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

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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).

diagramGHGHGH

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:

…” ..is 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.

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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..

Pixel

Are pixels an alien language ?

original

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

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Twitter or Tumblr

Waste
Waste

Do I really need  twitter?

After a short experience with the renowned social network my conclusion is: no I don’t need  Twitter at all. For me it is an absolute waste of time. Then why didn’t I delete my account? Well I have no conclusive answer in  my defence. So not being able to find my own answer I asked the omnipotent Google “Why Do I Need Twitter”?  The  Mountain View California cyberspace oracle response was perhaps more conclusive, but in is own particular way.

Do Facebook users need Twitter? 

The Savvy Boomer: Do boomers need to Twitter? And so on, see here.

In one of  the  entries I found ,,”Having joined Facebook years ago at the urging of my students, I am now wondering whether I need to take the “next step” and use Twitter. Personally, I sometimes wonder why I even care what I’m doing at the moment, much less whether the entire world cares. So, is Twitter just a “voluntary” Big Brother or does it have real value?”.. see here

Well Google surely has some specific answer to my personal question, but investigating 140 million entries to find an answer, if there is one, is a tedious affair.

Anyway I decided to ask Tweeter himself  why should I need him . Interestingly enough many tweeters ask the same question and I  suspect that Tweeter in an indirect way is asking himself  “To Tweet or nor to Tweet?”.  A few “answers” from the above query illustrate the new twittering Hamlet dilemma:

“I wonder why we need twitter when FB can do exactly the same thing, does it better and has more features. Oh well.” 

“.. guess I need to use this more, but most of my “free” time is on facebook. why do people like twitter more?”

..”.. what the hell is this twitter thing for? why do we need to tell the world what we are doing? why do I have to know what others are doing?” 

Now there are people who not only ask “to twitter or not to twitter”, they positively state, like Andrew Michael Baron that “Twitter is Dead, Weep”:
..”I am SO sorry for writing this, I L-O-V-E Twitter. Love it! I’m just so sorry to say, Tumblr replaces it. It’s that simple. Tumblr is to the iPhone what Twitter is to the pager. “..see more.
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Well I was a bit surprised that  “The twitter is dead long live the Tumblr”. And so, thinking about my wasted  time on twitter at a rate 0f 140 words per post, I found Tumblr where I can waste my time more efficiently . Not being imprisoned in a straitjacket of 140 characters, the obvious advantages (for me) are that Tumblr is a scrapblog, some sort of storyboard where my  quotation, photos, text,links, chats and video can be amalgamated as beads on a thread.
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Anyway, I am always wasting time on something. In fact it is a bare entropic necessity and Tmblr is becoming “my time wasting recycle machine”..
(BTW, afterall, when I am posting to my  blog  ImprintOnreality on Tumblr, automatically it is reposted on twitter.. nice..)
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Electronic waste
Electronic waste
Source here.
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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 Menassat.com 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 http://www.scoop.co.il/, (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