Evolution's third replicator

Evolution's third replicator

We humans have let loose something extraordinary on our planet - a third replicator - the consequences of which are unpredictable and possibly dangerous.

The first replicator was the gene - the basis of biological evolution. The second was memes - the basis of cultural evolution. I believe that what we are now seeing, in a vast technological explosion, is the birth of a third evolutionary process. We are Earth's Pandoran species, yet we are blissfully oblivious to what we have let out of the box.

This might sound apocalyptic, but it is how the world looks when we realise that Darwin's principle of evolution by natural selection need not apply just to biology. Given some kind of copying machinery that makes lots of slightly different copies of the same information, and given that only a few of those copies survive to be copied again, an evolutionary process must occur and design will appear out of destruction.

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Dracula's Drycleaner must Die

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stupid tivo.

So, my Tivo started freaking out, and in a weird way. Playback of already-recorded stuff was fine, but new recordings and live TV were stuttery (going black for 1 second every 6), and sometimes it would seem to momentarily forget that the crypto card was plugged in. Since this sounded a little more like a hardware problem than a bad drive, I took a chance and bought a new (used) DirecTivo of the same hardware vintage off eBay (it was only $60 including shipping, so what the hell). But, when I moved my old drive into the new box, it didn't boot. Just sits there at the "Tivo is powering up" screen forever.

Which leaves me with some options.

  1. Use the drive from the new tivo. This will probably work, but the downsides are: A) I lose all the old recordings I have not yet watched, B) it's a smaller drive, C) it doesn't have any of the hacks installed like the web server or the ability to talk to ethernet instead of a phone line.
  2. Get a new drive and re-hack the new tivo from scratch. Downsides: A) lose my old recordings, B) Doing this is hellaciously complicated. It took two of us days to figure it out last time. I'm really not looking forward to doing that again. Is there some dead-simple way to do this that involves only using a Mac, and does not involve lugging home and tearing apart some random PC, and does not involve digging through a dozen years-old, wrong, un-cross-referenced pages on that despicable "Deal Database" site?

  3. Cancel my DirecTV subscription and just torrent everything from now on. Downside: it's not very automatic. I liked being able to just give Tivo a list of program names and have the new, unwatched episodes just show up with no manual intervention or record-keeping on my part.

What are your recommendations here, oh Lazyweb?

Update: For the record, to move a drive from one Tivo to another of the same hardware vintage, you have to: A) pay DirecTV $20 for a new access card (you can't move them) and then B) run the 51killer.tcl script to tell the Tivo app that it's ok that the crypto key has changed (without this, it will give an error #51 every time it wants to record a program, even though crypto is turned off.)

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Previously, previously.

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Oh hell yeah.

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I would like an explanation for this, please.

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The Wrath of the Killdozer

A nice retrospective on Marvin Heemeyer and his Killdozer.

Previously, previously.

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Miami Horse Meat

Another Horse Slaughtered for Meat in Miami

Another horse was found mutilated and killed over the weekend in Southwest Miami-Dade, apparently the latest victim of amateur butchers only interested in the animal's meat. The horse was found tied to a tree and dismembered along 212th Ave., the latest in over a dozen horse killings in the area in the past few months.

"It's horrible. It's really frustrating to see something that has been going on for some time," said Oscar Martinez, who owns a farm nearby where the latest horse was found. "They have been killing horses all over this area."

Martinez said he thinks the crime happened Saturday night, and that the killers were likely scared off by a car before they were able to collect all the meat. The horse was found Sunday. "They do it at night. When they see a light coming, they just run away. This horse, they were not able to slaughter him completely," Martinez said.

Officials believe the meat is then sold on the black market, where it can go for as much as $20 per pound. The sale of horse meat is illegal in the U.S. [...]

Aja hasn't lost any horses yet, though she said she lives in constant fear that her horses will be next. "Everytime we come to our farm, we're scared that we're going to be missing an animal and we're going to find him dead at a corner, slaughtered to pieces with the buzzards flying overhead," Aja said.

Also: "Rescued" Dolphin Killed By Hungry Sharks

Tuesday was supposed to be a day of celebration for biologists and Dunham, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. There was picture taking and camera crews to record the release of the dolphin into the wild. But the special moment turned into a stunning tragedy moments later after the dolphin was attacked by sharks just hours after he was released into the ocean in west Florida.

Dunham, a juvenile male dolphin, was released Tuesday morning after eight months in rehab recovering from pneumonia. Dunham didn't get a chance to enjoy his new found strength and freedom very long. Jeni Hatter, spokeswoman for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, said the dolphin was attacked twice by at least two different sharks. Experts were nearby were monitoring the dolphin with a VHF radio transmitter at the time of the attack.

Hatter said experts rushed to the dolphin and euthanized him because of the life-threatening injuries. She added that he wouldn't been able to recover.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein the voice of the people is duly noted.

DNA Lounge again won Best Dance Club in the SFBG Best of the Bay Readers Poll! Thanks to all of you who voted!

Bootie is represented by votes for Best Cover Band: Smash-Up Derby; and Best Electronic Music Act: DJ Earworm.

Death Guild was awarded "Best Darkest Kiss" (um, what?) in the "Editors Picks: Classics" section: "Remember those freaky goth kids your church leaders warned you against in high school?" yadda yadda...

Vote-winning Hubba Hubba Revue regulars include: Best Burlesque Act: Twilight Vixen Revue; Best Tassels with Talent: Rose Pistola; Best Singer-Songwriter: Kitten on the Keys; and Best Lindy Hop to Lil' Wayne: Swing Goth.

Congratulations, everybody!


Low Rise

Staples and mirror, 180x80cm.

Low-Rise is a precarious assemblage of thousands of free-standing stacks of staples densely tessellated to create a city-like mosaic. Like a city, the staples are subject to the elements, on a micro scale. The slightest breath or vibration and the domino effect kicks in.

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