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weblog archives
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Monday, July 12, 2004
What happens when you die? Not musings on the spirit world, but a musing on the artificial afterlife afforded by the myriad online personalities, lists, subscriptions, profiles, memberships, etc. etc. that everyone has floating around the web.

When you die, who will shut these down? How else will the internet know that you're dead? All good points. In a couple of decades time, the problem of 'dead people' on the internet will start to manifest itself. In fifty years time, the living will be outnumbered by the dead. Companies will be established to purge records of dead users, a new form of undertaking. Automated emails, tied in to official records, will periodically be issued by major online retailers to ensure you're still breathing.

The internet offers us our best chance of immortality. AI chatbots will 'learn' your personality, giving you the mischevious possibility of living on after you die, instant messaging friends from beyond the grave, haunting your favourite chatrooms. In one hundred years time, despite the efforts of online ghostbusters and body snatchers, the internet will have become a repository of the dead, a Dantean underworld, a virtual afterlife, where the distinction between the living and the dead will no longer exist.

Elsewhere. Fetish Items of the Rich and Famous: Phaidon's mammoth Atlas of Contemporary Architecture may be beautiful, but what does it tell you about architecture?, asks Christopher Hawthorne at Slate. The book is a magnificent thing, to be sure, but Hawthorne accuses it of creating a 'perma-bright world where buildings never age or decay' (that's architectural publishing for you). His main criticism is the lack of context, that the book portrays each building as an isolated spike of brilliance related only to the work on the surrounding pages, and not the structures next door. This is far more valid, especially as the title, 'Atlas', hints at some kind of in-depth geographic survey. Instead, it simply perpetuates the image of high-end modern architecture as being somehow aloof and distant from everything else.

Why can't all cars look like this? asks Steve Bowbrick of the Nissan Figaro. Something of a cult classic in London (especially, from anecdotal evidence, among media types), read all about the retro roadster here. The car was only built from 14 February to 14 September 1991, the mere blink of an eye in mass production terms - just 20,000 were made (and a fair amount of these seem to be in London). You can hire one from
parc-ferme (a new rival to the more established Classic Car Club), or buy one.

Vintage watch ads, via the daily jive / removing 'unacceptable symbols' from Microsoft Office 2003 - in other words, the swastika removal update / scissorkick and pop77 just two of many great music weblogs linked to in this me-fi thread. Emo/indie fans can find videos of the likes of Explosions in the Sky at Silence Magazine, while copy, right? links mp3s of cover versions, good and bad / Sheldon Brown's Istoria, computer-generated sculptures.

Japan Underground, photographs by Hideaki Uchiyama (thanks Tom). Not just tube stations, but power plants, scientific labs, and bunkers / designer Marc Newson's show at the Groniger Museum at Cool Hunting (related, Newson's concept jet at an earlier showing in Paris) / bad parking 1 and 2.

The author Toby Litt occasionally asks questions on his website, and sometimes people answer them / a profile of Phil Gyford, online mover and shaker. See, for example, weblogger's summer reading / The Arcata Eye police log is something of a cult classic (via ask me-fi). There's a touch of Framley Examiner in there too.

You could save a lot of time by going here: Spoilers for Every Movie Ever Made (via invisible city) / buy photographic prints from art and architecture / Zeppelin image archive / the Uncle Sam image gallery / forests fear the Plustech walking machine.