Cybernetics in the 3rd Millennium (C3M) -- Volume 4 Number 4, Apr. 2005
Alan B. Scrivener --- www.well.com/~abs --- mailto:email@example.com
Last month I got a "day job" after four years of consulting as
"Human Interface Prototypes" (HIP).
( www.well.com/~abs/HIP )
I am now a "Field Sales Engineer" for ResMed.
( www.resmed.com )
I will be traveling a lot in this job, and will have less free time.
As I have have whined about in a previous 'zine (volume 3 number 1):
I earn about $10 per quarter from commissions, and since I
spend upwards of 100 hours on this e-Zine, I'm averaging as
little as $0.10 an hour.
All told I have made $120.52 over 12 fiscal quarters. Lately I've
reduced my time investment to about 75 hours per quarter, so I'm
up to 13 cents an hour. My new goal is to DOUBLE this to 26 cents
an hour, by reducing my publishing frequency to every other month.
(I can't seem to find a way to make them shorter.) So starting
with May's issue, I will produce these ONLY ON ODD NUMBERED MONTHS.
I recently was reminded that in volume 1, number 1, three years ago,
I'm going to devote a newsletter in the near future to
science fiction since 1990 and what it teaches us about
So next month's e'Zine will be on that approximate topic. My
working title is: "Cyberpunks in Cyberspace" ~ or ~ "The Future
of Science Fiction" so stay tuned!
As I've explained before, I set up this e-Zine with a "double opt
in" system for sending my readers advertising emails, following the
advice in Robert Allen's 2001 book "Multiple Streams of Internet
( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047121888X/hip-20 )
So far, out of about 150 subscribers I have gotten only one person
to "double opt in." Well, I see now that the advice was stale, dating
from the pre-Spam-tsunami era, and it probably won't work any more for
someone at my scale. So I am changing my privacy promise (see below).
The double opt-in is going away, and my e-Zine is turning (ever so
subtly) into a little more of an "infomercial." If you can't
deal, unsubscribe, and I gratefully say "so long, and thanks for all
That's about it for this month. If you still feel like reading, I
put together an article recently for submission to SIGGRAPH 2005
( www.siggraph.org/s2005 )
for client company MindTel LLC,
( www.mindtel.com )
chronicling some of the work I and others have done so far in this
new century. (It was not accepted by SIGGRAPH, alas.) It's called,
"Visualizing Public Health Threats: Working Results from Operation
Strong Angel, the Discover Project, Shadow Bowl, Burning Man, Operation
Desert Bloom, the America's Army Game and Other MindTel Projects" by
Alan Scrivener, Human Interface Prototypes (HIP); Dr. David Warner,
MD, PhD; MindTel, LLC Dr. Steven Birch, PhD, San Diego State University
(SDSU); Matt Carbone, Ideations LLC; Mike Fusco, Simgraphics Engineering
Corp.; Joh Johannsen, California Institute of Technology; Tim Murphy,
Autonomechs LLC; Stephen H. Price, SDSU; Jeff Sale; and Matthew Topper,
( www.well.com/~abs/HIP/Mindtel/VPHT2.html )
Postscript to C3M Volume 4 Number 3, Mar. 2005 "Skeleton Key to Pop
Reader Bruce Webster
( www.bfwa.com )
had this to say:
As always, fascinating, erudite, and full of patterns.
One nit: "Dobie Gillis" was based on _The Many Loves of Dobie
Gillis_, a collection of short stories written by Max Shulman
in the late 1940s.
( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0891909826/hip-20 )
I suspect Max Shulman didn't use Archie Comics as his
inspiration, though I could be wrong.
Reader Will A. wrote:
Recently some friends of ours from San Diego were passing through
[our small town] on their way to Oregon, and parked their camper
for a while in our driveway. We decided to leave our front door
open overnight so they could use the facilities. I suppose we
could have just given them a key, but it didn't seem worth the
hassle. This had me recounting one of the few scenes I remember
from Petticoat Junction. A city-slicker drove into town, parked
his convertible, and pulled his keys from the ignition. A local
told him, "You should leave your keys in the ignition. That way
you won't lose them." I still remember the look of amazement on
the driver's face. That scene always struck me as the archetype of
the city-dwellers fantasy of country living.
In a similar vein, five years ago I took over management of the
family vineyard. The local farmers here often ask me about my
farming background. I just tell them, "I'm a city boy doing a
Green Acres thing." They always know what I mean.
Finally, on the subject of how pop television is sometimes a
mirror for our culture, here is my favorite example, which I
may have told you before. The characters on Gilligan's Island
were all somewhat cartoonish caricatures. And up to that time
the stereotypical scientist was nearly always an Einstein
knock-off, a kindly but disheveled old gentleman with frizzy
white hair and mustache and a European accent. But the creators
of Gilligan's Island choose to cast the Professor as a young,
good-looking American, which I believe reflected an awareness
in the public consciousness that the center of scientific research
had shifted from Europe to the US.
Another reader pointed me at an unusual pop culture web site.
( www.transparencynow.com/index.html )
In my rush to finish the 'Zine, I didn't use this evocative factoid:
The "Pop-Mart" tour by U2,
( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6305166005/hip-20 )
to promote their 1997 album "Pop,"
( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001EAQ/hip-20 )
began at K-Mart in Manhattan on Ash Wednesday.
these thought-provoking quotes:
"The public is never wrong."
-- Adolph Zukor, film pioneer
"Hip Hop turned into Hit Pop."
-- 3rd Bass [white rap group], 1991
"Pop Goes the Weasel"
( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000024IW/hip-20 )
and this mind-boggling image:
( www.groscurth.com/archives/Media%20Burn.jpg )
documenting the "Media Burn" by the radical architecture collective
"Ant Farm" in 1975.
( www.icp.org/exhibitions/ant_farm/introduction.html )
(They also did the "Cadillac Ranch" on Route 66 in Texas.)
( sunsite.berkeley.edu/T-Shirts/wburnett/cadillac.jpg )
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Copyright 2005 by Alan B. Scrivener