Tuesday, April 15, 2008

nobody ever dies on facebook

There are allegedly 70M people on facebook

How many of the facebook pages belong to dead people?

Do the math.

I see dead social networks, everywhere.

Will Self would love this - the cyberdead are here. Talk about zombies (half dead unix processes) and orphans (memory that is not referenced from anywhere). Hollywood has come to deadwood.

What we now need is a mortuary for the socially deceased. Perhaps (like in Evelyn Waugh's awful Loved One) they live on, ever accreting more friends - but are their friends all dead, or just mostly dead?

Given the political times in which we live (in), perhaps the Dalai Lama could go home and with the Chinese, set up a profitable startup running the
Tibetan Facebook of the Dead.

CSI Web, to appear on a flatscreen near you real soon. Slow motion action replays on youtube of how the site owner met their sticky end...(and remember, there is no resurrection this side of Cyber Heaven).

city route finding sites

in the last 7 months I've had the opportunity (nay, reader, necessity) to use route planning systems in 3 big cities: London, Paris and Madrid.
Google maps- forget it:)

in London, Transport for London run a pretty good site that covers all modes of transport including cycling (with fairly useful advice on routes for that most difficult mode)

weirdly, though, if i ask how to get from (say) King's Cross (St Pancras Innterational) to Heathrow Aiport, it offers tube+Heathrow express, when in fact the Picadilly line (if you limit it to tube only) involves no changes and is actually the same journey time and 26 pounds less return:)

So in paris, I recommend the Via Michelin site
which is excellent, and includes cycling as an option (as above) with accurate info.
only downside was airport advice which was a bit odd (in terms of RER to gare du nord being fine but thence, connection advice was a little lumpy:)

Finally, Madrid has a very good web site for visitors using public transport (which is possibly even better than Paris!) - see
but again the advice on getting to the airport from (say) Leganes (where I am on sabbatical at UC3M/IMDEA Networks). They said take the metro the whole way as it is only 2 euro (awesome) and 1.30mins, but the train from Leganes to Atocha, then train to Nuevos Minesterios, then metro line 8 is in the working day, way faster - it could just be they compute some average (out of working day, train waiting time could make it same journey!)....I will test this later in the week!

Anyhow, traveling across all 3 cities is really quite amazing (actually, was in Tokyo and Kyoto last summer and I should do a comparison with them, as they were cool too, although cycling in tokyo might be mad, it looked fine in Kyoto).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

becoming less human through GPS

so in a taxi in madrid yesterday, i felt concerned that the satnav
system the driver used took all the skill (the "knowledge, as
london Hackney CarriageCab Drivers will tell you) out of the job
thru dumbing down.

then I thought "ah, but at least the driver cannot cheat me, as I can tell
that he's asked the satnav box for the right destination"

then I thought " ah, but if he's really smart, then he could hack the map
or algorithm to lie to me..."

then i thought "nah, if he was that smart, he'd either not have a satnav,
or he'd work for Nasa or Galileo or Garmin"...

either way, its demeaning...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

uploading humans 1.0

consciousness! interesting stuff...not, as some think, the stuff of magic, but really a feature of reflection (CS idea) applied to indirection (CS idea) and abstraction (CS idea) - basically, humans have evolved the ability to consider multiple levels of intentionality - but even only 2 layers ("I think the he believes that she does X because") is sufficent if applied to oneself ...

ok, with that little hurdle out the way, then, one has a thread observing the other threads. Pause all the threads, save the state, and upload (think Xen Migration).

SO now you restart on different bare metal (metal! wow - post human!). Now, you have continuity (so ok, there's a pause, but it could be pretty quick so you might not notice more than a few missing interrupts). But....why is the old you not there anymore? surely (stop calling me shirley) just as with teleporting real stuff, tele-loading self() is copying - the old you has to be terminated (kill -9 old me - no, wait, the new me didnt copy right and the checksum() integrity check reported a missing memory:)

so this is interesting philosphically anyhow - so the locus of consciousness moves around a bit (a little bit of thinking in the past, some experience of NOW[], and a little prediciton about future. So halting self(), is a temporary death. restarting self) on new hardware , is that resusciutation or rebirth? memories of the way we were on the old hardware, they aren't actuall memories - they are restored backups of memories....

what ae the legal implications? coptyiright? right to die of corrupt self->old()?
patent on error correcting migrate(self())? etc etc

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home