20050330

Sousveillance



Inverse surveillance, sometimes known by the neologism "hierarchical sousveillance" ("seeing from below" hierarchically), refers to the recording or monitoring of real or apparent authority figures by others, particularly those who are generally the subject of surveillance. Steve Mann, who coined the term, describes it as "watchful vigilance from underneath".

Inverse surveillance is a type of sousveillance. The more general concept of sousveillance goes beyond just inverse surveillance and the associated 20th Century political "us versus them" framework for citizens to photograph police, shoppers to photograph shopkeepers, or passengers to photograph taxicab drivers (Rheingold notes that it's much like the pedestrian-driver concept, e.g. these are roles that many of us take both sides of, from time-to-time).

20050328

Kanji Typewriter Development History



Determined to make their offices as efficient as those of the West, the Japanese invented a typewriter for their own complex writing system early in the 20th century. The typist was touted as the belle of the workplace. But the Japanese typewriter was a challenging tool that could only be mastered after rigorous training. The development of a truly efficient writing machine -- the word processor -- necessitated a reassessment of the Japanese language itself.


The Quest for a Faster Way to Write

20050326

Local net TV takes off in Austria


In the first four months of the project villagers have created 60 films and put together regular reports on local news items.
"They have adopted it very quickly," said Mr Fischer. "They like the possibility to create their own content and see what's going on in the area."
"It's kind of the democratisation of local TV," he said, "because none of the bigger broadcasters would ever do anything like this for that region."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Local net TV takes off in Austria

Underwater Gliders


'Spray' uses primary-lithium-battery power and a hydraulic pump to periodically change its volume to alternately glide upwards and downwards. This results in a see-saw path at descent/ascent angles of 18-25 degrees and forward speeds of 25-35 cm/s. Heading and ascent/descent rate are controlled without control surfaces by moving weight (battery packs) inside the hull to change roll and pitch, much as a hang glider is controlled. As shown below, at the surface Spray rolls 90o to raise one of its wings, each of which contains a combined GPS/Iridium antenna. Using the wings to house antennas eliminates the drag associated with separate antenna housings and allows redundant systems so that communication and navigation can continue even if one antenna is damaged, as happened when one Spray was run over by a surface vessel.


SIO IDG Spray Home

20050323

Maturana (1970): Biology of Cognition

This is Maturana's seminal presentation of the concepts and constructs comprising the biology of cognition. Although the material in this paper appears in revised or modified form in many of Maturana's subsequent articles, this remains the single best source for understanding the basic perspectives and positions of his theories. The critical status of this paper is evidenced by its inclusion as the first section of the primary reference book in this area: Autopoiesis and Cognition.

This paper pre-dates the formulation of the concept of 'autopoiesis', so the details of that construct are not covered in this document. However, this must be considered the primary source on the context for defining and treating living systems as autopoietic entities, as well as the phenomenology of the living.


Maturana (1970): Biology of Cognition

20050321

"...Mrs. Ewe and Mr. Ram"


"This is very good news," said Roni Hai, 52, a taxi driver and a 20-year resident. "We just keep getting bigger and bigger."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/21/international/middleeast/21cnd-mideast.html

"...Where did you get that lovely lamb?"

"A Fertile Aggresive Bunch"

LAJAS, PUERTO RICO -- An army of marauding monkeys is plundering Puerto Rico, skulking the island in packs of 20 to 30, tormenting farmers and homeowners, endangering rare birds and attacking household pets.

They're a clever lot, too, sneaking around so humans can't get too close, and rotating their feeding areas so their food supply can't be contaminated.

"You should see when they cross the road: One of them will stand in the middle of the street and let all the others pass," said Freddie Cruz, who directs the Lajas Civil Defense Agency. "I get calls all the time from homeowners wanting me to come over and get these things out of their yards."

Frustrated farmers, fed up with the loss of their crops, have responded by shooting the pesky primates.

And their actions, predictably, have outraged animal-rights groups, which are insisting that the monkeys be trapped and returned to their native homelands on the other side of the world.

On this much everyone agrees: A solution must be found because these animals -- descendants of the patas and rhesus monkeys that escaped from a medical-research lab years ago -- are a fertile, aggressive bunch.

The population stands at 1,000 to 2,000 and is growing every day.

"We recognize there's a big problem," said José Chabert, a director of Puerto Rico's Department of Environmental & Natural Resources. "If we don't get a handle on this problem soon, we are going to see these populations of aggressive monkeys all over the island."

In a few weeks, Chabert's organization will convene a series of public hearings to look for solutions.

So far, shooting the animals, trapping them, sterilizing them and baiting them with poison are all on the table.

Monkeys used for research

Monkeys have been traded in the Caribbean for more than 300 years, mostly for research purposes. Today, several islands in the region have burgeoning populations of these primates.

The monkeys have been used for research in Puerto Rico since the 1930s. Several hundred were released on a tiny island in the Boquerón Commonwealth Forest, an island only about a quarter-mile offshore.

By the 1970s, the first sightings of monkeys began to surface in the southeast corner of Puerto Rico.

Lajas Mayor Marcos Irizarry thinks strong hurricane winds have brought dozens of them onto mainland Puerto Rico in recent years.

"After hurricanes, you would see dead monkeys washing ashore. You know some of them had to be blown onto the island," he said.

Problem elsewhere, too

On the nearby islands of St. Kitts and Barbados, where primate populations have existed for more than a century, the governments have been unable to control them.

And that has become the great fear in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico's agricultural community suggests action should have been taken years ago when the problem was emerging. A spate of wildfires that hit the region in recent weeks has begun pushing the primates into the mountains, where it will become nearly impossible to control their numbers.

The monkeys, some of which stand 3 feet tall and weigh 40 pounds, have no natural predators on the island. And there's no demand for domesticating them.

"The hour is late," said Francis Perez Riveiro, a farmer who each year loses thousands of dollars in crop damage from the monkeys.

"The animals contaminate the crops because the monkeys carry diseases, and no one wants to buy vegetables like that," he said. "This is a pocketbook issue for us -- like any other pest that comes into the fields."

The monkeys survive on plantain, banana, mango, squash and a variety of other plants. One telltale sign of the monkey invasion: a squash with small bite marks.

Economic mainstay at risk

The harvest of plantains and bananas generates more than $77 million for the island's economy.

The primates are known to rip apart the plants, exposing their inner stalks to air and sunlight -- which kills them.

The monkeys also strip the bark off mango trees, severely damaging their ability to bear fruit.

The going rate for research monkeys is about $1,000 each. Some of the farmers who recently have suffered crop losses have suggested the monkeys be trapped and sold to help recover their losses.

Farmers: Killing necessary

Farmers say the island's lack of response has forced them to begin shooting the animals. Others have tried to poison them.

"If we hadn't been shooting them, you would see twice as many of them," said one farmer who asked not to be identified because he fears retribution from animal-rights groups.

"These are not cute little monkeys that you want to hug," he said, standing amid a field of partially eaten squash.

Homeowners are constantly complaining, too.

When they call Cruz, of the Civil Defense Department, "I tell them to just bang on the pots and pans," he said.

"If that doesn't work, then maybe you should just let them move on when they're ready."

The monkeys also eat the eggs of Puerto Rico's native birds, Cruz said.

Animal-rights group's ideas

The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has joined Puerto Rico's Natural Resources Department in speaking out against allowing farmers to shoot the monkeys.

That won't solve anything, the groups say. And it might cause problems such as hunters spraying the countryside with stray rounds of bullets that might hit homes.

Ideally, PETA officials say, island officials could trap the monkeys and return them to the wild.

But because that seems remote at this point, learning a little tolerance might be the only thing that can be done at this juncture.

"Whether they are native or not, the government should not allow their wholesale slaughter," said Mary Beth Sweetland, a PETA senior vice president from the group's U.S. offices in Norfolk, Va.

From Pesky monkeys pit animal lovers against farmers in Puerto Rico

Katamari Damacy to Hit DS


An offbeat device like the DS needs a weird game to make it shine. I thought Wario Touched would be the perfect match, but it fell just short. So how does Katamari for the DS sound? Perfect, eh?

Katamari Damacy for Nintendo DS

The Coming Age of Calm Technology?


Designs that encalm and inform meet two human needs not usually met together. Information technology is more often the enemy of calm. Pagers, cellphones, news-services, the World-Wide-Web, email, TV, and radio bombard us frenetically. Can we really look to technology itself for a solution?
But some technology does lead to true calm and comfort. There is no less technology involved in a comfortable pair of shoes, in a fine writing pen, or in delivering the New York Times on a Sunday morning, than in a home PC. Why is one often enraging, the others freqequently encalming? We believe the difference is in how they engage our attention. Calm technology engages both the center and the periphery of our attention, and in fact moves back and forth between the two.

"THE COMING AGE OF CALM TECHNOLOGY"

20050319

The Aesthetics of Generative Code

20050318

Sony/Ericsson Bluetooth Spy Bot

20050310

Longhorn to Natively Support Linux Applications?


Word from Jason Zions, a solution architect working for Microsoft, is that there are developer versions of SFU (Windows Services for Unix) that currently allow running of code from both Unix and Windows libraries in the same process. Some think further development of these technologies might enable Microsoft to become the biggest supplier of Unix software if Longhorn proves to be a success.

An even more interesting twist, IMHO (and twisted enough this already is), is that Microsoft does not currently include SFU as part of Windows due to the fact that some of the software it is composed of is open-source -e.g. the gcc- but is working on replacing the same software -this also according to Zions- with commercially available alternatives. Microsoft licensed Unix software last year from SCO.

20050309

Spain Prepares for Largest Linux Installation Yet


The regional Health Service of Extremadura, Spain (Servicio Extremeño de Salud) prepares for what IBM describes as the country's biggest GNU/Linux rollout to date. IBM is to receive $33.8 million USD over a four year period for the development of systems which should enable some 14,000 doctors and other medical professionals access to patient health care data on a region currently described as underserved in comparison with the rest of the country.

Current biggest european implementation title-holder, German National Railway, cites "continuous cost savings, greater flexibility and integration benefits" as reason for changing over to GNU/Linux-based solutions. The German National Railway GNU/Linux implementation currently boasts aproximately 55,000 users, in comparison to the current Munich implementation of 14,000 desktops.

We of course know better: Interoperability and Open Source are not Synonymous.

20050302

Homogeneity



one can see the strings on some people's legs more
clearly as we move in herds.


heterogeneity is essential to the survival of living
organisms.

homogeneity simplifies the design and implementation
of mechanisms of control.
this simplification is due to a significant
reduction in the number of required interfaces between
control mechanisms and governed objects.

the simplification of a design and/or its
implementation lead to significant gains in
efficiency.

homogeneity can significantly increase the efficiency
of the design and implementation of mechanisms of
control.

efficient control over large groups of people has been
actively sought by nation-states since their
appearance in recorded history.

contemporary psychology plays the more significant
role in the homogenization of the conduct of large
groups of people.




contemporary psychology advances the homogenization of
the conduct of large groups of people primarily
through the dissemination of authoritative information
that leads to the popular contemporary perception that
any significant deviation from a set of conducts
constitutes a form of illness to be erradicated in the
name of the subject's well-being.

the disseminated information's authority is granted by
the state.

the set of conducts, rather than a picture of the
subject's well-being, is a reflection of the state's
system of values.

evidence of this can be found in the correlation
between a particular state's inhabitants' perception
of a given set of conducts and the particular state's
economic system.

information disseminated through layman literature
regarding the set of conducts broadly defined by
contemporary psychology as "clinical depression" in
capitalist states is presented in terms of economic
loss of the state and the individual with significant
frequency.

a similar set of conducts is popularly perceived as "a
period of enlightment" by a number of more primitive
eastern cultures.

the state can only represent itself.



political power is equated to economic power in
contemporary nation-states.

homogenization leads to extinction in living
organisms.

---
Kumar; From Post Industrial to Postmodern Society; 1995; Oxford Press
Foucault; Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prision; 1979; Vintage Books
Keane; Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere; 1995; Communication Review
Gamma, Helm, Johnson, Vlissides; Design Patterns; 1994; Addison Wesley
Campbell, Reece; Biology; 2001, Benjamin Cummings

Maximum Pain is Aim of New US Weapon

The New Scientist Reports:

The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.
The capacity to deliver a wap of pain to a group of people from a distance of 2 kilometers without the use of a proyectile may prove disturbing to some.