In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these.
The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth
-- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect,"
a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger
. More: Table of Contents
- Publishing history
- Technical discussion
- Buy a paperback copy
- Podcast interview
- Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace"
- possible sequel discussion
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 27, 2011 -
"In all other circumstances we praise non-violent activities and when people, for whatever personal reasons, enjoy sexual violence even in a consenting context I think we shouldn't just say “whatever turns you on”. We should say “There's something wrong here”. But people on the left are so terrified of being accused of moralising and therefore of being oppressive that they've abandoned their critical faculties in this area." Clive Hamilton
God, Sex, and the Left
posted by daniel_charms
on Dec 26, 2011 -
This summer, The Paris Review interviewed two science fiction writers at length, Samuel R. Delany
and William Gibson
. Below the cut there are two passages, one from each interview. They aren't representative, they are just two of the many, many passages which have been going around in my head for the last few days. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 25, 2011 -
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review
posted by escabeche
on Jul 25, 2011 -
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 11, 2011 -
BLVR: This is all a pretty analytical approach to improvisation, where I think a lot of people consider Phish’s music to be just “made up on the spot.”
TA: We’re the most analytical band, in some ways. We’d talk and talk for hours about this stuff. I see improvisation as a craft and as an art. The craft part is important. There’s a lot of preparation and discipline that goes into it just so that, when you’re in the moment, you’re not supposed to be thinking at all.
The Believer - Interview with Trey Anastasio
posted by lemuring
on Jul 2, 2011 -
Minor Threats "The punk icon Ian MacKaye always wanted to create a tribe. Now an elder statesman of D.C. hardcore, the musician talks about organized religion, breaking toilets, and making peace with his mother’s death."
A simply fantastic interview with Ian Mackaye
from a magazine you wouldn't expect to be covering a hardcore music legend. I know there are some fans here on the blue who may really enjoy this.
posted by punkrockrat
on Jun 29, 2011 -
The A. V. Club has an exhaustive and revealing four-part interview with Dan Harmon
, creator of Community, in which he discusses the conception and production behind every episode of the show's ambitious and flawed second season.
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jun 10, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
The Burns Archive
is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing
subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery
this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through
with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 26, 2011 -
over the weekend, in less than two weeks the millions of videos uploaded to six-year-old erstwhile YouTube competitor Google Video will no longer be viewable
. Though a download button has been added to each video page for easy back-up, that will only be available though May 13th
, and the company will not be offering transfer service for users with YouTube accounts. The search giant has been slowly winding down the service over the years since their billion-dollar buyout of YouTube, controversially revoking purchased content
(with a refund) in 2007 and disabling new uploads in 2009
. The shutdown is a big blow to the web video ecosystem, as Google Video was one of the few major services to allow free hosting of long-form video, including the content for many popular MetaFilter posts. But all is not lost! Reddit users have organized a virtual potluck
to share the most interesting and unique videos not available anywhere else, and the Archive Team
, preserver of doomed web properties like Geocities (previously
), is partnering with Archive.org to back up as much content as possible
. In that spirit, click inside for a list of some of the most popular Google Video-centric content posted here over the years. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 18, 2011 -
Ah wilderness! What better place to escape the stifling trappings of urban existence - overflowing inboxes, two-hour commutes, social-media addiction. And, of course, indoor plumbing. "Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth," the great Western author and curmudgeon Edward Abbey once exhorted car-bound city slickers. Contemplating the reasons for taking a trek down the Appalachian Trail (and aping Abbey-ish machismo), travel writer Bill Bryson mused, "I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, 'Yeah, I've shit in the woods.'"
posted by vidur
on Apr 4, 2011 -
Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas,
spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously)
: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,"
and that the Jews "can go home"
to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,"
sparked media outrage,
prompted her to issue an apology and retire
. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine
. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq
on Mar 22, 2011 -
The Madoff Tapes "One evening, my home phone rang. “You have a collect call from Bernard Madoff, an inmate at a federal prison,” a recording announced. And there he was." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 28, 2011 -