Tetrad Analysis: Satellite

Another tetrad from Marshall and Eric McLuhan's Laws of Media: The New Science (p.150):

ENHANCES

-the planet

-earth goes inside itself

-the first extension-of-earth

REVERSES
-implosion

-the orb urbs; the globe as theatre

-the crowd dynamic
-participating in their own audience participation
-population reverses from content/spectator to actor/participant

RETRIEVES
-ecology
-'Primitive man is, inevitably, ecological.'
-In The Savage Mind, C. Lévi Strauss noted that the primitive regards everything as related to everything — a condition we recognize as paranoia
OBSOLESCES
-Nature

-nature: an invention of the Greeks
-Lewis Mumford (Technics and Civilization, page 69) called the mine 'the first completely organic environment created by man.'
-Like the space capsule, the submarine is also a completely programmed environment. And the scientific laboratory, whether for Pavlovian conditioning, or routine controlled-condition experiences.

Earth extends itself only to go inside itself — or to become its own content. Fascinating.

The satellite has made several appearances on sportsBabel, most notably in discussing the historical relationship between the blimp and the geosynchronous satellite; in pointing out that pirated American satellite feeds of the Super Bowl allow Canadian viewers to see the Madison Avenue advertisements; and in highlighting the recently available Google Maps service and its satellite view.

(With regards to this latter, Keyhole, a Google subsidiary that provides 3D digital satellite imaging solutions, offers three sample videos of their service: a tour of the Athens 2004 Olympic venues (wmv,13Mb); a tour of Boston's Fenway Park (wmv,6.5Mb); and coverage of the war in Fallujah (wmv,3.2Mb) — not the first time we have discussed the link between satellite sport and war on sportsBabel.)

Like the McLuhans, Paul Virilio also describes an obsolescing of the natural environment that occurs with satellite and other telecommunications technologies — creating a new environment that resembles an electronic ecology, no doubt. As I have suggested before, this new ecology renders permeable the membrane between participant and spectator, allowing for the erstwhile spectator's "participating in their own audience participation."

Military Technology Update

Noah Shachtman's Defense Tech has had a lot of good material lately on the evolution of the cyborg soldier and other military technologies. First, a piece describing the screaming speed at which advances in thought-controlled robotic limbs and prosthetics are coming to the battleground.

Next, links to stories about clothing and cream for commandos to cloak their thermal registers and escape detection from cheap, commercially available thermal cameras.

Finally, he describes a new free fall navigation system to be used during HALO jumps, which connects GPS to a head-mounted visual display and PDA mission planner, in order to be able to hit targets in low-visibility conditions, such as inclement weather. Objectification: "The navigation system for jumpers runs off of many of the same technologies being used to make precision cargo airdrops."

On a slightly different note, DT discusses the new Google Maps satellite imaging technology (which is super cool, by the way). In this particular case, it is possible to see into the U.S. military's infamous "Area 51".

This raises two questions for me: One, what does this say about the relationship between the corporation and the state? And two, if satellite imaging of this high quality is what is commercially available as a bare-bones free service, then how amazing is the technology being used by the surveillance elites?

Given the parallels of modern discipline that Foucault illustrated between the factory, the school, the barracks and the prison — and that others have drawn with the stadium — I believe it is important to keep examining them as we emerge further into the digital age, and try to compare them with sport if and when possible.

Stadium Sight

A San Francisco 49ers game, from the satellite wizards at Google Maps.

Courtesy of Google Maps

(via Wired News)