November 17th, 2003

run the fuck away

Urban Tapestries...

Urban Tapestries:
Urban Tapestries is a framework for understanding the social, cultural, economic and political implications of pervasive location-based mobile and wireless systems. To investigate these issues, we are building an experimental location-based wireless platform to allow users to access and author location-specific content (text, audio, pictures and movies). It is a forum for exploring and sharing experience and knowledge, for leaving and annotating ephemeral traces of peoples’ presence in the geography of the city.

Urban Tapestries allows users to author their own virtual annotations of the city, enabling a community’s collective memory to grow organically, allowing ordinary citizens to embed social knowledge in the new wireless landscape of the city. Users will be able to add new locations, location content and the ‘threads’ which link individual locations to local contexts, which are accessed via handheld user devices such as PDAs and mobile phones.

I've syndicated the blog at urbantapestries
run the fuck away

Robotic Nation

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<a href=">Robotic Nation</a> is a very interesting essay written by Marshall Brain. Read it. For those of you that are too lazy, I'll provide a dime version and my own commentary.

First, robots are taking over. Automated checkout lines, kiosks with which to order at McDonalds, and a plethora other places. In a matter of years, many jobs, especially in the low paying service sector (the largest one), are going away. Costs drop, so execs make more cash, but unemployed flow out into the streets. Now Brain sees government sponsored welfare hotels as the result, I see a revolution. Your average citizen feels slighted by corporate "fat cats", but right now, no one is desperate enough to do anything that involves a bloody revolution. When the unemployed hordes flow into the streets; when most of the workforce is sleeping in cardboard boxes... I think a revolt is minutes away.

That aside, Brain paints a picture that is very rational, and well argued. "But wait! In every similar technological revolution, more jobs were created than destroyed." True, but think about this. When the robotic Wal-Mart teller breaks down, who fixes it? In a few years, most likely another robot. Well, who codes the software? A sweatshop coder in India at four dollars an hour. All of the sudden, many companies drop the employees but keep the management.

So what do we do?

Well, Brain proposes "Capitalism Supersized" or "Turbo Capitalism". Capitalism works because people have money to spend. If everyone is unemployed, no one has money to spend. Hence, capitalism breaks down. So why not just give people money to spend (something Cate has proposed many times). Let's say $25,000 a year. Where do we get that money?

Well... what makes the most money on the internet? Advertising. Let's sell ad space. Why not put ads on money for example? The profits from that get shot back to the public from an account that pays out equally to every citizen. Profits from natural resource sales? Do what was done with the Alaska Permanent Fund. Find anything that is property of the government, and you can find a way to turn a buck on it. We could dismantle welfare, freeing up money and management resources on a failing project and put them to work on this. Same for social security- <i>and</i> we could keep the social security tax as an income leveller. If everybody pays 5% of their salary to SS, and it pays out to everyone, the rich will see a loss on that, but the poor an increase.

Capitalism works best when everyone has money, so let's give people money. I like this idea. And with robotic labor dropping the costs of goods and services, we're going to see something like this becoming increasingly practical. Think about it.
run the fuck away

When barbie goes to hell...

...she comes back as Ann Coulter.

I'm scared... fucking scared. Hold me.

I kinda want to buy one and make the bull-dyke Ann Coulter. Then maybe I'll mail her a nice big vibrating dildo, lube, and rechargable batteries, 'cause lord knows she needs it.

Below are only a few of the 14 different phrases that the Ann Coulter Action figure says when you press her button
(emphasis added). I just had to point that out. That and the "Liberal Establishment", if ever there was an oxymoron... don't get me wrong, I hate liberals as much as I hate conservatives, which is to say, they annoy me, and should all shut up and appoint me supreme enlightened potentate, but I digress.

I'll end this with another quote...
Just like Ann, if you press the right button it will tell you exactly what it thinks, and it has plenty to say.

::snicker snort::
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run the fuck away

'nother feed...

worldchanging I strongly reccomend. The name says it all- things that'll change the world. Sustainable tech, the second superpower (the second superpower is people like this).

Meanwhile, there's another app up, on Lapine Cerebral Cogitations, and it has slightly more interest to people than the comicizer. Ever had a gazillion photos numbered x1.jpg, x2.jpg... x100.jpg, and when you viewed them they were sorted like this? x1.jpg, x100.jpg, x101.jpg? Annoyed?

All this app does is tack extra zeros onto the number to pad the digits. x001.jpg, x002.jpg, etc. That way they sort in order. It's not just for images, any files that you load sequentially can benefit from this. Only caveat (which I have to remember to add to the site) is that there can be no other numbers in the filename other than the last group of digits before the extension. I didn't feel like hacking out a regex that complex for a program that's... that useless. I mean, you use it once every few months at most. But hey, it beats renaming files. If people harass me about it, I'll update it to support the more complex regex.