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<nettime> on natures
kranenbu on Mon, 7 Oct 2002 17:57:55 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> on natures


On natures

Gerry Patrick Hemming, who signs Semper Fi / De Oppresso Liber, has some
good news. Genuine SEALS, LRRPS, Rangers, SOG  "have established websites
where citizens might inquire as to the veracity of the "war stories" told
in the bars and bistros in the 'Hoods.  And apparently, the SEAL vets have
great connections and can check out a "braggart" within 20 minutes while
you are on line or on the telephone!!"

The Seals have friends with connections to decide between data/not data,
we ordinary folk have to make do with programs who produce patterns, well
hopefully:

"We're trying to find patterns, to see that one set of conditions tends to
result in something else. We don't know why, and we don't need to, because
the answer is in the data."

This a programmer talking, a programmer and a sailor: Katori is writing a
program that crunches the measurements and creates a "wind profile number
an implied wind," a wind an implied boat can sail on, as sailing, so long
an intuitive art, has become a contest of technology:

"Sensors and strain gauges are tracking 200 different parameters every second and sending the
information across Craig McCraws OneWorld's LAN to its chase boats and
offices. Then the info gets dumped into a Microsoft SQL database, where
it's sifted to pinpoint the effects of sail and hardware experiments.
Unraveling all the input is, in the words of OneWorld engineer Richard
Karn, "nearly impossible." And  that's not all: every day for the past two
years, five OneWorld weather boats have headed out into the Gulf to
harvest data."

What is the greatest liability on board of such a boat? Human capacity for
interpretation, deciding between data/not data while sailing a ship.

Indeed, the biggest point of failure in today's defense systems  is the
human being, "human capabilities are fair game for augmentation", says
researcher Joseph Bielitzki of DARPA's Defense Sciences Office,"and
sleep- and the consequences of a lack of it  constitute an obvious
starting point for this work". One of the methods include even prompting
the brain to produce additional connections between brain cells, according
to Bielizki.

In On Dreams, Aristotle draws the conclusion that the dream is a sort of
presentation, and, more particularly, one which occurs in sleep: "The
dream proper is a presentation based on the movement of sense impressions, when
such presentation occurs during sleep, taking sleep in the strict sense of
the term."

This is the realm where you can dream that you stepped into a bullet when
it was only a beam. And you wake and thought you stepped into a beam, but,
well, it is a bullet. It is the most promising audio advance in years, and
it's coming this fall, Suzanne Kantra Kirschner, writes: Hypersonic
speakers. The key is frequency: "The ultrasonic speakers create sound at
more than 20,000 cycles per second, a rate high enough to keep in a
focused beam and beyond the range of human hearing. As the waves disperse,
properties of the air cause them to break into three additional
frequencies, one of which you can hear. This sonic frequency gets trapped
within the other three, so it stays within the ultrasonic cone to create
directional audio."

Step into the beam, you step into a bullet.

Step into a bullet, you step into an equasion.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab's Center for Bits and Atoms have used a
physical object instead of a mathematical function to generate
cryptographic keys:

"The team created tokens containing hundreds of glass beads, each a few
hundred micrometres in diameter, set in a block of epoxy one centimetre
square and 2.5 mm thick. These are 'read' by shining a laser beam of a
particular wavelength through the token. The beam generates a speckle
interference pattern, which is projected onto a two-dimensional grid and
then converted into a key 2400 bits long. Changing the position of one of
the randomly set beads even by less than a micrometre, changes about half
the bits in the key." (New Scientist, Sept 21, 2002)

Step into anything, you step into everything:

In  'Smart' Silicon Dust Could Help Screen for Chemical Weapons Sarah
Graham reports the development of dust-size silicon particles that could
be used to detect chemical and biological agents from a distance using a
laser light source: "The idea is that you can have something that's as
small as a piece of dust with some intelligence built into it so that it
could be inconspicuously stuck to paint on a wall or to the side of a
truck or dispersed into a cloud of gas to detect toxic chemicals or
biological materials," co-author Michael J. Sailor explains. So far, the
researchers have succeeded in identifying chemicals from nearly 20 meters
away. Their goal, Sailor says, is to increase that distance to at least
one kilometre."

What is the greatest liability in such environments? Human capacity for
interpretation, deciding between data/not data while simply walking about:

An apprentice story.

"With the flick of the wrong switch, an unsupervised power-plant
apprentice melted down a half-million-dollar transformer, blacking out the city for
40 minutes.

Apparently, Coady [the apprentice] failed to follow procedures.

Two circuit breakers -- called the east and west buses -- must be flipped
in a particular order to avoid damaging equipment: the west bus first,
then the east bus. The procedure was written for an important reason --
because the west bus turns on the cooling system for the transformer.

The switches are in separate rooms. Coady said he closed the east switch
before Stephenson [the supervisor] closed the west one. They couldn't see
each other when the [switches were closed and the] damage was done.

The result was disastrous. "It was literally an explosion inside the
transformer," Lake Worth Utilities Director Miller said. "The internal
parts of the transformer reached such high temperatures that even the
insulation inside the transformer was burned."

Stephenson said Coady had no clue what had happened. "He was completely
unaware," Stephenson wrote in a memo to Baker. "With his lack of knowledge
of the plant electrical controls, it was not even possible to explain to
him what he did. He would not have understood. His training did not
include these advanced concepts."

Comment from Scott Wlaschin: "Giant circuit breakers have to be flipped in
a certain order blindly in different rooms? This was an accident waiting
to happen. It is scary that systems like this can exist.  Note that the
poor trainee was blamed, of course, for not understanding the 'advanced
concepts'."

The biggest point of failure in today's information systems, is indeed the
human being. Not because he or she is beyond understanding, but because we
are lacking procedures of translation that will negociate between everyday
notions of the world and highly advanced concepts that generate other
worlds; where sound becomes physical, smell becomes visible, and the sea
can be read indeed:

"It's a statistical process," says Katori, the team's lead programmer, as
we take the boats in tow and head back to shore at the end of the day.
"You have to build a lot of very subjective data before it begins to mean
anything, and that's especially true in light wind. But over time you do
build real numbers."

Over time you move from implied to real numbers.

Real numbers to any apprentice.

Flipping giant circuit breakers blindly in different rooms. At random.
Thinking there are only two that matter. And have an order. A real one.

"What allowed him to produce a series of scientific syntheses so far ahead
of their time,and so at odds with the rest of his culture, that for almost
a century the scientific community proved incapable of following the road
map he left?" , a question about Charles Darwin goes. It may be that:
"Although many Victorians welcomed the discrediting of a static Genesis
creation, they still demanded a universe in which their values, ideologies
and identities were ratified by some cosmic sanction. For Marxists and
capitalists, anarchists and imperialists, Christians and freethinkers
alike, humans were to be the summit, the goal around which the world is
organized and toward which life and history progress."

We are witnessing our own irrelevance becoming more and more
unquestionable, even to ourselves. We are moving into a world in which
what surrounds us is behaving more and more like a director, less like the
personage wed prefer to have it act out. It is time to centre the process
of becoming itself as the default position. Even though "it is generally
assumed that huge floods play a disproportionate role in modifying river
courses and eroding bedrock", Hartshorn shows in a field study on the LiWu
River in Taiwan, "that it is the everyday  flows that are mainly
responsible for deepening of the bedrock channel in  this region of active
mountain building. The huge floods act primarily to widen the channel and
induce hillslope collapse."

Always faithful everyday flows.

Rob.

Notes:

Seals: (Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002 09:01:01 EDT Re: [Spy News] FW: Veterans to
Bush: Not In Our Name!)

Katori: Carl Hoffman (carlhoff {AT} aol.com)
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.10/sailing_pr.html

Sleep at Darpa:
To: SCIENCE-IN-THE-NEWS {AT} LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG
http://www.nando.net/healthscience/story/483980p-3865527c.html)

Hypersonic sound:
Suzanne Kantra Kirschner, Popular Science, Audios next big thing? Sep 20,
2002.
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/article/0,12543,351353,00.html

Token at MIT
New Scientist - September 21, 2002
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992828

September 03, 2002, 'Smart' Silicon Dust Could Help Screen for Chemical
Weapons, --Sarah Graham

>From the RISK list: Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 19:21:31 0700 From: "Scott
Wlaschin" scott {AT} extractofmalt.com Subject: Rookie's mistake melted down
$500,000 transformer
*Palm Beach Post*, 23 Aug 2002 (via Romensko's Obscure Room)
http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost/epaper/editions/friday/news_d3568ba0e56222b00057.html

Date: Sat, 5 Oct 2002 18:57:38 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: [>Htech] 'Charles Darwin': The Scientist Was Celebrated, His Work
Dismissed
'Charles Darwin': The Scientist Was Celebrated, His Work Dismissed New
York Times Book Review, 2.10.6
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/06/books/review/06TOOBYT.html

Everyday Wear and Tear: SCIENCE, Volume 297, Issue 5589.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol297/issue5589/twis.shtml




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