+quot;The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking.the solu

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"The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker." A. Einstein ====================================================================== BBB III TTT SSS BBB Y Y TTT EEE SSS ONLINE EDITION: B B I T S B B Y Y T E S =THE ELECTRONIC BBB I T SSS AND BBB YYY T EEE SSS =NEWSLETTER FOR B B I T S B B Y T E S =HIGH-TECH BBB III T SSS BBB Y T EEE SSS =DUMPSTER DIVERS ====================================================================== Volume 1, Number 13 (October 26, 1993) ====================================================================== SPECIAL ISSUE: THE DARK SIDE OF TECHNOLOGY = Editorial: The End is Near -|- The Judgement of Thamus = Civilization is Like a Jetliner -|- The Cult of Information = The Disenchantment of the World -|- The Rhythms of Life = Growing Up With Technology -|- We All Live in Bhopal = Viruses as Weapons of War -|- Gifts to Posterity = ====================================================================== Civilization Is Like a Jetliner (T. Fulano) Civilization is like a jetliner, noisy, burning up enormous amounts of fuel. Every imaginable and unimaginable crime and pollution had to be committed in order to make it go. Whole species were rendered extinct, whole populations dispersed. Its shadow on the waters resembles an oil slick. Birds are sucked into its jets and vaporized. Every part, as Gus Grissom once nervously remarked about space capsules before he was burned up in one, has been made by the lowest bidder. . . . Civilization is like a jetliner, an idiot savant in the cockpit, manipulating computerized controls built by sullen wage workers, and dependent for his directions on sleepy technicians high on amphetamines with their minds wandering to sports and sex. . . . Civilization is like a 747, filled beyond capacity with coerced volunteers -- some in love with the velocity, most wavering at the abyss of terror and nausea, yet still seduced by advertising and propaganda. . . . Jetliners fall, civilizations fall, this civilization will fall. The gauges will be read wrong on some snowy day (perhaps they will fail). The wings, supposedly defrosted, will be too frozen to beat against the wind and the bird will sink like a millstone, first gratuitously skimming a bridge (because civilization is also like a bridge, from Paradise to Nowhere), a bridge laden, say, with commuters on their way to or from work, which is to say, to or from an airport, packed in their cars (wingless jetliners) like additional votive offerings to a ravenous Medusa. Then it will dive into the icy waters of a river, the Potomac perhaps, or the River Jordan, or Lethe. And we will be inside, each one of us at our specially assigned porthole, going down for the last time, like dolls' heads encased in Plexiglas. (SOURCE: T. Fulano, "Civilization is Like a Jetliner," Fifth Estate, Fall 1983, p. 1, reprinted in Questioning Technology (QT) [see B&B Bookshelf]) ====================================================================== EDITORIAL: It's time to bite the hands of the dogs that feed (and clothe and shelter) me, and to indulge my deepest fears about the technology I love to go on about. These are scary times we're living in. The Chinese are recruiting unemployed Russian physicists to speed up their ballistic and nuclear weapons programs. (Wall Street Journal, 10/14/93, p. A12), Russian nuclear weapons and materials are being sold on the black market to the highest bidder, and "Peacekeeping forces" are fighting bloody skirmishes around the world. Tv[Ks=в:aP*͠l9J0[JtvS8H#[T"yj_RB*7Ъhm,14%ն?Vě5*QEson. Terrorist cells are hatching plots to bring the great Satan (that's us, and the reputation is not entirely undeserved) to its knees. Children kill their parents, men kill their girlfriends and grandparents. Striking a blow for women's lib, women are striking back, killing their boyfriends and castrating their husbands. There are fears that unpopular court verdicts will spark rioting in the streets. Let's not even discuss what tends to happen around millenniums, the next of which is less than 7 years away. The natives are restless, and with good reason: things are going to hell in a handbasket by most any objective measurement. Lester Thurow's Worldwatch Institute issues a yearly State of the World report, available at your library or better bookstores, that gathers socio-economic, environmental, political, and industrial and other data and statistics in an attempt to put the big picture into perspective. It ain't pretty. You may disagree with Thurow's analysis, but the facts and figures speak for themselves, and are there in black and white for you to draw your own conclusions. We are doomed, I tell you, utterly and irrevocably doomed. Head for the hills I tell you! The end is near! How much is technology to blame for this dismal state of affairs? And what can technology (and we, its creators and users) do to help solve these problems? These are questions we desparately need to think about, just in case it's not already too late. This time around, I'm going to accentuate the negative. As long as this issue is, I realize I didn't get to a some topics I would have liked to have covered, like the dangers of electric radiation, and health problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. For some comic relief, I've compiled a list of horror/monster movies you may want to enjoy around the Halloween season, and which also relate somewhat to the topic at hand. Just for the record, on good days I think we're going to make it through to the next millennium and onward to the stars, but those good days are getting fewer and further between. Let me know how *you* feel. Please see the administrivia section for important new access information. We'll be back in about a week with latest news. See you then, and - have a nice day. ====================================================================== The Judgment of Thamus (Neil Postman) You will find in Plato's Phaedrus a story about Thamus, the king of a great city of Upper Egypt. For people such as ourselves, who are inclined (in Thoreau's phrase) to be tools of our tools, few legends are more instructive than his. The story, as Socrates tells it to his friend Phaedrus, unfolds in the following way: Thamus once entertained the god Theuth, who was the inventor of many things, including number, calculation, geometry, astronomy, and writing. Theuth exhibited his inventions to King Thamus, claiming that they should be made widely known and available to Egyptians. Socrates continues: Thamus inquired into the use of each of them, and as Theuth went through them expressed approval or disapproval, according as he judged Theuth's claims to be well or ill founded. It would take too long to go through all that Thamus is reported to have said for and against each of Theuth's inventions. But when it came to writing, Theuth declared. "Here is an accomplishment, my lord the King, which will improve both the wisdom and the memory of the Egyptians. I have discovered a sure receipt for memory and wisdom." To this, Thamus replied, "Theuth, my paragon of inventors, the discoverer of an art is not the best judge of the good or harm which will accrue to those who practice it. So it is in this; you, who are the father of writing, have out of fondness for your offspring attributed to it quite the opposite of its real function. Those who acquire it will cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful; they will rely on writing to bring things to their remembrance by external signs instead of by their own internal resources. What you have discovered is a receipt for recollection, not for memory. And as for wisdom, your pupils will have the reputation for it without the reality they will receive a quantity of information without proper instruction, and in consequence be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant. And because they are filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom they will be a burden to society." I begin my book with this legend because in Thamus' response there are several sound principles from which we may begin to learn how to think with wise circumspection about a technological society. In fact, there is even one error in the judgment of Thamus, from which we may also learn something of importance. The error is not in his claim that writing will damage memory and create false wisdom. It is demonstrable that writing has had such an effect. Thamus' error is in his believing that writing will be a burden to society and nothing but a burden. For all his wisdom, he fails to imagine what writing's benefits might be, which, as we know, have been considerable. We may learn from this that it is a mistake to suppose that any technological innovation has a one-sided effect. Every technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that. Nothing could be more obvious, of course, especially to those who have given more than two minutes of thought to the matter. Nonetheless, we are currently surrounded by throngs of zealous Theuths, one-eyed prophets who see only what new technologies can do and are incapable of imagining what they will undo. We might call such people technophiles. They gaze on technology as a lover does on his beloved, seeing it as without blemish and entertaining no apprehension for the future. They are therefore dangerous and are to be approached cautiously. On the other hand, some one-eyed prophets, such as I (or so I am accused), are inclined to speak only of burdens (in the manner of Thamus) and are silent about the opportunities that new technologies make possible. The Technophiles must speak for themselves, and do so all over the place. My defense is that a dissenting voice is sometimes needed to moderate the din made by the enthusiastic multitudes. If one is to err, it is better to err on the side of Thamusian skepticism. But it is an error nonetheless. And I might note that, with the exception of his judgment on writing, Thamus does not repeat this error. You might notice on rereading the legend that he gives arguments for and against each of Theuth's inventions. For it is inescapable that every culture must negotiate with technology, whether it does so intelligently or not. A bargain is struck in which technology giveth and technology taketh away. The wise know this well, and are rarely impressed by dramatic technological changes, and never overjoyed. . . . Had King Thamus been as wise as reputed, he would not have forgotten to include in his judgment a prophecy about the powers that writing would enlarge. There is a calculus of technological change that requires a measure of even-handedness. . . . [Thalmus knew] . . . that the uses made or any technology are largely determined by the structure of the technology itself -- that is, that its functions follow from its form. . . . we may learn from Thamus the following: once a technology is admitted, it plays out its hand; it does what it is designed to do. Our task is to understand what that design is -- that is to say, when we admit a new technology to the culture, we must do so with our eyes wide open. (Excerpted from Chapter One of "Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology" by Neil Postman (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992) ====================================================================== The Disenchantment of the World (Morris Berman) The story of the modern epoch, at least on the level of mind, is one of progressive disenchantment. From the sixteenth century on, mind has been progressively expunged from the phenomenal world. At least in theory, the reference points for all scientific explanation are matter and motion -- what historians of science refer to as the "mechanical philosophy". Developments that have thrown this world view into question -- quantum mechanics, for example, or certain types of contemporary ecological research -- have not made any significant dent in the dominant mode of thinking. That mode can best be described as disenchantment, non participation, for it insists on a rigid distinction between observer and observed. Scientific consciousness is alienated consciousness: there is no ecstatic merger with nature, but rather total separation from it. subject and object are always seen in opposition to each other. I am not my experiences, and thus not really a part of the world around me. The logical end point of this world view is a feeling of total reification: everything is an object, alien, not-me; and I am ultimately an object too, an alienated "thing" in a world of other, equally meaningless things. This world is not of my own making; the cosmos cares nothing for me, and I do not really feel a sense of belonging to it. What I feel, in fact, is a sickness in the soul. Translated into everyday life, what does this disenchantment mean? It means that the modern landscape has become a scenario of "mass administration and blatant violence", a state of affairs now clearly perceived by the man in the street. The alienation and futility that characterized the perceptions of a handful of intellectuals at the beginning of the century have come to characterize the consciousness of the common man at its end. Jobs are stupefying, relationships vapid and transient, the arena of politics absurd. In the vacuum created by the collapse of traditional values, we have hysterical evangelical revivals, mass conversions to the Church of the Reverend Moon, and a general retreat into the oblivion provided by drugs, television and tranquilizers. We also have a desperate search for therapy, by now a national obsession, as millions of Americans try to reconstruct their lives amidst a pervasive feeling of anomie and cultural disintegration. An age in which depression is a norm is a grim one indeed. Perhaps nothing is more symptomatic of this general malaise than the inability of the industrial economies to provide meaningful work. Some years ago, Herbert Marcuse described the blue- and white-collar classes in America as "one-dimensional". "When technics becomes the universal form of material production", he wrote, "it circumscribes an entire culture; it projects a historical totality -- a 'world"' One cannot speak of alienation as such, he went on, because there is no longer a self to be alienated. We have all been bought off, we all sold out to the System long ago and now identify with it completely. "People recognize themselves in their commodities", Marcuse concluded; they have become what they own. But keeping free from the System is not a viable option. As technological and bureaucratic modes of thought permeate the deepest recesses of our minds, the preservation of psychic space has become almost impossible. "High-potential candidates" for management positions in American corporations customarily undergo a type of finishing-school education that teaches them how to communicate persuasively, facilitate social interaction, read body language, and so on. This mental framework is then imported into the sphere of personal and sexual relations. One thus learns, for example, how to discard friends who may prove to be career obstacles and to acquire new acquaintances who will assist in one's advancement. The employee's spouse is also evaluated as an asset or liability in terms of their diplomatic skills. And for most males in the industrial nations, the sex act itself has literally become a project, a matter of carrying out the proper techniques so as to achieve the prescribed goal and thus win the desired approval. Pleasure and intimacy are seen almost as a hindrance to the act. But once the ethos of technique and management has permeated the spheres of sexuality and friendship, there is literally no place left to hide. The "widespread climate of anxiety and neurosis" in which we are immersed is thus inevitable. The statistics that reflect this condition in America alone are so grim as to defy comprehension. There is now a significant suicide rate among the seven-to-ten age group, and teenage suicides tripled between 1966 and 1976 to roughly thirty per day. . . . Dr. Darold Treffert, of Wisconsin's Mental Health Institute, observed that millions of children and young adults are now plagued by "a gnawing emptiness or meaninglessness expressed not as a fear of what may happen to them, but rather as a fear that nothing will happen to them". . . . In the early 1970s, it was reported that 25 million adults were using Valium; by 1980, Food and Drug Administration figures indicated that Americans were downing benzodiazepines (the class of tranquilizers which includes Valium) at a rate of 5 billion pills a year. . . . one-fourth of the American female population in the thirty-to-sixty age group uses psychoactive prescription drugs on a regular basis. Articles in popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan urge sufferers from depression to drop in to the local mental hospital for drugs or shock treatments, so that they can return to their jobs as quickly as possible. "The drug and the mental hospital", writes one political scientist, "have become the indispensable lubricating oil and reservicing factory needed to prevent the complete breakdown of the human engine". (Excerpted from "The Reenchantment of the World" by Morris Berman, Cornell University Press, 1981, reprinted in QT) ====================================================================== When asked by a reporter what he thought of modern civilization, Gandhi was said to have replied, "I think it would be a good idea." ====================================================================== The Rhythms of Life (Stanley Diamond) In machine-based societies, the machine has incorporated the demands of the civil power or of the market, and the whole life of society, of all classes and grades, must adjust to its rhythms. Time becomes lineal, secularized, "precious"; it is reduced to an extension in space that must be filled up, and sacred time disappears. The secretary must adjust to the speed of her electric typewriter; the stenographer to the stenotype machine; the factory worker to the line or lathe; the executive to the schedule of the train or plane and the practically instantaneous transmission of the telephone; the chauffeur to the superhighways; the reader to the endless stream of printed matter from high-speed presses; even the schoolboy to the precise periodization of his day and to the watch on his wrist; the person "at leisure" to a mechanized domestic environment and the flow of efficiently scheduled entertainment. The machines seem to run us, crystallizing in their mechanical or electronic pulses the means of our desires. The collapse of time to an extension in space, calibrated by machines, has bowdlerized our natural and human rhythms and helped dissociate us from ourselves. Even now, we hardly love the earth or see with eyes or listen any longer with our ears, and we scarcely feel our hearts beat before they break in protest. Even now, so faithful and exact are the machines as servants that they seem an alien force, persuading us at every turn to fulfill our intentions which we have built into them and which they represent -- in much the same way that the perfect body servant routinizes and, finally, trivializes his master. (Excerpted from "In Search of the Primitive," by Stanley Diamond [Transaction Books, 1974], reprinted in QT(see B&B Bookshelf)) ====================================================================== Faster Faster -- Make It Perfect (Jerry Mander) In our society, speed is celebrated as if it were a virtue in itself. And yet as far as most human beings are concerned, the acceleration of the information cycle has only inundated us with an unprecedented amount of data, most of which is unusable in any practical sense. The true result has been an increase in human anxiety, as we try to keep up with the growing stream of information. Our nervous systems experience the acceleration more than our intellects do. It's as if we were all caught at a socially approved video game, where the information on the screen comes faster and faster as we earnestly try to keep up. (Excerpted from "In The Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations" by Jerry Mander (Sierra Club Books, 1991) ====================================================================== We All Live in Bhopal (George Bradford) The industrialization of the Third World is a story familiar to anyone who takes even a glance at what is occurring. The colonial countries are nothing but a dumping ground and pool of cheap labor for capitalist corporations. Obsolete technology is shipped there along with the production of chemicals, medicines and other products banned in the developed world. Labor is cheap, there are few if any safety standards, and *costs are cut*. But the formula of cost-benefit still stands: the costs are simply borne by others, by the victims of Union Carbide, Dow, and Standard Oil. A powerful image: industrial civilization as one vast, stinking extermination camp. We all live in Bhopal, some closer to the gas chambers and to the mass graves, but all of us close enough to be victims. And Union Carbide is obviously not a fluke -- the poisons are vented in the air and water, dumped in rivers, ponds and streams, fed to animals going to market, sprayed on lawns and roadways, sprayed on food crops, every day, everywhere. The result may not be as dramatic as Bhopal (which then almost comes to serve as a diversion, a deterrence machine to take our minds off the pervasive reality which Bhopal truly represents), but it is as deadly. When ABC News asked University of Chicago professor of public Health and author of The Politics of Cancer, Jason Epstein, if he thought a Bhopal-style disaster could occur in the US, he replied: "I think what we're seeing in America is far more slow-not such large accidental occurrences, but a slow, gradual leakage with the result that you have excess cancers or reproductive abnormalities." In fact, birth defects have doubled in the last 25 years. And cancer is on the rise. In an interview with the Guardian, Hunter College professor David Kotelchuck described the "Cancer Atlas" maps published in 1975 by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. "Show me a red spot on these maps and I'll show you an industrial center of the US", he said. "There aren't any place names on the maps but you can easily pick out concentrations of industry. See, it's not Pennsylvania that's red it's just Philadelphia, Erie and Pittsburgh. Look at West Virginia here, there's only two red spots, the Kanawha Valley, where there are nine chemical plants including Union Carbide's, and this industrialized stretch of the Ohio River. It's the same story wherever you look." (SOURCE: George Bradford, "We All Live in Bhopal," Fifth Estate, Winter 1985, p. 1, reprinted in QT) ====================================================================== Viruses as Weapons of War (John McAfee and Colin Hayes) Officials tend to be scornful of suggestions that viruses will become an important terrorist weapon or threat to national security. A Congressional report on the issue acknowledged that the possibility of terrorist computer virus activity has disturbing implications, but it paid little attention to this topic because there have been few recorded instances of viral assaults directed at specific targets -- so far. In fact, the terrorist threat is being taken far more seriously by the authorities than they are revealing. Fortunately, there is now an awareness among those advising government agencies on their computer security that, contrary to some well-publicized expert opinions, terrorists can pick vulnerable targets for viruses with comparative ease. It should be a cause for concern that high-level terrorist groups are studying the use of viruses, just as governments are worried that terrorists may one day use nuclear devices or chemical and biological technology to further their political aims. The computer virus is especially tempting for them. They could put together a team of people with software engineering skills who, with very little risk, could launch an electronic offensive with the potential to seriously disrupt the affairs of any nation. Indeed, computer viruses could begin to change the political balance of power in a remarkable way. They represent the first weapons that could be deployed at both low cost and comparatively little risk by individuals, groups, or small countries against big business or the major powers. A hostile Third World government can readily acquire the potential ability to cause serious damage to computer installations in Moscow, Washington, or any other seat of political, military, or economic power. A country that is not critically dependent on computers could unleash viruses with capabilities to paralyze data processing in more technically sophisticated nations. Such a government would not need to concern itself with targeting those viruses accurately to contain their spread and thus protect the perpetrators from the risk of being infected themselves. (SOURCE: "Computer Viruses, Worms, Data Diddlers, Killer Programs, and Other Threats to Your System" by John McAfee and Colin Hayes (St. Martin's Press, 1989) ====================================================================== The Cult of Information (Theodore Roszak) Is it wise to commit the society so massively to a technology that is so vulnerable to widespread breakdown, error, sabotage, and criminal tampering? The computer makers and computer scientists have no doubt that it is. And having won the commanding heights of the economy, they are moving rapidly to find other frontiers for investment. The current effort is to graft the microcomputer on to as many aspects of daily life as possible, so that our homes, workplaces, and schools will soon be no less dependent on the flow of electronic information. Without a steady supply, the children will not be able to learn, checkbooks will go unbalanced, appointments will not be scheduled, taxes will not be paid...possibly dinner will not reach the table. The office work force is currently one of the major targets of the data merchants. . . . The fully computerized office will do for white collar work what the automated assembly line has done in the factories: it will "save labor by eliminating it, starting with the file clerks and secretaries, but soon reaching to the junior executives and the sales force. Possibly these casualties of progress will find work at Burger King down the street, where the cash registers come equipped with pictures, not numbers, or as the janitors who clean up whatever there is left to clean up at the end of the day- at least until these jobs are turned over to robots. There may soon be no one left in the high-rise ziggurats of our cities but a small elite of top-level decision makers surrounded by electronic apparatus. They will be in touch around the globe with others of their kind, the only decently paid work force left in the information economy, manipulating spreadsheets, crafting takeover bids, transferring funds from bank to bank at the speed of light, arranging "power lunches." As time goes by, there will be less and less for them to do, for even decision making can be programmed. . . . At that point, even the corporate leadership will not have to report to the office. Most of what needs to be done by way of human intervention will be done out of the home. One forms an eerie vision of the high industrial future: a vista of glass towers standing empty in depopulated business districts where only machines are on the job networking with other machines. (SOURCE: Theodore Roszak, "The Cult of Information" (Pantheon Books, 1986). pp.) ====================================================================== Growing Up With Technology (Jerry Mander) The new value system that was sold in the forties and fifties was designed to fuel the most massive expansion of the U.S. industrial and marketing sectors in history. The "American way of life" became an advertising theme; it drew an explicit equation between how much you consumed and how American you were. During the Truman-Eisenhower years, the American ideal of consumerism was directly juxtaposed with Russia's emphatically nonconsumerist stance. In the I950S, buying a washing machine was a blow against communism. This value system incorporated certain key attitudes: Technological innovation is good. It is always good. It aids health. It saves labor. It is the engine that drives economic growth, which in turn drives the American standard of living upward, which benefits all people. Technical innovation promotes democracy, freedom, and leisure. Technical and scientific progress will spread around the world and relieve all people of the awful toil that has oppressed them since the dawn of time. Someday, every place will look like the World's Fair. It is inevitable. You can't turn back the clock. For me, going through my teenage years in that period; for my family and neighbors; and I believe for most Americans, there was the disposition to go along with it all. Swept along by the rhetoric and hype, it was as though we found ourselves living within a gigantic environmental theatre. We sat and watched while they rolled away one diorama and replaced it with another and then another. While our world was being dramatically transformed, while places we loved were fast deteriorating, while lifestyles were sharply altered, while the forest receded, while open land was paved over and built upon, while pollution and smog became commonplace, while small towns began to look like New York City, and New York City began to resemble Fritz Lang's Metropolis, we watched as if it were a movie. To say that we, the public, had no participation in these vast changes would be inaccurate. We lived in the world; we interacted with the changing environment. By our silence we gave our tacit approval. But no one ever inquired into what we thought about it all. No one ever indicated that there could be a question about the process. It all happened so fast, and with so much power, it was difficult to grasp what was changing, as it was changing. The process itself overpowered all doubt. We asked no questions. We never had time to think it through. Even if we'd had the time, we didn't have the thoughts or the words by which to articulate our concerns. There was no language of technological evaluation, nor is there one now. The parameters of the discussion, even the parameters of thought, were predefined by corporate, governmental, and scientific institutions. No formal means existed by which ordinary people could engage in discussions or debates, or could hear the pros and cons of what was happening. There were no national referenda, save for what appeared in the media. And the media reports were mainly confined to advertising or government predictions. If there existed an alternative view, it remained within intellectual and cultural circles not visible to the average American. In the absence of an alternative vision, the paradigm was confirmed that technological innovation was good, invariably good, and would be the principal means by which our society would solve its problems and produce a better world. Fifty years later, however, as the world hurtles toward its greatest environmental crisis since the dawn of human life, a crisis driven by the insatiable need to feed resources to the technological machine, and to consume them as commodities, we are at an appropriate moment to question whether this path we have chosen and celebrated has lived up to its promise, and if not, if it ever will. (Excerpted from Chapter One of "In The Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations" by Jerry Mander (Sierra Club Books, 1991) ====================================================================== Bits and Bytes Bookshelf: Questioning Technology: Tool, Toy or Tyrant Edited by John Zerzan and Alice Carnes (New Society Publishers, 1991. 222 pp. $12.95) - If you enjoyed this issue of B&B, you will enjoy this critical anthology of writings on issues related to the downside of technology. This book is from a small press, so you may have trouble finding it. It can be ordered directly from the publisher at: PO BOX 582, Santa Cruz, CA 95061. Add $1.75 for shipping and handling. ====================================================================== Thirteen for Halloween: Some Horror/Scifi/Monster Movies Worth Renting 1) Alien (1979, dir: Ridley Scott) A very scary sci-fi horror movie that takes place in a claustrophobic, dilapidated spaceship. 2) The Andromeda Strain (971, dir: Robert Wise) Great techno-thriller based on a Michael Critchon novel. A virus from outer space threatens to wipe out mankind. Can science save the day? 3) Blade Runner (1982, dir: Ridley Scott) A cyberpunk sci-fi vision set in Los Angeles in the 2st century. Harrison Ford must find and kill Rutger Hauer, a superhuman replicant. A visual feast. 4) A Clockwork Orange (1971, dir: Stanley Kubrick) Government mind control experiments, a nihilistic future where young "droogs" roam the street committing random acts of violence. Sound familiar? 5) Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1963, dir: Stanley Kubrick) Not a horror film, but the blackest of black comedies, with Peter Sellers playing 3 different roles. "Hey, you can't fight in here -- this is the war room!" 6) The Fly (1958, dir: Kurt Neumann/1986, dir: David Cronenberg) Both versions have their charm. Mad scientists run amuck! The remake is quite gross and disturbing. I liked it. 7) Forbidden Planet (1956, dir: Fred Wilcox) Great special effects! Robby the Robot! Vanished alien civilizations! The monster from the Id! Space vixens! Leslie Nielsen! Entertaining fluff! 8) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Dir: Don Siegal) The pod people are coming! This chilling tale is a metaphor for the domes- tication of the American Spirit during the Eisenhower years. 9) Metropolis (1926, Dir: Fritz Lang) A visual and emotional masterpiece. And an accurate projection of futuristic society. This is a movie that will stay with you long after you see it. 10)Road Warrior (1981, Dir: George Miller) In a post nuclear future, Mel Gibson drives around a desolate landscape battling a tribe of punked out killers on wheels. Great chase sequences, good fun. 11)Robocop (1987, Dir: Paul Verhoeven) Extremely violent, nihilistic view of the future. Sharp digs at corporate greed abound in this black comedy. Make sure you get the first one. 12)Them! (1954, Dir: Gordon Douglas) Needed at least one giant mutated monster movie, and this is one of the best. The atomic critters in this case are ants. Great cheesy fun. 13)THX 1138 (1971, dir: George Lucas) George "Star Wars" Lucas' directorial debut is an atmospheric sci-fi movie set in a chilling, dystopian future. ====================================================================== Gifts to Posterity (Bruce Sterling) We're already leaving some impressive gifts for the remote future of this planet. Nuclear wastes, for instance. We're going to be neatly archiving this repulsive trash in concrete and salt mines and fused glass canisters, for tens of thousands of years. Imagine the pleasure of discovering one of these nice radioactive time-bombs six thousand years from now. Imagine the joy of selfless, dedicated archaeologists burrowing into one of these twentieth- century pharaoh's tombs and dropping dead, slowly and painfully. Gosh, thanks, ancestors. Thanks, twentieth century! Thanks for thinking of us! (Bruce Sterling, from "Free as Air, Free As Water, Free As Knowledge," a speech given to the Library Information Technology Association in June of 1992) ====================================================================== ### ADMINISTRIVIA ### NEW INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBSCRIBING AND UNSUBSCRIBING: I am pleased to announce that B&B is now available via listserver. Subscribe to it by mailing listserv@acad1.dana.edu, no subject, text: SUBSCRIBE bits-n-bytes. A confirmation will be mailed to you. To unsubscribe send a message to listserv@acad1.dana.edu, no subject, text: UNSUBSCRIBE bits-n-bytes . Notice that your email address is no longer necessary in the message body. If you're already subscribed, there's no need to do anything. THANKS to everyone who wrote with thoughts and suggestions, thanks to the folks at alt.quotations, and MAJOR THANKS to Paul Snow for setting me up with the listserver mechanism, thereby freeing up a major chunk of time for me to devote to B&B's editorial content. Greetings and whuzzup to the Extropian community, an enclave of hopeless optimists if ever there was one, and who *might* have a bone or two to pick with me regarding this issue's contents. See you in a week or so, where we'll catch up with all the high tech news. ====================================================================== BITS AND BYTES ONLINE, an electronic newsletter for text-based life- forms, is now published irregularly, 2 or 3 times a month. As one reader pointed out, it was quantity or quality. I chose the latter. *This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons* ====================================================================== Jay Machado = (Copyright 1993 Jay Machado) *unaltered* = 1529 Dogwood Drive = ELECTRONIC distribution of this file for = Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 = non-profit purposes is encouraged. = ph (eve) 609/795-0998 = The editor is solely responsible for the = ======================== editorial content. Opinions expressed are = not necesarily shared by the editor, and are subject to change w/o = prior notice. The copyright for individual pieces is held by by the = original author or publisher. The editor is not responsible for = massive depressions or attempted suicides caused by contemplation of = all the bad news presented in this special issue of B&B. "That which = does not kill us makes us stronger." (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche) = We'd better hope so. = =============== End of Bits and Bytes Online V1, #13 =================


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