Personal details

I’m a 28‐year old student of mathematics at Helsinki University, Finland. I come from Lahti, some 100 kilometers away from Helsinki. I received my A‐level diploma from Tiirismaa highschool, which is a school specializing in music and the Arts. I guess that has had its effect, even as I went on to study math and CS. Now, eventhough math has its charm, I consider computers my true specialty—I’ve been into them since I was twelve. In addition to that, science, music, audio technology, scepticism, rationalism, materialism, politics, and all sorts of weird stuff, like BDSM, hold a grip on me. I’m not politically active in the traditional sense of the word, but I do like to think of myself as a liberal. Some would probably say libertarian. Consequently I’m strongly pro freedom, both online and off.

The current issue for me is mainly cyber freedom, in all its various forms. The first problem, and from a libertarian standpoint of course the foremost, is governance battles. It seems that traditional nation states have set their eyes on getting a legislative deathgrip on the Net. That is something which could, in the worst case, lead into highly intrusive government action in a true Orwellian fashion (see Carnivore and Echelon) or the kind of failure now observed in the US War on Drugs with stark implications to people’s due process rights (how about secret searches, confiscation of property, administrative subpoenas, the Brits’ RIP bill, compelled key disclosure) and personal liberty (see CDA and COPA). Criminalization of technology also comes to mind (see DMCA, the Napster/MP3.COM cases and export regulation).

I fear that in case the legislative approach fails, there are still other threats governments impose on the industry. One of the foremost is technological censorship. This manisfests itself in the form of rating and blocking software. Of course, religious extremists, bigots, bureaucrats and technologically unsophisticated commoners are the primary movers behind this trend. Something to fight, indeed.

But perhaps the most worrisome current phenomenon is the expansive interpretation of intellectual property rights—most countries view bits as just one new kind of patentable and copyrightable thing with no concern over the trouble this approach causes to the online and software communities. My views on this are pretty clear cut: software patents, copyrights and ownership of information in general, simply should not be. I am a believer in the freedom of bits.

Privacy, i.e. limiting outsiders’ (including the government) capability to know what is going on, is probably the most important part of the battle against the above listed threats (see Cypherpunks). Hence I’m somewhat of a crypto/stego buff as well. I find the current development in file sharing promising—it shows the first wide scale signs of the spread of true distributed technology (i.e. not just client‐server). It might well be that it spawns some interesting followups.

In the more personal arena, my literary taste revolves around science fiction and cyberpunk. Some favorite writers of mine are: William Gibson for the relentless gloom and cyberanarcy, Bruce Sterling for his gift in speaking about technology the way tales were once told, Iain Banks for space ships that like to think of themselves as little furry animals, Frank Herbert for his unusual social angle in sci‐fi and Larry Niven for some absolutely unimaginable applications of eugenics. Once upon a time I also read a lot of classic Agatha Christie‐style mystery stuff, but the fascination has since ceased.

[Sampo Syreeni]

Me Somehow I think this particular picture does not do real justice to me. I mean, despite the bulk there’s a whole bunch of handsomeness there. Isn’t there?

Now the bulk of my time really goes to technological, social and scientific literature. That is, math (topology, algebra), physics (elementary GR and QM), computation (distributed systems, cryptography, protocols, data structures, knowledge representation, standardization, i18n), economics (conventional and Austrian micro, public choice, economics of law, economics of poverty, growth, welfare), molecular biology, classical liberal and libertarian political stuff, law (IP, process, checks and balances, regulation of private life), low‐level neuropsychology, cognitive science (neural networks, genetic algorithms, evolving hardware), DSP (mainly for sound; this covers the basics plus Volterra stuff, bandlimited synthesis, waveguide modelling, pitch and beat estimation, statistical source separation), inter alia. Anything with formal structure, basically.

In music the thing would have to be techno, though I certainly listen to lots of different kinds of music. Off the top of my head, techno, electronica and ambient get me with their simplified beauty, rigorous formalisms and cyber‐outlaw mentality; jazz impresses with its deep innovation; heavy metal, grunge and alternative rock offer the prerequisite grit; contemporary classical gives me some of the most outrageous experimentation and deepest of soundscapes (listen to the soundtrack of Kubrick’s Shining for corroboration); I value ethnic/tribal/world music sorta things for the ensuing expansion of consciousness; and of course sheer unadulterated, MTV‐grade pop passes the bar simply for the joyful inanity of it. That is: Jeff Mills, Joey Beltram, Johannes Heil, Adam Beyer, The Advent, Squarepusher, Richie Hawtin, Nylon Beat, Robert Hood, Surgeon, Steve Roach, Värttinä, Robert Rich, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, P.J. Harvey, Beck, Marilyn Manson, Tricky, György Ligeti, Deee‐Lite, Stanislaw Penderecki, Layryn Hill, Kaija Saariaho, most Native American chant, Air, Alice Deejay, Cibo Matto, Pizzicato 5, Photek, Koᴙn…

As for other pop culture, I’ve lately gone to the movies quite a lot. There my preference is towards the quixotic on one hand, toward the mainstream on the other. I truly love Japanese cinema—it employs this weird, timeless mode of narration I haven’t been able to fully grok, yet. Generally speaking I despise comedy, while the dark, the scary, the futuristic and the outrageous are what I like to see. The problem is that there aren’t enough of that sort of things available. So to compensate, there’s nothing better than a big money, feel‐good, bulk Hollywood production—Coyote Ugly, anyone? Plus teen flicks… They definitely have their own, perverse charm. They’re also what constitutes the bulk of what I watch on the telly—Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, La Femme Nikita, South Park, Stargåte, Profiler and Twin Peaks are permanent favorites.

I won’t go on telling about my favorite colour, my ideal woman or somesuch other lame shit. Many people seem to do that on the Web, nowadays. But it just tends to get silly. Personal contact is for that sort of detail, even if the contact has to be via email. So should you have anything to talk about, just write—I’m always interested in hearing what is going on and what people think about the site. The different ways to reach me are listed on this page.