Article: Social Engineering
Topic: Being Nice
Social Engineering is the art of getting what you want from people who probably aren't willing to give it to you readily. The best way to do this is to get them to want to give it to you. The subtle art of changing attitudes. To do this you must possess some level of social skill - most people don't. Falls under the idea that Common Sense is anything but common.
Friendly people are, by nature, more willing to cooperate with you. So the first thing you want to do is get the target to be friendly with you. Best done by being friendly with them first. Smile, a real smile helps, but if you have to fake it practice making it look real. Don't ask me how, mine are genuine. I'm nice all the time, unless I don't need them, then I'm apathetic at best.
the Free Lunch concept, or at least cheaper.
Lots of us have a routine of some kind. We go to work close to the same time everyday. Or at least the same place everyday. What's around you? where do you eat? Maybe it's the sandwhich shop across the street. You go and have lunch there a couple times a week, maybe three or so. Be friendly with the staff. Say "Please" when you order, "Thanks" when you get the order, "Have a nice day" on the way out. While waiting for the food maybe chat with them about really stupid things. Like weather, ask them how they're day is going. Find out interests and get to know them - the more hobbies you've got the more people you can talk to. Or at least, the more shit you know about the more people you can talk to. Talk about the OzFest with the metal head at the register, talk about the latest art exhibit with the girl making the sandwhiches, talk computer shit with the geek taking orders. Whatever. Point is make whatever interests they've got make it known you've got 'em to.
Don't forget the other people in the place, don't act like you're in some big rush (even if you are), relax a little, let the staff take the time to do their jobs. Basically look like the model customer. After a while they'll know you, maybe even by name. Once this happens you've still gotta be nice, please and thank you are key words in this endevor. Keep this up for a while, let them know where you work. If they come in and you can swing it give 'em a discount on shit you don't care about. They'll notice. That's the idea. You're nice to them, now they're nice to you. Keep going to lunch at this place, they're probably freinds, or immediately friendly by now. This is the pay off point.
Hopefully at this point they're discounting your lunch - if not then better luck on that with whereever it is you manage to eat breakfast. Don't expect this shit from a McDonald's though, try an actual restaurant.
I had this going for me for a while. I ate at a sandwhich shop everyday Monday - Friday. Always friendly to the staff, man I got my shit half off everyday for the year I worked across from the place. Two bucks for a big ass sandwhich. Hell yeah.
Anyway, that's the crash course. Whole thing takes practice, the ability to not be a prick and the knowledge of lotsa shit. Do you're homework, stop playing Quake99 for a few hours and read a friggin' book or something. Get some knowledge, be nice to people, talk about what they want and then go from there. Of course, it works the other way too, some saavvy stealthpunk might be trying the same shit on you - do ya be nice to them hoping they can get ya some shit you need down the road. Or do you blow 'em off? Try option one, maybe six months down the road you'll need tickets to that concert they managed to score some spares for, and you get 'em cheap 'cuz you been nice to 'em back.
Being Nice ... it's the key to getting what you want, or at least, what you need.
article: a disexplanation
Remember the old 'Cheap Truth'? The propaganda rag of the revolution? Seen the state of said revolution lately?
The sugestion is to rant and rave, review works and trends, suggest, incite and challenge. Do it here, do it under the [Expensive Lies] tag. And on a schedule of such breakneck rapidity, as every six months, whatever still looks interesting gets shoveled into a cheap samizdat which can be plastered all over the web and even printed out and handed out with prejudice.
It's principal goal should be to challenge.
Challenge the revolution to keep from stagnating.
Challenge the writers, new and old, to fight their own fossilization.
Challenge the industry to fight the mindless regurgitation and the rapacious comodification.
Challenge the readers to stop accepting the meanest of formulaic hackwork that is foisted upon them.
article: The Cover of the Book
How many times have you judged a book by its cover or the story blurb there on? Or judged a company by its marketing materials or its annual report? Or a politician on what he says rather than on what he does?
Or a person on the way they look?
The "appearance of goodness" does not make a good story, a good company, a good politician, or a good friend.
Recently we have seen the what results of buying the image of a company or the rhetoric of a politician can bring. It may generally be accepted that buying into something because it looks or sounds really good is a foolish practice.
I am sure that with a little thought you can think of numerous instance in your own life where you or someone you know "bought in" to the "image" of something only to discover that the "image" contained no substance. But for those of you who cannot think of something I'll offer someone as an example: The Wizard of OZ.
The Great and Powerful OZ had a great and powerful image. He had style. He had grandeur. Yet when it finally came down to it he had no substance. One of my favorite lines in the film is when he admits to Dorothy [and all of the gathered citizens] "I can't come back. I don't know how it works!
For all of his bluster and his "image", the Wizard knew nothing of magic or even science -- he was just a good salesman. He understood the key to selling himself was presenting the proper image and the proper look.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" he admonished Dorothy and her friends.
Eventually if the there is no substance the vacuity of the book or company or person reveals itself. In all of it's glorious emptiness. You suddenly feel the bottom of your stomach drop out and the recriminations begin. But who is there to blame? The Charlatan or the fool who bought into the chalatan's trick?
So here on the one hand is the "great and powerful OZ" who has no power to accomplish anything except to make you believe something that is not true. The excesses with which the Wizard ruled are passed over as the bumbling, feeble attempts of a former circus performer to make a living.
Similar excuses seem to be made for authors, CEOs and politicians.
The Wizard's counterpoint is the Wicked Witch, who in word and deed is "evil" through and through. But is she evil? Really? Well the "image" we are given of her is one where we are led to believe she is evil. "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!" She declares in anger at the "innocent" Dorothy. But is Dorothy innocent?
Tell me if a teenage girl ran over one of your relatives how would you react to the girl if you ever met her? What if the girl some how "inherited" your relative's most prized possession from your relatives' corpse immediately after the accident? Wouldn't you say the same thing?
Someone might say "But wait! She's got green skin! Right? You gotta be evil if your skin is green! Everybody knows that!" Kermit the Frog has green skin. What if her skin were white, or brown, or black, or yellow?
Do you judge people on that basis? More importantly, should you?
Good or bad is not determined by the color of one's skin or the cover of the book or the glossiness of the Annual report. It is the substance of the thing. It is the content of the story. It is the actual value of the company to its customers and its stockholders that is what is important.
The contining promotion by MediaCorps of "content free" books / films / music to make a short term profit devalues not only the marketplace but also devalues the consumer. It seems we have moved into a world where the value and/or substance of thing has no relation to the image of the thing in question.
We value and cherish stories and films like "The Wizard of OZ" because of the "depth of content" and the emotions which each character draws out within each of us. We "buy-in" to the story because it plays upon the substance of our own emotions and feelings.
A while ago there was a series of books I bought that had really cool covers but the story was mostly junk. I made a conscious decision to continue to buy the series because I liked the artwork. But would I recommend the books? Never.
How often do we make that kind conscious decision in what we read, the stocks we buy, or the politicians we support? I invite you to think about it.
article: ''There's no there there.'' Modern Tourism and Cyberpunk Views of Airports
With a subject line like that I really should have something more enlightening than merely admitting that going through four airports in one day had me thinking there's no here here.
article: Welcome To That
I'm famous for ranting so I'll get right to the point. I bitch and moan about firearms and civil rights because I can see a day when firearms are banned entirely and what remains of our civil rights will be legislated away because we're all too busy making money and watching TV to remember these things matter. Some of you folks are johnny come latelies to the Tea Party and simply Don't Get It. Some like the Socialist way of life and look forward to free everything. I've always been grim about human nature, having seen its darkside at an early age and never forgotten. I know my history and I know humans are capable of genocide, large and small scale. It will always be that way. Arguments about fairness and justice are only words, and I'm just the bastard to remind you of that fact. Why is this really important? That's where the right turn comes in.
Guns and rights and limits etc are interesting in that they start and end at national borders. In other nations and cultures, folks do things differently. Cultures that limit their expansion wane while those without limits and self imposed handicaps grow and dominate. Eventually they need the resources the carefully managed nation uses and blam, they get invaded and dominated, probably genocided in the end. Then there's social decay, resisted by the Conservative movement, which believes in conservation, kinda like the greens only they put people ahead of trees. There is a balance to be maintained between experimental, potentially adaptive cultural models favored by the socially adventurous and conservative "old way is better" model. It comes down to how many eggs you want to put in one basket. One of the cultures on earth today will be dominant in a century. Whether that be the USA (unlikely), China (possibly), a united EU, or some african nation enjoying a cultural renaissance. Whatever the case, one of these nations, with its different way of doing things will adapt to changes others will struggle with or fail in the face of. Most of those changes are technology, but some of that is survival in the face of bad weather, war, and self immolating religions.
Chinese Communism has come, killed, and mostly failed to take over from China's more devout underlying Taoist and Confusionist foundations. Mao had his say, it didn't help as much as thought and like all cults, its failing fast. When the last of the zealots die, or lose power to the new middle class capitalists, things will change. China is NOT a place where protests work. Money talks, that's more important than just about anything, excepting water/crops. China has decided the USA does not require any help toppling and that we will cease to be a threat to them in time. This is reasonably true, though they've done their share by funding Clinton/Gore campaigns (illegally too). Hey, its a war, just very low level. China acquires technology, getting the factories to make the stuff we think up with our paid geniuses, trains its men to run them and finds itself fully prepared to do without us, from wherever we left off. If America died tomorrow, China would have our key technology readily available, and without the pending doom of International Copyright Law. Maybe its China's time to shine. Or maybe they'll sink into barbarism again with more crazy Maoism, Cultural Revolution killing off its best minds. A pity, but cults are like that. I can admire the depth of preparations China has made. Smart men thinking about their security, with admirable directness. The kind of practicality American's once had in its own pioneering days.
The USA is on the cusp of The British Empire, circa 1950 when they lost India. That was the beginning of the end for them. The UK is just an island now, broken down, living on memories and dreams. Exhausted. America could be starting, or well into the slide, that leads to becoming the UK. The population dreaming of better days forever lost, throwing abuse at the new bully on the block (China), and turning ever inward with blame and sadness. Other nations suffered this too, no fear. Holland, Portugal, Spain, France, Finland, Germany, Persia, Turkey, Macedonia, Rome. Times came and went. Things changed. Stronger cultures rose and took over. It happens.
Changes are coming which break down the fundamental fabric that makes America great. Things the population is unable or unwilling to surmount. Too much effort required. Short attention span. Information overload. Worse, the USA has lost sight of its foundations, those same civil rights I started this rant with. So very important, lost in a haze of bong smoke, Jerry Springer, Oprah, worthless politics, and pointless hedonism. People stopped caring about what really matters, on the large scale at least, and if not for the WTC, the American culture might be a lot further along in its decay. WTC pulled them back from the brink, delayed the decay 5 years or so. Enough time to kill those who caused the sting and revived nationalism for a time. Once its over the pride will fail, the strong will die and the weak triumph and things will just keep getting worse. Things change, it can't be stopped.
Here's hoping China doesn't nuke us out of spite. The Heretic