The Null Device
A 24-year-old woman committed suicide by jumping from the window of an art gallery in Berlin; the day before, she went to the gallery and was filmed by artists saying that she planned to commit suicide. When she jumped, bystanders thought it was performance art.
(Which brings up the quesion: if she hadn't killed herself, would it have been performance art? And just because she did, does that automatically make it not art?)
This is what happens when street theatre goes bad: Radical-leftist fruitloop Andrew McCrae decided to protest police brutality, corporate irresponsibility and "police-state tactics", so he did the most logical thing, and shot and killed a police officer as he was refuelling his car in California. Prior to doing this, he registered himself as a corporation, giving himself immunity from prosecution, or at least turning the inevitable trial into a dramatisation of corporate excesses. Ooh, clever move, that. Afterwards, he posted a rant on IndyMedia, confessing to the murder and justifying it as a political statement. Soon afterwards, the police cornered him at a hotel, from which he tried to deliver a "Declaration of Renewed Independence" to a journalist.
Not surprisingly, the authorities (and indeed a lot of the posters on IndyMedia) are being pigheadedly literal-minded and refusing to view this as just a piece of street theatre.
Woolly-headed nonsense about "quantum mechanics" in BBC article about sheep-based random poetry art project. Come on; spraypainting words on the backs of sheep and letting them wander around forming random "poems" is not in any way related to "quantum mechanics". Well, not unless observation of the sheep's locations makes it impossible to measure their velocity or collapses the set of all possible words into one word or something like that, which I gather is not the case. Doesn't the BBC have anyone with a basic grasp of physics looking over their site and weeding out the pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo? (via gimbo)
Any technology indistinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced, an essay putting Arthur C. Clarke's famous dictum on its head.
But I submit that if the best we can do is make technology as dangerous, non-robust, capricious, arcane, alienating, marginal, and costly as "magic" -- then we have really crappy technology.
The author, Vanessa Layne, has also written an interesting essay on why creativity flourishes in urban centres rather than small towns, looking at economic and anthropological arguments. (via Charlie's Diary)
Jury Service, a (so far) pretty doovy post-singularity scifi story by Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow, with biotech, nanotech, Welsh and Islamic cultures, airships and more. Pretty nifty, but the following paragraph struck me as a bit incongruous:
"Monkeys! You think I'm worried about monkeys? Brother, I once spent a month in a Tasmanian work-camp for public drunkennessimagine, an Australian judge locking an Englishman up for drunkenness!"
Falling into the myth that Australians are more accomplished drinkers than the English, where in fact Australians drink their beer in wimpy little half-pint pots (or slightly larger glasses in Sydney), while in England you don't get through life (or university at least) without learning how to down the pints like nobody's business before the pub closes at 11pm and still manage to stagger home. (Or so a friend of mine with a hollow leg tells me.)