Viridian Note 00409: Green Social Software
Bruce Sterling [email@example.com]
- Key concepts
- Environmental Defense Fund,
Meet-Up, Viridian Aromatizer Contest
- Attention Conservation Notice
- It's a stirring
call to arms from people who have called to
the American population into the righteous streets
for, oh, forty years or something. Also
includes yet, even lots more, wordy, ingenious
entries in the Viridian Aromatizer Contest.
This Viridian contest got Boing-Boinged. Pray for me.
Important Global Warming Fight!
April 12, 2004 5:54:30 PM CDT
"We are at a critical moment in the fight to undo
global warming!" (((I don't want to sound all
politically cynical, but suppose we lose
this "critical moment." Does that mean we
oughta concede defeat and give up fighting
the Greenhouse Effect?)))
"Last October, the Climate Stewardship Act won
a surprising 43 votes in the Senate. While that
was an important moral victory – we need 51 votes
to win the real victory. Grassroots support will
be critical to hitting 51 votes next time!"
(((Let me page the many Europeans on Viridian List.
Europeans, suppose that you were an American Senator.
I know that's farfetched and kind of repugnant, but –
if you were, don't you think you'd just blandly contact
some Yankee zillionaire's Political Action Committee
and buy yourself some "grassroots support"? That's
pretty much the way politics runs in the modern USA,
right? Are you kind of amazed that some Americans
don't seem to get this yet?)))
"The momentum is building across the country
for action on global warming, but we need to
turn up the heat to win! (((Hey, uh, nice metaphor.)))
"One way to help: sign up for the Environmental
Defense Meetup and get together with people
in your local community to get more active
on global warming. The next Meetup is April 28,
so sign up today:
(((This part is novel and therefore kind of
interesting. Maybe some day some community
will get toasted by an insane greenhouse
heatwave, and then some org like Environmental
Defense will throw a MeetUp, and there will
be some kind of total flashmob freak scene,
and half the city will show up.)))
"Over 4,500 people have already signed up
across the country. (((Y'know what?
Viridian List is almost half that size,
and we don't even have a budget!)))
And last month, hundreds of supporters in
80 cities attended Environmental Defense Meetups
to get more active to undo global warming –
and had a great time! Sign-up today!
"To sign up go to:
"Next MeetUp: Wednesday, April 28 at 7pm.
Where: Your Community (You help decide)
What: Meet New People & Get More Active on Global Warming
"Sign up, or find out more about Environmental Defense Meetup at
See you there!
"VOLUNTEER TO BE A MEETUP LEADER:
Help make our MeetUps a success. Sign up to be a
MeetUp leader to help organize and facilitate
the Environmental Defense MeetUp in your community.
It's fun and easy. We'll give you all the support you need!
To volunteer, sign up for MeetUp at
"Then send a message to us at
with your name and contact information.
"More people = Better MeetUps = A cleaner environment.
"After you sign up for Environmental Defense MeetUp,
be sure to invite a friend:
"See you at our MeetUp on April 28th!
Coordinator of Activism and Outreach
((("You Go, Enviro Guy... and take those Birkenstocks
with you." Meanwhile, back in the vast, odorous bowels
of the Viridian aromatic thinktank...)))
Re: Viridian Note 00406: Viridian Aromatizer
blocksom*gollygee.com (Jonathan Blocksom)
Attach a mini visible smoke emitter to the end of
a laser pointer. Then you can see the beam. Your
next Powerpoint presentation will be like
something out of Blade Runner!
From: mktr*ydl.net (Michael J. King)
Someone coming – recluse, someone on the lam, paranoiac – unwanted person at the door, on the grounds, within the perimeter aroma as "silent" alarm.
Secured area soaked by Aromatizer. Intruder,
cannot avoid being invisibly, silently scented
while crossing certain halls or rooms.
(Clinging smells cannot be turned off
like burglar alarm, cannot be easily cleaned)
Self-defense vest: get grabbed from behind and a puke-inducing gas sprays the offender.
Smell dangerous airborne chemicals that you wouldn't
smell otherwise – CO, radon – sensor
attached to Aromatizer
Scent ID tags – how can you be sure that guy's
not walking out of the cafe with your ibook
(they all look alike)? Make him tell you
– how it's supposed to smell – pine? no,
it's bananas. Sorry, you lose.
necklace, undershirt, belt, bracelet –
punch in to have sophisticated scents
emitted, always appropriate
to changing social situations
also useful in bordellos too rushed to
give their prostitutes time to shower
(quite water-conserving that way)
Wake: The deceased have an odd non-smell. Why not
tuck one of these gizmos in an inside jacket pocket
and let them smell the way that they did when alive.
Smell-o-gram: forget sending some corny email
greeting card, send your friends a card
that emits the smell of fresh paella!
Emit gasefied pharmaceuticals while you sleep.
Medical inhaler with low-concentration, long duration applications – for chronic diseases,
to treat allergies, to change body chemistry.
People on respirators (e.g. in a hospital).
Give them pharmaceuticals right through the
breathing apparatus – clean, no need to inject
and break the skin (useful in non-hygeinic areas).
Also won't upset the stomach the way
that pills can. Computer-regulated dosages.
Positive reinforcement: (all-drug sports leagues)
football player crosses the goal line,
gets a huff of mistified methamphetamine.
Aromatizer combined with ancillary lines
of clothing/lingerie/tattoos that react to aromas.
Aromatizer peripherals change color, light up,
sparkle, go translucent/transparent, disintegrate,
Surreptitious tracking devices
For tracking by dogs.
Emits a gas odorless to humans, but easy
for police dogs to sense (or emits a gas to
be sensed by computer). Track the person –
they can be tagged with airborne molecules.
Who used this computer workstation? (Telltale
scent from machine makes it useless to
erased all of the log files. Each scent is
unique to each computer -- that way, can
correlate the person's use of a particular machine).
Similar tracking applications for closed cars,
closed offices, or intimate contact with another
For the hearing-impaired: scent
means phone's ringing, someone's at the door,
kitchen timer, you've got mail Blind people navigate new buildings:
braille pda lists rooms and scents.
Person wants the bathroom, the commissary,
the elevator, a particular office, pushes
the button for the place and navigates by smell
Bio-sensor senses that a person's going to
have a seizure, senses it beforehand, emits a
smell, person knows to prepare himself
bio-sensors (urine check) for fertility, cancer,
malnutrition, blood-sugar problems, etc. etc.
a scent is much nicer than an
alarm or a flashing light or whatever.
Build a whole host of Pavlovian responses based
on Aromatizer smells.
Train people/animals, whatever, to do
(fill in response here) whenever they smell,
say, bubble gum (there's a whole Manchurian Candidate problem here)
Food education – learn to cook well, or brew beer
correctly, or drink wine like a connoisseur:
learn what these products should
smell like when they are done perfectly.
Compare and contrast.
Commercial tie-in with cooking or cook-book programs.
Also good for restaurants – preview its dishes by smell – from the comfort of your home computer.
fire alarm in hotel: "real" smoke smell
gets people awake and out of their rooms
(no laggards figuring that it's a false alarm,
drinking beer and waiting out the sirens).
Ciao, Michael J. King
http://YDL.net - The online community for Yellow Dog Linux users
(Joel Westerberg of the Viridian Curia)
A Viridian olfactory plug-in module, managing
energy generation. Located in the
central fuse-box of a house: it would emit its
scents, whenever the owner wandered by.
It would create the smell of:
Ozone: showing the amount of power consumed
at the moment in the house
Honey: the amount of power generated by the
house's own devices (example: solar panels)
Tar: the amount of power brought in to the system
from the fossil-fueled grid
Fetidness: the amount of power consumed in the
house by vampire electrical devices in pointless
Another idea: the smelling-salts alarm device.
It would emit a powerful ammoniac smell
that makes you become fully alert very quickly.
To be used by in-plane or in-car systems,
to resurrect unconscious pilots after a
multi-G turn, or to waken narcoleptic drivers
before they run off the highway.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Adrian Cotter)
Yay, another contest. It has been too long.
"Word of Nose" – approval-disapproval rating mechanism(s)...
This would be particularly useful for modern day
protesters who are no longer let anywhere near
the people they disapprove of. Form a long line
of disapprovers (or enter the meeting hall), and
then you and your cohorts let rip.
At a concert, or a lecture, send off a pleasant odor
appreciating the performance. No more annoying clapping.
If a bad restaurant smells funny (or perhaps doesn't
smell at all), your knowing fellow customers
will back out sooner than they would otherwise.
of course, restaurants and such might start to buy
maskers or their own scents to counter-act the
ratings. Connoisseurs could leave scent trails
through the city. Tourists would follow their noses.
p.s. Mr Groepler should read Mark Budz's book Clade,
where society's structure and relationships are
directed through pheromones and other nose/skin
ingested molecules. Also the book Perfume by Peter Suskind.
ReFresh Aromatizer Service
email*mattruby.com (Matthew Rubenstein)
ReFresh Aromatizer: Follow Your Nose (TM)
Walk smoothly through noxious clouds of
an all-too-organic 21st Century, when you plug
in your ReFresh Aromatizer.
Like noise-cancelling headphones, these Viridian
noseplugs resynthesize smells opposite to the
odors in the environment. They're totally porous,
allowing breath to be drawn naturally, as well
as allowing undistorted speech. But they emit
enough countersmell to neutralize the odor
in the air, while you are working/playing/sleeping
in stinky conditions. A gateway to freshness you can trust.
A Bluetooth device, ReFresh works in conjunction
with a mobile phone, as well as optional Bluetooth
glasses and headphones. The countersmell itself
is determined by wireless Internet lookup in a
GIS database of GPS:odor factors.
ReFresh biometric field teams have already mapped
the most notorious stinkholes in cities, suburbs,
malls and industrial sites around the world,
seeding the odorBase.
Sniffing your way off the beaten path, at a
jobsite or new clearcut? A Bluetooth sensor
on your belt dynamically samples the air
thousands of times a second, with a laser
spectrum analyzer, keeps you up to date in
our peer-to-peer community of noses-about-town.
Certain neighborhoods are so moldy and nasty
as to be uninsurable and therefore uninhabitable.
For you, though, these cheap locales are
as fresh as a baby's bottom, thanks to
ReFresh protection. Toxic clouds are
flagged, allowing prudent navigation to breathable
areas, as shown clearly on your phone.
With ReFresh as your guide, you're always
in the clear.
From: nehrlich*alum.mit.edu (Eric Nehrlich)
(Ad for boys)
Hey boys! Remember that really really gross smell
you wanted to save so you could share it with your friends?
Well, now you can! The Aromaker (a doglike robot)
has a sense of smell unparalleled in the natural
world. It will analyze the smell, record it,
and generate it on demand whenever you ask.
Want to stink up your sister's room?
Get some dirty socks, give them to the Aromaker,
and have it sneak in and release the odor!
Think of the possibilities! Recording a smell
is as easy as telling your Aromaker to
"Record Skunk!" (or Dirty Socks or Mud)
and the playback command is "Play Skunk!"
(Ad for girls)
Hey girls! Don't you hate it when you
have to deal with those smelly boys?
Well, now you won't have to!
The Aromaker can make any room smell pleasant.
Give it a scent that you like, and it can
record it and later replicate that scent
whenever you want, flooding the room with
sweet perfume, wiping out the smell of your brother.
Never deal with a smelly room ever again with your Aromaker!
Ad for parents
While your kids may enjoy the Aromaker
for its possibilities of fun, you can rest easy
while they're playing with it. The Aromaker is
programmed to detect several dangerous gases,
such as sarin gas or chlorine gas, and
automatically goes into protection mode,
generating enough oxygen for your child to breathe.
It will not generate sarin or chlorine,
no matter what the suggestion.
It will also faithfully lead your child
to safety away from dangerous fumes.
So while your kids are playing pranks
on each other with their new toy,
they're protected from extreme dangers.
In an uncertain world filled with terrorists
who have demonstrated their willingness to
use any tool, won't you feel safer if your
child is protected by an Aromaker?
revenge of the smell-o-vision
viridian*beegle.org (Willie Beegle)
April 12, 2004 10:50:13 AM CDT
An idea from my wife: immersive fiction.
Imagine an audiobook with a scent cartridge and a
hidden track that tells the Aromatizer when to fire.
Re: Viridian Note 00406: Viridian Aromatizer
tdrosen*austin.utexas.edu (Trevor Rosen)
Addition to a survival kit: this would be a
stand-alone device programmed to
give off the scents of plants that a stranded
survivor might be tempted to eat. Poisonous?
Tasty? Now you know.
Dead Candy Project: digitize the smells of
candies that no longer exist except in the
collections of obsessive eBay eccentrics.
Consider, for instance, the sour candy explosion
of 1993, which brought us such defunct
candies as Warheads, Crybabies, and Lock Jaws.
For astronauts,submariners, or firefighters in
training, equipment malfunctions could emit the
appropriate smell, so when the real thing happened,
there would be an automatic memory jog.
To train forestry and agriculture types,
replicate the smells of plant diseases in the classroom.
For doctors and nurses, replicate smells
that indicate specific treatable maladies.
Chat environments for instant messaging could
incorporate smell as part of the theme.
Automobiles could release a particular scent
that means, "pull over" when an emergancy vehicle
is within range. Hackers might use a similar signal
to alert a driver to speed traps.
Drug smugglers could use the technology to drive detection dogs away from their trail.
From: gosnell.10*worldnet.att.net (Scott Gosnell)
Couple the aromatizer with one of those
"electronic nose" chips and record events
for later playback and distribution over the net:
Your first date, including the fascinating mixture of her perfume with
the odor of the pizza parlor, fading into the smell of popcorn and stale
sodas at the movie theater.
That unusual scent coming from underneath the baseboards.
Your sweatsocks, clean and dirty, etc
From: dphelan*pavilion.co.uk (Dave Phelan)
My beloved is very poor at turning off lights
when she leaves a room. Now our watts come from
a renewable electricity supplier, so all we're
doing is sending them more money, but it
would be nice to have some sort of reminder.
The Viridian Power-scent solves this problem.
When a room is vacated for longer than the
set time-out (default 5 minutes), the
Power-scent starts to emit an odour
(odour is user selectable from a wide range).
The odour intensity increases over the
following hour, propagating throughout
the dwelling, and providing an olfactory
clue that there is a light which has been
left on elsewhere.
Of course, the optimal use of this is
for a third party walking through a
front door, and getting to say: "Oh my god!
The smell! Who's left a light on?"
The mechanism can be expanded to any
electrical appliance, but only
technology I have which is currently
signalling its status via olfactory means
is my cat's litter tray.
(yet more entries from Duncan Stewart of the Viridian Curia)
Babies. "It's about their comfort, not yours."
Diapers have wetness sensors that notify you
when they're ready to be changed. Small
countertop/family room aromatizers
let you know when it's time to take care of
the little one.
From: ted*stevko.com (Ted Stevko)
Here's a few ideas for the aromatizer device:
Use the device as a diet aid; smell is a
significant portion of taste,
can you use smell – or lack thereof –
to eliminate the body's need to have food?
Smell also has power over emotional states,
what if you could trigger smells to create
a full feeling or a not-hungry feeling?
Contrawise, use the device to enhance an
otherwise bland meal – put in
savory and appealing smells into
your system without having to spend money
on expensive foods.
Use the device as a dating service.
According to this site:
smell can trigger positive responses from other
people as potential mates. People seem to be
attracted to people with opposing immunotypes,
which exude a particular smell.
Use it for long distance produce assessment.
Coffee, tea, wines, and some types of produce
are judged based partially – if not
completely – on smell. With this device,
you might be able to produce a
system which sends the smell across
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
WE'RE WARMING IT UP
AND MULLING IT OVER
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O