hard to picture

John Robinson Pierce (the Bell Labs engineer who had come up with the word transistor) mused afterward: “It is hard to picture the world before Shannon as it seemed to those who lived in it. It is difficult to recover innocence, ignorance, and lack of understanding.”

James Gleick 2011 The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

http://gen.lib.rus.ec/book/index.php?md5=F2076A7EC273A87B343E33864730009B&open=0

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effects of media

“In the past, the effects of media were experienced more gradually, allowing the individual and society to absorb and cushion their impact to some degree. Today,in the electronic age of instantaneous communication, I believe that our survival, and at the very least our comfort and happiness, is predicated on understanding the nature of our new environment, because unlike previous environmental changes, the electric media constitute a total and near-instantaneous transformation of culture, values and attitudes. This upheaval generates great pain and identity loss, which can be ameliorated only through a conscious awareness of its dynamics. If we understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal trance, we will be their slaves.

Because of today’s terrific speed-up of information moving, we have a chance to apprehend, predict and influence the environmental forces shaping us —and thus win back control of our own destinies. The new extensions of man and the environment they generate are the central manifestations of the evolutionary process, and yet we still cannot free ourselves of the delusion that it is how a medium is used that counts, rather than what it does to us and with us. This is the zombie stance of the technological idiot. It’s to escape this Narcissus trance that I’ve tried to trace and reveal the impact of media on man, from the beginning of recorded time to the present.”

Marshall McLuhan 1969

http://www.understandingnewmedia.com/mm1/class_materials/mcluhan-playboy.pdf
(http://www.technologyreview.com/review/526561/the-limits-of-social-engineering/)

*they* live

John Carpenter’s They Live (1988), one of the neglected masterpieces of the Hollywood Left, is a true lesson in critique of ideology. It is the story of John Nada – Spanish for “nothing”! -, a homeless laborer who finds work on a Los Angeles construction site, but has no place to stay. One of the workers, Frank Armitage, takes him to spend the night at a local shantytown. While being shown around that night, he notices some odd behavior at a small church across the street. Investigating it the next day, he accidentally stumbles on several more boxes hidden in a secret compartment in a wall, full of sunglasses. When he later puts on a pair of the glasses for the first time, he notices that a publicity billboard now simply displays the word “OBEY,” while another billboard urges the viewer to “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” He also sees that paper money bears the words “THIS IS YOUR GOD.” Additionally he soon discovers that many people are actually aliens who, when they realize he can see them for what they are, the police suddenly arrive. Nada escapes and returns to the construction site to talk over what he has discovered with Armitage, who is initially uninterested in his story. The two fight as Nada attempts to convince and then force him to put on the sunglasses. When he does, Armitage joins Nada and they get in contact with the group from the church, organizing resistance. At the group’s meeting they learn that the alien’s primary method of control is a signal being sent out on television, which is why the general public cannot see the aliens for what they are. In the final battle, after destroying the broadcasting antenna, Nada is mortally wounded; as his last dying act, he gives the aliens the finger. With the signal now missing, people are startled to find the aliens in their midst.

Slavoj Žižek 2009 “Denial: the Liberal Utopia.”

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Another Google Glass user has been attacked in San Francisco

http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/19570/1/another-google-glass-user-has-been-attacked-in-san-francisco

***

I Was Assaulted For Wearing Google Glass In The Wrong Part Of San Francisco

“Unfortunately, anything associated with Google has come to represent gentrification in the city, from the buses that take young software engineers to their corporate campuses in Silicon Valley to Google Glass. This is especially true in areas where gentrification and income inequality have become points of conflict in the community.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/i-was-assaulted-for-wearing-google-glass-2014-4

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Here’s why two protesters disrupted Google’s biggest event of the year
http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/25/5843382/heres-why-protesters-crashed-googles-io-keynote

Lenin’s life

“Here are some details of the daily life of Lenin and the Bolsheviks in 1917 and the following years, which, in their very triviality, render palpable the gap from the Stalinist nomenklatura. When, in the evening of 24 October 1917, Lenin left his flat for the Smolny Institute to coordinate the revolutionary takeover, he took a tram and asked the conductress if there was any fighting going on in the center that day. In the years after the October Revolution, Lenin was mostly driving around in a car only with his faithful driver and bodyguard Gil; a couple of times they were shot at, stopped by the police and arrested (the policemen did not recognize Lenin), once, after visiting a school in suburbs, even robbed of the car and their guns by bandits posing as police, and then compelled to walk to the nearest police station. When, on 30 August 1918, Lenin was shot, this occurred while he got in a conversation with a couple of complaining women in front of a factory he just visited; the bleeding Lenin was driven by Gil to Kremlin, were there were no doctors, so his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya suggested someone should run out to the nearest grocer’s shop for a lemon… The standard meal in the Kremlin kantina in 1918 was buckwheat porridge and thin vegetable soup. So much about the privileges of nomenklatura!”

–slavoj zizek

http://www.egs.edu/faculty/slavoj-zizek/articles/of-apes-and-men-lenin/

war criminals

In democracies, or the pseudo-democracies that we are evolving into, wars are a result of lies.

Then who are the war criminals? It is not just leaders, it is not just soldiers, it is journalists; journalists are war criminals.

And while one might think that that should lead us to a state of despair, it should lead us also to an optimistic understanding because if wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.

Julian Assange, 2011

legitimately kept secret

“Could I ask you, how are we going to know if the secrecy process is working or not? Because when information is concealed, we do not know about it. The only way we can know whether information is legitimately kept secret is when it is revealed. All systems of censorship have that problem encoded within them, and because of that original sin of censorship, they all must be held to outside account.”

Julian Assange, 2011

23:55 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-AiPcWe58E