Personal atemporal feedback loop

Paul Raven @ 21-02-2011

More fun and games with atemporal media: TwitShift offers a novel service, wherein they hoover up the last year’s worth of output from your Twitter account and repost every tweet on exactly the same day and time as they were posted originally… exactly one year later. [This link via LifeHacker, who aren’t getting their proper attribution links until they provide URLs that are guaranteed to deliver the viewer to the page I actually wanted them to see.]

Atemporal reportage is no new phenomenon, of course; for example, George Orwell has been (re)covering the fall of Europe to the Nazis for some time now, exactly seventy years since it actually happened. But the personal angle of TwitShift is curious, because it highlights a fascination with our own very recent pasts, a growing trend wherein – as the distance we can see into the future with any feeling of confidence decreases – we’re obsessed with building a narrative about how we got to where we are.

There are good and bad sides to this, I think; aphorisms about understanding history and the repetition of mistakes are plentiful, but the problem with looking back over one’s shoulder is that it increases the likelihood of one walking into a lamppost. Given the way my own life was unexpectedly upended by circumstance a year ago, I’m really feeling that tension: it would be interesting to revisit my own experiences with the benefit of hindsight, but I’m not sure how much genuine value I’d get from doing so.

I wonder how much further you could take this idea, though? Multiple atemporal feedback loops at different distances: last week, last month, last year, last decade? Become the sole academic of your own history! Be your own psychological panopticon! The doors of The Hall Of Mirrors are also mirrored! When the road ahead is foggy and strewn with rubble, what better recourse than to remind oneself of earlier successful swerves?


I’ll trade a Puffin for my as-yet undelivered jetpack, thanks

Paul Raven @ 14-04-2010

Personal electric aircraft? Yes please!

NASA Puffin personal air vehicle concept

Nice to see NASA aren’t just resting their feet on the desks at the moment, though whether the Puffin concept would ever make it out of R&D (let alone strike anyone as useful or necessary at a consumer level) is a question probably best left unasked. As charming as it is, I look at that thing and think “oooh, Sinclair C5!” Though maybe some of the world’s crankier and/or more show-offy military forces would invest in them just for their wow factor.

I know I could never afford one, but even so: the avarice, it burns…


Personal panopticon

Paul Raven @ 27-09-2009

Personal panopticon - Does Not Equal

Does Not Equal is a webcomic by Sarah Ennalscheck out the pre-Futurismic archives, and the strips that have been published here previously.

[ Be sure to check out the Does Not Equal Cafepress store for webcomic merchandise featuring Canadians with geometrically-shaped heads! ]


Personal fabber for US$15k plus materials

Paul Raven @ 04-02-2009

Following on from yesterday’s post about fabbing your own military hardware, you may be wondering exactly how much of a dent the cutting edge of consumer level 3D-printing technology would put in your pocketbook.

The answer? A personal fabber will cost you just a shade under US$15,000, though the actual printing materials are extra.

uPrint 3d printer/fabber

Ain’t a lot of money when you think about what it can do, is it? Certainly cheap enough that a reasonably organised criminal syndicate or terror organisation would consider it small change… [via Bruce Sterling; image courtesy Dimension Printing]