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IM A MECHANICAL MAN! IM A MECHANICAL MAN!

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just posted this in cockjammer’s WIRED thread about corporate technology propaganda.  its a pretty cool thread, and cockjammer even tries talking like a normal human being for once in his life??? i wonder if he enjoyed it.  neway its a good thread and i wish i had seen it earlier….

QUOTE=”dm”
defense research for national security clearance?

and aren’t all of the foreign engineering students on H1-B visas that are at basically no risk of not being renewed?

yep yep and yep.  defense contractors offer relatively huge salaries compared to the commercial sector, depending on your particular skillset, of course.  they try and hook em young, first bringing students into the fold first through sponsorships of FIRST robotics (which, military-industrial-academic complex indoctrination aside, is a really great program), then through involvement in highly popular programs like DARPA grand challenge, and finally with direct internship offers in the range of 25-30 bucks an hour. (with lots of encouraged overtime allowed, of course).

is there any counter-force to this?  does anyone care about this alien influence in education? well, no. most american engineering students, at the graduate level, are either apolitical, conservative, or highly conservative, with emphasis being on the apolitical…  although “ill-informed and apathetic” is probably a much better way to describe the situation.  why read about politics when you can cruise gizmodo and brag about your latest apple toys? christ, engineers and scientists love their toys.  such powerful knowledge in the hands of easily manipulable children! did you know that most don’t like “liberals” because the engineering culture hates the “liberal arts,” whose classes are weak and for pussies?  its true.

why talk about all this in this thread?  well, if you wanna talk about WIRED, then i think it would also be worthwhile to talk about IEEE Spectrum, the monthly magazine that the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization, gives to all engineering students for free and to all members at a steep discount. its subscriber base is therefore in the hundreds of thousands. if WIRED is tech-talk for the wall-street wahoos, then Spectrum is that for the engineers themselves, being basically a WIRED copycat except retuned towards sympathetic shill for the military-industrial complex. (for instance, see:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/robotics/military-robots/a-canticle-for-darpatech
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-software/nrls-uav-sets-26hour-flight-endurance-record
http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/military-robots/the-rise-of-robot-warriors

there’s a pretty lol quote in that last one, btw:

There is also the problem of our ignorance, almost willfully so. I had this remarkable experience during the book tour that really encapsulates that. I gave a talk and one of the people in attendance was a very senior Pentagon adviser—very senior, big name—who afterward was telling me about how really remarkable this was, he never imagined we had so many robots that we’re already using today, wow, he just didn’t know all this. As he is saying this, I am thinking, ”You’re the one who is helping shape the decisions on how to use them, you’re influencing funding for them, and yet you’re saying you weren’t aware of it.”

But that is not actually the thing that’s notable. He then went on to say, ”You know, this technology is coming so quickly that I bet that one day the Internet will be like in a video game with three dimensions and you’ll be able to walk around in it.”

I tell this story because my wife actually works for Linden Lab [the developers of Second Life]. I’m thinking in my head that he’s using the phrase ”one day” as if it is not even in three or five years’ time; it is the way we talk about ”one day we will live on Mars.” In his mind something like Second Life or virtual worlds is something way off in the fantasy world of one day, whereas it’s already five years old.
)

what’s always so disappointing to me is how little engineering students really think about what the hell their work could really be used for.  while there’s only 3 sub-sections of IEEE spectrum directly devoted to military tech, there’s tons more devoted to “toys.”  i think i posted on this before, but i remember hearing about some sorta “air guitar hero” program sponsored by microsoft that would involve hooking into the nerves in your fingers with tiny wireless sensor nodes and processing that data in such a way that the user could control a virtual guitar in a game with no other external hardware needed.  you shoulda seen their scowls and felt the breeze of their uncomfortable fidgets when i claimed that what this technology was really being funded towards was for military UAV control!  i mean, air guitar hero, give me a fucking break!  they wanted to just see it as yet another toy!

here’s a pretty great post on this sentiment:
http://plugnplayhumans.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/behind-the-internet-operating-system/

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Written by meowywowy

June 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm

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