ABC: What forces are driving the rapid technological developments that continue to shape our world? According to author Peter Nowak it is a very unholy trinity; the war, porn and fast food industries. In this talk at Gleebooks, Nowak brands the internet as “military made, porn perfected” and explains his thesis and looking at how these industries drive technological change.
Canadian writer Peter Nowak is the author of “Sex, Bombs and Burgers” which was published in 2010. He is a senior science and technology reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s online news division.
Peter Blasina is also known as “The Gadget Guy” and he regularly reports on technology online and on Australian television and radio including the Channel 7 program ‘Sunrise’
All watched over by machines of loving grace is Adam Curtis’ latest three-part documentary series. The introduction to the series reads:
This series of films investigates how people have been colonised by the machines they have built.
Although they may not realise it, the way many people see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. Not just politics and the economy — but also in the way bodies, minds, and even the whole of the natural world are perceived.
The underlying argument is that people have given up a dynamic political model of the world — the dream of changing things for the better — for a static machine ideology that says everyone is a component in a system, and that the aim is to manage these systems and keep them stable.
From the utopian visions of the worldwide web to the idea of an interconnected global economic system, to the dream of balanced ecosystems, all these ideas share an underlying machine vision of organisation and order.
The films tell an extraordinary range of stories: from novelist Ayn Rand and her tragic love affairs to the dreams and the frightening reality of the hippie communes; from the brutal politics of the Belgian Congo to the doomsday computer model behind the rise of modern environmentalism; from the lonely suicide in a London squat of the mathematical genius who invented the selfish gene theory to Alan Greenspan and his faith in a new kind of global economic system. And there’s also the computer model of the eating habits of the Pronghorn antelope.
The series argues that by embracing this new machine ideology something very precious has been given up: the idea of progress and political struggle to change the world for the better.
Some of the people included in this story: Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden, Larry Ellison, John McCaskey, Kevin O’Connor, Loren Carpenter, Kevin Kelly, Stewart Brand, Alvin Toffler, Keniche Ohmae, Peter Schwartz, Bill Clinton, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, Joan Mitchell, Stephen Roach, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Rubin, Carmen Hermosillo, Monica Lewinsky, Suharto, Mahatir Mohamad, Arthur Tansley, Sigmund Freud, Peder Anker, Jay Wright Forrester, Norbert Wiener, Fred Turner, Howard Odum, Eugene Odum, Peter J Taylor, Daniel Botkin, Buckminster Fuller, Randall Gibson, Molly Hollenbach, Richard Brautigan, Alexander King, Jan Smuts, Tord Björk, Steward Pickett, George Van Dyne, Al Gore, (W.D.) Bill Hamilton, Patrice Lumumba, Mobutu Sese Seko, Michael Ruse, George R. Price, Kathleen Price, Edward Teller, John von Neumann, James Schwartz, Diane Fossey, Richard Dawkins.
The episodes are titled: Love and Power, The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts, and The Monkey In The Machine and the Machine in the Monkey. The three parts, each lasting ~55 minutes, in a YouTube playlist:
Curtis in the The Guardian: How the ‘ecosystem’ myth has been used for sinister means When, in the 1920s, a botanist and a field marshal dreamed up rival theories of nature and society, no one could have guessed their ideas would influence the worldview of 70s hippies and 21st-century protest movements. But their faith in self-regulating systems has a sinister history
Also check out Curtis’ blog over at the BBC. The post of the trailer to this series has a bunch of interesting comments, including some that gather most of the music used. It includes the following tracks:
This saves you the time having to cut, copy and paste a screenshot when you want to show someone’s tweet. Also, unlike a screenshot, you get to keep the links to the tweet and the person who tweeted it. All you need to supply to get the example above is the Tweet ID (810829008084992) with a shortcode. To show it works with other people’s tweets (1369101628870657):
Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug & obviously left me tweetless XO
VodPod lets you collect videos from web sites with a browser button (if it is able to find an embedded video in the page) and it lets you follow people who collect videos as well (and be followed) . It recommends people based on the tags put on videos. Your collections can be used with widgets (as above), and you can share your videos from your collections on Facebook and Twitter (selectively while adding or watching).
There’s a variety of widgets/buttons ready to be used with the usual blogs or on your web site.
A free account offers three collections you can name and put videos in (as above). Getting five other people to subscribe via an email invite or a link (such as this one) gets you a Pro account with some more options (including more collections). Alternatively you can use their yearly rates with Pro or Pro+ accounts. See the VodPod site for more information.
Via TED: David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.
“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Carr uses this allegory in his Atlantic Monthly cover story “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and makes the case that the Internet has diminished our ability to think deeply. Carr, an outspoken anti-Wikipedia activist, will share his theory on the Internet as the culprit against civilization’s progress. Are our brains re-routed? What is the cost of information efficiency? Join us as this best-selling author presents his perspective on the side effects of the World Wide Web.