Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 7th, 2013

An elderly Father managing a talk with his elderly child?
A letter sent by a very old father to his son or daughter…
I might live long enough, and this situation is becoming a common occurrence. One day I’ll be too old and out of control and in great need of understanding to my predicament, especially the physical shortcoming.
1. If I dirty my pants, or splatter food while eating, and not able to wear my cloths on my own… Would you be understanding? Do I have to remind you that I spent a whole lot of time to train you to be self autonomous on these counts?
Jedo George. #grandpa. Photo by Yuhanna and Joanna  Choukeir Hojeily
Photo: Jedo George. #grandpa
2. If I keep repeating myself, telling the same old stories and lucubration… Would you be kind to tend a listening ears, never to interrupt me… Do I have to remind you that I never ceased to read you and tell your preferred stories before you go to sleep?
3. Many times I won’t feel like shaving or washing or taking a bath: I am fragile, feel cold and sick from lengthy physical chores. Would you do your best not to shame me? Should I remind you how often I had to run after you, and invent all kinds of excuses in order to wash you and make you familiar with hygiene matters?
4. It is hard for me to keep up with new technologies: The pace is so fast and changing for my mental disposition to drastic new training. Would you erase this ironic smile and allow me the necessary time to adapt, if I must have to? Do I have to remind you what it took for me and your teachers to teach the alphabet?
5. I realize that I frequently lose track of the sequences of the story, and I feel like I am out of current memory and cannot remember new names… Would you learn to stay calm? What I want is not telling you stories, but keeping you close by me as long as you can manage. Forget that what I am saying is that important and that I am intent on teaching you anything I failed to do long time ago.
6. As my legs weaken and I cannot follow you, would you stop and extend to me a helping arm?
7. I tend to voice wishes for a quicker death. No need to get upset: Everything in due time makes sense. You can see that I am barely vegetating. I wish I could read or listen to music or type my “autobiography”…
8. I have made many errors and mistakes in your upbringing. Could you forgive a few of them? I think that I followed what I knew, the way I was raised and the customs that were imposed on me. Deep down, I prayed that what I did was for your interest…
9. Help me to finish my journey with a smile and an appeased heart. May your heart find peace and contentment.
You may add to this general list of troubles ad nauseous.
What counts is “What are the particular problems that your dad or mom are currently suffering from?”
What counts is “How are you personally participating and cooperating with your elderly folks?”
Are you guys really talking? Anything to talk about?
Note 1: This letter is far more adapted to a mother talking to her children: Fathers are Not Famous of having Job’s patience and performing Herculean efforts to caring for the children on a daily basis. If on a rare occasion a father cleaned a toddler or ran after a child to bath him, he will remind the kid of this feat after each heated argument…
Fact is, mothers think of all she had to go through, in upbringing children, but I doubt they ever remind their kids of the chores they took for granted, much less writing any such a letter.
Most probably, it is difficult for me to imagine a father sending such a mushy letter that doesn’t sound real and believable.
Note 3: The French text is:
Lettre d’un vieux père à son fils ou à sa fille…Si un jour tu me vois vieux, si je me sali quand je mange et que je ne réussi pas à m’habiller, soit compréhensif, souvient toi du temps que j’ai passé pour t’apprendre.
Si quand je parle avec toi je répète toujours les mêmes choses, ne m’interromps pas, écoute moi, quand tu étais petit je devais te raconter chaque soir la même histoire avant que tu ne t’endormes.
Quand je ne veux pas me laver ne me fait pas honte, souviens toi quand je devais te courir après en inventant milles excuses pour que tu ailles au bain.
Quand tu vois mon ignorance pour les nouvelles technologies, donne moi le temps nécessaire et ne me regarde pas avec se sourire ironique, j’ai eu tant de patience pour t’apprendre l’alphabet.
Quand par moment je n’arrive pas à me souvenir ou que je perd le fil de la conversation, donne moi le temps nécessaire à retrouver la mémoire et si je n’y arrive pas ne t’énerve pas, la chose la plus importante n’est pas ce que je dis mais le besoin d’être avec toi et de t’avoir là a m’écouter.
Quand mes jambes fatiguées n’arrivent plus à tenir la cadence de tes pas, ne me considère pas comme un boulet, viens vers moi et offre moi la force de tes bras comme je l’ai fait lorsque tu as fait tes premiers pas.
Quand je dis que j’aimerai être mort, ne te fâche pas, un jour tu comprendras ce qui me pousse à le dire. Essaie de comprendre qu’à mon âge on ne vit pas, on survie.
Un jour tu découvriras que malgré mes erreurs je n’ai toujours voulu que le meilleur pour toi, que j’ai tenté de te préparer la route.
Donne moi un peu de ton temps, donne moi un peu de ta patience, donne moi une épaule sur laquelle poser ma tête de la même façon que je l’ai fait pour toi.
Aide moi à avancer, aide moi à finir mes jours avec amour et compréhension, en échange je n’aurais que mon sourire et l’immense amour que j’ai toujours eu pour toi. Je t’aime mon enfant……

Anti-drone hoodie: Beat Big Brother’s spy in the sky?

Unmanned surveillance drones are a global concern, but designer Adam Harvey has concocted an outlandish solution

The hoodie wears a silver hoodie that stops below the nipples. Call it a baggy crop-top with a hood. This fashion piece is a prototype. It has wide square shoulders and an overzealous zip that does up right to the tip of the nose.

Anti-drone hoodie worn by Tom Meltzer
The anti-drone hoodie, as modeled by Tom Meltzer, keeps surveillance off your back. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

 published in The Guardian on March 31, 2013: “The anti-drone hoodie that helps you beat Big Brother’s spy in the sky”

“This hoodie has been designed to hide me from the thermal imaging systems of unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles – drones. And, as far as I can tell, it’s working well.

Designer Adam Harvey explains: “”It’s what I call anti drone. That’s the sentiment. The material in the anti-drone clothing is made of silver, which is reflective to heat and makes the wearer invisible to thermal imaging.”

The “anti-drone hoodie” was the central attraction of Harvey’s Stealth Wear exhibition, which opened in central London in January, billed as a showcase for “counter-surveillance fashions“. It is a field Harvey has been pioneering for three years now, making headlines in the tech community along the way.

It began in 2010 with Camoflash, an anti-paparazzi handbag that responds to the unwanted camera flashes with a counter-flash of its own, replacing the photograph’s intended subject with a fuzzy orb of bright white light.

Then came his thesis project CV Dazzle, a mix of bold makeup and hairstyling based on military camouflage techniques, designed to flummox computer face-recognition software. It worked, but also made you look like a cyberpunk with a face-painting addiction. Which was not exactly inconspicuous.

The point is “These are primarily fashion items and art items. I’m not trying to make products for survivalists. I would like to introduce this idea to people: that surveillance is not bulletproof. That there are ways to interact with it and there are ways to aestheticise it.”

I point out that there is no obvious target audience for anti-drone fashion.

He’s unfazed. “The kind of person who would wear it really depends on what drones end up being used for. You can imagine everything, from general domestic spying by a government, or more commercial reconnaissance of individuals.”

I suggest perhaps political protesters. “Yeah, sure. Maybe that’s the actual market.”

Harvey is well aware his work can seem a little before its time. “I wouldn’t say many people have a problem being imaged by drones yet,” he deadpans. “But it imagines that this is a problem and then presents a functional solution.”

Reality, to be fair, is not so far behind. Over the next 15 years the US Federal Aviation Administration anticipates more than 20,000 new drones will appear in American skies, owned not just by law enforcement agencies and the military, but also public health bodies and private companies.

In the UK, several police forces are already experimenting with drones, and not just for thermal imaging.

“They can be equipped with things called IMSI-catchers that will work out the mobile phone numbers of any people in a certain area,” explains Richard Tynan, research officer at campaign group Privacy International.

“If police deploy these things for crowd control there’s no issue with them figuring out every single person who’s in there – and their mobile phone numbers. They can also intercept calls and send out false messages. It’s not just the police either. Cybercriminals can use these, or even business opponents. This technology already exists.”

Tynan is sceptical about the power of inventions such as the hoodie to protect us from such technology. “The growth in [civilian counter-surveillance] will be dependent on the kind of work we do here to uncover what surveillance is being used. They will always lag behind in the battle.”

Not least because many of the people making counter-surveillance equipment are keen to keep it out of civilian hands. “The only people who really don’t need to be seen,” says military camouflage designer Guy Cramer, “are the ones who are doing something wrong out there.”

Cramer is, in a sense, Harvey’s military equivalent: another pioneer in the art of vanishing. Last year, Cramer’s delightfully shady-sounding company HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp made headlines worldwide with its claim to have built a functioning “invisibility cloak”, using light-bending optical camouflage to make a soldier simply disappear. So far, only various members of military top brass have been permitted to see the cloak in action – for fear, he says, that the technology will fall into the wrong hands.

Cramer has also created an “intelligent textile” named Smartcamo, capable of changing colour to match its surroundings. Unlike with the cloak, Cramer plans to make the technology available to consumers. But hopes of becoming invisible to Big Brother won’t be drastically improved; when selling to the public he and many of his competitors deliberately leave civilian customers exposed.

“When we sell to the commercial market, we use special inks that actually don’t work under infrared conditions. It looks identical but you show up on the infrared as a big white target.”

The motive is mistrust of the civilian buyer. “It would cost me pennies more to add the infrared but I wouldn’t want to give the bad guys that advantage.”

He is sceptical about the real-world application of anti-drone fashionwear: “It doesn’t matter how good your clothing is, if you’re not masking every part of your body – your hands, your face, your eyes – it’s going to give away your position.”

An anti-drone burqa, then? That would do the trick.

But it would really take the fashion out of counter-surveillance fashionwear.




April 2013

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