Quotable (#222)

China soaring:

In 2016 the world saw the completion of 128 skyscrapers, up from 114 in 2015, according to the US-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (it defines a skyscraper as being higher than 200 m, or 656 ft). Of those, 84 came from China, a new record for the nation. China has topped the council’s completions list every year for nearly a decade (pdf, p. 2). In 2015 it notched 68 such buildings, also a record in China at the time. […] Shenzhen, a city in southern China known for electronics manufacturing, stood out last year, completing 11 such skyscrapers. That’s more than the US and Australia combined.

(Via, and see related.)


A wide-angle view of ‘Extrastatecraft‘ and its zones of escape:

No matter its ultimate effectiveness, the zone has proved durable; most recently China’s adoption of the formula has produced an especially potent and self-perpetuating version. If the Export Processing Zone was Zone 1.0, then China’s Special Economic Zone is Zone 2.0. Established in the early 1980s, the first SEZs — Shenzhen, Xiamen, Shantou, Zhuhai, and the entire province of Hainan — were planned as experiments with market economies. By 1984, China had created 16 more, and since then they have established literally thousands of SEZs. Most of these diverge from the typical EPZ, to the point where China now constitutes its own zone category; and an immense one — by 2006 the International Labor Organization had estimated that of the 66 million workers employed in EPZs worldwide, 40 million were in China.

Art of Economy

Still hazy as hell about what this is at the moment, but it’s apparently happening very soon.

“The Art of Economy is a day-long series of talks and presentations by leading voices from the fields of architecture, philosophy and computing on the triangular relations between decentralized technology, architecture and the office-form.” — That’s a clue, at least.

Billionaire Doomsday Bunkers


There’s an enticing slide-show at Forbes.

Once each member’s private accommodations are completed, furnished and fully outfitted, their respective quarters will be locked and secured, limiting access to their families and staff prior to lockdown; while Vivos will operate and maintain all common areas (under and above-ground) pending a catastrophic event. […] Members will arrive at their own discretion, prior to lockdown, landing their private planes at nearby airports. Vivos helicopters will then be deployed to rendezvous with each member group, and safely fly them back to the shelter compound, behind the sealed gates from the general public.

The Vivos slogan is deep: Next Generation Underground Survival Shelter. Whichever way you break it up, it spits out strange and ominous signs.

Quick links (#31)

Rudd against the China bears (related), but on the other hand … Political engineering. The AIIB challenge. The limits of comedy. Hacktastic. Chinese mobile app trends.

The new Eurasia. Jehu’s hangover begins.

“The Cuban revolution has always viewed money as a problem, not a solution. That’s why the peso of the old republic had to be destroyed overnight in 1961. Having money let people be independent and operate outside the system. “It’s part of the DNA that Fidel imprinted on the revolution,” notes Ted Henken, a sociologist at Baruch College who has specialized in the island.

Architectural visions.

Shale did it. Corporate dark matter. Thiel on innovation.

The Internet — lame when not terrifying. Writing in the Internet Era. Buterin on proof-of-stake. IPAs. Machine learning goes mainstream. End asymmetric information. VR-blockchain mash. Exponential energy efficiency. A little Moore. E-Residency ‘in‘ Estonia.

The bamboo ceiling.

Rochat, in contrast, models human cognition as fundamentally social in nature. Each person learns to be aware of himself – is [constrained toward] self-consciousness – by other people being aware of him. He learns to manage his image in the minds of others, and finds himself reflected, as in a mirror, through the interface of language and non-verbal communication. This structure hints at infinite recursion, but cognitive resources are limited, and in practice only the first couple of levels of mutual simulation are salient.

Hidden complexity. Extraterrestrial oceans. Life on orphan planets.

Sherry whine. Discrimination at work (intersectionally related). Societal cybernetics. Castle of Chaos. Cyber-dissidence starts to freak the left out. Death in the Anthropocene. Neoliberalism, the puzzle that keeps on giving. Mutant feminisms (related). Laruelle on power (and religion). Negri on Marx and Foucault. Minor cinema and war.

I gave up shouting about “Peak Zombie;” it’s the craze that refuses to die. Into black. HEXEN2.0. Giorgio de Chirico, the game.

Nonmusicology. Anglossia. Katak sounds (plus, plus, plus).

Quick links (#30)

Osnos on Xi Jinping (related). Still throbbing in the Western media, the China crisis drum beat. Reincarnation politics. Siberia won’t be changing hands.

Singapore after LKY. Vietnam’s moment? North Koreans in Cyberspace. Twilight of the EU. Yemen collapses. Where the super-rich live. The rich and powerful are different. A de-pinkering world.

Reach for the sky. Minsky’s moment?

Bitcoin in space, and on Wall Street. Asteroid mining 101. Silicon Valley’s smartest decisions. 21. AI almost ready for business. Jobless growth. Beyond hacked fridges. AI’s PR problem (e.g. 1, 2). Father Time is getting tired. Thiel turns to biotech.

Umbral moonshine. Evolution is machine learning. Pre-deployed extraterrestrial colonization infrastructure. The universe is collapsing. At the edge of experimentation.

The Dutch East India Company (video).

Acceleration in Vice. The poverty of acceleration. #Accelerate recommended.

Robotics in SF. More robots. Design fiction. Cyberspace must die. VR digest (huge). Materials project.

Cognitive Anthropocene. Fully automated luxury communism. “Fundamentally, socialist politics are rooted in the idea that democracy should be radically extended from the political sphere into social and economic life.” Against exit. Radical chic. Pointless argument. Communism (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Tech critique needs more communism (response).

Catastrophe by default. Tulipmania. Feminist cybersecurity. Afrofuturism (and on film).

Interviews with Bratton, Dryhurst, Graeber. Srnicek on urban struggle (video). Zizek reviewed. The Alexander-Eisenman debate.

Negate thyself. Sounds of Dark Matter (1, 2, 3).

Quick links (#22)

Chinese inflation, grand strategy, and anti-corruption. Hebei told to clean up. Market turbulence. A post-capital economy? Hong Kong and loyalty. Changi biodome.

Urbanization and inequality. 1WTC is the most expensive building in the world.

Don’t trust economists (even if they’re well informed or objective). The stagnation quandary. Economic impacts of foreign policy and demography. A bubble in the US shale patch?

Difficult times for Venezuela (more, and more). Metamorphosis of Mecca. Cyberwar in Turkey. North Korean hackers. Europe‘s new ‘arc of instability‘. Mesopotamian miseries (1, 2, 3).

Tech-regulation arbitrage. Commercial experimentation at Amazon. AI on the blockchain. Nanotech meets 3D-printing. Memristor update. A path to quantum transistors? BitQuest. Internet decentralization through Project Maelstrom and Ethereum. Skype translator on the way. Attending to the unconnected. AI net nannies. Accelerating AI (more). The week in cyberpanic. What, me worry? Security challenge.

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