Anything is possible-ness.


Hacker poetry: Switch Thrower for the World

Sat, 10/05/2013 - 05:44 -- Andrew

Featured in Steven Levy's 'Hackers: heroes of the computer revolution', this poem is a parody of Carl Sandburg's 'Chicago'.  Written by MIT student Peter Sampson in the 1950s, It is believed to be one of the first recorded uses of the word 'hacking' to describe somebody doing something technically brilliant.  Published in a school newsletter, it refers to describes the activities of the still extant Tech Model Railroad Club frequented by many of MIT's early computer pioneers. 

Switch Thrower for the World, Fuze Tester, Maker of Routes,
Player with the Railroads and the System's Advance Chopper.
Grungy, hairy, sprawling,
Machine of the Point Function Line-o-lite:
They tell me you are wicked, and I believe them; for I have seen your
painted light bulbs under the Lucite, luring the system coolies
Under the tower, dust all over the place, hacking with bifurcated springs
Hacking even as an ignorant freshman hacks who has never lost occupancy and
has dropped out.
Hacking the M-Boards, for under its locks are the switches and under its
control the advance around the layout.

The new OMNI on the persecution of hackers

Sun, 08/25/2013 - 08:22 -- Andrew

Just a few weeks into the reboot and the new OMNI is doing its forbearer proud with insightful fiction and this great article about the persecution of hackers by Pablo Garcia.

"We need to reinvent our cultural imagination of the hacker. Being a student of history, I propose we start looking further into the annals of the past, all the way back to the Renaissance, to find our hacker forebears. Four centuries ago, information was as tightly guarded by intellectuals and their wealthy patrons as it is today. But a few episodes around 1600 confirm that the Hacker Ethic and its attendant emphasis on open-source information and a “hands-on imperative” was around long before computers hit the scene."

The elusive Mondo no. 1

Sat, 08/24/2013 - 11:28 -- Andrew

Inspired in part by Alex's epic and successful quest to collect the full run of Alpha Flight comics and also by my participation in a successfully funded but ultimately stalled kickstarter project, I recently decided to collect the entire run of issues for Mondo 2000 magazine.  For those of you unfamilar with Mondo it was an intermintently published magazine that ran from 1989 to 1998 and did a spectacular job of tying counterculture together with emerging and fringe technologies.   In just 17 issues the mondoids of yore managed to bring together an astounding array of unique individuals including:

  • psychadelic enthusiasts Terence McKenna, Dr. Timothy Leary
  • authors Bruce Sterling, Willian S. Burroughs, Rudy Rucker and William Gibson
  • artists Kate Bornstein and Mark Pauline
  • musicians Brian Eno, Trent Reznor, Daniel Johnston, Camper Van Beetovhen and Negativeland
  • hackers Captain Crunch and The Legion of Doom
  • architect Eugene Tsui 
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