Willpower

Aug. 3rd, 2006 01:06 pm
nemorathwald: (I'm losin' it)
Here is a link to an interesting article "Willpower is best used with care," on the findings of psychologists that self-control is more determinate of success than talent, that willpower can be strengthened like a muscle through excercise, and that it can be fatigued and depleted. Excerpt:

... the general principle - not to spread our inner resolve too thin - is an important one. If you are about to embark on a big project you court disaster if at the same time your life is cluttered and demanding, or you also commit to draining attempts at self-enhancement. The would-be novelist whose taxing day job exhausts her moral muscle will find it harder to apply the seat of her trousers to the seat of her chair. The dieting philosopher will struggle to keep his attention on a tricky passage of Friedrich Nietzsche.
MIT's Technology Review has a video documentary series titled "The Impact of Emerging Technologies" which is exclusively online. It's really interesting! It covers stem cells; robotic prosthetics with a mind/machine interface; artificial polymer muscle; computer interpretation of body language; nano-scale valves; and more.

The video about using lab yeast instead of lab mice for a 50,000-fold decrease in cost and slowness of new drugs showed them using robot laboratory systems. It reminded me of an article on Edge.org by Kevin Kelly, editor of WIRED Magazine, about using robots, Google, Wikis, "Zillionics" and more, to practice science in the future.

Wow.
When we had Chris DiBona from Google as Penguicon's Guest of Honor, I hoped to have a panel about Google in science fiction. For instance, there is a piece of Flash animation science fiction about Google's next ten years. "Turing's Cathedral" is a non-fiction essay by George Dyson about his visit to the Googleplex, and it gets very science fictional at the end. One of the pieces I remembered but could no longer find was this one-page super-short story: The Nine Billion Names of God by Kathy Kachelries. It shares the same name as a classic tale by Arthur C. Clarke.
Kevin Kelly writes a fascinating article titled "We Are The Web" in the August issue of WIRED.

"But looking back now, after 10 years of living online, what surprises me about the genesis of the Web is how much was missing from Vannevar Bush's vision, Nelson's docuverse, and my own expectations. We all missed the big story. The revolution launched by Netscape's IPO was only marginally about hypertext and human knowledge. At its heart was a new kind of participation that has since developed into an emerging culture based on sharing. And the ways of participating unleashed by hyperlinks are creating a new type of thinking - part human and part machine - found nowhere else on the planet or in history."

What follows is a great summary of examples of internet culture-- which is now the culture-- is created by the audiences that are consuming it. Over the span of the article he grows more and more rhapsodic and science fictional about the next ten years. I'd place my bets on his predictions.
I've been using Adobe products in the workplace for years and have purchased more than one for home use. While waiting for them to load, I often would browse the credits in the splash screen. One name in the Photoshop credits always jumped out at me -- "Seetharanan Narayanan." Wow, I thought. How could you top a mellifluous name like that for a software engineer? Well this photo tour of Adobe headquarters (which looks exactly as I imagined Adobe headquarters would look), finally put a face to the name!
Not only is this week's issue of The Onion set in the future, the horoscopes page satirizes major science fiction creators and influences. Hilarious!
nemorathwald: (Matt 4)
A web page titled Quotes from the American Taliban. I'm not going to let myself comment. Just read it.
nemorathwald: (Matt 4)
I've compiled my Livejournal entries on science fiction to a new page on my website. Before the internet, these probably would have been Letters Of Comment in a treeware magazine or newsletter.

Nanotoilets

Jun. 1st, 2005 11:26 am
Nanodot has this report:
You may laugh, or at least smile, but the environmental benefits already resulting from the so-called nanotech toilet are substantial. With a “roughness” reported at under 30 nanometers, evidently these fixtures need much less cleaning, which means much less of that nasty chemical cleanser going down the drain. Oh, and they should be healthier for users too. Read the whole thing, on ExtremeNano by the prolific Norm Wu.
I'm LMAO. You've got to read this parody article on Locus Online:
http://www.locusmag.com/2005/Features/0401_Stross.html
Charles Stross Attains Posthuman Status
"... Aussie critic and potential "Spiker" himself, Damien Broderick, comments, "I tried to visit [Greg] Egan years ago, and found myself stuck in a timelike infinity loop once I got too close to his nominal address. Only the concerted efforts of Stephen Baxter, Vernor Vinge and Greg Bear were able to free me."
CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) -- Even Jesus Christ can't circumvent the rules for getting a driver's license in West Virginia.

Attempts to prove his name really is Christ have led the man born as Peter Robert Phillips Jr. through a lengthy legal battle and a recent victory in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.Read more... )Any comment from the man in the middle of this legal tussle?

"Christ is not speaking to the press at this time," Pishevar said.
nemorathwald: (Matt 4)
Click here to read a riveting news story on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's a story of child brides, rabid racism, multiple wives, and a secretive, religious dictator. A new Waco confrontation could be imminent.

David Allen Steed leads "a breakaway Mormon sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS)."

"In the two years since he became prophet, Jeffs has ordered all dogs shot; closed the town zoo; forbidden television, holidays, movies and music; banned laughter; forbidden swimming and water sports, and sent "God Squads" of young men to inspect residences and report any violations of his edicts."


--From the first page. Reading the story it just gets worse and worse. This is happening in America.
Langmaker, the website about artificial languages, accepted my submission and posted my article on their homepage. I would have posted about it at the time but I missed it completely while running Penguicon.

In other publicity-related news, Michigan radio ran a 5-minute spot about Penguicon on "Stateside with Charity Nebbe" on Friday, and you can download the audio file here. It starts at 10 minutes and 50 seconds into the show, so pull the scroll bar over to the right until it reaches that point. They aired my voice conducting Opening Ceremonies and named me by name! Which is nice for me.
From this link. Go read it! It's hilarious. I am reminded of [livejournal.com profile] cosette_valjean and I -- except, of course, that she and I get along well and take a sincere interest in each other's interests. This is the story of what might have happened had we met a decade earlier than we did.

Received from an English Professor:

This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students:
Rebecca (last name deleted) and Gary (last name deleted)
English 44A, SMU, Creative Writing
Professor Miller

In-class assignment for Wednesday:

Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.


Continue...
According to Evolution As A Team Sport by Douglas Rushkoff, the Renaissance had many ways in which that which had been 2 dimensional became 3 dimensional. (Such as perspective painting, circumnavigating the globe, and calculus.) In the current web-enabled Renaissance, such trends continue. Read the article.

"Originally, the collective was the clan or the tribe - an entity defined no more by what members had in common with each other than what they had in opposition to the clan or tribe over the hill. Networks give us a new understanding of our potential relationships to one another. Membership in one group does not preclude membership in a myriad of others. We are all parts of a multitude of overlapping groups with often paradoxically contradictory priorities. Because we can contend with having more than one perspective at a time, we needn't force them to compete for authority in our hearts and minds - we can hold them all, provisionally. That's the beauty of renaissance: our capacity to contend with multiple dimensions is increased. Things don't have to be just one way or directed by some central authority, alive, dead or channeled. We have the capacity to contend with spontaneous, emergent reality."

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