The Null Device
Interesting idea of the moment: the well curve. Apparently, the WIRED article suggests, many trends today, if plotted on a graph, would appear as an inverted bell curve, peaking at the edges and declining in the middle. Some sound rather contrived (i.e., great demand for mobile-phone-sized video displays or gigantic plasma screens; meanwhile, people are still buying 17" monitors); others point to an increasingly fragmented and polarised world (more businesses are either very small and very large; the numbers of very rich and very poor rose, with the middle declining). This trend could be interpreted to back up two interpretations: a pessimistic one (society is becoming more balkanised, the middle class is facing extinction, and things will soon look like Brazil or South Africa, or perhaps Snow Crash) or an optimistic one, from a classic WIRED long-boom neophilic milieu (the old conformistic norms are falling apart, ushering in a new renaissance of creative anarchy and diversity). In either case, we live in interesting times.
Naomi Klein on Iraq after the war: fully privatised, foreign-owned and open for business; in other words, the branch-office state par excellence, much like Central America was in the 1950s. That is, assuming that Brand USA's hostile takeover is finalised smoothly, without major interference from, say, the numerous Shia Islamist militias that have emerged from under the Saddam regime's boot. It could all end up looking like Beirut, or indeed Afghanistan, for decades, which does not exactly inspire investor confidence.
Best-selling electronica star Moby admits to being a Celine Dion fan. Given that his career also involves peddling bland, inoffensively MOR music to the suburban masses, I'm not too surprised. (via Largehearted Boy)