Posted tagged ‘violation’

Creativity throughout the web.

May 28, 2010

Here’s a really interesting short film I bumped into while browsing the web that shows just how much great stuff is lurking out there. The imagery is the stuff of scifi dreams and the CGI, while not Avatar, shows a lot of work and craftsmanship. But it’s the simple plot that deals ultimately with humanity and machinery and the possibility of encoding human cognition in a synthetic form that’s really of interest. While it raises more questions than it answers, give it a view and post what you think.

Advertisements

Hackers outdone by Spanish police.

March 4, 2010

A stylish portrayal of a brute attack style

While hackers are often made into rebels with a heart in cyberpunk fiction, the truth is not always so heroic. A group of Spanish police officers recently cracked open a massive botnet operated by three, potentially more, individuals. So far they know that it has infected a total of 13 million computers in 190 countries, infiltrating half of the Fortune 500 companies and 40 major banks. A botnet is a network of hacked computers that act sort of like zombies. Once one is infected by the virus, it will send infected packets to other computers. The brilliance of it is that these are not malicious viruses. The virus does not destroy your computer but instead lies dormant. When the hackers need to, they can instantly access their own personal army of computers who they can instruct to do whatever they need. This can be useful in planning DDOS attacks against large targets or stealing personal info en mass.

Violence in fiction.

February 28, 2010

Categoricals are meant to be broken

My novel Schism takes a look at violence and its consequences. Whether it be in the form of warfare or genocide, my novel does everything possible to show violence as something grotesque and that can only lead to more violence. Think Orestes. Blood only brings more blood, creating a pattern of brutality that, like a ripple in a pond, only grows. Yet, I can’t deny that watching something like Terminator 2 isn’t fun or watching District 9 where people get turned into so much soup (trust me if you haven’t seen it, people get liquified a lot! Gooey-gooey!) doesn’t give me a rush. Now, with the idea I have for my next writing project, my anit-violence stance has gotten switched right around. If I’m going to do right by this new idea, set in a far-future earth, I’m going to have to have violence, brutality, and some plain old crazy stuff. Yet, realizing this makes both my stance against against violence and my new very violent novel sit uneasily in my mind. So I wonder, as a writer, as a creator of art, what is my responsibility?

I don’t think I can abide by Oscar Wilde’s stance that we make, “art for art’s sake.” Art, because of its ability to interact with us on the symbolic level, carries ethical weight that we can’t just drop off or deny. It goes back to the Plato’s debate of how art affects us. Actually, Plato didn’t really like art all that much but never mind him. I feel that art can have a profound affect on the way people see and interpret the world. If this is the case, then we as writers should try to be a positive force. “But isn’t some reading just for entertainment?” ABSOLUTELY YES! In fact, I think first and foremost, we’re here to entertain you however, by entertaining you with characters you like and plots you get hooked into, we’re sort creating material that can influence your thoughts. Humans are excellent copiers. We learn many things through mimicry and if there’s a character you really like who shoots first and then asks how many more people need killing later, that sets up a model that validates the violence since the character is just so darn charismatic. Case in point: Hannibal Lecter. He’s urbane, witty, brilliant, and a psychopathic killer. However, he commands our attention and to a degree earns our admiration. Do a single one of us feel such things for Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacey? No, but through the medium of art, with just the right character traits, someone who we would usually scream to be executed becomes a character we love to watch every time he’s on screen.

So, the question is, how do we balance being entertaining while still trying to do something positive? I think that this comes in the themes we choose to incorporate in our stories. If we have a book with tons of violence with a theme that says violence is always the best option, then we are getting a double dose message. Violence is both at the surface and below, reinforcing itself as it goes. However, one could have plenty of violence and still have a humanist message beneath it while using violence and action as a way to entertain and grip the reader in suspense. I think that it comes down to rejecting categorical ways of thinking. Violence can serve a purpose in literature. In a story that calls for action, it must be delivered. This doesn’t mean that the story endorses violence, only that the plot is about a violent scenario. Depending on how it’s used and portrayed, a violent story be a wonderful demonstration and defense of more useful, less destructive ways of dealing with each other.

In your cars, jamming your GPS signal.

February 27, 2010

Car theifs have had it rough lately. Unlike in Grand Theft Auto, you can no longer just jack a car and disappear into the sunset or chop shop. With GPS systems like LoJack, a GPS can lock onto your car so authorities can trace it and recover it for you, maybe even nabbing the guy who took it off you. But, like the first illegal prime, if it is protected, someone will find a way to hack it and take it off your hands for you. That’s exactly what car thiefs are doing in the UK. It just goes to show that necessity is the mother of invention though it also shows how insecure and almost tenuous our link to such common staples as GPS navigation is. It doesn’t take much to disrupt a GPS signal apparently. Just think of the ways a terrorist could use that. Hopefully, communications agencies will modify their signals to make it a more reliable system that can’t just be shut off by any car thief with a jammer or someone with far more dangerous intentions.

The War for the Net Continues

February 23, 2010

Is Cyberspace going militant?

In an information society, the one who holds the information holds the power. The internet gives us all a little place to grab on to so that we too may have a voice in this big, loud world. But that means there is a shift away from traditional power structures. In the past, it’s always been either governmnets or religions that have held sway. Now, the internet is the single largest force out there, connecting almost every corner of the globe. We’ve seen what it can do. Look at the protests in Iran. Camera phones captured the violence, chaos, and oppression then beamed it to the web so we could all be a part of it and know what was going on. The power is now in our hands. This of course is going to scare traditional power structures which is why lately we’ve been seeing a slow, insidious push to rope in the internet. According to this site, a new treaty may require ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to spy on their customers. Oh how easy it is to make the service provider the slave master. Unfortunately, we are beholden to them to get to the glorious land of Madness and Funny (the web) so there’s really no running from this.  But it shows that the internet is a powerful force that, if used correctly, can do a lot towards changing the world. Whether people will make it a change for the better or worse, that depends on the people, but the opportunity for creating something new is certainly there. Which is why these people are scared and they should be because we all have a voice and cyberspace gives us a place to use it.