|Having said that, though, their 32mb-capacity keyring-sized "PenDrive" looks
quite splendid, in a fairly abstract and redundant sort of way. Unless you're
a spy or something.
||An Innovations catalogue fell out of
something I was reading today, the way they do. It included my favourite consumer
object of all time, though; an electric salt-or-pepper grinder with a
built-in light that "illuminates your plate so you can see how much salt or
pepper has been dispensed". Fantastic. It's just a pity that
they don't do cutlery to go with it.
"If every ration pack reached a starving person, then one two hundredth of the vulnerable were fed by the humanitarian effort on Sunday. The US department of defence has announced that it possesses a further 2m of these packs, which it might be prepared to drop. If so, they could feed 27% of the starving for one day."
demolishes the food-drop thing rather thoroughly, although it's good
to see that they're actually getting some proper aid sorted out, now,
between the bombings, or at least seem to be.
|Guardian headline today mentions Iraq as a possible bonus-level target.
We're just going to kill this one person. And make sure that his terrorist
network collapses, obviously. And depose the Taliban, obviously. And
bomb Afghanistan, obviously. Bait, switch, bait, switch. Christ.
|I don't know if it's depressing or reassuring that most of what we're
reading in the papers is - if anyone's got any sense - rubbish. With modern
technology making every shred of news instantly global (I've read that Bin
Laden stopped using his satellite phone the instant that the Americans
boasted of being able to track it), I'd fully expect the government and
military to spread lies and disinformation to the press, even more so
than usual. Yes, yes, bombs, that's right. Ignore those men in balaclavas.|
Technology tightens the feedback loop - a hundred and fifty years ago,
we might not have heard about a government-funded assault on Kabul until
weeks after the smoke had cleared, but now that it's prime-time Sunday
viewing, we can react and respond instantly. We can answer opinion
polls to tell our leaders what we want them to do, if they want to stay
in power. 80% of us cheer the fireworks. Carry on.
And our opinions all along, of course, are being based on the reactions
of a misinformed media.
|Assuming it's not cancelled and that the world's still in one piece by
the end of the week, the Loebner Prize contest - a collection of the latest
conversation-faking artificial intelligentsia taking the Turing Test
for a possible $10,000 prize - is on at the London
Science Museum this Saturday, much to my surprise.|
Entertaining enough, but all a shade lofty and pointless with human language being
what it is - a restricted symbolic vocabulary (try and persuade a judge that
you're human, talking only in batches of arbitrary hieroglyphics) would
be rather more toothsome. Although I guess that's what Hutchens was
getting at with his black-box game thing, the other month, to an extent. Hm.
|Worst dream ever, last night; an utterly convincing nuclear
attack on London whilst at a suburban party with friends. A
blinding crash of light, a billowing dark-orange mushroom cloud
far-off through the French windows, and - moments later - the
shockwave, the tidal wall of dust and debris, Bush's smirk
on a crackly television. A dozen of us sobbing and swearing at
the end of the world, in ultra-reality dream-o-vision.|
And then I am awake, and a thunderstorm is raging outside, lightning
flashing bright enough to fill the world, thunder like carpet
bombing. Fear and paralysis, guilt and gratitude.