Posts Tagged ‘SF’

“I don’t think of her as a machine …”

“… She’s a weapon.”

Ignore Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the insufficiently-dissolved moral core (and attendant Cartesian metaphysics), this movie is mind-woundingly great. Its visualization of the near future is unmatched. Scarlett Johansson’s body disintegrates perfectly.

“How do you know what’s glitch, and what’s me?”

April 26, 2017admin 49 Comments »
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Quote note (#321)

Heinlein’s dark arts:

Gulf is available free (and legally) online now, so if you’re not familiar with it, here you go. You don’t have to read it to get the rest of this post, but I suggest you do. There are enough new, intriguing ideas in this brief novella to keep you thinking about it for a long time: an artificial, highly compressed, efficient and logical language (“Speed-talk”); a secret society of “Supermen” working behind the scenes to discover and regulate major scientific and technological discoveries; bar codes (in 1949!); but what I note here is focus, mental attitude, and what are now called “Dark Triad” traits and their usefulness in getting things done, rather than emoting and “virtue signaling.”

January 8, 2017admin 8 Comments »
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Quote note (#296)

From Cixin Liu’s latest (and perhaps greatest), p.129:

When the deterrent is the complete destruction of the deterrer and the deteree, the system is said to be in a state of ultimate deterrence. […] Compared to other types of deterrence, ultimate deterrence is distinguished by the fact that, should deterrence fail, carrying out the threat would be of no benefit to the deterrer. [..] Thus, the key to the success of ultimate deterrence is the belief by the deteree that the threat will almost certainly be carried out if the deteree thwart’s the deterrer’s goals …

Hence the drive to mechanization of commitments. Trust evo-psych and cultural tradition passes the torch to game-competent machines.

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October 23, 2016admin 10 Comments »
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Sentences (#65)

Peter Watts in pursuit of abstract horror (Echopraxia, p.297):

The less he found, the more he feared.

Plus vampire acausal trade bonus: “… they’d acted in perfect sync, knowing that others they’d never met would have worked out the same scenario” (p. 289). — A classic Age of the Basilisk threat structure.

And one more (p.292):

“A stealth supernet fine-tuned for the manipulation of pawns with a specific skill-set suited to military applications. And it just emerged?”
Moore smiled faintly. “Of course. No complex finely tuned system could ever just evolve. Something must have created it.”

July 17, 2016admin 13 Comments »
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Quote note (#268)

From Peter Watts’ Echopraxia (p.213):

“Word of advise,” the Colonel said from the other side. “Don’t tease the zombies.”
“I wasn’t teasing him, I was just chat–”
“Don’t chat with them either.”

July 16, 2016admin 19 Comments »
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“I want to go home.”

moon_movie00

Don’t be misled by the ambiguous escape at the end of Moon (2009). The movie as a whole makes the more far-reaching case. ‘Home’ is dead, and exists only as a simulation.

If it’s not obvious — after watching this excellent movie — why it explains the ‘Neo-‘ prefix in ‘Neoreaction’, I can’t help you. (Nothing can help you, in any case.)

June 11, 2016admin 25 Comments »
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Quote note (#251)

From Niven and Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye (end Chapter 3):

“They used to teach us that evolution of intelligent being wasn’t possible,” she said. “Societies protect their weaker members. Civilizations tend to make wheel chairs and spectacles and hearing aids as soon as they have the tools for them. When a society makes war, the men generally have to pass a fitness test before they’re allowed to risk their lives. I suppose it helps win the war.” She smiled. “But it leaves precious little room for the survival of the fittest.” […] …
“You were saying about evolution?”
“It — it ought to be pretty well closed off for an intelligent species,” she said. “Species evolve to meet the environment. An intelligent species changes the environment to suit itself. As soon as a species becomes intelligent, it should stop evolving.”

It makes you think (or rather, the opposite). The original sin of intelligence — falling back in blind homeostatic antipathy against its own conditions of emergence — isn’t so hard to see.

May 18, 2016admin 36 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Circuits
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Quote note (#248)

At the risk of falling into a temporary ‘all-gone, all the time’ rut here, there’s this:

… Ishmael Bey, a former assistant Nation [of Islam] minister, told me that years ago he’d heard from a top official that headquarters was flirting with “a white church in L.A.” Initially, Farrakhan never mentioned Scientology in public. Instead, he cryptically alluded to the “study” of “a technology” that would help his people. His caution made sense: after all, the Nation was explicitly conceived as a black separatist organization and a repudiation of Christianity, which Nation leader and prophet Elijah Muhammad derided as “the slave master’s religion.” Farrakhan himself has called white people “a race of devils” and the Nation teaches that the apocalypse will involve a UFO, or “mother plane,” that will eradicate all Caucasians. […] However, there are some striking theological overlaps that might help explain how Farrakhan came to adopt a religion invented by a white man. There is, of course, the attachment to science fiction: Scientologists believe in an alien dictator, Xenu; the Nation holds that the white race was created by a mad scientist named Yakub. More significantly, though, at the core of both religions is a never-ending pursuit of a better self. In the case of Scientology, that best self is “clear” of residual traumas buried in the subconscious. In the Nation, that self is free of the hang-ups of white culture that black people have internalized to their detriment. Scientology, Farrakhan seems to believe, provides a new path toward black empowerment. “I’ve found something in the teaching of Dianetics, of Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, that I saw could bring up from the depth of our subconscious mind things that we would prefer to lie dormant,” he said to his Chicago congregation in early summer. “How could I see something that valuable and know the hurt and sickness of my people and not offer it to them?” …

(Via.)

May 12, 2016admin 5 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Religion
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Quote note (#225)

Fairly sure this isn’t intended to be funny:

… if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100. […] Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond …

February 26, 2016admin 6 Comments »
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The Dark Forest

Volume two of Cixin Liu’s science fiction trilogy.

The universe had once been bright, too. For a short time after the big bang, all matter existed in the, and only after the universe turned to burnt ash did heavy elements precipitate out of the darkness and form planets and life. Darkness was the mother of life and civilization.

The dark forest is the universe, but to get there — with insight — takes a path through Cosmic Sociology:

“See how the stars are points? The factors of chaos and randomness in the complex makeups of every civilized society in the universe get filtered out by distance, so those civilizations can act as reference points that are relatively easy to manipulate mathematically.”
“But there’s nothing concrete to study in your cosmic sociology, Dr. Ye. Surveys and experiments aren’t really possible.”
“That means your ultimate result will be purely theoretical. Like Euclid’s geometry, you’ll set up a few simple axioms at first, then derive an overall theoretic system using those axioms as a foundation.”
“It’s all fascinating, but what would the axioms of cosmic sociology be?”
“First: Survuival is the primary need of civilization. Second: Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.”

“Those two axioms are solid enough from a sociological perspective … but you rattled them off so quickly, like you’d already worked them out,” Luo Ji said, a little surprised.
“I’ve been thinking about this for most of my life, but I’ve never spoken about it with anyone before. I don’t know why, really. … One more thing: To derive a basic picture of cosmic sociology from these two axioms, you need two other important concepts: chains of suspicion, and the technological explosion.”

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October 1, 2015admin 34 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos
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