Links for 8th August 2008

Stross on the difference between US and UK sf; emergent AI in canine form; ePassports hacked like a cheap padlock; ARGs aren’t special …

  1. Interview: Charles Stross Explains Why UK Scifi Is More Hopeful Than US Scifi

    "The paucity of near-future US scifi is about the country becoming pessimistic, not being able to see the future clearly. There's a trend in US scifi towards militarism and far-future stuff." A generalization, but still useful.

    Tagged with: UKUSsciencefictionsfscifiwritingliteraturehopepessimismfuturismimperialism

  2. Five Future Lawsuits We’re Already Working On

    Some good story kernels here.

    Tagged with: futurismlawspeculationfictionideas

  3. “Sheet-heads:” The New Nazis

    "This is bad writing, bad characterization. It is sloppy, cardboard, one-dimensional writing. Nazis might have been created on purpose for lazy authors. Their uniforms clearly identify what they are, like the villains who sneer and snarl and twirl their mustachios."

    Tagged with: writingfictionpoliticsbigotrystereotypesclichesevilideology

  4. Can Novamente’s virtual dogs make a Nintendog look dumb?

    "The company claims that its virtual dogs, seeded only with basic skills and the desire to get food, water and rewards from their owners, will try almost anything to achieve these ends, including spontaneous behavior that was not written directly into the code. And dogs are just the beginning."

    Tagged with: NovamenteAIartificial-intelligencelearningsystemsgames

  5. ‘Fakeproof’ e-passport is cloned in minutes

    "Using his own software, a publicly available programming code, a £40 card reader and two £10 RFID chips, Mr van Beek took less than an hour to clone and manipulate two passport chips to a level at which they were ready to be planted inside fake or stolen paper passports." Everything Can and Will Be Hacked.

    Tagged with: UKpassportcloningidentitytheftRFIDhackcryptographybiometricsecurityprivacycompletely-unsurprising

  6. True Confessions: The Little ARG That Failed

    "ARGs are not grassroots. They are not about community, or word-of-mouth. They really are about saturating the market with brands in order to generate interest in something, just the way old-fashioned advertising is." Hmmm. They can be done well, though – e.g. recent NIN experiments.

    Tagged with: marketinggamesartificialrealityARGpromotioncampaigngrassrootsadvertisingsaturation

  7. Revenge of the Butterballs

    "And now, any 200-kilo couch potato with a health card is gonna be able to pop a few pills and turn into The Rock while watching American fucking Idol? There better be side-effects, is all I can say. Really serious ones. I'm talking gonadal tumors the side of grapefruits. I'm talking primordial cysts erupting through newly-chiseled faces at time-lapse speed, right in the middle of a first date. I demand it."

    Tagged with: healthexercisedrugsmedicinebiology

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