Sunday, January 31, 2010

Deeper Than Words

A Classic AMV by Nostromo, Arjuna - Nature's Kingdom.

Song: kai tracid Conscious 
Anime: Arjuna (Earth Girl Arjuna)

Watch On Youtube


About Arjuna

The story opens with Juna telling her boyfriend Tokio she feels too cramped in the city, and deciding to take a trip to the Sea of Japan. On the drive, they get in an accident and Juna dies. As the spirit leaves her body, Juna sees the dying Earth. The planet's suffering is visualized by worm-like creatures, the Raaja. The Raaja vary in size, from microscopic bacteria to those entwining the planet. A young boy named Chris appears before Juna and offers to save her life if she will help the planet. She agrees and is resurrected.

As is clear from the title, Arjuna, the series is highly influenced by Hinduism, as well as Indian culture in general. The story was inspired by the Bhagavad Gita, most notably in the character of Chris, who is modeled after Krishna.

The setting for the show, Kobe, was chosen by creator Shoji Kawamori for his personal fondness of it, and the city itself plays a prominent role, with famous buildings such as the Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel and nearby Ferris wheel showing up as common backdrops. The idea of living in a city is a main theme, with both Juna and the Raaja rebelling against how removed from nature modern life is.

An idea which Kawamori emphasized was natural farming. Not to be confused with the mere absence of chemicals that is often meant by "organic farming", natural farming involves letting nature grow as it will, not removing weeds or bugs, or using any fertilizer. The old man Juna encounters in episode four explains the need for this return to nature in order to sustain life in the long term, a sentiment directly from Kawamori himself

The show contains some very scientific and current elements which include the pole shift hypothesis, the Van Allen Belt, Fermat's Last Theorem, etc.

In episode two, Chris's chakras are shown on the monitor screen which are also adapted from the Hindu concept of 7 chakras inside the human body.




The Unseen In This AMV
Even for those the have seen the series, this is something that isn't obvious, unless you know what you are looking at. That object on her head, the shape of a sphere with a flowing tail is still to this day, the usual visual representation of the human spirit in Japan.The Magatama First appeared during the Jōmon period, which was from about 14,000 BCE to 400 BCE..

There is also a strong resemblance with the Magatama and the Gentoo Linux icon.

Gentoo Linux is a computer operating system built on top of the Linux kernel and based on the Portage package management system. It is distributed as free and open source software. Unlike a conventional software distribution, the user compiles the source code locally according to their chosen configuration. There are normally no precompiled binaries for software, continuing the tradition of the ports collection, although for convenience, some software packages (such as Mozilla Firefox and OpenOffice) are also available as precompiled binaries for various architectures where compiling would otherwise be very time consuming. The development project and its products are named after the Gentoo penguin. Gentoo package management is designed to be modular, portable, easy to maintain, flexible, and optimized for the user's machine. Gentoo describes itself as a metadistribution, "because of its near-unlimited adaptability".


Whats in a name? 
Arjuna is a medicinal plant of the genus Terminalia, widely used by Ayurvedic physicians for its curative properties in organic/functional heart problems including angina, hypertension and deposits in arteries. According to Ayurvedic texts it also very useful in the treatment of any sort of pain due a fall, ecchymosis (bruises), spermatorrhoea and sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea. Arjuna bark (Terminallia arjuna) is thought to be beneficial for the heart. This has also been proved in a research by Dr. K. N. Udupa in Banaras Hindu University's Institute of Medical Sciences , Varanasi (India). In this research, they found that powdered extract of the above drug provided very good results to the people suffering from Coronary heart diseases

A Feel Good AMV



    One of the nominations for best use of lip-syncing for 2009 at www.animemusicvideos.org. Certainly one I'd vote for, it's a rather funny video and has already been awarded best comedy, in a previous constest. A good selection of scenes from various anime, song by Avenue Q.

SongAu Revoir Simone - Tell Me (Clock Opera Remix)
Anime: Guilty Crown, Chaos; Head, Durarara!!, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, Black Rock Shooter, Code Geass, Bakuman, Kamisama no Memo-chou, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Editor: Hunter103    Download [ Torrent ]

Watch On Youtube

http://amvnews.ru/index.php?go=Files&file=down&id=1519&alt=4








Schadenfreude




Literary Usage and Philosophical Analysis 

The Book of Proverbs mentions an emotion similar to that now described by the word schadenfreude: "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Proverbs 24:17-18, King James Version).

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle used the term epikhairekakia (alternatively epikairekakia; ἐπιχαιρεκακία in Greek) as part of a triad of terms, in which epikhairekakia stands as the opposite of phthonos, and nemesis occupies the mean. Nemesis is "a painful response to another's undeserved good fortune," while phthonos is "a painful response to any good fortune," deserved or not. The epikhairekakos person actually takes pleasure in another's ill fortune.[17][18]
During the 17th century, Robert Burton wrote in his work The Anatomy of Melancholy, "Out of these two [the concupiscible and irascible powers] arise those mixed affections and passions of anger, which is a desire of revenge; hatred, which is inveterate anger; zeal, which is offended with him who hurts that he loves; and ἐπιχαιρεκακία, a compound affection of joy and hate, when we rejoice at other men's mischief, and are grieved at their prosperity; pride, self-love, emulation, envy, shame, &c., of which elsewhere."

Susan Sontag's book "Regarding the Pain of Others", published in 2003, is a study of the issue of how the pain/misfortune of some affects others, namely whether war photography and war paintings can be helpful as anti-war tools or if they only serve some sense of schadenfreude in some viewers.

Philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno defined schadenfreude as “largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another which is cognized as trivial and/or appropriate.”

Scientific Studies

A New York Times article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as "delighting in others' misfortune." Many such studies are based on social comparison theory, the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel schadenfreude than are people who have high self-esteem.

A 2006 experiment suggests that men, but not women, enjoy seeing bad people suffer. The study was designed to measure empathy, by watching which brain centers are stimulated when subjects inside an fMRI observe someone having a painful experience. Researchers expected that the brain's empathy center would show more stimulation when those seen as good got an electric shock than they would if the shock was given to someone the subject had reason to consider bad. This was indeed the case, but for male subjects the brain's pleasure centers also lit up when someone else got a shock that the male thought was well-deserved.

Brain-scanning studies show that schadenfreude is correlated with envy. Strong feelings of envy activated physical pain nodes in the brain's dorsal anterior cingulate cortex; the brain's reward centers (e.g. the ventral striatum) were activated by news that the people envied had suffered misfortune. The magnitude of the brain's schadenfreude response could even be predicted from the strength of the previous envy response.

A 2009 study indicates that the hormone-like chemical called oxytocin may be involved in the feeling of shadenfreude. In that study, it was reported that when participants in a game of chance were pitted against a player they considered arrogant, inhaling oxytocin through the nose enhanced their feelings of schadenfreude when their opponent lost as well as their feelings of envy when their opponent won.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Latest Display Technology

Many expect that quantum dot display technology can compete or even replace liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in near future, including the desktop and notebook computer spaces and televisions. These initial applications alone represent more than a $1-billion addressable market by 2012 for quantum dot-based components. 

Straight From The Press Release
Nanosys Completes Commercial Agreement with LGIT for its Quantum Rail™ Lighting Products


About Nanosys, Inc.
Nanosys, Inc. is an advanced material architect, harnessing the fundamental properties of inorganic materials into process ready systems that can integrate into existing manufacturing to produce vastly superior products in lighting, electronic displays, solar power, energy storage and medical. For more information, visit www.nanosysinc.com.

Palo Alto, Calif., January 21, 2010 – Nanosys, Inc. today announced that it has signed a definitive commercial agreement with cutting edge electronics component manufacturer LG Innotek (LGIT). The agreement, involving Nanosys' quantum dot phosphors for use in displays, represents the first real world commercial application of quantum dots in electronics.

Use of Nanosys' architected quantum dots enables LGIT to be the first company in the world to provide ultra high color gamut displays to its customers such as LG Group and others. The agreement secures sales of Nanosys' process ready components into the display market for many years.

"Our Quantum Rail™ device takes quantum dots out of the lab and delivers them as process ready components for customers such as LGIT," said Jason Hartlove, CEO of Nanosys. "With a reputation for quick implementation, LGIT is the perfect commercial partner."

Nanosys, Inc. is an advanced material architect, harnessing the fundamental properties of inorganic materials into process ready systems that can integrate into existing manufacturing to produce vastly superior products in lighting, electronic displays, solar power, energy storage and medical. For more information, visit www.nanosysinc.com.

About Quantum Dot 

With many promising advantages, QD LED is considered as a next generation display technology. QDs can be incorporated into a new generation of applications such as flat-panel TV screens, digital cameras, mobile phones, personal gaming equipment and PDAs

Quantum dots (QD) are a form of light emitting technology and consist of nano-scale crystals that can provide an alternative for applications such as display technology. This display technology differs from cathode ray tubes (CRTs), liquid crystal displays (LCDs), but it is similar to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, in that light is supplied on demand, which enables new, more efficient displays, which is enabling mobile devices with longer battery lives. Unlike inorganic semiconductor based LEDs, organic electroluminescent devices can be deposited over larger areas and on flexible or non-planar substrates. Large area display or general illumination devices have been fashioned from these molecules and have begun their entry into the market. However, the light emitting organic molecules tend to degrade and are particularly sensitive to humidity and oxidation. Quantum dots incorporate the best aspects of both organic light emitters and inorganic light emitters.

The properties and performance of these unique crystals is determined by the size and/or composition of the QD. Given QDs are both photo-active (photoluminescent) and electro-active (electroluminescent) they can be readily incorporated into new emissive display architectures.

Working Principle

Pros and cons

Pros

1) Color range: Nanocrystal displays should be able to yield a greater portion of the visible spectrum than current technologies. As shown in the diagram, QD Vision calculates as much as 30% more of the visible spectrum would be available using QDs in a QD-LED vs. a CRT TV.

2) Low power consumption: QD Vision estimates its nanocrystal displays could use 3 to 5% less electrical power than an LCD, in large part because nanocrystal displays don't need a backlight.

3) Vibrant colors: Nanocrystal displays would yield more purity in colors than other types of display technologies. Some display technologies, such as LCDs, can’t create a pure red, green, or blue for the display; instead, they need to add a few other colors to those three to display pure colors. Quantum dots, on the other hand, create pure red, green, and blue to create all other colors.

4) Brightness: 50~100 times brighter than CRT and LCD displays ~40,000 cd/m2

5) Color purity: the color produced by QDs provides for an improved viewing experience for the end user

6) Added flexibility: QDs are soluble in both aqueous and non-aqueous solvents, which provides for printable and flexible displays of all sizes, including large area TVs

7) Improved lifetime: QDs are inorganic, which can give the potential for improved lifetimes when compared to alternative OLED technologies. However, since many parts of QD-LED are made of organic materials, further development is required to improve the functional lifetime.

Other advantages include better saturated green, manufacture ability on polymers, thin display, same material used to generate difference colors, and higher resolution.


Cons

1) Less saturated blue: Blue quantum dot is pretty difficult to manufacture due to the timing control during the reaction. Blue quantum dot is just slightly above the minimum size, where red to green can be easily obtained. Also, human eyes need 50x brighter blue than green in order to detect the same signal.

2) Heat emission: They either emit light or heat, one or the other due to fermions (e- + e+ → photon or heat).

3) Causes overexposure on cameras.

Commercialization of quantum dot display is yet to come. Compared to LCD and OLED, the manufacturing cost of QD-LED is relatively high and development of novel and more cost-efficient fabrication process is desired in future.

External Links________________________________________

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Right Tool for the Job or Hobby

   After viewing some of the user productions of Cinelerra, I've become very anxious to get to work on creating a video of my own.

For his first video ever, this user has created a pretty good AMV. It's from the animated series Read Or Die. The visual cues thumping to the audio don't seem to be as good as say, Nostromos' AMVs, but this is this guys first attempt at using Cinelerra, and it is better then expected from a noob.



Certainly allot of effects for a first timer, makes me wonder if he's used an NLE (non-linear video editor) before, like Adobe Premier or Sony Vegas


About Cinelerra
    Cinelerra is a prosumer non-linear video editing system. It is designed for the 
GNU/Linux operating system. It is produced by Heroine Virtual, and is free

software distributed under the GNU General Public License. As a professional editing program, Cinelerra requires significant computing power.

   Cinelerra includes support for very high-fidelity audio and video: it processes audio using 64 bits of precision, and can work in both RGBA and YUVA color spaces, using floating-point and 16-bit integer representations, respectively. It is resolution and frame rate-independent, meaning that it can support video of any speed and size.

   Since it's Linux, it's been 64 bit compliant for years. In fact, Cinelerra is only recommended for 64 bit mode. The reason is the large amount of virtual memory required for page flipping and floating point images often exceeds the limit of 32 bits.


FLOATING POINT
Store and retrieve images in the best possible fidelity with floating point imaging and file formats. Access OpenEXR, the official file format of Lucasfilm. Access CR2 images from Canon EOS digital cameras in floating point. Adjust color levels without losing information. Never have to guess how far out of range the colors are. Save high dynamic range intermediates for multiple steps without losing data.

Cinelerra usage and awards
   Cinelerra has gained ground among some GNU/Linux enthusiasts looking for a native video editing system. Professional use is mostly promoted by Linux Media Arts, which sells an integrated hardware and software package for video production that includes Cinelerra.

   At the National Association of Broadcasters' 2004 Electronic Media Show, Cinelerra was awarded Bob Turner's "MAKING THE CUT" award. The award is given to "the best and most exciting postproduction products seen at the convention".

  Just too many features to list. There is so much depth to the program. Join the community of creators at the official community site located here.

Basic Editing Tutorials 
Watching these tutorials, will show everyone just how easy it can be to start producing top notch media with Open Source Software, on an Open Source Operating System(Linux). These videos are thanks to the Covey family

 











 Add A Title
Add text onto any portion of your video.







Add custom fonts
Adding a custom font to the your video gives it even more personality. Creating your own font will give it even more uniqueness. Anyone can create there own font, The Gimp (general image manipulation prorgam) would be ideal for this.
Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, Second EditionGimp 2 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source SoftwareGIMP User Manual: GNU Image Manipulation Program : Photo Retouching, Image Composition and Image Authoring
The software is Open Source so why not buy a user manual.
In a more advanced topic we could setup the a plugin that allows The Gimp and Cinelerra to work together. Basically having photoshop in the video editor, which currently isn't doable in commercial software.



Slide Show Tutorials 


 
Putting it all together - this tutorial involves manual fades, transitions and camera automation used to create a little (and I mean little) slide show from some digital photos in my library. Movie Maker Schmovie Maker!


Now Hopefully you have already installed Cinelerra, followed along and are ready for the more advanced topics to come.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Classics, One of the Best - G.I.T.S.

Ghost in the Shell


Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic police thriller dealing with the exploits of the cyborg Motoko Kusanagi, a member of a covert operations division of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission known as Section 9. The unit specializes in fighting technology-related crimes. Although supposedly equal to all other members, Kusanagi fills the leadership role in the team, and is usually referred to as "the Major" due to her past rank in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. She is capable of superhuman feats, and bionically specialized for her job — her body is almost completely mechanized; only her brain and a segment of her spinal cord remain organic.

The setting of Ghost in the Shell is cyberpunk or postcyberpunk, similar to that of William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy. Kusanagi and her colleagues face external threats and also suffer internal conflict over their own natures.

Ghost in the Shell made an impression on a number of filmmakers. Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of The Matrix and its sequels, showed it to producer Joel Silver, saying "we wanna do that for real." Director James Cameron has called it "the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence."

Overview

Ghost in the Shell takes place in the year 2029, when the world has become interconnected by a vast electronic network that permeates every aspect of life. People also tend to rely more and more on cybernetic implants and the first strong AIs make their appearance. The main entity presented in the various media is the Public Security Section 9 police force, which is charged to investigate cases like the Puppet Master and the Laughing Man.

Yet, as those criminals are revealed to have more depth than was at first apparent, the various protagonists are left with disturbing questions: What exactly is the definition of human in a society where a mind can be copied and the body replaced with a fully synthetic body? What, exactly, is the "ghost" — the essence — in the cybernetic "shell"? Where is the boundary between human and machine when the differences between the two become more philosophical than physical?

Philosophical elements

Ghosts

In Ghost in the Shell, the word ghost is colloquial slang for an individual's consciousness. In the manga's futuristic society, science has redefined the ghost as the thing that differentiates a human being from a biological robot. Regardless of how much biological material is replaced with electronic or mechanical substitutes, as long as individuals retain their ghost, they retain their humanity and individuality.

The concept of the ghost was borrowed by Masamune Shirow from an essay on structuralism, "The Ghost in the Machine" by Arthur Koestler. The title The Ghost in the Machine itself was originally used by an English philosopher, Gilbert Ryle to mock the paradox of conventional Cartesian dualism and Dualism in general. Koestler, like Ryle, denies Cartesian dualism and locates the origin of human mind in the physical condition of the brain. He argues that the human brain has grown and built upon earlier, more primitive brain structures, the "ghost in the machine", which at times overpower higher logical functions, and are responsible for hate, anger and other such destructive impulses. Shirow denies dualism similarly in his work, but defines the "ghost" more broadly, not only as a physical trait, but as a phase or phenomenon that appears in a system at a certain level of complexity. The brain itself is only part of the whole neural network; if, for example, an organ is removed from a body, the autonomic nerve of the organ and consequently its "ghost" will vanish unless the stimulus of the existence of the organ is perfectly re-produced by a mechanical substitution. This can be compared, by analogy, to a person born with innate deafness being unable to understand the concept of "hearing" unless taught.

Ghost-dubbing, or duplicating a ghost, is a near-impossible act in the Ghost in the Shell universe. When performed, as a cheap AI substitute in Innocence and earlier in the manga, the result is always inferior to the original-which always dies in the process. In Stand Alone Complex, criminals use a ghost-dubbing device to create numerous duplicates of South American drug lord Marcelo Jarti; after the original died, the device continued to duplicate him into a near-infinite number of bodies with identical memories and personalities, essentially immortalizing him.

In Ghost in the Shell, Kusanagi completely reproduces the stimulus of all of her organs in order to maintain her "ghost". If a technical error arises during the transfer of a "ghost" from one body to another, the transfer normally results in failure, since the "ghost" tends to deteriorate due to either the difference of system at the material level or the deficiency of the transferring protocol. The Puppet Master manages not to deteriorate its "ghost" when merging with Kusanagi because his system is the body of information itself, thereby avoiding a deterioration due to the deficiency at material level.

The Ancient Greeks had a similar paradox, called the Ship of Theseus. Hegel's concept of Geist may also be related.

Birth

Another interpretation of the fusion of Kusanagi and the Puppet Master is analogous to the concept of birth; whereby two separate entities create a third entity which is not the same as either of the originating ghosts or DNA sets but shares common traits. The Puppet Master carefully explains that diversity is the only way that he can continue; no matter how many times he copies himself, a trick, virus, or weakness discovered that destroys any of his copies could destroy them all. He quite specifically asks her to fuse her "ghost" or "soul" with his own, a form of marriage/birth in which the resultant being is neither the Puppet Master nor Kusanagi but a new being entirely. Notice the symbolism in the movie when Kusanagi/Puppet Master gets a new body - that of a child. This touches upon concepts of birth, immortality through progeny, and the union of two ghosts/people in the creation of progeny. Interestingly enough, her new body in the original manga is instead a male body. She also states that this new life-form will create children, as well.

Connectivity

When Motoko merges with project 2501 (puppet master) she changes. The definition of this change, and what it will actually bring for her and for the world is, unfortunately, hidden very well in various pieces of dialogue and even scarcer visual analogies throughout the films, series, and manga. Focusing first on the film, where Mamoru Oshi took a very different stance in what themes he would emphasize and how he would emphasize them, the best place to look is in the conversation between the Puppet Master and the Major before they join.
"I am connected to a vast network, of which l myself am a part. To one like you, who cannot access it, you may perceive it only as light. As we are confined to our one section, so we are all connected. Limited to a small part of our functions. But now we must slip our bonds, and shift to the higher structure."

He then ends with "It is time to become a part of everything."

He is essentially saying, as he is a creature of information, he has fewer limits. He is in theory, not bound by any one form, however in reality, he is incapable of changing. The logic behind this is that, he is so fluid, in a world (the net) which is so fluid, motion is in itself stunted. By merging with Motoko, half of his 'vision' and his 'ability to see clearly the whole' will go to her, and her limited functions will help give the new being a shape, and a definition, which will allow it to seriously 'elevate' to expansion.

All her life, Motoko has wanted to be free of her anxieties about her origins and her frail human definition, but she has been so afraid of losing what little humanity she has, she is in quite a pathetic position, a sour one in any case, and one where she is incapable of undergoing any kind of change. So she will always possess those anxieties. Project 2501 doesn't give her a choice exactly, but she probably would have made it anyway, because it means she is freed of 'worldly' bonds and illusions, and is finally able to connect with her past and future, which define the present, rather than be locked in the current confined and retracted world she lives in.

'It is time to become a part of everything' is clearly referring to a sense of community and connectivity among everything in the world, and can be related to the ideas expressed in Zen Buddhism, and the Japanese culture, where there is a strong mentality of being part of whole, rather than alone as an individual. We are, and this is obvious when you look around, becoming increasingly isolated to our own worlds, our own desires and plans for life, and we can be so obsessed with what we're doing, we don't notice the intricate and beautiful patterns around us. We preach to the inverted, and we achieve less as individuals, and less as a group. Motoko, though deeply philosophical, is still a victim of this.

Project 2501 puts it into his own technical situation, saying that each entity is confined to its own section (task, purpose, desire) and that because of this each entity can call itself its own, even 2501. He is not suggesting that this is a bad thing, or that we can or should be everything, because such a concept would contradict everything else he talks about. He is merely expressing the traditional value that we can, as beings, as humans, live a much fuller life by recognizing we are a part of everything. All it takes is recognition, and we can attain a kind of enlightenment. This is what connectivity means. We can feel more relaxed, which Motoko clearly does, more at ease with herself, and somewhat excited about the world of possibilities for her.

Cyberbrain warfare and ghost hacking

Cyberbrain warfare is the practice of employing ghost hacking as a means of gaining access to an opponent's cyberbrain, and ultimately, their ghost. A successful cyberhacker can intercept, censor, or augment the sensory information being received by a victim, or even go so far as to destroy or rewrite complete memories. Furthermore, a person's cyberbrain can be directly injured, by making the cyberbrain undergo unaffordable computation and thus overheat. (See Cordwainer Smith's "The Burning of the Brain")

Cyberbrain warfare is portrayed as a natural consequence of the integration of cybernetic and wireless communication technology directly into the human brain. Despite the apparent risks, even the most paranoid characters in the story find the benefits of directly networking their brains to be indispensable.
Apparently, any conduit by which information is absorbed by the brain can be exploited for ghost hacking. Shirow envisions the use of firewalls for protecting the ghost against attack, and multiple layers of encryption.

Mnemonic devices

Much like information stored in the hard-drive of a modern computer, the memories of a ghost can become fragmented and unreliable. This is the result of ghost-hacking, psychological treatment, trauma experienced while ghost-diving, corrupted transference from one cyber-brain to another, and the degradation of memories as they are collected and cross-referenced over the course of a lifetime.

The response that humans have developed to cope with the confusion of memories is to reinforce them with external reminders. Artwork, books, clothing, personal electronics, places of employment, and even companions are carefully chosen to familiarize the landscape of one's existence. In a sense we are partly motivated in our actions by the desire to look back on them with fondness and clarity.

The need for these mnemonic devices is also a philosophical hurdle for the members of Section 9. They are, after all, a watchdog group mandated with rooting out cases of cyber-brain crime. Kusanagi shuns the accumulation of trinkets (beyond the watch she wears in Stand Alone Complex). Being an expert in ghost-hacking and the workings of the cyber-brain, she considers these to be a sign of weakness that can be easily read by enemies. In an age when a detective can reconstruct a person's psyche based on study of their external memory Kusanagi has a sound position. Even she, however, still keeps that one single watch, and still keeps the same model of cybernetic body.

Batou, on the other hand, is sentimental. He keeps a pet dog, has safe houses full of books and art, lifts weights despite it being pointless (due to the fact he is a full cyborg thus lacking organic muscle tissue), and even has a favorite Tachikoma to work with. Though they may be a fatal indication of one's living habits in his line of work he still clings to such comforts.

External memory

External memory is exactly that: memories and experiences that are stored "offline" onto a hard disk or such. If you possess a cyber brain (as the most of affluent in the 'Ghost in the Shell' universe do), there is a definite separation of mind and body since your brain case can be removed and put into a new body. Since there is an electronic separation, the signals received from the senses (touch, taste, etc.) can be recorded and replayed at any given time. Thus, you could record important events such as your wedding day and replay it as if you were actually there anytime you wish. Your external senses turn off, and you’re fed recorded sensory information. Better than any video camera recording, you're feeling the heat of the sun, the breeze, your brides’ hand trembling as you slip the ring on her finger, etc. Storing these memories also allows others to play them back and experience them as well.

Tachikomas and fuchikomas

Tachikomas and fuchikomas (タチコマ / フチコマ) are artificially intelligent mini-tanks (walkers) employed by Section 9. Because of the demands of field duty, these robots are constructed with extremely flexible, adaptable AIs that lack many of the safeguards present in other artificially intelligent robots. While this enables them to behave unpredictably and flexibly, it also presents difficulties for the members of Section 9, who must monitor the Tachikoma closely for signs of undesirable emotional development.

The underlying statement here is that predictable behavior results in inherent weakness. Section 9, as an organization, needs heterogeneity and even organic weakness if it is to survive. "A machine where all the parts respond the same way is a brittle tool."

Tachikoma ask questions that otherwise would not have been brought to mind, much like children that are trying to understand the world, yet with superior thinking capabilities. There are Tachikoma short clips that involve them discussing complex philosophical issues and how they relate to existence. They provide more of an innocent look on the world that surrounds them.
The Tachikomas are also used to approach the question of whether or not one's individuality can withstand a parallelization of information from a different perspective. Here, the parallelization is perfect since they are machines. In the series, they are able to retain their respective individualities through the use of external references (Batou's favorite, the one which has books, etc.), similarly to the Major.

Stand Alone Complex

While originally intended to "underscore the dilemmas and concerns that people would face if they relied too heavily on the new communications infrastructure, Stand Alone Complex eventually came to represent a phenomenon where unrelated, yet very similar actions of individuals create a seemingly concerted effort.

A Stand Alone Complex can be compared to the emergent copycat behavior that often occurs after incidents such as serial murders or terrorist attacks. An incident catches the public's attention and certain types of people "get on the bandwagon", so to speak. It is particularly apparent when the incident appears to be the result of well-known political or religious beliefs, but it can also occur in response to intense media attention. For example, a mere fire, no matter the number of deaths, is just a garden variety tragedy. However, if the right kind of people begin to believe it was arson, caused by deliberate action, the threat that more arsons will be committed increases drastically.

What separates the Stand Alone Complex from normal copycat behavior is that there is no real originator of the copied action, but merely a rumor or an illusion that supposedly performed the copied action. There may be real people who are labeled as the originator, but in reality, no one started the original behavior. And in Stand Alone Complex, the facade just has to exist in the minds of the public. In other words, a potential copycat just has to believe the copied behavior happened from an originator-when it really didn't. The result is an epidemic of copied behavior having a net effect of purpose. One could say that the Stand Alone Complex is mass hysteria over nothing-yet causing an overall change in social structure.

This is not unlike the concepts of memes (refer to the conversation between the major and the Puppet Master in the manga) and second-order simulacra. It also has ties to social theory, as illustrated in the work of Frederic Jameson and Masachi Osawa.

It has been posited that the choice, by the writers of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, to use J.D. Salinger's short story, "The Laughing Man" as a key element in the story, was itself an example of second-order simulacra; the use of a story that could already be considered an example of second-order simulacra, by its popularity overshadowing the popularity of its original, The Man Who Laughs. This creates yet another example of the concept, by banking on the popularity of the show, the character, and the emblem used to represent The Laughing Man, supplanting the story as the Laughing Man by popularity alone.
In the series itself, it usually refers to events surrounding the Laughing Man case, and to some extents, the teamwork observed in Public Security Section 9. It is presented as an emergent phenomenon catalyzed by parallelization of the human psyche through the cyberbrain networks. A key point is that due to the electronic communications network that is increasingly permeating society, more and more people are being exposed to the same information and stimuli, making the overall psyche and responses of large groups of people increasingly similar, the result being that the potential increases exponentially for copycat behavior that forms a Standalone Complex. There is no original Laughing Man, no leader. Everyone is acting on his own, yet a coherent whole emerges. There are people who employed the copycat behavior before others, but what started the coherent whole is indefinitive.

Relation to social theory

The relation of the Stand Alone Complex to social theory is explored in more depth in the second season. A character, Kazundo Gouda, postulates that, by exploiting the mechanism of information transmission in society, one could achieve a very efficient and subtle thought control. Indeed, since people tend to modify slightly the information (and forget where it came from) in the processes of consumption (or appropriation), it becomes difficult to sort genuine ideas from modified, implanted ones. He proves to be very successful in the end.


Speaking of Media

There is plenty of Ghost in the Shell media to be had, from the manga series to the anime series and the remake of the original movie. There are also tons of fan-made content. Such as anime music videos.


 Ghost in the Shell: Anime Legends 2nd GigGhost in the Shell 2.0 [Blu-ray]Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [Blu-ray] 

Created By Nostromo - Scenes from the series
 

Creator Unknown - Scenes from Innocence



Creator Unknown - Scenes from the original Ghost in the Shell Movie


Ghost In The Shell - Solid State SocietyGhost in the Shell SAC Complete 1st Season Collection Box SetGhost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 2

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Preventive Maintenance


    There are heaps of reasons why Linux is more secure than Windows. Some believe that it's because Windows is the dominant OS and so that's the one that all the hackers want to attack - but this is a long way from being the principle reason why Linux (and BSD, as well as Mac) is safer than Windows. Most of the reasons are related to it's illustrious but very ancient predecessor, Unix. This operating system was designed, right from the beginning, to be used on a network - and in the days when computers were terribly expensive, security was a priority right from the outset. Normal users could only change their session and could not do anything to the core system itself.

    What this translates to today is that any machine running Linux has a modular structure. As with Unix, a normal user cannot do anything that could be dangerous to the computer. Such actions can only be undertaken by opening a special session called 'root' which requires a specific password. What this means is that if someone wanted to attack your computer, (s)he would have to find a way of getting past this security procedure, which would be very difficult indeed. In Windows, on the other hand, it is much easier to do such operations, and so the potential hacker has much less work to do. Indeed, there are probably only two ways to get into the heart of a Linux system: 1) Do a directed attack against one particular individual; 2)Try to dupe users into installing the virus as root. For most people, this second is more likely. For example, there is a virus at the moment that works by trying to persuade you that you need to install a codec to read a multimedia file. All you have to do is click on the link and install it as root...This is a virus directed at Mac at the moment, but such nasties could also be written for Linux.

    Another reason why Linux is more secure than Windows (and also why it's more secure than Mac) is that, as it's open source, it is constantly being worked on. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week someone somewhere is probably looking at the code; and if a problem is identified the solution can appear very quickly indeed, sometimes only hours after the problem was spotted.
Finally, Linux has something that the other operating systems couldn't possibly have, at least not to the extent that Linux has it: software repositories. If I want to download a program, and of course I do often, I do so from a server maintained by the official community of my version of Linux (Debian) - this means that the software has been checked very thoroughly before becoming available.

    So, viruses are very, very unlikely in Linux, but that doesn't make them impossible. However, as Linux is modular in nature, any damage done could only be very limited (unless you foolishly install it yourself as root). As for spyware, that would need to be installed in the directory containing your Internet browser, which is protected by this root password. This is why we don't see such malware on Linux.

Windows Users (XP, Vista, 7)

 

People don't like change, and to switch to Linux just for security reasons, may be unreasonable, for average users. Why would you when there is so much anti-virus software available. The truth is, that if you practice the right procedures, your PC will be secure no matter what operating system you use. Without even adding another expense there are things that can be done to keep your Winows operating systems more secure then the average user.


    One of the most crucial methods to staying more secure is to have a user account for installing certain applications and configuring the system (Admin). Then create child user accounts with very limited permissions for daily use. Basically whatever files the user can touch, the same would also apply to a hacker.
  
    Still while using a child account malware, spyware, adware, will get into the PC and affect them accordingly. The best solution to this problem is the free download of spybot search and destroy, with the tea timer running in the background. Any virus that can make it into the system can remain dormant, and run as soon as a user logs in as admin to install a program, it could even be the program itself. That's why anti-virus software is installed and run frequently, but they can only catch items that are known by them.

    My anti-virus software of choice, is Comodo AntiVirus. Comodo is a Certificate Authority, and is the second-largest issuer of business-validated certificates. Comodo's certificate profile includes OV certificates, DV certificates, EV SSL Certificates and Multi-Domain Certificates, Unified communications Certificates, email certificates and Code signing certificates. Comodo CA undergoes an annual WebTrust audit by Ernst & Young.


    Who wouldn't feel safe with Comodo on there side? I know I would, they have the background and experience in keeping data safe. They help keep viruses off of PCs and say " when your business expands and see us more sophisticated security is needed.

The Comodo companies offer many free products through their website, available for public download. Most notable of Comodo's free products is the Comodo Internet Security freeware program, incorporating Comodo's firewall, Host Intrusion Prevention System and antivirus.

Other Comodo branded freeware security tools include an Anti-Malware tool, and a Memory Firewall, a free solution that protects against over 90% of buffer overflow attacks. For an additional fee, Comodo product users can subscribe to Comodo's computer cleaning and optimizing services for real-time computer assistance.

Comodo also offers a free registry cleaner program, now included within the Comodo System Cleaner. The regular use of this software can dramasricly increase performance, registry errors are a major factor in average users PCs that slows them down.

With proper usage of the Account Permissions, Spy-Bot, and the Comodo's Internet Security viruses should become a very rare occasion, and not be able to do to much damage. When installing the Comodo Internet Security be sure to disable the windows firewall before you begin. Comodo's Firewall is far more secure, and should be used.

Put an Old PC to Work!

Now there are tons of guide for what I'm about to explain, so 'll just discuss the benefits of such processes. Now these two tips can be done individually or on the same system.


Network Proxy Server
A function that is often combined with a firewall is a proxy server. The proxy server is used to access Web pages by the other computers. When another computer requests a Web page, it is retrieved by the proxy server and then sent to the requesting computer. The net effect of this action is that the remote computer hosting the Web page never comes into direct contact with anything on your home network, other than the proxy server.
Proxy servers can also make your Internet access work more efficiently. If you access a page on a Web site, it is cached (stored) on the proxy server. This means that the next time you go back to that page, it normally doesn't have to load again from the Web site. Instead it loads instantaneously from the proxy server.



Squid is a full-featured web proxy cache server application which provides proxy and cache services for Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and other popular network protocols. Squid can implement caching and proxying of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) requests and caching of Domain Name Server (DNS) lookups, and perform transparent caching. Squid also supports a wide variety of caching protocols, such as Internet Cache Protocol, (ICP) the Hyper Text Caching Protocol, (HTCP) the Cache Array Routing Protocol (CARP), and the Web Cache Coordination Protocol. (WCCP)
The Squid proxy cache server is an excellent solution to a variety of proxy and caching server needs, and scales from the branch office to enterprise level networks while providing extensive, granular access control mechanisms and monitoring of critical parameters via the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). When selecting a computer system for use as a dedicated Squid proxy, or caching servers, ensure your system is configured with a large amount of physical memory, as Squid maintains an in-memory cache for increased performance.

If you happen to have Ubuntu on your old PC then the install is as easy as one command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install squid squid-common

Configuration steps can be found on Ubuntu's website.



Completes the Home Network and Theatre...

 

...and installs nicely on your proxy server machine
XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, Windows, and the original Xbox. It also runs on an appletv and a live-bootable cd or usb flash stick. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 30 languages.

While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC. Supporting an almost endless range of remote controls, and combined with its beautiful interface and powerful skinning engine, XBMC feels very natural to use from the couch and is the ideal solution for your home theater.

Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. Use your media as-is: XBMC can play CDs and DVDs directly from the disk or image file, almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive, and even files inside ZIP and RAR archives. It will even scan all of your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.

It is difficult to put into words all that XBMC can do

Have all the entertainment in the house in one spot, and access it from multiple sources .I enjoyed coding a little python game of snake, that played in XBMC on my original hacked xbox, it was the first time I could say I coded my own xbox game. Even though it wasn't even coded in any C language, or with any microsoft tools. XBMC dash was like the windows OS on my xbox, I could check my email, surf the net, and had I the videos on the inernet in a few little scripts that organized them and presented them nicely for browsing. XBMC would make a great bedroom companion. It has an auto off feature, and what I like to do is list to groove salad on soma.fm and the xbox shuts off after an 90 minutes.

There are hundreds of scripts written in python that make viewing content of all sorts of the internet. From games, to tvshows, lyrics of the current song playing, or record internet radio.

 


K.I.S.S - Stay Smart Be Secure

Keep it simple stupid. Is what was told to me. Stay smart if you use windows, remember to use a less privileged user account, and watch what programs you install. Sometimes the programs are the viruses themselves, and the program does exactly what it is supposed to due. Check who made the software and where it is you are downloading it from. Most software produces create a file called an md5-checksum and post on their site. This md5 is a fingerprint of the software, and the results will tell you whether or not someone has messed with the file.
Leaving a PC on 24/7 365 is also a security threat. Hackers can use a feature that is similar to that of the boaters radar ping. They can send out there pings, and attack the results millions of times a second, without even lifting a finger. This problem is solved with proxy servers, the other solution is only avalable as a feature of some routers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

3 Great AMVs from Nostromo

Nostromo

Here are 3 great Anime Music Videos by Nostromo, who makes some of the best AMVs out there.




Galaxy Pad

This video was created from a short film from a movie called Genius Party. Genius Party is an anthology of short animated films released on July 7, 2007.
Song: Planet Funk - Stop Me



Running Man

This video uses multiple anime
Song: Utah Saints Something Good (Van She 08 Radio Edit)
These videos by Nostromo are released in HD 720p @ 60 fps and seeing the originals is like seeing a whole new video. Download them here



Auriga

Nostromo "Auriga is a constellation in the northern sky.
Numerous anime went in to this AMV, post comment for full list.
Songs: DJ Spoke Watch Them Fall Down (Montano Dub)
Comments from Nostromo
4 months of work : 1 to get and select the footage, 1 to cut and clean the footage, 1 for the editing and 1 to add some effects and transitions. Not the big project I had in mind for the past 2 years yet.
As usual, the result is quite different from what I imagined when I started.
Blablablablabla..."



Reflection

Awesomely eerie instrumental.