Social Dead Zone: "Better than a frozen head": The Social Uncanny -
The Social Uncanny describes the narcissistic void of social technology that reflects us back to ourselves, familiar yet strange. It is the rush we feel at the sight of ourselves in recursion throughout the eternal reflected worlds of social media. Like mirrors facing each other in perfect parallel, each online profile generates a new subset, a new reflection, more distorted than the last, until our faces are shapeless blurs spiralling off into the Nth dimension.
The Social Uncanny is also our disgust at the sight of those multiplying nested images which we are now unable to control or cull. We delete one profile only to find another that has slipped the noose, gone missing in the wild before returning to public life with wildly inappropriate personal information broadcast to the world at the times we never want it to. The return of the repressed: everything you say or do online archived forever, even the ultra embarrassing stuff from your early digital life, stored somewhere where you’ll never get to it even if you wanted to hide it from someone. Backups, caches and archives working silently in the background to ensure you can never hunt down and kill the original (a term now meaningless), never completely eliminate your shame.
The Social Uncanny infests a new Twitter app, LivesOn. This app, which is really a bot automagically “powered by algorithims”, analyses your online habits and learns your tweeting “voice”. Assign it certain rights and when you die it keeps tweeting for you – as you – forever.
“Had me this buddy in the Russian camp, Siberia, his thumb was frostbit. Medics came by and they cut it off. Month later he’s tossin; all night. Elroy, I said, what’s eatin’ you? Goddam thumb’s itchin’, he says. So I told him, scratch it. McCoy, he says, it’s the other goddam thumb.” When the construct laughed, it came through as something else, not laughter, but a stab of cold down Case’s spine. “Do me a favor, boy.”
“What’s that, Dix?”
“This scam of yours, when it’s over, you erase this goddam thing.”
RT @shadowbottle @authenticwmgibs @greatdismal Is this based off a Gibson Ipsum generator? [I certainly hope so]— William Gibson (@GreatDismal) November 2, 2012
@greatdismal dork embarrasses himself in front of author, but his tweed Norfolk jacket’s fractal check pattern induces a temporary amnesia.— Authentic Wm. Gibson (@AuthenticWmGibs) November 2, 2012
From Zero History:
“How about a Twitter account?”
“Sign up for one,” she said. “As Gay Dolphin Two, all caps, no spaces. Numeral two. From the laptop in the lobby. As soon as you finish your drink. Make your updates private. I’ll ask to follow you. I’ll be Gay Dolphin One. Allow me to follow you, refuse anybody else. It’ll mostly be porn bots anyway.”
“Porn bots? What is it?”
“It’s how I talk to my kids. You’ll register. That will be how we keep in touch. Let’s try to keep you out of trouble.”
Hubertus Bigend, Pattern Recognition and Zero History, William Gibson
The smooth and ironic brow of Hubertus Bigend, a nominal Belgian who looks like Tom Cruise on a diet of virgins’ blood and truffled chocolates. … He looks as though he’s … been infused with live extract of hot beef. He’s florid, glossy, bright−eyed, very likely bushy−tailed as well…His dark forelock falls across his eyes; he tosses his head to throw it back, entirely too coltish for anyone’s good. (Suggested by Chris from Tumblr)
Hello and welcome to the Gibsonian Institute’s newest followers. I’m assuming you got here by way of my piece at Tor.com; thanks, and it’s nice to have you aboard.
As you can probably see, activity here is a bit sluggish of late. (Okay, a lot sluggish.) I plan on getting into a more regular posting pattern in the next month or so (“weekly” at least should be attainable, surely?), so hang in there, and I hope you enjoy this collection of stuff.
I think that Lucky Magazine might be a little confused on cyberpunk
What the living fuck? I don’t even.
William Gibson, interviewed in the Paris Review:
INTERVIEWER: What’s wrong with cyberpunk?
GIBSON: A snappy label and a manifesto would have been two of the very last things on my own career want list. That label enabled mainstream science fiction to safely assimilate our dissident influence, such as it was. Cyberpunk could then be embraced and given prizes and patted on the head, and genre science fiction could continue unchanged.
(Source: newageblackmagic, via transceiverfreq)
Wired: Why Is This Cargo Container Emitting So Much Radiation? -
The tale of shipping container TGHU 307703 0 22G1, which showed up at a Genoa port emitting six chest x-rays’ worth of radiation per minute. And interesting information about the mysteries of shipping containers in general, and the security around them (or terrifying lack thereof).
So after 10 years and more than $1 billion spent on scanners, radiation detectors, and beefed-up intelligence, most US ports are still scanning containers onshore, after unloading. Unfortunately, the detectors are easily foiled. Lots of harmless things are slightly radioactive—kitty litter, ceramic tiles, even bananas. So most detectors are set to ignore low radiation levels. Basic shielding would be enough to mask all but the strongest sources. “The radiation portals that were deployed in the aftermath of 9/11 are essentially fine, except for three problems: They won’t find a nuclear bomb, they won’t find highly enriched uranium, and they won’t find a shielded dirty bomb,” says Stephen Flynn, a terrorism expert and president of the Center for National Policy. “Other than that, they’re great pieces of equipment.”
From Spook Country:
“You said they put it on a truck today,” she said.
“And they’re taking it into the United States, through Idaho?”
“We think Idaho. The unit inside is still functioning, though, and Bobby is keeping track of that for us. We should be able to anticipate where they’re going to cross.”
“If we fail to do that,” the old man said, “and they enter the country undetected, we do have other options.”
“Though we prefer the radiation be detected at the crossing.”
The Guardian — William Gibson: beyond cyberspace -
Quotes extensively from Mr Gibson’s recent excellent interview in The Paris Review, and is proof positive that still, no one can write about Mr Gibson without invoking the word “cyberspace”. At least they didn’t bring up the computer story again.
Cayce Pollard, the protagonist of Pattern Recognition (by William Gibson), after she’s had her hair cut in Japan. Hairstyle is, of course, modelled on Major Kusanagi.
Click to make it bigger.
If you like this, be sure to check out Jamie McKelvie’s marvelous work in the comics world, especially Phonogram, co-created with Kieron Gillen.
From Pattern Recognition:
Walking back out into Shibuya sunlight, she feels simultaneously lighter and less intelligent, as though she’s left more than a few brain cells back there with the other scruff. She’s wearing more makeup than she’d usually apply in a month, but it’s been brushed on by Zen-calm professionals, swaying to some kind of Japanese Enya-equivalent.
The first mirror she sees herself in stops her. Her hair, she has to admit, is really something, some paradoxical state between sleek and tousled. Anime hair, rendered hi-rez.
The rest of the image isn’t working, though. The standard CPUs can’t stand up to this sushi-chef level of cosmetic presentation.