Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh goodness, it's really happening.

I'm all for writing a long-winded blog post on here, as I usually do, but I don't think there are many words I could say that would top this image in relation to the breaking down of the human/machine dualism.

Here we go.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

HIMYM explores digital identity

Saw this pop up while watching How I Met Your Mother the other day. Really cool way to display this combination of digital and physical identity. Some examples of this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Robot Docs

Ran across this article about an investor looking to invest in "robot doctors". Basically, many peolpe are turning to robots for simple surgeries because it eliminates certain factors, such as hand tremors. What I found interesting was when the article stated that surgery is "every bit mechanical as it is medical". I found it interesting that we could have robots working on our bodies the same way one would be fixing and assembling a car. Me? I wouldn't be down.

Yo dawg I heard you like reddit, so I give you an article of an article so I can repost a repost.

I just finished an article that passively contributes to fear of future technology. It reviews the research, and book, of these two MIT experts on technology and productivity on the eventual complete outsourcing of jobs to machines. Their technical argument supporting this theory is best summarized in the following quote:

"Mr. Brynjolfsson and Mr. McAfee argue that the pace of automation has picked up in recent years because of a combination of technologies including robotics, numerically controlled machines, computerized inventory control, voice recognition and online commerce. Faster, cheaper computers and increasingly clever software, the authors say, are giving machines capabilities that were once thought to be distinctively human, like understanding speech, translating from one language to another and recognizing patterns."

Meanwhile corporations are thriving despite the growing amount of the cheaper technological workload and services. Anyone else smell SkyNet?

Repost from Slashdot -> Repost of NYTimes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Real Life "Minority Report" Pre-Crime Program

We all saw Minority Report in class and while it's an entertaining movie, it's certainly built on a sci-fi premise. It is difficult to believe that drugged up psychics, or precogs as they're called in the movie, could foresee future crimes and aid in preventing their occurrence. However, a Department of Homeland Security document details efforts to predict whether or not a person will commit a crime.

Unlike the film, DOHS is using algorithms in attempt to predict future crimes. Screening facilities factor "ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to 'detect cues indicative of mal-intent.'"

The article doesn't explain exactly how the data is used to determine mal-intent but it seems quite unreliable based on the few factors they are gathering. Despite the early stages of development, we can surely all see how society and government is becoming fused with technology to improve the world or make life easier.

Click here to read the article.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Today, at State, someone was hugging their computer and I almost said, "You love your virtual identity too much!" Hahahaha, but really not funny in normal circumstances. Again, this class is fusing into my daily life.

This day sucks.

Online education

I'm pretty sure we've all seen the annoying education connection commercial many times but our discussions of the virtual have made me see it in a new light. For the first time I saw this
commercial and wondered, what would it be like if college was all online? Will we one day evolve to the point where not only are our readings/assignments posted online, but our entire education
is earned by watching a screen? What would it mean for society and human interactions? Would we actually be able to evolve into beings with limited virtual social interactions or none at all?

Just a thought...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Louis C.K. and Our Buddy Sherry Turkle

WARNING: The following link contains very strong language that may be considered -- no, should be considered -- somewhat offensive. To most.

Around the 1:17 marker of the bit titled "Other People's Kids" by one of my favorites, Louis C.K., he starts tapping into a little bit of Turkle's "Always On" article.

Louie has a pretty polarizing style of comedy (if you're sensitive to certain offensive words, maybe stay away; he aims to entertain through casually-delivered shocks), but I'm definitely a slappy for the guy. I would recommend checking out the whole track, but there's at least one solid minute of concerns of media-saturation and stimulation that relates back to Turkle. Enjoy!

Cyborg Musik

I recently started listening to the works of Pogo, a DJ who makes tracks from samples of movies and TV, and found a Terminator 2 mix. While this is hardly relevant I think it's really choice ear candy:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Class fusing into normal life

My friend had a picture of himself on facebook with a robot eye on one of his eyes. I almost commented with, "Cyborg! Technofetish!" But while I was laughing to myself about the joke, I thought, "He would not get this" and "this probably isn't that clever." This class is invading my daily thoughts.

Superhero Arrested for Breaking Up a Fight

This unfolds every way you would imagine it to. The video -- more so than the Matthew Vaughn's superhero deconstruction Kick-Ass or James Gunn's subversive and terrific Super -- really strips the myth of the superhero down to nothing.

Apparently, this guy is an amateur MMA fighter. Awesome costume, really, but this guy either needs to focus his attention to legal acts of law enforcement or become a better vigilante. Dude can't even get a grip on a juggalo.

Disney Forever!

Classic Disney Animation

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Child's Play" and SAC 368

I love Halloween, because it gives me an excuse to watch the really bad, bottom-of-the-barrel crud that I love so much (the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th sequels, Sleepaway Camp, any given Rob Zombie movie). This year, SAC 368's questions of identity and cyborg culture has forced me to reconsider one of the most pee-pantsingly horrifying figures of my youth: Chucky from the Child's Play franchise. What I used to see as only the epitome of elementary school terror now looks a lot more interesting when I consider, is Chucky technically a cyborg?

We already know based on the premise alone that he's a human soul trapped within an advanced and expensive kids toy, but what's interesting is that he practically arcs from human to cyborg. When we first see the infamous strangler Charles Lee Ray (played and voiced by the excellent, underrated Brad Dourif), he's in human form and -- using some silly thunderstorm-conjuring magic -- transports his soul into a Good Guy Doll, which is later bought as a birthday present for a young boy by his mother. As his time within the doll body continues, based on some weird voodoo witchcraft rules and regulations, the body made of plastic, stuffing, and wiring takes on new human characteristics; he bleeds, he feels pain when a cigarette is put out on his melting plastic flesh, and his facial features become more than just mass-produced curves. Furthermore, in one of the film's more genuinely creepy moments, Andy's mother holds the Good Guy Doll box that Chucky came in upside down: two batteries fall out, even though he's been active for quite a while. He's essentially a human powering an electronic.

What do you guys think? Do you horror buffs concur, or WHAT?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Second Screen" Technology

While watching 30 Rock on Comedy Central, I saw an ad for the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Blu-Ray/3D Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Laserdisc/VHS combo-pack (they really cover all the bases over at Disney), something actually caught my attention: Disney's recent "Second Screen" special feature. Here's what we've got:

Apparently, you download an app on either your computer or iPad, and can watch special features simultaneously with the film. Initially, I thought that it was a pretty excessive concept (but who does excess better?). I think that Disney is really overestimating the obsessive special feature crazies -- in fact, I don't think those people really exist -- but now they're tapping into something even weirder: the people who not only love them some Tron: Legacy, but literally can not wait one second to watch the bonus features.

I don't associate postmodernism with Disney, but recently, they've been really on the postmodern ball (which is ironically a cube). They're embracing the fact that we're becoming more and more wired in with multiple screens at a time (iPods, cell phones, computers, televisions) and finding a way to capitalize on our single-screen ADD. Gonna be on your laptop while you watch Bambi? You better be scanning our special features while you're at it. Gonna buy Pirates? You better be sure that you have it on each and every format. (Heck, I bought The Lion King 3D Blu-Ray/Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo, though I have no intentions of ever using the DVD or Digital Copy, and don't yet have a 3DTV. As Rebekka knows, these guys are good.)

This is all just really odd. I like the innovative nature of it, but I don't think I'll be using it.


1. "Liked" a picture on the Tigers' Facebook page in hopes that it would help their chances tonight.
2. Made sure I spelled Rebekka's name right. (GOT IT!)

Robocop vs. The Terminator

When I was a little kid, one of the biggest WTF moments of my young life was playing through a rented Sega Genesis copy of Robocop vs. The Terminator, a game so violently ahead of its time that my mom wouldn't let me play it. (My dad, being the sly devil he was, bought me the toned-down-yet-still-awesome GameBoy version to play in privacy) Here's a pretty comprehensive recounting of the game:

Nostalgia aside, I think the concept still holds up as one of the more motivated pairings in crossovers. Freddy vs. Jason was conceptually linked only in that both characters murder nude teenagers; the subsequent Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash of the Evil Dead franchise made it only so far as a comic book series, and thank goodness. The AVP films turned two of sci-fi's creepier monsters into an overlong, overly-boring episode of Celebrity Deathmatch. The financial successes of these films almost spawned off new crossovers that would make even less sense (Leatherface vs. Michael Myers, Chucky vs. The Leprechaun were both in the early stages of development after a mondo-opening weekend for FvJ), and that would ultimately mean nothing but cash.

I think there's an interesting story to be told with these two characters and these universes, though. Both take place within worlds overtaken by corporations (though in The Terminator and its sequels, we see more so the before-and-after and not much of that story) in which human reliance on technology has taken over (the prophetic 24/7 media of Robocop and the rise of Cyberdine in the Terminator franchise). Apparently, there's a TPB of a comic series from the early '90s; I'll be very interested to check that out.

In the meantime, enjoy the video!


1. Looked up plans for a Child's Play remake. Still not clear on what's going on there.
2. Tried to find a cheap copy of the TPB; not happening.
3. Avoided watching Vertigo.
4. Restarted Vertigo.

Just For Sheila

I'm no Trekkie (I dug the new one, but apparently that's the last thing a Trekkie wants to hear?), but I thought I would share this fun list:

1. Does it kill you that Seth MacFarlane is in on this?
2. How hilariously inappropriate is Jason Alexander's make-up?
3. Sarah Silverman? : o..
4. RELEVANCE: Kurtwood Smith (best known now for That 70s Show) appeared three separate times, and was also the Tigers-loving baddie in Robocop. Never misses a game.

I anticipate no credit for this post.

Trance Music Broooooo

I was reading this article on DJ Tiesto and found it interesting in the way it relates to our class.,0,3382666.story

Trance and Electronic music is huge now, DJ's like Tiesto and Swedish House Mafia have been selling out venues like Madison Square Garden. The surge has been generated mainly by college age listeners, and each DJ's major fanbase stems from their facebook following.

Is music entering a new digital age? These DJ's produce music entirely from synthesizers installed on their laptops. Are you a fan? Do you think of this as "real music". When people go to these concerts, are they expecting in some effect a sort of out of body, virtual experience, what with the lights and the computer images often used?

I expect a 7 page essay on the topic from all of you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

James Cameron's Industrial Technofetish

Amanda Fernbach's "Fetishization of Masculinity in Science Fiction" discusses the use of technoprosthetic fetishes in technomen (which technodisavows their technolack), taking most interest in James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In her essay, Fernbach's analysis of T2 defines masculinity through technological add-ons; the Terminator's tech gadgetry in addition to the "more suggests less" fetishism of weaponry creates a masculinity superior to that of the "lacking" humans. Even John Connor, future leader of the world, fetishizes tech (the Terminator) as a prop for the lack.

I'm definitely on the pro-Cameron team for T2 and Aliens alone (come at me, film bro), but I can see a direct correlation between his content and his processes in light of Fernbach's article. Cameron has been as influential as any director in the industry, most recently developing immersive 3D technology for Avatar, but has also spent much of his career on CGI and camera innovation. Yet, it's abundantly clear that the man is not a fantastic screenwriter; he has a vision and a message -- one which may be a little too transparent -- but will never go down in history as a prolific storyteller.

Cameron seems to be using his technological wizardry as a cover-up for this, which directly parallels the technofetish of his films. He -- like the Terminator -- is equipping himself in a "more suggests less" way, where his lack of writing talent is compensated for by his bombardment of shiny new coolness. Thoughts?


  1. Checked Facebook three times. (No updates. :.(.. )
  2. Looked up the lyrics for the horribly awesome '90s hard rock song "Space Lord" by Monster Magnet.
  3. Tried finding some kind of funny James Cameron parody.
  4. Frantically clicked out of my Google Image search sitting in North Quad when it turns out "Avatar" and "parody" together yields a lot of NSFNQ results.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Order Your Very Own Facehugger Plush Today, Or: How I Learned to Stop Buying and Love My Wallet

I'm not one to shy away from movie or television related merch, which is admittedly not something that I'm extremely proud of. I own a leg lamp, a "BMF" wallet, the Beavis and Butt-head "Winger" shirt that Stuart always wears, and so much more. Yet all of these are somewhat practical; my leg lamp keeps my movie cave well-lit, my wallet holds money pretty well, and my t-shirt can double as average douchey film-student attire and average awesome Halloween costume (it's the first time I've been thankful for matching blond hair since Vanilla Ice was cool, which for me wasn't all that long ago. I did not get the memo until just recently and was crushed.).

Then there are things like this:

Really? I love Alien as much as the next guy who loves Alien, but really? When does the line blur between having fun and being just plain being weird? At $29.99, people are buying a plush alien inseminator. If you really want to relive one of the more GAAAAHH NO! moments in contemporary film history, give me two shots of whiskey, a turkey baster, and some Gogurts. For the low-low price of $10, the terror is yours.

It reminds me of theme parks and direct interaction with film and television characters, but in such a weird way. Whatever it is that people want to live out with this thing, it's not in any way, shape, or form practical. This is the sort of thing that exists only as an extension of the film to invade your home and trick you into thinking that you've invaded the film yourself. It's cute as hell, but I'll pass.

(Side note: while writing this, I nearly purchased an apron that looks like Batman. It's nearly winter and I'm a vegetarian. If I were a hippo, my name would be Chris.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Inspirational Commencment Speech

I apologize for yet another Steve Job post, but this was a speech that my dad sent me awhile ago that I thought was extremely inspirational, and even more so now that he has passed. It is commencment speech at Stanford. Definitely worth listening to for the entire 14 minutes.

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish" -Steve Jobs R.I.P

Survival of the fittest

I saw this sign online and at first it made me just want to bow my head in disappointment because my generation is just, for lack of a better phrase, so damn stupid. Then after a few moments I became upset because perhaps these signs are messing with evolution and should be removed. Let the weak perish. They deserve it if they're willing to go out this way. Damn it.

Here's the site it was on if you're interested:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple's Influence

While looking for things to post on, I realized it would be foolish to ignore the passing of Steve Jobs. The theory behind being hacked in at all times would be much weaker without the massive technology that Apple has made. As I'm writing this on my Mac, while my iphone is in my pants pocket with earphones hanging out of my shirt, and my itunes is normally always in the background of my computer, it's hard to deny that I'm always jacked in, and normally to Apple instruments.

But I'm thankful, Steve Jobs. Because I love being jacked in to his products. And I could write how his products have changed lives and improved things for the better, but in general, I just love my Mac, my iPhone, my iTouch, and I really really want an iPad.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs

I cannot believe that Jobs died today. It is so sad. This isn't necessarily a post for the blog, but since it is related to the class I thought there should be some record of this event.

I know everyone makes jokes about Jobs, but as former CEO of Apple I think he deserves some credit. Without his company and his own ambition, we wouldn't be able to digitize ourselves in the same ways. In many ways our reality has been changed by his innovations. Honestly. I think everyone at this University has interacted with an apple product, most of us daily.

Thank You Steve Jobs, even if you get a lot of crap about your insensitivity, you helped make Apple successful.

Steve Jobs

I cannot believe that Jobs died today. It is so sad. This isn't necessarily a post for the blog, but since it is related to the class I thought there should be some record of this event.

I know everyone makes jokes about Jobs, but as former CEO of Apple I think he deserves some credit. Without his company and his own ambition, we wouldn't be able to digitize ourselves in the same ways. In many ways our reality has been changed by his innovations. Honestly. I think everyone at this University has interacted with an apple product, most of us daily.

Thank You Steve Jobs, even if you get a lot of crap about your insensitivity, you helped make Apple successful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The digital takes a step back?

In a world where everything is going digital it seems somewhat strange to see something going in the opposite direction. As far as online games go, I would have to say Angry Birds is a pretty simple game in respect to it's popularity, but as simple as the game may be I would never expect it to leave the digital world and take a metaphorical "step backwards" into reality. Is there a reason for the creation of this physical board game other than to foster a franchise? Are we as obsessed with creating the digital as we are with holding on to the real?

Maurice Sendak hates Ebooks

Ebooks: "I hate them. It's like making believe there's another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of book! A book is a book is a book."-Maurice Sendak

I used to hate the idea of ebooks until my mom gave me her old kindle. It changed my life. Yes, paper books are amazing-you can draw on them, write in them, cross out things, and underline; but traveling with my kindle and allowing me to read my book, comfortably, in any situation was amazing. Are ebooks the future? Who knows. The main fear shouldn't be that paper books are dying. It's when there are no books in general that we should be afraid. But if in the future we are all reading ebooks, then good for us. At least we are still reading.

Computer Painting

design, sensu, brush

So I was looking around on stumble upon and came across this link for the Sensu brush. Since I don't really know what the use of an I-pad is besides being an email reader, web browser, super kindle and video game system. I probably wouldn't have owned an i-pad UNTIL NOW.

It combines my childhood love of painting with my love for new technology. In all seriousness, this new invention for the I-pad reminds me of the issues in Sherry Turkle's "Always On" article. Basically this advancement could act as a substitution for the analog painting. Like email has become part of our persona, do you think the Sensu brush could replace an artists desire to actually paint? As of right now, absolutely not. For me I find it more of a novelty, but maybe as our digital serves expand as we advance technology, it could turn into the medium of choice.

Another question I raise is if this brush will make art more accessible to more people. I am sure for the time being, the Sensu brush (plus I-pad) will cost more than painting but in the future, avid painters might choose this option to save money.

I know there are tons of flaws with this brush right now, I mean for starters it is only one size, but I think it might be another example of analog activities being brought into the digital world and in fact changes our relationship with the analog form.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cyborg Rats in Israel

Came across this article while writing my paper on cyborgs and identity crisis. Basically, scientists in Tel Aviv were able to implant a mechanical cerebellum into a rats head and fixed some brain damage. The technology is only in the beginning stages so far, but its got some pretty crazy potential.

Bladerunner Remake?

I know that the rumor mill has been that Ridley Scott is going to remake Bladerunner, and this article seems to imply that the rumors might be true. Your guys thoughts? Is this something you are excited about or do you think it would be stupid to try to recreate a classic?

Also thought it was interesting to see that they are planning on hiring Scott Burns to write. Burns wrote Bourne Ultimatum, The Informant and Contagion. I don't see much of Bladerunner in any of those films, do you guys know his work any better?

Identity, Art, and the Invasion of Reality

In honor of my profile pic for this site, I've decided to mention the anonymous french urban artist recognized as "Invader". Blogs, Social networking sites, emails and other electronic resources have forced us to think about our identities in the immaterial online space but luckily there still exists the mark of identity in our every day world through physical tangible marks such as those left by graffiti artists like "Invader". It's pretty fascinating to see how this artist has taken a video game and made it "invade reality". Find out more about him here and enjoy!

Want to see a vid about his project? Click here

You'll realize there is a lot more to this project than meets the eye...



(Paris, France)

(Tokyo, Japan)

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