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June 30, 2004

rand()%

A few days ago, my friend Kyron sent me this link. I clicked on it, listened to it and then as one might I asked what it was. He explained it to me as follows.

'It's a totally random radio generated by multiple random based generative and/or algorithmic music programs... in other words the radio itself is a program that randomly has access to all these other programs. When the radio "calls" them the other programs start to generate music. The music you hear is being created AS YOU HEAR IT. So it won't ever happen again and it has never happened before. Here's some more info about it:
June 23, 2004
Movin' with rand()%

Every night, I dream of a vast machine. It eternally shuffles quantum states; it churns all the integers of a complex equilibrium. It's sound that is at the same time landscape; pure extension and span. This condition has persisted for weeks, and I blame it on artists Tom Betts and Joe Gilmore, whose rand()% project seems to have commandeered my RealOne Player. Commissioned by Huddersfield England's Media Centre Network, this internet radio station devotes itself entirely to generative and algorithmically mediated music. Every program rand()% plays is composed afresh in real time; in essence, it's a soundbot. With talents like Itialian digital artist Lia and late German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in the mix, I'm finding it very hard to sleep. - Lewis LaCook

Main Link:
http://www.r4nd.org/rand_home.html'

Enjoy the randomity while it lasts...

June 16, 2004

Maybe Logic Academy

It finally happened. Robert Anton Wilson has finally started teaching at the university! It's just an online, uh, offbeat 'academy', but an "institution of higher learning" nonetheless, at least in my book. Ladies and gentlemen, enter the Maybe Logic Academy...

'Maybe Logic Academy is an innovative educational learning center and online community. The Academy features online courses by many of the most important and ground-breaking writers, theorists and leaders today.

Each course is grounded in the philosophy and perspective of maybe logic, an approach which emphasizes the fallibility and relativity of perception and tends to approach information and theory with questions, probabilities and multiple perspectives rather than absolute truths. If students leave the courses with more questions and more options, we've done our job.'
Sounds cool, and if I had the money I'd sign up for a course or two right now... instead I'm left hoping I'll be able to scrounge enough cash by the time they start.

By the way, Wilson has been using the "Maybe Logic" meme for a while now, beginning with the homonymous movie, which I can highly recommend. For further background, check out my Disinfo review of the movie's premiere in Santa Cruz, California where Wilson currently resides.

June 10, 2004

Hack Your Brain with an iPod

Such is the title of a Forevergeek.com article which describes a way to alter your brainwaves using sound generator software. Different ready-made presets are available, and the software can generate new ones. May be worth a try; check it out.

NOTE: the article references 0wnz0red, a cool sci-fi short story by Cory Doctorow, but the link is broken. Use this one instead.

the Symphony for dot matrix printers

'The Symphony for dot matrix printers is a work which transforms obsolete office technology into an instrument for musical performance. The Symphony focuses the listener's attention on a nearly forgotten technology: the dot-matrix printer. Specifically, it employs the noises the printers make as the sole sound source for a musical composition. Leaving the constituent elements untouched, the process imposes a new order upon them, reorganizing the sounds along a musical structure.'

There you go. Why? Because it hadn't been done yet. You can download or stream the Symphony itself as several tracks, which have titles like "New Existential Clause". Of course. Go ahead, check it out. See if I care.

420 alert

After George Washington's large plantations of cannabis, and Russ Kick's revelation (in 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know) that Carl Sagan was a major pothead, here's more evidence of the pervasive and sinister presence of Marijuana! in our midst, concealed behind the friendly face of our favorite media outlets.

The other day I typed 'http://www.disinfo.com' in my browser's address bar and, instead of the familiar red-and-black homepage, I got this error:

mysql://disinfoSiteAdmin:@ganja.terabolic.com/disinfosite failed to connectCan't connect to MySQL server on 'ganja.terabolic.com' (111)
Where will it stop?

Official Organs of Global Madness, part 1

While shopping for other stuff in the well-stocked magazine section of a well-known bookstore, I happened upon this cool little zine called Switcheroo, issue #2.
The presentation is unassuming black and white, no frills whatsoever, good old lo-fi cut&paste publishing but the headlines immediately hooked my attention.

Stuff like "Feel the Relief of Having No Control", and "Learn How to Achieve Madness! Featuring Nathan Leopold - Richard Loeb - Jim Jones!". I was laughing already that particular inner laughter that arises in me whenever I smell a decent blend of wits, cynicism and dark humor when I stumbled upon a line from the zine's editorial.

'I have attempted to expose popular culture as the calculated creation of a national neurosis, but I've also tried contributing to that neurosis. Why try to teach pigs to sing? Enjoy.'
Well, maybe the "nameless editor" behind Switcheroo doesn't propose to teach any pigs how to sing, but he certainly doesn't mind butchering some. Which is tasty. Take for instance the full page ad on the back cover:

'PASSIVITY
Life is hard.
Isn't it easier to be passive? Just relax and let your life float by. Let others deal with your problems. Let others worry about your life. Let others make your decisions. Let others take care of you.
Why should you? Why exactly should you play such a big part in your life? It's easier to be passive. Give in.
(Paid for by the National Committee for Passivity.)'

The point is explained clearly inside the magazine because, after all, why should you make an effort to figure it out? Lapping up somebody else's explaination is easier, etc:
'Switcheroo... exploitation/empowerment. Exploitation is empowerment. As a consumer, you are exploited every time you decode an advertisement. But you are made to feel empowered by the advertisements which try to get you to buy the product.'
The prize for the most hilarious demonstration of this basic concept, though, goes to another ad the one for the "I Consent" t-shirt, offered "Half price to girls under 18!":

'Power to choose.

Power to protect yourself.


Power to take control.


This is the shirt that puts you in control. This shirt is empowering. Being an intelligent woman, you know that it is your choice whether you have sex. You know that you are the only deciding factor; it is within your control. Legal definition of rape: sex against one's will. In other words, it's a matter of consent. Therefore, as long as you give consent, you cannot be raped. This shirt is a fail-proof protection against the only crime worse than murder. Defend yourself from the patriarchy's most oppressive tool against women. Buy this T-Shirt.'

The whole magazine follows this thread, exploring issues such as the subtle but extremely powerful techniques of manipulation employed by media and advertising, and their absorption into popular culture in general. What happens to you when completely, constantly immersed in a dense sphere of information that gets virtually showed down your throat? What if the messages that bombard you were aimed directly at exploiting your weaknesses, and indeed were expanding and building upon those weaknesses, making sure that real empowerment always remains "just behind the corner"? Hah! Imagine that.

In part, Switcheroo is a rough but incisive and fresh distillate of memes that (once they get showed down your throat and infect you just like everything else) may facilitate a greater awareness of the pervasive, invisible insanity that surrounds us. It also describes some major agendas behind the media onslaught using the language of conspiracy theory: in Regaining Cuntrol, a member of the "Official Patriarchy" explains how mass media is being employed as a tool for 'crippling the Matriarchy', by marketing trends under the guise of "liberation" (for reference, see this article and read how Edward L. Bernays made it cool for suffragettes to start smoking in public). Other articles dissect mainstream pornography (as a 'calculated effort to demoralize men') and detail how corporations exploit black people by commodifying their culture and mass-marketing it back to them, as well as to the rest of us meanwhile, a thin veneer of "racial equality" and appreciation of the exotic Other serves to distract and bamboozle the unattentive.

Switcheroo then proceeds deeper into pure, unadulterated madness with a psychological profile of killers Leopold and Loeb, and a very thorough (for its 3 or 4 pages with photos) portrait of Jim Jones and his manipulation techniques. The whole zine is drenched in a tone of caustic anger, aimed at the systematic, subliminal abuse practiced by Popular Culture. Several editorials aggressively advocate the embracing of Madness and the unabashed exploitation of other people through mind control, and they sound like an exasperated reaction at the unflattering realities that a fair look to issues of media influence always uncovers. Switcheroo embodies the pains of coping with massively intrusive media felt by those who strive to retain their individuality within a homogenized culture. Publications such as this deliver a welcome shock to our systems, even when the ideas have been heard before. After all, repetition is a key element of brainwa..uh, understanding.

By way of credit to the original author (other than, of course, because I've been manipulated into compliance by his cunning techniques of coercion), here's his contact information in case anybody wants to check out the zine. Of course I'm not affiliated with them in any way, etc. etc. and you'll have to edit the email back into its correct form (nobody likes spam).

Snail mail:

Switcheroo
P.O. Box 2443
Richmond, IN 47375
Email:
Switcheroo (at) Journalist.com

June 07, 2004

back?

Well, it finally happened. So much time has passed since the last entry that finally the blogroll bar to the right (that thing that lists a bunch of potentially interesting sites under the Recent Entries, Archives etc.) has "broken". Not to worry, I'm on it finally free from all those pesky Real Life commitments stealing time away from me, I have a long summer ahead, to delve into a world made exclusively of fast, abundant, pure information.

Actually, I'm not going to. But it mildly disturbs me to type it, which is fun, and I do intend to put some of that "regularly scheduled" stuff into my blogging.

Here goes...