mechanical servants

Swedish books/movies/tv shows you should read/watch

Originally posted by introverts-hideaway

Here is a list of swedish books/movies/tv shows that you should read/watch if you want to !

(this is not a ranking)

1. BOOKS

April Witch 

(Aprilhäxan) by  Majgull Axelsson. 

Desirée wants to know who stole her life. Institutionalised since early childhood due to severe disabilities, she lies in her hospital bed making plans. She can neither walk nor talk, but she has special abilities. Desirée is an ‘April witch’, which means that she’s able to see through other creatures’ eyes and can make them take her wherever she wants to. In her quest to find out which of her three foster sisters has stolen her life, Desirée becomes an invisible presence in their lives, following them, biding her time.

Simon and the Oaks

(Simon och ekarna) by Marianne Fredriksson.

Simon Larsson grows up in a working-class family in Gothenburg in the 1940s. World War II is raging. Simon’s father is a man of principles and strong views; his mother runs the home with love and warmth. But they are not his biological parents. Simon finds out that he was adopted and that his real father is Jewish. At school, Simon meets Isak Lentov, the son of a rich Jewish bookkeeper. The Lentovs, who fled from Nazi Germany before the war, becomes closely linked to Simon’s own family as the two boys make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

(Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann) by Jonas Jonasson.

On his 100th birthday, Allan Karlsson breaks out of an old people’s home, through the window. He is determined to fill his remaining days with adventure and embarks on a long journey through Sweden, being chased by thieves and police, making friends along the way. Mixed with his old-age adventure, his life’s story is told: he dines with president-to-be Harry S. Truman, hitchhikes with Winston Churchill, travels on a river boat with Mao Zedong’s wife and treks through the Himalayas.

Gösta Berling’s Saga

by Selma Lagerlöf.

A priest defrocked for misbehaving and drinking, Gösta Berling wants to die. The Mistress of Ekeby saves him from freezing to death and takes him in. As one of 12 party-loving homeless men in the manor at Ekeby, Gösta Berling becomes a leading spirit. But the evil Sintram lures the men into making a deal with the devil, which leads to the Mistress of Ekeby leaving home. Wild adventures, power struggle and redemption follow.

Let the Right One In

(Låt den rätta komma in) by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

It’s the winter of 1981 in the grey Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg. Twelve-year-old Oskar is being bullied. But he has a friend who lives next door, Eli. The two develop a close relationship, and Eli helps Oskar fight back against his tormentors. But this story is more than just a snapshot of average suburban life. Eli is a vampire, which Oskar has yet to find out. As mysterious murders spread fear and confusion in the community, Oskar starts to understand – but doesn’t abandon Eli.

The Road

(Vägen till Klockrike) by Harry Martinson.

In 1898, cigar maker Bolle faces big changes. Hand-rolled cigars have to give way to modern, machine-made, mass-produced cigars. Industrialisation is here and Bolle doesn’t like it. He hits the road. On wood-lined gravel roads we follow his vagabond journey through a Sweden about to change. Bolle learns how to beg without provoking people, faces the fear of inhabitants and meets riding policemen as well as vagabond friends. The vagabonds share a longing for freedom and a feeling of scepticism of the brave new world.

Popular Music from Vittula

(Populärmusik från Vittula) by Mikael Niemi.

Matti and his silent friend Niila grow up in Pajala in the very north of Sweden, in an area called Vittula. This is the 1960s/70s, when roads are covered with asphalt, small farms are closed and rock music hits the radio. The older generation doesn’t like the novelties, shaped as they are by memories of poorer times and by Laestadianism, a conservative Lutheran movement that started in Swedish Lapland. Mikael and his friends dream of another life, a life that awaits beyond the horizon.

Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs

(Nu vill jag sjunga dig milda sånger) by Linda Olsson.

One dark evening in March, Veronika arrives at a remote cottage in a small Swedish village, having come all the way from New Zealand. She is a young author longing for peace and quiet to be able to finish her novel and get on with her life after mourning a great loss. Veronika’s closest neighbour is Astrid, a loner. Behind her walls, dark family secrets and a personal tragedy are hidden. As the cold winter turns to spring, the two women slowly form a bond. Their friendship will change both of their lives forever.

The People of Hemsö

(Hemsöborna) by August Strindberg.

Carlsson is on his way to the island of Hemsö in the Stockholm archipelago to work at widow Flod’s farm. With Flod’s husband dead and her son Gusten not caring about farming, the farm is in a state of disorder. When Carlsson starts taking care of everything, Flod is happy, but her son finds Carlsson very snobbish. Eventually Carlsson marries Flod – but let’s just say she’s not the only woman on the island.

The Serious Game

(Den allvarsamma leken) by Hjalmar Söderberg.

Arvid Stjärnblom and Lydia Stille accidentally meet again, ten years after their young romance ended. Now, they are both married, but can’t help falling for each other again and start an affair. Lydia is an independent woman who gets a divorce and is prepared to follow her emotions, which turns out to have far-reaching consequences. Arvid, on the other hand, stays married to his wife with whom he has two children. It soon becomes clear that love is a serious game.

Keep reading

vimeo

From NBC’s unaired pilot Beautiful People (2012).

I’ve never been able to find the full pilot, and it’s a shame it never made it to series. In this clip, a prosecutor presents evidence that a woman on trial has been having sex with her male domestic android, Henry.

The show is set in the near future in a society where humans co-exist with Mechanicals, androids that are treated like second-class citizens. The main character is the very wealthy Lydia (Frances Conroy), whose late husband founded the firm that makes Mechanicals. A rebellious teenage girl starts a romance with a Mechanical boy named Kyle (Cody Christian), the son of Lydia’s Mechanical servant David (Patrick Heusinger).

It’s interesting that the show was going to gender-flip the usual “human boy interested in girl robot” narrative in multiple cases.

Just as a taste of what we missed, here are our Mechanicals.

Henry (Edward Finlay)

Kyle (Cody Christian):

David (Patrick Heusinger):

anonymous asked:

Hiya! What are some headcanons for Kaider at royal gatherings, whether it be parties or meetings??

You mean ** Stars Above spoiler ** aside from proposing to one another at other people’s weddings? Yep, I’m still salty about that.

Kai is used to royal gatherings since he’s grown up having to make appearances his whole life. Cinder, on the other hand, doesn’t think she’ll ever get used to it.

  • There have been plenty of times where Cinder will be working on a project in the royal garages and completely ignore forget about having to go to one of these events. 
    • After a couple of late arrivals, Iko wises up and threatens makes sure the mechanics and servants keep her updated with Cinder’s whereabouts so that she can grab her and have enough time for Cinder to bathe, get her hair and makeup done, and get dressed. 
    • If it’s a particularly important event, Iko will wait by Cinder’s door first thing in the morning and doesn’t let Cinder out of her sight.
      • Cinder is pretty good at sneaking off.
  • Even though Cinder is resigned to the fact that she has to go to these things, she totally has a back up plan and makes Iko check on her every twenty minutes. That way, she can escape a particularly boring conversation. 
    • They also set up a secret signal and if Cinder tugs on her ear with her left hand, Iko rushes over to Cinder immediately with some important issue that needs Cinder’s attention right away.
    • Kai catches on to this pretty quickly and is really jealous of their system. Being the cuddly cyborg that Cinder is, she shares the wealth and when Kai strokes his chin three times, Iko rushes over with important Emperor and Empress matters that need their attention.
      • Sometimes Kinney will come up with an excuse for them so that people don’t get suspicious. 
  • The very first present Kai ever gave Cinder when they became a couple was a new pair of silk gloves to replace the ones that were ruined. These were even more beautiful than the first pair if that were possible.
    • At first, Cinder is almost afraid to wear them and she doesn’t make a habit of doing it. Kai doesn’t mind because he knows when she does, it’s for a super special occasion. Like the first Lunar Unity Ball at Artemisia Palace, or the first Eastern Commonwealth Peace Ball after Cinder moved into Beijing Palace and they announced their engagement, and of course, the most special of them all, during their wedding.
  • As much as Cinder hates these things, she’s always happy to begin the ball by dancing with Kai. She’ll rest her cheek on his shoulder and let him lead her around the ballroom.
    • The first song that plays is always the waltz that Cinder and Kai danced to when she showed up to warn him about Levana and Kai always ends the dance with a kiss like he always wanted to that first night.
youtube

Mechanical Servants - “Responsateen”

anonymous asked:

what aws that thing you wrote about robots and walking. i cant find it anymore

Imagine a person walking in a profile view. One leg has just been planted on the ground, receiving the whole weight of her body. The leg on the ground is fully extended and straight but her torso continues to move. It has momentum from the previous step. The leg planted on the ground begins to topple. Her trunk moves off center and she begins to fall. Then she makes things worse. She uses her toes to push her weight off the straight leg and out past her center of gravity into empty space. After falling half an inch her other leg snaps out in front of her body and hits the ground. Her weight is transmitted to the ground through it. The second leg stiffens, straightens, and recovers the half-inch of altitude. Then the cycle starts again.

Walking is a process of continuously arrested falling. It’s what happens when we discover how to turn this planet’s gravity into the most efficient way of moving ourselves across its surface1.

But now try minding it. Walking is one of the many bodily processes that neither requires nor long tolerates conscious intrusion. Breathing is another. Drawing every breath deliberately is almost as exhausting as refusing to take one2. In fact, conscious intrusion into nearly any action that the human body can premeditatively undertake tends to upset the unseen, delicate, and interior process by which we take any action at all. This is not difficult to verify: Trying to walk consciously will destroy the fluidity of its motion. Trying to read by willing the eyes to focus and the mind to comprehend each word serially either boils away the meaning of the words or prods the faculty by which we comprehend their sense even further into obscurity. What is it about deliberate control that destroys our ability to walk? One answer lies in science fiction.

Why do Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951), Tobor (Tobor the Great, 1954) and Robby (Forbidden Planet, 1956) all lumber? Why are robots ponderous or awkward in our imagination? There are three ways of answering the question:

  1. The first is the most obvious: they’re all men in suits. Robots lack grace because the sci-fi movies that formed their stereotype were all low-budget. There wasn’t enough money to make robots walk like people and so they became—and remain—stiff and hulking. This way of looking at the problem is perhaps the most literally true and so also the least revealing. But thinking about men in suits does lead to the second way, which is that
  2. Robots lumber because it is a reflection of their internal nature. The characteristics that compose the robotic soul shine outwards and so create their physical appearance. Think of the classical robotic attributes: loyalty, pitilessness, strength. Inflexibility in the sense of being faithful, merciless, and hard-fisted informs how a robot should behave and so, naturally, how it ought to walk. Robots cannot experience or express subtlety and this fact expresses itself in their gait. This answer is better than the first but it still doesn’t articulate what it is about walking that gives robots such difficulty. The third way is the real answer to the question:
  3. Robots lumber because they are not human.

Walking is what happens when you unify the act of supporting your weight with your leap into freefall, when you reconcile your opposition to gravity with your submission to it. When this give-and-take between opposites happens very quickly it produces the illusion of smooth, lateral motion. Reconciliation of opposites like these into a middle way is a faculty that robots lack. This is because robots can have only those aspects of ourselves that we can analyze and then consciously simulate. And walking is the kind of thing that we can’t think ourselves into doing. We don’t “know” how to walk and so cannot program robots to do it with any facility. We can’t even teach it: Babies are not shown how to walk, they are encouraged to let go of the coffee table and—by a method of their own discovery, a method independently discovered by each of the hundred billion infants to walk through human history—cross the living room floor.

Making robots walk as we do is difficult because the suite of skills responsible for walking are all so close to the heart of being human as to make their excavation impossible. Walking is an example of our ability to weave opposites into usefulness. “Our highest skills are contingent on the unification of opposites,” this quote from a psychiatrist who studied human motion is profound because anything approaching an “essential” human quality—and therefore a quality that it would be useful to simulate in robots—will always remain in the corner of your eye. Imagine trying to explain why something is funny. Trying to point out something on the periphery of your vision makes you turn in circles, which is exactly what it feels like to explain a joke. Eventually you give up by replacing the profundity of humor with the profundity of being and say: “You had to be there.”

Another way to think about the difficulty of abstracting our most useful qualities is to imagine ourselves as submerged. We’ve been standing and walking for such a long time that those skills—and the opposites we unify to achieve them—have sunk right to the heart of us. And, separated by their long drift down, they have infiltrated our dreams. The two most stereotypical dreams that humans have, flying and falling, are testament. In these dreams our resistance and submission to gravity have been stripped from the cycle that walking transforms into forward motion and we experience the elements unopposed. Any human faculty that trickles down through the mental strata until it joins the water table supplying our dreams will pose a challenge to automation. The ultimate achievement of artificial intelligence will not be a conscious machine, but one that dreams. That is, if you can have one without the other.

Language is another characteristically human activity in which the reconciliation of opposites breaks down. In the case of robots the fact that we don’t “know” how to reconcile Up with Down simply makes our robots clumsy. In language, however, the consequences of this failure are more tangible.

The World enters us and is immediately fragmented by language. In walking opposites are continually reconciled.  In language these oppositions live lives all their own. This is because they don’t need to be reconciled with each other in order to be useful. While this is certainly a great help to conscious thought it has also been a tragedy. 

Words like Up and Down are everywhere in our speech but the distinction is especially clear in the irritatingly concrete language of morality:

We tend to think that falling is the pits because it lays us low and brings us down. You might get depressed or stoop to baseness if you are down and out for long enough. We would prefer to be on the up and up, doing super (L. super-: above, over, on top,) or even better, high. That’d be tops—pure heaven, (being high is sometimes tops enough to topple even the most stand-up guy, make him a failure [L. fallare: to trip or fall], and send him Down Below to the Pit. Indeed, they have erected statutes [L. stare: to stand] against it.)

As language developed in us—rising through our mental strata until it outpaced our talent for unifying the opposites it contains—we became laden with a binary morality. Up or down: good or bad. This is one of the unforeseen consequences of abstract thought as English-speakers have inherited it.

The oppositions that flourish in language are fused only rarely and with incredible effort. When this happens it’s usually because wisdom or genius has been at work. This is what things like wisdom and genius are for. They are the constant darners who mend the reality that language leaves in tatters. They walk through the seeming sense that language gives the world, as every other part of us stumbles. And when we try to use language systematically, as we must to program computers, we very quickly feel ourselves lumbering. This is because thought that is perfectly ordered and explicit works against our deepest skills, those that feel at home within the irrationality of the circular and the practicalities of vagueness.

Consider the first robot in English literature. This robot appears in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1590). The poem narrates the adventures of several knights. One, named Artegal, is followed by a mechanical servant called Talus. This servant is remarkably similar to our modern stereotype of the science-fiction robot. Talus is immensely strong, merciless, and incapable of falsehood. It goes without saying that he also possesses the moral intelligence of a three year old.

At one point in the story Artegal chases the bandit Munera into her castle and orders Talus to kill her. Talus recognizes Munera’s guilt and begins to batter down her castle door with his iron flail. Talus’ assault fills the castle’s defenders with terror and in desperation Munera appears on the ramparts with sacks full of gold. Her men pour this gold onto Talus as she pleads with him to spare her life. The coins bounce off his metal skin as he breaks through the castle gate.

Artegal and Talus search for Munera amid the castle’s cowering inhabitants. Talus deduces that Munera would hide beneath her stolen gold because she knows that the robot isn’t there to loot. Talus plunges his arm into a heap of treasure and pulls Munera up by her blonde hair. She kneels at his feet and holds up her arms in supplication. Talus, unmoved, cuts off her hands and feet, takes them outside, and nails them to a high post to warn passersby of the punishment given to immorality. But Munera is still alive. Talus takes her by the waist and, holding her out in front of him, climbs to the top of her castle walls and throws her into a river where she drowns in its mud. Later in the poem, after Artegal has been thrown into a dungeon by the villainess Radigund, Talus refuses to rescue him because Artegal had broken a contract with Radigund and so was technically in the wrong.

There is a connection between the lumbering morality—Talus’ mercilessness and indifference—and the physical lumbering of the stereotypes that followed. Both Talus and all his descendants were made to mimic human skills that cannot be performed without the unification of opposites. The fact that Talus is a literary fiction shows all the more clearly the artificial nature of the thing he was created to execute: binary morality. This morality—robotic, lumbering, ununified—is within us because language put it there. And it gives us no end of grief as we try to use it in a world that can only be traversed on the back of an endless cycle of reconciliation.

The crude way that robots tend to move through our imaginations—robots whose motions symbolize the unreconciled incompletenesses grinding away inside of us—this crudity is only the specific case of a much more general condition: the condition that caused literature in the first place. Literary robots are the logical conclusion of our need to pry apart the unity of the world as we perceive it.

This prying was the means by which the pure stream of animal consciousness was first halted, frozen, broken into pieces, and the shards individually examined. This first moment of analysis, when a sensation was decanted out of the World and into human memory for later inspection, was the first in a sequence of events that led to literature. We discovered that the World was fragile, was scored into infinite sections, that these could be fractured along a series of faults whose mysterious borders trace every last element of human experience, broken into things like identities, names, colors, ideas, ownerships, constellations, relations of amity and love, life and finally death. After discovering all of this we also discovered the pain this mental capacity causes. The thing that literature attempts mimetically to create is the the World before we smashed it. All literature, everywhere and at all times, is then at bottom a sort of frame wherein we arrange the glimmering reflections of a world in which we can no longer live. We do this in the hope of repairing the continuum that was broken across the knee of our own intelligence. But these attempts are all, somewhat poignantly, doomed to fail: no novel yet has unknotted even one person’s foreknowledge of death. Literature is simply the largest of all frame stories, one in which we attempt to breed a thought large enough to swallow ourselves. But in the very act of glueing pieces of the former World into larger assemblies we find that the resemblances they contain resemble less and less the broken world where we actually live. This is proved every time we look at a closed book in our hands after we have finished it or leave a theater when the film has ended and find ourselves stabbed in the heart by the strange sadness indigenous to these moments. 

We cannot go back and re-creating the world thru literature is not a way forward.

Literary robots, and their incarnations before this name—the two golden cupbearers of Hephestos, the bronze android of Albertus Magnus that St. Thomas Aquinas angrily smashed for disturbing his concentration, the various golems beginning with Adam who remind us that humanity is merely a robot made in the image of God, Roger Bacon’s brazen head that could answer all questions posed to it but which he destroyed without querying, Spenser’s Talus, Hoffmann’s Olimpia Spalanzani, and everything else up to Karel Čapek’s coinage of the term in 1919—are all extremely interesting in light of this fact. Each of these robots, by virtue of being an attempt at creation within a larger effort of creative literature represents a kind of sighing self-awareness on the part of the author who invented them. Robots walk through literature as personifications of literature itself. And they walk, as it were, in apology for the failure of human ingenuity to lift the burdens of consciousness.




______________________________

As is well known, above distances of ten miles nothing can outrun a human being. One hypothesis explaining humanity’s early survival credits bipedalism first and our large, sight-hunting brains second.

Cf. central hypoventilation syndrome, also called Ondine’s Curse, in which the part of the brain responsible for the unconscious production of breath is damaged or congenitally absent. Sufferers are condemned to a life of choosing each breath they take and, when this becomes unsupportable, obligatory mechanical ventilation.