Geert Lovink | 18 Dec 11:50 2014

One Chain to Rule Them All by Eduard de Jong

One Chain to Rule Them All
by Eduard de Jong

Original on the INC/MoneyLab website:

See also:

(the upcoming INC MoneyLab Reader (out in February 2015) contains a long
interview with the former DigiCash employee Eduard de Jong)

In the wake of the Bitcoin phenomenon, the term ?block chain,? which
describes a critical, technical aspect of the Bitcoin payment system, is
presented by Bitcoin adherents as a technical innovation on par with the
invention of the transistor, accrediting it with a similar scope of
fundamental change in society. This short write-up attempts to demystify
some of the mythical thinking around block chains.

The technological advances that have led to the block chain stem from
two different approaches in the 1980s for repeatedly applying a
cryptographic hash function.[1] The first approach came from Ralph
Merkle,[2] who used the hash function to construct a binary ?tree? of
hashes with each of the ?leaves? of the hashes used as a one-time-only
key to create a special kind of public key signature. The tree is build
by hashing each pair of leaves together and by continually pairing the
results of this until a single hash value is obtained. The final, single
hash value, called the ?root? of the Merkle tree, is?indirectly?a hash
over all the data in the leaves.

The second approach came from Leslie Lamport.[3] He created a way to
generate one-time passwords to secure computer logins over an insecure
(Continue reading)

David Mandl | 15 Dec 12:19 2014

Fun with algorithms: Uber introduces surge pricing during Sydney hostage siege

An executive in the city's Central Business District (CBD) sent
Mashable screenshots of the Uber app that showed the company was
charging up to four-times the normal rate because "demand is off the

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick: "For each market, the state of emergency
price will be set after excluding the 3 highest-priced, non-emergency
days of the preceding 2 months," he said, adding that the policy
"intends to strike the careful balance between the goal of
transportation availability with community expectations of
affordability during disasters."

Dave Mandl
Twitter:  <at> dmandl
Instagram: dmandl

nettime's_blinkenlights | 14 Dec 14:22 2014

Fwd: [ PRIVACY Forum ] November 2011: "The Coming Fascist Internet"

from: PRIVACY Forum mailing list <privacy@...>
to: privacy-list@...
subject: [ PRIVACY Forum ]  November 2011: "The Coming Fascist Internet"
date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 08:51:53 -0800

November 2011: "The Coming Fascist Internet"

Lauren Weinstein
November 13, 2011
(Lauren's Blog):

Around four decades ago or so, at the U.S. Defense Department funded
ARPANET's first site at UCLA -- what would of course become the
genesis of the global Internet -- I spent a lot of time alone in the
ARPANET computer room. I'd work frequently at terminals sandwiched
between two large, noisy, minicomputers, a few feet from the first
ARPANET router -- Interface Message Processor (IMP) #1, which
empowered the "blindingly fast" 56 Kb/s ARPANET backbone. Somewhere I
have a photo of the famous "Robby the Robot" standing next to that
nearly refrigerator-sized cabinet and its similarly-sized modem box.

I had a cubicle I shared elsewhere in the building where I also
worked, but I kept serious hacker's hours back then, preferring to
work late into the night, and the isolation of the computer room was
somehow enticing.

Even the muted roar of the equipment fans had its own allure, further
cutting off the outside world (though likely not particularly good for
one's hearing in the long run).

(Continue reading)

allan siegel | 14 Dec 13:58 2014

New York's dark clouds?

   Roger Cohen seems to be just waking up from a deep sleep or maybe the
   full ramifications of the 21st century has finally caught up with him;
   how someone can write about the dark clouds hanging over the Big Apple
   without mentioning the Eric Garner killing just illustrates the
   limitations of his vision; one could go on further about the
   shallowness of his analysis but just contrast what he has opined and
   the Wark speech (both coming from NYC) and you get a sense of the
   vastly different worlds these two commentators inhabit and the ongoing
   decline of the NY Times as a newspaper of any depth. More on Wark
   sometime soon, I hope.

Matthew Fuller | 13 Dec 13:17 2014

PDF of "Fun and Software, Exploring Pleasure, Paradox and Pain in

   A PDF of "Fun and Software, Exploring Pleasure, Paradox and Pain in
   Computing", edited by Olga Goriunova, which is otherwise
   presently priced only for libraries has been observed to be available
   in various book-sharing sites.

   Fun and Software

   Exploring Pleasure, Paradox and Pain in Computing

   Edited by Olga Goriunova

   Table of Contents

   Acknowledgements vi

   Introduction Olga Goriunova 1

   1 Technology, Logistics and Logic: Rethinking the Problem of Fun
   in Software Andrew Goffey 21

   2 Bend Sinister: Monstrosity and Normative Effect in
   Computational Practice Simon Yuill 41

   3 Always One Bit More, Computing and the Experience of
   Ambiguity Matthew Fuller 91

   4 Do Algorithms Have Fun? On Completion, Indeterminacy and Autonomy in
   Computation Luciana Parisi and M. Beatrice Fazi 109

   5 useR!: Aggression, Alterity and Unbound Affects in
(Continue reading)

Patrice Riemens | 13 Dec 10:53 2014

Roger Cohen: When clouds turn dark over New York (NYT)]

original to:
More in the serie Turning Points 2015:

Feeling Uneasy About the Future
December 4, 2014

New York has always been a pretty good barometer of the state of the
world. Its fortunes rise and fall. It will never be as manicured like
Paris, or as comfortable as London, or as beautiful as Rome, or as moneyed
as Singapore. In good times it hums, in bad it's a jangling mess of police
sirens. Over the past 40 years, I've known the city's moods: dangerous and
secure, anxious and confident, subdued and ebullient.

These days, the mercury seems to be dipping. The streets are edgier, more
aggressive. I recently saw a slim, well-dressed man take a covert look
around before stooping to pick a cigarette butt off the sidewalk. There's
a lot of scavenging in garbage. Desperation may be quiet, or just crazed.
The other morning, for no apparent reason, somebody pushed a man off a
subway platform to his death under a D train. That sort of thing makes New
Yorkers eye each other in a different way. Fear has crept back.

Perhaps it is not rational to view the world today with renewed anxiety.
The happy half of humankind in Asia is still in the midst of a period of
growth and optimism, whatever the looming perils of China's rise. Hundreds
of millions of Asians have money in their pockets for the first time. They
feel the 21st century is theirs to inherit from the West; they work longer
hours to make sure that happens. Their focus is growth, whatever it takes,
(Continue reading)

nettime's avid reader | 12 Dec 12:24 2014

McKenzie Wark: "This is not capitalism, this is something worse."

The following transcript is taken from a recent talk delivered
by McKenzie Wark at the Digital Labor (
conference presented by The New School.

I want to start with the proposition that in a place like New York
City, we live in the over-developed world. Somehow we overshot some
point of transformation. A transformation that didn’t happen,
perhaps couldn’t happen. But in having failed to take that exit, we
end up in some state of over-development. In the over-developed world,
the commodity economy is feeding on itself, cannibalizing itself.

There is of course an under-developed world, sometimes in intimate
proximity to the over-developed one. You can find it even here in New
York City. One can critique the orientalism of the fact that Willets
Point, Queens is known among New Yorkers as ‘little Calcutta’,
but it really is a place without paved roads, running water, and with
mostly off the books, illegal or precarious jobs.

But you can forget that under-developed world exists if you live in
the bubble of the over-developed world. Some of us don’t have to do
the manual version of precarious labor, at least. But there is a sense
in which some characteristics of that labor have actually found their
way into the over-developed world as well.

Viewed from inside the bubble of New York, the paradox of digital
labor these days is the way that tech enables the over-development
of under-development. Technologies are shaped by the struggle over
their form. It was not given from an essence that the digital would
end up as control over labor rather than control by labor. But in the
(Continue reading)

Paolo Cirio | 12 Dec 01:43 2014

Global Direct - Political Philosophy Art - Global Democracy Now

   Press Release Nov./Dec. 2014. NYC.
   Global Direct
   Artwork by Paolo Cirio and currently shown at DOX Prague, Palazzo del
   Governatore Parma and online on
   With the participation of Carne Ross, Daniele Archibugi, Douglas
   Rushkoff, Jon Lebkowsky, Ethan Zuckerman, Michel Bauwens, David Moore,
   among others.
   The artwork Global Direct is a visionary political philosophy promoting
   global participatory democracy driven by information technology and the
   failure of current primitive political systems.
   To illustrate the conceptual work the artist has drawn a series of
   fifteen organograms for initiating a program for global participatory
   These creative diagrams are informed by research in contemporary and
   emergent forms of democracy which the artist conducted and integrates
   as part of the artwork. Furthermore, the artist promotes Global Direct
   through designing a political poster campaign to popularize its
   Akin to a traditional political campaign, posters are disseminated
   throughout public walls in several cities and consistently feature the
   campaigns political symbol beside each slogan. In the poster, a clear
   sky visually represents a bright future full of new possibilities above
   the clouds.
   Global Direct researches in pursuit of a new advanced version of
   democracy, where everyone can take part in local and global governance,
   justice, and economy. For this new political civilization, Global
   Direct aims to inspire new protocols, procedures, and policies that can
(Continue reading)

Geert Lovink | 11 Dec 16:26 2014

google mourns closure of its own service

Strange posting but still common… Google pretending to be innocent vs. evil politicians, in this case
Spain. The business model of Google News sucks and only benefits Google who acts as the classic parasite of
(traditional) content providers. There is nothing innovative about this. /geert

PhLo | 9 Dec 23:46 2014

Re: reported to have released the complete works

Johan Söderberg | 9 Dec 15:48 2014

CfP Journal of Peer Production: Alternative Internets

   States are attempting to consolidate their control over the
   Internet, turning it into an instrument for minute surveillance,
   whilst a handful of tech-corporations seek to use it as a means
   to manipulate human behaviour toward their own objectives and
   siphon off the wealth from local and national markets. In
   response, alternative technologies have arisen, aiming to restore
   the Internet's initial values of net neutrality, distributed
   control, freedom of speech, and self-organization. Community
   networks, offline networks, darknets, peer-to-peer systems,
   encryption, anonymization overlays, digital currencies, and
   distributed online social networks appear today as examples of
   alternative technologies aiming at emancipation, redistribution,
   and maximal autonomy. However, these tools are as ambiguous as the
   contradictory values and claims that have been invested in them. We
   can therefore expect alternative infrastructures to be appropriated
   for ends deemed illegitimate, such as tax evasion or arms trading,
   thus renewing the calls for restoring "law and order" on the

   Can we learn from the past and avoid the transformation of the
   utopian promises of these technologies into a dystopian future as,
   arguably, is happening to the promises of the early Internet?

   In order to address such concerns, this special Journal of Peer
   Production issue seeks to document and critically assess past
   and ongoing efforts to alter the commercial development process
   of mainstream Internet technologies in order to build viable
   alternatives. What are the futures awaiting these alternatives,
   which contradictions and ambiguities will they undergo, and which
(Continue reading)