Bruce Sterling in 1994, talking about crypto backdoors and the future of VR

Here's a 30-minute keynote that Bruce Sterling gave in 1994 to the ICA's "Towards the Aesthetics of the Future" VR conference in London. You should watch it, if only for the insight it gives into the early years of today's most contested technology questions. Read the rest

Mark Twain's 1900 rewrite of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, strangely apropos today

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword; He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored; He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored; His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps; They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps; I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps— His night is marching on.

I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: "As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal; Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel; Lo, Greed is marching on!"

We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;* Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat; O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet! Our god is marching on!

In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch, With a longing in his bosom—and for others' goods an itch. As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich— Our god is marching on.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated [Wikipedia]

(Image: Trumpshair.com) Read the rest

The Problem We Still Live With

A few things have changed since the 1960s. Read the rest

Mesopotamian boundary stones: the DRM of pre-history

Sarah Jeong had me standing up and cheering with her comparison of kudurrus -- the ancient Mesopotamian boundary stones used to mark out territorial land-grants -- and the way that laws like the US DMCA protect digital rights management systems. Read the rest