Search results for "power "

Stingless and making no honey

Author: joe

Friday, 29 July, 2011 - 21:50

The drone is a male of the bee species, "stingless and making no honey".

drone (n.)
O.E. dran, dræn "male honeybee," from P.Gmc. *dran- (cf. M.Du. drane; O.H.G. treno; Ger. Drohne, which is from M.L.G. drone), probably imitative; given a figurative sense of "idler, lazy worker" (male bees make no honey) 1520s. Meaning "pilotless aircraft" is from 1946. Meaning "deep, continuous humming sound" is early 16c., apparently imitative (cf. threnody). The verb in the sound sense is early 16c. Related: Droned; droning.
Harper, D., 2010, Drone, in Online Etymological Dictionary, []

The stingless, unproductive bee is an idler, feckless and lazy. What does he do but bumble and buzz, with a deceptive lethargy, the wings beating hundreds of times every second: what an expenditure on inactivity. His bumbling is a monotony, a drone, the long low hum of the sustained repetition of difference, working into the hertz of audibility. The drone is reproduction, mediation, perception, sensation, representation, simulation.

The "sightless gaze" of the unmanned system tends to acquire exceptional power since its bearer cannot be pinned down. The reinforced gaze of the embedded eye acquires its power precisely because it can.
Perhaps it is both that turn out to be equally "unmanned" -- the latter being more insidious because it traffics in the guise of its opposite.
Crandall, J., 9 April 2003, Unmanned - Embedded Reporters, Predator Drones and Armed Perception, []

The drone as idler is adopted to signify the drone as mindless worker: one is unproductive, the other is not. Why the apparent contradiction? The unproductive effort of one points to the futility of existence; the productive effort of the other points to servitude, the mindless repetition of actions controlled by another, a master. The drone is thus pointless through self-indulgence, or powerless through exploitation. The drone is alienated and emasculated.

The singular telescope of Gallileo has evolved into a bug-eyed drone from Northrop-Grumman. It is no longer a research instrument, but an extension of society. Technology is no longer something that can be banned or controlled. Fear of the Swarm is forever joined to love of the Swarm. As Drone Ethnography has liberated our epistemology, from the popular mindset to high level government actors, the drone-mythos captivates our imaginations. The more we use it, the further we leave the point of no return behind us in the slipstream.
Rothstein, A., 20 Jul 2011, Drone Ethnography, []

The drone as unmanned craft is an extension of the mind and body of human beings at war, a distribution of cognition into the framework of equipment. The drone is a delegation of responsibility to the machine, which is at the same time a means of tuning our actions to the agency of technology. The drone is the war of analysis in aerial surveillance, fetishistic transference at 50,000 feet. We watch the machine watching us control the machine controlling us. Drones.

The unmanned system does not eliminate the human so much as redistribute the agencies of warfare. The capacities of sensing, dispatching, analyzing, and alerting -- the intelligence and skill required to interpret and store information and act on the results -- are shared by an affiliation of actors, however algorithmic, organic, or systemic. The focus is on their performative practices within the functional organization of the system. It is a matter of how they are maintained as dynamically stable entities -- sustained, naturalized, and rendered discrete -- and the programs through which this is accomplished.
Crandall, J., 27 Jul 2011, Unmanned, email to nettime-l{AT}, []

Categories: drone, male bee, alienation, powerlessness, mediation, agency, machine, fetishism,
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The End of History and The Trap

Author: joe

Sunday, 25 March, 2007 - 22:07

History is an ocean. Wave after wave swells and breaks. The dynamics as movement is propagated, flows eddy and peaks decline are incalculably complex. A fractilian homoiomeriety lures us into thinking that examining a part gives us the image of the whole. It is obvious that isolating instants of peaks and waves and crediting them with the cause of the whole is ludicrous. It is also clear that while every wave is different, all waves are alike, and novelty is merely variation.

The will to power is everywhere, and all power corrupts. This is not the fault of RD Laing, John Nash, Isaiah Berlin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Francis Fukuyama, Jeffrey Sachs, or even, god help me, of Tony Blair.

Categories: power, adam-curtis, liberty,
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Don't bogart that totalitarian regime, my friend

Author: joe

Sunday, 21 May, 2006 - 14:23

p2p. It stands for peer-to-peer. It refers to a kind of network architecture. Some people fall into the trap of thinking it refers to the way people connect on a one-to-one basis over the Internet, as in, for example email conversations. Metaphorically it may do. But that really isn't what it means. You might think I'm being a pedantic asshole, here, but the reason why I'm quibbling is really important.

The 'traditional' architecture used in interconnected networks, which allows web-servers and mail-servers to work is called 'client-server' architecture. You connect to a webserver in order to get 'served' web pages. When you do so you are a 'client' - actually your browser is the client, rather than you.

The reason this is important is because if you take out the server, you can't get the webpage. Okay, some content may get cached on other servers, or copies of the content may get hosted somewhere else, but the bottom line is that client-server architecture makes it easier to attack the distribution model. Hence you get, for instance, cease-and-desist orders against people hosting copyright-infringing content on their servers and they legally must oblige and comply, and law-enforcers can make it so.

Peer-to-peer technologies use a different kind of architecture, in which transactions between what would otherwise be called 'clients' take place between each other. This is not to say that 'servers' don't come into it. The old Napster, for instance, used a central server to connect peers to each other. The eDonkey file-sharing network uses servers to index users' files for searching. A Bittorrent file requires a 'seed' which may sit on a server rather a user's computer. The key thing, though is that the network is distributed across nodes, rather than centred around a server.

Now the reason I say all this is because I've been reading dissertations from media students about to graduate who think that email is a p2p technology, or that anything that isn't TV (i.e. a one-to-many relationship) is therefore p2p. I've even heard people who should know better (teachers!) call it 'person-to-person' technology, which is clearly bollocks. Peer-to-peer specifically refers to architectures which attempt to bypass centralised models. The benefits include things like reduced cost and bandwidth for distributors (webservers charge you for the bandwidth required to provide a copy of a file to everyone who wants it, while p2p means you may only need to provide one copy), but also it means that you have more chance of circumventing centralised controls and even snooping mechanisms.

It's important to get these things right because over the last decade, governments' desires to gain ever more control over and access to digital transmissions has gradually produced ever more draconian laws such as, in the UK, the RIP Act, and in the US, the DMCA. Even as transmission of data moves away from easily controlled central servers, governments try to get more control over the other centralised conduits by which your data moves: requiring, for instance, ISPs to store user activities, demanding encryption keys for encrypted data, etc. It might even be worth mentioning that the UK government currently wants to allow ministers to enact any laws they please - the very definition of totalitarianism. Don't you think an unregulatable and unsnoopable, and more importantly, an indestructable distributed transmission mechanism might be useful in such a scenario?

Now in the US, the NSA is spying on US citizens with the happy assistance of AT&T. Who, incidentally, want to start differential charging for different kinds of data carried across their fibres. Do you think they'll resist government pressure to make it difficult for you to use p2p architectures in privacy? When you might be a pirate terrorist making money from kiddie-porn? Do you think they'll care if you're actually sharing photos of your holiday with your friends?

Why is why, boys and girls, p2p is, most importantly, a network architecture, not a metaphor for personal conversations or a hippy alternative to mainstream media.

Categories: p2p, network, architecture, law, governmental power, totalitarianism, file-sharing,
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