Jul 31, 2004

The truth always hurts

Our Wiki article is progressing nicely, expect an update about it tommorow.

I am pleasantly suprised about one thing. Watching today's TV (which I rarely do) and then browsing the web about Warsaw Uprising anniversairy articles I noticed two things.

1. It is remembered not only in Poland.
2. Finally, our dear Western allies (UK, US) are using the word 'betrayal' in describing their own actions towards Poland in the Second World War (as in 'we left our allies in the Soviet clutches and even though they fought for us we didn't fought for them'). The comments on BBC website are quite telling (especially when one remembers they have been screened).

Here's hoping that history will not repeat itself like this ever again.

---------- UPDATE ------------

The Wiki article is ready. Read it here. If you like it, please vote here.

Jul 28, 2004

Dragons live there...and write books

I am quite picky when it comes to chosing what films I want to watch in cinema. It has to be something *good*. Thus I go to cinema less then once every two months or so.

So what is the next film I want definetly to see? Why, 'Night Watch' of course.
Right. You have no idea what I am talking about right?
Hint1: sf blockbuster
Hint2: film from Russia

Now, it is all clear. Since it is not a Hollywood film (all right, I'll be fair - since it is not a film made in English), it fall in the 'who cares about it' cathegory. It doesn't matter that the film is a blockbuster in Russia, and that it's reviews are good (see English reviews: Blockbuster, International Herald Tribune, Rusnet). I will bet you anything that this film will not make it to 90% of US or Western Europe cinemas.

Why am I so pesimistic?

You see, for a long time I have wondered why English (as in 'written in English', not 'from UK only') books are often translated into Polish (or French, or Russian, or Spanish, or Polish...) while it is very hard to find a book released in English-speaking country that was translated from another language.

I am a fan of fantasy and sf. Thus I have read and love many world famous writers - Tolkien, Cook, Turtledove, Asimov, Baxter, Weber (David, not Max) and dozens of others you likely know if you are a fan of such literature. I am a book worm - I often read more then 2 books per week (and I read many in English, so I don't have any problems with translations when determining quality of a book). So please agree with me when I say that I read *lot* of sf. All right?

So I am now prepared to say that I have read quite a lot of Polish sf and some Russian (what was translated into Polish, not everything but definetly many times more then what was translated into English). And I can name quite a few authors whose works I'd call equal to the most famous writers of English-speaking world. Jacek Dukaj creates an outstanding works of sf - each of his novels is packed with more ideas than many other writers can think of in their lifetime. If I were to point out an English writer that he is most similar to I'd say Greg Egan. Sapkowski is a fantasy writer, his works remind me a lot of mentioned Glen Cook and his 'Black Company' series. Andrzej Pilipiuk creates books that can safely be put agains famous Pratchett in the cathegory of 'makes you ROTFLOL with spice of fantasy or sf'.

I can give you several more examples from Polish literature (I will not even mention Stanisław Lem here - see I am going easy on you NOT :). I have not read much of Russian, but I'd personally put the work of Strugaccy brothers above even Asimov. They are...breathtaking, and from what I read of new Russian writers - many of them are following their suite. Feel free to put me on a stake and burn - but after you read some of their works, please.

All of this leads me back to the question: why there are so few attempts to translate those works into English? I understand that it is not a good idea to translate a *bad* and *unknown* author. Nobody does it. But if an author is famous in one small country - which has compared him with well known English names and still holds him in high regard - it is a likely bet that after translation he will become a new bestseller on a much larger, English speaking market.

So why doesn't that happen? Why nobody tries to translate them and make a profit on that?

Is it becouse majority of English speakers doesn't even *allow the thought* that there is a high quality work being done in other languages?

In any case, *I* am on a winning side here. I have a choice of both famous English authors and of the less known, but often as good Polish and Russian ones. It is the people who can't read in other languages I pity - you miss so much...

Go write to your publisher why they don't translate books, if you want to wipe that smirk off my face. Till then - you may find some small translated samples following the external links on the Wiki pages I linked above. So you will know what is it that you are missing. :>

Jul 26, 2004

Coming soon: Warsaw Uprising

Ever head of it? The biggest uprising in the Second World War. The ultimately futile show of strengh of best partisant force ever, the Polish Armia Krajowa.

The date was 1 Septemeber 1944. On 1 September 2004, 60 years after, I want Wiki to make it a Feature Project. Lot's of work needs to be done, so expect blog post scarce untill then. Any help appreciated here.

Perhaps you will enjoy this header section I have prepared.

  • Eve of the Battle
  • The "W" hour
  • 63 days
    • Stabilization of front lines
    • The circle tightens: loss of Żoliborz, Stare Miasto
    • The scenery: the sewers and the barricades
    • Soviet 'help': Berling landings on Powiśle
    • Western Allies help: the airdrops
    • Life behind the frontlines: Few weeks of Poland reborn
  • Outside Warsaw: Poland, Europe, World
    • On the East: No will to help
    • On the West: good wishes from far away
  • Aftermath
    • The end is here: the capitulation
    • A city was here: 85% of the city in ruins
    • The butcher's bill: the casualties (note: merge civilian and military, or divde with smaller subheaders
    • Nazi's tools of trade: the concentration camps around Warsaw
    • Aftermath of the battle
    • "Liberation" in January 1945
If you have to read some stuff now, see this page. Or if you want to help me with that project, see Project Warsaw Uprising on Wikipedia.

Jul 24, 2004

Evolution of Democracy - Part 1

I have finally started the translation of my article (based on my MA thesis) - evolution of democracy. I think it is not that bad - maybe you will find it interestning. I did try to write it for people, not for some abstract idea. You can judge yourself (and PLEASE, let me know what you think) - the first chapter:


Democracy is the most common political system of the modern world. Majority of people live in the countries that call themselves democratic. During the last few decades majority of changes in the political systems of various countries have been in the direction of democracy, not against it. In our time and place democracy is the dominant type of governance and nothing seems to threaten its position.

Can it be argued that there is some kind of process behind it? Perhaps a process of evolution of state and political system (like democracy)?

To answer this question, we have to consider two definitions – the definition of the state from sociology and the definition of evolution from biology.

Famous sociologist, Max Weber, defines the state 1 as an organization of people that has a monopoly on legitimate violence in a particular geographic area. The definition used in the international law (based on the Montevideo convention of 1933)2, the state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states . An important factor in the differentiation of the states is their political system3.

As for definition of evolution, for our purposes, it will suffice to use a broad definition of evolution: any process of growth or development that entails change4.

States are not a living entities, but they seem to be subject to many of the same rules that living beings are. Furthermore state entities also possess some qualities of the living beings5:

  • growth – states often try to increase their territiroy, population or wealth

  • metabolism – states consume, transform and store resources (both tangible like natural resources and intangible like know-how of its citizens)

  • movement – while states rarely move, this can happen (consider governemnts in exile); their borders can change and withing them there is a substantial amout of movement (changing borders of provinces, flow of people and resources, etc.)

  • reproduction – while states can't have offsprings in the biological sence, they often try to spread their ideals (political, economical and cultural) and create state entities similar to themselves (consider for example the rivalisation between communist and democratic ideals during Cold War)

  • responce to stimuli – states will react to action of other states (for example, military agression)

Sociologists have already coined the term 'cultural evolution' - the progress of a society through successively better stages'. Why then, if society can change, shouldn't we apply the same reasoning to the entity of a state?6

Taking into consideration the above facts and definitions of evolution and state it can be said that evolution in the context of states and their political systems can be defined as 'process of change of organisations (states) in the face of competition for the limited resources in their surroundings', where changes can be viewed as changes of borders and political systems, and limited resources in their surroundings mean the limited territory and resources (natural and human) of Earth.

1Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2004 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State)

2Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2004 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montevideo_Convention)

3White, 2004 (users.erols.com/mwhite28/20c-govt.htm)

4Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2004 (pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewolucja)

5Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2004 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life)

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2004 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_evolution)

Jul 22, 2004

West vs East

You may remember Max Weber - I wrote about him few times already. Finally, I have read most of his works (or rather, most description of his works) and I think I know what was it that he wanted to answer with his work.

A simple question. Why is Occident diffrent from Orient? Why the Western culture is diffrent from the Eastern one?

Weber died before he had the chance to finish all of his work. He never completed studies on Islam and Japan - but what he did I think was enough. He has finished studies on China, India, Judaism and Christianity. He wasn't able to summarise them, but after reading about him for past few months I have reached a conclusion. Now, I don't know if it is the same conclusion he has reached - if any - but my answer to this question is simple: an accident

There were several accidents. Climate, animals - those two were desicive for answering why advanced civilisation have NOT developed in Americas, midde&southern Africa or Polinesia. But why Europe have dominated over much bigger Asia? Weber writings, in my opinion (humble, of course) point in one direction: religion

To be short. Monotheism is rare, and various elements in judaism, later taken up by christianity have allowed the evolution of capitalism, democracy, law rationality and modern state.

Now don't take me wrong. Neither I, nor Weber, are saying that religion was the only factor here. But it was without any doubt - an important one.

In India, religion supported the caste system that slowed trade and development of economy (and freedom of thought). In China, taoism was opposed to any changes, while confucianism supported by literati discouraged trade and law rationality (see links above for more arguments). Aspects of Christianity (an accidental byproduct, noted Weber, but nonetheless an important sociological force), on the other hand, promoted equality (all man are equal before God, after all), work and trade (he who works does not have time to sin) and development of an urban status group (note that such a united group has not developed in the Orient).

And thus I have reached a dillemma. Becouse if I want to be, errr, politically correct, and say that diffrences between West and East are accidental, it sounds good, right? But follow the chain of thought and logic: when I say that christian religion was important here, I am threading on dangerous grounds. Becouse some religious people can say that God wanted West do be dominant, otherwise he would have given his revelations in another place then Judea. I can just imagine writing an article about Max Weber ideas and getting flamed for the religion part...

Ouch. Theology makes my head hurt. Perhaps at some later time I will be able to find a nice solution for this. In the meantime, when somebody asks why West is dominant, my answer is: it was in a right place in a right time.

Sounds safe enough, doesn't it?

Till another dillemma...


Update. Found an interestning article on Wki: sociological theory of the formation of religions
Makes some interesting points, doesn't it?

Jul 20, 2004

Comments dead?

I wonder if the comments function is not working?


All right, I will give you a quote today. But that's all - and be warned - no comments, less blogs.

I reckon that Stonehege was build by the contemporary equivalent of Microsoft, whereas Avebury was definitely an Apple circle Source: alt.fan.pratchett, 8 June 1997

Jul 19, 2004

Toys of a traveling priest

Today's theme are toys. Well, action figures...I know some people who could maim you for calling their collection toys.

I am not a great fan of afs, but recently I saw two that were just...amazing. Of course, you must know what Trigun is. You heard of it, right? One of the best anime ever made? Mergin sf and wild west into one great production? Right. Just in case: review on THEM; info on Wiki.

So about those action figures...take a look yourself:

Oh yes, this is not Vash. He is great, but
Nicholas D Wolfwood is just...greater. I mean, a guy with a machinge gun inside the cross...hardly gets niftier then that :>

Just in case you may be tempted to buy such an amazing things - here comes Froogle to the rescue. This nice new Google service allows one to compare prices of many products. The cheapest in stock figues I found were here (15.99 $). Not bad, when compared to some other offers of over 40$. If you buy stuff on the net and don't Froogle, you are wasting your money...

And let's not forget about quotes. There is enough of those lil' buggers to make me fill a blog zillion tmes this size. Today - of course - a Trigun quote. Vash about Wolfwood...

I met a lone man in the desert, a traveling priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood. He smiled and then he told me that I'm a troubled man. Faced with his all seeing smile there was nothing I could say in my defense. Did I meet this man because I was destined to or, was it simply by a small jest of God? The man's name is Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a traveling priest I met in the desert. --- Vash The Stampede

Oh. Today's fonts are smaller as an experiment. Better? Let me know!

Jul 17, 2004

A legacy

First - please don't be afraid to comment and give me feedback. It has
been two weeks since last comment here...if I don't know ppl are
reading this I have less incentive to post often, you know...

Fixed technical problems, now my posts should be prettier (Mozilla
popup blocker has been treating some aspects of the blogger pages as
ads, including the html tools panel. I love Mozilla, but sometimes it
is too safe for its own good :) Good thing it has so many options, it
was easy to fix it. But today I am not going to go on another 'love
Mozilla' spree.

Been reading epitaphs on Wikiquote. What made the biggest impression on
me were some written by their...errr...owners. It is one thing to have
it written by others, but when ones writes one himself...there is
something in many of them that perhaps best reflect the nature of those
people. Epitaph, when written by oneself, looks to me like one of the
best windows into the soul.

What would you write for your own? Would you even write it?

Here is a selection.

* Mel Blanc

That's all, folks!

* Benjamin Franklin

The Body of
B. Franklin, Printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its Contents turn out
And Stript of its Lettering & Guilding
Lies here. Food for Worms
For, it will as he believed
appear once more
In a new and more elegant Edition
corrected and improved
By the Author

* Will Rogers
If you live life right
death is a joke
as far as fear is concerned

*Peter Ustinov
Do not walk on the grass

* H. G. Wells
I told you so, you damned fools

Here's hoping that it will be long time before we have to worry about our own epitaphs...

Jul 14, 2004

Forgotten heroes

First, let me quote Dia-pozytyw article, beecouse they put it better then I ever could: For half a century, perhaps the greatest hero of the Second World War completely disappeared from books, newspapers and school curricula.

The greatest hero? At that level of achievements, comparisons becomes moot. One of the greatest, no doubt. Read on.

Imagine. A person who fought in Polish-Bolshevik War in 1920 in his teens. You know, the war in which just reborn Poland single-handedly stopped Soviets from conquering all of the weakened Europe just after Great War has ended. The war which is almost forgotten about today...just like the person I am writting about.

He took part in the September campaign of 1939 and faced both the German agression and the Soviet back stabbing attack months before any serious conflicts involving the Western Allies.

In November this year he was at work organising underground resistance and partisants.

In 1940 he - as the only person in the history - volunteered to become imprisoned in the Auschwitz. That name you must have surely heard off - the most infamous concentration camp in the history of mankind. He went there from his own free will, carrying out a mission he has planned himself: The setting up of a military organisation within the camp for the purposes of:

keeping up the morale among fellow inmates and supplying them with news from the outside
providing extra food and distributing clothing among organization members
preparing our own detachments to take over the camp in the eventuality of the dropping of arms or of a live force [i.e. paratroops]’

His reports (take a moment and look at them) have reached Western Allies as early as 1940. Of course they were disregarded at first. First mentions of them in US can be dated to 1944.

He suceeded in organising resistance, harassing gurads and facilitating escapes. He ecaped himself in 1943 after his cover was to thin to keep it up for much longer.

In 1944 he took part in the Warsaw Uprising. To quote from Dia again...During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, Pilecki fought without even revealing his military rank at first-as a private first class, then as commander of the 2nd Company of the 1st Battalion of the Chrobry Group II that was active from Jerozolimskie Avenue to Zelazna Street. The fortification was one of the farthest ones to be held by the insurgents, which caused great difficulties for the German supply lines. The underground press called the region held by Pilecki the "Great Bastion of Warsaw". The bastion endured for two weeks, under fire on all sides from German tanks.

And then, to finish it - he was thrown into the prison for 3 years, and shot to death on after a fake trial.

I wonder what was he thinking on his last birthday. Less then two weeks before his death.

The book about his Auschwitz experience is entitled 'Escape from Hell'. Did he think that in the end, he didn't make it?

A moment of silence for the Witold Pilecki (Wiki entry online since last hour). If you feel like it. Think about him. I think it is important to remember such people.

You see, this is how totalitarian regimes treat their opponents. Opponents as in 'all people who can be dangerous to us'. After 1945, during the next decade, stalinist Soviet puppet state in Poland engaged in mass purges, killing dozens of thousands of people. People who dared advocate democracy. Soldiers who made a mistake of fighting on the side of Western Allies instead of Soviets and dared to return to their home country. Or, like Pilecki, who just didn't join the resistance sponsored by Soviets and advocating their cause.

Consider now two things, if you like. Two questions, perhaps. And tell me their answers.
Cause the only answers I can think of are not the ones I like. Perhaps you can tell me something else?

One. Poland contribution to the IIWW was extreme. Why then the Western Allies deemed Poland unworthy of rescuing from Soviets after 45'? Why men like Witold Pilecki had to die, three years after the war ended?

Two. Why do we allow other totalitarian regimes to reing free even in the XXI century, and when once every decade or two somebody dares to take actions against them - like in current toppling of Iraqi regime - so many people are opposed to it? I wonder if any of those 'pacifists' understands what it means to live in such a country. Btw, ever heard of a pacifist from such country?

Oh. A joke. I find it enlightning as an aid for the second question.

An American and Russian scientists met in the conference in late 70's. Amercian was teaching russian what 'freedom of expression' is.

He gave an example: 'you see, during the Vietnam war, I went to the mass protests outside White House to protest against US intervention in that war'.

Russian scientists nod. 'Yes, we have the exact same thing in Russia. You see, at that tiem I was in fron of Kreml as well, protesting against the US intervention in that war'.

Here's to all forgotten heroes, so their sacrifice is not in vain. And that one day, such jokes will be only that. Jokes. That one can laugh about...or better, not understand at all.

Jul 13, 2004

Trojans and Indonesia

I was soaked wet today...didn't want to make a prof wait for me so I run through the rain. Note: dancing in the rain is overrated.

I have been helping a friend to remove trojans and install firewall and anti-virus software. I thought we done it on Sunday...yet apparently not. It ain't easy when a person is in other country, uses only IM and doesn't know much about comps. And it doesn't help if that person thinks she doesn't need to follow all of my advice and chose only the parts that are easy! Hear that Agus?! Stop using IE and start using Mozilla! I am not going to help you again if you get infected through IE security holes once again!

Hear that, you Internet Explorer users out there? 60% of my blog readers use IE. I tell you - it is like having a big sign over your comp 'hey hacker-dude, come on, hack me, infect me with viruses, come on!'. If you are fine with this, don't blaim anybody but yourself when you get infected by a virus - and trust me, that will happen soon enough, and then you will spend hours trying to remove it, or pay hard cash for help (unless you are lucky enough to have a friend like me who will spend HOURS helping you for free :D). So just do me and yourself a favour, spend few minutes downloading mozilla, install it and be happy.

Of course browser is not everything. I assume you are running up to date avirus and fwall software? Cause if not, I dont even want to guess how much nasty stuff you have on your comp. *shivers* Btw, if you want good and free soft, check this page: Home PC Firewall Guide - it looks competent enough. Has lots of info on not-free fwall soft if you feel like paying as well.

There are several sites on the web that can quickly and freely check if your comp is secure or not. For example. PC Flank test. Try it out.

Believe it or not, I bought my fwall. One of the few pieces of soft that I decided is worthy enough to pay for it, instead of looking for open source (well, few years ago there was no oo firewall anyway...and still there is none, I think - none that I know off, at least. Few good free alternatives though exist now, like those mentioned on the HPFG site...but no oo yet. Ask me, this is strange...why there is no oo fwall/avir? A conspiracy perhaps? *looks around* Do I hear black choppers outside my window??

Nah, just some wind.

Feel like writing more today. So here is some piece of news that I think is very enlightening. I am sure you hear people saying that democracy is no good for islam. Go shove this article down their ignorant throats. Nothing like good ol' facts to make my day :)
Oh, thumbs up for all Indonesians reading this! Keep up the good work guys!

Well, I am off for today. Hopefully my friend managed to install a fwall before catching a 3rd trojan today...keep your fingers crossed, or this is gonna be one long night...

Jul 12, 2004


As you have likely noticed, the blog should be more readible now (white background). Tnx to Aria for the suggestion and help! If you have any others, please use the comment function (hint :D).

Btw, I have noticed that Internet Explorer buchers my site, and makes it lood bad. The fault is of course in IE - it does not like official web standards, and displayes many pages with errors. Use Mozilla if you want to view my blog as it is intended to look like.

Tommorow I'll be finally submiting my papers for doctoral studies on Jagiellonian University, the 3rd oldest university in the world :) Not to shabby, is it? :)

Now for sth interesting. Today is a quote day. Here ya go!

If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps
this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our
collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are
at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only
purpose is life itself.
^ -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
^ "Looking God in the Eye"

What is the purpose of life according to you?

Jul 11, 2004

Let's talk!

Each day, the net brings forward another gem. From time to time, I try to bring them to you. Today, witness the beautiful diamond of Voice over IP technology, more commonly known as Internet Telephony.

It is simple. You probably know instant messenger software? If you don't, you are living in the early 90's...go catch up!

So voice over the net is an extention of p2p tech, that allows you to send voice (via mike and headphones) from your comp to another computer. Ummm. Short word. I have it...it is lika...a...almost...PHONE!

Today I have tested the Skype soft. While it is not open source, it is free and has a Linux version, which kind of makes it up for not being oo. Most imporantly, it works quite well. I talked with a friend from Poland and another in US, and (after I swiched down some of my download/upload soft) 90% of the conversation was as good as on normal phone. 10% was lost on the net, but it was hardly noticable.

My favourite newspaper, The Economist, suggests that such technology may end the days of telecommunications monopolies dominance, and that in few years, phoning will be as free as email. I love it when serious, proffesional magazines agree with my visons on the future!

So go download Skype and talk away!
My nick is prokonsul_piotrus if you want to talk to me :>

Jul 8, 2004

Independent media

Read, laugh, and think.

The following are Le Monde newspaper headlines on consequitive days in 1815 regarding the the return of Napoleon from exile.

The Tyger has broken out of his Den!

The Ogre has been at sea for three days!

The Wretch has landed at Frejus!

The Buzzard has reached Antibes!

The Invader has arrived at Grenoble

The General has entered Lyons

Napoleon slept at Fontainbleu last night

The Emperor will proceed to Tuileries today

His Imperial Majesty will address his loyal subjects tomorrow

Jul 6, 2004

Stars in Black

Or eye candy time!

From the light side...or rather, light in stripes :0 check this out: Stars in Black

From one of the best young movie makers in Poland - at least, one of the most popular guys on the sf cons :) I know, most of the page is in Polish, but you can download clips and laugh - especially on the Stars in Black (here, direct download link for ya) - the movie that made him famous and gave many people a ton of good laughs.

Btw, I was on the Con when Staszek was making this 'better' version of Lord of the Rings. Next ConQuest, I am sure to try to get before a camera...beware! :D

Thats all for today. Have a nice laugh on me.

Jul 5, 2004

Joys of plug-ins

No irony intended. Today's theme is the beauty of Mozilla plugins.

You see, Mozilla, besides being free of Internet Explorer bugs (lol, recently even CNN had an article saying that using IE is like playing a lottery - and if you are lucky, nothing bad happens :>), having ad-unfriendly options (like build in popup blocker), and the most useful feature of tabbed browsing (and believe me, it is an extremly useful tool!) has many (as in many many many) optional features. Granted, 90% of those you will consider usless for you. And this is good - because everybody has diffrent needs.

Myself, I found that for starters, Multizilla is a nifty thing. It comes with a Googlebar thingy (saves the time one has to spend opening google page - several seconds every day, it can adds to several days of one's life, you know :>), and it greately expands the tabbed browsing functionality (move tabs, sort them, reopen closed ones!, etc.).

As for other plugins. Whatever suits your fancy. Copyurl is a nifty tool, at least I find it useful as well. Just one of those things that you barely notice, but is 'cool'.

Want mozilla to look prettier? Cute even? See CuteMenus.

Want mozilla to integrate with download managers? See downloadwith...

Want mozilla to replace paper note taking? QuickNote is your plugin!

Want mozilla to guess your mind? See Optimoz (strange thingy, isn't it?).

Think you need more info about URLs? Diggler to the rescue!

Want mozilla to fetch you cold beer, do the washing and walk the dog? Just search the mozdev plugin list :)

Let's end this entry with a moment of silence and pity the poor people that still waste their time using IE.

Jul 3, 2004

Riverworld, or Afterlife: Not For Hire

Continuing our last theme, ever wondered how would the world look in few dozen millenias?
Or how would afterlife look like?

What about the possibility they would be both the same?


You die.

You wake up. Naked, in your 20s. Lying on the grass, on the gently rising hill. Surrounded by thousands of people, waking up just as you do. There is a big river way down the hill. And some stone pillars.

You have a strange box attached by a string to your wrist.

Now stop reading and ask yourself what would you do in this situation.


Skip forward. You have talked to some people near you. Most of them apparently come from the same country, same time period, and actually died near near the same spacetime you did.

Amazingly, several people in your mids - about one in every ten, if you would count - dont speak your language. They seem to behave...strangely.


Skip forward. It has been several hours. You found out that some of those strange people come from very diffrent times and places. Napoleon France. Tsar Russia. Ancient Rome...

You look ahead of you. Far, far away on the next shore you can see people milling around. To the left and right, river bends and you have no idea what is beyond the steep cliffs behind you...

Sounds intriguing? You may want to take a look at Riverworld. Feel free to read this the begining of his book 'TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO'.

A graphic view - the first steamboat of the Riverwold, Mark Clemens 'Not For Hire':

A bit more seriously. Do you think that in future we will be able to resurrect people?
Yes? No? How sure? Absolutely?

I don't know about you, but I'd love to take a trip on the 'Not Invented Here'.

Till another voyage...

Jul 1, 2004

Ghost of the Future

Do you recognize the pun? I refer to one of the best cyberpunk (or near future science fiction, for the uninitiated out there) franchise, Ghost in the Shell universe. It is composed of several products - anime and manga, whith two alternative storylines. Go ahead and read some reviews here or here or here, and besides saying this is one of the best films/novels ever created, with breathtaking plotline and sfx, I'd like to stress one thing.

While various networks have become deeply rooted,
and thoughts have been sent out as light
and electrons in a singular direction,
this era has yet to digitize/computerize to the degree nescesary
for individuals to become a single complex entity.

Near future. 2020. It is not so long. And I honestly think it may look a lot like what GitS and other cyberpunk artists like William Gibson describe in their works. Granted, details will be diffrent, and political events are rather unlikely, but the rapid technologu chagnes and its impact on society will be HUGE.

You see, when people think of future, they think of their own plans and little troubles. Sometimes they think of things like next political election, on new faster car or computer game or stuff...but they rarely look at the big picture. Maybe because it is so...I am not sure what the right word is here...so changed, so full of potential, so diffrent, that their brains autmatically classify the logical thinking about future as sf, rubbish and back to their daily routine?

So what will be diffrent in the near future? How can the techology change so much that the world will be almost unrecognizable?

Well. Many things. Nanotechnology can bring forward the collapse of capitalism economy and create a utopia of some kind. AIs can replace humans at many tasks. People themselves can evelove into a beings of higher intelligence capacity, and become almost immortal.

No, I am not drunk. I am simply referring to something we dont think about every day. The Technological Singularity Theory. The speed of human progress is ACCELERATING. It is a exponential function.

Every year, we advance more then in the year before. If this process will continue, the change in the next decade can be as big as the one in the past half century. The change in the next half century can be as big as in the last millenia.

Think of the people living 1000 years ago. Could they imagine the world we live today? How would they like it? We are likely to be faced with the same dillemma while alive.

And statistically speaking, we can reach the Point of Singularity any second.

Have a nice time thinking about it. :>
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Voice of the Prokonsul by Piotr Konieczny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.