Right, I've been waiting for a topic to pull me out of awkward silence into awkward conversation, and this technology talk has done it. After checking out the amazing MTV2 site and reading the posted articles and more, I'm amazed at what technologies I'll be able to mess around with before I die. Truly, this is an era of cool shit.

Your idea of the 3-D internet is exactly what I'm looking forward to. I look forward to technology being caught up with reality, so that you could in effect virtually tour Denmark or Alaska or Bangkok, which would probably be pretty crowded, if today's internet traffic is any indication. I look forward to exploring virtual cities created by weblog communities and looking through museums without leaving my home. What really excites me though is the implications such technology will have on humanity.

Already, the internet has brought us easier communication, quick access to any information, and the chance to express our thoughts. Imagine how humanity will evolve thanks to these abilities. I know this is probably pretty idealistic, but I think this increased communication will completely reshape the world's societies for the better. I'm a happier person because I have so much at my fingertips now... Just imagine how it will be in five more years... Now imagine the advantages that children who grow up with all this technology will have. It could create a giant intellectual leap forward very soon.

Of course, it could also suck.
by Rob MacGregor on 3/3/2001 04:46:18 AM | bang on

Andrew, that MTV-2 site is beautiful, and interesting as well. I can't believe how far Flash animations have come in the past two years.

Check out Nosepilot, if you haven't seen it already. It's the antithesis of the M2 site: 2 dimensional, warm-and-cushy-feeling, and inspiringly non-linear. With incredible visuals. These sort of sites make me want to drop design, drawing and painting altogether. I'll never create things so beautiful.

I'm imagining a new portal built with this kind of 3d technology... a system of communities organized geographically, in virtual space. You could explore a collection of web sites physically, visually. Add Digiscents (computer smell technology) , that "feeling mouse", nice audio and video, and you've got a multimedia website going on that I can check out as I pass by. You could walk (through a "private" community of weblogs, for example) the way you stroll through a hallyway in a 3D video game, passing by sweet-smelling, sweet-sounding websites lining the walls like paintings. Or not like paintings at all.

Really, I want the web to be more like Microsoft Bob.

Text will be around for a while. But more options, different sorts of portals and approaches and ways to organize and group and explore things are going to develop, and I'm glad. It'll be harder to unplug sometimes, but that's okay. I still like walking outside.
by Ryan Gantz on 2/28/2001 04:18:54 PM | bang on

How far are we from my dream of a tactile web? An internet that you dig through in three dimensions, uncovering the information you want by ever-deepening levels? After all, breakthroughs have been made in using brain waves to control cursor movement on screen, and it's a technology that is already affordably available. Combine that with the new award-winning "feeling mouse", and we are ready to move beyond simple 3-D flash sites.

And are there inherent drawbacks to these technologies? People unable to unplug, or suffused with a movie-level god complex? Probably.

But that is what I want the web to be, a sea of information that I literally can grasp, move around, and swim through. What do you want the internet to be?
by andrew wollman on 2/27/2001 01:14:13 PM | bang on

I have always believed that words are nothing without intent, and granted in the absence of inflection on the internet, it may be hard to determine whether our use of "gangbang" refers to rape, or to gang warfare, or any other potentially offensive concept. I think after reading one or two posts it should be obvious that our intent simply was "a gang of contributors banging on keyboards." But, in the end, I don't give much of a fuck if you're offended by our site's title, sounds like your problem not mine.
by andrew wollman on 2/27/2001 12:00:17 AM | bang on

I don't know -- I think that some words and phrases are inherently offensive, at least at any given point in time. however, I do not think gangbang is one of them. (and alison, I get lots of gangbang referrals too -- I think once I had "pachyderm gangbang" show up in my logs, which was perplexing to say the least.) clearly different words mean different things to different people; that's one of the funny things about them. for all their dictionary definitions, there is nothing especially constant about words. their pronunciation, connotation, and meaning are left to the people who use them.

there is one particular phrase that bothers me, though I keep my mouth shut about it since I fear I am, indeed, being too politically correct. still: how on earth did "nazi" become a casual noun? we have points nazis at trivia games, fitness nazis on sports teams, even fun nazis at parties. seriously. what is that?

as for gangbang and being blackmarked, I suppose I am perfectly willing to let people have their opinions. what-fucking-ever. (on the other hand, if the system is truly rotten to the core, I say plant another one.)
by rabi on 2/25/2001 11:03:42 PM | bang on

Now that is some sad, hilarious irony. Or, perhaps it's an even sadder commentary on how hard it is to stand up for your convictions in this world. When all the media are corrupt, there is no place for a sincere voice to be heard... or something to that effect. If that's the case, I say pragmatism dictates that you use all of the media, corrupt or no, to get your message out there. It's sort of like Moby putting his songs in commercials, and then using the proceeds to fund environmental groups. Ethically ambiguous, yes, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and get your hands dirty to get some good done. If the system is rotten to the core, you might as well fight it from within and do what good you can I suppose.

And now for something completely different... what really alarms me about the whole political correctness thing is the censorship aspect, and the fact that it can evolve into intolerance in the name of tolerance(like the "blackmarking" of people and so on). I don't like to be told that I can't say anything I wish, just because it might offend someone else. Nearly everything we say is going to offend someone out there. If we follow their non-offensiveness rules, we can never really say anything of import. Our ideas and passions are watered down into so much timid verbal waffling and hiding.

I think that political correctness is by nature a self-defeating enterprise. It teaches that if we ignore the darkness, it will go away. It's dedicated to fighting the symptoms of our social diseases, but never seeking a cure. And if we succeed in suppressing all of the symptoms, all of a sudden we are faced with a disease that we can't see. It's still there, and as dangerous as ever, but we don't have any way to positively identify it, so we can safely ignore it and pretend it has been cured. Until it suddenly relapses down the road and kills us in our sleep, that is.

Given the choice, I'd rather be able to see my enemies. Godhatesfags.com and their ilk are disgusting and cruel and I hate to see things like that in this world. However, I'd rather know what I'm up against as a liberal, tolerant person than to be walking around amongst people harboring all manner of secret hates and prejudices just waiting to bubble over into violence and oppression when the time is ripe.

"The only way to fight bad ideas is with better ideas." I forget who said that, but it seems to ring true in this case. Right now I don't know what those better ideas are, but I'd like to do my part in my life to work toward finding out. I do know that at very least, the suppression of words and ideas in the name of propriety and uneasy "tolerance" is not going to help me achieve that goal.
by Jared Dunn on 2/25/2001 09:04:39 PM | bang on

hey, wow, we've touched on something like this before. and for the record, i agree with you. i don't think that words are inherently offensive (though i get a lot of search strings for the word "gangbang" in my referrer logs, and i hardly think they're looking for intelligent, albeit sporadic, discussion). we're not advocating anything remotely related to what our title might suggest to the inobservant observer.

i agree also with the statement that things can indeed be too politically correct.  if political correctness spreads its fingers out to everything, we'll begin to live in stark cold fear of saying anything that will offend someone. eventually no one will say anything at all.

and jared, your mention of joseph mccarthy was dead-on, i thought, especially in light of her use of the word "blackmarked" with reference to the other five of you. is it time to call out elia kazan so he can name the names of everyone we've ever linked?

also, if kate intends to adhere to her own policy of not visiting domains with /gangbang/ subdirectories, she can't possibly in good conscience run her yahoo e-group, either, because of this, which is about actual gangbangs.

addendum: if we're all to be "blackmarked," then why did she link gangbang and each of our individual pages from her own site? it seems counterproductive.

by alison headley on 2/25/2001 07:30:33 PM | bang on

Ok, so here's something unusual from the referrer logs... Someone on yahoogroups is quite miffed about our choice of "gangbang" as our moniker. My question is, should they be?

I would venture to guess no, on the grounds that words alone are not inherently offensive. It's the context in which they are used, the shades of meaning, and so on which confer such values on our words. For example, by itself, "fuck" is a fairly neutral word, but "fuck you" might be offensive. Unless, of course, it's said in a playful manner between friends, or as an exclamation of incredulity, or any number of other uses, which only further serve to illustrate my point. In our case, I think it would be fairly obvious to anyone who bothers to read the content that the name is wholly in jest. But, does that matter? Are there some things you just don't joke about? Once again, I tend to think not, but, maybe I'm wrong here. What do you guys think... are there words and thoughts and so on which are simply by their very nature offensive and unpalatable, or does it all depend on context, intent, emotion, and other such grey areas?
by Jared Dunn on 2/25/2001 01:12:25 AM | bang on