"King of the Gadget-Hive"

Charlie Stross rambles entertainingly about the future:

Complaints that the modern world is unnatural or artificial in some way miss the point; the world we live in is anthropogenic, we made it. We didn't have any collective choice in the matter, either: short of discarding tools, clothes, and ultimately language there's no way back to the Garden of Eden from here. [...]

Eusocial animals like ants, termites, bees, or naked mole rats, exhibit curious behaviour; their societies are stratified by role, with workers, warriors, and reproductive castes that may differ morphologically from one another. Humans aren't so obviously specialized, but if you consider our machines as part of our extended phenotype, it begins to look that way: if our machines become intentionally driven, and they're tailored to play different roles in our society, then you could argue that we occupy some kind of privileged position in a hive-relationship with tools that require our continued safety and comfort in order to further their own reproduction.

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media update

  • Saw Kraftwerk last night: I hadn't seen them before. Definitely worth seeing, but, you know, it's Kraftwerk, so it's not really a concert. It was more like an interesting but slow-moving art film.

  • Kill Bill 2 was great. One of the things that I like about Tarantino's movies is that he's just such a giddy fanboy about his subject matter, and that excitement shows.

  • The Punisher is the worst movie I've seen in a long, long time. And I went into it with rock bottom expectations. It's been a decade since I've seen it, but I'm pretty sure that the Dolph Lundgren version was better. At least that one had ninjas.

    However, there was one brief scene (maybe 6 minutes long) of sheer unadulterated brilliance: it's best described as "The Punisher Versus Johnny Cash." That should have been the whole movie, right there, but no.

  • Tonight: The Pixies!

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when similes go wrong

Cicadas 'like a yard full of chicken nuggets':
When millions of cicadas emerge across the eastern United States for a rare mating season, they will appear as tasty morsels to pets. The insects are protein-rich but their hard outer shells can cause vomiting and constipation in cats and dogs, said Randall Lockwood, vice president for the Humane Society of the United States.

"Imagine a yard full of chicken nuggets, that's sort of what it's going to be like" for dogs and cats, Lockwood said Tuesday.

Millions of the large, red-eyed insects will soon emerge from the ground for a once-every-17-years mating dance lasting well into June.

That's right, chicken nuggets. Crunchy, red-eyed chicken nuggets.

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apparently "SUV Ownership" is a self-correcting problem

Highway Deaths Hit 13-Year High:
The number of U.S. traffic deaths rose nearly 1 percent in 2003 and reached a 13-year high at 43,220, the government reported on Wednesday. It was the fifth straight year road deaths rose, although passenger car fatalities decreased. Sport utility vehicle deaths went up roughly 10 percent over 2002, with more than half of the victims in those crashes killed in rollovers. Motorcycle deaths also jumped.
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