March 8th, 2010

bright1

I get it.. no I don't.. yes I do.. uh

Over the last couple of weeks I've been reading A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. Yes, more scifi on recommendation, but this one has Bonus Doggies! I'm really liking the way he describes the pack mind as identity - with not too many hops of thinking it's fairly easy for me to equate this with my concept of the internet as an AI. Or perhaps more accurately, as a giant brain. Anyway, that's not what I want to blather about.

This book was published in 1992, before the internet really took off and while bulletin boards were still in their heyday. So in the author's projected future, news is delivered not by specialist media companies producing articles, but by discussion and opinion via newsgroups. This is how Vinge envisioned galactic communication in the future times, complete with opinionated wanking, flaming and a fairly small signal-to-noise ratio. At one point in the story, one of the main characters is trying to keep up with the news and has to get her ship's computer to collate and filter the newsgroups to try and get a picture of what's being said, because of the sheer volume of it.

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Meanwhile, on Friday we watched Stranger than Fiction. I really liked it.