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Archive for May, 2003

robot of the day

Category: science/fiction

Science fiction everyday with robots.net where you can read all the latest news about robotics and artificial intelligence. And also admire the pictures of the robot of the day, such as this one that i like a lot.


Pattern Recognition : a non-geek review

Category: Uncategorized

“Waking up in a borrowed flat in Camden Town, Cayce Pollard, the heroine of Pattern Recognition, switches on an ‘Italian floor lamp’ powered by ‘British electricity’. She pours some water – ‘London tap water’, as she later notes – through ‘a German filter’ into ‘an Italian electric kettle’, and seeks out a bag of ‘imported Californian tea-substitute’. After a hasty Pilates session, she checks her watch – ‘a Korean clone of an old-school Casio G-Shock’ – and sees that it’s time for her meeting with Bernard Stonestreet, an ad exec in ‘a Paul Smith suit, more specifically the 118 jacket and the 11T trouser’. Cayce, by contrast, wears a ‘museum-grade replica of a US MA-1 flying jacket . . . created by Japanese obsessives’. Afterwards there’s lunch, ‘the food California-inflected Vietnamese fusion with more than the usual leavening of colonial Frenchness’. Then, shouldering a handbag ‘of black East German laminate, purchased on eBay’, she steels herself for a mind-blowing trip to the pullulating ‘logo-maze’ of Harvey Nichols.”

From a review of ‘Pattern Recognition’ by Gibson in the London Review of Books

The Transparent Society

Category: science/fiction

By sci-fi author’s David Brin, the first chapter is online:

“This is a tale of two cities. Cities of the near future, say ten or twenty years from now.
Barring something unforeseen, you are apt to live in one of these two places. Your only choice may be which.

At first sight, this pair of municipalities look pretty much alike. Both contain dazzling technological marvels, especially in the realm of electronic media. Both suffer familiar urban quandaries of frustration and decay. If some progress is being made at solving human problems, it is happening gradually. Perhaps some kids seem better educated. The air may be marginally cleaner. People still worry about over-population, the environment, and the next international crisis.

None of these features are of interest to us right now, for we have noticed something about both of these 21st century cities that is radically different. A trait that marks them distinct from any metropolis of the late nineteen-nineties.
Street crime has nearly vanished from both towns. But that is only a symptom, a result.
The real change peers down from every lamp post, every roof-top and street sign.

Tiny cameras, panning left and right, surveying traffic and pedestrians, observing everything in open view.”

read online

Attachment and detachment are easy

Category: Uncategorized

Cats to become a rabbit should gather immediately now here. This is the hat and shawl for disguising oneself. This hat is made of soft boa cloth, and its lining cloth with a flower pattern is very cute. Since it can equip also with a hat and shawl on a piece of Velcro, attachment and detachment are easy!

see the rabbit

see more

X 1999

Category: science/fiction

A nice essay about the Clamp manga X 1999, where Kamui is “the one”. His only choice is to decide if he will trust the oracle or not (!) Here’s a little bit of it :

” The most prominent theme in X is that of a set destiny; as the tagline of the series states, “Their destiny was foreordained” (CLAMP, X 1: 2). Each of the fourteen major characters possess magical or psychic abilities but are powerless to significantly affect the roles they play in the future of humanity. Only one character appears to be offered a choice about his future, the main character, Shirou Kamui. He must choose between joining the Dragons of Heaven or the Dragons of Earth but once he makes his choice the path for the rest of humanity is inexorably decided. This once again reflects the powerlessness of the individual against the monolith of modern society; the other characters are powerless to determine their own futures or to alter their destiny.”

The Closed World

Category: science/fiction

The Closed World:
Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America

The sensors — shaped like twigs, jungle plants, and animal droppings — were designed to detect all kinds of human activity, such as the noises of truck engines, body heat, motion, even the scent of human urine. When they picked up a signal, it appeared on the ISC’s display terminals hundreds of miles away as a moving white “worm” superimposed on a map grid. As soon as the ISC computers could calculate the worm’s direction and rate of motion, coordinates were radioed to Phantom F-4 jets patrolling the night sky. The planes’ navigation systems and computers automatically guided them to the “box,” or map grid square, to be attacked. The ISC central computers were also able to control the release of bombs: the pilot might do no more than sit and watch as the invisible jungle below suddenly exploded into flames. In most cases no American ever actually saw the target at all.

The “worm” would then disappear from the screen at the ISC. This entire process normally took no more than five minutes.

the first chapters of The Closed World are online:
the closed world

unconventional bioweapons

Category: science/fiction

How can we protect ourselves against the threats of germs and toxins? Cold War America gears up to fend off threats from unconventional bioweapons.

Sponsor: U.S. Federal Civil Defense Administration

see movie

Steam powered drum machine

Category: Uncategorized

Online musical steampunk in the techno museum.


Category: Uncategorized

Digital SARS folk art is piling up on boingboing.


Category: science/fiction

Malice@Doll is a new computer generated japanese film and when you read the
Midnight Eye review, it seems to be interesting. Here is a piece of it.

“Malice@Doll is situated in a rundown future society solely populated by service droids and mechanised prostitutes, where the humans who built them to attend to their carnal needs no longer exist, and the robots follow through their daily programs with no reason or purpose. Malice is one of these pre-programmed prostitutes, first seen exchanging pleasantries with a spider-legged cleaning droid before taking to the streets on her daily patrol repeating her hollow hard-wired mantra, “I will give you a kiss – it’s the only thing I can do”. When she starts weeping coolant liquid, she goes in search of a repairer droid, but after being diverted from her path by the mysterious ghostly apparition of a young girl, finds herself attacked by a giant tentacled creature. After she recovers from the assault, she discovers she is not quite the doll she used to be, her hard body now turned to flesh after mysteriously being transformed to human form.”

And there is the rest of it.