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<nettime> Partial Description of the World
Alan Sondheim on Sat, 1 Oct 2005 12:04:13 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Partial Description of the World


Partial Description of the World

The power grid provides 60 Hz here at approximately 115-117 volts; this is
maintained by dynamos driven by steam or coal or oil or hydro held together in a
malleable grid. The grid enters the city, where electricity is parceled out
through substations to cables continuously maintained and repaired. Here, the
cables are below ground. They drive my Japanese Zaurus PDA which utilizes an
entire linux operating system on it. The Zaurus connects to the Internet through a
wireless card that most often connects to my Linksys router, which is connected
both to the power grid and the DSL modem by a cat cable. The DSL is operated by
Verizon with its own grid at least nation-wide and continuously-maintained. The
DSL of course connects more or less directly to the Internet, which is dependent
upon an enormous number of protocol suites for its operation, the most prominent
probably TCP/IP. The addresses of the Internet, through which I reach my goal of
NOAA weather radar, are maintained by ICANN and other organiza- tions. These
organization are run by any number of people, who employ the Net, fax, telephone,
and standard mail, to communicate world-wide. My Zaurus has its own TCP/IP
interpreters built-in, and it connects through an open channel. The wireless modem
may have been built in the US. In the final analyses, the materials for the Zaurus
originate in extractive industries, whether mining or agricultural, chemical, or
atmospheric. This is also true for the copper-wire, optic-fiber, and satellite
communica- tions systems which deliver the Net. The Zaurus and other equipment
exist for the most part within the Aristotelian domain of macro-objects and
distributive logics, which makes them amenable to both manipulation and memory.
Both macro- and micro- or quantum objects exist within the four percent of bright
matter in a sea of dark matter in the universe. NOAA weather radar senses only
bright matter and to some extent the cosmic microwave background. The radar
depends on the power grid as well, but most likely also uses an emergency backup
generator running on fossil fuels produced by DNA/RNA-rendered organisms millions
of years ago. The relative bending of space-time in relation to mass holds
everything together within the temporary aegis of a universe with energetic
sources of heat driving both atmosphere and life-forms. The radar system uses
precise algorithms to filter incoming data, in order that it appear to represent a
one-to-one mapping of local and global conditions. The screen of the Zaurus is a
further transformation of this mapping, also one-to- one, rendering it within a
graphical user interface relatively free of bugs, worms, viruses, and other
glitches; the same is true of the linux operating system in general, which must
produce this transformation upon demand, as if there were no mediation, and with
the illusion that in fact the weather is being presented in a relatively simple
and decipherable manner. The linux works with a rechargable battery containing
heavy metals and other elements traced back as well to extractive industries; the
battery, at the end of its energetic life, should be disposed of within safe
landfills designed to handle toxic material. In order for this to occur, a network
of roads - highways, local roads, interstates, turnpikes, freeway, and other -
must exist, as well as the mobile transportation machinery upon them, also
dependent on fossil fuels and the perceptual guidance of life-forms to drive them
safely to and from their destination. Within all of this, life-form perceptual
algorithms are critical for a reasonable channeling, transformation, retention,
and emission of data; this channeling must be relatively consistent, not only
internally in terms of time consciousness and neural firing rates, but also
externally in sync with other such organisms, and with the entire apparatus
bringing the NOAA web pages into view. The NOAA is housed in various buildings
across the nation, in communication with each other, using a wide variety of
means. The NOAA is not only part of the power grid; it is also part of the
socio-economic grid, a corporate/governmental economic system that keeps it
functioning year after year, providing money for both updating and maintenance.
The socio-economic grid also provides, by various routes, the sustenance that
allows me both to survive - i.e. food, water, shelter - but also to purchase the
Zaurus in the first place. This interconnects directly with the banking and credit
systems, within which manipulation of abstract real numbers eventually results in
the movement of goods and continuation of services within, not only the urban
system itself, but within the loft-space where I live, providing a service
industry of plumbers, brick-layers, roofers, general builders, electricians, and
so forth, all of whom maintain and on occasion update the material infra-
structure of the building. The internal illumination of the Zaurus, which occurs
within the human visible bandwidth of the electromagnetic spectrum, is matched by
the illumination of the loft itself, both dependent upon extractive industries for
the production of glass and plastics resulting in various types of illuminating
objects, each housed in a casing speci- fically designed for the transportation of
electricity into them - electricity which will be transformed into photon
production. Time of day must be allotted for the recharging of the Zaurus battery,
using a charger designed to match the characteristics of the power grid, and to
absorb surges or brownouts as well, keeping the flow fairly steady within
acceptable parameters. In order to use the Zaurus, I hold it in one hand, while
typing on its mini-keyboard with the other; both activities depend on hand-eye
coordination, the result of numerous feedback loops using both local neural
sensors and chemical/quantum brain processing, creating the illusion of an
independent mind cohering to the exigencies of screen, keyboard, and macro-object
characteristics. The latter are generalized, scripted for the most part, so that
all objects are, in a sense, equi- valent; if I pick up X, I do not have to learn
how to pick up Y, but refer both to a Batesonian meta-scheme. Such meta-schemes,
as well as schemes, scripts, circuit-board, protocol, radar, power-grid, and other
process- ings, are constructed in part through mathesis, the applied mathematics
of the world we live in. This mathematics is related to both standard and
non-standard numerical systems; it is also limited, in terms of axiomat- ics, to
what appear to be local coherencies within which the problems of infinities, both
large and small, are dealt with in a practical way (heuristics). Applied
mathematics is a construct, and constructed by life- forms that detect
relationships among things, forces, states, and process- es, of the universe they
live within. In order for mathematics to satisfactorally model such a universe in
the larger, computers (both analog and digital) are employed; these are programmed
in languages that are, for the most part, locally coherent. Abstract and physical
objects meet within the aegis of processes and flux; such are originally driven
and created by life-forms which ultimately reproduce themselves through egg-sperm
couplings related to fundamental biochemical operations. Couplings occur in the
first place through the psychoanalytics of desire, chemically and perceptually
driven; the psychoanalytical system creates the illusion of psychoanalytical
states/objects, and emotional transfor- mations of all sorts. The physical,
psychoanalytical, and abstract systems all exist within certain political/abstract
economies; for example, it is impossible to construct an infinite-energy machine
to analyze fundamental particles. Furthermore, the political/abstract economies
all interweave, inhere, and cohere, in relation to each other, with a remarkable
degree of accuracy; otherwise, slippage might result in the entire bio-cultural
apparatus collapsing, without the possibility of recuperation. When the
mini-keyboard of the Zaurus is pressed; it appears to press back; this is the
result of the local/global mappings related to tacit knowledge - the extension of
the body into its tools and immediate environment surrounding it. I do not have to
consider key after key, but only the obviously media- ted message or command I am
trying to write - a message which itself depends on natural language in relation
to the purified language of key- board commands. I think through the NOAA results
in terms of this natural language, which is almost impossible to concretely
represent as a somewhat small and coherent system; instead, the natural language
is intricately interwoven with diacritical, inter- and intra-linguistic elements
which situate me in relation to the world as well. Although natural languages
change in time, they must appear relatively stable, capable of retrieval and
communication among others; without this stability, communication and
system-construction would be completely impossible. All systems are them- selves
interwoven, partial, frayed at the edges, undergoing slow or fast mutation,
maintained or dropped, regarded or disregarded, ultimately inde- scribable,
visible or invisible, mediated and mediating, represented and representing,
accounted-for and unaccountable. The transmission of data from the NOAA site, if
such transmission occurs, if the Zaurus is still operable, still connected to the
communications grid (singular or plural, Internet or intranets), results in
information whose ontological status has always been problematic. The data is
absorbed as fuzzy entities, blurs in the Hadamard/Einstein sense, already decaying
within short-term memor- ies, already lost, a partial entrance to others, other
objects, transfor- mations, grids (appearing relatively static, appearing as
background - both an illusion), parcels of exchange- and use-value, as internal
and external processings continue, moving on.



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