Category: neotropes

Win Joe Rogan’s Isolation Tank

Props to Joe Rogan who is so vastly cooler than his Fear Factor persona might betray. You can also see him ranting about DMT here.

The tank makes me see how we often live our lives on the momentum of the past, constantly defining ourselves by how we have already behaved, constantly cycling through a pattern of pre-determined thoughts moving around on these pre-arranged tracks, instead of running our time on this planet through a well considered, best-case scenario approach.

“I want to live my life in a way that, were I not me, and I saw that behavior, it would inspire me to be a better person.”

…The human systems go in a pretty predictable pattern that starts with my personality, and then connects to the various people I come into contact with in my life, and as I pass over that, I eventually branch out to an overview of people in general; egos, relationships, self discipline, then it starts to drift away from individuals, and go to examining cultures, human motivation, symbiotic life, universal consciousness, then slowly but surely it gets to “the place.”
“The place” is the ultimate goal – a state of consciousness at the center of it all where your “mind” doesn’t exist. It’s a place where the ego is temporarily forgotten, and where in the complete absence of sensory input you converge into “everything.” The more I get in the tank and go through the process, the deeper I can go, and the freaky thing is, it doesn’t seem like this experience has an end point. Every single time I get into the tank I get a little bit further, and a little bit closer to the source.

Parting Notes on ETech

This was a great conference and the most consistent collection of speakers and topics I’ve ever experienced. Very fun and inspiring. Lots of hip 30-somethings trying to dream up tomorrow and make it real. It was a a very balanced, yet cutting-edge talk aimed at an eager (and surprisingly mixed-gender)crowd. I noticed that most folks were using Mac laptops – this part of the edge seems to prefer Apple – and it was fascinating to watch many who were blogging the talks while pulling up references dropped by the speakers, tweeting out to Twitter, and snapping/downloading/posting photos in real-time. As speakers dropped references I was pulling them up on my laptop and dropping links into my blog notes.

In the lobby a team was showing off a data viz video mapping real-time communications connecting NYC to the rest of the world. Andrea noticed that a surprising number were with an Italian city called Perugia. Maybe next year they could map the live feed of all web traffic from ETech. Imagine the bitstreams rising off such a gathering of digiterati.

Maybe it was just the Sudafed coursing through our virus-ridden veins (thank you Portland) but ETech was a total intellectual turn-on, from ambient objects, Asian mobile media, green policy and sustainability, hardware hacking & drone building, Austrian post-Situationists, neuroengineering, and the digital salvation of Democracy itself.

I hope I can go back next year!

Heading to San Diego for ETech2008

Hacking brains & iPhones, building DIY aerial drones, ambient data streaming, data viz and crowd movements, ARGs, Vegas, and the Self awakened to it’s own tech. Oh baby!

With the help of my special lady friend (who got work to sport for the hotel, pass, and air) and the help of my employer (I’m doing some booth shifts on the floor in exchange for a pass – I get to rep Adobe AIR), I’m leaving tomorrow morning for sunny San Diego and a week at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference! I’m psyched. I’ve wanted to go for the last few years but couldn’t afford it. All this time, I should have just told my corporate overlords they needed to send me on the company ticket!

I’ll be sending photos to the urbeingrecorded portal via tumblr, and I’ll likely post some keen bits here. Otherwise I’ll be fast hacking my iPhone to control a robotic crowd-sourcing drone I will use to track the culinary habits of tech luminaries and international political dissidents whose footpaths I’ll be datastreaming to various dynamic art installations and ambient devices.

From their site:

How does technology help you perceive things that you never noticed before? How does it help you be found, or draw attention to issues, objects, ideas, and projects that are important, no matter their size or location?

At the 2008 version of ETech, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, we’ll take a wide-eyed look at the brand new tech that’s tweaking how we are seen as individuals, how we choose to channel and divert our energy and attention, and what influences our perspective on the world around us:

Body Hacking. Genomics Hacking. Brain Hacking. Sex Hacking. Food Hacking. iPhone Hacking.
DIY Aerial Drones. DIY Talking Things. DIY Spectrum. DIY Apocalypse Survival.
Emerging Tech of India, Cuba, and Africa. International Political Dissidents.
Visualize Data and Crowds. Ambient Data Streaming.
Good Policy. Energy Policy. Defense Policy. Genetic Policy. Corruption.
Alternate Reality Games. Emotions of Games. Sensor Games.

ETech 2008 will cover all of these topics and more. We put on stage the speakers and the ideas that help our attendees prepare for and create the future, whatever it might be. Great speakers are going to pull us forward with them to see what technology can do… and sometimes shouldn’t do. From robotics and gaming to defense and geolocation, we’ll explore promising technologies that are just that–still promises–and renew our sense of wonder at the way technology is influencing and altering our everyday lives.


New Face & Portal at

I’ve revamped the design and set up as a portal for my primary online activities.
So far:
– links to all my websites (this blog, Fine Hatery, chris23tumblr, and N8UR)
– an rss feed from all of the above
– a picture feed from Tumblr

I’m using Tumblr as a place I can send any mobile content I want to push online from wherever. I can send content from the beach and it gets posted to Tumblr, then pushed out to my homepage and RSS. Sweet!

{I’ll be redesigning this blog soon too…]

Convergence Mobil in Tokyo

From a post at Electroplankton about high convergence functionality in Japanese mobile phones.

Claude is a 27 y.o. Japanese male… (His) typical day starts with him checking his email on his phone. He gets all his daily tasks and calendaring events this way. He then syncs it with his computer. He pays for the subway by placing the phone on a kiosk granting him access past the gates. The commute is spent watching TV on his phone by rotating the screen. A small antenna extends up and catches the wireless digital TV signals (something we will never have here in America). About 45 minutes later, he’s in Tokyo and heads to a vending machine to buy fresh fruit and water. He places the phone up against a pad. The vending machine reads his bank information which is tied into his phone. He then places his thumb on the phone’s tiny thumbprint reader to verify his identity. As he makes his way to the office, he waves the phone near the door handle to unlock it. During a 10 minute break, he’s flips thru a magazine and sees something he wants to buy. The item has a tiny stamp size barcode pictogram next to it. He scans the pictogram with his phone. A receipt and shipping confirmation hits his email minutes later. As the day ends, he syncs with his work computer and goes grocery shopping paying for items with his phone. Before heading home, he heads to a bar his friend has invited him too. He uses the phone to give him step-by-step directions. The day is finally over and his phone’s battery is nearing the end of its life. He plugs it in and goes about the rest of the evening relaxing before bed.

you want some of this? you want some of the glowing??

Korean scientists, clearly infected with toxoplasma, have brought the feline species one step closer to world domination.

The two Turkish Angora cats now glow red when exposed to ultraviolet light. The scientists believe the process could be used to develop treatments for human genetic diseases and could help reproduce rare animals.
…To clone the cats, Kong’s team used skin cells of the mother cat. They modified its genes to make them fluorescent by using a virus, which was transplanted into the ova. The ova were then implanted into the womb of the donor cat.

hello mr. president

This is why the total information state will lose. There’s always some young hot-shot punk kid with a limber mind that will slip right through the chink in your black wall of iron.

An Icelandic teen, MSNBC reports, figured out President Bush’s private phone number, and called it recently, leaving a message saying he was the president of Iceland and wanted Bush to call him back. When police visited the teen, after being alerted by Secret Service, he would not say how he learned the top-secret number.

tokyo baby

more pics here.

(written last week with sporadic web access)
We’ve been in Tokyo for 5 nights now and could easily stay another
couple of weeks. The place is absolutely amazing on so many levels.
Tokyo gives new meaning to the word “metropolis” as the city extends
off in every direction beyond the horizon. It’s simply gigantic,
covering 2187 sq km and contains approx 12.5 million people – that’s
about 6000 people per sq kilometer. So the subways and trains are
almost always packed and the major civic centers are thronged with
people constantly moving in time with the pulse of the crossing
signals and train schedules. Yet somehow in spite of all this the
place is remarkably peaceful, respectful, incredibly clean, and
exceedingly polite.

We’ve been to Harajuku, Akihabara, Shibuya, Ebisu, Roppongi, the Edo
Tokyo museum, the Imperial Palace, many restaurants, numerous vast
shopping districts, and countless rail and metro stations along the
way. Every day has been painfully packed with activities and the
amount of walking required has been brutal on the feet and legs. The
sheer level of detail is overwhelming, from the architecture &
skyline, the kanji adverts & signage, the constant people-watching, 6
floor department stores, 7 floor toy and manga shops packed to the
gills with product, and the crazy buzzing nerd-dom of Akihabara’s
Electric City. The scale and density of the city is recapitulated on
every level here. With 12.5 million people, apparently you need entire
districts devoted to towering stores full of manga & electronics.

Most cars on the road are service vehicles & taxis. Rail and metro are
the dominant transport and they become impossibly packed during rush
hours, but it’s quite refreshing to be free from the gas beasts we so
adore at home. Everyone is constantly using cell phones and although
talking on them is not typically allowed in trains and stores they are
constantly interfacing with them, texting, reading novels, browsing
the web, or watching tv (their cell phones have antennae that
pick up digital tv). In fact, finding any open wireless nets is quite
difficult since everyone has web access on their mobiles. And yes, the
toilet in our hotel room has a remote control. They’re years ahead of

The city layout is exceedingly complex and chaotic, like a tangled
mess of udon noodles. There are no rectilinear grids of streets. It’s
just a wild criss-cross that loosely tracks the underground rails.
Thankfully the public transport is exceptional and the trains run to
the second.

Today we take the shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto for a 5 night stay
there. It should provide a fascinating contrast to the hyper-neo
metropolis of Tokyo, yielding to the deep traditions of classic Japan.
Until the mid 1800’s Kyoto was the capital, proudly rooted in
thousands of years of tradition. Then emeperor Meiji move to Edo and
renamed it Tokyo. This marked the shift from old Japan into the new
age when the country began to open up to the west and march towards the
industrialized superpower it is today. Tokyo is the new and Kyoto is
the old.

After that we have 7 nights unplanned which will either take us to the
beaches in Izu, or perhaps the mountains near Nagano, but most likely
back to Tokyo for one last week in the metropolis. Every day in the
city so far we have packed full to the brim. And every day we learn of
more we wish to see and explore and experience. Kyoto will be a nice
retreat and respite but the shiny crazy glow of NeoTokyo is magnetic
and irresistible. I’ve never met a city like this!

Neo Tokyo

underground rail map of Tokyo. The same chaos of these lines is mirrored in the streets & avenues above them. Aerial images and line maps of the city look like a frenetic, writhing organic sprawl, like a mix between unrestrained Banyan trees and the semi-conscious muscles and tissues that wrapped around Tetsuo as he grew. I think a time lapse of Tokyo urban development over the last 100 years would show ever-emerging serpentine growths lashing out and wending their way towards the throbbing and expanding pulse of the city center, bubbling at and away from the great Imperial Palace. To date, 23 wards have pressed away from the sea and out to the foothills, filling in the remaining gaps steadily.

These 2 hi-res NASA radiometric images of the city illustrate the sheer density, revealing it as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. So many people with such a seeming civility. I saw a quote somewhere to the effect that Japan has learned to defend it’s history and the precious traditions it has crafted over so many centuries against the constant onrush of modernity. Thus, the multifaceted and somewhat schizoid state of it’s capital, at once bleeding right over the edge of digital hyperspace and simultaneously reposed under the austerity of Mt. Fuji and the calm sine of clarity hung on the tune of the temple bell. Japan is rooted in a deep and old animism. It’s electronics are alive.

I called Cingular to see if I could use my phone over there. They told me none of the US phones worked in Japan because their cellular system is so advanced that no-one else has caught up. I think they’re using 5G. Seriously. I may be able to rent a phone when I get there. Apparently this is a reasonable business model catering to technologically savage foreigners like myself.

I honestly can’t believe I’m going to be right in the middle of it all. I’m beginning to understand the locations of these semi-mythic places I learned from Gibson – like Chiba Prefecture, Akihabara, Shinjuku. Names like ono sendai. I’m re-reading Mona Lisa Overdrive just to get back into the fringes of those hyperkinetic streets, still just a collection of shadowy images in my mind.