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The most important post about Aurora doesn’t mention Aurora

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — futurism, making, printing, printable guns, time of your life, intersecting timelines ]


We only have one mouth, so we’re linear speakers, confined to speaking one thought at a time. And we only have one body, so we tend to think of our lives along a single timeline — although other people with their own uncontolled timelines are constantly crisscrossing our paths and making things better (hey, thanks!) or worse (damn it!) or just plain interesting (okaaay) or boring (unhh)… but the world itself includes the crisscrossing of all those paths in its own timeline, and what this means in practice is that linear thinking doesn’t catch the drift.

Which is why it’s interesting that the most important blog-piece on the Aurora tragedy today doesn’t mention Aurora once.

It’s by John Robb, and it’s about printing these:

And it’s important because the world-line it talks about will cross the path of the Columbine > Virginia Tech > Utøya > Aurora timeline at some point.


It begins like this:

Printing Weapons at Home for Fun and Mayhem

It’s now possible to print functional weapons at home. This is going to progress rapidly now.

Think: global file sharing of designs for servicable weapons, from pistols on up to ?, that can be printed at home. What you can print — from the materials to the size/quality of the object to the completeness (snap together construction) — is already moving forward quickly. The weapons effort will just be along for the ride.

But read the whole thing. And read Duncan Kinder and the other comments there, too.


That’s John Robb’s message for the day — and apart from the fact that it talks about reliable home-printed weaponry, a line of development which will I suggest will cross that Columbine > Virginia Tech > Utøya > Aurora line some time in the not too distant, there’s one unremarkable little remark in there that’s well worth remarking on. John says:

The weapons effort will just be along for the ride.


Along for the ride. Side effects. Adverse reactions. Serendipity. Unintended consequences. Unknown unknowns. Black swans.

We have a variety of terms we use for the things that blindside us, for better or worse. Our future is full of them, our past is littered with the results…

So it’s interesting that if a bunch of us are thinking along the broad line of maker-printables, a few will be thinking printable guns. A bunch of us will be making films, a bunch more will be going to the movies to see them. And some will have far darker thoughts in mind.


Crisscross your thinking. Weave your world with care for the future, please.

Signs of the times: complex problems and future drones

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — complex problems and a future with drones graphically depicted ]

A couple of interesting, arresting and relevant signs here…

The top one is a perennial favorite, and is far too simple to represent genuine complexity with any accuracy — but still gets something of the point across.

The lower of the two comes from a post by blog-friend Shlok Vaida today — I’ve cropped the original because the lettering would be illegible in my “specs” format if I hadn’t, but I encourage you to click through and see it — and also to visit John Robb‘s very recent post Drone Swarms are Here: 1 Minute to Midnight?

Shloky is an enterprising fellow — is he already printing up large quantities of those “Authorized Drone Strike Zone” notices, or (more likely because more efficient) waiting a year or four before printing them on a just-in-time basis?


Are we wearing our time-crash helmets yet?

3% of human brains pop, fizzle and #FAIL in any kind of heat

Friday, October 14th, 2011

[ by Charles Cameron – Occupy movement, banks and rumors of banks, date setting, apocalyptic, and just a hint of Y2K ]



I’ve said it before, I think: we’re witnessing Y2K: the Expectation in slo-mo.


Now it’s time for banks and rumors of banks to run up the flagpole once again.  As I say in the title of this post, there’s a certain percentage of human brains that simply can’t take the heat, and should stay out of the kitchen. Perhaps I’m being generous in my estimate of the percentage…

So here are three dates to mark on your calendar: October 15th, which is tomorrow at the time of writing, October 21st, coming up shortly, and October 31st, if we live to see the day…

Let’s take them in reverse order:


The October 31st option lacks intelligence, in my not always humble opinion, for two reasons: first, because it’s all a bit like yelling fire in a cinema for the deaf when you don’t know sign language — almost no-one will pay enough attention to take the action you’re recommending — and second, because even if you want to see a significant change away from the ways in which money can buy influence at the moment, the idea of crashing the banks as a means to that end will only turn people away from the larger movement into which you’ve somehow inserted yourself.

Informing politicians that the more “bought and paid for” money they get, the fewer voters will vote for them is one thing. Creating a sustainable parallel system that could mitigate crises, ensuring local food distribution in the event of a disruption of the trucking industry for instance, is another, in much the same spirit.  But crashing the world economic system isn’t even a thing — it’s demented.

So October 31st is a non-starter: pop, fizzle and #FAIL.

Which is lucky, because according to Harold Camping, whose one hundred million dollar campaign to alert us all that the world would end earlier this year didn’t manage to buy God’s decision-making process, there won’t be anyone, anywhere, after October 21st — let alone any banks to withdraw funds from.

No doubt, like Camping’s previous predictions, this one too will fizzle and #FAIL

I wouldn’t care to guess what percentage of my 3% of human brains unable to take the heat will be following Camping at this point, or what percentage the bank crasher will claim, but there’s still room on my dance card for 2012, and this won’t be the last we hear of such ideas.


Which leaves us with tomorrow, a day very much like yesterday… which it will soon turn into?


This one’s interesting because although it has a date certain — one, mark you, that conflicts with the October 31st idea — the event itself doesn’t appear to be scripted [see video].

So who knows?  The suspense is killing me — but it won’t be for long.


Y2K had its fair share of apocalyptic expectations, threatened SCADA failures, worries about supply chains, bank runs and the like, and I’ve suggested [more than once] that we could really use a decent map of our critical dependencies — one that includes our human capacities for fear, fury, obstructionism, fatalism, indecision, generosity, competition and cooperation…

Time for an eTank — or an  iTank, or a G+Tank — eh?

Come now, let us reason together..

Egypt: the jihad’s receding tide?

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

[ by Charles Cameron — cross-posted from Chicago Boyz ]

Here’s the evidence I’m seeing for one hopeful outcome…

From an Egyptian FaceBook page:

I will NOT accept that religious groups hijack what we have been doing for their own agenda. A large group of the ones organizing them yesterday were people in galabeyas and long beards shouting “Al Jihad fe Sabeel Allah (Jihad in the name of Allah), you have to continue fighting, we will win this war, if you die here today, you will be a martyr and go straight to heaven, don’t stop, fight, fight, fight”. NO! This is NOT why we were in the streets on Friday being tear gassed and dodging rubber bullets and it is not why we have been going to Tahrir everyday to be heard. The reason why this revolt went through and became successful was because it was not religiously or politically charged.

quoted on the The International Centre For The Study Of Radicalisation blog – ICSR is a joint venture between King’s College London, the University of Pennsylvania, Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy.


This DoubleQuote first presents a jihadist spin on things, from a legal team member at Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad, in Quote #1:

Below that, and lending it both context and irony, is a comment from one of our best analysts of the situation in the Yemen, a former editor for the Yemen Observer.


John Robb gives the same general message a little strategic push…

What’s the best way to defuse Islamic radicalism across the ME and beyond? Help make the protest in Egypt work.

Sources: ICSRShanqitiO’NeillRobb Feb. 3, 2011.

Narcos Copycat Global Guerrilla Playbook

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

The Cartels are following in the footsteps of Nigerian delta rebels and Iraqi insurgents.

Though to my mind, this attack was more of a demonstration than a determination to bring the state to it’s knees. Narco business would be impinged by a true state collapse in Mexico which would activate the USG in unhelpful ways. The cartels would rather someone else mind the store while they get on with making money unhindered.

John’s next book should just be titled “See, I told you so”

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