An Infinite Regression

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WikiLeaks: Good or Evil?

An issue raised in our tutorial discussion this week was about WikiLeaks and if it is actually doing good, or if it is detrimental to society?

I personally believe that it is doing a great thing for society. Without sounding like a tinfoil hat wearing nut, I believe that anything exposes the secrets that a government hides form it’s citizens is doing the right thing by the people. Governments have too much power nowadays and undoubtedly hide secrets from the general public for their own gain., which is unacceptable. Even general stats like civilian deaths in war zones are often hidden and it’s up to “white knights” such as WikiLeaks to help shed light on these.

Without things such as WikiLeaks there would be nobody to question to government, and if you’re not questioning the government then you’re just letting yourself become ruled.

As for the “treason” laws that are being used against Julian Assange, it’s ridiculous that the US is even trying to try him for treason against a country he isn’t even a citizen of. I guess it’s just another example of the US extending their long arm of the law to suit themselves.


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Reddit discusses new advances in technology, both past and present.

Reddit user ‘michaelti‘ posed the question in an AskReddit thread simply titled “What are your legitimate, realistic predictions for the 2020’s?”. His suggestions included:

  • ~60% of new cars will be electric
  • Holograms begin to appear in Times Square
  • All phones are smartphones
  • More tablet computers and less desktops
  • First private flights into space
  • NFC catches on and more people pay with their phones
  • Mac OS X 10.15 “Catfish”
  • 3D with glasses won’t catch on
  • No 9th generation consoles yet (still on PS4)
  • Global life expactancy begins to accelerate
  • Stock market recovery from 2015 crash

User ‘ifeelazy‘ posted a link to a website called which contained many predictions of the future.  This is what they have for 2020:

  • Generation X is reshaping global politics
  • Internet use reaches 5 billion worldwide
  • The 5G standard is released
  • Texting by thinking
  • Complex organ replacements grown from stem cells
  • Progress with longevity extension
  • Ultra High Definition Television (4320p) is available in domestic homes
  • Holographic TV is going mainstream
  • Africa and the Middle East are linked by a trans-continental bridge
  • Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) has been significantly expanded
  • Completion of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link
  • The UK has expanded its offshore grid connections
  • Smart meters in every UK home
  • Public smoking is banned across every US state
  • Glacier National Park and other regions are becoming ice-free
  • BepiColombo arrives in orbit around Mercury
  • Video games with truly lifelike CGI

However user ‘pizzlewizzle‘ disagreed; stating that 2020 is only a mere 7 1/2 years from now and most of the items on that list were idealistic. Many of the users were quick to rebut with recent leaps in technology that is really quiet eye opening when you think about it.

CelebEX sums up many of the technological advances in the past 8 years:

“Most mobile phone users now have a computer in their pocket capable of doing pretty much anything you can desire, and if it cant do it now, you can download via the airwaves in under 30 seconds, and app which CAN.

Major steps forward in electric powered cars… ok, they are not quite there yet, but we have taken HUGE steps forward, and within another 8 years, theoretically, we will have fast, powerful, gas/petrol-less cars, capable of keeping up with the best of the rest.

Holographic technology takes a huge step forward

Biggest and most advanced exploration of Mars begins.

The first big commercial wave of the tablet era begins.


Social Networking.

CD, DVD, and even downloading media files is rendered obsolete, by the ability to stream movies straight to my TV, music straight to my laptop, and store none of it myself.

Cloud storage takes a significant leap forward

I can stand infront of my games console and control the lot by waving my hands or talking to it. <– in reality, its poor atm, but its a stepping stone.

….Ok…so these are just a few things, and a lot of it isnt exactly revolutionary… a lot of what has happened in the last 8-10 years have either been great advances in things that already exists, or its a decade that has produced the first little steps in what will be able to be significantly built on, especially within the next decade…

Im not saying breakthroughs like flying cars or hover boards (how cool!) are around the corner, but some serious advances that we will more than likely just take for granted will come.”

As well as user ‘Henkkaaaaa‘:


  • Personal computers broke the 1GHz barrier (2000)
  • Wikipedia is launched (2001)
  • We had our first space tourist (2001)
  • 911 happens (2001)
  • Euro enters circulation (2002)
  • Myspace is launched (2003)
  • Web 2.0 (2004)
  • Facebook is launched (2004)
  • First one gigabyte SD card (2004)
  • YouTube is launched (2005)
  • USB flash drives replace floppy disks (2005)
  • Twitter is launched (2006)
  • Pluto becomes a “dwarf planet” (2006)
  • Apple debuts the iPhone (2007)
  • Amazon releases Kindle (2007)
  • Google street view is launched (2007)
  • Major advances in CGI (2008)
  • Water is discovered in Moon (2009)


Another notable prediction was made by ‘jarretwold‘ who made a neat list; some serious, some fun:

The Good

  • Full genome sequencing becomes as cheap as an STD test. Your medical treatment becomes preventative based on statistical likelihood of illness.
  • Google’s car self-driving efforts pay off, as the first mixed mode (drive yourself or have it drive you) vehicles roll off of the assembly line.
  • Rapid research in GM crops begins to address climate change.
  • The first FDA licensed 3D printers arrive in medicine. Used to print prescription medication.
  • Modest method patent reform happens
  • Progressive states enact legislation directing judges issue treatment first before punishment for non-violent drug offenses.
  • The widening political divide snuffs itself out, and a push back toward moderate politics begins.
  • First asteroid mining mission lifts off.
  • Multinational, earth orbit, debris field cleanup mission begins.
  • Batteries are finally improved. You don’t have to charge your cell phone battery for days at a time.
  • Further dramatic advances in medical imaging/analysis pinpoint targeted treatment and cause of mental disorders.
  • Medical advances provide even greater life expectancy.
  • Video games are even MORE awesome than they already are.
  • Half-life 3 gets a release date.

The Bad

  • Food scarcity rises dramatically, affecting first world countries for the first time.
  • The first GM crop mishap occurs, becomes an invasive species
  • The middle class ceases to exist
  • A distinct and widening age gap begins to appear between the rich and poor.
  • Longer lives lead to compound increase in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • All other patent reform methods fail.
  • US/China fight their first proxy war.
  • root zone fragmentation occurs due to legal and moral disagreements between countries
  • People begin to reminisce about dubstep.

The Ugly

  • Surveillance becomes ubiquitous.
  • US Courts start enforcing criminal penalties for downloading pirated anything. New felony and misdemeanors added to state law over “lost sale doctrine”
  • Litigation is automated as courts start accepting online filing.
  • Significant 1 in 1000 years, natural disaster event occurs. Likely massive earthquake/tsunami on the west coast.
  • Climate change accelerates. We can do next to nothing with present technology.
  • European Union fails. Eliminates gains from recovery after The Great Recession.
  • Global pandemic fails to occur, but causes widespread localized death in China.
  • QWOP becomes a widely loved, retro game.

It’s really interesting to think about how far we’ve come technologically and in such a short amount of time. I certainly hope that some of the things on this list come up by the time 2020 comes around, guess we’ll just wait and see.

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Week 3; A Virtual Library in a Virtual World

I want to diverge a little from the topic today and really focus on something caught my eye in the article  ‘Mind Control & the Internet’ by Sue Halpern. The thing that really got my attention, and I’ll quote straight from the text:

“You could plug into a computer’s memory banks almost as easily as you put on your shoes. Suddenly, your mind would be full of all the information stored in the computer. You could instantly make yourself an expert in anything from Spanish literature to particle physics…. With biochips to hold the data, all the information in the MIT and Harvard libraries might be stuffed into a volume no greater than that of a sandwich. All of Shakespeare in a BB-sized module…. You may see devices like this before this century ends”  (Halpern, 2011)

Let me first say, I know this kind of tech is decades away from fruition and even longer before it becomes commercially accessible, but I am excited for this. It probably wont happen in my lifetime though, or if it does I’ll be old and senile.

The thought of being able to connect your consciousness into the internet sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie (The Matrix anybody?) but I would welcome this tech with open arms. It would essentially eliminate the need for any formal education; as you could simply just download any knowledge you need. This would also essentially get rid of the problem of student debt and the social class based system that our education system encourages.

However, knowing humanity’s track record of ruining nice things, it would only be a matter of time until someone uses this technology, for lack of a better word, for evil. The amount of ethical issues surrounding introducing this technology are plentiful, more than I’d like to cover in this post.

I’ll just say that I’d love to see this tech come to life, but it no doubt will be shot down by the ethically concerned.

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Internet Relay Chat (or IRC)

IRC was at, one point, one of that largest and most used ‘parts’ of the internet, mainly during the 90’s. Simply defined, IRC is  chatroom; a very primitive one at that. Basically you would type messages and send them into the main chatroom, or ‘channel’, and communicate with others.

In the early days of IRC you would have to download an IRC client in order to access an IRC channel. However now days, at least in Google Chrome, the browser has a client built into it making a third party client largely redundant. Anybody with access to the internet could hop onto one of these IRC channels and talk to anyone of the people connected to it. This allowed people from across the globe to communicate with one another without ever actually meeting.

Although IRC was initially invented in 1988 it never really exploded until 1991 when users were suing the IRC channels to get up-to-date information about the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. The IRC channel that was linked into the country stayed active up to a week after the television and radio broadcast networks were taken down. An archived copy of the IRC chat can be found here.

Now days IRC is not used as much anymore due to the rise of other, more user friendly, instant messaging services; most notably MSN Messenger (now known as Windows Live messenger), Yahoo Messenger and AOL Messenger. IRC now is mostly seen as a low tech way of communicating but is still widely used in some online communities.

One notable mention should be the use of IRC by hacker groups as well as the hacktivist group, Anonymous. IRC channels are widely favoured by these groups for their ability to handle large groups of people as well as giving the users the option to appear anonymously. Anonymous especially used IRC channels to organise wide spread DDOS attacks in 2010.

IRC channels lead the way for modern instant messaging programs. It could be argued that without the existence of IRC channels; MSN, Yahoo, AOL Messenger and the like would not have come to fruition. IRC allowed the sharing of information in real time to people all over the world.



Internet relay chat (IRC) history 1996, viewed 6 August 2012

Stenberg, D 2011. History of IRC (Internet relay chat), viewed 6 August 2012

Correll, S 2010. ‘Tis the season of DDOS – wikileaks edition, viewed 6 August 2012

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How I communicate with the outside world via technology (or Tutorial task 2)

So this weeks tutorial task got us to look at how we communicate online with others, whether it be friends or family.

To me, I do a lot of my socialising online through Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter and Tumblr, as well as through Skype. Before Facebook we used MySpace, and before that Bebo, and before that we actually spoke to one another. Not to say that I don’t actually speak to anybody anymore, I’m more saying that now that most of the people I know use these online social networking sites I find it easier to communicate with them. These social mediums have essentially cut out the need to actually speak to someone face to face. Gone are the days of leaving school and not seeing your friends until the next day. Nowadays when you go home your friends come home with you as well.

So to answer our first pre-determined question; I’ve been using online social networking tools for around 5 years, longer if you count the days of talking to my friends via the chat function of whatever popular online game we were playing in Primary School.  As for what influenced me to start using them? I’d have to say simply because my friends did. If I wanted to stay up-to-date with how my friends were talking with one another I would have to use whatever social tool they were using at the time (which explains my use of Bebo and MySpace *shudder*).

My concerns for my own privacy on these online networking sites are pretty low. I’ve read a lot on how Facebook tracks your browsing data and saves your personal information and have come to terms with how it is. I’ve accepted the fact that Facebook does this and it doesn’t bother me THAT much. You can control fairly easily the information that you share on Facebook so it’s simple to control what is and isn’t shared with the outside world. And if you’re extremely privacy conscious then you simply don’t have to sign up. Simply put; Facebook tracking and sharing your information is going to happen, you just have to accept it and not put anything on there that you wouldn’t want shared with the outside world.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Facebook (and Google) is in the right here. I do think that it is a breach of privacy for these websites to be able to track you across the web. Any website you visit that has a “Like on Facebook” or “Share this on Facebook” button is stored on the Facebook database as a site you have visited. Your entire browsing history saved without your control. Granted that only happens if you leave your Facebook signed in permanently like I do, because I’m lazy. However we sign away our privacy rights as soon as we accept the Terms & Conditions of Facebook.

As for people that I solely know via the internet, I actually have quite a few. Many of which I’ve known for years and talk to quite regularly. Most of them I know on varying different levels. I’ve got a friend who in Canada who I email every now and then who runs a potato farm, a friend in Singapore who is midway through his conscripted military service in the police, an aspiring entrepreneur from Holland, an art student from New York as well as various others from all walks of life. I find that I talk to some of these people less than I do my normal friends, but when I do we have far more meaningful conversations, somewhat like old friends catching up. We might exchange photos of our families or a recent holiday that we went on, that sort of stuff. I find that my conversations with them are richer in quality but lacking in quantity.

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An introductory post

WordPress. Supposedly the internet’s largest blogging platform and as of August 2011 manages over 22% of all new websites created. One would think, with all the traffic it gathers and the amount of new users opening accounts everyday, that the UI would be far more user friendly. However that could be attributed to my general lack of path-finding skills when using new, cluttered menus. However, I pushed through and here we are.

After initially deciding upon WordPress over Blogger, I came across one of the biggest challenges one faces when creating an online identity; the name. What would I call this blog that would ultimately be used as an assessment piece for the next few weeks of this course. Should it be humourous or profound? Thought-provoking or cliche? After trying out a ridiculously large amount of names I settled on this one; An Infinite Regression. Stolen directly from an Animals as Leaders song; I find that the title is somewhat paradoxical, in that one cannot regress infinitely, yet it still makes sense in it’s own way.

So after settling on a name I set out to choose a theme and get customising. Choosing a theme was simple enough; WordPress has a nice collection of themes to choose from, even if some of them cost upwards of $80. However I found a lot of them to be very similar to one another. I can understand that a large selling point of WordPress is it’s professionalism; however you do get bored of seeing black text on a white background in every theme. I think finding a healthy medium between the blandness of simple black and white themes with the clutter and blinding colour of themes found on other social sites such as Tumblr, is key to finding a nice theme. Hopefully the theme I chose accomplishes that with some tweaking.