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Tag Archives: internet
Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:24 pm
The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.
Trumps first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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An already over-powerful surveillance state is about to be let loose on the American people, said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, an internet and privacy advocacy organization.
In a reversal of curbs imposed after Edward Snowdens revelations in 2013 about mass data-gathering by the NSA, Trump and Congress may move to reinstate the collection of bulk telephone records, renew powers to collect the content of e-mails and other internet activity, ease restrictions on hacking into computers and let the FBI keep preliminary investigations open longer.
Read more: Apple, the FBI and encryption — a QuickTake
A first challenge for privacy advocates comes this week: A new rule is set to go into effect on Dec. 1 letting the FBI get permission from a judge in a single jurisdiction to hack into multiple computers whose locations arent known.
Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
Wyden is one of seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul, who have introduced a bill, S. 3475, to delay the new policy until July to give Congress time to debate its merits and consider amendments.
Sessions, Pompeo and officials with national security and law enforcement agencies have argued that expanded surveillance powers are needed, especially because of the threat of small, deadly terrorist plots that are hard to detect, like the killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June and 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last year.
The FBI had at one point opened a preliminary investigation into the Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, but didnt have the authority to keep it going for lack of evidence of wrongdoing.
Whats needed is a fundamental upgrade to Americas surveillance capabilities, Pompeo and a co-author wrote in a Wall Street Journal commentary in January. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.
Pompeo and Sessions want to repeal a 2015 law that prohibits the FBI and NSA from collecting bulk phone records — metadata such as numbers called and dates and times — on Americans who arent suspected of wrongdoing.
“Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database,” Pompeo wrote.
Press aides for Sessions and Pompeo declined to comment.
Sessions has opposed restraints on NSA surveillance and said in June that he supported legislation to expand the types of internet data the FBI can intercept without warrants.
Congress is also expected to consider legislation early next year that would renew the governments ability to collect the content of e-mail and other internet activity from companies such as Google and Facebook Inc.
Under the Prism program, investigators pursuing suspected terrorists can intercept the content of electronic communications believed to come from outside the U.S. without specific warrants even if one end of the communications is inside the country or involves an American.
Prism came under criticism when it was exposed by Snowden, the former NSA contractor who stole hundreds of thousands of documents on agency surveillance programs. Section 702 of the USA Patriot Act, under which Prism and other spy programs are conducted, is set to expire at the end of 2017 if it isnt reauthorized by Congress.
James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has said he also wants to renew a debate early next year about whether Apple and other companies can resist court warrants seeking to unlock encrypted communications. The agency went to court trying to force Apple to create new software to crack password protection on a phone used by the shooter in San Bernardino.
Boycott Apple until they give up the information, Trump said at a rally in South Carolina in February. He said Tim Cook, Apples chief executive officer, is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is. Apple should give up.
While the FBI dropped that case against Apple after buying a tool to hack into the phone, the increasing use of encryption on mobile devices and messaging services remains a challenge to national security and law enforcement agencies.
Republicans led by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina are expected to re-introduce legislation requiring companies to give investigators access to encrypted communications.
The FBI is also seeking legislation that would allow it to obtain non-content electronic communication transactional records, such as browsing histories and computer Internet Protocol addresses, without court oversight or a warrant.
Sessions and Burr supported the legislation earlier this year, while it was opposed by major technology groups as well as Google and Facebook.
See the original post:
FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under …
Posted: November 30, 2016 at 6:41 pm
And why are they so important?
An introduction by James Oroc, 1/11/11
This web-site is dedicated to the only two known endogenous entheogens, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-Methoxy-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT).
These two compounds are of unique interest to humanity for a number of extraordinary reasons probably the best-known being the simple fact that they are the most powerful of the known natural psychedelics. Found in the leaves, roots, and bark of a wide variety of trees, plants, and grasses, (and in the case of 5-MeO-DMT, also in the venom of the Bufo Alvarius or Sonaran Desert Toad), both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been utilized by Amazonian shamans for at least three thousand years in a wide-variety of sacred methods including snuffs and the now-legendary jungle brew most widely known as ayahuasca.
DMT and 5-MeO-DMT both have the reputation of being so powerful that when snuffed, drank, or in these modern times, smoked, they can produce a myriad of near magical effects, including the classical shamanic death-and-rebirth, and the ultimate mystical realization of Union-with-God. Psychedelic compounds this powerful are now often classified as entheogens a term which means ‘God-generated-within’ – in an attempt to recognize the often spiritual or even mystical nature of the experience they produce.
DMT can create extraordinary visual tapestries that seem to be able to mine the entire mythos of the Collective Unconsciousness, while 5-MeO-DMT allows for an out-of-body experience that can result in a singular resonance with The Void, which like so many mystics before, many users often identify as The Source of All Things. Both compounds are capable of producing intense intuitions about the sacred unity of all life, and even the transpersonal experience itself, where one actually feels the connectivity of all things and experiences a state most commonly described as Oneness. Both compounds have been known to produce genuine religious conversions, even converting hardened atheists to a more spiritual interpretation of Life. Because of its similarity to the near-death experience, 5-MeO-DMT has proven useful for easing the suffering of people dying of terminal illnesses, and also has a reputation of being able to break addictive patterns.
Within the psychedelic community itself these two compounds now have an almost mythical status thanks to both the advocacy of Terence McKenna and the scholarship of Alexander Shulgin, and more recently, the publication of simple extraction recipes on the Internet, coupled with the enthusiasm of today’s crop of psychedelic authors such as Rick Strassman, Daniel Pinchbeck, Martin Ball, and myself. Due to the intense and often fantastical visions that DMT creates it has been particularly influential with visual artists such as painters and video artists. The art, music, and video forms being produced by this neo-tribe of artists influenced by DMT and other psychedelic compounds is known as Visionary Art or Visionary Culture, and is at the heart of a now global web of psychedelic influenced electronic music, performance, and art festivals with illustrious names like Burning Man, BOOM! (Portugal), Symbiosis, Lightning-In-A-Bottle, the Rainbow Serpent Festival (Australia), Moksha, and Alchemeyez.
But as extraordinary as the effects of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT may be, as fascinating their history with humanity, or as influential their role may be in our spirituality or art, the most extraordinary fact about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT is the fact that they are both endogenous, and are in fact the only endogenous entheogens we know of. Endogenous means that a compound is found and produced within the human body itself; Serotonin is another endogenous tryptamine natural to our bodies and brains, just as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been discovered to be. But what makes both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT so unique is that they are the only endogenous entheogens compounds that can invoke a mystical experience and are in fact two of the most powerful entheogens we have ever discovered.
One would think that the discovery in the early 1970s of the two compounds most known to be capable of invoking a mystical experience naturally within the human physiology would have been the cause the cause of tremendous scientific and social excitement, since such a discovery could obviously have potentially extraordinary implications upon the age-old search for the source of Human Spirituality; these two compounds may well be the link to that Source itself. But thanks to the draconian world-wide laws imposed against virtually all psychedelic compounds at around the same time (1971) there has been a virtual ban on research on the endogenous tryptamines (or any other psychedelics) in the United States since then. DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are now both highly illegal Schedule 1 drugs in most countries, the possession of which could result in lengthy jail time even though we all possess both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT that is produced naturally from some where within our own bodies.
This website was created to collate and share what is known and what has been speculated about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, in the hope that our Society can realize how important these two extraordinary compounds may be to both understanding ourselves, and our relationship with the spiritual dimension within Life itself. It is intended as a web-companion to my book also titled Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad: A Journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field. (2009). I realized upon completion of that book in 2009 that after 6 years of research into the endogenous tryptamines I had a lot of information that I had gathered (and especially on DMT) that did not fit within the parameters of that book itself. And now, thanks to the publication of Tryptamine Palace to a global audience, even more information continues to pour in, and my own theories and intuitions continue to develop as I have been fortunate to travel and speak about my book and my experiences around the world.
I have thus created this related website and blog in an attempt to share my own ever evolving view of both the mighty Tryptamine Universe and the emerging global Visionary Culture that it is inspiring. It is also my hope that this web site will help to separate some of the facts from the rampant speculation that is unfortunately most common. I hope the information you find within this endeavor both resonates within you, and is of some value in your own journey life, for regardless of your position on the Drug Laws or your personal experience with psychedelics, if you simply consider the facts, personal accounts, and tremendous art that you will find within this website, it is hard to argue that there are many things more capable of putting some Mystery back in the world then the remarkable endogenous entheogens, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.
In 1956, Humphry Osmond derived the term ‘psychedelic’ from the Greek words (psyche, “soul”) and (delein, “to manifest”), translating the new word to mean “mind-manifesting”. He created this new word in an attempt to differentiate the experiences of certain compounds that he believed were being insufficiently classified by the psychiatric community as ‘hallucinogens’. Many of today’s researchers, writers, and psychonauts, now prefer the term ‘entheogen’ over the term ‘psychedelic’ as way of further differentiating the unique and sacred properties of certain fascinating compounds that can induce a lasting sense of spirituality, or even the mystical experience of union-with-god itself.
Creating a new term is obviously easier than assuring its definition, an anomaly that Humphry Osmond undoubtedly realized when the word ‘psychedelic’ left the confines of the psychiatric community and over the following decade took on a life of it’s own. The definition of what compounds should be classified as ‘entheogens’ remains at large up to the discretion of the user, since it can be applied to compounds that are capable of inducing out-of-body mystical experiences, such as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, more broadly as compounds that promote a heightened sense of awareness or ‘love’ such as MDMA, or even compounds that are used in a spiritual context or ceremony, such as cannabis. The majority of the compounds classified as ‘entheogens’ belong to the tryptamine family or are closely related to it, and include DMT (di-methyl- tryptamine), 5-MeO-DMT, DIPT, psilocybin, and LSD.
While an entheogen can be entirely created (such as LSD or 2CB) or synthesized (DMT and 5-MeO-DMT) in a laboratory, and are sometimes packaged as ‘research chemicals’ (AMT, DIPT, etc), many entheogens also occur naturally and have been utilized by human beings for centuries in numerous inventive ways. (Rain-deer urine leaps to mind). The natural tryptamine-containing entheogens can be eaten directly, or as a tea (‘magic mushrooms’ – 4-HO-DMT), administered as snuffs of powdered barks (such as y-kee, y-to, and yopo, in Colombia, epna in Brazil and Venezuela, and paric and nyakwna in Brazil; 5-MeO-DMT, 5-HO-DMT, and DMT in varying degrees), as plant admixtures (brews like ayahuasca; DMT/and sometimes 5-MeO-DMT), or even by smoking dried Bufo alvarius toad venom (5-MeO-DMT).
The consumption of entheogens has been at the core of humanitys search for the sacred since the earliest days of our societies, and examples are abundant. Some 3,500 years ago the ancient Hindus worshipped a lost entheogen called Soma as if it was a God and created their greatest legacy (the Vedas) in tribute to it. Mescaline-containing Trichocereus cacti were used by the Chavin culture of Peru as long as 3000 years ago and continue to be used by the northern Peruvian shamans today. Psychoactive kykeon was drunk for the two thousand-year period of the Eleusinan Mysteries, which were considered to be the pinnacle of Greek civilization. Tryptamine snuffs have been used in South America and the Caribbean for at least 2000 years, although their origins, along with the origins of ayahuasca as well, now appear to be lost in the mists of time. Peyote has been used by the Mexican Native Americans for the past 400 years, and the Amanita muscaria in Siberia for the past 300 years. A wide variety of many additional visionary plants – Psilocybe mushrooms, morning glory seeds, Salvia divinorum, Cannabis, tobacco, Datura, and so on have been used ceremonially by other traditional peoples the world over.
~ James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace (2009)
See the original post here:
Posted: November 29, 2016 at 1:22 am
We all know that the NSA uses word games to hide and downplay its activities. Words like “collect,” “conversations,” “communications,” and even “surveillance” have suffered tortured definitions that create confusion rather than clarity.
Theres another one to watch: “targeted” v. “mass” surveillance.
Since 2008, the NSA has seized tens of billions of Internet communications. It uses the Upstream and PRISM programswhich the government claims are authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Actto collect hundreds of millions of those communications each year. The scope is breathtaking, including the ongoing seizure and searching of communications flowing through key Internet backbone junctures,the searching of communications held by service providers like Google and Facebook, and, according to the government’s own investigators, the retention of significantly more than 250 million Internet communications per year.
Yet somehow, the NSA and its defenders still try to pass 702 surveillance off as “targeted surveillance,” asserting that it is incorrect when EFF and many others call it “mass surveillance.”
Our answer: if “mass surveillance” includes the collection of the content of hundreds of millions of communications annually and the real-time search of billions more, then the PRISM and Upstream programs under Section 702 fully satisfy that definition.
This word game is important because Section 702 is set to expire in December 2017. EFF and our colleagues who banded together to stop the Section 215 telephone records surveillance are gathering our strength for this next step in reining in the NSA. At the same time, the government spin doctors are trying to avoid careful examination by convincing Congress and the American people that this is just “targeted” surveillance and doesnt impact innocent people.
PRISM and Upstream surveillance are two types of surveillance that the government admits that it conducts under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, passed in 2008. Each kind of surveillance gives the U.S. government access to vast quantities of Internet communications.
Upstream gives the NSA access to communications flowing through the fiber-optic Internet backbone cables within the United States. This happens because the NSA, with the help of telecommunications companies like AT&T, makes wholesale copies of the communications streams passing through certain fiber-optic backbone cables. Upstream is at issue in EFFs Jewel v. NSA case.
PRISM gives the government access to communications in the possession of third-party Internet service providers, such as Google, Yahoo, or Facebook. Less is known about how PRISM actually works, something Congress should shine some light on between now and December 2017.
Note that those two programs existed prior to 2008they were just done under a shifting set of legal theories and authorities. EFF has had evidence of the Upstream program from whistleblower Mark Klein since 2006, and we have been suing to stop it ever since.
Despite government claims to the contrary, heres why PRISM and Upstream are “mass surveillance”:
(1) Breadth of acquisition: First, the scope of collection under both PRISM and Upstream surveillance is exceedingly broad. The NSA acquires hundreds of millions, if not billions, of communications under these programs annually. Although, in the U.S. governments view, the programs are nominally “targeted,” that targeting sweeps so broadly that the communications of innocent third parties are inevitably and intentionally vacuumed up in the process. For example, a review of a “large cache of intercepted conversations” provided by Edward Snowden and analyzed by the Washington Post revealed that 9 out of 10 account holders “were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.” The material reviewed by the Post consisted of 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant message conversations, 7,900 documents (including “medical records sent from one family member to another, resumes from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren”), and more than 5,000 private photos. In all, the cache revealed the “daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted [but were] catalogued and recorded nevertheless.” The Post estimated that, at the U.S. governments annual rate of “targeting,” collection under Section 702 would encompass more than 900,000 user accounts annually. By any definition, this is “mass surveillance.”
(2) Indiscriminate full-content searching. Second, in the course of accomplishing its so-called “targeted” Upstream surveillance, the U.S. government, in part through its agent AT&T, indiscriminately searches the contents of billions of Internet communications as they flow through the nations domestic, fiber-optic Internet backbone. This type of surveillance, known as “about surveillance,” involves the NSA’s retention of communications that are neither to nor from a target of surveillance; rather, it authorizes the NSA to obtain any communications “about” the target. Even if the acquisition of communications containing information “about” a surveillance target could, somehow, still be considered “targeted,” the method for accomplishing that surveillance cannot be: “about” surveillance entails a content search of all, or substantially all, international Internet communications transiting the United States. Again, by any definition, Upstream surveillance is “mass surveillance.” For PRISM, while less is known, it seems the government is able to search throughor require the companies like Google and Facebook to search throughall the customer data stored by the corporations for communications to or from its targets.
To accomplish Upstream surveillance, the NSA copies (or has its agents like AT&T copy) Internet traffic as it flows through the fiber-optic backbone. This copying, even if the messages are only retained briefly, matters under the law. Under U.S. constitutional law, when the federal government “meaningfully interferes”with an individuals protected communications, those communications have been “seized” for purposes of the U.S. Constitutions Fourth Amendment. Thus, when the U.S. government copies (or has copied) communications wholesale and diverts them for searching, it has “seized” those communications under the Fourth Amendment.
Similarly, U.S. wiretapping law triggers a wiretap at the point of “interception by a device,” which occurs when the Upstream mechanisms gain access to our communications.
Why does the government insist that its targeted? For Upstream, it may be because the initial collection and searching of the communicationsdone by service providers like AT&T on the governments behalfis really, really fast and much of the information initially collected is then quickly disposed of. In this way the Upstream collection is unlike the telephone records collection where the NSA kept all of the records it seized for years. Yet this difference should not change the conclusion that the surveillance is “mass surveillance.” First, all communications flowing through the collection points upstream are seized and searched, including content and metadata. Second, as noted above, the amount of information retainedover 250 million Internet communications per yearis astonishing.
Thus, regardless of the time spent, the seizure and search are comprehensive and invasive. Using advanced computers, the NSA and its agents can do a full-text, content search within a blink of an eye through billions, if not trillions of your communications, including emails, social media, and web searches. Second, as demonstrated above, the government retains a huge amount of the communicationsfar more about innocent people than about its targetsso even based on what is retained the surveillance is better described as “mass” rather than “targeted.”
So it is completely correct to characterize Section 702 as mass surveillance. It stems from the confluence of: (1) the method NSA employs to accomplish its surveillance, particularly Upstream, and (2) the breadth of that surveillance.
Next time you see the government or its supporters claim that PRISM and Upstream are “targeted” surveillance programs, youll know better.
 See, e.g., Charlie Savage, NSA Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S., N.Y. Times (Aug 8, 2013) (The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans e-mail and text communications into and out of the country[.]). This article describes an NSA practice known as about surveillancea practice that involves searching the contents of communications as they flow through the nations fiber-optic Internet backbone.
 FISA Court Opinion by Judge Bates entitled [Caption Redacted], at 29 (NSA acquires more than two hundred fifty million Internet communications each year pursuant to Section 702), https://www.eff.org/document/october-3-2011-fisc-opinion-holding-nsa-surveillance-unconstitutional (Hereinafter, Bates Opinion). According to the PCLOB report, the current number is significantly higher than 250 million communications. PCLOB Report on 702 at 116.
 Bates Opinion at 29; PCLOB at 116.
 First, the Bush Administration relied solely on broad claims of Executive power, grounded in secret legal interpretations written by the Department of Justice. Many of those interpretations were subsequently abandoned by later Bush Administration officials. Beginning in 2006, DOJ was able to turn to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to sign off on its surveillance programs. In 2007, Congress finally stepped into the game, passing the Protect America Act; which, a year later, was substantially overhauled and passed again as the FISA Amendments Act. While neither of those statutes mention the breadth of the surveillance and it was not discussed publicly during the Congressional processes, both have been cited by the government as authorizing it.
 Bates Opinion at 15.
 PCLOB report at 119-120.
 See 18 U.S.C 2511(1)(a); U.S. v. Councilman, 418 F.3d 67, 70-71, 79 (1st Cir. 2005) (en banc).
Posted: November 27, 2016 at 9:47 am
xkcd readers: RIES page is here
My resume (a bit untraditional, like me).
More pages and topics, grouped by subject:
Dice : Links to examples of all known types of dice, mainly organised by number of sides; and lists of tabletop games telling which dice are used for each.
Exponentially Distributed Dice : Dice to roll random numbers whose logarithms are evenly distributed. Benford: It’s Not Just the Law It’s How We Roll.
Formal Power Series algorithms (for now, just the square root)
Generating Functions are discussed in the context of decimal expansions of fractions like 1/98 = 0.0102040816…
How Many Squares : One of the more popular types of mathematical troll-bait.
Hypercalc is my “calculator that cannot overflow”, available as a web app and a more powerful Perl version for UNIX/Linux/Mac OS X and Cygwin.
Integer Sequences : I have many pages on specific integer sequences like A181785 and A020916 (some of which required quite specialized high-speed programs); pages on sequence categories like 2nd-order linear recurrence and Narayana numbers; and a sorted table of sequences I find interesting, with links to these and many other pages.
Large Numbers : The -illion names, tetration and faster-growing functions, Graham’s number, and other fascinating ways to go far beyond the merely astronomical.
Lucas Garron’s “Three Indistinguishable Dice” Problem : a fun little puzzle involving how to make better use of a basically useless three-dice-in-a-box thingy. As seen on Numberphile.
mcsfind : A program that will find the simplest recurrence-generated integer sequence given some initial terms.
Minimally Complex Sequences : An exhaustive index of integer sequences generated by simple “classical” formulas.
My Laws of Mathematics : Kinda humorous, kinda serious.
Numbers : Notable properties of specific numbers, like 2.685452…, 107, and 45360.
Puzzles : Not always mathematical, but those are the ones that I seem to discuss more often. MIT Mystery Hunt stuff is here too.
Riemann Zeta Function MP3 File : Music that only a number theorist would love…
Rubik’s Cube and Other Rectangular Delights : My unique solution algorithms from 1982, some software, and a survey of similar puzzles like the 223.
Sloandora : An interactive browser for the OEIS, using a text concordance metric.
Computational Science :
I discovered that the Gray-Scott system supports patterns about as complex as those in Conway’s Game of Life. This page links to the paper I wrote and the talk I gave on the same topic.
“Popular” Science :
Orrery : A solar system model built from LEGO parts.
Size Scales Exhibit : An adapted and improved version of the AMNH Rose Center exhibit.
Slide Rules : Notes about slide rules and photos of ones I made myself.
Solar System : Some facts and figures about the planets and their orbits.
Tides : A step-by-step explanation of the tides, designed to explain all the differences that occur from one day to the next and from one location to another.
Here are most of the topics that will not be obsolete with [company]’s next release of [product].
Alternative Number Systems : A list of the most popular alternatives to fixed-point (integer) and floating-point representations, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Answers to Questions on Stack Exchange Sites : I couldn’t add corrections or comments directly, so I have published them here.
automeme : A tool for the automatic generation of “mad-libs” style texts, with a simple and powerful specification language.
Diameter-Degree or “TTL” problem : a graph theory problem related to wiring multi-processor computer networks.
Floating-Point Formats : A list of the ranges and precisions of various floating-point implementations over the years.
Functional Computation : A set of recursive definitions starting with a minimal set of LISP-like functions, and specifically related to work of Turing and Gdel.
My High-Performance Projects : Just a brief summary of all the CPU-intensive projects I’ve created over the years, from Z80 assembly-language to the present.
LogCPU : a simple, very efficient load monitor for MacOS X. (This is in the general CS category because it is a good example of elegant display and UI)
Minimal RNN Implementation in Python : A recurrent neural network that models plain text, based on this gist by @karpathy, but greatly enhanced.
MIRA : A text-only web browser with unique features, designed for scholars and others who conduct research on the Internet.
Perl scripts : The language of choice of those who have that occasional “hankerin’ for some hackerin'”
png-csum-fix : Program that recomputes the CRCs in a PNG file; also allows changing colour table (palette) entries on the fly.
Programming Languages : An automated survey of the popularity of various computer languages.
RHTF : The “embarassingly-readable” markup language I created for these webpages.
SimpleGet : A small stand-alone replacement for the perl library LWP::Simple.
The SPEC Benchmarks : Conversion formulas for the industry-standard CPU benchmarks.
This QR does not loop.
Items in this section are brand-specific, dated, and/or purely recreational.
Apple II Colors : An exact calculation of the RGB values of the lores (COLOR=) and hires (HCOLOR=) colors on the Apple ][, derived by converting through the Y R-Y B-Y and YUV systems.
Apple Product History : List of computer and PDA models released by Apple, some with details.
Chip’s Challenge : Maps and hints, and some walkthroughs, for the Atari Lynx version of the videogame.
Computer History : The history of the development of computers, with a focus on performance issues and the adoption of supercomputer design ideas into desktop machines.
The Eden World Builder File Format : Eden World Builder is a Minecraft-like game for iOS. I worked out the internal data format so I could print maps.
Eden World Builder : Other pages about Eden World Builder, including a change log and versions of my main creation Mega City Tokyo Unified.
Fitbit Flex : Technical specifications, a list of the flashing light patterns, and some instructions that should have been included in the manual.
iBook: How to Prevent Sleep : A simple, cheap and reversible way to prevent the iBook from going to sleep when you close the lid.
LibreOffice Bugs and Workarounds : Making a great free software project slightly greater.
The Lunacraft/Mooncraft File Format : Lunacraft, originally called Mooncraft is a Minecraft-like game for iOS. I worked out the internal data format so I could print maps and recover from the dreaded “terrain regen bug”.
Lynx Chip’s Challenge : My maps and hints rendered with a custom font.
MacBook Pro : mainly concerned with hard drive upgrades.
Missile : My first Macintosh program also happens to be one of the few programs that ran from the Mac’s introduction in 1984 until the switch to Intel twenty years later.
Playstation : My notes about Sony Playstation games.
Q04B : Based on 2048, with color graphics, boosts, and a lot more (artwork by Randall Munroe).
SDRAM : A list of some older SDRAM chip types giving their speed and size.
TextEdit: Fixing the Margins Bug : How to alter TextEdit’s printing code so that it respects the margins from Page Setup.
UNIX Project Build Tools : A partial history of the tools (cc, make, etc.) used to build from source and why it keeps getting more and more complicated.
xapple2 : My modifications to add accurate sound reproduction (/dev/audio) to the xapple2 Apple ][ emulator for UN*X and Linux.
Abbreviations : Common phrases that are frequently made obscure by abbreviation.
Archetypes : A Periodic Table of Jungian personality archetypes.
Associativity Matrix : A little twisty maze of thoughts, all different.
Blogs : In addition to my primary blog, Robert Munafo’s General Weblog, I also have two blogs hosted by blog-specific websites: Robert Munafo on Blogspot and Robert Munafo on WordPress.
Core Values : An attempt to describe my preferences for how to prioritise life and make decisions (thus, highly subjective and in need of continual revision).
Data : Miscellaneous small bits of data I want to publish.
Extropianism : Why we shouldn’t feel quite so bad about the future.
Filk : Some funny lyrics I’ve written.
Friends : Links to Web pages of various friends and co-conspirators.
Gearing Ideas and Notes : Mosty related to my orrery work.
General Blog : A weblog of articles not limited to any particular topic.
History of Music : Focusing on the industrialized distribution of music as a recent and unnatural phenomenon.
Index to the One True Thread : Silliness and serious creativity for hopelessly obsessed xkcd fans.
Linux rules : Duh.
Mamma Mia : The Broadway musical.
MBTI : A Karnaugh map of the Myers-Briggs personality types
Mispronounced Words : My bid for the “most useless collection of data on a web page” world record.
MIT OCW 18.06SC errata : Has several corrections and a cross-reference guide to the newer textbook by Prof. Strang.
Movies : Some material I have written that relates to a few movies. (See also the Top Movies list.)
Nest Thermostat: Using Auxiliary Heat : One of the many topics that are poorly documented on the official website.
Non-Obvious Answers to the Stupid Problems Life Gives Us : like how to find a practical lid-wrench.
Non-Obvious Answers to the Senseless Impediments Google Throws at Us : pretty much what it says on the tin.
Pod People : from Apple Customers to Werewolves organized and classified for your amusement and as a public service.
PVC Espas : A musical instrument I have built.
SAMPA : A clear concise way to represent phonetics in ASCII.
South Park on the Gun Debate, Without Blood or Bullets : Fan fiction written for early 2013.
Split Sleep : Sleeping twice per day for greater efficiency
Top Movies : My list of top movies of all time, rated by attendance (number of tickets sold) in U.S. theatres.
xkcd 1190 “Time” : discussion forum index
The following links represent projects that I lost interest in.
Apple Computer : Notes about the company and its history (currently just covers the “1984” commercial)
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Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:02 pm
The market for neurotechnolgy products is poised to become one of the most dramatic growth areas of the 21st Century. Spurred on by medical developments and discoveries that cure disease, alleviate suffering, and generally improve the quality of life, many leading research institutions and health care firms have gained the world’s attention and respect in recent years. Within the biomedical technology industries, there is one field that stands out not only for its promise of restoring function to human patients, but also for carrying over biomedical concepts and processes to the industrial and information processing sectors. That field is what we call neurotechnology.
Unlike the field of biotechnology, which concerns itself with pharmacological and genetic engineering efforts to understand and control DNA, genetic material, and other complex biological molecules, neurotechnology is concerned with electronic and engineering methods of understanding and controlling nervous system function.
Some of the very early firms in the neurotechnology field have scored great success building devices that restore hearing to deaf people, restore arm and hand function to quadriplegics, and accomplish a host of other feats using techniques of functional electrical stimulation of the human body. We believe that government and private research funding in this area will lead to one of the great spinoffs of our time as biomedical engineers apply their knowledge and experience building devices that sense and stimulate the human nervous system and interface with non-human systems such as computers, training systems, and virtual reality.
We also believe that the field of neurotechnology offers the promise of generating significant venture capital interest and funding. After the disappointing results shown by many venture-funded Internet, e-commerce, and dotcom firms that lacked a proven revenue base, technology-oriented venture capitalists will be looking for new opportunities in markets where the opportunities are relatively salient. Neurotechnology, with its promise and proven record at such tasks as restoring hearing to deaf patients and hand function to quadriplegics, offers such a clear opportunity. Moreover, much of the risk in financing technology development in this field will be borne by government and private medical institutions who do not necessarily have the same ROI expectations as the venture capital community.
Neurotech Reports editors have prepared in-depth whitepapers on a number of business and technology issues confronting the neurotechnology industry. These short reports, ranging from 16 to 40 pages in length, cover technology areas such as deep-brain stimulation, brain-computer interfaces, and visual prostheses, as well as business issues such as venture capital funding, government funding, and management issues. For a list of available whitepapers, click this link:
Neurotech Reports has developed a market research report entitled “The Market for Neurotechnology: 2016-2020.”
This newly updated study offers detailed information about the market potential of each application segment of the industry, profiles of each of the current players, and projections on the size and growth rates of the market over the next five years. For more information on the contents of the report, click here:
Originally posted here:
Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:01 am
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Posted: November 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm
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In 1966, Anton LaVey introduced to the world the Church of Satan, an atheistic religion devoted to the philosophy of individualism and pitilessness often associated with Satan. Modern Satanism offers a comprehensive survey and analysis of the church that LaVey built. Satanism has been an open religion for forty years now and operates successfully in its self-created countercultural niche. Given the provocative nature of its name, contemporary Satanism is only superficially understood as an alternative religion/ideology, and all-too-frequently seen as a medieval superstition and associated with rumors of obscure rituals, perverse hedonism, cult-like behavior, and tales of ritual abuse and murder. These may be misconceptions, but the truth behind the unenviable reputation is no less dramatic. Satanism generally eschews supernatural beliefs and embodies a staunchly individualistic, pitiless, anti-egalitarian creed. If there is anything fundamentally diabolical about modern Satanism, it stems more from the echoes of Nazism in its theories than from its horror-comic trappings.Modern Satanism covers the history, ideology, personalities, and practices of the decentralized international movement that contemporary Satanism has become. The work addresses the various beliefs and practices espoused by those who follow it: the ideal of Satan as a rebellious emblem; Satanism’s occult, literary, and philosophical influences; the history of the Church of Satan and other Satanic organizations; the ideology of Satanism; Satanism’s frequent flirtations and strong parallels with neo-Nazism and other forms of extremism; Satanism in the media and popular culture; and the reasons for Satanism’s continuing attractiveness to new converts. Though the tone of the work attempts to remain neutral when discussing historical matters, it is by necessity critical of the subculture’s extremist rhetoric and recurring associations with the far right and racialist extremism.
Introduction: Counter the Counterculture
1. The Morning Star
2. Baleful Eyes
3. The Black Pope
4. Man, the Animal
5. Satanic Legions
6. The Left Hand Path
7. In The Company of Killers
8. The Plague of Nazism
9. Natural Born Satanists
10. Apocalypse Cheerleaders
Conclusion: Worst Case Scenario
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Posted: November 6, 2016 at 6:59 pm
The untold story of how Edward Snowden risked everything to contact Glenn Greenwald and changed the world forever
A highly ideological, jingoistic clique masquerades as objective scholars, all to justify US militarism
Executive branch agencies have learned well from the Obama administration’s fixation on punishing whistleblowers
A new reality show of soldiers and celebrities playing war games showcases our national religion: military worship VIDEO
The contrast between Paul Ryan’s iconic image and his personal reality is typical of America’s partisan leaders VIDEO
Helping a burned-to-the-ground Missouri mosque quickly re-build would make a powerful and constructive statement VIDEO
Mark Halperin of Time provides some important insight into the behavior of his colleagues
Is there a causal link between racially-motivated violence by individuals and U.S. foreign policy?
In Yemen, Al Qaeda bombs a funeral of someone it killed days earlier. How can Terrorist monsters do this?
Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and current adviser becomes very rich by converting his influence into corporate cash
The accusation that the President has failed to deliver Change is, in certain key respects, unfair
Why don’t American oligarchs fear the consequences of their corruption, and how can that be changed?
How Americans are efficiently trained to acquiesce to ideas once deemed so radical as to be unthinkable
A Nation writer defends the attack on Chick-fil-A. I have some questions for him and those who think like him
The gossip rag devotes substantial space to publishing a sleazy McCarthyite screed by Newt Gingrich
A well-crafted hoax is quickly uncovered, showing the advantages of Internet journalism over the traditional model
One of the White House’s favorite Middle East reporters insists — as a compliment — that Obama deserves the title
Chicago blocks a business from expanding because its president opposes same-sex marriage
A vital new book from the TARP IG, and yesterday’s vote on a Fed audit, reveal some disturbing truths
His status among American elites is the single most potent fact for understanding the nation’s imperial decline
The California Democrat is both the prime enemy of leaks and “one of the biggest leakers in Congress”
New vindictive restrictions on detainees highlights the falsity of Obama defenders regarding closing the camp
The US and Israel blame Iran for the suicide attack in Bulgaria, but offer no evidence for the accusation
Today brings more high-level classified disclosures from an administration fixated on punishing whistleblowers
I’ll be writing in a new venue beginning next month
A legal challenge to the Obama assassination program should create common ground for its supporters and critics
Today’s killing of Assad officials raises uncomfortable questions about the meaning and justifiability of Terrorism
Journalists’ excuses for their bad behavior — it’s necessary to get quotes — are both fictitious and irrelevant
The news network’s Pentagon reporter reasons that “Iran already has a missile that could reach the U.S”
A high-level defender of Obama’s drone secrecy says “it’s not to cover up wrongdoing.” Let’s see if that’s credible
Huffington Post publishes, and then deletes, a post by a MeK spokesman. What does this tell us about Terrorism?
The Pentagon considers awarding war medals to those who operate America’s death-delivering video games
Harold Ford Jr., sleazy corporatist and nepotist, offers up a particularly grotesque defense of U.S. aggression
An American banker is shocked to be held accountable in Britain
Peter Bergen’s drone propaganda; State Department admission on human rights; unpopularity of NATO’s Libya war
The Obama Court appointee once again sides with the right-wing faction in an important ruling
Events surrounding the release of the paperback version of With Liberty and Justice for Some
The California Democrat, long a prime defender of the Surveillance State, renews her assault on the First Amendment
How can the sprawling domestic spying apparatus be undermined?
What powers should the president have against those who advocate open, violent revolt against the U.S. government?
Page 1 of 52 in Glenn Greenwald
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Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com
Posted: October 31, 2016 at 2:50 am
Stuart Russell was born in 1962 in Portsmouth, England. He received his B.A. with first-class honours in physics from Oxford University in 1982, and his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford in 1986. He then joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he is a professor of computer science, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, and holder of the SmithZadeh Chair in Engineering. In 1990, he received the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation, and in 1995 he was cowinner of the Computers and Thought Award. He was a 1996 Miller Professor of the University of California and was appointed to a Chancellors Professorship in 2000. In 1998, he gave the Forsythe Memorial Lectures at Stanford University. He is a Fellow and former Executive Council member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He has published over 100 papers on a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence. His other books include The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and Induction and (with Eric Wefald) Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality.
Peter Norvig is currently Director of Research at Google, Inc., and was the director responsible for the core Web search algorithms from 2002 to 2005. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery. Previously, he was head of the Computational Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center, where he oversaw NASAs research and development in artificial intelligence and robotics, and chief scientist at Junglee, where he helped develop one of the first Internet information extraction services. He received a B.S. in applied mathematics from Brown University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. He received the Distinguished Alumni and Engineering Innovation awards from Berkeley and the Exceptional Achievement Medal from NASA. He has been a professor at the University of Southern California and a research faculty member at Berkeley. His other books are Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp and Verbmobil: A Translation System for Faceto-Face Dialog and Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX.
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Posted: October 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm
If any genre of science fiction is actually right about the future, its probably cyberpunk: rule by corporations, high tech and low life, cybernetics, the use of technology in ways its creators never intended, and loners wandering a landscape covered with lenses and screens. Hell, I dont call that science fiction; I call that Tuesday.
by Charles Stross 2005
It is the era of the posthuman. Artificial intelligences have surpassed the limits of human intellect. Biotechnological beings have rendered people all but extinct. Molecular nanotechnology runs rampant, replicating and reprogramming at will. Contact with extraterrestrial life grows more imminent with each new day.
Struggling to survive and thrive in this accelerated world are three generations of the Macx clan: Manfred, an entrepreneur dealing in intelligence amplification technology whose mind is divided between his physical environment and the Internet; his daughter, Amber, on the run from her domineering mother and seeking her fortune in the outer system as an indentured astronaut; and Sirhan, Ambers son, who finds his destiny linked to the fate of all humanity.
About the title: in Italian, accelerando means speeding up and is used as a tempo marking in musical notation. In Strosss novel, it refers to the accelerating rate at which humanity in general, and/or the novels characters, head towards the technological singularity. The term was used earlier in this way by Kim Stanley Robinson in his 1985 novel The Memory of Whiteness and again in his Mars trilogy.
by Richard K. Morgan 2002
Not since Isaac Asimov has anyone combined SF and mystery so well. A very rich man kills himself, and when his backup copy is animated, he hires Takeshi Kovacs to find out why.
Morgan creates a gritty, noir tale that will please Raymond Chandler fans, an impressive accomplishment in any genre.
by Greg Egan 1997
Since the Introdus in the 21st century, humanity has reconfigured itself drastically. Most chose immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software.
Others opted for gleisners: Disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world of force and friction. Many of these have left the Solar System forever in fusion drive starships.
And there are the holdouts. The fleshers left behind in the muck and jungle of Earth some devolved into dream-apes; others cavorting in the seas or the air; while the statics and bridges try to shape out a roughly human destiny.
fans of hard SF that incorporates higher mathematics and provocative hypotheses about future evolution are sure to be fascinated by Egans speculations. -Publishers Weekly
by Bruce Sterling 1998
Its November 2044, an election year, and the state of the Union is a farce. The government is broke, the cities are privately owned, and the military is shaking down citizens in the streets. Washington has become a circus and no one knows that better than Oscar Valparaiso. A political spin doctor, Oscar has always made things look good. Now he wants to make a difference.
Oscar has a single ally: Dr. Greta Penninger, a gifted neurologist at the bleeding edge of the neural revolution. Together theyre out to spread a very dangerous idea whose time has come. And so have their enemies: every technofanatic, government goon, and laptop assassin in America. Oscar and Greta might not survive to change the world, but theyll put a new spin on it.
Sterling once again proves himself the reigning master of near-future political SF. This is a powerful and, at times, very funny novel that should add significantly to Sterlings already considerable reputation. -Publishers Weekly
by Philip K. Dick 1968
When Ridley Scott made the film Blade Runner, he used a lot of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but he also threw a lot away. Instead of Harrison Fords lonely bounty hunter, Dicks protagonist is a financially strapped municipal employee with bills to pay and a depressed wife.
Theres also a whole subplot that follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a much more sober and darker meditation of what it means to be human than the film it inspired.
by Cory Doctorow 2003
It takes a special mind to combine Disney and cyberpunk, and author Cory Doctorow apparently has it (in his head, or in a jar, I dont know the specifics).
Jules is a young man barely a century old. Hes lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphoniesand to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.
Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century, currently in the keeping of a network of ad-hocs who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches.
Now, though, the ad hocs are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents, and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself.
Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (Its only his fourth death and revival, after all.) Now its war.
Juless narrative unfolds so smoothly that readers may forget that all this raging passion is over amusement park rides. Then they can ask what that shows about the novels supposedly mature, liberated characters. Doctorow has served up a nicely understated dish: meringue laced with caffeine. -Publishers Weekly
by John Shirley 1999
Eclipse takes place in an alternate history where the Soviet Union never collapsed, and has invaded Western Europe but didnt use its nukes. At least, not its big ones.
Into the chaos steps the Second Alliance, a multinational corporation eager to impose its own kind of New World Order.
In the United States, in FirStep (a vast space colony), and on the artificial island Freezone, the Second Alliance shoulders its way to power, spinning a dark web of media manipulation, propaganda, and infiltration.
Only the New Resistance recognizes the Second Alliance for what it really is: a racist theocracy hiding a cult of eugenics.
Enter Rick Rickenharp, a former rocknroll cult hero: a rock classicistout of place in Europes underground club scene, populated by wiredancers and minimonos but destined to play a Song Called Youth that will shake the world.
the novel offers a thrashy punk riff on science fictions familiar future war scenario. -Publishers Weekly
by Lewis Shiner 1984
Ten years ago the worlds governments collapsed, and now the corporations are in control. Houstons Pulsystems has sent an expedition to the lost Martian colony of Frontera to search for survivors. Reese, aging hero of the US space program, knows better. The colonists are not only alive, they have discovered a secret so devastating that the new rulers of Earth will stop at nothing to own it. Reese is equally desperate to use it for his own very personal agenda. But none of them has reckoned with Kane, a tortured veteran of the corporate wars, whose hallucinatory voices are urging him to complete an ancient cycle of heroism and alter the destiny of the human race.
Lewis Shiners Frontera is an extraordinarily accomplished first novel his pacing is brisk, his scientific extrapolation well-informed and plausible, and his characterization nothing short of outstanding This is realism of a sort seldom found in either commercial or literary fiction; to find it in a first novel makes one eager for more. -Chicago Sun-Times
by Masamune Shirow 1989
Chances are, if youre reading about cyberpunk, youve seen the anime film Ghost in the Shell. If you havent, give it a shot and see what you think. Notice the little details in addition to the wild cyborg violence: a single drop of water hitting the ground, the heaviness with which a tired person collapses on a chair, and more.
Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged with tracking down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including ghost hackers who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond information and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside down.
Masamunes b&w drawings are dynamic and beautifully gestural; he vividly renders the awesome urban landscape of a futuristic, supertechnological Japan.- Publishers Weekly
by Walter Jon Williams 1986
The remnants of a war-ravaged America endure in scattered, heavily armed colonies, while the wealthy Orbital Corporations now control the world. Cowboy, an ex-fighter pilot who has become hardwired via skull sockets connected directly to his lethal electronic hardware, is now a panzerboy, a hi-tech smuggler riding armored hovertanks through the balkanized countryside. He teams up with Sarah, an equally cyborized gun-for-hire, to make a last stab at independence from the rapacious Orbitals. Together, they gather an unlikely gang of misfits for a ride that will take them to the edge of the atmosphere.
[a] heavy-metal adventure buried under an elaborate techno-punk style of the sort William Gibson popularized in Neuromancer. In both cases, it is a pose, a baroque nostalgia for Hemingway and film noir; it only plays at nihilism, terror and despair. The best effect is Williamss future version of a brain-scrambled vet: a dead buddy of Cowboys whose scattered bits and pieces of computer memory now constitute a ragged semblance of a man. -Publishers Weekly
by Harlan Ellison 1967
Pissing off science fiction writers everywhere, Ellison wrote the story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream in a single night in 1966, making virtually no changes from the first draft. He won a Hugo award for it, too. Bastard.
by Pat Cadigan 1987
Allie Haas only did it for a dare. But putting on the madcap that Jerry Wirerammer has borrowed was a very big mistake. The psychosis itself was quite conventional, a few paranoid delusions, but it didnt go away when she took the madcap off. Jerry did the decent thing and left her at an emergency room for dry-cleaning but then the Brain Police took over. Straightened out by a professional mindplayer, Allie thinks shes left mind games behind for good but then comes the fazer: she can either go to jail as mind criminal or she can train as a mindplayer herself
by William Gibson 1984
Gibson rewrote the first 2/3 of this book (his first novel) twelve times and was worried people would think he stole the feel from Blade Runner, which had come out two years earlier. He was convinced he would be permanently shamed after it was published.
Fortunately for Gibson, Neuromancer won science fictions triple crown (the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards) and became the seminal cyberpunk work.
by Melissa Scott 1997
Young Ista Kelly is a foundling, the only survivor of a pirate raid on an asteroid mine. In a future where one cannot live without an official identity, this is the story of Istas harrowing journey back to the asteroid to find her true identity.
Scott here presents a well-developed future rife with cybertechnology, space travel, artificial habitats and asteroid mining. The primary cyber-innovations in this era are hammals, computer programs that function independently, devour each other, reproduce and mutate Scott explores the ramifications of virtual life through the very human eyes of her principals; this is most artful cyberpunk, told with heart. -Publishers Weekly
by China Miville 2000
Perdido Street Station borrows from steampunk, cyberpunk, fantasy, and a few other genres that couldnt run away fast enough.
Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to no onenot even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.
Mivilles canvas is so breathtakingly broad that the details of individual subplots and characters sometime lose their definition. But it is also generous enough to accommodate large dollops of aesthetics, scientific discussion and quest fantasy in an impressive and ultimately pleasing epic. -Publishers Weekly
by Ernest Cline 2011
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when hes jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wades devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this worlds digital confinespuzzles that are based on their creators obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wades going to survive, hell have to winand confront the real world hes always been so desperate to escape.
This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero. -Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week)
by Neal Stephenson 1992
Stephenson explained the title of the novel as his term for a particular software failure mode on the early Apple Macintosh computer. He wrote about the Macintosh that When the computer crashed and wrote gibberish into the bitmap, the result was something that looked vaguely like static on a broken television seta snow crash.’
In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzos CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse hes a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus thats striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.
Although Stephenson provides more Sumerian culture than the story strictly needs (alternating intense activity with scholarship breaks), his imaginative juxtaposition of ancient and futuristic detail could make this a cult favorite. -Publishers Weekly
by Jeff Somers 2007
Avery Cates is a very bad man. Some might call him a criminal. He might even be a killerfor the Right Price. But right now, Avery Cates is scared. Hes up against the Monks: cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and a small arsenal of advanced weaponry. Their mission is to convert anyone and everyone to the Electric Church. But there is just one snag. Conversion means death.
Somerss science fiction thriller has an acerbic wit. -Publishers Weekly
by K.W. Jeter 1985
Despite this books obscurity, it consistently shows up on the majority of best cyberpunk lists out there.
Schuyler is a sprinterone who outruns government particle beam satellites to deliver computer chips to the European black market. He becomes a media celebrity and the icon of a new religious cult.
An endless maze of shadows and reflections, cameras and monitor screens, desert and snow, chrome and glass. Nothing is real and the only way to find this out is to self-destruct. -Justin Farrar, random person on Goodreads
by Alfred Bester 1956
The Stars My Destination anticipated many of the staples of the later cyberpunk movement. For instance, the megacorporations as powerful as governments, and a dark overall vision of the future and the cybernetic enhancement of the body.
Marooned in outer space after an attack on his ship, Nomad, Gulliver Foyle lives to obsessively pursue the crew of a rescue vessel that had intended to leave him to die.
Science fiction has only produced a few works of actual genius, and this is one of them. -Joe Haldeman, author of The Forever War