Bruce Sterling on 29 Oct 2000 16:05:24 -0000

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<nettime> Viridian Note 00205: Weird Vintages of 2000

     [orig To: Viridian List <>]

Key concepts: privileged lifestyles, wine connoisseurs, 
climate, Neologue Contest

Attention Conservation Notice:  Even a little alcohol
can impair judgement, while alcoholism is a serious 
illness. Contains reams of hilarious wine-speak.  A whole 
lot of Neologue stuff here as well. Over 2,500 words.

(((As bourgeois-bohemian, virtual-intelligentsia
types, we Viridians enjoy a fine California vintage,
whether or not it is solar-powered. (See
Notes 00104, 00109.)  However, even the most febrile
and detached boozing rich-idiot should raise an
eyebrow over the effect of Greenhouse
weather on the vintages of 2000.)))


"Harvest 2000 Dispatch, Part One: North Coast California 
Zinfandel and  Pinot Noir

"The first results of the 2000 Northern California harvest 
are in, and  the judges (that is, winemakers) have 
pronounced it ... weird! Very  good, in fact, and 
potentially excellent. But weird. 

   "Things started swimmingly last spring, when a warm, 
dry flowering  period was agreeably followed by a moderate 
summer (jarred only by a  two-day, 100-degree spike in 
June). A scarcity of marine fog, combined with reasonable 
air temperatures, bestowed unusual maturity  on the grapes 
by late August. 

   "Then came the weirdness. Around Labor Day weekend, the 
normal kickoff time for harvest, unexpected rainsqualls 
disrupted the previously  placid weather. Next came 
scorching heat, igniting a furnace under early-ripening 
grapes, which started pouring into wineries by the 
megaton. (...)

'We've seen more dramatic differences in ripening this 
season than we have in 10 years,' reports Kent Rosenblum, 
president and director of winemaking at Rosenblum Cellars, 
which makes single-vineyard Zinfandel from all over 
Northern California. 'Because of the long flowering period 
in the spring, we're getting everything from green to very 
ripe fruit in the same vineyard. We had to pick 
selectively, then come back again in two weeks.' 

    "Rosenblum also observes that, 'There's been no rhyme 
or reason to the order of things. In a normal harvest, 
Contra Costa County (east of San Francisco, bordering on 
the Central Valley) grapes would come in first. This year, 
Paso Robles (Central Coast) was first, then  northern 
Sonoma, and then Contra Costa.' Consistent with such 
contrariness, Rosenblum says that, 'some big-name 
vineyards are having trouble, but there are also some big 
winners. Our Dry Creek and mountaintop vineyards look 
great, and Mendocino looks unbelievable. It's also going 
to be a magnificent year for white wines == our Viognier, 
Roussanne, and Chardonnay are all  looking beautiful.' 

   Joel Peterson of Ravenswood agrees that this year's 
Mendocino Zins are 'spectacular.' He also concurs that the 
customary picking progression was way out of whack, and 
that Zinfandel contained 'many more raisins than you'd 
normally expect. That means the wines will be high in 
alcohol, but the acids and pHs stayed within good bounds, 
so they're also well balanced. The colors and flavors are 
great; the wines are dark and spicy. Some people are 
comparing this vintage to '97, but I think it's more 
fruit-forward. In general, it's very successful.' 

    "That's only half the story of this eccentric harvest, 
though. After the torrid September heat, early October 
turned downright wintry: The jet stream dropped a Pacific 
storm out of the Gulf of Alaska, bringing yet more rain as 
well as record low temperatures. As a result, unpicked 
Bordeaux varietals == Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,  and 
Cabernet Franc == came to a ripening standstill in mid-
October.  The extended hang time promised great flavor 
development == if the rest of October straightened up and 
acted like an autumn we  might recognize. 

"Click here:
 to view our selections of California Zinfandel.
"Click here:
to view our selections of California Pinot Noir."

Viridian Neologue Contest
This Contest Ends in Four Days: October 31, 02000

The place to find other Viridian competitions, including
earlier entries in the ever-burgeoning Neologue Contest:

From:^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^*? (Alan AtKisson)

A computer that listens, and knows when you are frustrated 
with computer-related technology.  Grunts, moans, "This 
damn thing ...", all elicit the immediate response:  "You 
are being assimilated."

From:* (Daniel Smith)

The "Inner Voice" is an outrageously expensive behavior 
modification tool that will be used by the Hollywood types 
to 'help them find their way.'  An example: the device 
would recognize the sound of a match or lighter, and 
direct a predetermined response at the would-be smoker.  
The responses could range from a gentle, verbal reminder 
of the dangers of smoking, to an attention grabbing
coughing fit, to an electric shock.  

It could also be used to count the number of times the 
fridge opens.

It could pick up on a favorite, but annoying, phrase such 
as, "uh, um, well, ya know" or any other habit that 
contained a simple verbal clue.

From:** (Dave Whitlock)

Device#16: During my experiences in the Berkeley riots of 
the last decade I noticed an interesting aspect of crowd 
mentality. People in the crowd are hyperaware of the mood 
of their neighbors and thusly react swiftly to any comment 
that draws their attention. Concepts are generated and 
conveyed without being attributable to any one person.
Allow me to conjure up a vision of the device we might 
build upon this phenomenon: the  CROWD MORALITY BARNACLE.

This would be a device as small as possible, powered by 
something as ecofriendly as the piezoelectric quartz 
microphone (there is PLENTY of ambient sound at a riot).   
The barnacle is programmed to respond to key riot phrases 
with other, counter-phrases.
 EXAMPLE : phrase " smash" = result "be careful"
    phrase "burn" = result "it might explode"
    phrase "get them!!" = result "where are the kids?!"
Thousands of cheap, tiny CROWD MORALITY BARNACLES could be 
rained down upon violent protests, thus defusing the 
hostile dynamics of a "crowd mentality" in riot mode.
(Matthew Rubenstein)


Mounted in pictureframes, pedestals, and ID tags, 
Kibbitzware listens to people talking about the art 
objects to which they are attached. 

When people talk about what other people said about art, 
audio/video of other people talking about art is replayed. 
When people talk about how they feel, they can be 
connected with other groups of people whose feelings are 
related to theirs. When people talk about other art, other 
art is displayed on a screen or played from speakers. 

From:* (Emmett Shear)

Automatic Schedule Repeater.

Ask, "Where do I have to be next?" As you have previously 
entered your  schedule into the memory of the small 
device, it replies "The next  class/event/place you have 
to be is <place you have to be>."

From:* (Emma Baillie)


Ever had that problem of having a nifty invention, and no 
snappy label to pin on it?  Need someone to brainstorm 
with, but can't get any of your friends to sit still long 

The <Insert-Name-Here> device possesses a voice 
recognition chip, an encyclopedic and thesauric knowledge 
of the English language, and limitless patience. Simply 
bounce your ideas off its free-associating brain and see 
what comes back.

In a reversal of the usual cliche, in this partnership it 
is the machine which is the creative side, while the human 
acts as the rational, sensible, BS-detecting component.

For instance:

"I need a name for this machine .... ummm ...what it does, 
right, is it helps people brainstorm their ideas"

>brain, mind, lightning, thunder, thoughts. Rain, rain, go 
away. Raining cats and dogs. Image, imagination. 
Imagicreation. The ThunderThinker. BrainRain

"No, I don't want anything soggy. Something hip and up-to-

>hip, cool, groovy, snappy, sharp. Sharp mind. So sharp 
you'd cut yourself. Self-sharpener. Thinking... 
thinking... electric thoughts. Electric Unconscious. 
Eclectic electric unconcious.

"Yes, I think we're onto something there"

>on, off, in, out, up, down. Brain On. Have you tried 
adjusting the "on" switch? On target. On track. On-track-
mind.  The wheel's still spinning, but the hamster's dead 
in a shoebox under the rosebushes...

emma baillie

From:* (Rak Razam)

IDEA #1>  A voice-activated device reads the electrical 
synapses of your brain, maps and graphs them, and sends 
out  preset pulses that have a calming effect.  Can be 
triggered by a spoken word command. 

IDEA #2>   Voice-activated microdisplays. EMagin and 
InViso are coming out with eSHADES that use microdisplay 
screens. The visors are your machine interface between you 
and the baseline reality. Voice activated screen visors  
could allow you to control the stream of incoming visual 
data and remix it. Your personal organizer, DVD, MP3 
player, Digicam  could be wired by bluetooth, so simple 
commands like PLAY> STOP> RECORD> etc function and load 
onto your headset visor. 

If the visor is loaded with say, Photoshop or DVD editing
software and a head mounted camera, all incoming signals 
could be remixed on the fly by voice activated 
triggerwords, turning your world into a morphing self 
reflexive video clip. Add soundtrack. Choose from the 
hundreds of MP3 files on your RIO which is also voice 
activated and networked to the visors.Cut n paste

Command> SHAZAM!  It might take more than one chip to get 
the full gamut of editing software onto the visor, but 
imagine walking down the street with your eSHADES on, 
streaming video feeds of what's around you, then uttering 
triggers like >GAUSSIAN BLUR, and the street shimmering 
and blurring, or >INVERT and everything going black to 
white, >FINE EDGES, >MEZZOTINT, or simply >RECORD, 
>PLAYBACK, etc. Interactive art breaks down linearity and 
the static monotone of mere reality.

From:^* (Jonathan Blocksom)

* A book which remembers what page you were on, and can 
verbally tell you if you ask  it when you pick it up 

* Roller blades which turn on the brakes when you say 
"brakes", or maybe just when you start screaming.

* Here's one with serious commercial potential: The Harry 
Potter ancillary-products wand.  If you're holding this 
wand and you say the spell "Lumos" and flick it, it 
"magically" lights up.

From:* (Andrew M. Dixon)


"Mmm he's your cash & credit chum,
your money mindin' mate, 
your budget buddy!"

He speaks your language!
"Oh, please Mikey, let me buy it!"

[technical summary][user interaction][character]
[proof of concept][future][contact]

MikeyMoneyMinder is the perfect post modern consumer 
desirable item. 
* credit conscience (you can leave it at home)
* a wallet with attitude! It'll change your life == it 
changed mine.

MikeyMoneyMinder can be:

*your financial advisor
*your best friend
*the devil on your shoulder
*the angel at your side
*your confidante
*your identity
you choose...

Technical summary.

MikeyMoneyMinder is a basic wallet (or billfold?) with the 
following additions:

*voice recognition + audio out
*processor + memory

Voice recognition + audio using the ISD SR3000 Embedded 
Speech Recognition Engine
audio out == speaker,  headphone == radio-signal to mobile 
phone, MP3 player (bluetooth?)

Displays (in addition to speech audio-out):
*Wad thickness (Cash): fat, modest, thin, empty
*Credit Card frequency == you have used your credit card 3 
times today/this week/hour (which is 1 use every 4.7 
*Time == home, Sydney, Laos
*Messages as well as speech.

MikeyMoneyMinder senses:
*the thickness of your cash wad (strain gauge or similar)
*the presence and absence of your credit card(s), e.g. 
micro-switch operated
*whenever you remove and replace a card.

Sensors in addition:
*skin moisture

Memory and processing
*Memory could be added to record consumer habits, give 
greater variety of responses etc., or to add on
*tamagotchi behavior 
*bank and credit details

User interaction

MikeyMoneyMinder jumps into action on hearing his name 
"Mikey". He then responds intelligently upon hearing key 
words like 'cash', 'credit cards', 'opinion' or 'think'. 
Responding and advising with facts, support, 
encouragement, or the surreal. MikeyMoneyMinder knows how 
much cash you have in your wallet, frequency of use of 
your store and credit cards, the time of day, your skin 
moisture, the temperature.

He communicates through a discrete speaker in the outer 
sleeve of the wallet, or even through your phone or MP3 
player. He also has an LCD screen.

Some examples:

"Mikey, what's my cash situation?"
<You have $200 dollars, and it's getting dark, let's 
"Mikey, how are you feeling?"
<I'm fat as a cow, thank you>
<I'm feeling kinda empty, feed me!>
<My cards have all but seized up.>

"Mikey, tell me Honey, should I buy this?"
<well, you've already spent $10K to day, maybe you should 
go home and rest>
[senses skin moisture]  <put the thing down and get out of 
the shop fast, you are showing strong signs of panic 
<well it's simply divine!>
<think of the stratosphere, buddy, do we need another 
<is it organic?>

Mikey (on his/her own) 
<I'm bored, let's go shopping>
<I want fruit!, Buy me a melon!>
<Art, art, I need art to live, buy me a Picasso, a Hirst 
or a picture postcard, now!>


Mikey comes in the following characters with their own 
temperaments and attitudes.

Miser   <put that card back>
Credit junky <ooh, do it again>
Big brother <is that legal?>
Viridian <is it low-carbon and does it go zzinggg?>
Eddie Izzard <llamas in tights, well, I'd have one!>

Tamogotchi-esque functionality:

The tamagotchi creature lives on the LCD screen on the 
inner sleeve of the wallet, it is has similar 
functionality to the original but the inputs are as
inputs: food = cash, health = card use frequency, fun = 
responding to Mikey's requests (built in game). 
You could set the cash levels and card frequency for low 
card use = healthy creature, or vice versa.

First stage == proof of concept

The concept could be proved. One sensor  + voice 
recognition unit moving on to incorporate other important 
sensors, and then process information from all sensors to 
drive the interaction.

More Modules

Internet connection
Home upload socket
Games & more characters
More sensors, voice analysis, 
Security = <stop thief!>

The future

MikeyMoneyMinder is upgradeable. The modular concept 
allows the user to adapt Mikey to their own needs and 
personality. It can have web functionality, for online 
banking or communication with other Mikey Wallets. It 
could fit into clothing == wearable wallets. It could use 
Bluetooth and other developments to talk to MP3, mobile 
phone, WAP, LCA databases ==  the possibilities are 

More details (can be invented/provided) and rough word-
drawing sketches are available.


Andrew Dixon
Research Fellow in Eco-Design
School of Engineering
Sheffield Hallam University
Howard Street
S1 1WB
++ 44 (0) 114 225 3091(tel)
++ 44 (0) 114 225 3433 (fax)

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O

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