Photograph | Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble at Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque in December 2013 | Molhem Barakat | Reuters/Corbis
Photograph | Aleppo’s Umayyad mosque: the rubble is all that remains of its minaret, which was blown up during fighting last year | Getty
In other words, the “war on terror,” the waging of which has shaped the political landscape for so much of the world since 2001, has demonstrably failed. Until the fall of Mosul, nobody paid much attention.
Patrick Cockburn at Tom Dispatch. Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed
The Underrated Saudi Connection
Visualization of meme diffusion related to the Arab Spring and the 2011 uprisings from the #Egypt hashtag, which shows strong connectivity and many users linked to one another to form a dense cluster.
Credit | Indiana University
Whether tweets live or die depends more on network, competition for attention than message or user influence
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My topic was electronic civil disobedience. During the question and answer period at the end of my talk, an audience member told me that what I was suggesting was not a civil tactic of political contestation at all; rather, the tactic that I had suggested was pure terrorism. I found this comment to be very curious because I could not understand who (or more to the point, what) this audience member thought was being terrorized. How can terror happen in virtual space, that is, in a space with no people - only information? Have we reached a point in civilization where we are capable of terrorizing digital abstractions? How was it that this intelligent person had come to believe that electronic disruption equaled terror?
The Mythology of Terrorism on the Net
Hacking US (and UK, Australia, France, etc.) Traffic Control Systems
Probably many of you have watched scenes from “Live Free or Die Hard” (Die Hard 4) where “terrorist hackers” manipulate traffic signals by just hitting Enter or typing a few keys. I wanted to do that! I started to look around, and while I couldn’t exactly do the same thing (too Hollywood style!), I got pretty close. I found some interesting devices used by traffic control systems in important US cities, and I could hack them :)
Located from Tomorrow’s cities - what happens when lights go out? | BBC
City As Superintelligence
A movement is afoot to cover some of the largest and most populated cities in the world with a sophisticated array of interconnected sensors, cameras, and recording devices, able to track and respond to every crime or traffic jam ,every crisis or pandemic, as if it were an artificial immune system spread out over hundreds of densely packed kilometers filled with millions of human beings. The movement goes by the name of smart-cities, or sometimes sentient cities, and the fate of the project is intimately tied to the fate of humanity in the 21st century and beyond because the question of how the city is organized will define the world we live in from here forwards -the beginning of era of urban mankind.
Here are just some of many possible examples of smart cities at work, there is the city of Sondgo in South Korea a kind of testing ground for companies such as Cisco which can experiment with integrated technologies, to quote a recent article on the subject, such as:
TelePresence system, an advanced videoconferencing technology that allows residents to access a wide range of services including remote health care, beauty consulting and remote learning, as well as touch screens that enable residents to control their unit’s energy use.
Another example would be IBM’s Smart City Initiative in Rio which has covered that city with a dense network of sensors and cameras that allow centralized monitoring and control of vital city functions, and was somewhat brazenly promoted by that city’s mayor during a TED Talk in 2012. New York has set up a similar system, but it is in the non-Western world where smart cities will live or die because it is there where almost all of the world’s increasingly rapid urbanization is taking place.
Thus India, which has yet to urbanize like its neighbor, and sometimes rival, China, has plans to build up to 100 smart cities with 4.5 billion of the funding towards such projects being provided by perhaps the most urbanized country on the planet- Japan.
Window washers, Hamamatsucho （浜松町）
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Neither cities nor places in them are unordered, unplanned; the question is only whose order, whose planning, for what purpose?
Not chaos, but walls: Postmodernism and the partitioned city
Morning at Shinagawa Station, Tokyo
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