Create a free Reader Account
to post comments.
Get free daily SCIY
Notable SCIY Topics
Category Folders (below)
Click folder names for contained articles,
Click 'Main Page' to return.
Saturday, November 21
by Rich on November 21, 2009 03:10PM (PST)
Synthetic form, possesses some but not all of the properties of living systems, are not alive and can be regarded as 'Living Technology'. This particular species (designed by the author -- unpublished) is able to construct magnetite tubes that resemble 'worm casts'.
Biology is the study of the laws of the natural world. Nature may be regarded as the endogenous system underpinning the genesis of living organisms and their environment. In human terms, the organization of the natural world is reflected in the issues arising from the science of reproduction, heritability and the creation of life. Since these processes biologically occur within the intimate spaces of the female body, feminism has sought to represent the interests of women in the control and regulation of human reproduction in modern Western culture. To date the dominant political and social paradigms of Western society are patriarchal and invoke a dualistic worldview based on the dichotomy of male and female with an associated division of these roles in the creation of life.
This dualistic ordering of reality is also hierarchical: the principle of male over female, mind over body, culture over nature, and so on. Male, mind and culture are exercising hierarchical control over female, body, nature. more »
Saturday, June 6
by Debashish on June 6, 2009 12:52PM (PDT)
Andrew Feenberg is the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University. In this article he considers the specificity of our Modern Age as Technology, as identified and theorized both by Martin Heidegger and Jurgen Habermas. Both these seiminal modern/contemporary thinkers, though marked by divergence in important respects, see Technology as the determining agent for modern subjectivity as a condition of subjection, alientaion, instrumentalization, homogeniety and social fragmentation. Feenberg here analyzes primary and secondary characteristics of Technology and indicates possibilties of technological reform in a post-industrial context to reintegrate culture, community, creativity and participatory improvization into world culture. One may note that though for the purposes of his own transformative discourse, Feenberg construes Heidegger and Habermas oppositionally as essentialistic in their characterization of Technology, in fact his reformative possibiltiies return us to Heidegger's view of the essence of Techne as Poiesis.more »
Monday, April 13
Cybernetics Is An Antihumanism: Advanced Technologies and the Rebellion Against the Human Condition: Metnexus (Global Spiral)
by Rich on April 13, 2009 10:25PM (PDT)
Reference: 100 years of Sri Aurobindo on evolution
In those places where Heideggerian thought has been influential, it became impossible to defend human values against the claims of science. This was particularly true in France, where structuralism—and then poststructuralism—reigned supreme over the intellectual landscape for several decades before taking refuge in the literature departments of American universities. Anchored in the thought of the three great Germanic "masters of suspicion"—Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud—against a common background of Heideggerianism, the human sciences à la française made antihumanism their watchword5, loudly celebrating exactly what humanists dread: the death of man. This unfortunate creature, or rather a certain image that man created of himself, was reproached for being "metaphysical." With Heidegger, "metaphysics" acquired a new and quite special sense, opposite to its usual meaning. For positivists ever since Comte, the progress of science had been seen as forcing the retreat of metaphysics; for Heidegger, by contrast, technoscience represented the culmination of metaphysics. And the height of metaphysics was nothing other than cybernetics.
Let us try to unravel this tangled skein. For Heidegger, metaphysics is the search for an ultimate foundation for all reality, for a "primary being" in relation to which all other beings find their place and purpose. Where traditional metaphysics ("onto-theology") had placed God, modern metaphysics substituted man. This is why modern metaphysics is fundamentally humanist, and humanism fundamentally metaphysical. Man is a subject endowed with consciousness and will: his features were described at the dawn of modernity in the philosophy of Descartes and Leibniz. As a conscious being, he is present and transparent to himself; as a willing being, he causes things to happen as he intends. Subjectivity, both as theoretical presence to oneself and as practical mastery over the world, occupies center stage in this scheme—whence the Cartesian promise to make man "master and possessor of nature." In the metaphysical conception of the world, Heidegger holds, everything that exists is a slave to the purposes of man; everything becomes an object of his will, fashionable as a function of his ends and desires. The value of things depends solely on their capacity to help man realize his essence, which is to achieve mastery over being. It thus becomes clear why technoscience, and cybernetics in particular, may be said to represent the completion of metaphysics. To contemplative thought—thought that poses the question of meaning and of Being, understood as the sudden appearance of things, which escapes all attempts at grasping it—Heidegger opposes "calculating" thought. This latter type is characteristic of all forms of planning that seek to attain ends by taking circumstances into account. Technoscience, insofar as it constructs mathematical models to better establish its mastery over the causal organization of the world, knows only calculating thought. Cybernetics is precisely that which calculates—computes—in order to govern, in the nautical sense (Wiener coined the term from the Greek xvbepvntns, meaning "steersman"): it is indeed the height of metaphysics. more »
Thursday, March 12
by Rich on March 12, 2009 08:40PM (PDT)
I understand "human" and "posthuman" to be historically specific constructions that emerge from different configurations of embodiment, technology, and culture. A convenient point of reference for the human is the picture constructed by nineteenth-century U.S. and British anthropologists of "man" as a tool-user.(15) Using tools may shape the body (some anthropologists made this argument), but the tool nevertheless is envisioned as an object, apart from the body, that can be picked up and put down at will. When the claim could not be sustained that man's unique nature was defined by tool use (because other animals were shown also to use tools), the focus shifted during the early twentieth century to man the tool-maker. Typical is Kenneth P. Oakley's 1949 Man the Tool-Maker, a magisterial work with the authority of the British Museum behind it.(16) Oakley, in charge of the Anthropological Section of the museum's Natural History division, wrote in his introduction, "Employment of tools appears to be [man's] chief biological characteristic, for considered functionally they are detachable extensions of the forelimb" [p. 1]. The kind of tool he envisioned was mechanical rather than informational; it goes with the hand, not on the head. Significantly, he imagined the tool to be at once "detachable" and an "extension," separate from yet partaking of the hand. If the placement and kind of tool marks his affinity with the epoch of the human, its construction as a prosthesis points forward to the posthuman. Similar ambiguities informed the Macy Conference discussions taking place during the same period (1946-53), as participants wavered between a vision of man as a homeostatic self-regulating mechanism whose boundaries were clearly delineated from the environment,(17) and a more threatening, reflexive vision of a man spliced into an informational circuit that could change him in unpredictable ways.
By the 1960s, the consensus within cybernetics had shifted dramatically toward reflexivity. By the 1980s, the inertial pull of homeostasis as a constitutive concept had largely given way to theories of self-organization that implied radical changes were possible within certain kinds of complex systems.(18) Through these discussions, the "posthuman" future of "humanity" began increasingly to be evoked. Examples range from Hans Moravec's invocation of a "postbiological" future in which human consciousness is downloaded into a computer, to the more sedate (and in part already realized) prospect of a symbiotic union between human and intelligent machine that Howard Rheingold calls "intelligence augmentation."(19) Although these visions differ in the degree and kind of interfaces they imagine, they concur that the posthuman implies a coupling so intense and multifaceted that it is no longer possible to distinguish meaningfully between the biological organism and the informational circuits in which it is enmeshed. Accompanying this change, I have argued, is a corresponding shift in how signification is understood and corporeally experienced. In contrast to Lacanian psycholinguistics, derived from the generative coupling of linguistics and sexuality, flickering signification is the progeny of the fascinating and troubling coupling of language and machine. more »
Friday, March 6
by Rich on March 6, 2009 02:54PM (PST)
Donald Theall, Marshall McLuhan's first graduate student recently past away. Theall like McLuhan was also a brilliant Joyce scholar and saw much of what we now know as cyberspace prefigured in his works. - rc
The Gutenberg Galaxy, a book which redirected the way that artists, critics, scholars and communicators viewed the role of technological mediation in communication and expression, had its origin in Marshall McLuhan's desire to write a book called "The Road to _Finnegans Wake_." It has not been widely recognized just how important James Joyce's major writings were to McLuhan, or to other major figures (such as Jorge Luis Borges, John Cage, Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, and Jacques Lacan) who have written about aspects of communication involving technological mediation, speech, writing, and electronics.
While all of these connections should be explored, the most enthusiastic Joycean of them all, McLuhan, provides the most specific bridge linking the work of Joyce and his modernist contemporaries to the development of electric communication and to the prehistory of cyberspace and virtual reality. McLuhan's scouting of "the Road to _Finnegans Wake_" established him as the first major disseminator of those Joycean insights which have become the unacknowledged basis for our thinking about technoculture, just as the pervasive McLuhanesque vocabulary has become a part, often an unconscious one, of our verbal heritage. In the mid-80s, William Gibson first identified the emergence of cyberspace as the most recent moment in the development of electromechanical communications, telematics and virtual reality. Cyberspace, as Gibson saw it, is the simultaneous experience of time, space, and the flow of multi-dimensional, pan-sensory data: ...
Tuesday, October 7
by Debashish on October 7, 2008 07:05PM (PDT)
The concluding section on Techno-Capitalism and Post-Human Destinies by Debashish Banerji continues its second installment's reflections on the Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence presented to us as the emerging destiny of post-Enlightenment Modernity and compares this destination with its appropriation and supercession in the Neo-Vedantic teleology of Sri Aurobindo. What are the differences, dangers and promises of these destinies and what are the conditions for achieving an alternate destination? ... more »
Tuesday, June 10
by Rich on June 10, 2008 05:09PM (PDT)
This demo shows the use of Second Life as a platform for Augmented Reality. With our modified Second Life client, avatars and other Second Life graphicss can be superimposed perspectively correct on a live video stream and in real-time. more »
Friday, April 25
by Rich on April 25, 2008 10:05AM (PDT)
(image courtesy www.idf.net)
Donna Haraway's cyborg manifesto is one of the most important text of cyber-cultural studies as well as feminist studies of the past twenty years. Her conclusion that she draws, "I'd rather be a cyborg than a goddess" is grounded in the following analysis of the cyborg given here by Carolyn Keen (rc):
"Cyborg replication is uncoupled from organic reproduction" (150) "The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family" (151).
The cyborg does not aspire to "organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity" (150). The cyborg "is not afraid of joint kinship with animals and machines...of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints" (154). The cyborg is the "illegitimate child" of patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism.
The cyborg thus evades traditional humanist concepts of women as childbearer and raiser, of individuality and individual wholeness, the heterosexual marriage-nuclear family, transcendentalism and Biblical narrative, the great chain of being (god/man/animal/etc.), fear of death, fear of automatism, insistence upon consistency and completeness. It evades the Freudian family drama, the Lacanian m/other, and "natural" affiliation and unity. It attempts to complicate binary oppositions, which have been "systemic to the logics and practices of domination of women, people of colour, nature, workers, animals" (177).
Haraway likens "cyborg" to the political identity of "women of color," which "marks out a self-consciously constructed space that cannot affirm the capacity to act on the basis of natural identification, but only on the basis of conscious coalition, of affinity, of political kinship" (156). "Cyborg" though, is grounded in "political-scientific" analysis. This analysis takes up most of the "manifesto." (Keen) ... more »
Wednesday, April 16
by Ron on April 16, 2008 12:43AM (PDT)
It may be possible for the global system to undergo a change in state, a fundamental shift from one of increasingly intractable interrelated crises to one characterized by mutually reinforcing synergetic solutions.
The global situation has become like a Gordian knot wherein it appears that all attempts to solve any one crisis in isolation only makes others worse. We face myriad crises, all aspects of an unprecedented breakdown in many global systems that is already coming to a head and will become acute within a decade or less. Spiraling debt, the impending end of abundant oil, global warming, overpopulation, mass extinction and a general acceleration of change verging on chaotic instability can all be seen as part of a pattern of converging indicators at a unique moment in history. Many of these trends (enumerated in more detail below) are still accelerating and are apparently characterized by logarithmic curves...
However, there is another plausible scenario. At a critical point, key trend lines could shift from curving one way, representing ever accelerating but increasingly unstable change, and cross over to begin to curve the other way, representing deceleration toward a state of greater stability. Mathematically, this phenomenon would be described as an S-curve; the point where the curvature changes from facing one way to facing the other is called the "point of inflection". ... more »
Thursday, April 10
by Ron on April 10, 2008 12:42PM (PDT)
...the Global Information Technology Report... assesses 127 economies on scores of factors ranging from the cost of mobile phone calls and available Internet bandwidth to the quality of higher education. Not just a catalog of technical specifications, the report weighs these measures to determine which economies are best positioned to compete in the information-intensive 21st century economy.
The conclusion, as in previous studies, finds Nordic countries grabbing five of the top 10 slots, with Denmark and Sweden placing No.1 and No.2 for the second year running. Credit widespread Internet usage, supportive government policies, and good education. The U.S. came in at No.4, up three positions from last year. Although the U.S. gets top marks in innovation and education, it's pulled down by "red tape and rigidities" that stifle its business environment... more »
Thursday, March 13
by Ron on March 13, 2008 04:21PM (PDT)
...last week, Apple announced iPhone 2.0. It’s not a new phone model (although that will be coming this year, too)—it’s new software for the existing phone. And in my considered opinion, it will be an even bigger deal than the iPhone itself...
I can’t tell you how huge this is going to be. There will be thousands of iPhone programs, covering every possible interest. The iPhone will be valuable for far more than simple communications tasks; it will be the first widespread pocket desktop computer. You’re witnessing the birth of a third major computer platform: Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone.
All of this, of course, will have the side effect of enriching Apple; Apple’s shrewd that way. But aside from the usual Apple-bashers online, nobody will mind. The release of iPhone 2.0 is over three months away, but I’ll stick my neck out and make a prediction: it will be a gigantic success, spreading the iPhone’s popularity both upward, into the corporate market, and downward, into the hands of the masses. iPhone 2.0 will turn this phone into an engineering tool, a game console, a free-calls Skype phone, a business tool, a dating service, an e-book reader, a chat room, a database, an Etch-a-Sketch…and that’s on Day One. ... more »
Wednesday, March 12
by Ron on March 12, 2008 01:27PM (PDT)
It’s easy to forget that until recently cosmology was largely a theoretical science. Thanks in particular to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which was launched by NASA in 2001 to study the cosmic microwave background, researchers are now able to talk about the first instants of the universe with the kind of certainty normally associated with a bench-top experiment.
With the analysis of two further years of WMAP data announced last week, that view of the early universe has just got even more detailed. As well as placing tighter constraints on parameters such as the age and content of the universe, the five-year WMAP data provide new, independent evidence for a cosmic neutrino background. The detection of such low-energy neutrinos, wrote Steven Weinberg in 1977 in his famous book The First Three Minutes, “would provide the most dramatic possible confirmation of the standard model of the early universe” — yet at the time no-one knew how to detect such a signal. more »
Sunday, February 17
by Ron on February 17, 2008 09:57PM (PST)
Imagine being able to peek inside a black hole and even perform experiments there. It may not be as far-fetched as it sounds, thanks to a team which claims to have simulated a black hole’s event horizon in the lab. -- Ulf Leonhardt at the University of St Andrews, UK, and his colleagues accomplished the feat by firing lasers down an optical fiber, exploiting the fact that different wavelengths of light move at different speeds within an optical fiber.
They first shot a relatively slowmoving laser pulse through the fibre, and then sent a faster “probe wave” chasing after it. The first pulse distorts the optical properties of the fibre simply by travelling through it. This distortion forces the speedy probe wave to slow down dramatically when it catches up with the slower pulse and tries to move through it. In fact, the probe wave becomes trapped and can never overtake the pulse’s leading edge, which effectively becomes a black hole event horizon, beyond which light cannot escape.
This “laser black hole” could allow physicists to examine what happens to light on both sides of a event horizon – “a feat that is utterly impossible in astrophysics”, the authors note in their paper. ... more »
Saturday, February 16
by Ron on February 16, 2008 02:00AM (PST)
Mankind's destiny points toward a quest for the stars. Realistically, it is difficult to achieve this using current space propulsion science and develop the prerequisite technologies, which for the most part requires the use of massive amounts of propellant to be expelled from the system. Therefore, creative approaches are needed to reduce or eliminate the need for a propellant. Many researchers have identified several unusual approaches that represent immature theories based upon highly advanced concepts. These theories and concepts could lead to creating the enabling technologies and forward thinking necessary to eventually result in developing new directions in space propulsion science. In this paper, some of these theoretical and technological concepts are examined approaches based upon Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, spacetime curvature, superconductivity, and newer ideas where questions are raised regarding conservation theorems and if some of the governing laws of physics, as we know them, could be violated or are even valid. These conceptual ideas vary from traversable wormholes, Krasnikov tubes and Alcubierre's warpdrive to Electromagnetic (EM) field propulsion with possible hybrid systems that incorporate our current limited understanding of zero point fields and quantum mechanics. ... more »
Wednesday, January 16
by Ron on January 16, 2008 02:00AM (PST)
The chief executive of the Toyota Motor Corporation said Monday that he is pushing his company’s engineers to develop a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery before 2010, raising the stakes in a race with General Motors...
Mr. Watanabe said he welcomed a competition with G.M., which plans to introduce its own lithium-ion hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt, around 2010. -- He said the contest would help reduce the “negative aspects” of automobiles, and ultimately help the environment.
“To compete against each other” in such a battle “is something to be congratulated,” Mr. Watanabe said through an interpreter. “We dont want to be the loser in that competition, of course.” ... more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler