Kicks Condor

#seriousness

I use three main tags on this blog:

  • hypertext: linking, the Web, the future of it all.

  • garage: art and creation, tinkering, zines and books, kind of a junk drawer - sorry!

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

06 Feb 2020

International Sad Hits

A trail of poignancy by @vinhtruong3 winding around Japan, from Sweden to Iran.

Just a cool list that I saw by way of Toby Shorin. The mood here recalls Sibylle Baier’s “Colour Green”. Not sure the advantage to using Arena over a YouTube playlist. I was hoping for some commentary on the songs perhaps. I absolutely love the Andrei Petrov song here “Dance of Recallings”. It’s from a soundtrack and the film sounds great as well.[1]

Some of these songs are quite popular, but don’t think I’d heard any of them before. Expect harps and harpsichord. The rest of the Masahiko Satoh album is here. (Don’t know if I should be doing this - just trying to live up to the LEECHING side of things around here.)

See, this is another great example of what a directory can do. This is just a link list for tracks. But it pokes holes in my world and lets all this other stuff leak in that I was oblivious to.

Recalls to mind Rebecca Blood:

Even the man who turns first to the Sports section of the paper version of his hometown newspaper is exposed, however briefly, to the front news page; and an interesting headline in the Living section may catch his eye when he puts down the rest of the paper.

p. 12, The Weblog Handbook (2002)

Recommendation engines are likely too fixated on salience - how do they possibly widen their view and attempt to bring in material with such a low signal (in terms of broadcast strength) as to be indistinguishable from spam? Making playlists like this is the vital work we must continue to do.

Another quick quote, sorry to ramble.

As children get older, they yearn to understand what lies beyond the apparent; they want to know about what they can see in front of them but also what they cannot see.

— p. 6, “Children’s Need to Know”, Susan Engel

I think this description of curiosity nails it. The playlist of unknown videos is another version of seeing what I cannot see. I see people there that hadn’t existed ever before for me.[2]


  1. I love Russian film from the 70’s and 80’s. Recently watched the miniseries for The Idiot from that era. Please feel free to recommend any. ↩︎

  2. Sorry, I keep going. Look. I really appreciate Kurt Cobain for using his fame to spread around new knowledge of unknowns - like he was a big part of Os Mutantes becoming known in the U.S. - he did some hole-poking here and there. Unlike Paul Simon was very tight-lipped about his South African influences like Tau Ea Lesotho and Mahotella Queens. ↩︎

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07 Jan 2020

From “Worker-in-the-loop Retrospective”:

Still, the most common question investors asked us while developing a worker-in-the-loop scheduling service was “how long until the humans are gone?”

This sucks. There is no concept of the value of a human perspective. There is no sense of human skill. Humans are seen as just low-quality fuel.

This makes me wonder if it’s best to treat investors as unshackled AI that already threaten humanity. Their behavior seems to match up with soulless robotic resource acquisition.

It’s wild to me that even the writer (who is trying to advocate the value of a human worker in the algorithmic process) doesn’t ever cite the benefits of human intellegence! It’s as if there are none.

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09 Dec 2019

Omniscience and Indexing

(Draft.)

I don’t know if I can explain this quite right - but I’m feeling as if “omniscience” has an indexing problem - and that is the source of quite a bit of amusement. It’s also somewhat tied in with our memories.

This thought occured when we were out of cheese at my place - and someone said, “I wish we could call up how many blocks of cheese we’ve used.” And we all guessed at what the number would be.

But if you think about a computer passively monitoring you 24/7 - XKeyscore, for instance - I can’t help but wonder how it could productively sense each new cheese entering the house (via grocery shopping) and leaving (via shitting).

Omniscience comes up quite regularly. People speak of “their life flashing before their eyes” when they die - or the ability to rewind and call up memories in some post-death review. But there are also characters such as “Janet” from The Good Place or the precogs from Minority Report, who are aware of everything and can be queried like a database. The concept of “The Singularity” often is meant to refer to a superintellegence that approaches omniscience.

So, could I ask an omniscient source: “Bring up all my conversations where Nicholas Cage is mentioned?” Given that sometimes I may be referring to National Treasure or other times I may be mentioning “Nouveau Shamanic” acting with him in mind. The index needs to include references to my conversation history, my context for understanding Nicholas Cage, and a many-to-many join between them.

To what degree does that query return every conversation I have? Am I constantly alluding to Nicholas Cage?

If humans have difficulty agreeing on an exact weight for a racist tweet or extracting the true meaning of any given pull-quote from the Mueller Report, how does an omniscient source ultimately mine all possible meanings from a given conversation? Couldn’t it become stuck on one sentence, infinitely paralyzed during indexing?

It seems an insurmountable problem that an omniscience could track everything as time continues. This makes me wonder if the inate desire of an omniscience would be to slow or stop time, rather than to accelerate it out of some voracious appetite.

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19 Aug 2019

Ola Bini’s Letters from Detention

Reflections from a thoughtful and innocent prisoner.

I spent some of the weekend reading these letters from Ola Bini, who was imprisoned in April for basically being a friend of Julian Assange. I remember Ola from his work on the Ioke programming language—and I once chatted with him many, many years ago. He was polite and well-spoken. I am glad to hear that he is now released. (The FreeOlaBini site should probably show his release more prominently—it is more obvious on Twitter.)

Still, his blog is quite eye-opening and worthwhile. There are entries here that are simply poignant—such as Ola’s story of his birthday when his fellow inmates sang to him. In an almost deliberately Kafkaesque way, it seems he is never told what he is charged with—we can presume computer hacking, but no specifics are given. (It seems the authorities assumed this from his personal library—which Fogus catalogs here.)

I feel some cynicism toward ‘open source’/‘free software’ and cyberpunk ideologies—and I think many people also associate this with ‘tech bro’-style optimism—but Ola’s letters have me reconsidering.

[C]ode and architecture are more important than laws. Laws can be broken, but if we build our systems correctly, we can provide real guarantees. The right to privacy, security and anonymity is also a strong belief and the idea that these rights belong to everyone, not just those that can pay for it.

Related to this, is the mistrust of authority, not just governments, but any kind of authority. That means those rights cant be provided just as legal rights by fiat. Instead, these rights have to be provided by something stronger: by cryptographic systems, implemented and run in the open. This is the only real way you can ultimately provide real self-determination to everyone in the world.

A final belief: cypherpunks write code. This means just what it says. If we want a better world, we have to take the responsibility. We have to build it ourselves.

I don’t feel optimism in any of this. I just feel a person wanting to secure their life. This seems like a basic right—roughly equivalent to the very smallest property right, the ability to merely live and survive at a specific coordinate—even a prisoner has that right. Cynicism feels dangerous here—that I’d rather just wander in aloof disbelief than try.

This also has me hunting for other blogs from prisoners. Know of any?

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03 Aug 2019

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25 Jul 2019

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14 Jun 2019

What Draws Me to Surrealism

A few reasons, thoughts behind what is driving the current movement, as well as all of life everywhere.

It’s now time to tell you about myself. I feel like I should tell you something very revealing. From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure that a revelation like this must occur in order for anyone to care about me. I don’t exist unless I tell you something!

I think that if I am to talk to you, it must come by communicating something, surely. But it’s more than this. I’m also in this mood—I’m reeling with rambunctious energy! I feel like I can say anything and it will be true—but I also want to open my mouth and to say something that actually IS true. So I might try that! We’ll see, in just a moment.

Okay, let’s see. I am compelled to talk intensely about all of life, about the very core of myself. About all of the Earth. About animals. About the sky! About the lightning that descends from it. About little keys and chains and about ornate knobs that exist apart from the original bureaus to which they where attached! I feel suddenly enabled—and this is by what I’ve seen, by just a simple mouse cursor I saw—to attempt to explain this consciousness and to paint my full perspective in a shattering way, to dispel every pretense and to unveil all of life and to do it by talking about surrealism. (Especially surrealism as it exists on the Web, on blogs and on zines as they are coming through the postal service.)

The mouse cursor that I saw was of a simple Jersey cow, lowing in the field. I was not looking for a new mouse cursor at the time, I was simply drinking from a clear canister. The circumstances could not be less intriguing. I was drinking from a clear canister and I had my hand resting on the bough of a tree.

Normally I close my eyes while I am drinking. I close them very tight actually. Sometimes my eyelids hurt from closing them so tightly! I have to tell myself to not close them so tightly. And that’s what I did in this moment: I was telling myself not to close my eyelids so tightly. I was repeating to myself the phrase: Decci Estefani Epcot—which is a phonetical reading of an acronym which stands for “Don’t Ever Close Your Eyelids So Tightly That the Force of Your Entire Person is Concentrated There.” I repeated this again and again in my mind. Decci Estefani Epcot. Decci Estefani Epcot. In my mind, many times.

I am very careful to say it precisely, as it is a slight tongue twister. Not a notable one at all. But a minor one. My eyelids love it. Let’s just say: they were doing fine. And as I said, the vision of this Jersey cow mouse cursor was conjured in my vision, moving across my neighbor’s yard.

I was standing on a ladder, looking into this neighbor’s yard, while this mouse cursor clicked on different things. The grass. Then an in-ground trampoline. Then a bush. A bird flew out of the bush. It clicked on a screen door and it rattled slightly. It clicked on the bush a few more times, but there were no birds there, just a rustling.

I marveled at this cursor—I hadn’t even thought to look at the bush or the in-ground trampoline before. I wouldn’t even have tried. Not before this. But now I looked, I really looked! And I truly saw them in all of their splendor. The pleasant thump of the trampoline’s tarpaulin! I thought to myself that it would be lovely to have a mouse cursor in my life that would click on various things, bringing my attention to them and making them fully interactive. It didn’t occur to me that I actually did have one now. I looked, and it seemed totally independent and detached from me, not mine in any sense, not belonging to any of us, but just a translucent layer, existing on top of the projections of my eyes. It shook its head from side to side, nervously. But I could see that it was beaming with a raw, youthful embarrassment.

Now, this is not the revelation—many of you have written in to tell me about your mouse cursors and what you like to do with them. And also I should say, I worry about bringing up the wrong thing here. Do you ever say something offhanded to someone and then two days later you suddenly throw yourself BACKWARDS against the wall in the middle of the day and you yell HEY WAIT THIS IS A BAD SITUATION! Of course, when someone notices you, you laugh playfully, as if it you were just kidding around—but in secret, you struggle to breathe again and you close your eyelids way too tight, and you find you are trapped in this situation from then on, paralyzed by what you can ever do right again.

What I am saying is—well, first off, I have many times seen a wolf on top of my neighbor’s house. It is usually just licking its paws or staring at children who are playing. It’s sitting on shingles as if they were just another natural biome. But what I’m saying is that I’m afraid that many of you will think I am saying “wolf”—as in “German.” (Because I often used that word to derogatorily refer to Germans when I was a young person. And it was true back then—many Germans were wolves in those days, they would steal my train tickets. But it’s no longer true—so I no longer say it, but I’m afraid to now even bring up the word “wolf” even if I have a good reason, like if I want to tell you that I’ve seen one on my neighbor’s roof.)

So this is the revelation—why exactly I struggle to use the word “wolf” on this blog or even in my private life, in the most intimate moments. Well, no, I do use it there very frequently.

Now it is nighttime and I am confronting this digitally, to see how it goes. The FBI and the KGB are here watching my every move. They love to peep in and to announce their presence on my screen. There is a little icon of a man’s face. It appears in my system tray and it winks once at me. But if I try to show anyone else the man’s face, it fades into an ordinary Dropbox logo. This is quite maddening. But, being a former computer expert, I do know what it takes to make a smooth fade transition.

So, yes, this is what draws me to the surrealist community. And to bee videos, which is the closest thing I have right now to my mouse cursor.

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21 Sep 2018

Sort Trek

Sweet ‘foone’ hack to re-sort Trek episodes based on the subs.

Foone’s got a great thing going on Twitter. I can’t quite complain as much about the place when it’s used to this effect.

The script is called ‘SplitBySubs’ and it gives you clips at all the timestamps where subtitles start and stop. And then you do things like… this!

So I generated the Silence Video. It’s 16 minutes long and it’ll get me copyright-striked on youtube, but here’s the first 2 minutes of it, basically everything up to the Intro. pic.twitter.com/mMVuaGCbFH — foone (@Foone) September 21, 2018

Best of all, the script is now out there. Algorithms are well-suited to mischief. Gah, I was going to read this weekend…

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also at kickscofbk2xcp5g.onion and on hyper://.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

jack and tals vals, hipster bait analysts.

hypertext 2020 pals: h0p3 level 99 wikiist + ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid highly classified scribbles + consummate waifuist chameleon.

nathalie lawhead of so many good things, where does one begin. T, U, I.

waxy is back at it!

surfpals: nadia eghbal, elliott dot computer, laurel schwulst, subpixel.space (toby), things by j, gyford, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

fond friends: jacky.wtf, fogknife, eli, tiv.today, j.greg, box vox, whimsy.space, caesar naples.

indieweb: .xyz, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd, ~jonbell.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

neil c. "some..."

the world or cate le bon you pick.

all my other links are now at href.cool.