(Beyond the Beyond)^N

Reilly Jones (70544.1227@compuserve.com)
Mon, 9 Dec 1996 14:38:58 -0500

Wade Cherrington wrote about VRML virtual world-building on 12/7/96:

<Here are some ideas for possible "areas" or "locales"-
- General background setting - cryogenic vaults, parkland walks, office
"buildings" of various companies - nano/AI/software startups, private space
launch, cryonics, nootropics, biotech, etc.
- Memetic Agora - Idea futures with interactive, 3D interface.
- General meeting places - seaside/starside cafes, pavillions, forest
- Transhumanist Art galleries - basically anywhere. Also have utility for
users to add there own "rooms", or personal areas.
- Museum/Institute of Nanotechnology - animated nanobearings, molecular
mechanics and nanosystem simulations, etc
- Institute of complexity - Place to explore all sorts of Java applets
dealing with fractals, a-life, cellular automata, genetic algorithms,
evolutionary artwork, l-systems, neural networks, etc.
- Other Institutes - Physics Demonstrations, Mathematics, cosmology,
basically scientific visualization/multimedia. A lot of this stuff is
already out there, either offline or online - it just needs to be brewed
with some Java and made pretty with VRML.
- University/Academic - Libraries (links to hypertext, related resources
over the Web), lecture areas (real people "broadcasting" on a certain
channel in a certain locale as in IRC's, but eventually with intelligent
- Lyceums - Forums for scheduled debate, discussion - (Picture realtime
brain-tennis with customized avatars)
- "The Underground" - Places for people (like myself) that are into
cryptoanarchy, temporary autonomous zones, agorist counter-economics,
strong cryptography, untracable/untaxable digital e-cash, fall of states,
CyberNexus, etc...>

This looks like my Christmas list!

On another mailing list, I ran across some pertinent information about VRML
& Science, that may provide some links to funding and/or technical
expertise. I haven't visited the web site referenced below, so consider
this to be blind passing of info. along, but it has Fred Hapgood's name
embedded in it, a sometime contributor to this list, for what that's worth.



Science & VRML

Fred Hapgood (hapgood@pobox.com)
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 03:46:20 GMT

DOCUMENT TITLE: Science Landscape


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. _ Imagine the large-scale structure of science
displayed as a landscape. That big mountain range with colorful peaks,
ridges, and valleys is physics. Chemistry is a range off in the
distance, and in another direction is, say, biology. Trails linking
ranges are composite sciences like nuclear chemistry or molecular

The computerized landscape originally was conceived by scientists
at Sandia National Laboratories to help US intelligence more easily
track the thrust of research in countries of interest to the United
States. The landscape's data management function can use open
scientific literature to make visible the movement of nuclear and
other military technologies across industries, countries, and regions.

An expanded program will be made available to libraries, scientists
and funding agencies to quickly find information about science, and
is expected to pay for itself from licensing fees....


The expanded program will allow managers of funding agencies to watch
peaks, ridges, hills and trails change contour and definition on
a year-by-year basis, indicating research areas of increasing or
diminishing scientific interest _ information helpful in determining
which grant applications to fund, in what overall areas to invest
for research and development, and how to improve investment

Researchers using virtual reality techniques can fly over the
landscape to see new sub-areas appearing and others merging or
separating. By flying lower, researchers see more subcomponents of
the region, and still lower, titles of the journal articles which form
its substance....


Because article titles may differ eccentrically and key words have
different meanings in different disciplines, the Sandia mapping
algorithms cluster scientific papers by the number of citations that
the papers list in common, rather than by their titles or key words.

Citations are the collected footnotes that form the list, found at
the end of almost every scientific paper, of previously published
articles most critical to the current advance. The more citations
two articles list in common and the more articles that cite them
both, the more likely the research papers have a common focus, and
the closer the landscape data points that represent them....

The Sandia landscape prototype became operable in September. The
computerized color image is created by newly derived algorithms fed
citations from 30,000 articles published in analytic chemistry from
1986 to 1996. By November, a landscape created by collating references
from more than 3 million articles published over the last 18 years
in a variety of sciences are expected to be organized in a huge
supercomputer data matrix....



Anyway, the landscape metaphor is very common in theoretical biophysics and
evolutionary biology. It is also very common in the arts. It is a good
cross-over (extropic) platform between very different semantic

I would like to add to my Christmas list (that Wade kindly provided) a few
extra virtual landscapes. I fully support Natasha's idea of creating new
forms of landscapes, the "liquid realm" material rightfully accompanying
new extropic functions and designs. I also have been very interested in
the architectual settings prevalent at the roots of cultural development,
with an eye towards the potential foundations of extropic cultural
development. The essential feature of such settings is that mechanisms
existed to prevent the influx of external ideas arising from purely
destructive intentions, allowing full and free fermentation of ideas in an
atmosphere of civility (if not trust), while allowing totally free flow of
ideas back out into the wider environment. The problem of who the
gate-keepers or bouncers will be and how they will operate has never been
solved beyond the contingent needs of the moment, maybe there is no optimal

With this in mind, I'd nominate some approximations of such historically
seminal centers of cultural development as: the Athenian Stoa, the Roman
Forum, Lindisfarne, the medieval Fair at Troyes, Chartres Cathedral, Medici
Florence, etc.

Lastly on my wish list, I wish never to mistakenly wander into a VRML
compost-modern cybermall, and I wish that my filters will have the capacity
to block out tasteless avatar fashion.

Reilly Jones | Philosophy of Technology:
70544.1227@compuserve.com | The rational, moral and political relations
| between 'How we create' and 'Why we create'