marzo 02, 2012


enero 30, 2012

Si vos no vas a emitir señales de vida...

Existe una posibilidad de que empiece a emitir señales de muerte.

agosto 27, 2011

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

A short text about the main ideas developed in the 1968 novel by Philip K. Dick.

Although this title was published more than forty years ago, it is still regarded as a science-fiction masterpiece nowadays, proving to have been quite ahead of its time back then. In the novel, the author takes into account a great deal of subjects, mostly ethical and spiritual.

Set in 2021, the story begins when planet Earth has been devastated by radioactive fallout caused by nuclear war: most animal species are now extinct and the majority of humans have fled to other planets, Mars being the main colony. The remnant population of the devastated mother planet regards every living creature as a treasure, which results in an incredibly high demand for petting them. Therefore, animals are not affordable by everyone, and some inhabitants will have to settle for immensely realistic pieces of machinery built by robot-making companies. These also produce androids to serve mankind off-planet (as there is a ban on their presence on Earth), the latest models being so resembling to human beings and so sophisticated that could be superior to the latter in many aspects, such as in their intelligence and appearance. The main character, Rick Deckard, is a government-paid bounty hunter, whose job is to “kill” those who dare to visit Earth in order to blend in with local population and start new lives as human beings.

Despite being a science-fiction novel, not only the human characters but also the artificial ones are displayed as very vulnerable and realistic. Dick focuses on their suffering as well as their ability to overcome challenging obstacles; they seem to be relentless victims of the severe context that is lay upon them, showing a great deal of manipulation of their will. However, the author also presents an abysmal difference between a human and an android: while the first is able to have feelings for other beings, the latter lacks the sufficient empathy to do so. Conversely, Deckard makes use of a few scientifically developed tests consisting of an array of questions that evaluate this skill so that he can tell artificial intelligence from natural intelligence.

Dick employs an ironic tone while narrating the story, almost satirical but also rather grim. This idea correlates with a sense of coarse artificiality that is demonstrated throughout the novel, represented by androids, electric animals, the mood organ and the empathy box. The mood organ consists of a keyboard where numbers are dialled to achieve a modified state of will and synthetic emotions, such as bliss, depression, or to be in the mood for watching TV or sleeping forever. On the other hand, the empathy box is entirely related to a religion, Mercerism, which is lead by a sort of saviour, Wilbur Mercer. Through this religion and the empathy box, inhabitants of Earth can deeply connect with each other and with Mercer himself, using the ability which androids do not understand.

In summary, the novel could be considered as a group of contradictions that exist in our society: the use of technology for self-destruction, the production of artificial intelligence that resembles natural life and the tendency to undergo a lethargic life, full of materialism and fake bonds. In the light of the above said I should conclude that, in my view, the novel actually epitomises the path of life itself, particularly that of human life, while standing for the many contradictions that constitute a product of ourselves and will have to be faced at some stage towards the end. Of course, standing ten years away from the temporal context of the narration, it represents a seemingly impossible scenario, but still the novel reflects on the modern world and the future to come.

junio 11, 2011


I'm so good at pretending that I just realised how everything's so fucked up; and I'm failing to see the light once again. This is one of those moments in which I pity my own existence. Congratulations, you fucking cunt... I tell myself.

mayo 25, 2011

Sherlock, the TV series

Surely the renowned author Arthur Conan Doyle couldn’t have imagined to what extent his writings would still be enjoying enduring success. What would the creator of the most intrepid consultant detective think of an incarnated adaptation of his most popular work? I’d guess he’d be impressed.

First broadcasted in mid 2010, Sherlock, a TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the eccentric Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as his sidekick, Dr. John Watson, gives a new lease of life to the original adventures, without failing to include the traditional elements that made the first appearance of these characters so famous. It brings these old adventures up to date keeping the essence of the main characters intact. Holmes remains to be an assertive and resilient investigator, proficient in unraveling mysteries, who lacks formation in common knowledge so that he retains most of the invaluable information he collects to be processed deductively. He also has rather uncommon hobbies and an extraordinary sense of humor (since he finds, for instance, a murder as most entertaining). As regards Dr. Watson, he fulfills his function of shedding some light in the cases as well as being an extremely useful companion in the moments that require it. Other appearances include those of Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock’s brother), inspector Lestrade and Dr. Jim Moriarty, Sherlock’s archenemy.

In order to solve the adapted crimes, the new Sherlock employs modern technology, such as Internet, cell phone texting and GPS tracking systems. What is interesting about the modern day version is that this idea also conforms to the old character’s sophisticated manners, as he would take advantage of any device and logical mechanisms related to it in order to elucidate the mysteries surrounding him.

The first season of the series is now over, but luckily there is more to watch in the near future: a second series of three 90-minute episodes is scheduled to be broadcast in late 2011, including the highly acclaimed Doyle’s novel, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, and the most intricate puzzle the old Sherlock has ever encountered, “The Final Problem”, which was originally published in 1894 as part of the collection “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” and in which Sherlock presumably dies as a result of the longest confrontation with his archenemy, criminal mastermind Dr. Moriarty.

All in all, the series is a must for ardent fans, who in my opinion will not be disappointed at all, and it is of course worthwhile watching for those who are into the genre and seek for entertainment.

Education: Proposing a Change in the Paradigm

Education may be regarded as the utmost essential basis of modern society. From my own point of view, only through its comprehensive developing can we achieve general welfare, even though this is a necessary but not sufficient condition to do so. Therefore, logically, general welfare is also implied by at least one more idea: the most significant one that can be found may be the concept of an empathic civilisation (in short, one in which everybody can put themselves in others shoes). Yet, most importantly, we should critically analyse the current models of education throughout different cultures in the world whilst pinpointing their fundamental malfunctions.

At present, modern technology and instantaneous communications have become impressively influential, not only in western but also in eastern cultures. These items are part of the globalisation process, which, according to Sir Ken Robinson, is complicating the passing on of cultural identity within every culture. The economy plays a main role within these difficulties as well, since we cannot exactly predict its behaviour in the near future. Moreover, among other problems, there are those concerning the organisation of schools. The most severe of them might be the choice of variables according to which the students are grouped and the classes are both scheduled and standardised.

In summary, Robinson states that there are many issues, related to the essentials of the manner we teach, which will turn our own education models against our primary objectives. All these issues may find their respective basis on the fact that such models were designed and conceived for pursuing the aims of a past age. Indeed, driven by an economic imperative set forth by the Industrial Revolution, these systems have followed an intellectual model of the mind that restricts the concept of intelligence in too close-minded a way, defining people as either academic or non academic.

But in what manners can we tackle these seemingly unattainable challenges? Sir Ken Robinson has proposed a transformation of the current paradigm; a completely opposite direction to advance through. It is based on the concept of divergent thinking: a problem or question has many interpretations as well as many possible solutions. In fact, as many as it can be imagined. Such idea is inherent to everybody and it has been proved that its use decays with the passing of time if not exercised properly. Nevertheless, further discussion is needed here, for how do we tell objective interpretations apart from subjective ones? Are them equally valid?

Either way, what is important is the application of the concept to systems of education: it imposes an idea of freedom, or, to be more precise, openness, i.e. contrary to standardisation. In order to exercise divergent thinking, we should allow more possibilities of choice regarding education (a task difficult to accomplish given the overall situation nowadays). What this actually means is that we need to pursue common interests while organising education, and most importantly, we have to think differently about human capacity.

The Icelandic Sound

Five years after releasing Takk…, their most successful studio album up to date, and having gone through one last release and two worldwide tours, Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós are currently on a very well deserved break. Nevertheless, their frontman, guitarist and lead singer Jónsi Birgisson kept working throughout last year in order to release his first solo album, Go. In this review, I will analyse in which ways these two pieces of music are related to each other, as well as the main differences between them, which, of course, must be highly expected, deductively reasoning.

While the otherworldly Takk…, sung in Icelandic and Hopelandic (a made up series of vocals and sounds that strongly resemble those of the Northern languages), is a post-rock album itself, with its ethereal distant sounds, distorted guitars (Jónsi uses a violin bow to perform on his guitar), rapidly changing rhythms and sudden walls of sound appearing before us, Go, which is sung in English, could be regarded as a little bit more out there: in spite of being highly influenced by that non-conventional style, it turned out to be, essentially, a pop album. Indeed, originally intended as entirely acoustic, it became a fully instrumentated piece of music after classical composer Nico Muhly intervened in its arrangements and production. Moreover, whereas Go stresses out a much more colourful and playful side of Jónsi’s musical mind (though not throughout its entirety), Takk… demonstrates happiness in general, though it might be also considered as quite bluish and sorrowful.

Both being profoundly moving and melancholic, the described albums are dissimilar in terms of style, yet the emotional charge spread across each and every one of their tracks reaches the same level of sophistication and proficiency, giving the listener a particularly memorable experience. What is more, not only are they stunning in nature, but also highly acclaimed by critics throughout the entire world.

All in all, for seekers of peaceful moments in particular, these beautifully recorded CDs are worthwhile listening to, since they have the capability of transporting you far beyond this world.