NeoAlchemy 2.0 : What is the opposite of a shadow?

We saw this thing about this kid who made a nuke fusion reactor in his basement… from about a year ago etc:


And I was lapsing in and out of consciousness and so on, and apparently there’s a whole community of people making home made fusion reactors (that people with huge budgets have been trying to make for about 1/2 a century etc) and maybe the can and maybe the can’t or maybe they’re doing something else entirely… but me, having been immersed in a culture (of intense debate) entirely detached from any kind of objective reality for all these years… (you know, Free-Market Fundamentalists, Climate-Change-Deniers etc, conservatives. Always conservatives) and having had the whole golden mirage turn to free-falling-cardboard in front of our eyes… while the “debate” still rages… puppets still dancing after the music has stopped and the audience have gone…

… I just got this vision of these people talking and arguing and dreaming and reasoning… like perpetual-motion-machine makers thinking they can positive-think their way past the laws of thermodynamics. Tinkering and bickering… inspired by things that almost work and not deterred by things that don’t.

And then I got this vision of lots and lots of subcultures of gold-spinners – networks, who are never going to spin any gold, but it is nevertheless the driving force for what amounts to some sort of social cohesion.

And it just seemed… meaningful… to me. Remember that? The last bubble? Solutions to problems that people don’t actually have. Enthusiasm. Possibility. Positive thinking. All you need is a good idea and a lot of energy!!!

This was (according to them that know) the moment that Web 2.0 died… or at least jumped the shark.

Not for me though – for me the shark jumping moment was this image on Bruce Sterling’s blog


To me it looked like it was taking the piss… like she was thinking “Oh great. A web dweeb. Can I go now?”.

But it’s not. It’s serious – it’s got talking bananas and a logo in beta and twitter mashups and TED name-dropping and an “our team” of friendly quirky people…. Choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a family, choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers… etc etc…

It’s a Web 2.0 site. It’s got every single thing that might be associated with web 2.0 but with substance so thin, you can almost see through it to the brick wall at the back of the theatre. Someone’s seen that irritating movie with that kid who sees ghosts and got so carried away with enthusiasm! and energy! and positive thinking! that they’ve made a whole “startup” out of it!!!

Well… ok, it’s just a game. It’s just a bit of fun. Happy Shiney People trying to change the world for the better.

I think it’s over. And you know what? I’m kindof relieved.

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