel is permitted but unpopular and rarely necessary. Communication is made via a kind of instant messaging/video conferencing machine called the … Continue reading

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cyberanthropology reviews

Now that some reviews of my book ‘↑Cyberanthropology‘ have seen the light of day, it makes sense to begin to collect them [naturally they’re all in German]:     The Titel-Magazin was first with ↑Ein Buch mit System! (27 September 2011). As short as enthusiastic—and it is very short.     Next came Karl-Heinz Kohl’s review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: ↑Völkerkunde war gestern, Cyberanthropology ist heute (16 November 2011). Unfortunately behind a paywall on the FAZ-server, but buecher.de has the ↑full text of the review online (and perlentaucher.de posted a ↑short notice).     On 30 November 2011 SWR2 … Continue reading

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decommissioned

This vig[nette] by Alex Fojtik simply is called ↑Decommissioned and once again proofs that it is possible to create poetry out of LEGO bricks. It immediately reminded me of the robot soldier turned gardener in ‘↑Laputa: Castle in the Sky‘ (Miyazaki 1986):  Since 2001 a life-sized replica of one of those robot soldiers can be seen ↑in the rooftop garden of the ↑Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. Life-sized in his case means five meters tall:  ↵Life after people, robots after people, technology after people … here’s what I saw ↑at boingboing this week:  Cory Doctorow writes: ‘The Bughouse Future … Continue reading

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cyberpunkish artefacts listings

In the navigation menu above ↵cyberpunk has appeared as a new element. Here is what the new element and its dropdown menu are all about:     On the pages assembled in this menu I am collecting ↵motion pictures, ↵literature, ↵comics, and ↵computer games which can be called cyberpunk or cyberpunkish. A cultural artefact out of this categories qualifies, and is added to the respective list, if it comprises a sufficiently critical mass composed of peculiar core themes, æsthetics, settings, and protagonists.     At the thematic core there are the reciprocal effects between state-of-the-art technology and culture, society, the … Continue reading

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orthometals

Some weeks ago we went swimming at the ‘↑Müllersches Volksbad,’ Munich’s gorgeous Art Nouveau indoor pool facility. After having swum some lanes I took a respite in the shallow part of the pool. I hadn’t been swimming for months and may have overdone it a bit on the first lanes. Feeling a slight dragging pain in my right shoulder, I hovered in the water, admiring the architecture, and rubbed said shoulder cautiously.     Submerged to his knees an elderly gentleman smiled fatherly at me from the stone steps leading into the pool.     ‘Got one, too?’ he asked … Continue reading

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commodifying bodies

At one level, then, the commodification of the body is a new discourse, linked to the incredible expansion of possibilities through recent advances in biomedicine, transplant surgery, experimental genetic medicine, biotechnology and the science of genomics in tandem with the spread of global capitalism and the consequent speed at which patients, technologies, capital, bodies and organs can now move across the globe. But on another level the commodification of bodies is continuous with earlier discourses on the desire, need and scarcity of human bodies and body parts for religious edification, healing, dissection, recreation and sports, and for medical experimentation and … Continue reading

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96 hours later

↑96 hours to the stone age at ↑GigaOM complements ↵behind closed doors and ↵telegeography. The story asks, especially in respect to information technology, what will happen when electrical power won’t be delivered anymore. Well, an apocalypse in the strict sense of the term will happen—a revelation. It will be revealed to all of us in unblinking clearness, on how much hardware around us we depend, which in turn depends on electricity.     The gist of this kind of speculation is informed by scientific methodology: Take an element, or a whole category of elements, out of a system and see … Continue reading

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simroid

More from ↵robotopia nipponica. The Simroid is a training android for dentists. It is developed at ↑The Nippon Dental University and built by ↑Kokoro [a lot more of weird robot stuff there]. After the first version, called Simuloid and presented in 2007, the new Simroid features a higher level of naturalism (↑video at DigInfo TV):     It ‘behaves’ quite like a human patient on a dentist’s torturing chair [‘Brazil’ anyone?], moves, speaks, and reacts—e.g. by simulating gag reflexes, or by expressing discomfort when the doctor accidentally strokes its breasts with the elbow.     Reminds me of ↵mor gui, … Continue reading

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thai flood hacks

↑Thai Flood Hacks is a wonderful collection of pictures showing off ingenious technical contraptions cooked up for dealing with the flood in Thailand. With their ↑truck-canoe hybrids [still only at ye ole xirdalium] the people of Bangkok already have shown their skill in dealing with water and in the active appropriation of technology—now they drive it to new heights. Also very worthwhile in these respects: ↑afrigadget and ↑street use. ↑thai flood hacks via ↑entry at ↑ethno::log … Continue reading

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