Sunday, December 24, 2006

[[IMMERSIVE]] martin heideggerThe latest installment of my notes on Heidegger's masterwork, Being and Time (Part 1, Division III, sections 16 and 17). As usual, if you have any comments or questions about the text, please submit them by commenting on this post.

Cut Up

One of the wonders of youtube and google video is the possibilities of revisiting your past. A case in point is a documentary on Williams Burroughs that I remember seeing at about age 14. This documentary had a seismic impact on me, especially Burrough's talk about the cut up method which fired my imagination.

Here are two items on the cut up method and related concepts. A seven minute clip from the aforementioned documentary. The most interesting bit of the clip is a conversation between Burroughs and Alan Ginsberg at the end, where he explains that if the whole universe consists of pre-recordings, then the only things that aren't pre-recordings are the pre-recordings themselves. Thus, if one tampers with those pre-recordings; one is tampering with the very fabric of the universe....

It seems to me that Burroughs, by quoting Wittgenstein's assertion that an argument cannot contain itself as a proposition, is convoluting two quite different things: an argument which is a judgement about something and a pre-recording which is a descriptive of the physical fabric of the universe. While laws can be adequately descriptive of the universe (since that is why they are laws) they can never be prosciptive (they cannot be the cause of something). Therefore Wittgenstein's propositions and Burroughs's pre-recordings are not the same thing.

Incidentally, the lady who shows Burroughs around his old flat in the film who is called Jessica. Jessica was my ex-landlady when I first moved to London in the 1980s. I remember talking to her about Burroughs. She wasn't a fan. I think an astute viewer will be able to detect a certain amount of tension between the two when they watch the film.


Here is 'Playback from Eden to Watergate,' Burroughs' preface to The Job, with more of his meddling with pre-recordings.

Playback from Eden to Watergate

In Encounter Magazine, admittedly once subsidized by the CIA, there was an article called "Night Words" by George Steiner. Talking about my writing and the writing of other writers in whose works sex scenes are frankly and explicitly described, he says, "In the name of human privacy, enough!"

In whose name is human privacy being evoked? In the name of those who bugged Martin Luther King's bedroom and ransacked the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist? And how many other bedrooms have they bugged? Does anyone believe that these are isolated instances? That they were caught on the first job? Who is casting the first stone here?

It is precisely by breaking down the whole concept of privacy that the monopoly the Nixon Administration wishes to set up will be broken down. When nobody cares, then shame ceases to exist and we can all return to the Garden of Eden without any God prowling around like a house dick with a tape recorder. Books and films in which the sex act is explicitly represented are certainly a step in the right direction. It is precisely this breakdown of shame and fear with regard to sex that the Nixon Administration is all out to stop so it can continue to use shame and fear as weapons of political control.

It is generally assumed that the spoken word came before the written word. I suggest that the spoken word as we know it came after the written word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God-and the word was flesh . . . human flesh . . . in the beginning of writing. Animals talk. They don't write. Now, a wise old rat may know a lot about traps and poison but be cannot write "Death Traps in Your Warehouse" for the Reader's Digest, with tactics for ganging up on dogs and ferrets and taking care of wise guys who stuff steel wool tip rat holes. It is doubtful that the spoken word would ever have evolved beyond the animal stage without the written word. The written word is inferential in human speech.

My basic theory is that the written word was actually a virus that made the spoken word possible. The word has not been recognized as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host though this symbiotic relationship is now breaking down, for reasons I will suggest later.

I quote from Mechanisms of Virus Infection, edited by Mr. Wilson Smith, a scientist who really thinks about his subject instead of merely correlating data. What be thinks about is the ultimate intention of the virus organism. In a chapter entitled "Virus Adaptability and Host Resistance," by G. Belyavin speculations as to the biologic goal of the virus species are enlarged. "Viruses are obligatory cellular parasites and are thus wholly dependent upon the integrity of the cellular systems they parasitize for their survival in an active state. It is something of a paradox that many viruses ultimately destroy the cells in which they are living."

Is the virus then simply a time bomb left on this planet to be activated by remote control? An extermination program in fact? In its path from full virulence to its ultimate goal of symbiosis will any human creature survive?

"Taking the virus-eye view, the ideal situation would appear to be one in which the virus replicates in cells without in any way disturbing their normal metabolism. This has been suggested as the ideal biological situation toward which all viruses are slowly evolving."

Would you offer violence to a well-intentioned virus on its slow road to symbiosis?

"It is worth noting that if a virus were to attain a state of wholly benign equilibrium with its host cell it is unlikely that its presence would be readily detected or that it would necessarily be recognized as a virus." I suggest that the word is just such a virus- Dr. Kurt Unruh von Steinplatz has put forward an interesting theory as to the origins and history of this word virus. He postulates that the word was a virus of what he calls "biologic mutation affecting a change in its host which was then genetically conveyed One reason that apes can't talk is because the structure of their inner throats is simply not designed to formulate words. He postulates that alterations in inner throat structure were occasioned by a virus illness. And vot an occasion! This illness may well have had a high rate of mortality, but some female apes must have survived to give birth to the Wunderkinder The illness perhaps assumed a more malignant form in the male because of his more developed and rigid muscular structure, causing death through strangulation and vertebral fracture. Since the virus in both male and female precipitates sexual frenzy through irritation of sex centres in the brain, the male impregnated the females in their death spasms and the altered throat structure was genetically conveyed. Ach, lunge, what a scene is here . . . the apes are moulting fur, steaming off, the females whimpering and slobbering over the dying males like cows with aftosa and so a stink-musky, sweet, rotten-metal stink of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. . . .

The creation of Adam, the Garden of Eden, Adam's fainting spell during which God made Eve from his body, the forbidden fruit, which was of course knowledge of the whole stinking thing and might be termed the first Watergate scandal, all slots neatly into Doc von Steinplatz's theory And this was a white myth. This leads us to the supposition that the word virus assumed a specially malignant and lethal form in the white race. What then accounts for this special malignance of the white word virus? Most likely a virus mutation occasioned by radioactivity. All animal and insect experiments so far carried out indicate that mutations resulting from radiation are unfavourable-that is, not conducive to survival. These experiments relate to the effect of radiation on autonomous creatures. What about the effects of radiation on viruses? Are there not perhaps some so-classified and secret experiments hiding behind national security? Virus mutations occasioned by radiation may be quite favourable for the virus. And such a virus might well violate the ancient covenant of symbiosis, the benign equilibrium with the host cell. So now, with the tape recorders of Watergate and the fallout from atomic testing, the virus stirs uneasily in all your white throats. It was a killer virus once. It could become a killer virus again and rage through cities of the world like a topping forest fire.

"It is the beginning of the end." That was the reaction of a science attaché at one of Washington's major embassies to reports that a synthetic gene particle bad been produced in the laboratory. "Any small country can now make a virus for which there is no cure. It would take only a small laboratory. Any small country with good biochemists could do it."

And presumably any big country could do it quicker and better.

I advance the theory that in the electronic revolution a virus is a very small unit of word and image. I have suggested how such units can be biologically activated to act as communicable virus strains. Let us start with three tape recorders in the Garden of Eden. Tape recorder one is Adam. Tape recorder two is Eve. Tape recorder three is God, who deteriorated after Hiroshima into the Ugly American. Or, to return to our primeval scene: tape recorder one is the male ape in a helpless sexual frenzy as the virus strangles him. Tape recorder two is the cooing female ape who straddles him. Tape recorder three is DEATH.

Von Steinplatz postulates that the virus of biologic mutation, which he calls Virus B-23, is contained in the word. Unloosing this virus from the word could be more deadly than unloosing the power of the atom. Because all hate, all pain, all fear, all lust is contained in the word.

We now have three tape recorders. So we will make a simple word virus. Let us suppose that our target is a rival politician. On tape recorder one we will record speeches and conversations, carefully editing in stammers, mispronunciations inept phrases-the worst number one we can assemble. Now, on tape recorder two we will make a love tape by bugging his bedroom. We can potentiate this tape by splicing it with a sexual object that is inadmissible or inaccessible or both, say, the Senator's teenage daughter. On tape recorder three we will record hateful, disapproving voices. We'll splice the three recordings in together at very short intervals and play them back to the Senator and his constituents. This cutting and playback can be very complex, involving speech scramblers and batteries of tape recorders but the basic principle is simply splicing sex tapes and disapproval tapes together. Once the association lines are established, they are activated every time the Senator's speech centres are activated, which is all the time (heaven help that sorry bastard if anything happened to his big mouth). So his teen-age daughter crawls all over him while Texas Rangers and decent church-going women rise from tape recorder three screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN FRONT OF DECENT PEOPLE!"

The teen-age daughter is just a refinement. Basically all you need are sex recordings on number two and hostile recordings on number three. With this simple formula any CIA son of a bitch can become God-that is, tape recorder three. Notice the emphasis on sexual material in burglaries and bugging in the Watergate cesspool-bugging Martin Luther King's bedroom. Kiss kiss bang bang. A deadly assassination technique. At the very least sure to unnerve opponents and put them at a disadvantage. So the real scandal of Watergate that has not come out yet is not that bedrooms were bugged and the offices of psychiatrists ransacked but the precise use that was made of this sexual material.

This formula works best on a closed circuit. If sexual recordings and films are widespread, tolerated, and publicly shown, tape recorder three loses its power. Which perhaps explains why the Nixon Administration is out to close down sex films and re-establish censorship of all films and books-to keep tape recorder three on closed circuit.

And this brings us to the subject of SEX. In the words of the late John O'Hara, "I'm glad you came to me instead of one of those quacks on the top floor." Psychiatrists priests, whatever they call themselves, they want to turn it off and keep tape recorder three in business. Let's turn it on. All you swingers use movie cameras and tape recorders to record and photograph your sessions. Now go over the session and pick out the sexiest pieces -you know, when it really happens. Reich built a machine with electrodes to be attached to the penis to measure this orgasm charge. Here is an unpleasurable orgasm sagging ominously as tape recorder three cuts in. He just made it. And here is a pleasurable orgasm way up on the graph. So take all the best of your sessions and invite the neighbours to see it. It's the neighbourly thing to do. Try cutting them in together, alternating twenty-four frames per second. Try slowdowns and speedups. Build and experiment with an orgone accumulator. It's simply a box of any shape or size lined with iron. Your intrepid reporter at age thirty-seven achieved spontaneous orgasm, no hands, in an orgone accumulator built in an orange grove in Pharr, Texas. It was the small, direct-application accumulator that did the trick. That's what every red-blooded boy and girl should be doing in the basement workshop. The orgone accumulator could be greatly potentiated by using magnetized iron, which sends a powerful magnetic field through the body. And small accumulators like ray guns. There is two-gun Magee going off in his pants. The gun falls from his band. Quick as he was he was not quick enough

For a small directional accumulator obtain six powerful magnets Arrange your magnetized iron squares so that they form a box. In one end of the box drill a hole and insert an iron tube. Now cover the box and tube with organic material-rubber, leather, cloth. Now train the tube on your privates and the privates of your friends and neighbours It's good for young and old, man and beast, and is known as SEX. It is also known to have a direct connection with what is known as LIFE. Let's get St. Paul off our backs and take off the Bible Belt. And tell tape recorder three to cover his own dirty thing. It stinks from the Garden of Eden to Watergate.

I have said that the real scandal of Watergate is the use made of recordings. And what is this use? Having made the recordings as described, what then do they do with them?

Answer: They play them back on location.

They play these recordings back to the target himself, if the target is an individual, from passing cars and agents that walk by him in the street. They play these recordings back in his neighbourhood. Finally they play them back in subways restaurants, airports, and other public places. Playback is the essential ingredient.

I have made a number of experiments with street recordings and playbacks over a period of years, and the startling fact emerges that you do not need sex recordings or even doctored tapes to produce effects by playback. Any recordings played back on location in the manner I will now describe can produce effects. No doubt sexual and doctored tapes would be more powerful. But some of the power in the word is released by simple playback, as anyone can verify who will take the time to experiment.

I have frequently observed that this simple operation making recordings and taking pictures of some location you wish to discommode or destroy, then playing recordings back and taking more pictures-will result in accidents, fires, removals, especially the last. The target moves. We carried out this operation with the Scientology Centre at 37 Fitzroy Street. Some months later they moved to 68 Tottenham Court Road, where a similar operation was recently carried out.

Here is a sample operation carried out against the Moka Bar at 29 Frith Street, London, W.1, beginning on August 3, 1972. Reverse Thursday. Reason for operation was outrageous and unprovoked discourtesy and poisonous cheesecake. Now to close in on the Moka Bar. Record. Take pictures. Stand around outside. Let them see me. They are seething around in there. The horrible old proprietor, his frizzy-haired wife and slack-jawed son, the snarling counterman. I have them and they know it.

"You boys have a rep for making trouble. Well, come on out and make some. Pull a camera-breaking act, and I'll call a bobby. I got a right to do what I like in the public street."

If it came to that, I would explain to the policeman that I was taking street. recordings and making a documentary, of Soho. This was after all London's first espresso bar, was it not? I was doing them a favour. They couldn't say what both of us knew without being ridiculous.

"He's not making any documentary. He's trying to blow up the coffee machine, start a fire in the kitchen, start fights in here, get us a citation from the Board of Health."

Yes, I had them and they knew it. I looked in at the old prop. and smiled, as if he would like what I was doing. Playback would come later with more pictures. I took my time and strolled over to the Brewer Street Market, where I recorded a three-card Monte game. Now you see it, now you don't.

Playback was carried out a number of times with more pictures. Their business fell off. They kept shorter and shorter hours. October 30, 1972, the Moka Bar closed. The location was taken over by the Queen's Snack Bar.

How to apply the three-tape-recorder analogy to this simple operation. Tape recorder one is the Moka Bar itself in its pristine condition. Tape recorder two is my recording of the Moka Bar vicinity. These recordings are access. Tape recorder two in the Garden of Eden was Eve made from. So a recording made from the Moka Bar is a piece of the Moka Bar. The recording once made, this piece becomes autonomous and out of their control. Tape recorder three is playback. Adam experiences shame when his disgraceful behaviour is played back to him by tape recorder three, which is God.

By playing back my recordings to the Moka Bar when I want and with any changes I wish to make in recordings, I become God for this locale. I affect them. They cannot affect me.

Suppose, for example, that in the interest of national security, your bathroom and bedroom are bugged and rigged with hidden infrared cameras. These pictures and recordings give access. You may not experience shame during defecation and intercourse, but you may well experience shame when these recordings are played back to a disapproving audience. Shame is playback: exposure to disapproval.

Now let us consider the arena of politics and the applications of bugging in this area. Of course, any number of recordings are immediately available since politicians make speeches on TV. These recordings, however, do not give access. The man who is making a speech is not really there. Consequently, intimate or at least private recordings are needed, which is why the Watergate conspirators found it necessary to resort to burglary.

A Presidential candidate is not a sitting duck like the Moka Bar. He can make any number of recordings of his opponents . So the game is complex and competitive, with recordings made by both sides. This leads to more sophisticated techniques, the details of which have yet to come out.

The basic operation of recording, pictures, more pictures, and playback can be carried out by anyone with a recorder and a camera. Any number can play. Millions of people carrying out this basic operation could nullify the control system which those who are behind Watergate and Nixon are attempting to impose. Like all control systems, it depends on maintaining a monopoly position. If anybody can be tape recorder three, then tape recorder three loses power. God must be the God.

London, 1973, William S. Burroughs

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just heard the sad news that Nigel Kneale, the creator of Quatermass, has died at the ripe old age of 84. It was my privilege to meet Mr Kneale a few years ago, at a weekend held to honour his work in Cardiff.

He was the possessor of a truly astonishing and prophetic imagination, as well as the ability to craft a nail-biting story. I remember him talking about the last Quatermass films made in 1979 (known as the Quatermass Conclusion). The story revolved around young people becoming violent and obsessed with ancient sites like Stonehenge. These sites it turned out were in fact transporters for and alient civilisation to harvest people as food (!) Mr Kneale was telling me that he was always disappointed by the way Euston films had chosen to represent this group as hippies. He saw them as much more aggressive, like hells angels with certain hippie elements. It struck me then is what he was describing was 'crusties,' the traveler movement who stages bloody battles with the police around Stonehenge and other sites in the mid 1980s.

The other thing he envisaged in the 1960s was the rise of reality television. His play, Year of the Sex Olympics, made I think in 1967, described a reality TV programme where the protagonists were stranded on an isolated Scottish island and stalked by a murderer. This was broadcast to a Huxlean society of drugged up masses, fed a television diet of pornography to passify them. Lurid perhaps, but certain parts of the play were uncannily accurate. I asked Mr Kneale how he managed to be so prophetic, and he replied, self-depreciatingly, that the signs were already in the culture if you looked for them.

A sad fact is that some of his work was wiped by the BBC in the 1970s in a tape saving economy dive. The most famous example was his play, The Road, an extraordinary tale of a 17th century community that are haunted by visions from the future, of people fleeing a nuclear war. I really hope that some recording of that turns up one day, in the meantime, maybe the BBC will repeat The Stone Tape, which is the most fantastic television ghost story ever committed to videotape.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006



The Guardian recently published an article by Steven Levy about the non randomness of the ipod shuffle function. This article concludes that,
  1. true randomness is hard to achieve and
  2. humans perceive patterns where there are none.
I wonder if a paradoxical interpretation of these facts may better explain what is happening. That is to say
  1. randomness is difficult to achieve because the universe is not random and
  2. as part of the universe, human beings are attuned to these patterns. This is in fact why there is such a thing as meaningful coincidence. Wasn't this what Jung was talking about when he advanced the concept of synchronicity?

Like levy and everyone else apparently, my ipod tends to favour certain songs over others. The trick is to delete those songs when they get too boring and thus disrupt the pattern of meaningful coincidence. This got me wondering if the ipod analogy could be extended to apply to life. In life, certain pattern clusters predominate, for example a person might have a run of good or bad luck. The wisdom of ipod suggests to me that, if it is the latter, a person should deliberately mess with the patterns of their lives (i.e. change their habits) and this would produce a different pattern configuration. Changing a habit would be the life-equivalent of deleting the oft recurring tune on the ipod. Thus, a whole self help philosophy emerges from the latest must-have consumer durable.

Here is an edit of the Levy article.


My first iPod loved Steely Dan. So do I. But not as much as my iPod did. By 2003, among the 3,000 or so songs in my iTunes library, I had about 50 Steely Dan tracks. Yet every time I shuffled my music collection "randomly" to mix the tunes, it seemed that the Dan was weirdly over-represented. Meanwhile, it began to dawn on me that there were songs, and even artists, that my iPod had taken a dislike to, if not a formal boycott. Where was Van Morrison? His work was in abundance in my iTunes library, but in my iPod's marathon rock fest, the Belfast Cowboy was perpetually waiting in the wings.

I made it a point to ask iPod owners if their beloved little units were judicious in distributing the songs among various artists or whether they played favourites. People would generally respond with a sigh of relief. Yes! Someone else has noticed! From the results of this admittedly nonscientific survey, it appeared that nearly everybody's iPod seemed to have a favourite artist, or two, or three. After I wrote about [this] in Newsweek, my inbox was flooded with emails - iPod owners were taking serious note of what happens in shuffle, and virtually all of them seemed to think that something funny was happening.

Apple insists that there is no computational flaw in its execution. "It is completely random. It is absolutely, unequivocally random," says Jeff Robbin, one of the original authors of iTunes and later head of the iTunes development team.

Robbin is talking randomness in terms that software can reasonably produce, which is not perfect randomness. Let's look at the way shuffle works. First of all, note what it doesn't do - it's not like mixing all the songs in the equivalent of a big bucket of lottery balls and picking out the next one. Instead…it shuffles the entire library so as to reorder them, just as a blackjack dealer shuffles a deck of cards. If you listen to the entire library all through, you will hear every song once and once only.

True randomness, it turns out, is very difficult to produce. This subject was most famously examined by Claude Shannon, arguably the Father of Randomness. Basically, he defined randomness as a question of unpredictability. If a series of numbers is truly random, you have no possible way of guessing what comes next. If something isn't random (as in the case of what letter might follow another in a message written in English), you have a better chance of figuring out what comes next. That's why it's so crucial to remove the natural redundancy of language from an encoded message and make the coded text look random.

But perfect randomness is an elusive ideal. For instance, if you're flipping a coin, a minuscule weight imbalance might, over the course of millions of tosses, make heads come up slightly more than tails. And if you're randomising on a computer, you have to introduce a "seed", which is a starting point for the algorithm that mixes up the selections. The seed must draw on some unpredictable input of time that begins outside the computer. Otherwise, the results would be the same over and over again.

Paul Kocher, CEO of Cryptography Research concludes that Apple's claims of a high degree of randomness are almost certainly valid. Another expert I consulted, John Allen Paulos, a Temple University mathematician, agreed. He wasn't surprised, though, that iPod users were questioning whether the shuffle was random. "We often interpret and impose patterns on events that are random," he says. "Especially with something like songs. Songs evoke emotion, and some stick in our minds more than others."

Steven D Levitt, the self-described "rogue economist" who co-wrote the bestselling Freakonomics, also fell into the trap. Writing on his blog, he professed constant surprise at how often his iPod shuffle "plays two, three or even four songs by the same artist, even though I have songs by dozens of different artists on it". But as a statistics maven, Levitt understood that the bottom line is that "the human mind does badly with randomness".

Indeed, says Kocher, "Our brains aren't wired to understand randomness - there's even a huge industry that takes advantage of people's inability to deal with random distributions. It's called gambling."

So why does Autofill produce nine Springsteen songs out of 188? Because that is what almost always happens in normal distributions of items from databases. Clusters of something are to be expected. Here's a classic maths trick: gather 40 people in a room and have everyone write down the day he or she was born. What are the odds that two people will have the same birthday? Nearly 100%. It sounds like a coincidence, but mathematicians will tell you it's much more unusual for there to be no such clusters.

We perceive trends when there are none. Poker players invariably believe they can lock into streaks. Backgammon champions swear that dice can go hot or cold. Likewise, people think they can cosmically predict what song will come next on their shuffle.

he seemingly magical effects of the shuffle function - a spooky just-rightness, even brilliance, that comes from great song juxtapositions - were also consequences of randomness. And, in its own way, that was much more disturbing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

[[ZEITGEIST]] Cosmos
I have just discovered that the entire series of Carl Sagan's seminal Cosmos programme are available on google video. Sagan co-wrote and presented the series in 1979, billed as a "personal vision," it covers an ecletic range of subjects from tours of the known and speculative universe, to a brilliantly staged explication of the 'theory' of evolution, which Sagan confidently proclaims is, "not a theory, but fact."

I remember seeing some of the episodes of Cosmos on the BBC around the time when it was first produced. Then its thirteen episodes were cut down and broadcast as 50 minute segments and shown late in the evening. Why the BBC did this I have no idea. The series, although inspired apparently by home-grown documentaries like David Attenborough's Life on Earth, surpasses even these impressive achievements in my opinion. I am astonished revisiting the series again how much of my own speculative day dreams and musings were in fact inspired by the speculations of Sagan. His lamentation of the loss of the Library of Alexandra in the first episode, for example, seared into my consciousness and later manifested in all sorts of ideas which I have speculated upon and been obsessed with over the years. Later in my life, I came to admire Sagan's writing, both his non-fiction works and the novel Contact, which was later made into a cowardly movie by Robert Zemeckis, starring Jodi Foster. Cowardly because Zemeckis did not attempt the books jaw droppingly astonishing ending.

Sagan is of course a superlative teacher, his explanations of even the most gnomic and difficult theories have a clarity and an entertainment value which has not been surpassed. This series has several some heart stopping moments of astonishment, the majority of these are generated, not by the special effects, groundbreaking for the time, but which now appear a little ropey, but by Sagan's conviction and the strenght of the writing . I stongly recommend if you have a broadband connection and thirteen plus hours to kill to tune into google video and watch the show.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Breathing Earth
This site (requires flash) is really fascinating and a little bit chilling. When you log on it dynamically shows you the number of births and deaths and also the carbon dioxide emitted per second. I logged on for 30 seconds and it was already up to 40,000 tonnes - eek!

Monday, September 18, 2006

[[IMMERSIVE]] Being and Time Glossary of terms
I have just finished the substantial update of the online glossary for Being and Time. It took bloodly ages and a lot of the definitions that were there have been revised, plus new ones have been added which pertain to part one, divisions one, two and three of the work.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

[[IMMERSIVE]] martin heideggerAt long long last here is the fifth part of my notes on Heidegger's masterwork, Being and Time (Part 1, Division III). Actually this division numbers fifty or so pages so this is only the first ten. I am in the process of updating the
and hopefully this will go online in the next day or so. If you have any comments or questions about the text, please submit them by commenting on this post.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I was partly inspired to write this post by a guy on you tube that performed a strangely affecting version of Amelia. Joni herself is criminally under-represented on Youtube, although perhaps if I were a copyright holder I would be more inclined to say that other acts are criminally over-represented on Youtube - in a very literal sense (lol). but I digress.... This post was prompted by the fact that I looked around for some written praise for my favourite songs and found that they were rarely discussed, hence this write up.

While Morrissey may have written wittier lyrics, I consider the two candidates for the prize of most affecting song ever written to have come from Joni Mitchell 1976 album Hejira. They are Amelia and the title track itself – Hejira.

The title of the album refers to the journey Mohammad's made in 622 A.D. to avoid persecution in Mecca. Like the prophet, Joni's Hejira is obviously one of purging and healing also. According to Brian Hinton's a badly written and somewhat untrustworthy biography, Mitchell wrote the album Hejira while fleeing from the break-up of her relationship with drummer John Guerin. Travelling across the US by Car, Joni dealt with her celebrity by often pretended to be other people, disguising herself by dressing in wigs (Hinton 1996, 190).

The song Amelia is an extended metaphor involving the Aviator Amelia Earhart whose plane was lost over the pacific in 1937. In the song Earhart stands for both female achievement in a man's world and the perilous and self destructive nature of ambition itself. At one point in the song Joni confesses she has spent her whole life in clouds at icy altitudes, alluded of course to her biggest hit song – Both Sides Now.

The track Hejira is far less easy to pin down. In a sense it is a reading of Joni's life on the road. A catalogue of her strange experiences and mood, while at the same time being an implied memento mori for home and security and all these things she left behind.

The lyrics to both songs, although they may be somewhat self consciously poetic at time, seem nevertheless to be a good fit for Wordsworth's dictum that poetry is "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings from emotions recollected in tranquillity." When combined with the scarcity and power of the songs what you have is something crystalline and coldly beautiful.

It's hard to pin down exactly why these songs work as well as they do. It has a lot to do with pristine technique and execution. Like Leonard Cohen, Joni writes, writes and writes her poetry, and yet still manages not to overwrite. Lyrics that seem only intriguing at fist grow in power and stature with each repeated listen. It does not take a genius to infer that Joni was not a happy woman making Hejira. A feeling of melancholy infuses the work and gives it a cohesion that countless revisions would no doubt otherwise have fractured – as is the case with other Joni Mitchell recordings actually.

Ultimately, Joni understands balance. The density of her writing is counterpoised with the sparse arrangements, and here Jaco Pastorius' bass lends the songs an air of spontaneity, not found in either the lyrics or in Joni's precise playing. Despite being narcissistic and self absorbed, the songs are, I think, a genuine attempt to think through the narcissism and self-absorption of her profession. While there are no answers, in the sense of epiphanies, Hejira does presents songs which border on intimate, if not forensic in self examination at times. However, Joni's gaze is unflinching in her search for truth and the songs, in their own way, become a kind of palliative for lesser mortals - a comfort to listen to when you are feeling down, yes certainly, and listening to Joni's songs bequeath to one's otherwise insignificant sorrow (in the grand scheme of things) a sense of epic and cinematic grandeur.

The album's art work is worth a mention. On the from sleeve Joni is decked out like a ingénue from the 1930s, complete with fur coat (a bit of a contradiction for this noted eco supporter surely?) On the inner sleeve she is dressed as a black crow wings spread anticipating Kate Bush's metamorphosis as a bat on Never for Ever.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

If Man is the measure of things, as Protagoras said, then there is no complete reality; but being there certainly is, even then. (Peirce 7.349)

The big bearded philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce argues that what we called reality was made of two separate states: existence and reality (being). Existence is a special mode of reality, which, whatever other characteristics it possesses, has that of being absolutely determinate. Reality, on the other hand is a special mode of being, the characteristic of which is that things that are real independently of any assertion about them (CP 7.349). How are we to make sense of this?

Peirce asserts that whenever we come to know something as a fact, it is by its resisting us. The resistance shows us that something independent of us is there (CP 1.174). When anything strikes upon the senses, the mind’s train of thought is always interrupted; for if it were not, nothing would distinguish fact from fiction. With ever interruption there is always resistance, and so difference between the operation of receiving a sensation and that of exerting the will is merely a difference of degree, not of kind. When we pass from the consideration of the appearance of a fact in experience to its existence in the world of fact, we pass from regarding the appearance as depending on opposition to our will to regarding the existence as depending on physical effects. Thus reality consists of the aggregate of physical effects and of facts which persist in forcing themselves upon our recognition as something other than the mind’s creation. If we experienced no such persistence, life would be a mere dream. As Phillip K. Dick remarked, reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

A fiction on the other hand is a product of somebody's imagination; it has such characters as her thought impresses upon it. Fictions are real in the sense that we really think them. But though their characters depend on how we think, they do not depend on what we think those characters to be. A dream, therefore, has a real existence as a mental phenomenon, because somebody has really dreamt it; and moreover it does not depend on what anybody thinks was dreamt, and in this was Peirce says is completely independent of all opinion (CP 5.405). Therefore the thing dreamt retains its peculiarities by virtue of no other fact than that it was dreamt to possess them. Thus we may define the real as that whose characters are independent of what anybody may think them to be.

Applying Peirce's distinction to virtual reality we can say firstly that everything that is thought or experienced has a reality of a kind, this includes life as we experience it, dreams and mediations. Therefore if we want to distinguish these states from each other, judging them simply on the basis of how they appear will not provide us with a solution, since the appearance of reality is at the same time merely the reality of an appearance. However using Peirce's concept of resistances. we can distinguish a hierarchy of reality effects if we consider the resistances that each state imposes upon our being. If we can outline, at least in theory a way of measuring the reality effect of a virtual reality simulation depending on the resistances it offers. We have a way of determining the reality effect of a simulation.

For example in the film The Matrix (1999) the after Morpheus has explained the nature of the matrix to Neo, he exclaims "so none of this is real?" to which Morpheus replies, What is real? if real is something you can hear see taste touch smell then real is just electrical impulses interpreted by your brain." But if we apply Piece's rules we can say that whether the Matrix is real or not is actually immaterial, because if the matrix can affect a person physically, indeed if the Matrix can actually a person, then that person would be wise to take it seriously, whether it was real or not.

Lets take another example, imagine that you are in a virtual reality simulation built by a particularly sadistic engineer. The simulation looks really low resolution, it may even consist of just wire frame graphics, but inside the date gloves you wear are place little knives, so that when you touched a sharp object they would cut your hand. Now you become aware of the fact that brushing against one of those unrealistic wire frame objects actually results in a physical injury and this would mean that you would take the simulation much more seriously that say a simulation with much better graphics but whose surfaces did were not felt to be sharp enough to result in physical injury. What should be hopefully apparent from this discussion is that which we regard as real is not determined by mere appearance: reality is not a symptom of high-resolution graphics but is created in the resistence it offers. Thus reality is a sign of mattering.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've just finished writing a chapter on video game music for a forthcoming book on new media to be published in the winter (actually I'm not sure when it's going to be published). The writing and research for this chapter has been taking up rather a lot of time. If anyone is checking back here in search of Heidegger updates, I just want to say, don’t worry, I am on it. I intend to get back to Heidegger presently. Actually I think I'll take next week off an do some music, since this has been more sorely neglected than Heidegger.

I am concerned that the government is now committed to nuclear power. I thought we were supposed to live in a democracy (stop sniggering!) and here like the war in Iraq is another situation where the people are not consulted on major issues that affect everyone. I am also concerned that public opinion, according to James Lovelock on radio 4, has moved from something like 99% against nuclear power to 40% for. This in my opinion shows how fragile public opinion is when people rely on the media to inform them.

There is a great sight that Boing Boing linked to called Captain Copyright, Yes, that's right a copyright superhero – why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Oh yes, because its crap. The site is a Canadian initiative to teach children about the evils of copyright theft in the style of a comic strip. I thinking of ripping this off and claiming it as my own work. (Ha, Ha)

I have been getting into web stuff on Goldfrapp recently. Goldfrapp aren’t one of my favourite bands (I can take or leave the albums but I really like some of their single – do you know what I mean?), I especially the glam stomp stuff like "Strict Machine" and "Ooh La La". The video for the latter song is particularly good, a kind of distillation of all those acts I remember watching on top of the pops, like Suzy Quatro, Marc Bolan and Abba. I can't understand why people think Goldfrapp are particularly innovative, or have to ask them about their influences, since they are pretty obvious, well if you are over 35 at least. Personally I think they should open all their concerts with "The Cruch" by the Rah band, in the same way that the Smiths opened their's with "The Montagues and Capulets" from Sergey Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet.

Goldfrapp's website is pretty good. They have a video Q and A session with the band where they come across more like the hippie parents of rockstars than rockstars, but I think its quite funny in an endearing way. I also like this anecdote from Alison, talking about her misspent youth in the Independent:

"I wasn't properly bullied but they had it in for me," she says with a dry little laugh. "And then I got into make-up and Tippex and was well at home." Tippex? For correcting homework? "Inhaling," she laughs. "Then I ended up doing community service, just for being generally bad. They sent me out to make posters but they put me in a room with a lot of solvents so not many posters got made. And the ones that did were unreadable."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

[[ZEITGEIST]] Comedian Rob Newman on oil
You must see this. video on Google video. "Rob Newman gets to grips with the wars and politics of the last hundred years - but rather than adhering to the history we were fed at ... all school, the places oil centre stage as the cause of all commotion. This innovative history programme is based around Robert Newman's stand-up act and supported by resourceful archive sequences and stills with satirical impersonations of historical figures from Mayan priests to Archduke Ferdinand. Quirky details such as a bicycle powered street lamp on the stage brings home the pertinent question of just how we are going to survive when the world's oil supplies are finally exhausted"

Friday, May 26, 2006

[[ZEITGEIST]] back with a vengeance
Dounrey nuclear power station - BBCIn a CBI dinner speech on 16th May Tony Blair announced nuclear power was back on the agenda with a vengeance. Nuclear power is seen by some – mainly those in the nuclear power industry!- as being the answer to global warning. However there is the non trivial problem of managing a substance that remains toxic for 4.5 billion years as is the case with uranium-238

While electricity generated from nuclear power does not directly emit carbon dioxide (CO2), the nuclear fuel cycle does release CO2, uranium mining for example is one of the most CO2 intensive industrial operations. And the construction of new nuclear power stations will need to be subsidised, most likely through increases in electricity bills.

Apparently it is not economically feasibly to power the UK using alternative energy sources alone. Presumably because nobody want to implement a cultural change of more efficient energy usage or better insulation. Does this sound like fiddling while Rome burns? Research by the Energy Savings Trust suggests that home generation of power is developing so fast that it could potentially provide 30%-40% of the UK's total electricity needs by 2050.

Sweden generates more nuclear power per person than any other country. With half the nation's electricity coming from nuclear sources. However in Januarey 1991, the Sweden's government agreed to stick to its commitment to phase out nuclear power by the year 2010. The government promised to spend 352 million Pounds to develop alternative sources of power and improve energy efficiency over the next five years.

Finally let us not forget this.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

landscapes of the lost and found
Charles Sanders Peirce said that a man who gets up on the wrong side of the bed attributes wrong-sidedness to every object he meets, and it is true that moods imprint themselves on the objects one encounters during the day. But similarly objects too have the capacity to imprint themselves onto a person's moods. For instance if you encounter a gnarly object like some old ivy twisting round the boughs of a fallen tree, your thoughts are liable to become somewhat gnarly and twisty themselves.

How those feelings are grasped and representation in language can in turn influence ways of thinking and feeling. Thus, someone who writes on the top of a mountain is going to have something of the mountain in their writing, and conversely someone who writes in the tangle of a forest is going to have some of the forest in their writing.

Although here I think the point cannot be taken too far. Sometimes people write precisely for the reason that they want to escape where they are. Does a person who writes in front of blank walls produce blank writing? No. Does a person who writes in front of a computer monitor produce monitorish prose? Possibly???

A friend of mine has taken to writing with a typewriter, and is eagerly advocating that I do the same; something about the percussive rhythm of the keys hammering out the prose that, apparently, leads to a punchier writing style. To write on the word processor is of course not really writing at all. For instance, I believe some Muslim clerics were charged with deciding whether is was allowable to word-process the Koran. The controversy was because it was forbidden that the word of God be tampered with in any way for instance with a spell checker – luckily, it was decided that the word of the Koran could not be said to be words at all until one pressed print.

Gnarly objects producing gnarly thoughts. This is the non-poetic justification for symbolism. For instance think of the mise en scène of Dr Caligari. Or when the hero of a fairy tale is lost in and alone and is described as running though a tangled landscape of thorns. This is the landscape of the lost. Just as the sweet grass picket fence cosy kitchen fire of fairy tale endings is the landscape of the found.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

[[IMMERSIVE]] martin heideggerNow online, the fourth part of my notes on Being and Time: Part 1 Division II. As always, if you have any comments or questions about the text, please submit them by commenting on this post. .

link: Heidegger's Being and Time, an explication and commentary

Sunday, March 05, 2006

[[IMMERSIVE]] Technologies of knowledge creation

Recently my wife and I have been retiling our bathroom. I am also writing my doctorate. These two experiences means that I speak with some conviction about the following…

If I saw a tile by hand it takes all day. If I buy a tile cutter it takes a matter of minutes. This makes one appreciate the tile cutter as one of a miracle of industrialisation.

If one reads a book, it takes all day. In that day maybe a few important connections will be made. If one reads Wikipedia you can gain the same information in a matter of minutes. This make one appreciate Wikipedia as one of the miracles of the knowledge revolution.

However with both miracles something is lost - with the former in terms of craft and with the latter what might be called a craft of scholarship.

Let me indulge you in a little myth spinning. Before the industrial revolution, objects were produced by craftsmen. They were not uniform or particularly perfect creations but they had what might be called "soul". Is the soul a by product of the time it took to create them? It possibly is For example I wonder if the modern preference--of some of us--for rough hews earthy furniture (see treehugger for details) a nostalgic throwback to the days of craft? What thoughts does one have when one spends all one's days making furniture?

If you agree that some soul is lost in the mass production of goods. Is this because perhaps the "soul" of education is lost in the information revolution? In terms of value, people tend to value most what is for them hardest to obtain. Does the value of knowledge then get defined in the struggle to obtain it?

While it is true that we certainly do not value stuggle for its own sake. But it also goes without saying that some of us (me) do value the products of struggle. For instance if I confessed a preference I'd have to say that I prefer Beethoven's music to Mozart's, and it I were asked why. I think it is because Beethoven's music has more stuggle in it - and therefore more soul. A propos, Wittgenstein said something to the effect that you can measure the value of anything piece of work in terms of what it cost you. Which reminds me...what exactly does one think about when one is reading a books all day?

Cutting and pasting one's doctorate from the pages of Wikipedia seems like a duplicitous thing to do. After all how much of a contribution to knowledge can a piece of work make when it was produced like that? Why do I really want to do it then? I have several theories....

If knowledge increases exponentially, then the contribution a scholar can make is in the analysis not the gathering of knowledge. However, if knowledge is increasing then the categories for analysis are also increasing and one needs to find short cuts to be able to refine those categories so that the real work can be done.

Why is it that you don’t produce anything meaningful without a struggle? Is it in fact the struggle itself that defines what is meaningful and what is not? I think perhaps it is. There is much toil in the production of anything, but it does not make the results of that toil necessarily worthwhile. On the other hand, there hasto be toil in the productions of things worthwhile, or else they would lack the sufficient meaning.

I do not want to do without the struggle, but at the same time I do not want to be outdistance by the subject before I have finished writing about it, which can happen when one's subject is tehnological innovation.

As a scholar I think I have to find ways to work faster to really get inside a problem, Is this the solution? What do you think?

Sunday, February 12, 2006


When society is broken into bands, now warring, now allied, now for a time subordinated one to another, man loses his conceptions of truth and of reason. If he sees one man assert what another denies, he will, if he is concerned, choose his side and set to work by all means in his power to silence his adversaries. The truth for him is that for which he fights.
(Charles Sanders Peirce)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

[[IMMERSIVE]] martin heideggerI have just posted an update to the glossary of terms for Heidegger's Being and Time. As usual, if you have any comments or questions, please submit them in the section below.

link: Heidegger's Being and Time, glossary of terms

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Two stories from the New York Times that are not related in any way

Climate Expert Muzzled by Nasa
The top climate scientist James E. Hansen at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet." He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

Exxon Mobil, disclosed record profits
It was announced last week that profits at Exxon rose to $36 billion in annual income. It now has the largest revenues of any company in the US. But Exxon did everything it could to play down the news. The company's wealth of $371 billion surpasses the $245 billion gross domestic product of Indonesia, an OPEC member and the world's fourth most populous country, with 242 million people. Republican lawmakers were on the defensive on Monday. Not only are they under heavy pressure from party leaders and from the White House to kill the proposed tax on oil companies, but they also inserted more than $2 billion in additional tax breaks for oil and gas companies in the energy bill that Congress passed last November.

This sublime image graces my desktop. Nam June Paik 1932 - 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

[[ZEITGEIST]] Of Contemporary Interest…

Path to true happiness 'revealed'
Experts believe they have found the essential ingredients to make a person's life happier.

President Bush calls for Congress to renew the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act

Mike Evangelist tells the insider secrets of his gruelling preparation for the Apple Keynote speeches with Steve Jobs. This is interesting because it shows how much effort goes into an effortless presentation.

BBC opens its archives to public
The fall of the Berlin Wall and footage of the 1966 England World Cup team are among items released from the BBC News archives for the first time.

Google's $200 computer. Speculation is mounting that Google will this week unveil a no-frills personal computer.

Friday, January 06, 2006

[[ZEITGEIST]] Kennedy Assasination
With all this talk about on of the great conspiracies of our time solved regarding the assassination of JFK (see here and here for details) I thought it would be fun, in an extremely black comic way, to look at another Kennedy assassination. One that is closer to home this time. I'm talking of course of the media assassination of the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy. I am not going to concentrate of the many stories about Kennedy's drink problems, instead I want to examine the photographs that accompany the stories and show how these photographs provide their own mythical commentary (in the Bartesian sense). In order to do this I will be utilising another of Barthes' theories, that of anchorage. Anchorage, as someone in Stanford University put this, is text (such as a caption) that provides the link between the image and its context; the text that provides relevance to the reader.

In order to cut down on the possible variables I will constrain my focus to the BBC Online News site. Let's start with the story on 5 January 2006 when news of Kennedy's confession of his drink problem broke...

Accompanying the headline "Kennedy admits battling alcohol" there is an image of a very contrite Chares snapped at a lib dem conference. Conferences are excellent locations for the candid political snap for two reasons. Firstly because the leaders of the various parties are decked out in their leadership uniform of smart suit, and usually situated just in from of an emblematic banner which helpfully established the link between party and leader. Secondly because conferences go on for such an long time that you are inevitably going to catch a moment where the partly leader is caught off guards, or in this context, off message. Especially subversive is the snap with the leader is caught looking slack in front of some kind of righteous slogan. See the picture at the top of this post for an example of this.

Next we have the image chosen to accompany a transcript of Kennedy's statement to parliament on the 6th January where he admitted his drink problem.

Here we have a steely and yet vulnerable Charles: more an an image of a little boy who is facing up to a neighbour after smashing his window than a political statesman. In terms of eliciting our denying our sympathy, there is some ambiguity in the image. While this man does not look entirely trustworthy or heroic he still seems somewhat lovable.

Now we come to today's preferred image with the headling "MPs increase pressure on Kennedy"

Do you think that the BBC already made up its mind which way this story is going to go? Here we have an image of a spectacularly tipsy and unhinged Kennedy. I particularly like the sinsiter trick of lighting him from the side in harsh light (representing the sting of sobriety perhaps?) Gone is the lovable boy of yesterday, to be replaced with the sinister drunk.

I suggest that the mythical template for choosing this image was a combination of this

(A drunk)

and this

(Charles Laughton as the Hunchback of Notre Dame)

The image in today's Times Online is even more spot on in respect of the latter...

Link: an excerpt of Rhetoric of the Image by Roland Barthes

Monday, January 02, 2006

There has been a lot in the news about Wikipedia recently. As the BBC reported, "Wikipedia has tightened its submission rules following a complaint from journalist John Seigenthaler described as 'false and malicious'," when an entry implicated him in the Kennedy assassinations. Seigenthaler phoned to complain to Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales (pictured), but he was informed that there was no way of finding out who wrote the entry. Wikipedia has since removed the entry and now requires users to register before they can create articles.

This seems like a good opportunity to discuss the trustworthiness and or tardiness of this online resources especially for scholars seeking short-cuts in their research. Of course being my ideal reader, your are already aware that Wikipedia works on an open source model. this means that anyone can edit its content. This alone can give conservative minded scholars the willies. As Bill Thompson writes, "Andrew Orlowski, writing in The Register, a UK-based technology website, is scathing in his dismissal of the site as a cult-like organisation where faith triumphs rationality" On the other hand as the Guardian in its leader on the subject remarked

In theory it was a recipe for disaster, but for most of the time it worked remarkably well, reflecting the essential goodness of human nature in a supposedly cynical world and fulfilling a latent desire for people all over the world to cooperate with each other without payment.

But the debate is not just a choice between academic condescension and utopian gloss. The guardian also published a useful article because it actually tried to address the issue by asking experts in the field to comment on the encyclopedia's accuracy. However this only underscored the fact in some cases that if one is going to be prejudiced against something no end of evidence is going to overturn that opinion. For example the "Encyclopedia" entry reviewed by the former editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Robert McHenry:

A cynic might conclude that the whole article exists chiefly as a context for this paragraph: "Traditional encyclopedias are written by a number of employed text writers, usually people with an academic degree. This is not the case with Wikipedia, a project started in 2001 with the goal to create a free encyclopedia. Anyone can add or improve text, images, and sounds ... By 2004 the project has managed to produce over a million articles in over 80 languages."

And the BBC Online's technology correspondent Bill Thompson reported on a study by Nature:

In the midst of all this controversy, Nature published the results of an analysis of a broad range of entries from the websites of Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica which shows a different picture… After looking at 42 articles, according to Nature, "only eight serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important concepts, were detected in the pairs of articles reviewed, four from each encyclopedia…. "But reviewers also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively."

I broadly concur with Thompson's conclusion:

that we should not place complete faith in something which can so easily be undermined through malice or ignorance thanks to its open architecture… That does not devalue the project entirely, it just means that we should be sceptical about Wikipedia entries as a primary source of information, and not accept the claims that it marks some form of emergent collective intelligence, a new era in human consciousness or the rebuilding of the Library of Alexandria.

But I would add that the same 'cautiousness' should be extended to all sources, be they internet based or book based. What is really useful about internet-based research however is that you can cover a huge amount of ground and bounce from one idea to another very quickly, almost as if google or Wikipedia are an extension of the thinking process itself (I know that this statement is in need of some unpacking for its techno-determinist assumptions alone, but just go with it OK). What this means is that online research becomes something like brainstorming. It is true that whole pathways and areas are opened up. This is a different approach to research than the "looking for authoratative justification model" that is critiqued in the reports cited in this post. And in this context one consideration should always been at the front of the reasearcher's mind, namely that the opening up of knowledge is never a justification nor an end in itself, it is only the beginning of the sometimes wearisome but necessarily fastidious exploration of the territory that academic research demands. This is an endeavour of not just shoring up but actually substantiating or indeed refuting claims that are generated in the brainstorming phase. The fact that wikipedia is a free and widely available resources opens up access to knowledge for everyone. This is I think the reason that it is disparaged in some quarters.



Good article on why the media can't or just doesn't get Wikipedia