Off Into The Infinite Universe...

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This is for everyone who has a strange fascination with loopy structures, paradoxes, science, quantum physics, the nature of duality, the internet, cyber culture, philosophy, and any one who has stayed up into the late hours contemplating infinities.If any of you have any contributions for posts, paradoxes, mathematical infinities, or anything that has loopy nature send it to

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The F.C.C vs. Internet Service Providers

So what does it take to get Republicans and Democrats to nearly universally agree on something? Apparently, wanting to control the purse strings of the internet. A branch of government, called the FCC (The Federal Communication Commission), has a strange desire to regulate Broadband and internet service fee's. Now the FCC is notorious for being buzz kills. Effectively, their idea would be to tell Comcast, or Verizon, or who ever your ISP is, how much, they can charge you and their rules and regulations. So it'd be the governments way, or the high way. My first knee jerk reaction to this was one of anger, just another way the government is trying to control everything. While this is true, they are indeed dipping their hand a bit deep in the cookie jar, the results may not be too bad. There was a meeting today (December 21st) that ended in approval of their regulations. At least for now, the FCC is trying to make large Broadband companies more transparent to its consumers. Three basic rules have been implemented:

1. No More Blocking Legal Content
No ISP can block competitors web sites, or any material that is deemed lawful. I believe it was Verizon who tried to put a ban on P2P sharing, by disabling certain websites. The FCC, put a stop to practices like that.

2. Transparency between the Company and Its Consumers
So if anyone calls up their ISP, they must disclose managament practices, and commericial terms, in order to let the consumer make a fair and balanced decision to the use of their service.

3. No discrimination that would be deemed "unreasonable"
This is a cool one, I like this rule. Lets say Company X wants Company Y's website to appear slow, unresponsive compared to their own site. They could pay whatever ISP money to bring down the speed of the site. This rule makes such practices illegal.

The most basic and fundamental part of this is that they want a person, who doesn't have much money and the richest person in the world, to able to use the same internet. One shouldn't have a faster connection or better content than the other. This socialization of the wired world may sound good for us, but is more begrudgingly accepted by ISP's. Comcast who, sued the FCC for trying to stop them from banning P2P sharing, left the department worried that they didn't have enough control over the way of the internet. Comcast won the suit and deemed that the FCC didn't have the power to tell the company how to run its business. Well now, today, December 21st, that changed. The FCC granted itself more power in order to handle situations like that. Meaning the FCC is going to be the watch dog of the ISP world.

What I'm not liking is the impending what if's. If a branch of the government has control over regulations for ISP's, that means they could themselves make up their own restrictions. While I appreciate them trying to level the playing field, between ISP and consumer, in due time, what happens when the FCC wants something taken down? Demand Verizon, or Comcast, that it should be removed? They're be no stopping what they could and couldn't censor. It just seems like we're trading one bad hand for another. Now as I had time to digest this, I'm not sure if this is really such a bad thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of big government, stepping into out business, especially something as free as the internet. But them regulating ISP providers and keeping them in line really doesn't hurt us, in fact it makes sure that they're staying clean. One rule that I'm really liking is that the pricing (for now) has to be constant. You can't charge someone more because he downloads more. I think distributing the money to all subscribers is better than piling it on the few people who use up more bandwidth than others. What do you guys think? Chime in

Read up about this:

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Validity of The Self CheckOut

I was in Ikea the other night, looking for new trappings, and neat compact furniture, and other novel ideas for an apartment that I may own some day. After I had collected my wares from the trip, I went to pay, and was met with a pretty disturbing scene. The There was no one at the check outs. All the check out lanes were darkened, and abandoned. The only stream of light came from the glowing self check out lane. This double wide lane featured two banks of self check out machines. A lone attendant stood at her podium, over looking operations. There was a long line so I had some time to observe and contemplate. Every so often, some one would slip up press a wrong button, and the attendant would come down from her podium, press a few buttons and return. I'd see the oversee'r pressing some buttons from her podium, which bypassed any errors that the customers may have made. Pretty efficient. Of course something like this had me ready to write. And this isn't the first time I've had my run in with these machine check outs. At the grocery stores, they're slowing pushing their way up from the last lane that no one goes to, all the way up to the middle lanes. Obviously the proficiency and money saved from these machines is invaluable to companies. Six machines, replaces six employee's. Its not hard to imagine how or why these are so popular. That's great for the company, but what about the shopper? Does the self check out really help the customer at all? Whats really the point? I'm torn between these techno-checkers. While I do like the idea of empowering the people, and letting them do their own dirty work, there seems something way to cold and remote about coming to a checkout area and finding no one there, except a row of "robots". (I say robots because the first self check out machine, which was introduced in 1992 by Dr. Howard Schnieder, were classified and coined by the Dr himself, as Service Robots. Which he hoped would be the first in a long list of other robot tech to "assist human living".)
Its not as if I eagerly await to see cashiers or anything, but I'm not to green on the idea of having no one there and the customers are herded to these vestibules and electronically guided through the check out process. I don't know maybe its just me. I just feel its very cold. As I was guided through the animated user interface of the self check out at Ikea, I really felt like taking a hammer to it. Not because the interface was confusing but because looking these quiet, and smooth running machines, I knew that atleast 5 people didn't have jobs. IT just really makes me wonder what other human jobs are going to be completely obsolete in a few years time? If you've guys have seen the movie Total Recall, the Johnny Cab are a perfect example. Programmed machine which know the traffic routes may be a few years off (a lot of years off) but still, that type of idea means that we'll be so limited to actually talking with another person when we step out our front door... What do you guys think? chime in

Johnny Cab from Blade Runner:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saving Your "i" For A Rainy Day

I'm making a prediction folks, get out your notepads cause you can quote me on this. I believe that in the future, maybe sooner than we think, we as humans are going to be able to store memories, thoughts, mental images and other processes of the brain, onto computer chips. Now before you raise and eyebrow, just think about, if we can transmit data from computer to computer, and user to computer, then the next stage would be directly from the brain. Now technically we all can store our memories on USB drives, by just writing down a journal on Word and press 'save as'. But I'm talking about memories that include the visual as well. What if we could download the memory of someone who died recently in your life. You could 'plug in' the chip and experience the memories again, without fear of the memory fading in your own mortal brain. Instead of photo albums you could have a Rolodex of chips from past vacatons, old lovers, your college years etc.. All saved in a compressed file.
Some of you may be familiar with the work and writings of a man named Hans Moravec. He was the one who really got me thinking about this idea of uploading your own memories. But Han Moravec's idea is a step beyond my conclusion. He says that we will be able to upload our entire being, our conciousness itself. That we could literally merge with computer chips, and become bodiless. Mr. Moravec believes that its the next step in evolution, and should be embraced. No longer bound by time, we can live on entirely, in a network, where space and need for movement is completely unessasary. What a bizarre experience it would be. To have no body, no movement, but free roaming thought. Pressumably a nework of these "Memory banks" would be set up to allow the upload 'humans' to live on, without anyone to supervise their operation.

Of course there is the argument that "uploading" yourself into a computer chip merely creates a copy of you. That the true I is planted and deeply rooted in your body somewhere. I don't know how I feel about this. While I can see the connection of a face and body would make someone say that my thoughts and memories aren't all that make up me, I'm just as inclined to say that my body has very little to do with my true I.
Rene Descartes the philospher made it a point to seperate both the Mind and Body, a "dualistic" nature. He felt that the material plane we exist on, houses the body. While off on another plane somewhere, the Mind is dominant.

Anyway thats my idea. I'm not sure if we'll ever achieve what Han Moravec says, that we will eventually come to upload ourselves and live on computer memory, but I can definitely see years down the road, the ability up upload certain memories, dreams, and mental images to flash drives etc... Am I alone in thinking this??

For more on this check out the writings of Hans Moravec, especially his book "Robot"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Wikileaks News and..C++

The hole is dug deeper for Julian Assange, unfortunately he was indeed arrested and will probably be tried in Sweden. What I'm curious to see is if Sweden nulls the rape charges and sends him back to the United States. I think that would be pretty telling if these 'horrid rape charges' are just forgotten, and the real reason why they wanted him comes to the fore front. In case your missing something, Julian was allegedly accused of rape in Sweden, but it just so random and makeshift, it seems like they just needed a reason to bring him in. And evvvveryone is so sensitive to a rape charge. I'm not defending Assange, but it just seems like he's taking the brute of the retribution. If this story was broken to NY times, there's no way in hell that the Editor in Chief of the NY Times would be arrested and made into a public enemy. As I stated in my previous post, I truely understand that some secrets and information are meant to be kept private. But I think this was blown way way out of proportion. Admittly I don't know everything that was released, or 'leaked'... so there could be some pretty damning information in there that would warrant Assange to be reprimanded. But I still think that this should fall on the shoulders of Bradley Manning, if he did indeed leak it. While I wish Mr. Manning no ill will, Julian should have absolutely nothing to do with this.

What I really love is that this hacker group, "Anonymous" (whom I sometimes parlay with on 4chan), tried to really stick it to the companies that gave in, and tried to silence Wikileaks. It came out as a failed hacker assault, and I don't think such a brash attack was necessary or even warranted, but they're heart was in the right place... My favorite auther Douglas Rushkoff comments on the failed hacker attempt:

Anyway back to some more regular topics. I was driving and my girlfriend happened to glance at my speedometer and noticed my "Round trip" meter (which I find utterly useless), spelled out the term "Leet" or in Leet spelling, "1337" 1337 or Leet is a term coined from the phrase "elite speak" which is a slang really generally used in the gaming community, or sometimes in chatrooms. It deals with using numbers to look like letters. Its definitely a slang that has died out, it was big in the late 90's. Any who I grabbed a pic of it for blogging purposes. Oh and I started my road to learning computer programming. It was high time I sat down and really put some time into it. So I took myself over to Youtube, grabbed a book from Barnes and Noble, and began learning C++. So far so good, nothing so out of left field. After I get C++ down I'll probably try for SQL or Java. If you all out there in computer land have any suggestions on sites to help learning programming, I'm all ears!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

After a Hiatus...Wiki Leaks??

Hey everyone, a lot of stuff went down in my life, for the worst. I've gotten myself into some trouble, and haven't had time or urge to post... But I'm trying to get over it. Any who...Over the past few days, I've been trying to distract myself by keeping up on one HELL of an interesting story. Julian Assange and the Wikileaks has been a topic on controversy over the past few months, but only during the last week has it really exploded. Apparently many countries haven't been so forthcoming with they're true feeling. Like a teacher reading notes being passed around during class, aloud, Wikileaks has released many documents that give us an inside peek into gossip relating to countries and how they really feel about their surrounding neighbors. So was Julian right about releasing these documents? Do we have a right to know? How far should we take this thirst for knowledge? While I do support freedom of speech, and the right for the public to know what's being said by its own government, I can't help but feel some things are kept secret for a reason. While this case may not be the deciding factor that will cause years and years of calamity and pain, the next time someone may release documents or information that really is sensitive. Like I said, I think this series of Wikileaks is pretty harmless, at most some strained relations between countries, I don't think Assange should have been arrested, nor the wikileaks site taken down, atleast in regards to the leaks, the other allegations about sex crimes, are fair game, and should indeed be followed up. But as for the primary allegations of the information being released, I just dont' see it being all that threatening. What I think is happening, is that countries, and governments are seeing that information can be spread and leaked at lightening speed, and that very little is actually able to be kept secret. This, I believe is why everyone's so up in arms. That being said, freedom of information does have a point where I'd draw the line, and say, just because you can release documents, doesn't mean that you should. What do you guys think? What I was thinking about earlier was that, do you think this would have happened if the internet wasn't around? Obviously the site wikileaks wouldn't exist, but would a newspaper have been willing to publish these messages, if this was back say, in the 1970's? Chime in, let me know what you think, and I'll try to get updates back on track, at a more regular pace. Bare with me though!

Here's a surprisingly subtle defense of Julian Assange, from Ron Paul... I didn't expect that..

"In a free society we're supposed to know the truth,” Paul insisted. “In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it."

That being said, what of, Bradley Manning? Months ago, he released (maybe?) to Wikileaks a video of a gunship killing Iraqi civilians. This sparked massive outrage and really painted a target on Wikileak's back. Does Manning deserve pain of death, or should we be praising him as a provider of truth? My opinion on this is split almost 50/50...