Brave New World Revisited Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You can read the book for free on but I recommend you read it either off-screen or not on a web page.

It’s been demonstrated time and time again that people who can come up with incredible, fictional worlds that have something tangible to say about our own, have the ability to do so exactly because they understand this Earth and universe so well. Huxley was no exception, and his addendum to Brave New World is a beautifully lucid account of where his original work, written 25 years previously, had failed to anticipate the great emerging forces that were threatening freedom as Huxley perceived them at the time. This list of the book’s chapters might give you some idea of what those threats were:

I Over-Population
II Quantity, Quality, Morality
III Over-Organization
IV Propaganda in a Democratic Society
V Propaganda Under a Dictatorship
VI The Arts of Selling
VII Brainwashing
VIII Chemical Persuasion
IX Subconscious Persuasion
X Hypnopaedia
XI Education for Freedom
XII What Can Be Done?

I’m incredibly curious what Huxley would have to say about our 21st century society and where his hopes would lie today – whether he’d still think that

“meanwhile there is still some freedom left in the world. Many young people, it is true, do not seem to value freedom. But some of us still believe that, with­out freedom, human beings cannot become fully hu­man and that freedom is therefore supremely valuable. Perhaps the forces that now menace freedom are too strong to be resisted for very long. It is still our duty to do whatever we can to resist them. “

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This here thingie had been sitting inert in my browser’s tabs for months, reloading, closing, waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for now.



This excellent article (don’t let the title fool you—it’s not just about America) came back to mind while I was talking to some people in Samothraki just as the coup in Turkey was hitting social media and the Web. By the way, being in the army sitting on a frontier island when a neighboring country does such a thing is not a fun place to be at all.

While discussing with those guys, I mentioned that some people had been tweeting that the coup might have been an inside job orchestrated by Erdogan to eradicate his opposition. My conversation partners dismissed the possibility out of hand as a “conspiracy theory” and that was that. No more had to be said or discussed. The mere utterance of this magic couple of words is enough to settle any argument that challenges the motives and means of powerful people.

Colour me skeptical. Waaay skeptical.

See also my review of Conspiracy Theories: The Pocket Essential Guide.

While I was writing the above sentence, I couldn’t help but smirk at myself and the accidental Liakopoulos vibe it does exude.



Video is from another significant Google victory against a puro earlier this year. When AI can defeat the best humans at the game “given to us by the Gods”, there are only few more steps to be taken before the AI becomes God itself.

Hey, I made an allusion to The Last Question without intending to from the start. Yay for me!

Biased as I am from reading Conversations with God Book 3 and incapable to, or perhaps unwilling, to understand God in any other way apart from as it was described by the books’ author Neale Donald Walsh, I’ll go down saying that the introduction of a godlike AI doesn’t necessarily mean that said AI would be fearsome and/or awe-inspiring: a godlike AI could reflect God  in the same way people are gods, that is by being creators, especially of their own life and experience. AI could “just” become another life form trying to figure itself out and its place and purpose in the universe. The world would move on.

Relevant reddit posts: /r/futurology and /r/worldnews (for comparison’s sake)



Intelligent article ( about how the switch from scarcity of knowledge to the scarcity of attention that has occurred since we all became connected through the internet means that the new global currency has become our attention, a resource corporations and advertising firms are currently feasting on. In fact,

Limitless access to knowledge brings limitless opportunity—but only to those who learn to manage the new currency: their attention. In the new economy, the most valuable asset you can accumulate may not be money, may not be wealth, may not even be knowledge, but rather, the ability to control your own attention, and to focus.

Because until you are able to limit your attention, until you are able to turn away, at will, from all of the shiny things and nipple slips—until you are able to consciously choose what has value to you and what does not, you and I and everyone else will continue to be served up garbage indefinitely. And it will not get better, it will get worse.



I keep thinking of Captain Awkward as Captain Awesome by The Animation Workshop (I even subconsciously wrote one instead of the other a couple of times while writing this post!) If you remove the hilarious scatological humour of the latter, I don’t think that the association is any kind of accident: she really is awesome.

Captain Awkward’s “New Here?” page

Captain Awkward is basically an online advice column on love, relationships, friendships, social interaction etc, only Captain Awesome is also a scriptwriter. It’s similar to what you would expect to find  in a magazine, but apart from it being some of the best advice in the world, from getting rid of the Darth Vader Boyfriends/Girlfriends and dealing with Geek Social Fallacies, to approaching shy guys (Captain Awekward is a feminist and writes predominantly, but obviously not exclusively, for women), it makes for some very entertaining reading indeed.

Yesterday I stayed glued to my monitor reading till some even wee-er hours of the morning and even closer to sunrise than usual, which is of course my true proof-of-the-pudding process, as it is for many others I’m sure. Check it out.



“In the full-blown capitalist version of evolution, where the drive for accumulation had no limits, life was no longer an end in itself, but a mere instrument for the propagation of DNA sequences.”



Article by my favourite David Graeber on how the meaning of life, even matter itself, could in many important ways be to play. If it sounds too out there for you, give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised. The way I see it, it strikes a great balance between being intellectually adventurous and grounded.

Here’s a snippet from the article on the whole concept of the selfish gene:

[…] It came, instead, to be subsumed under the broader “problem of altruism”—another phrase borrowed from the economists, and one that spills over into arguments among “rational choice” theorists in the social sciences. This was the question that already troubled Darwin: Why should animals ever sacrifice their individual advantage for others? Because no one can deny that they sometimes do. Why should a herd animal draw potentially lethal attention to himself by alerting his fellows a predator is coming? Why should worker bees kill themselves to protect their hive? If to advance a scientific explanation of any behavior means to attribute rational, maximizing motives, then what, precisely, was a kamikaze bee trying to maximize?

We all know the eventual answer, which the discovery of genes made possible. Animals were simply trying to maximize the propagation of their own genetic codes. Curiously, this view—which eventually came to be referred to as neo-Darwinian—was developed largely by figures who considered themselves radicals of one sort or another. Jack Haldane, a Marxist biologist, was already trying to annoy moralists in the 1930s by quipping that, like any biological entity, he’d be happy to sacrifice his life for “two brothers or eight cousins.” The epitome of this line of thought came with militant atheist Richard Dawkins’s book The Selfish Gene—a work that insisted all biological entities were best conceived of as “lumbering robots,” programmed by genetic codes that, for some reason no one could quite explain, acted like “successful Chicago gangsters,” ruthlessly expanding their territory in an endless desire to propagate themselves. Such descriptions were typically qualified by remarks like, “Of course, this is just a metaphor, genes don’t really want or do anything.” But in reality, the neo-Darwinists were practically driven to their conclusions by their initial assumption: that science demands a rational explanation, that this means attributing rational motives to all behavior, and that a truly rational motivation can only be one that, if observed in humans, would normally be described as selfishness or greed. As a result, the neo-Darwinists went even further than the Victorian variety. If old-school Social Darwinists like Herbert Spencer viewed nature as a marketplace, albeit an unusually cutthroat one, the new version was outright capitalist. The neo-Darwinists assumed not just a struggle for survival, but a universe of rational calculation driven by an apparently irrational imperative to unlimited growth.


Article by Margaret Atwood.

When I read things like this, I tend to regress to my “what’s the point?” mode. But then I realise there’s still so much road to pave for the possibility of a prospect of a better future for those who make it, those who weather the crumble. The article mentions this and focuses on the importance of positive narratives. There’s little we can do to reverse the situation now, so shouting at the top of your lungs “we’re screwed!” won’t help, and anyway, people at large who have elected to ignore reality thus far will go all the way before they reality grabs them by the face and locks stares with them forever. So a positive message, ideas for transition,  building suitable, sustainable communities for preserving the good parts of what we have created seems to me like the only viable, or at the very least productive, idea we can start working on right now.

Cli-fi though… Apart from clitorises, it reminds me of JMG and preparing for the Long Descent, which will have its ups, down, needs, challenges and inevitably present new opportunities. The world will be much more unpredictable, ugly and much easier to get you caught up in misery, but people will still be (mortal) people, such as they always were. Music shall still be played—a mix of AI-produced synths and traditional ethnic music? Dinners will still be cooked—vegetarian meals based on new recipes that take into account the limited variety and availability of ingredients? Laughs will be enjoyed over new jokes or memes—much needed black humour at the sorry state of humankind that couldn’t resist taking its own daydream for the truth?

Life will move forward into the unknown. But this unknown is being shaped right now by the collective force of our species. Each one of us is steering this force as much as a spec of sand can choose, or not choose, to take part in a destructive sandstorm. But a spec of dust in the right place can allow vapour to condense around it and become a drop of rain.

Sandstorms, wind, rain… like different moves in a poi dancer’s repertoire.

I should read more of Atwood’s writings.



Remember when StumbleUpon was all the rage? Recently they sent me a newsletter with brand new timesink suggestions tailor-made for me from all my Stumbling preferences from 2007 to 2009, when I mostly used it.

Some things haven’t changed, thankfully, and one of them is my love for puzzles, most especially these elegant, zenny ones.

Try Curvy in HTML5 and see what I mean.

Thank you StumbleUpon. You never cease to amaze me.