BIO
librarian/museum educator.

complete biography: texas, brazil, mexico, venezuela, china, india, london, new york, saudi arabia, boston.

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DISCUSSION

3D Printed Weaponry


agreed that fundamental problem of civilization is the same-- knowledge can be used for good or for ill, and "--can't we all just get along"-- but sometimes the "tech" has a trajectory of its own, and let's face it, as human beings we are still struggling to get our individual and collective minds around the physical principles of high-explosives. and although the anarchist cookbook has led an interesting life in our culture, the fact remains that advanced bomb-making requires a great deal of skill, and a certain degree of apprenticeship/professionalism-- thankfully! this being the main reason that so many terrorist plots have been duds. the hypothetical danger in the availability of automated templates for "chemical labs on a chip" would be to lower this skill/professionalism threshold-- and yes, this would be a major problem. who is going to protect whom from whom? well, having lived in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, I could introduce you to various parties who will openly state their desire, and long-term intention, to attack ethnic and/or religious groups which they perceive to be antagonistic to themselves-- and so I'd venture that it's not about "enemies" in any abstract sense, it's about individuals and groups who perceive themselves to be in a state of existential conflict, and who will avail themselves of the available means to pursue this conflict. as per paranoia: to quote a soldier i used to know, "--it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you." and sadly, yes, many human beings, psychotic or otherwise, desperate or otherwise, are genuinely out to "get" one another.

DISCUSSION

Five Videos: Kristin Lucas' Cameras That Steal the Show


lovely choices; interesting that in each of these videos the world at first contracts around a "conflict", and then the world expands as the various actors and actions gradually acquire a more ambiguous aspect (chiefly from repetition "--with a difference", which is to say the same basic action expressed in slightly different circumstances, from the combined effects of history and chance, the young boy punching his camera over and over again, similarly sized groups of people being startled and frighted in the same room) and this rhythm of conflict-contraction and
ambiguous-expansion makes me think of the basic structure of language, to derive the meaning of words from their most immediate context, but in playfulness or analysis or peripheral-vision to extrapolate additional meanings from a broader context, our modular awareness of parallel worlds, threshold of our subconscious/immanence of that "unexpected visitor" beneath the mask of the ordinary occurrence. Contraction and expansion, young boy punching camera as the basic heartbeat of our perception-- a mixed metaphor which of course begs questions of blood-pressure and pulse and etc, so perhaps I should have said "--contraction and expansion as the rhythm of a falcon's wing", as the source of our perceptual flight.

also, camera as focus: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/12706662/focus

DISCUSSION

3D Printed Weaponry


God help us, but printing of firearms is just the tip of the iceberg.

Once folks have figured-out how to reliably share and print complex objects from "templates", we'll probably see a host of applications in the service of cartels: of course they will fabricate weapons, but they may also develop self-contained chemistry "catalyst" boxes, to
de-professionalize/ decentralize their production of narcotics; and of course the doomsday application would be a catalyst-box for aspiring terrorists.

By which logic: If in the year 2030, any fool with a grudge and an off-the-shelf 3D printer can access templates which will quickly and consistently manufacture a mass-attack weapon-- THEN we can expect the state to exponentially expand its powers of internet "snooping", with an accompanied expansion of its system of "arbitrary arrest and execution", in order for the state to regain the initiative against "terror plots".

In this scenario everybody loses: the developed/"democratic" nations would become less free, to counter the threat posed by "auto-template" weaponry; meanwhile, large portions of the developing world would be unable to regulate this new technology, leading to an even greater proliferation of mass-attack weapons-- imagine a world in which every frustrated and/or desperate young man, momentarily held in the sway of an apocalyptic ideology, has the ability to quickly assemble a powerful explosive device from an easily accessible and anonymously hosted template.

Of course: perhaps the structure/geometry of a advanced chemical-catalyst-boxes will remain outside of the means of "ordinary 3d printers"; and perhaps the fundamental chemistry involved will ultimately defeat any attempts to assemble an "easily off the shelf solution" to creating advanced compounds, ranging from narcotics to explosives. Personally, I'm fervently hoping that such applications
turn-out to be a failure! Because as cool as it might be to print customized ceramics and individual prescriptions of antacids in my living room, it's neither worth having Big Brother coming to live/sleep on my couch forever, or else being blown to smithereens by a psychotic having a bad self-esteem day.


DISCUSSION

This is More Than a Game: A (very) Brief History of Larp Part 2


these are excellent articles!

nordic-larp certainly sounds like the cutting-edge of self-reflexive, creative social engineering-- reminds me of the anthropologist victor turner, hypothesizing the difference between a living or a dead ritual, his central premise being that ritual exists to illuminate (and therefore mediate) the inherent conflicts and contradictions that exist within a society, at the level of the individual... although i suppose the basic narrative of the modern world is that these conflicts and contradictions are so fundamentally terrible, that we tend to embrace radical freedoms of the imagination to preserve or renew the human soul: dadaism, surrealism, counter-cultures and fluxus, cyber-cultures and larps, oh my.

an acquaintance of mine has told me stories about a larping-community that existed within an intelligence division of the american military, circa 2000, a collection of spooks-in-training who liked to pretend they were vampires and werewolves; he said that it was a little alarming, to learn that an individual who might eventually become an interrogator, liked to walk around in military uniform secretly sporting vampire teeth-- but in the long-run, he decided it was probably good for everybody if the pseudo-sadists played their hands early, in the hopes that they might be isolated and contained before they deployed into an actual "theatre of combat".

unfortunately the senior command didn't see it that way, and a memorandum was distributed which identified the entire practice of "larp-ing" as being a subset of satanism. of course, the sick joke was ultimately on everybody, because just a few years later, in the actual military deployment into iraq, we discovered that sadism was neither an outlier nor a game; arguably, the language of sadomasochsim had been an integral part of military culture, of inflicting and receiving pain and humiliation in order to feel power and powerlessness as the pleasurable erasure of your individual focus, and your immersion into the spectacle of a terrible force capable of destroying any man or woman, regardless of their beauty of virtue-- the spectacle of a vengeful, maddened god, demanding the deaths of the first born, imparting plagues and patterns of the inferno, dante descending and ascending.

dadaism and the nordic larp: playfulness and perhaps freedom, however pathetic or sublime. ritual experience as moral illumination.


DISCUSSION

Five Videos: Jemima Wyman's The Shared Face of the Collective


1. he was issued a gas-mask into which somebody had vomited. because liquids have the effect of disrupting and blocking a gas-mask's air filter, he soon discovered that it was very hard to breathe in this mask, it was like being slowly smothered by a pillow. he asked the sgt. for a replacement filter-- request denied. laid-out in his foxhole with that mask on, after a certain amount of time he tended to black-out, his head propped against his rifle.

2. the militant anarchist smashed a plate glass window, and afterwards somebody posted a video of this event, along with a caption explaining that they had thereby triumphed over the corrupt, police state. not shown on the video: the same anarchist having his head smashed with a truncheon. the moral of story: breaking glass is one thing, but it is much worse to break one's head. also: breaking heads is not the same as freeing minds. also: in the contest of man versus tank on tianmen square, the only hope is that there is a human being behind the machine, or else human beings watching for the sake of posterity-- therefore, both your victory and your sacrifice hinge on yourself remaining palpably, visibly human, in word and deed.