I was talking with a friend about trying to get to Inbox Zero (oh holiest of holies). And I was thinking about this particular element of attention economy that comes with having interesting friends who send you interesting links. There’s a thing about the different kinds of desire that the internet creates, or rather, the different manifestations that desire takes. Here, lets have an example. Let’s say you’re a writer, or a painter, or anyone who works with ideas. You get a link from a friend, to a video, or an image, or an article. Now comes the point of crisis: do you Like it, Star it, Save it, Bookmark it, Reblog it, Tweet it, Pocket it, Pinterest it, Pinboard it, or, heaven forfend, just look at it and move on, trusting your internal memory to be satisfied with having digested it once? Or, as my friend suggests, “panic about what to do and leave it in my inbox”, to which I reply, yes, of course, that’s the Long Tail of cognitive load, “I can keep implicitly worrying about it for years!”
So now I’m here in your inbox. How much cognitive load am I placing on you right now?
Sounds Of A Tired City #19: Ben Lukas Boysen :: excellent ambient and modern classical mix, compiled by the man you may already know as Hecq.
Driving All Night by Low Light Mixes another long mix, this one featuring some fantastic Laurie Anderson bits. It sounds like, well, what the name says.
I had a conversation with Astroid Death Cult Leader m1k3y jumping off his fantastic Ello post about Alien Civilizations. It’s too memetically dangerous to reproduce here, but it came down to a few points:
I clicked on that link late in the evening and a few hours later sent him a message saying “Preemptive thanks for fucking my circadian, jerk.”
The book is completely blowing me away. On one level, it’s a story about First Contact, and the science of that is exquisitely well thought-out, but in a way that allows for an emotive depth of experience. This is something I strive for in my own work, the aesthetic that resonates deep and clear in your soul, built out of completely conceptually sound science. It’s that thing where the world is weirder than we want to believe, and I’m not talking the Modern World is Full of Eyeball Kicks I was complaining about in a previous transmission, I’m talking about shit like the Fibonacci sequence showing up in sunflowers, or the Lincoln-Kennedy Assassination Game (which is still fun even if you take out all the obvious fakes), or the fractal similarities between a leaf and a lightning bolt. All stuff of fact, but it still makes you feel, in a way that bridges art and science. This book is rife with that sort of thing.
The science is not just Cool Space Stuff, though. It’s full of explorations of human, or rather, near-posthuman psychology. The narrator is, not to delve into too much detail, essentially autistic, and as such is capable of observing humans from a somewhat alien perspective. He’s a Synthesist, he talks about people’s “topologies” and says things like “I could tell from the way his fingers moved that his favorite color was green,” in a way that makes perfect sense to me as someone who has been similarly disconnected from the common mind and who has made the sort of study of humans vis a vis systems theory so long that the only viable career path is science fiction. So, yes, it’s total wish fulfillment fantasy for me, I concede that I may be subjective on this point.
But it also has Vampires, real, practical, scientifically feasible Vampires, on a spaceship. And not as bad guys.
And apparently the sequel, Echopraxia, is out now as well. So there go my next several weeks.
I’ve also been reading De Landa’s A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (amazon link) which is also mind-blowing, in a very different way. De Landa is a philosopher, but don’t think powdered wigs and pinches of snuff, rather think that the first thing I read by him was in Mondo 2000 and it was, in part, a discussion of how the use of psychedelic drugs could be likened to the phase states of matter. He introduced me to the idea of the Mechanic Phylum, i.e. that humanity is to machines as bees are to flowers, primarily a mechanism for reproduction and development. In Thousand Years, he maps material systems onto sociological ones so, for example, the bit I was just reading talks about how the economic development of the European City-States can be understood in terms of models of how sedimentary rock forms. It’s really influencing the background of the novel I’m writing, not so much in the development of new ideas as the sense that my intuition about certain things has a basis in someone else’s work.
So. Space Vampires, Von Neumann Probes, and Pyroclastic City-States. And how is your week?
And we’d like to add a special shout-out to our late night listeners out there in radioland. Hope you’re receiving loud and clear.
And all of you, feel free to write.
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