"mondo 2000"

Psychedelics pioneer Ralph Metzner, RIP

Pioneering psychonaut Ralph Metzner who co-led the seminal psychedelic research at Harvard University in the early 1960s with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and co-authored The Psychedelic Experience, has died at age 82. (Above image, Metzner at left with Leary.) Through his life, Metzner helped a great many people through his psychotherapist practice, spoke frequently on eco-consciousness, and also composed visionary ballads. (Erowid)

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Video from the launch of the EFF/McSweeney's "End of Trust" project launch with Cindy Cohn, Annalee Newitz, and me!

The End of Trust is the first-ever nonfiction issue of McSweeney's, co-edited by McSweeney's editors and the staff of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; on December 11, we held a sold-out launch event in San Francisco with EFF executive director Cindy Cohn, science fiction writer and EFF alumna Annalee Newitz, and me. Read the rest “Video from the launch of the EFF/McSweeney's "End of Trust" project launch with Cindy Cohn, Annalee Newitz, and me!”

Cyberpunk: a 1990 documentary featuring William Gibson, Timothy Leary, and Brenda Laurel

Cyberpunk is Marianne Tranche's 1990 documentary about the early cyberpunk scene. It features interviews with the likes of William Gibson, Scott Fisher, and bOING bOING patron saint Timothy Leary. While the brilliant Brenda Laurel appears, the film unfortunately missed many of the other badass female cyberpunks of the day like St. Jude Milhon (Mondo 2000), Lisa Palac (Future Sex), Tiffany Lee Brown (FringeWare Review), Stacy Horn (Echo), and of course bOING bOING co-founder Carla Sinclair!

As Dr. Tim said back then, "Turn on, tune in, boot up!"

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The Biology of Disinformation: Interview with Rushkoff, Pescovitz, and Dunagan

Over at Mondo 2000, our old pal RU Sirius interviewed Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I about the "The Biology of Disinformation," a new research paper we wrote for Institute for the Future about how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. From Mondo 2000:

R.U. Sirius: In a sense, you’re offering a different model than the one most of us usually think in, as regards memetics. Instead of fighting bad memes with good, or their memes with ours, are you suggesting that we look at memes themselves as viruses attacking us? Is that right?

Douglas Rushkoff: Yeah, that’s the simplest way of looking at it. That’s why I called memes in media “media viruses.” Even if they end up forcing important ideas into the cultural conversation, and even if they ultimately lead to good things, they do infect us from the outside. They attack our weak code, and continue to replicate until we repair it, or until we come to recognize the “shell” of the virus itself. I think what makes our analysis unique, compared with a lot of what’s out there, is that we’re not proposing yet another technosolutionist fix. Mark Zuckerberg wants to fight fake news with artificial intelligence. Great.

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Apple's HyperCard was inspired by an acid trip

Pioneering engineer Bill Atkinson was the lead designer/developer of the Apple Lisa graphical user interface, creator of MacPaint and QuickDraw, and part of the original team that developed the Apple Macintosh. In 1985, Atkinson dropped acid and came up with HyperCard, the groundbreaking multimedia authoring program that was really a precursor to the first Web browser. Atkinson recently told Leo Laporte the story of this incredible LSD-fueled eureka moment. From Mondo 2000:

It seemed to me the universe is in a process of coming alive. Consciousness is blossoming and propagating to colonize the universe, and life on Earth is one of many bright spots in the cosmic birth of consciousness....

The street lamps reminded me of bodies of knowledge, gems of discovery and understanding, but separated from each other by distance and different languages. Poets, artists, musicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, and economists all have separate pools of knowledge, but are hindered from sharing and finding the deeper connections...

Knowledge, it seemed to me, consists of the “How” connections between pieces of information, the cause and effect relationships. How does this action bring about that result. Science is a systematic attempt to discover the “How” connections. Wisdom, it seemed to me, was a step further removed, the bigger perspective of the “Why” connections between pieces of knowledge. Why, for reasons ethical and aesthetic, should we choose one future over another?

I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop.

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New Yorkers: DJ Spooky is launching "Phantom Dancehall" in Brooklyn on Jun 13

Lisa Rein writes, "DJ Spooky is having a record release party Wednesday night for his new Phantom Dancehall album, which utilizes samples from legendary VP Records' Greensleeves sublabel." Read the rest “New Yorkers: DJ Spooky is launching "Phantom Dancehall" in Brooklyn on Jun 13”

Mondo 2000's R.U. Sirius interviews Wired founder Louis Rossetto

On the newly relaunched Mondo 2000 website, R.U. Sirius interviewed Wired founder Louis Rossetto about the origins of Wired and about his new novel, Change is Good. I was an editor at Wired from 1993-1998 and I learned a lot about Wired and Louis that I didn't know. One thing was that Louis wanted to base Wired in my hometown, Boulder, CO, but his partner and co-founder Jane Metcalfe thought San Francisco was a better headquarters. Smart choice!

Any regrets about Wired’s typhoon? (In the first issue, Louis wrote, “The Digital Revolution is whipping through our lives like a Bengali typhoon.”)

LR: Oh jeez. We are evolution’s agents, and we are making and testing mutations on an accelerated basis as we network ourselves and our sensors and our machines together. Some mutations survive, some don’t. The ones that survive may still cause humans (and the universe) problems because they are disruptive. Some are not only disruptive but wildly beneficial — at least they appear that way, at least at first. But can we ever really know what’s good or bad for us in the long run? All we can do is try to shape the flow as best we can with good intention. Regrets about what’s happening? Always. Excited about what’s happening? Immensely. Through it all, I remain a critical optimist. Change is good. Change is hard. Change is good? Change is…

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Mondo 2000, influential 90s cyberculture magazine, returns online

A few years ago, I started seeing evidence of the beginning swells of a nostalgia wave for the iconic 90s "cyberdelic" magazine Mondo 2000 and all things early 90s cyberpunk/cyberculture. One person on Facebook unearthed an old copy of Mondo, photographed it, and gushed all over it in a post. They asked (something like): "What could be cooler than a slick art magazine about virtual reality and cyberpunk, hacking, drugs and mind-alteration, weird art and high-weirdness?" I loved being able to respond: "Writing for it."

I also noticed, in 2014, when I published my writing collection, Borg Like Me, a lot of the focus in reviews was on the pieces reprinted from that era, from Mondo, bOING bOING (print), and my own zine, Going Gaga. People waxed nostalgic about that birth-of-cyberculture era, the creativity and promise that infused it, and the revolutionary dreams it inspired. Several reviews said: We need to bring some of this back. Stat!

It is perhaps that rising sentiment that has prompted Mondo's equally iconoclastic creator, RU Sirius, to resurface Mondo 2000 as an online blogazine. RU tells Boing Boing about the launch:

It seemed like time. What the world needs now is MONDO sweet Mondo. I mean, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…. aside from wealth distribution, attention spans, and lots of other stuff.

So far, I've found what RU has posted a surprisingly satisfying mix of reprints of old magazine content, summaries/commentaries on the print magazine (and its predecessors, High Frontiers and Reality Hacker), and new content, including new music from RU Sirius and friends. Read the rest “Mondo 2000, influential 90s cyberculture magazine, returns online”

Grant Morrison interview: "Laughter can banish any and all demons"

Image: pinguino

I first encountered Grant Morrison at the Disinfo.com conference of 2000, organized by Disinfo's founder, media magician, Richard Metzger [founder of Dangerous Minds]. As I walked upstairs from the basement hangout zone of NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom, at the beginning of his now legendary lecture, I heard Morrison's bone-chilling scream into the microphone, which reminded me of another Morrison, and thought "Who the fuck is this guy?' He then announced that he was drunk and had just eaten some hash and it was about to kick it in, all with a thick Scottish accent. Such punk rock antics won the rapt attention of the wild crowd, myself included, and over the course of the next hour or so, he voiced all the countercultural excitement of the moment. During that cold February day in New York City, Morrison's message was clear, Magick works, but you should not take his word for it, you have do it yourself to learn how it works.

What originally brought me to this two day conference was the fact that Robert Anton Wilson was the headlining speaker. Throughout the late 90s, and especially 2000, I was completely immersed in the works of three psychedelic philosophers, Timothy Leary, John C. Lilly, and most of all, Robert Anton Wilson. RAW was more than just a psychedelic philosopher, he was the greatest living writer that I'd discovered up to that point.

During his talk, Morrison exuded such optimism and joy that I immediately went out and read as many of his comics I could find. Read the rest “Grant Morrison interview: "Laughter can banish any and all demons"”

Lego Macintosh Classic with working e-ink display

Jannis Hermanns built a lovely little Macintosh Classic from Lego and brilliantly integrated a 2.7" e-ink display controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero. He kindly posted his build plans right here.

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Comic about how we're living in a 1990s cyberpunk dystopia

Andy Warner says:

A comic by Maki Naro that I edited for the Nib just came out which I thought you'd dig. It's about how we're actually living in a 1990s cyberpunk dystopia.

Fun fact: the hacker character in this strip is based off the "R.U. a Cyberpunk?" article in Mondo 2000, a publication which I think shared early DNA with Boingboing.

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Whiplash: Joi Ito's nine principles of the Media Lab in book form

I first started writing about the remarkable Joi Ito in 2002, and over the decade and a half since, I've marvelled at his polymath abilities -- running international Creative Commons, starting and investing in remarkable tech businesses, getting Timothy Leary's ashes shot into space, backing Mondo 2000, using a sprawling Warcraft raiding guild to experiment with leadership and team structures, and now, running MIT's storied Media Lab -- and I've watched with excitement as he's distilled his seemingly impossible-to-characterize approach to life in a set of 9 compact principles, which he and Jeff Howe have turned into Whiplash, a voraciously readable, extremely exciting, and eminently sensible book.

The Triumph of the Will Not

I want to thank Boing Boing for allowing me to introduce my music collection titled The Triumph of the Will Not. Read the rest “The Triumph of the Will Not”

First issue of Mondo 2000 at Archive.org

Archive.org posted the first issue of Mondo 2000, from 1989. (It says #7 on the cover because the first couple of issues were called High Frontiers, then Reality Hackers.) I loved Mondo 2000, which was edited by R.U, Sirius, and it was a big inspiration for Carla and I to start bOING bOING, the zine. David was also a fan. I wrote a few pieces for it, and many of the contributors later went to work or write for Wired, which unlike Mondo, paid contributors and came out on a regular schedule.

Mondo 2000 was a glossy cyberculture magazine published in California during the 1980s and 1990s. It covered cyberpunk topics such as virtual reality and smart drugs. It was a more anarchic and subversive prototype for the later-founded Wired magazine.

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Nightwork: the extraordinary, exuberant history of rulebreaking at MIT

MIT has a complicated relationship with disobedience. On the one hand, the university has spent more than a century cultivating and celebrating a "hacker culture" that involves huge, ambitious, thoughtful and delightful pranks undertaken with the tacit approval of the university. On the other hand -- well, on the other hand: Star Simpson, Bunnie Huang, and Aaron Swartz. In Nightwork, first published in 2003 and updated in 2011, MIT Historian T. F. Peterson explores this contradictory relationship and celebrates the very best, while suggesting a path for getting rid of the very worst.

The story of Traceroute, about a Leitnerd's quest

Johannes Grenzfurthner talks about Traceroute: On the Road with a Leitnerd(*)
(*) Leitnerd is a wordplay referring to the German term Leitkultur.

RU Sirius's 1982 jams are well-suited for the Age of Trump

In 1982, Rochester, NY post-punk/dadaist/political musical group Party Dogs -- cyberculture pioneer RU Sirius (Mondo 2000, Reality Hackers) along with Matt Sabo, Pat Lowery, Hugh Edwards, and Kwashe -- recorded some catchy numbers that sat in the dustbin of reel-to-reel history. RU has digitized the dementia for online eternity and today releases the classic "President Mussolini Makes The Planes Run On Time," remixed for Super Tuesday by Phriendz. Enjoy!

Here's the full EP: Party Dogs

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