...21st Century Technoid Man





Storing Data in a Hologram

The traditional way of taking a three-dimensional photograph, or hologram, involves splitting a laser beam in two, reflecting one half (known as the object beam) off the thing that is to be holographed, and then recombining it with the other half (known as the reference beam) and exposing a photographic film to the result. The process of recombination produces an interference pattern that is recorded on the film, and when this pattern is viewed in suitable lighting, an image that looks three-dimensional becomes visible to the eye.

Now researchers are on the verge of successfully using holographic techniques to place data in a 3-D format that will exponentially increase the efficiency and accessibility of storage -- up to a terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of data on a CD-sized disk. By comparison, DVDs have a storage capacity of less than 20 gigabytes.

Technology At Your Fingertips

FingerWorks is pioneering "MultiTouch" keyboards. Their smooth surface input devices use a small electromagnetic field to sense hand and finger movements. Along with key input, there is a large vocabulary of gestures that can be used for everything from file editing and image manipulation to gaming. The aim is to create a natural, relaxing, and therefore ergonomic input environment. No force is necessary and the hand position gestures use less effort than writing out a symbolic gesture. It seems magical, but until I try one myself I can't be an effective judge.

(BY.oh.hak.ur) n. A hobbyist who tinkers with DNA and other aspects of genetics. Also: bio-hacker.
—biohack n., v.
—biohackerdom n.

Example Citation:
Robotics is hardly the only emergent industry that can expect the embrace of the techno-enthusiast. Maybe bathtub biotech will be next to capture the mindshare of the techie tinkerers. Maybe bioinformatics and the diffusion of genetic engineering technologies and techniques will inspire a new generation of bio-hackers. Certainly the technologies are there for those inclined to genetically edit their plants or pets. Maybe a mouse or E. coli genome becomes the next operating system for hobbyists to profitably twiddle. Perhaps this decade will bring a Linus Torvalds or Bill Gates of bio-hackerdom—a hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur who can simultaneously innovate and market his or her DNA-driven ideas.
—Michael Schrage, "," Technology Review, June 2003

Coming Soon: Proton-Beam Chiseling
High-tech manufacturers may soon be able to use proton beams to chisel out minuscule components and circuits due to pioneering research from a Singapore institute. The proton beam is a stream of sped-up sub-atomic particles that scientists have been trying to narrow down for practical use over the last 25 years. The National University of Singapore Research Center for Nuclear Microscopy, currently holds the record for the narrowest proton beam -- which measures just 1,000th of the diameter of a human hair.

Fold Your Technology
Eleksen is developing something called ElekTex "smart" fabric. Logitech is already using ElekTex for their KeyCase keyboard for handheld devices. Someday you may be holding a foldable cell phone in your hand.

Boycott Benetton
I've seen some recent articles about the clothing manufacturer Benetton, using embedded ID chips in their products to facilitate tracking of the articles of clothing through a new model of information gathering for inventory, security and customer purchasing demographics. Tiny tags, "somewhere between the size of a grain of sand and a speck of dust" are to be built directly into consumer products including clothes, food, drugs, auto-parts etc. during the manufacturing process. What I want to know is, why do these tracking devices remain active after you leave the store?

Sci-Fi Channels' promo page for the recently broadcast Riverworld movie describes the following: "The evil lord Valdemar... thunders in with an army, to announce that he is the ruler of Riverworld." Umm...excuse me, but that is NOT a character from the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer (includes "To Your Scattered Bodies Go", "The Fabulous Riverboat" etc.). The actual story is about everyone who has ever lived on planet Earth, waking up (resurrected) on the shores of the 70,000,000 mile long river, learning how to work together and building a civilization. And this series of novels is one of the very best 'speculative literature' Science Fiction stories ever written. To start with, I was really excited when I saw the previews, and after my first viewing of the TV movie, I remain impressed in spite of the major adaptations made by SFC. In fact, there was little in common with the original story, their's was more of a "loosely-based adaptation" rather than a screen version of the story. Many of my favorite characters were missing, and the screenwriter, producer etc. took enormous liberties with the basic concept behind the whole series. This seems consistent with the other most recent SFC mini-series Children of Dune which I have now seen for the second time (in a marathon viewing of 6 hours on 1 night). This was also a less-than-perfect adaptation with character additions, including Susan Sarandon as Princess Wensicia. Now, I'm not one of those fans who criticizes every nitpicky difference between the books and the movies (heck, I was able to get over Tom Bombadil being excluded from LOTR), so I'm prompted to just say "watch it yourself", and enjoy these lavish re-creations of best-selling Science Fiction (and Adult Fantasy) novels that have meant so much to me and have created such huge followings with such loyal fans. The important thing here is: more people than ever before, have been turned on to the works of such fantasy writers as JRR Tolkien and science fiction authors like Frank Herbert and Philip Jose Farmer.

World’s youngest web designer
Although he is only five years old, Ajay Puri can now claim to be the youngest web designer in the world. This achievement (based on his website), is documented in the Limca Book of Records. Ajay is also a record breaker in another way. He recently passed the Microsoft "MOUS" examination with a score of 98, considered to be the highest score ever. As an acknowledgement, Microsoft Thailand gifted him with a copy of FrontPage 2000, which allows Ajay to design his website with hyper links, images, background music, frames, Dynamic HTML, Forums, and many other features. One of the features of the website is a description of his meeting with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who is quoted as saying "Ajay! You are going to take my seat."

World's highest internet cafe
Tsering Gyaltsen Sherpa -- the grandson of the Sherpa that accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 -- is opening an internet cafe at 17,000'. A transmitter will be installed on a slope 300 meters higher than the base camp located at the Khumba glacier on the route that climbers have established to reach the summit of Everest. Expeditions, which cost more than $65,000 on average, will be expected to pay $1000 to use the world's highest internet connection. The money will go towards purchasing equipment for the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, a team that clears Mount Everest of the rubbish that climbers leave behind.

Making Long-Term Long Bets on the Future
As a partial spin-off of The Long Now Foundation, Long Bets will make you think about where we're going, and what we need to do to get there. The site offers forums for discussion and debates about the predictions that are being made by Futurists. And if you have an opinion, you can put your money where your mouth is. Interestingly, Gordon Bell is betting against VOD .

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
Cory Doctorow is one of our best new writers: smart, daring, savvy, entertaining, ambitious, plugged-in, and as good a guide to the wired world of the twenty-first century that stretches out before us as you're going to find.
- Gardner Dozois
Editor, Asimov's SF

The Plastic Fractal Magnet
Scientists have announced a new offspring of magnets and plastic -- conveniently embedded in every card with a magnetic strip -- that could reinvent smart card technology and yield a dazzling new array of high-tech gadgets. Read More...

Humanoid Robots play soccer for the first time in RoboCup!

Japanese toy maker Takara has created a new gadget called Bowlingual, which analyzes and matches the "woofs" and "barks" of man's best friend with a set of pre-programmed phrases, such as "I'm a little bored, let's play" or "I've had enough." According to Takara, the device detects feelings--including happiness, frustration and sadness--and displays the associated expressions on the terminal's screen. It can also be used to record emotional data from the dog throughout the day--this is for busy owners who want to know how their canine friends spend their time alone at home.

The Soundbug turns whatever it's attached to into a sounding board...even your skull if it's pressed on the back of your head. Based on technology research by Newlands Scientific at Hull University, and marketed by Olympia, Soundbug uses something called Terfenol-D, which was developed by the US military for sonar work.

In William Gibson's Neuromancer the concept was called Cyberspace.
In Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash it was called the Metaverse.
In the past ten years, Virtual Reality projects created by companies like Blaxxun Interactive, Worlds Inc, Linden Labs and others...attempted to take us to special cyber-places, promising us adventures in Brave New Worlds.

January 2003 marks the beginning the of the latest virtual universe, called There...as in "let's go There".
Intended for the Instant Messaging and Chat crowd rather than the techo-geeks and gamers, There has been developed to allow human-looking Avatars to communicate using gestures and facial expressions like smiling, laughing, nodding and even winking, blushing and flirting.

Nitrozac's beautiful illustration of Arthur C. Clarke conversing with the ghosts of Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov is a must have...for any discriminating reader of "Speculative Literature".

What do you get when you combine the creativity of traditional arts and crafts with new technologies?
Fascinating new interfaces and innovative product designs. These days we use technology to design complex shapes, create modern music and extend the tangible uses of human manipulative ability.
In the case of musicBottles --designed by International Fashion Machines-- technology is part of the result, as a kinetic sculpture with sensors that lets you play the electronic music yourself. What else has IFMachines designed? Wearable musical intruments...the fashion statement that you can play!

just in case you were wondering...

Cat's foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Polititians' funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

- King Crimson lyrics, circa 1969.
The album was titled In The Court Of The Crimson King.
I believe the lyrics were written by a fellow named Peter Sinfield.

I think Bad Religion did a song called 21st Century Digital Boy, circa 1995.
They also did a song called Queen of the 21st Century, circa 2000.

So now you know.

 This is not copyrighted.

 I am saying that you are allowed to take content from my website...
however I ask that you attribute my name and acknowledge me as the creator of the content you take, and put a link to this website.
This is known as an Attribution License. I am also saying that any content taken for use in other sites must only be used for non-commercial use.
No money can be made off of the use of this content. (If you are interested in licensing use of any content for a commercial purpose, please contact me: p_bley at hotmail dot com) I base all of this on the legal concepts behind Creative Commons, which is a new movement spearheaded by Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig. I would prefer to share my creative work(s) -- and the power to copy, modify, and distribute these works -- instead of exercising all of the restrictions of copyright law.
This is done with the intention of taking away the normal restrictions that a standard copyright enforces.
I would rather allow you to take my work (with my permission) and build on it, possibly creating something better than either of us could by ourselves.
If you want to know more you should read the information at Creative Commons' website.
Most importantly, read through the parts on Public Domain and Open Content, and think about the differences between standard copyright, public domain and this newer model.
So enjoy the site, take anything that you want...just let people know who you got it from.



The Phoenix Bird
Access For All
Behind the Glass
the Oneironaut
continuous partial attention

This Blog is
brought to you by: