The Facebook Crowd, Loving or Hating ?

Facebook has become a gigantic crowd of believers and adepts, with his sub-crowds ranging from friendship to hate sects. For hate see on the Australian  “National Times” or here on the  “The Tech Herald

For friendship see the above abstract network visualization of facebook ( click to enlarge) and here is the following excerpt from the same facebook article:

..”Visualizing data is like photography. Instead of starting with a blank canvas, you manipulate the lens used to present the data from a certain angle.

When the data is the social graph of 500 million people, there are a lot of lenses through which you can view it. One that piqued my curiosity was the locality of friendship. I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them”.., see more on facebook.

Anyway, populated by loving individuals or hating individuals: a crowd is a crowd. The hating and loving ‘density’ of the crowd as such is not always a panacea, especially the love and hate of the religions.

A more direct visualization of what a crowd can be, loving or hating, is the drawing below from my coming exhibition on ‘Celebrities’, (click to enlarge).

The ‘TwitterFacebook’ Messiah Mode

My above drawing is an improvisation  representing (perhaps) our entombment or  resurrection embedded in our new virtual neighborhood.

Not so long ago our neighborhood was perceived as the outdoor scene: the street with all his ramifications traffic and people. Every direction under the sun the rain or the snow was an open playfield . Today a new playfield , the ‘TwitterFacebook’ band, is emerging as a new social religion with his rituals and daily  imperatives. Mother nature herself, under her urban mode or her outdoor mode,  is under the direct heavy attack of the ‘TwitterFacebook’ band or gang, chose the epithet you like.

In medieval times:

great painters painted Crucifixions, Entombments and Resurrections. See Grunewald’s altarpiece, left. Or in our modern time Francis Bacon’s modern crucifixion, right.

If  so, why not create the artworks needed to glorify the new ‘TwitterFacebook’ church? With their Membership of about 700 millions people, see here and here, the Vatican himself may feel like an endangered species. And it is worth to note that hordes of Christian Jewish and Islamic believers are members of the new church, holding a two headed passport to their new heaven…

Anyway, the time is ripe  to paint the new Crucifixions, Entombments and Resurrections and to canonize the new Saints of the church in cathedrals a la Frank Ghery.

A practicing member of the church:

BTW, here is the beautiful song ‘The Messiah isn’t coming’ … a song by Shalom Hanoch, listen here on You Tube.

Iranian Ayatollahs and Science Fiction


Aliens or strange protocols…source

The following headers are surely no science fiction and may fit in any major press article about  the hot events of the day:

….”President’s Barak Obama Al-Hazhar speech on 4 Jun 2009 to the Arab-Muslim world.”

“The lesson of the recent revolutionary events in Iran, after the  Ahmadinejad fraudulaus election.”

These are major straightforward events with a global media dissemination and visualization (..Twitter, Facebook etc…). But despite their realness, they are only the top of the iceberg. The remote hidden part may tell stories on the verge of science fiction.

Now, perhaps the Iranian Ayatollahs should be interested to know that the US homeland security  department in an unpredictable move discover that there is such a curiosity named  science fiction  , I quote:

…”U.S. Mission for Sci-Fi Writers: Imagine That Novelists Plot the Future Of Homeland Security…

The line between what’s real and what’s not is thin and shifting, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided to explore both sides. Boldly going where few government bureaucracies have gone before, the agency is enlisting the expertise of science fiction writers. … .Crazy? This week down at the Reagan Building, the 2009 Homeland Security Science & Technology Stakeholders Conference has been going on. Instead of just another wonkish series of meetings and a trade show, with contractors hustling business around every corner, this felt at times more like a convention of futuristic yarn-spinners.”… see here.

And going one step further, remembering the hidden part of the iceberg.

When I read the transcript of Obama’s speech I don’t explicitly think about the print  paper the ink and the whole publishing process. The same is true for twitter, facebook or other  social networking sites. I don’t care about internet protocols or any hardware apparatus. Moreover seeing the harsh Tehran clashes pictures on my monitor does not put me in a meditative mood about pixels or about myself as the one who implacably  produce what in my everyday life I experienced as love, emotions, work, art, war, or the “twittering revolutionary events in Iran”. I am only the end user sitting on the top of the iceberg. No science fiction here.

To be more specific, in this inexorable implicit course of absorbing information I only see the  real life  pictures and don’t have any awareness of let’s say -invoking here some weird science (fiction..) –  something like the Feynman diagrams, which is a mathematical protocol  juggling with discrete energy jumps underlying every physical event, including analogously the internet protocols the paper and ink publishing and my physical self. They are all taken for granted at some hidden semi-science-fiction level like in the Minority Report movie where the police can predict future crimes leading to their prevention, (the film is based on a Philip K. Dick story).


Feynman diagrams.

A good example for this taken-f0r-grantedness is the neutrino effect, I quote..”I can illustrate that. [Your] thumbnail’s about roughly a square centimeter. Every second, about a hundred billion of these solar neutrinos according to our calculations would be passing through your thumbnail every second of every day of every year of your life, and you never notice it.” see here. ..pure science fiction..

In this context, to most people, jiggling diagrams and neutrinos seems to be a fiction  far away from our real life.. But fiction is the name of the game because  being well suited to dig into my shadowy activities working at some inside level in me without asking my permission to do so, a strategy well understood by the brainless swine flu.

And indeed if I am relying on today’s hard core science, exploring this sort of futurist fiction can create the new visual pictures and their interpretations my hint for the unseen part of the iceberg pointing in new directions where science fiction, fiction and non-fiction merge together. The Iranian events my act here as a good metaphor.

I remember Greg Bear’s science fiction novel “Eon”. Pictures generated by the novel, see here, following these new visual  themes  are in diametrical opposition to pictures from the electoral events in Iran (2009) . The first picture below,  is the  representation by the press, TV  the bloggers and  the social nets of the green Iranian opposition protest against the outcome of the vote. The picture is direct, violent and utterly emotional. For the great majority of media users there is no room for (science) fiction speculation, this the true real stuff.

Vote protest Tehran

The second picture  described by the visual artist Kaufeldt:

…” supposed to depict the moment when Lanier is leaving Patricia with a bunch of books in the Alexandria Library (my words: named after the historical library see here), and she is just about to find the passage describing The Death, which will happen in just a few weeks in their timeline, although it is already ancient history for the historian who wrote the book in question.”…

The “Death” describe the annihilation of the planet Earth. A much greater violent event than the Iranian opposition protest but an event buried into science fiction fantasy so having lesser credibility than the actual  immediate deadly events in Iran.


Kaufeldt’s drawing based on “Eon”. Click to enlarge.

Kaufeldt , depicting the heroes world of Greg Bear’s novel “Eon” presuppose in their world the explicit action of  their modern physics in their everyday on all his aspects . We don’t presuppose such explicit acting of science and no author would written such fantasies: they are  only science fiction..with no real credibility. For instance, black holes are invoked mostly as a metaphor not as the real thing described by science . . So you can always say that the Iranian opposition will be annihilated inside an Ayatollahs black hole.. and Twitter will spate them out in the reverse direction from within a white hole… the stuff for a good science fiction story..

In Eon the metaphor is becoming real. Historians from our future  already wrote our own history: and events that where actually  going to happen where already recorded in their history book called “the Death”, announcing from their timeline, the imminent destruction of Earth in in our timeline,. Their stories are embedded in what they see or feel or know as time travel,  black hole singularity  and gates to other worlds. For us this is only weird fantasy.

Most conventional fiction writers wrote their novels and stories representing our world without mentioning explicitly that their characters and plots are staged in an underpinning  physical world who can act explicitly as some kind of character. The stories are told on a direct psychologist level and the physical environment is always here anonymously.

So when is the physical environment loosing it’s science fiction anonymity in the sense that we acknowledge it’s merging with the stories  of our life..

With the violent events in Tehran, the social networks and in particular Twitter and You Tube moving explicitly to the front stage not only as social networks transmitting in real time the bloody events in Iran, but as building-up an underlying pattern of some sort of collective random mind sending bits of  information revealing a resource that three decades ago would be considered as pure science fiction curiosity. The metaphor of the virtual and the non-creditable fantasy become a  reality in the Islamic state of the Ayatollahs.

In this context look at what Paul Krugman 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics has to say. Being interviewed by Jim Lehrer, see here, he says:

..”Jim Lehrer
“When and why did you decide to become an economist in the first place?”

Paul Krugman
‘That’s a little embarrassing. I don’t know how many of your viewers read science fiction, but there’s a very old series by Isaac Asimov – the Foundation novels – in which the social scientists who understand the true dynamics save civilization. That’s what I wanted to be; it doesn’t exist, but economics is as close as you can get, so as a teenager I really got into it.’

Krugman is talking about the psychohistorians like Hari Seldon, who practiced the science of psychohistory; in the Foundation series, Seldon predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire and then works with a team to reduce the period during which civilization falls into barbarism to a single millenium.”…

Well let me guess, to the grand dismay of president Obama and many other political leaders who are not psychohistorians, they did not predict the events of the Iranian vote and this seems plausible.  But the social earthquake of the Iranian revolutionary events,  generating the twitter, you tube, sms and cellular phone cameras tsunami, may remind Obama and the Ayatollahs  that we are already a world embedded in the science fiction of a viral eco-information era acting as a flue without a possible medication.

And if talking about the era of information here is the following quote:

…”Harry McDavid, chief information officer for Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination & Planning, had a question for Catherine Asaro, author of two dozen novels, about half of them devoted to her Saga of the Skolian Empire. She also has a PhD in physics. McDavid’s job involves ‘information sharing’ — efficiently communicating information about response and recovery across agencies, states, business sectors. How, he wanted to know, did Asaro come up with the Triad system in her novels of flashing thoughts instantly across the universe?

‘It evolved along with the story,’ Asaro said. Basically, she applied principles of quantum theory — one of her specialties as a physicist — to a fictional theory of ‘thought space.’ “… see here.

And below pictures of funny information languages..


Are pixels an alien language ?


The Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli in conventional language..see more.


I, Fashion Robot and Carla Bruni

Robot catwalk
Robot catwalk
It can always be said that something innovative lurks out from the unknown. But will the Japanese fashion model robot’ HRP-4C catwalk be the innovative One and revolutionize the near future of fashion shows?
The fact is that the clumsy behavior of the Japanese  ‘fashion model robot’ HRP-4C, doesn’t left much space for my imagination. In his actual appearance, lacking ambiguity and mystery he is at most a curiosity  with a great potential for improvement. I quote ..” Japan has produced a walking, talking fashion robot. Standing at just over 5-feet tall and 95-pounds, HRP-4C, developed by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, will make its catwalk debut next week at the Tokyo fashion show.”, see here .

If  innovation, mystery and human ambiguity are references points, then for example:

..Is it not still a long way until the Japanese new fashion model robot will have the look of former top model Carla Bruni and today’s wife of french president Nicolas Sarkozy. How can the french chic of such a beautiful hardwired into a robot..

Carla Bruni on the catwalk
Carla Bruni on the catwalk

And further.  Who does not remember the beautiful android in “Blade Runner“,  the actress Sean Young  as Rachael,  a replicant with limited sexual memories.

Sean Young as Rachel in Blade Runner
Sean Young as Rachel in Blade Runner

Perhaps it’s not fair to compare the Japanese fashion robot with Sean Young as the replicant. In the love scene between her and  Deckard, the scene suggest, that despite her inexperience in love matters, she has a human magic suggestivity lacking in our robot fashion HRP-4C in the role of a top fashion model . Rachael, as a replicant, has surely Carla Bruni’s class and much more. Whole audiences in the screening theaters are and where overwhelmed by her pervading  emotional erotic charm.

The following comment ( You Tube) on the love scene between Rachael and Deckard, resume those emotions in a few keywords, love, human, android, soul, robot and technology. Our ambiguous feelings confered those attributes to Rachael and forget that she is pseudo human and not a perfect human replica:

“What I love the most about this movie and it’s” love” theme is two things: One… that, if human beings could reach such levels of technology and create a biological android does such creature have a soul? Or furthermore, Do they have a soul and second…can they love? Soul and Love. From a human perspective and as viewer we love Rachel and feel for her plight. We love her as a woman that potentially she is not from the outside but from the inside. Emotion is captivated more than a view. ” see here page 2.

The same can not be said about our new fashion robot:

..”For the first time ever, a robot walked a fashion runway today in Tokyo. Well it didn’t exactly walk, but sort of wobbled like someone waking from an anesthesia-induced stupor. Although this was a great feat in the robotics industry, don’t expect HRP-4C, the Cybernetic fashion model, to hit another catwalk anytime soon because her signature walk needs a lot of work.”.. see here.

So from the real   fashion model robot HRP-4C, back in time to  Philip K. Dicks novel  “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”  to Ridley Scott’s movie  ‘ Blade Runner’  where android Rachael with  the help of the Tyrell corporation is hardwired for humanlike  acting, we come again to our own days where real initiatives are taken to creating  acting robots. And indeed  here is an example of such an initiative:

…”Despite becoming increasingly lifelike in appearance, robots still have terrible body language.

But Bilge Mutlu and colleague’s team at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, is changing that with robots that “leak” non-verbal information through eye movements when interacting with humans. The eyes of a robot may not provide a window into its soul, but they can help humans guess the machine’s intentions.

Humans constantly give off non-verbal cues and interpret the signals of others – but without realising it at a conscious level, says Mutlu. The trembling hands of a public speaker betray their nerves even before a word is uttered, while poker players leak subtle signs such as eye flickers or twitches that can be used to spot bluffers.

But when faced with a robot all our interpretive skills are irrelevant. Robots leak no information, so it is virtually impossible to read their intentions, which makes them hard to get along with.”…

Anyway, human actors, like Sean Young as Rachael and Robin Williams in the ‘Bicentennial Man’, are playing the role of robots and androids much better than robots are playing the role of human beings. The bottom logic is that humans are programming the robots very badly,

But who knows what the future is hidden from us. It seems that to socialise with robots in Facebook in the future is not so unrealistic.. Or perhaps, in going one step further, humanlike robots will invent their own social network FaceRobots, where the real humans will be  considered as an old invention of some evolutionary Darwinian process.

If you don’t believe me then please read this:

Vernor Vinge
Vernor Vinge

…”No name is linked more tightly to the idea of the Singularity, see here and here, than that of Vernor Vinge, 63, who for four decades has written stories about the ways humanity and its technologies are building a future that may be impossible for us even to imagine. “It seems plausible,” Vinge says, “that with technology we can, in the fairly near future, create or become creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such a singular event are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.”…see here.


Citizen journalism in Lebanon and Bread in Egypt

Some Middle East Arab countries, despite being in a most censored region of the world, try to join by all means, the cohorts of bloggers, social nets and now,  Citizen Journalism, I quote,..

..”Citizen journalism initiative launched in Lebanon.” (10.04.2008) 

The first alternative online publication in the Arab world has been launched in Lebanon, according to the Menassat Web site. The “e-newspaper,” called Jaridtak, meaning “your newspaper,” is directed at Arabic-speakers throughout the world and to the world at large through English- and French-language Web sites,”.. see here.Jaridtak, meaning ,,your newspaper-6

See here Jaridtak translated in English

“Meet your newspaper” is an interview   with Jaridtak founder Maya Rahhal, published in Menassat (literally means “platforms” in Arabic) , I quote,…

……”Jaridtak (Your newspaper) is the first Arabic-language experiment with citizen e-journalism; it is entirely written by its readers.Maya Rahal (Maya Rahhal). ..”M.R. : ‘No newspaper today reflects the opinion of the impartial citizen’ “…”MENASSAT: What kind of subjects will Jaridtak tackle? M.R.: We want to stay away from politics. The subjects are social, concerning every person, away from politics. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t publish political articles. We study the real interest of the citizen. For instance, the most popular article today is about the first lady of France, Carla Bruni.”… see moreCarla Bruni2


‘Menassat’ ,the host site of the above interview, in the article ” From Beirut with love” issued a statement by his editorial team, highlighting the fears of censoring, and pointing to their common dilemmas as to how and what to publish, I quote:


..”Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re a brand-new website with a network of correspondents throughout the Arab world. Our modest mission: to defend press freedom and freedom of expression wherever we can find it. “..Sure enough, there is censorship in Lebanon. Somewhere in the towering General Security building in Beirut .. is a man with a black marker who routinely crosses out any mention of Israel in foreign publications. (Esteez, if you are reading this: we would love to interview you some day.) There is also a special unit whose job it is to attend every single theater premiere. (The Lebanese know never to go to the premiere – it is the toned-down version for the state censors.) But that’s about it for censorship in Lebanon. It is the reason why we are building the website here and not in, say, Damascus – where we would surely be shut down -, or in Baghdad – where we would likely be shot down,  see more.

A good example of the Internet’s irreducible essence is exemplified  by the “Bread Crisis” in Egypt .  Menassat brings her story of the riots in:  “Revenge of the art_egypt_bread_ap pyjamahedeen” (By John Ehab in Cairo and Alexandra Sandels in Beirut), and in some sense shows how a cyber guerrilla works..”In the old days when you wanted to suppress a general strike you just sent in the troops to crack some heads. Nowadays, Egypt’s security forces are facing an army of Internet-savvy activists using Twitter, Facebook, text messaging and blogging as their weapons.”..

And another  quote, ..”  Egypt’s outspoken bloggers constitute one of the most active blogging communities in the Arab world and their online activism has become a constant pain for the authorities. Waging war on the regime from their bedrooms, they sometimes proudly refer to themselves as the “pyjamahedeen.” for the full interesting article see here.  And finally, good news  for the contributors of  the Libanian citizen journal ‘Jaridtak’ will be, if they upload theirs articles  without too much censorship .

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.
good stuff:korzac, I like this story. It’s good stuff. Very interesting!

amyjudd, thanks for the comment and the GS.

Great to see these initiatives taking hold in the Middle East.

Rachel, thanks for the comment.

BTW, there is a Citizen Journal in Israel…here, (In Hebrew).

Barry, thanks for the comment and GS.

I just posted a story from their web page, Saudi’s 1st Female Photojournalist “Shock and Awe”

I read your story and as always a good story.. see my comment on your post

Identity Imposture on Facebook


On November 12.2007, on channel 10 (Israel), Yaron London, program presenter of  “London and  Kirschenbaum”, told his audience that an impostor has usurped his name and made him a member of Facebook without his knowledge. His suspicion arouse from the  bizarre question of his friends about his ‘interest in women’ . After a brief inquiry he found to his asthonisment,that he is the victim of an identity imposture.(Yaron London is a well know media star in Israel) ,see here video in Hebrew’ and here

A further look about Facebook  imposture and identity thefts shows that the case of Yaron London is a  minor one, there are more severe cases.

My identity was stolen on Facebook..”one morning last November a letter drops on the doormat of Victoria Sennitt’s family home. It’s addressed to the 24-year-old university graduate and is from a mobile phone company welcoming her to a new contract and explaining the ins and outs of the deal she has just signed up to”…….”When Victoria joined Facebook she To aid the process she filled in her online profile with as much detail as possible – adding her e-mail address, home address, phone numbers and even her date of birth.”…..”The ironic thing is that in the real world I am really careful with sensitive personal information,” she says. “I shred anything that might be of use to anyone; all my correspondence, my old bank statements, bills and documents”…see more.

Why (Your MySpace) or Facebook Profile Might Get Your Identity Stolen...”If you have an account on one of these sites, go ahead and look at your profile. If you filled out each one of the fields, people would know your full name, your address, your birth-date, your employer information, your hometown, your phone number, your email addresses and a lot of other personal information that you wouldn’t want just anyone to know about you, let alone acquire easily just by visiting your profile page.”…” The problem has gotten so bad that nearly 50% of Facebook users are displaying enough information to steal their identity”.. see more.

Is Facebook stealing your identity?…”According to new research by Sophos, 41% of people accepted the friend request of their fabricated Facebook profile ‘Freddie Staur’ an anagram of ID Fraudster. Of this 41%, 78% of people listed their address, while a massive 23% listed their current phone number. According to Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, “while accepting friend requests is unlikely to result directly in theft, it is an enabler”. He goes on to say that our laissez-faire attitude is, “giving cyber criminals many of the building blocks they need to spoof identities”. Indeed one user diviluged his mother’s maiden name – information often requested by websites in order to retrieve account details.It is bemusing why we put this level of trust into a public website.”…”Facebook has recently announced its intention to allow even those not registered on the site to search for a specific person through search engines such as Google, without even visiting the Facebook site. Even on a university network level this trust in facebook is madness.”… see more,

A funny story from “Slate”…”Rudy Giuliani’s daughter is supporting Barack Obama”…”On her profile, she designates her political views as “liberal” and—until this morning—proclaimed her membership in the Facebook group “Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack).” According to her profile, she withdrew from the Obama group at 6 a.m. Monday, after Slate sent her an inquiry about it. In what may be an effort to avoid public connection to her famous father, the future Harvard freshman and recent graduate of Trinity School in Manhattan uses a slight variation of her name on the Facebook site. But she didn’t lock her profile, allowing any Facebook user with access to the Harvard or Trinity School networks (more than 42,000 people) to view her detailed profile. (As a Harvard student, I was able to see it.)”.. see more.

Advertising on Facebook and the controversy about Facebook-Beacons…”Beacons track what people do on the Internet while being logged in to Facebook. When I read an article in the New York Times, the New York Times will send a short notice to my Facebook profile which then will be displayed to my Facebook friends (or whoever can read my feed according to my privacy settings). I need to be logged into Facebook.”…Fred Stutzman explains how this works: Any time you load [a] Beacon-enabled page, Facebook knows exactly what you are looking at. In essence, this setup is sending your clickstream and path data to Facebook, precisely correlated to your Facebook identity.”…see here and here.

Facebook users risk identity theft Facebook…”The BBC consumer show Watchdog conducted an experiment by setting up a fictional identity on Facebook called ‘Amba Friend’, accompanied by a cartoon picture of an attractive girl in her 20s.The team then contacted 100 people at random inviting them to be her friend.Despite knowing nothing about the person, 35 of those contacted replied immediately – giving ‘Amba’ and the Watchdog team access to any personal details they shared on the site.”..see here.

On ‘Investor Daily News’…”Dawn Telfer is one of thousands of people across the country who has had their identity stolen from the internet. Dawn missed seeing her friends and work colleagues while on maternity leave. Discovering social networking sites gave her the ability to stay in touch. Most of the websites insist on certain personal details before they will allow you to set up an account with them. She had to provide private information such as “full” name, address, phone number, email and date of birth, much of which went onto her online profile. It ended up costing her 6,000 when someone stole her identity after reading about her on MySpace. “They were able to contact my bank and set up two overdrafts in my name then transfer the money out,” said Dawn.  “The bank told me that they would only refund the money if I could prove the transfer was fraudulent. You try proving that you haven’t made an online transfer. During the months they investigated, they froze my bank account!””, see here.

The list can be continued indefinitely…

And finally a short opinion found on a blog.4-…”I have deleted / deactivated both my Myspace and Facebook pages because they were annoying me and social network sites are the cultural cancer of the 21st century”…see here #4.

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.
good stuff:It’s something I always wondered about… if I search for, say, “Tom Waits”, I get all sorts of name matches of people claiming to be the alt-folk-rock-cabaret-noise legend…

Primo, are YOU the REAL Jordan?    Secundo, I hope that in NowPublic there are no identity thefts.

Tertio, thanks for the flag.

Rob Peters super editor Rob Peters

You know the adage “things will happen while they can”.   Rob thanks for the flag.

liamssoft news wrangler liamssoft at 12:21 on November 14th, 2007

good stuff:korzac, Many thanks for the new ID theft stories which need as much publicity as they can get. We are getting the same in the UK ID theft Hits Britain online and offline.

I read your article: very impressive. Publishing a list of the worst postcodes for identity fraud is a good idea for every country.    Thanks for the flag.

good stuff: korzac, a problem which will most likely only get worse and Facebook doesn’t seem to have a way of preventing it.

ryan thanks for the comment and the flag.    BTW, Moti Kirschenboin on his tv program  ”London and  Kirschenbaum” said that at his age he doesn’t need a Facebook but a Facelift.