The dark heart of the state joins you in celebrating the 13th birthday of the continuing emergency.

You can be a robot man and a pseudo-prep all at the same time.

This promotional video for Ralph Lauren’s new wearable tech T-shirt channels the training scenes from Rocky 4—Dolph Lundgren as the poster boy for the “quantified self.”  And the perfect biopolitically regulated machine of the state.  

In the Ralph Lauren video the computer voice of your clothes tells you to work harder.  Wait til they integrate it with the job instead of the gym.  

Extra credit: training montage from Rocky IV.  

Network theory—How El Chapo evaded communications surveillance after getting nabbed in Los Cabos in early 2012 (by unwisely assuming his Blackberry, being Canadian rather than a gringotech satphone, was harder for the US to surveil):

"Like bin Laden, he might have chosen to rely on couriers.  But a courier system is too inefficient for the fast pace of the narcotics trade, and so, as U.S. and Mexican authorities eventually discovered, Chapo devised an elaborate solution. In the past, he had occasionally restricted his contact with others in the cartel by relaying his commands through a proxy. For a time, a woman known as La Voz (the Voice) served as his gatekeeper, sending and receiving messages on his behalf. After Los Cabos, Guzmán reinstated this arrangement, but with additional precautions. If you needed to communicate with the boss, you could reach him via B.B.M., BlackBerry’s instant-messaging application. (Guzmán had apparently learned to read and write well enough to communicate in the shorthand of instant messages.) Your message would go not directly to Guzmán, however, but to a trusted lieutenant, who spent his days in Starbucks coffee shops and other locations with public wireless networks. Upon receiving the message, the lieutenant would transcribe it onto an iPad, so that he could forward the text using WiFi—avoiding the cellular networks that the cartel knew the authorities were trolling. The transcribed message would be sent not to Guzmán but to a second intermediary, who, also using a tablet and public WiFi, would transcribe the words onto his BlackBerry and relay them to Guzmán. Although Guzmán continued to use a BlackBerry, it was almost impossible to track, because it communicated with only one other device. When he received your message, his reply would be relayed back to you through the same indirect means. Many members of the cartel did not realize that when they wrote to the boss and received an answer, every word had been transmitted via two intermediaries. This is sometimes described as a “mirror” system, and it is fiendishly difficult for authorities to penetrate (especially when the transcribers keep moving from one WiFi hot spot to another). Nevertheless, by studying the communications patterns of the cartel, analysts at the Special Operations Division of the D.E.A. eventually grasped the nature of the arrangement.”

From “The Hunt for El Chapo,” by Patrick Radden Keefe, at The New Yorker

I’m not sure this is what Cesar Chavez had in mind.

I’m not sure this is what Cesar Chavez had in mind.

Mapping anthropocene oceans at National Geographic.

Mapping anthropocene oceans at National Geographic.

God is a drone.

DFW preacher Ed Young sermonizes the omniscient eye, with a Predator on stage and a quadcopter watching over the congregation with live video crosshairs.

I’ve been wondering how long it will be before organized religion picks up on the power of advanced surveillance.  Or politicians of a certain bent preach the social cohesion that comes with the God eye of the state keeping an eye on all.  America as one giant small town, where everyone knows your name—and everything else about you.

A perfect all-American cargo cult for the after-GWOT.

(Note the quip about the drones keeping an eye on who is too stingy when the collection plate comes around.)

Via War is Boring—Texas Megachruch Preaches the Power of Drones.

When I close my laptop, it goes to sleep. It’s a curiously domestic metaphor but it also implies that sleep in humans and other animals is just a kind of low-power standby mode. (Do computers dream of electric sleep?) Last year, Apple announced a twist on this idea: a new feature for the Mac operating system called “Power Nap”. Using Power Nap, your computer can do important things even while asleep, receiving updates and performing backups.

The name Power Nap comes from the term describing the thrusting executive’s purported ability to catch a restorative forty winks in 20 minutes but the functioning of Apple’s feature symbolically implies a yet more ultra-modern and frankly inhuman aspiration: to be “productive” even while dozing. It is the uncanny technological embodiment of the dream most blatantly sold to us by those work-from-home scams online, which promise that you can “make money even while you sleep”.

Sleep, indeed, is a standing affront to capitalism. That is the argument of Jonathan Crary’s provocative and fascinating essay, which takes “24/7” as a spectral umbrella term for round-the-clock consumption and production in today’s world. The human power nap is a macho response to what Crary notes is the alarming shrinkage of sleep in modernity. “The average North American adult now sleeps approximately six and a half hours a night,” he observes, which is “an erosion from eight hours a generation ago” and “ten hours in the early 20th century”.

Back in 1996, Stanley Coren’s book Sleep Thieves blamed insufficient rest for industrial disasters such as the Chernobyl meltdown. Crary is worried about the encroachment on sleep because it represents one of the last remaining zones of dissidence, of anti-productivity and even of solidarity. Isn’t it quite disgusting that, as he notices, public benches are now deliberately engineered to prevent human beings from sleeping on them?

While Apple-branded machines that take working Power Naps are figured as a more efficient species of people, people themselves are increasingly represented as apparatuses to be acted on by machines. Take the popular internet parlance of getting “eyeballs”, which means reaching an audience. “The term ‘eyeballs’ for the site of control,” Crary writes, “repositions human vision as a motor activity that can be subjected to external direction or stimuli … The eye is dislodged from the realm of optics and made into an intermediary element of a circuit whose end result is always a motor response of the body to electronic solicitation.”

You can’t get more “eyeballs” if the people to whose brains the eyeballs are physically connected are asleep. Hence the interest – currently military; before long surely commercial, too – in removing our need for sleep with drugs or other modifications. Then we would be more like efficient machines, able to “interact” with (or labour among) electronic media all day and all night. (It is strange, once you think about it, that the phrase “He’s a machine” is now supposed to be a compliment in the sporting arena and the workplace.)

This week’s semiotic reprogramming brought to you by a damaged and dissonant Zeitgeist.


Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

(Source: acidocasualidad)

(Source: politics-war)


Earth vs. the Flying Saucers