From October 2006

Man-Machine-Mind

To say last week was busy would be an understatement. To say it was the busiest week of my working life so far might be closer to the truth. I felt mentally and physically dead so the weekend was a bit of a write-off but it was a good excuse for lie-in!

Solid State Society

On the plus side the downtime gave me a chance to finally see the hotly awaited “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society” (what a mouthful!) with the added bonus of English subtitles.

Solid State Society

Was it worth the wait…? Is the Pope a Catholic? Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?

There is something so powerful about the whole GITS word which goes far beyond your run-of-the-mill pseudo philosophical cyberbabble. Just the shear vastness of the universe which has been created though it’s various incantations (manga, films, books, series…) is mind boggling. What is even more staggering is slow but steady convergence of this world with our world as technology ever more encroaches every part of our lives and inevitably becomes one and the same. Man-Machine-Mind ~ Is this the new Holy Trinity? Perhaps it’s a bad example and perhaps it is just fiction but I like it 😀

If you don’t mind a few spoilers check out some neat screencaps and semi-reviews here, here and here.

Autumn Colours

This weekend I had another chance to take the camera out for a spin, this time in the leafy Winkworth Arboretum about 30 miles from London in the corner of a sprawling Surrey estate – now owned by the National Trust.

DSC_2548

DSC_2551

DSC_2554

DSC_2560

DSC_2598

DSC_2610

DSC_2613

DSC_2630

Here the leaves have already begun to turn and although the weather was a bit cloudy, in the few bright spells there were, I got some nice shots.

Note to self: learn how to use a tripod properly to avoid blurage!!

Isle of Bronx

Cactus at Kew

Hoping to take advantage of the last few dying days of summer this weekend I had a bit of a horticultural outing to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, south-west London. As you might have guessed Kew Gardens consists of extensive gardens and botanical glasshouses with all manner or exotic plants from around the world as well as a leading centre of research. I took along my D70s in the hope of getting some nice shots but having neglected to charge the battery I promptly ran out of juice after about 30mins (just after I took the above shot). Aside from this it was a pleasant day out and a nice break from the crazy pace of life in the city!

Isle of Dogs

As you may know I live on the Isle of Dogs in south-east London, having the odd position of being an island-within-an-island (sort of) and at one point declared and “independent republic” by disgruntled locals. Last night one of my housemates declared that the area seemed to be becoming “like the Bronx of London” after some sort of mini-riot broke out the night previously. Probably not the sort of reputation you necessarily want your home to have but I guess it adds some local flavour to what is otherwise a fairly featureless hinterland (discounting Canary Wharf). My point…? It’s just a cool phrase!

Seismic Reaction

So Kim Jong-il dropped a bit of a bomb shell today (haha) with the underground detonation of a nuclear bomb in northern North Korea. Seems to me it can serve little purpose other than to wind the rest of the world up and brings it one step closer to an ugly confrontation. Although NK may be a rouge state there is something fascinating about how is manages to exist in the confides of such secrecy and isolation. It’s somewhere I’d love to visit before things inevitably change.

North Korea Nuclear Test

On a somewhat lighter note the eccentric dictator still looks like “a nerdy, pompadoured, platform shoe-wearer who looks like something you’d put on the end of your child’s pencil.” –Jon Stewart

HOWTO: Verify a Nuclear Test Blast

Noosphere

I kicked off a new project at work today which is exciting but is also probably going to mean my posting frequency might take a bit of a hit over the next couple of months. October is shaping up to be fairly busy what with one thing and another but it’s not necessarily a bad thing! What is causing me much annoyance is the throat infection I seem to have picked up making eating/drinking/talking extremely painful – just what you need when doing client presentations! Thank goodness for non-prescriptions drugs!*

Outside this particular sphere of influence into another noosphere:

Man-Machine Interface

Omega point is a term invented by French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the ultimate maximum level of complexity-consciousness, considered by him the aim towards which consciousness evolves. Rather than divinity being found “in the heavens” he held that evolution was a process converging toward a “final unity”, identical with the Eschaton and with God.

It’s an interesting idea for sure. If our consciousness evolves towards ever greater integration and a social structure of such complexity that no one person can understand more than a tiny fraction of the whole where does this leave the individual? Is it possible that human tools could eventually completely surpass human capacities? Some people just have to take these things one step further…

Assuming that achieving the Omega Point is physically possible, Tipler hypothesizes this would be accomplished by “downloaded” human consciousness in tiny quantum computers that could exponentially explore space, many times faster than biological human beings. The incredible expense of keeping humans alive in space implies that humans will never personally travel to other stars. Instead, highly efficient artificial intelligences (“Mind Children” as Tipler calls them), will spread civilization throughout space.

Slightly freaky idea I’d say but nevertheless food for thought!

(*taken in moderation!)