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US book tour dates released:
Source in case of additions or changes:
http://www.penguin.com/search/...etAuthorsButton.y=11

Seattle, WA
10/28/2014 AT 07:00 PM
UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Portland, OR
10/29/2014
POWELL’S CITY OF BOOKS
1005 W. Burnside St
Portland, OR 97209

San Francisco, CA
10/30/2014
BOOKSMITH
1644 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

Oakland, CA
10/31/2014
DIESEL
5433 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

Corte Madera, CA
10/31/2014 AT 01:00 PM
BOOK PASSAGE
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
 

Is the Brain a homunculus afloat in its cerebro-spinal amniotic fluid, the body a placenta integrating it with the external world? Biological systems are massively fractal, self-similar structures....

 

One of my many heros is D'Arcy Thompson who is best known for his Biological treatise "On Growth and Form". I love the idea that different biological morphologies across species are simply variations on a common theme. Parsimony and Butterfly Effect. Nature creates the new out of simple alterations and combinations of the old (throwing in vast iterations and voila - something unrecognizable but actually based on the same simple theme). Maximum complexity for minimum evolutionary investment.

I encountered similar excitement in studying embryogenesis - especially when discovering that that the skin and the brain develop from the same layer in the blastocyst.  The organs that intimately contact the outermost and the innermost worlds are derived from the same cells and share many characteristics in physiology and histology. And it is doubly interesting that the placenta and the fetus develop from the same blastocyst. Biological systems are massively fractal, self-similar structures.... The placenta is the quintessential fractal border - fractal interface. Massive surface area. The organ that connects the fetus intimately with the outer world. Its is intimately integrated with the fetus, but ultimately it is not the fetus. Both and neither. Another fact I find extremely interesting is that the placenta has no nerves....

I also remember reading Dawkin's The Selfish Gene and thinking the idea of the phenotype being this giant robot designed to propagate a community of genes a really interesting perspective in a Philip-K-Dickian science-fiction fashion. I am not a big fan of Dawkins' scientism bent but he has a lot of creative ideas. What if we take the idea a step further....

What is consciousness? Where is it located? In the brain? In the Body? Both? Which part contains the "I"? The Brain? 


Where does our Knowledge come from? Completely from our senses? Our sense organs transduce the outer world into patterns of neurological activity. But is this a one-way relation? What of reason, intuition, inspiration? Is the Body a homunculus, the brain a placenta integrating the body with the internal conscious world...?

Brain, body; fetus, placenta; chicken, egg....

 

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i hereby call the 1st session of the WGB Think Tank to order.

1st order of duty - think big, demand the impossible, change the world.

 

open to the floor for comment.

 

 

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As previously tweeted, I'll be around and available in Vancouver from the 12th to the 15th of this month - i.e. week after next!

Another friend has already nabbed the evening of the 14th for a meat, but every other evening is available, and so is the afternoon of the 15th.

 

Would be delighted to hang out with as many of y'all as possible at some point.

 

Has William Gibson ever said if he met or read Mc Luhan in Toronto in the 70s?

 

"...Margot was taking her NYU extension course in disease-as-metaphor..." -- Pattern Recognition

 

What mediates the boundary between self and non-self?

 

The immune system is our first line of cognition, and is often described as the body's security system.

 

Allergy:  

 

"An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system....

Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment... In other words, individuals living in too sterile an environment are not exposed to enough pathogens to keep the immune system busy. Since our bodies evolved to deal with a certain level of such pathogens, when they are not exposed to this level, the immune system will attack harmless antigens and thus normally benign microbial objects — like pollen — will trigger an immune response.[39]"  -- Wikipedia

 

In Virtual Light, Rydell and Sublett work for Intensecure - a very large and powerful security company with ties to Datanet.

 

Rydell has a habit of going overboard in security situations.  Sublett is allergic to everything....

 

Rydell and Sublett are duped into over-reacting to a harmless situation when they are fed false information by the Repulic of Desire - a group of hackers who have taken take control of the "Death Star", Intensecure's communication satellite.

 

 

 

 

I want to hear your ghost stories.

 

Replace “ghost” with anything Fortean you’ve encountered, experienced or heard about from a trusted friend or loved one.

 

On the rare occasions I’m asked my opinion on ghosts and the paranormal I have to answer, truthfully, that I am a skeptic.  Quickly adding the caveat, “However . . . when I was very young . . . “

 

I lived in the upstairs half of a quondam Victorian kindergarten.

 

For the first seven years of my life I thought the sound of drawers opening and closing, footfalls plodding heavily on board wood and muffled nattering and conversation were normal and expected throughout the night at every home.  Because they happened every night at mine.

 

My room was accessed by a hidden, mirrored door in the school’s old dance hall.  Of course, it was the coldest in the house.

 

One night I felt particularly panicked, couldn’t sleep.  About midnight I shot out of bed and splashed my face with water.  When I looked into the medicine cabinet mirror, there was my face, but superimposed over my eyes were two swirling embers like lit cigars.

 

I slowly worked past my paralysis and spun around, to run.  Just before I’d made 180 there came a piercing noise — my faucet turning on, by itself.

 

I bolted all the way to my parents room at the other end of the house in about five seconds flat.

 

A few nights later, I had another fitful night.  As a child, I was (as many) a junior naturalist and collector.  My room had become a minor Hermitage of Stuff, impeccably organized.

 

I woke to the sound of someone trying to come into my room.  My dad — blocked by a barrage.  It consisted of everything I had arranged so neatly on my desk — hurled onto the floor, trashed.  Destroyed.

 

When I was cleaning up, I checked on my Alligator lizard in the terrarium across the room.  He’d been cut neatly in half.

 

The grand finale:

 

My sister, her friend and I were the only ones home late at night (ages 7-9).  I forget where our parents were — some Saturday night event. 

 

The house was a scary place to be, so we slept in the same room.  As soon as the lights were turned off, a hideous, pained, male voice screamed out of the darkness.  It was followed by indistinct whispered words — sentences.

 

We bolted out of the bedroom.  The living room TV — the source of the sound — had turned on by itself and was madly scanning across the channels, pausing briefly enough at each to stitch intention into the chaos — single word-bits forming awful phrases . . . mostly gibberish but spiked by moments of terrifying clarity.  ( . . . hissssssss . . . . fzzzzzzzzz . . . I WAS . . . DEAD . . . csshhhhhhhh).

 

Long before cell phones, we tried our parents one by one.  My sister’s friend’s parents picked up — and at the moment the call went through, the TV stopped.

 

As soon as the connection was cut, THE TV STARTED UP AGAIN.

 

Right until about two minutes before my sister’s friend’s mom showed up.

 

The best part about this story is its EPILOGUE.

 

In classic movie fashion — do these places still exist? — my dad had the TV taken to a “TV Repair” shop.  It came back with a note: "We could find nothing wrong."

 
Originally Posted by gil:

I really did love that "relevant experiment". I keep hoping there'll be another group jape of that nature again.

It was a wonderful time.

What I wouldn't give for something of that magnitude happening on the WGB again.

Question is: do we have enough chutzpah on the WGB to bring a new experiment on board? Is the heart of WGB still beating strongly enough to keep something major rolling along?

I would like to think so...

 
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There tend to be only half a dozen to 15 of us members on board at a time, but if we got something going, I bet they'd all come galloping back from Twitter.

 

Especially if it was alcohol-free...

 
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I tend to agree. The Peripheral coming out later on this year would bring our focus back to WGB too. The thing is, a new experiment only gains respectability if it is organic in nature, can a construct retain enough kudos?

 
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I will give this some thought.

 

In the Relevant Experiment, we were talking about human reactions we could seek to provoke using internet-connected machinery that we could manipulate remotely.

 

I wonder if that is a member of a larger class of experiments from which we could choose another.

 

And should we move this discussion to a new topic?

 
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Originally Posted by gil:

I will give this some thought.

 

In the Relevant Experiment, we were talking about human reactions we could seek to provoke using internet-connected machinery that we could manipulate remotely.

 

I wonder if that is a member of a larger class of experiments from which we could choose another.

 

And should we move this discussion to a new topic?


I think a new topic would reduce the thread hijack aspect. Please feel free to generate a new thread. I wonder if a twitter based call to WGBers for ideas would be productive?

 

"Steganography is about concealing information by spreading it throughout other information..."  -- Pattern Recognition pg 76

 

"Generally, the hidden messages will appear to be (or be part of) something else: images, articles, shopping lists, or some other cover text. For example, the hidden message may be in invisible ink between the visible lines of a private letter...The advantage of steganography over cryptography alone is that the intended secret message does not attract attention to itself as an object of scrutiny.  Thus, whereas cryptography is the practice of protecting the contents of a message alone, steganography is concerned with concealing the fact that a secret message is being sent, as well as concealing the contents of the message."  -- Wikipedia on Steganography

 

Do you think WG uses Steganography within his own works, dropping keys to the hidden message(s) both within a given work and in later works?