Balaji S. Srinivasan on the emerging micro-mediascape:
From The Abstract Factory:
Towards the end of this Twitter thread sparked by Timothy B. Lee, a commenter writes (by way of defending US ISPs): “Internet speeds have increased 1500% in ten years. 250k Wi-Fi hotspots are now available. That’s progress.”
… a 15x improvement in ten years: that might sound impressive to some people, but all I can think is that ten years equals nearly seven doublings of Moore’s Law and 27 = 128. Network speed doesn’t track transistor density exactly, but computing technology is full of exponential curves like this (storage density, for example, doubles even faster than Moore’s Law). To anyone with a clue about computing technology, 15x in 10 years obviously sounds somewhere between mediocre and lousy. In fact, Nielsen’s Law predicts compound improvement of 57x over 10 years, or nearly 4x the observed improvement claimed by Dietz. When Dietz calls out 15x improvement as a talking point in ISPs’ favor, he is trying to rhetorically exploit an information asymmetry, namely his audience’s presumed ignorance of exponential curves in computing technology.
Therefore, the reality is that US ISPs are badly managed technological laggards, just like everyone thinks.
[Two additional footnotes at original]
Eric X. Li contests universal liberal democratic teleology (from July 1, 2013).
If street protest in Hong Kong continues on its present course, a lot of people are going to get hurt, for nothing.
Asking excited students to take a step back, and think, doesn’t have a great track record of success. The alternative, however, is catastrophic. The window of opportunity for sanity to prevail is closing fast.
Even if you find Alex Jones hard to take, this radio interview with James Rickards (about 14 minutes in) is not to be missed. Rickards is promoting his book The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System, and makes a convincing case for its basic thesis. Collapse of dollar hegemony is baked into the cake at this point — the only serious remaining questions are about timing and consequence, and Rickards has much of interest to say about both.
Concentrate the crudest intellectual pathologies of time-travel theory, then deduct the time-travel. Augment with free-style Biblical exegesis and gonzo web-page design. Enter the Time Cube. Right now four days are taking place simultaneously, but the powers-that-be are committed to hiding that truth of sacred time geometry from you. As explained to students at MIT (link below): “When you understand this time theory you can answer any other question that comes up in the universe.” (Mind = Blown.)
Urban Future was reminded of Gene Ray’s gnostic time doctrine by this (rather lame) selection of “sinister conspiracy theories” listed by The Independent. Some of the other SCTs are clearly quite gone (“World War II was staged by the illuminati”), but none of them approaches the plane of Ray’s revelation. A small taster (stripped of throbbing font-switches):
Short, sharp, and shockingly realistic:
The only way this doesn’t occur is for an extremely deep-rooted trend-line to suddenly change shape. It’s possible. Strange things happen (but they’re still strange things).
India’s space program makes it to Mars orbit (for only 75% of the Gravity budget). Congratulations are clearly in order.
Sam Jacob offers a fascinating left-paranoid perspective on techonomic exit:
The gigantic corporatised versions of … idealised hippy communities [such as Biosphere-2] also separate themselves from society. These too are idealised spaces, techno-utopias that turn their back on the world that surrounds them in order to manufacture spaces that can sustain their own ideologies. Just as the biosphere is an introverted ecosystem, we see a similar kind of disconnection, a resistance to the idea of the urban. Each becomes its own world, a place that operates according to its own set of rules and ideas, each wrapped up in its own vision of nature.
These are the citadels of the Californian ideology, places where the digital distortions of traditional urban, architectural and environmental space are manifested, places manufactured by processes of design thinking, holistic and totalised within their own limits.
Perfected and protected as these digital epicentres are, it is the rest of the world that feels the effects of the digital reorganisation of space far more profoundly. Outside the limits of these palaces is where the darkest machinations of digitality really work. Even nature itself, its clouds, hills, forests and rivers, traditionally figured as a place of escape and solitude, has long colonised by the digital. To escape its presence might now be almost impossible and might involve the most extreme schemes.
In the 21st century, everyone wants to escape.
How large will the Chinese economy be in two decades time? During an epoch of frayed nerves, when pessimistic sentiment dominates (at least among foreign commentators), it is valuable to be able to pencil in the upper bound, as forecast by a confident and influential insider. Australia’s Business Spectator introduces the positive contrarian case:
There are China bulls, and then there’s Justin Yifu Lin, the former chief economist of the World Bank. While China bears and their pessimism are the new black in the world of finance, Lin still maintains his bullish view that the country still has the potential to maintain fast-paced growth between 7-8 per cent for another two decades.
In Lin’s estimation, China’s potential for catch-up growth is still far from exhausted. Based on historical comparison with previous emerging economies, he foresees no sustained deceleration before 2030, with the 16-year growth surge up to that date roughly quintupling the country’s real wealth.
Lin points out that China’s per capita income level is only 21 per cent of the US back in 2008, which roughly reflects Japan’s position in 1951, Singapore in 1967, Taiwan in 1975 and South Korea in 1977. These countries [subsequently] … all grew between 7.6 and 9.2 per cent for two decades.