Alfa and Amiga

It’s said that you can’t consider yourself a true petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa. Whether you’ve owned one or not, the Amiga is standard equipment these days, inasmuch as every ka comes with a computer. The Ancient Encryptions regarded the ka as a person’s double, the life force that separated from the body at the point of death. The elaborate process of mummification was performed to ensure that the ka continued to have a home. So what exactly does it mean to ‘own a ka’? It’s an interesting concept, no? With that in mind, let’s move swiftly on…

Language is programming.

COBOL (an acronym for “common business-oriented language”) is a compiled English-like computer programming language designed for business use. It is imperative, procedural and, since 2002, object-oriented. COBOL is primarily used in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments.


Pictures are variables.

In COBOL, a variable declaration consists of a line in the DATA DIVISION that contains the following items:

A level number.
A data-name or identifier.
A Picture clause.

To create the required ‘picture’ the programmer uses a set of symbols.


Understand what your eyes are and you’ll realise that everything is a picture.

Pictures can be edited.

Most users of the data produced by COBOL programs are not content with the simple raw data. They often want it presented in a particular way. Some people like to have the thousands, in numeric values, separated by commas, others may want leading zeros suppressed while still others may require that the currency symbol “floats” up against the first non-zero digit. In COBOL these things can be achieved using Edited Pictures.


In the digital age there is no difference whatsoever between a picture and a picture. All that’s required is a picture definition big enough to store the picture. Is ‘reality’ merely the photoshop of the Great System Analyst in the Sky?

Thanks to COBOL, information can be moved to a picture…






…giving us the motion picture…

…the streaming-dreaming video…

…the concept of the moving picture frame rate…

…and the associated phenomenon known as ‘frame rate stutter’, when things slow down or even grind to a halt altogether. Very often, it’s the result of a glitch.

Pictures come in different shapes and sizes: bytes, words, double words. They also have different scope: local, global, public and private. So what happens if someone attempts to use a private picture for public purposes? Eventually, it dawns on them that they do not own their words.

If language is programming then what is this stuff?

Perhaps the spiralling double helix of GACT…

…is merely a…

…a kind of chemical-electrical suspension coil, absorbing and absolving all the bumps in the Information Superhighway?

Or perhaps it’s exactly what we call it: a genetic code? Here’s an interesting question: why is a computer program encoded on a punch card…

…so strangely similar to a DNA fingerprint?

Is it because DNA is a program that tells the story of your life?

The grand tale of life is long and complicated. Storylines intertwine and many subplots twist and turn unexpectedly. Amazingly, this billion-year-spanning story is written in an alphabet that contains only four letters, the alphabet of DNA. A for adenine, C for cytosine, G for guanine, and T for thymine. That’s it. That’s all that’s needed to compose the paragraphs and chapters in the book of life.


If so, should others be permitted to treat the genome as their own private property?

Property to be edited and sold for their own amusement and prophet?

Take a look around you: 1984 was flipped around to give us the concept of ‘hate speech’. Have we already got discrimination down to a science?

What actually happens when you publish a story? You may not think you’re an author, but if you subscribe to Mark Fuckerborg’s production (or any other form of social media for that matter) then you are in fact a journalist-cum-novelist serving up information (in the form of news and stories) about yourself.

Volunteer this information and you reduce your life to information: bits, bytes and words, variables that make up a profile, a complete picture.

Here’s an interesting line from a 1990s B-movie about Mars that caught my ear last week.

They’re using us like a TV commercial for their products.

Think about that in relation to Facebook’s business model. Has social media made a walkie-talkie mobile phoney out of you?

Or are these ‘social networks’ merely reflections of pre-existing interconnections? As McLuhan said, the medium is the message. The Truman Race is the ‘social media’, so social that billions are prepared to upload the story of their lives to corporate giants that view your ‘information’ as a commodity to be exploited. What if that, too, is merely a reflection of the operating principle or ‘business model’ of the ‘Primate Change Simulation’, a.k.a. The Truman Zoo?

The android David: a mirror image of the Truman Race, made by a corporation to sell for a prophet.

A friend recently asked why anyone would want to create a simulated reality. Probably for the same reason we create simulated realities: entertainment, education and the pursuit of prophet.

Open-source intelligence? Would you buy a second-hand ka from the Wizard of Zardoz?

How about open source intel-licence? Are your drivers up-to-date?

Open source? Free love on the free love information superhighway?

The DNA code is arranged in sequences of nucleotide triplets called codons. Free love is one of those things that sounds terrific until you forget to lay down some rubber…

…and find yourself suffering from a nasty case of trojan horse syndrome.

It may be counter-intuitive, but paying for the comfort of…ahem…professional software…

…actually seems to increase the risk of infection. Let’s be clear about this though: it’s a two-way street, yeah? I mean, he can be as much a transmission vector as she, right? I don’t know about you but if I were the driver of that Ka then I’d rev my vagina engine, get my pistons pumping, and lay down serious amounts of rubber.

Whatcha think?

Crunching Data

Modern technology. Are you sick of it? More to the point, is it literally making you sick to death? I popped out to a supermarket earlier today and wasn’t surprised to find myself in the middle of a game of dodge the mobile phonies. People these days seem to wander up and down the aisles like extras from a George Romero film: devices held aloft before them, staring at the screen as if hypnotised, connected to ‘the network’ and crunching data as if their lives depended on it. It was a bizarre sight, one made all the more unnerving by the snippets of conversation I heard as I threaded my way between them. Whatever these strange, shuffling creatures are they’re all very obviously (and seemingly unwittingly) in the artificial intelligence business, which is to say that they seem to be transmitting in-formation back to their respective handlers under the pretext of posting a Facebook status update or calling their partner to ask what they want for dinner. For me at least, the fact that most people seem to have no idea what they’re actually doing or why begs the question: has the Zombie Apocalypse already happened?

Things became even more weird at the checkout. For some reason, at the exact moment I reached the head of the queue the woman behind the till told me that her chip and pin device had just developed a problem. It was still working, but for some reason the display had decided to reverse itself: the text onscreen appeared exactly the way it would if held up to a mirror.

I wasn’t surprised by this. First, because the phrase ‘shine bright like a diamond’ was doing the rounds in my head earlier today. Second, because I’ve been experimenting with hexdecimal and binary files over at Hugo’s Digital Glitchin’. If you know anything about programming then you’ll appreciate that bytes are arranged in words, and that byte order or ‘endianness‘ is a big deal.

Little-endian format reverses this order: the sequence addresses/sends/stores the least significant byte first (lowest address) and the most significant byte last (highest address). Most computer systems prefer a single format for all its data; using the system’s native format is automatic. But when reading memory or receiving transmitted data from a different computer system, it is often required to process and translate data between the preferred native endianness format to the opposite format.


Big-endian retains byte order, whereas little-endian reverses byte order. Personally, I’ve never understood the American need to ‘go large’ and tend to prefer more byte-sized snacks. Talking of which, isn’t the modern preoccupation with crunching and consuming data a little bit odd? Consider this take on the Ejaculate Simulation and the Inception Deception for sexsymbol.

She’s ‘good’, but did the ‘good girl’ do a ‘bad, bad thing’?

Did she do that ‘bad, bad thing’ because somebody decided to ‘blow the roof off’? Personally, I think that’s just one of many storylines playing out in the Globe theatre we call ‘Planet Earth’.

Here’s how ‘blowing the roof off’ was portrayed on stage: it made a really big bang and ejaculated a thick wad of radioactive material.

It pumped out so much of the stuff that they had to build a coffin for the good girl who turned bad. That coffin is referred to as a sarcophagus.

sarcophagus (n.)

c. 1600, “type of stone used for coffins,” from Latin sarcophagus, from Greek sarkophagos “limestone used for coffins,” literally “flesh-eating,” in reference to the supposed action of this type of limestone (quarried near Assos in Troas, hence the Latin lapis Assius) in quickly decomposing the body, from sarx (genitive sarkos) “flesh” (see sarcasm) + phagein “to eat” (from PIE root *bhag- “to share out, apportion; to get a share”).


Zombie flesh eaters want to feast on what lies beneath the skin. In Virtuous Unreality, I mentioned the full-body virtual reality Teslasuit and suggested that the skin covering human walkie-talkie mobile phonies is the ultimate in ‘smart clothing’. This ‘smart clothing’ is grown and maintained by eating food, but what if ‘food’ is a 3D projection of data, just as it is in computer games, where the consumption of digital foodstuffs improves the player’s health?

The process of eating and digesting food is not unlike the process of consuming data: both involve input, processing and…ahem…output.

The actual ‘output’ being neat rows of Truman Beings lined up in-formation and doing pretty much the same thing, such as working in order to go ‘shopping’ and buy stuff. You know, ‘shop’ the so-called ‘bad guy’ in order to receive a fat, juicy record reward that’s specifically designed to encourage further acts of in-formation and keep you firmly in line. Most people refer to this ‘reward’ as their celery ‘salary’.

Modern zombies tend to get infected with a virus that fills them with an overpowering urge to dine on your brain, the sugar-powered sugarcomputer called ‘you’. Thinking about it, the beehive-iour of the typical common-or-garden variety zombie is almost exactly analogous to that of malware planted on a device in order to subvert its normal operation and extract in-formation from it.

If ‘food’ is in fact ‘in-formation’ then do we already have chips in our head?

Fancy a chip butty? All you need is a few chips and a breadboard courtesy of ‘MEGO’.

Microchips and breadboards for prototyping them. What if everything happening ‘out there’ is merely a reflection of the Truman Condition, one in which each individual ‘node’ is already connected in a way that most walkie-talkie mobile phonies seem unable or unwilling to believe?

The mobile telephone spreads connectivity directly to the person. The mobile creates the phenomenon of direct human addressability. The mobile is an inherently personal device; each mobile and SIM is associated with a single person. With this single innovation, the gap is spanned between tribal and urban organizational forms. Everyone is directly connected, as in the tribe, but in unknowably vast numbers, as in the city.


Every walkie-talkie mobile phoney directly connected? What if that were literally true today?

It was Marshall McLuhan who first conceptualised the state of modern man as akin to that of our primitive nomad ancestors: whereas they used tools to forage for food, we use tools to forage for information. What McLuhan never considered, however, was the possibility that ‘modern man’ is the ancestor, that ‘food’, ‘data’ and ‘information’ are one and the same. In short, McLuhan never considered that the world we inhabit – a world of ‘scarce’ resources that are usually the root cause of international conflict – might be a simulation. Nor did he consider that actual warfare might be merely a 3D manifestation of a hidden battlefield: an Information War predicated on the Covenant’s desire to secure in-formation and keep everyone lined up like good little soldiers.

Why is the Covenant so preoccupied with policing what people eat? Zombies are cereal killers, but the Covenant doesn’t seem to have a problem with them. Why, then, is it so determined to police the consumption of specific forms of ‘food’ and control what makes it onto the menu?

If you believe anything that happens ‘out there’ then it would appear that consuming the ‘wrong’ kind of ‘food’ can land you in…

If everything – including us – is information then what exactly does ‘food poverty’ mean?

Is it just me or does ‘reality’ resembles the Hunger Games built on the computer-processed world of the Number Games: data collection, processing, storage, transmission, and interpretation.

“The last decade has seen an accelerating deployment of direct human addressability. As of June 2011, there are roughly six billion mobile subscribers. Roughly ten percent of these individuals have more than one subscription, a phenomenon becoming commonplace in the richer corners of the planet. This means that there are roughly 5.4 billion directly addressable individuals on the planet, individuals who can be reached with the correct series of numbers.


The ‘now’ that we inhabit eludes definition. Even ‘the past’ (including our relics, pictures, and memories of it) only exists in the fleeting moment we call ‘the present’. Chips in our heads? Has the future already happened? Or is this a ‘warning from history’ so to speak, a manifestation of a future-past in a non-existent present, something that could happen if we continue to stumble blindly along the same ‘timeline’? Either way, I for one refuse to be one of Queen Bee’s drones.

Remember this peculiar ritual from the 2012 Paralympic ‘ceremony’?

Had enough of crunching data on your Apple? Maybe now’s the time to re-evaluate your relationship with that wise and slippery serpent?

From Apple crunch to Apple crumble. I’m happy to supply the cream…