The Null Device
Is The Matrix a metaphor for the oppression of the workers under capitalism, with Neo representing the revolutionary proletariat? Ken Macleod (who else?) thinks so:
Reading it I thought of something I hadn't before - the real reason why in the film the machines use the humans as a power source, as 'batteries', something I have long derided. On a literal level it is of course ridiculous. But symbolically it makes literal sense: we are the source of their power. Surplus value comes only from living labour, not from machines.
Btw, the new Chat et Fille T-shirt they have looks pretty doovy, in a Belle-et-Sebastien sort of way.
It looks like Salam Pax, the famous Iraqi blogger, will be writing a column for the Guardian. The column will run biweekly, and the first one will be out on Wednesday. (via TechDirt)
The street finds its own uses for social technologies, it seems: tourists in Brazil are targeted by swarm crime, where, upon emerging from their hotels, they are stripped of valuables by hordes of young children who suddenly appear and disappear just as suddenly. The children operate in fluid teams, coordinated with stolen (and thus untraceable) mobile phones by a teenaged recruiter/intermediary working for the organiser, who provides the phones and takes most of the proceeds.
If a law enforcement officer sees the crime and catches a child, the child can only talk about Neil. The mobile phone is not traceable. If the police catch Neil, he can only provide a mobile phone number. The adult allows Neill to collect the money ad jewelry, pay the kids, and then meet to pass over the loot to the adult. The adult is effectively "cut out" of the actual crime. Although some of the intermediaries like Neil or the children performing the crime may keep the money and jewelry for themselves, the adult repeats the process.
New problems for law enforcement officers to address: [a] fluidity of the crime and perpetrators, [b] spontaneous nature of the crimes, and [c] dealing with the children who commit the crime in the criminal justice system.
(via Die Puny Humans)