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Friday, January 18th, 2013

[ by Charles Cameron — what you see is what you get: WYSIWYG — and possibly also TEOTWAWKI ]

See buildings, walls, handrails, reflections, rows of windows, and people he’s walking past vanish and reappear as a man dressed for mountain climbing sets out into a blizzard of snow, video snow and special effects…

Hat-tip — Shlok Vaidya.


We knew that Iran could photoshop extra rockets into a widely distributed news image –

and that Russian dissidents could makeover Kirill as his friend Putin

But the video above, with it’s vanishing and reappearing everythings? Simple — it’s a stunning portrayal of just what patience and skill can manage with video tampering using Photoshop CS5 or the like. Hence — this may also be the time to announce TEOTWAWKI. The end of the world as we know it. As we believe we know it.

You only need one of those effects, remember, to fake out a geopolitical tipping point…

Watcher, beware.


But then there’s my friend Howard Rheingold, who points out that our whole world is a constructed reality:

We habitually think of the world we see as “out there,” but what we are seeing is really a mental model, a perceptual simulation that exists only in our brains. …

Cognitive simulation — mental model-making — is what humans do best. We do it so well that we tend to become locked into our own models of the world by a seamless web of unconscious beliefs and subtly molded perceptions. And computers are model-making tools par excellence, although they are only beginning to approach the point where people might confuse simulations with reality.

That’s a quote from his piece in Brenda Laurel‘s 1990 classic Art of Human-Computer Interface Design — and it seems to grow more prescient by the day!


Three topics, at least somewhat related, we can maybe talk about later:

  • Who it was that spread the word about the Innocence of Muslims trainer.
  • The disputed Muhammad al-Durrah incident at the Netzarim junction. And
  • Zero Dark Thirty.
  • Guest Post: Shlok Vaidya Reviews Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

    Saturday, July 21st, 2012

    Shlok Vaidya is a longtime friend of zenpundit.com and is a consultant on technology and security issues, including terrorism and the Naxalite insurgency. When I heard that Shlok had received a coveted advance copy of the latest novel by Daniel Suarez, I cordially invited him to cross-post his review here. Vaidya blogs on books, technology, warfare and resilient communities at Shloky.com.


    by Shlok Vaidya

    Kill Decision is startlingly real. And equally plausible.

    Suited masters of perception playing games with reality while skipping scotch in Crystal City. D.C.’s incestuous relationship between big defense business and… everyone else. Nameless, compartmentalized operators fighting through the night in cesspools loosely labeled as countries. Drones raining from the skies.

    For those familiar with the constellation of clandestine units, private military contractors, and information warriors that comprise much of America’s counter-terrorism capacity, this book will feel very, very real.

    (If you’re not up to speed, I heartily recommend Marc Ambinder’s The Command as a quick/cheap/quality introduction to that world.)

    But Kill Decision takes that reality a step forward. In a way that perhaps cements Suarez’s position as the best near-future fiction author of the post-9/11 era. He folds in equal parts science, warfare, and informed futurism to take today’s sleek drones to their logical conclusion. The results will gnaw on your brain like a swarm of gnats, for weeks after you read the book.

    This is possible, of course, due in large part to his foundation in John Robb’s work (something Suarez graciously mentions in his acknowledgements). Readers of Brave New War and Global Guerrillas will find themselves nodding along.

    Kill Decision is that real, yet, like Suarez’s Freedom and Daemon, it’s also a lot of fun. Great action sequences that just scream MAKE A MOVIE. Compelling characters. Quality narrative. It’s all in here.

    Grab it today if you want to see tomorrow.



    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

    Daemon by Daniel Suarez

    I was not entirely happy with the amount of book reading that I accomplished in 2009 and this year I am going to shoot for both a larger number of books as well as more books that are fiction or relate to science. In this instance, both.

    I picked up Daemon because of the exceptionally high praise given to Suarez’s new book, Freedom
    by John Robb and Shlok Vaidya (Freedom is the sequel to Daemon and Robb has a blurb on the book jacket). They were right. Suarez is good. As in William Gibson good. Orson Scott Card good. Philip K. Dick good. You get the idea.

    Mumbai Musings

    Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

    Some heavy hitters reflect on the Mumbai Massacre:

    John RobbURBAN TAKEDOWN: MUMBAI,  JOURNAL: More on Tactical Innovation, JOURNAL: Off the Shelf Leverage

    Ralph PetersDevils in Mumbai ( Hat tip Morgan)

    Thomas P.M. BarnettThis attack will work against them

    DNIImplications of Mumbai

    Robert KaganThe Sovereignty Dodge (Hat Tip NYKR in DC)

    On a related note, here is Shlok Vaidya’s radio interview with John Batchelor.

    Pakistan is a ramshackle state whose Punjabi military elite have a remarkable talent for brazenly playing with fire, given the fragility and artificiality of their country and their previous loss of Bangladesh (West Pakistan) through genocide and military incompetence. The Pushtuns are quasi-independent, the Baluchis would like to be and the Kashmiris are loose cannons. If any regime is vulnerable to the tactic of state sponsored terrorism and granular insurgency, it’s Islamabad.

    Mumbai Complex Terror Op

    Thursday, November 27th, 2008

    India is definitely not my bailwick but what is unfolding in Mumbai is not, I will wager, an entirely indigenous operation. Here are my recs for commentary:

    Top Billing!  Shlok Vaidya at Naxalite Rage

    Second Best!: The Counterterrorism Blog 


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