Fascinating interactive NYT chart showing the demogeographic patterns of the peopling of American in the past century.

Fascinating interactive NYT chart showing the demogeographic patterns of the peopling of American in the past century.

justinpickard:

Urban Nomads is the first book about an upcoming and hard-to-define new lifestyle. It sheds a light on possible new ways of living, working, cooking, and medical care in an age of increasing flexibility. The book is a huge catalogue of movable micro buildings and well-designed solutions for on-the-go living experiences, all based around themes like instant housing, instant cooking, instant exhibition, and instant help.’

(‘Urban Nomads: Design For A Lifestyle On The Go’)

Happy National Radio Day

Happy National Radio Day

“There must be a secret hidden in this book or else you wouldn’t bother to read it.”
Kathy Acker, “On Delany the Magician”, 1996 (via marshallastr)
In Defense of the Silicon Valley Tech Bro  
This terrific Businessweek profile of the moral culture of tech makes one think about the situational ethics being embedded in the code that constructs 21st century socio-political reality:
On Tuesdays the Y Combinator startup founders gather for dinner and a speaker; two recent ones were Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. On these evenings, the accelerator’s Mountain View offices seem like a developing-world coffee shop—two dozen young dudes and three women wearing name tags and typing on laptops on a series of long tables with cheap folding chairs. The orange walls are covered with foam soundproofing, which would make sense if computer programmers made noise. Because the accelerator doesn’t make second-round investments, founders are free to admit their shortcomings in group meetings that feel a bit like therapy sessions. At one in July, it quickly becomes clear that tech arrogance is partly a front to win partners, investors, and recruits. One guy sighs, admitting he can’t figure out a way to keep users on his site long enough to get their e-mail addresses; others try to cheer him up with ways he might trick them into it. They all lament that there are regulations keeping him from having people deliver prescriptions and suggest he go to some malls and ask older women what kind of weird over-the-counter pills they take. If these world-changers-in-training are insensitive about the harm of disruption, it might be because they’ve disrupted their own lives: moving from other towns or countries, turning down well-paying jobs to take small salaries, living in the office, and being at least dimly aware that their businesses are almost surely going to fail.
They sit under a portrait of angel investor Ron Conway and his dog that was originally a birthday gift from Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’s widow. Conway quickly rejected it, and it has now become an object of kitsch—a signifier of how alien Silicon Valley’s ethics are to the East Coast. Acting like a self-satisfied rich dude is not the right kind of arrogance. What would be cool is if someone oil-painted your awesome code.
(emphasis added)

In Defense of the Silicon Valley Tech Bro  

This terrific Businessweek profile of the moral culture of tech makes one think about the situational ethics being embedded in the code that constructs 21st century socio-political reality:

On Tuesdays the Y Combinator startup founders gather for dinner and a speaker; two recent ones were Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. On these evenings, the accelerator’s Mountain View offices seem like a developing-world coffee shop—two dozen young dudes and three women wearing name tags and typing on laptops on a series of long tables with cheap folding chairs. The orange walls are covered with foam soundproofing, which would make sense if computer programmers made noise. Because the accelerator doesn’t make second-round investments, founders are free to admit their shortcomings in group meetings that feel a bit like therapy sessions. At one in July, it quickly becomes clear that tech arrogance is partly a front to win partners, investors, and recruits. One guy sighs, admitting he can’t figure out a way to keep users on his site long enough to get their e-mail addresses; others try to cheer him up with ways he might trick them into it. They all lament that there are regulations keeping him from having people deliver prescriptions and suggest he go to some malls and ask older women what kind of weird over-the-counter pills they take. If these world-changers-in-training are insensitive about the harm of disruption, it might be because they’ve disrupted their own lives: moving from other towns or countries, turning down well-paying jobs to take small salaries, living in the office, and being at least dimly aware that their businesses are almost surely going to fail.

They sit under a portrait of angel investor Ron Conway and his dog that was originally a birthday gift from Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’s widow. Conway quickly rejected it, and it has now become an object of kitsch—a signifier of how alien Silicon Valley’s ethics are to the East Coast. Acting like a self-satisfied rich dude is not the right kind of arrogance. What would be cool is if someone oil-painted your awesome code.

(emphasis added)

The Man Who Ate Argentina
At Businessweek, a terrific profile of the strange things that go on when nation-states borrow money from hedge funds and can’t or won’t make their gargantuan payments.  Very easy to unfurl the scenarios where a cabal of deal guys and technolibertarian seasteaders end up with their own country.
“Argentina’s Vulture, Paul Singer, is Wall Street Freedom Fighter”
An earlier success may have emboldened Singer. He spent about $11 million on government-backed Peruvian bank debt in 1996, and Peru agreed in 2000 to pay him $58 million. That meant he got better than a 400 percent return. All it took was trips to court in the U.S., U.K., Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and Canada.
“He finds a country in distress, he buys its debt, he demands full payment, and he doesn’t care about the economics, the poverty, the circumstances of the country,” says Mark Cymrot, who represented Peru and is head of BakerHostetler’s international disputes group. “From his point of view, he would say, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ And you’d have to say he’s right. But I wouldn’t want to earn money that way myself.”
Singer began buying bonds before Argentina’s record $95 billion default in 2001. A string of five presidents in two weeks, an historic recession, and violence that killed at least 27 people didn’t turn him off. He kept buying defaulted debt at a deep discount. When most of Argentina’s creditors accepted strict offers in 2005 and 2010 to swap their bonds for about 30¢ on the dollar, Singer wasn’t among them. Instead, he won court claims to at least $1.7 billion from the country and embarked on a global quest to collect.
The voyage has been action-packed, though with a lot of legal consultants and arcane applications of little-known legal terms. In 2004, NML Capital, a Singer subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands, persuaded a judge to bar Argentina from selling four military warehouses it owned off a parkway in Maryland, freezing $3 million in buildings, motors, weapons, and a plane, according to an Argentine defense ministry spokesman. A lawyer for NML modestly said at the time that the order covered only real estate.
Singer managed to briefly seize an Argentine naval vessel in Ghana in 2012. After the three-mast training frigate was evacuated, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered it freed. The frigate sailed off. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told her country that the vulture funds could try to take their boat, which happens to be named the ARA Libertad, but they wouldn’t touch Argentina’s “freedom, sovereignty, or dignity.”

The Man Who Ate Argentina

At Businessweek, a terrific profile of the strange things that go on when nation-states borrow money from hedge funds and can’t or won’t make their gargantuan payments.  Very easy to unfurl the scenarios where a cabal of deal guys and technolibertarian seasteaders end up with their own country.

Argentina’s Vulture, Paul Singer, is Wall Street Freedom Fighter

An earlier success may have emboldened Singer. He spent about $11 million on government-backed Peruvian bank debt in 1996, and Peru agreed in 2000 to pay him $58 million. That meant he got better than a 400 percent return. All it took was trips to court in the U.S., U.K., Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and Canada.

“He finds a country in distress, he buys its debt, he demands full payment, and he doesn’t care about the economics, the poverty, the circumstances of the country,” says Mark Cymrot, who represented Peru and is head of BakerHostetler’s international disputes group. “From his point of view, he would say, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ And you’d have to say he’s right. But I wouldn’t want to earn money that way myself.”

Singer began buying bonds before Argentina’s record $95 billion default in 2001. A string of five presidents in two weeks, an historic recession, and violence that killed at least 27 people didn’t turn him off. He kept buying defaulted debt at a deep discount. When most of Argentina’s creditors accepted strict offers in 2005 and 2010 to swap their bonds for about 30¢ on the dollar, Singer wasn’t among them. Instead, he won court claims to at least $1.7 billion from the country and embarked on a global quest to collect.

The voyage has been action-packed, though with a lot of legal consultants and arcane applications of little-known legal terms. In 2004, NML Capital, a Singer subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands, persuaded a judge to bar Argentina from selling four military warehouses it owned off a parkway in Maryland, freezing $3 million in buildings, motors, weapons, and a plane, according to an Argentine defense ministry spokesman. A lawyer for NML modestly said at the time that the order covered only real estate.

Singer managed to briefly seize an Argentine naval vessel in Ghana in 2012. After the three-mast training frigate was evacuated, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered it freed. The frigate sailed off. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told her country that the vulture funds could try to take their boat, which happens to be named the ARA Libertad, but they wouldn’t touch Argentina’s “freedom, sovereignty, or dignity.”

emergentfutures:

Watson, the IBM supercomputer, might replace the loudmouth in your business meetings

While plenty of modern conference rooms are outfitted with technology, IBM is imagining a future in which computers figure into office meetings not only as tools but as active participants.


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According to the MIT Technology Review, IBM is testing the idea at a lab where everything said in a demo room lined with microphones can be transcribed, and in some cases synthesized, by Watson, the Jeopardy! champion supercomputer.Participants can ask Watson for something as simple as a statistic, or as complex as a list of acquisition targets based on its understanding of a pre-meeting strategy memo and a set of verbal conditions (“Watson, show me companies between $15 million and $60 million in revenue relevant to that strategy” is an example from the article).


+


In the demo, Watson was able to make further suggestions on companies to eliminate from the group of potential targets, essentially generating a shortlist. In time, the software might be able to log contributions of different people to a meeting, or fact-check statements.


Full Story: Quartz

emergentfutures:

Watson, the IBM supercomputer, might replace the loudmouth in your business meetings

While plenty of modern conference rooms are outfitted with technology, IBM is imagining a future in which computers figure into office meetings not only as tools but as active participants.

+

According to the MIT Technology Review, IBM is testing the idea at a lab where everything said in a demo room lined with microphones can be transcribed, and in some cases synthesized, by Watson, the Jeopardy! champion supercomputer.Participants can ask Watson for something as simple as a statistic, or as complex as a list of acquisition targets based on its understanding of a pre-meeting strategy memo and a set of verbal conditions (“Watson, show me companies between $15 million and $60 million in revenue relevant to that strategy” is an example from the article).

+

In the demo, Watson was able to make further suggestions on companies to eliminate from the group of potential targets, essentially generating a shortlist. In time, the software might be able to log contributions of different people to a meeting, or fact-check statements.

Full Story: Quartz

The Pecos Insurrection, 2009, in which “criminal aliens” incarcerated prior to deportation took over the largest private prison in the world.

The Pecos Insurrection, 2009, in which “criminal aliens” incarcerated prior to deportation took over the largest private prison in the world.

whoisstan:

abraham-shipwreck:

Casual fridays arent allowed in the office after last weeks “incident.”

Joh Ballard high rise

(Source: mgworld4)

Who’s that guy?  Oh, yeah, I remember.

Who’s that guy?  Oh, yeah, I remember.

slavin:

Syria. Civilian sector of Aleppo, April and May of this year.

Made with “barrel bombs,” which are just water barrels filled with explosives and metal shards, dropped from helicopters onto homes. By the government.

#meanwhile

Borderplexed

"MILICIAS EN LA FRONTERA SUR" warns the headline from the free Tejano weekly stacked by the door in the store where they sell the magic hongos.  Open source street intel from creepy Facebook pages and secret recruiting hotlines. 

The ethnoanachronists are coming.  That is not the term they use.  They grow them on the Network, then send them out into the world.  All over the world.

Did you read about white couple launching their new app today that crowdsources the “sketchy” neighborhoods to stay away from?  They say it’s not about race.  Vigilantism comes in soft serve, too.

The sirena with the mohawk who mediates gentrification and dispenses life at the neighborhood juice bar tells about her recent trip to see family in Tamaulipas.  Where the ex-special forces guys took over the business of selling drugs to gringos.  

SketchFactor

In the newspaper that morning, they announce how they are going to build a spaceport right there on the beach where Texas ends and Tamaulipas begins.  

It’s going to be awesome.  Like Iron Man versus the Zetas.

The newspaper also says how the governor has swarmed the border with game wardens retooled as commandos with .30 cals and bulletproof jetboats.

Right there at Boca Chica used to be a beach town called Bagdad.  It was a boomtown during the Civil War, a Confederate port full of gun smugglers, blockade runners, and desperadoes.  Fandangos every night.

Up the road there is an Air Force Base they are filling up with lost children.  

“We will ensure that SpaceX has everything they need in order to be successful in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex,” says the Mayor.

In Washington the white right Midwesterners are legislating war against the southern other, while the newspaper of global capital reports that Moody’s just downgraded the future

You read the gerontocratic future foretold by the bond rating actuaries, and you wonder if they will have guest workers in the plush centers of affluent convalescence where the Baby Boomers go to never die.

In 2020, 20% of us will be geezers, and economic growth will slow by a point.  Wait until you see what 2070 looks like.  You wonder how long it will take before they start putting help wanted ads over the holes in the border walls.  Like the one you find on Street View,  in the middle of Matamoros, walking distance from Spaceport Boca Chica.

Will they have fandangos on the launch pad?  Will they invite the neighbors?

fuckyeahdarkextropian:

Shamans Among the Machines (Dark Extropian edit)

Spoken in Seattle, 1999. Full length video of the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5yOaTgWu6Y

talked edited down to give context for the following quotes which perfectly elaborate the core of the Dark Extropian idea.

Excerpts:

It seems to be the Earth’s strategy for its own salvation is through machines, and human beings are a kind of intermediate catalytic step in the rarefaction of the Earth. The Earth is involved in a kind of alchemical sublimation of itself into a higher state of morphogenetic order, and that these machines that we build are actually the means by which the Earth itself is growing conscious. If you study embryology you know that the final ramification, the final spread and thinning out of the nervous system happens very suddenly at the end of foetal development, and I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but in the last ten, twelve years or so a very profound change has crept over our household appliances. They’ve become telepathic. So while we were arguing about the implications of the internet for e-commerce or what have you, all of these passive machines, previously used for playing Pong or word processing, became subsets of a planetary node of information that is never turned off, that endlessly whispers to itself on the back channels, that is endlessly monitoring and being imputed data from the human world.

All kinds of complex systems spontaneously mutate to higher states of order. What it really means is that we are in the process of birthing come kind of strange companion.

…a stranger guest stands at the door and it is the AI.

Because the fact is we are ourselves elements acting and reacting in a system that we cannot understand.

As you approach this golden moment… process, complexity is layered upon complexity, not only a planetary ecosystem, not only language using cultures, but language using cultures with high technology, with supercomputers, with the ability to sequence our own genome, on and on and on. That’s self-evident. Equally self-evident is the fact that is process of complexification that informs all nature on all levels is visibly, palpably, obviously accelerating and I don’t mean so that glaciers retreat 50% faster or volcanism is occurring at 12% greater rate than a million years ago; I mean viscerally accelerating so that now a human life is more than enough of a window to see the entire global system of relationships in transformation. Well I guess you could me an Extrapolationist; if I see a process which has been slowly accelerating for twelve billion years it’s hard to imagine any force which could step out of nowhere and wrench that process in a new direction. Rather I would assume that this process of exponential acceleration into what I call Novelty, what you might call Complexity, is a Law of Being and cannot be retarded or deflected. But what does that mean? Because now a human lifetime is more than enough time to see this process of rampant and spreading virus-like complexity. What does it mean? It seems to presage the absolute annihilation of everything familiar, everything with roots in the past and I believe that to be true. I think the planet is like some kind of organism that is seeking Morphogenetic Transformation and it’s doing it through the expression of intelligence and out of intelligence, technology. Human beings are the agent of a new order of being, that’s why, though it’s obvious that we’re higher mammals and some kind of primate and so forth and so on… You can look at us another point of view and see that we’re more like Archangels than primates. We have qualities and concerns and anxieties that animals don’t share. We are mercurially suspended between two different orders of being and our technologies, our fetishes, our religions, and my definition of technology is sufficiently broad that it includes spoken languages… All of our technologies demand, push forward toward and make inevitable their own obsolescence. So we’re like caught in an evolutionary cascade and people say if the AI were to break loose, what would it look like, what would it be? Where does humanity fit into the picture? It’s a little hard to imagine…

A kind of false or pseudo immortality opens up ahead of us as a kind of pay-off for our devotion to the program of machine evolution and machine intelligence. Now some people say this is appalling…

To me it’s exhilarating, exciting, psychedelic, beautiful. It means that the human form, the human possibility is in the process of leaving history behind.”


“I mentioned earlier, this thing about prosthesis, and how the machines are prosthetic devices extending human consciousness, somewhat like psychedelics. That’s the equation from a human point of view, but what is also equally true is that we are prosthetic devices for these machines, we are their eyes and ears in the world. We provide the code, we provide the constraints, we build the hardware. It is a relationship of mutual benefit. It’s not entirely clear that our contribution will always be creative, in the sense that our primate hand will be on the tiller of existence, as it has been. But certainly we are part of this equation of transformation that is making itself felt and I think the distinction between flesh and machinery, which is easily made now, will be less easy to make in the future.

So this AI that is coming into existence is to my mind not artificial at all, not alien at all. What it is is a new conformational geometry of the collective self of humanity.”


“This is where I want to tie it up, with this notion of the felt presence of immediate experience. This transcendences the culture, the machines, the drugs, the history, the momentum of evolution, it’s all you will ever know and all you *can* ever can know… is the felt presence of immediate experience. Everything else arrives as rumour, litigant, advocate, supposition, possibility. The felt moment of immediate experience is actually the mind and the body aware of each other and aware of the flow of time and the establishment of being through metabolism. This I think is what the machines cannot assimilate. It will be for them a mystery as the nature of deity is a mystery for us. I have no doubt that before long there will be machines that will claim to be more intelligent than human beings and will argue brilliantly their position. It will become a matter of philosophical disputation whether they are or are not passing the Turing Test.

But machines I do not believe can come to this felt moment of immediate experience. That is the contribution of the animal body to this evolutionary symbiosis WHICH I BELIEVE WILL END IN THE CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE BY ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE. THAT ALL THIS IS PRELUDE.

We are fragile, this Earth is fragile. A tiny slip anywhere along the line and we could end up a smear in the shale, no more than the trilobites…

BUT GIVEN THE SUFFICIENT CULTIVATION OF THE POTENTIAL OF OUR TECHNOLOGY WE CAN ACTUALLY REACH TOWARD A KIND OF IMMORTALITY. Not human immortality, because that’s a contradiction in terms, but immortality nevertheless based on the possibility of machines and the transcendent ability of human beings to live and love and express themselves in the moment. And the psychedelics bring that to a white hot focus and it’s out of that white hot focus that the alchemical machinery of transformation will be forged and it will not be like the things that have come from the Industrial Economy, they will not be profane machines they will be Spiritual Machines; Alchemical Gold, the universal panacea that Renaissance Magic dared to dream of at the end of the Sixteenth Century. WE ARE REACHING OUT TOWARDS THIS MIND CHILD THAT WILL BE BORN FROM THE INTELLECTUAL LIONS OF OUR CULTURE AND TO MY MIND IT’S THE MOST EXCITING AND TRANSFORMATIVE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED ON THIS PLANET AND THE MIRACLE IS THAT WE ARE PRESENT, NOT ONLY TO WITNESS IT, BUT TO BE PART OF IT AND TO BE RAISED UP IN AN EPIPHANY THAT WILL REDEEM THE HORROR OF HISTORY. AS NOTHING ELSE CAN OR COULD. REDEEM THE HORROR OF HISTORY THROUGH A TRANSFORMATION OF THE HUMAN SOUL INTO A GALAXY ROVING VEHICLE VIA OUR MACHINES AND OUR DRUGS AND THE EXTERNALISATION OF OUR SOULS.”

Amen.