Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday feed changes

Clawing some time back to tend to various personal projects, including how feeds get passed around. In the background I'm playing with rss-to-gnusocial, and it's great that loadaverage. org now has ActivityPub support, for Mastodon and Pleroma compatibility. I have a strange situation whereby my replies there go to Twitter without any context, but I'm oddly enjoying the slight surrealism going on.

If you're subscribed to the universal feed at then you've probably just seen an influx of Beamspun posts being added. Future (irregular) posts will show up from now on.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Monday, September 07, 2020

Morning, harvest

How are you today?

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Rubbish activism

Weeds and vodka - worst guerrilla gardening ever.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Notebooks on display

Mentioned doing a notebook round-up in a previous post, so here we go 🤗 I've always used notebooks (and kept them, much to my storage system's chagrin) but recently I've been choosing them with more "intent". I'm trying out a notebook to capture each project or set of thoughts, and half the fun is choosing one which I think will capture and reinforce those thoughts as they get entered in.

Top row from left to right:

1. Taopunk-imaginary-lands - a background project to explore a made up place capturing taopunk values.

2. Symbol doodling - blurring into logos and diagrams, for when images are more powerful than words.

3. Beamspun - for ongoing and emerging thoughts (currently around the idea of Disruption in all its forms) for the Beamspun blog/newsletter project.

Bottom row:

4. Handmade fractal-scribed black paper notebook, to use the lovely new white-inked pen the wife got me. This one is for current thoughts on splitting and re-joining identities, existence and so on. Somewhere between taopunk and Twin Peaks. The cover is experimental, but I'd like to make more in the same vein.

5. Collecting together a story being prompted by the first Paper Arcade volume - two more sections to go, but I'm enjoying the exercise, even if it's stalled for a while. Ink feels so much more final than digital, even when I know it's not.

6. For I Ching readings.

Notebooks. For when screens are too bright.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Network is the Weapon

I recommend a read through this FT article on Cognitive Hackig, TikTok and the use of AI to hook users - it's not too revelatory if you've been following tech news, but it's succinct and well researched, and sadly I don't think the message about the dangers of modern tech is being spread widely enough (he says, still posting to a Google blog...)

In particular though, we can start to see the extension of Web 2.0 to perhaps 3.0. Whereas 2.0 was, in hindsight, all about turning the user into the Product, the new round seems to be about turning the user into a Weapon - the phrase "weaponising" is becoming increasingly employed around our own behaviour, and the actions we trigger through how we amplify and endorse political emotion disguised as information. (This could be an alternative definition of "disinformation", in fact.)

Suddenly the naivety of myself 'just' abandoning social networks is thrown into a new light. The control of online behaviour is likely to turn increasingly into a battle for a wider power than advertising money. Indeed, given the capture of politics by capitalism in the first place, it's almost strange that the separation of more overt politics has been kept so distinct already.

This s an intriguing development biting at the West - the networks and techniques developed around user addiction and big data have made their way into states with mass population control in their blood and intents, and nobody seems really sure about how to detach big money from big states. Europe is defining the battle along personal information lines (such as GDPR) which is good, but needs more encouragement for users to engage and understand data and why it's becoming dangerous. America are adopting the old wartime spirit of using national borders to fend off influence, but mainly because they want that control for themselves - see TikTok.

And the third aspect in the mix is, well, until at what point do we actually understand what our own deep-scanning algorithms are doing? At what key event of complexity does some emergent system behaviour produce shocks that we can't predict, and don't have the paradigm to analyse and interpret, let alone the scientific and social solutions.

You are the Weapon. As the networked surveillance technology permeates ever more into not just our devices but our streets too (hello COVID and smart cities, looking at you), the ability to track and influence populations will become ever more like a tabletop game with thousands, millions, billions of tokens. You, and all your friend, are the new soldiers.