[ B l o g / / Archive]

Bakunin, the death penalty & seeds of the future: A posting by Noam Chomsky.

Space Scientist Proposes New Model For Jupiter's Core: After eleven months of politics, now it's time for some real "core values" - not those of the candidates but those of the great gas giant planet, Jupiter. Katharina Lodders, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis research associate professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences, studying data from the Galileo probe of Jupiter, proposes a new mechanism by which the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago.

The Case Of An Agricultural Exception: Africa Needs A Marshall Plan: Article by Jacques Diouf. Intro: >The Greek philosopher Xenophon said: "Agriculture is the mother of all arts. When it is well conducted, all other arts prosper. When it is neglected, all other arts decline." Our modern world’s neglect of agriculture has left some 852 million people under-nourished, 200 million of them in Africa. The problem is not a lack of food worldwide: we produce enough to feed every person on the planet. The problem of hunger is caused by people lacking the means to produce or buy what they need to provide for themselves and maintain a level of dignity.<

The Beastles:

DJ BC presents The Beastles, a mash-up of The Beastie Boys and The Beatles (via Ad++).

Before Mickey: The Animated Film, 1898-1928: Donald Crafton's wonderful book about the prehistory of animation - zoetrope, flipbooks, and vaudeville "lightning sketches".

Quote: "Before Mickey's fast-moving narrative will appeal to readers with a general interest in film history. And its documentary material covering artistic, commercial, and technological developments in the United States and Europe will prove invaluable to animation specialists. Crafton makes use of over 100 illustrations, including enlarged film frames, reproductions of advertisements, and pictures of innovative techniques and devices."

What is the fastest event (shortest time duration) that can be measured with today's technology and how is this done? Scott Diddams and Tom O'Brian of the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, explain.

Human Brain Result of 'Extraordinarily Fast' Evolution: A group of scientists believes the human brain's genes had gone through an intense amount of evolution in a short amount of time - a process that far outstripped the evolution of the genes of other animals.

Large Python Saves Riza & Twins: A few survivors of Sunday's tsunami have a snake to thank for being alive.

Google - we take it all, give nothing back: Quote: "I have a new hobby: inventing advertising slogans for Google. Being the nice guy that I am, I grant Google non-exclusive, non-transferable right to use those slogans in their marketing efforts."

Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche: Ben Macintyre's book is highly recommended.

Quote: >In 1886 Elisabeth Nietzsche, sister of the famous philosopher, and friend of Richard Wagner, traveled with her husband, Bernhard Forster, and a select group of blond-haired, blue-eyed Germans to the remote Paraguayan wilderness to found an Aryan colony she called Nueva Germania. In Forgotten Fatherland Ben Macintyre tracks down the descendants of this early racial experiment, still living in Nueva Germania and breeding among themselves. Many have maintained the language, customs, and ideals that first brought their ancestors over from Europe more than one hundred years ago. But Elisabeth Nietzsche's story does not end in Paraguay. A supremely dominating woman, she returned to Europe to take control of both her brother and his work until his death, and beyond. It was she who largely wrote Nietzsche's posthumous "masterwork", The Will to Power; invested Nietzsche with her own proto-Nazi views; and invented and organized the semi-mythical cult of his philosophy, projecting it into the new order emerging in war-torn Europe. Admirer of Mussolini, mentor to Hitler, she died just before the outbreak of the Second World War and was given a full Nazi funeral, attended by a tearful Fuhrer. Forgotten Fatherland re-creates the bizarre history and atmosphere of Nueva Germania, and contains startling revelations about the last days of Josef Mengele. A remarkable work of investigative journalism, shot through with Waughian wit, Forgotten Fatherland will necessitate major reevaluations of the life and posthumous reputation of one of the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth century, and provides an illuminating portrait of a woman whose influence on the history of the twentieth century can onlynow be fully understood.<

The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths: Published by Russ Kick.

This is a huge compendium of articles that document the variety of ways in which the American people are the victims of outright lying. Publisher's Info: "This book acts as a battering ram against the distortions, myths and outright lies that have been shoved down our throats by the government, the media, corporations, organized religion, the scientific establishment and others who want to keep the truth from us. An unprecedented group of researchers--investigative reporters, political dissidents, academics, media watchdogs, scientist-philosophers, social critics, and rogue scholars--paints a picture of a world where crucial stories are ignored or actively suppressed and the official version of events has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. A world where real dangers are downplayed and nonexistent dangers are trumpeted. In short, a world where you are being lied to."
I agree.

Topological Fluid Dynamics:

The author considers geometrical methods in topological fluid dynamics, and their applications, from magnetic fields of stars to global weather forecasting.
Link (PDF)

NIST-led Research De-mystifies Origins Of 'Junk' DNA: A debate over the origins of what is sometimes called "junk" DNA has been settled by research involving scientists at the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB) and a collaborator, who developed rigorous proof that these mysterious sections were added to DNA "late" in the evolution of life on earth--after the formation of modern-sized genes, which contain instructions for making proteins.

Mathematical Humor: A new issue of the Notices of the AMS is out. It contains an entertaining article entitled "Foolproof: A Sampling of Mathematical Folk Humor" with many examples of mathematical humor. Physicists also put in an appearance. (via Not Even Wrong)
Link (PDF)

World's Most Powerful Infrared Camera Opens Its Eyes On The Heavens: A new astronomical camera has begun operations on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii. The Wide Field Camera (WFCAM), built at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), Edinburgh, is the world's most powerful infrared survey camera.

Michael Albert interview:

Intro: "Michael Albert is one of the nation's leading authorities on political economy, U.S. foreign policy and the media. A veteran writer/activist since the anti-Vietnam war movements, he currently works with Z Magazine and the website ZNet. He primarily focuses on matters of movement-building, strategy and vision, creating alternative media, and developing and advocating the economic vision called Participatory Economics (Parecon). [...] Michael Albert's ideas are both accessible and provocative. His perspective combines attention to race, gender, power, and class, and pursues equity, diversity, solidarity, and self-management. He writes about movement matters, anti-war, globalization, media, and particularly economic vision for the future."

Quake rattled Earth orbit, changed map of Asia

Flexible scanner works on curved surfaces: A bendy, credit card-sized sliver of plastic will let you scan where no scanner has gone before.

At least 10 current and former Guantanamo detainees have lodged allegations of abuse similar to incidents described by FBI agents in recently released documents, according to their attorneys, with one telling the Washington Post that "When we first got involved in this case, I wondered whether this could all be true ... now there's no question these guys have been tortured." (via Cursor)

A View From Within: The Endless War in Colombia: Article by Joe DeRaymond. Intro: "I spent the last six months of 2003 in Colombia, living with a community in the foothills of the Andes, in the Urabá region, a region of mountains, jungle, and huge rivers stuck up next to Panama at the gateway to South America. I was a volunteer with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which maintains a team of internationals who live in accompaniment with the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. Thirty years ago, this was a region forgotten by Bogotá, a frontier inhabited by settlers, most of whom were driven from another part of Colombia during the endless civil war. Of course, the indigenous live there also, as they have for millennia. Today, its economy is dominated by the banana plantations, which cover the plain around the Gulf of Urabá."

Tsunami in Southeast Asia: A Summary Report: Big Systems - Global Institutions, Governance and History -- by Rohit Gupta, Jon Lebkowsky, and Dina Mehta. This summary post is a living document, expect regular updates.

The Prozac Paradox:

Quote: "An estimated 20 million Americans have at one point or another relied on Prozac or one of its chemical siblings, including Paxil and Zoloft, to ease depression or anxiety. For most adults who take them, the drugs, known collectively as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, work as advertised: Mood improves with increased levels of the brain chemical serotonin. But a growing body of research is confirming long-standing suspicions that SSRIs harbor a dark side. Instead of easing depression, in some patients they may intensify it and even induce suicidal or violent behavior."

Counter-Inaugural 2005: Quote: "Bush Isn't Going Away and Neither Are We! We cannot wait another 4 years to stand against the war and rampant social injustice of another Bush Administration. A coalition of social, political, and religious activists have come together to protest the coronation of George W. Bush. We invite you and all your friends and family to join hundreds of thousands in the streets of Washington, DC."

Monk Baffles Scientists: A Siberian Buddhist leader, Dasha-Dorjo Itighelov, whom followers claim looks and feels just the same as when he died in 1927, is mystifying science. Followers insist he's not dead, but in a state of nirvana.

The Quake in Asia: Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute: 'All the planet is vibrating,' disturbing even the Earth's rotation.

Beware of Alien Bacteria: Scientist Jeffrey Kargel warns that when NASA brings Mars dirt back here to analyze for signs of alien life, it better make sure no alien spores or whatnot infest the Earth.

International Necronautical Society
(via Mmothra)

Was Jesus Gay? Noted Methodist theologian Rev. Theodore Jennings Jr. and Dr Morton Smith, a world renowned Bible scholar, say there is irrefutable evidence that Jesus was at least bisexual.

Did the Chinese Discover Australia First? The sunken Mahogany Ship. Patrick Connelly: 'We're just waiting for the carbon dating from China because if it's several hundred years old it could be from the Chinese.'

Countdown to Mystery Moon Begins:

The European Space Agency prepares to send its Huygens probe hurtling through the smoggy atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titan. What the probe will find on the other side is anybody's guess.

UC Berkeley Researchers Field Testing Low-altitude Robo-copters: When scale model helicopters pass through a makeshift "urban canyon" in a test field, or engage in a game of aerial "chicken", the drills may look like a robotic stunt show to outside eyes. But behind the exercises lie significant technical breakthroughs by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sperm whales suffer the bends: Report by Michael Hopkin. Intro: "Sperm whales get the bends, suggests a study of their skeletons. And environmentalists fear that this could put them at risk if their diving patterns are disrupted by sonar testing. Zoologists had previously assumed that these mammals do not suffer from this disease, which can cripple human deep-sea divers. But Michael Moore and Greg Early of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts have discovered progressive bone damage in whale carcasses retrieved from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans."

Tolkien’s Green Time:

Andrew Light enters Tolkien’s universe and shows how it ain’t easy being green—though we’ve got to try—in this chapter from The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy.

Anthropologists Act to Revoke 1919 Censure of Franz Boas, a Key Figure in the Field: Intro: "The American Anthropological Association moved on Thursday to right an 85-year-old wrong done to a pioneer in the field and a founder of the association. At its annual meeting, the group voted to rescind its censure of Franz Boas. The controversy dates from December 1919 when, amid a bitter dispute about patriotism, espionage, and scientific ethics, the group's governing council censured Boas, then a professor at Columbia University and probably the country's best-known scholarly anthropologist. He had been among the association's founders, in 1903." (via Histologion)

Researchers Present Saturn Lightning Findings: As NASA's Cassini spacecraft approached Saturn last July, it found evidence that lightning on Saturn is roughly one million times stronger than lightning on Earth.

Scientists offer theories on physics of Santa Claus' flight: Scientists think they have figured out how Santa Claus does it. Employing Einstein's theory of relativity, Santa can zip around the world warping time and space and turning Rudolph's nose a blurry blue.

Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race: Stephanie Nolen tracked down eleven of the surviving "Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees" and learned the story of those early days of the space race and the disappointment when, in 1961, the women were grounded.

Quote: >The world wasn't ready. Or at least the U.S. wasn't. In the early 1960s thirteen American women were invited to take the same battery of tests the male astronauts known as the Mercury 7 took. They were experienced pilots, ready to serve their country, and they all passed — sometimes outdoing their male counterparts. They assumed, with good reason, that they were being considered by NASA for the space program. Thanks to political maneuvering on the highest level and a pre-feminist society that couldn't abide by the idea of women in space (unlike the Soviet Union, which launched Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova into space on Vostok 6 in June of 1963), astrophysicist Sally Ride would be the first American woman in space in 1983, and Eileen Collins would be the first to take the controls of an American spacecraft in 1994 — some twenty and thirty years after the "Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees" (FLAT) had all but abandoned their dreams of spaceflight. Stephanie Nolen's Promised the Moon is a powerfully rendered account of the events surrounding this little-known chapter in history. Nolen, a foreign correspondent, has carefully researched her subject. She interviewed the eleven surviving women and vividly tells their stories. Most of the women didn't know why they had been called for the tests and what happened to the program until they read Promised the Moon when it was first published in Canada last year. Nolen puts the events in a cultural and political context, and she details the FLAT's lives, their struggles at home and on the job during a time when women weren't apt to work, let alone earn a living flying aircraft.<

Kill missile defence now: Article by Ivan Eland. Quote: "Although Star Wars was a financial black hole, many conservatives have used modern-day missile defense programs to rally the faithful."

The Kindest Cut: Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first successful whole organ transplant.

New monochrom content online // Quality Viennese Holy Water: Investigators in various european countries have found that the Holy Water in churches is more often than not of poor or even alarming quality.

Members of monochrom collected Holy Water in ten different Viennese churches and purified it. monochrom therefore feels confident that they are offering not only the best Holy Water of all Vienna (city average) but the most aseptic Holy Water in the entire world. Franchise possibilities!

John Deere: A History of the Tractor: Excellent photo history.

From the publisher: "No tractor has achieved a more iconic status than John Deere. It's simple, two-cylinder tractors proved just the reliable, dependable tool the early 20th century American farmer needed to take the great leap from farming with animals to mechanized farming. Although a late comer to the motorized farming industry, today John Deere's two-cylinder tractors are the most sought after collector tractors in the world. Always a conservative company, John Deere stuck with its two-cylinder tractors into the middle part of the century, long after every other manufacturer had moved on to four- and six-cylinder tractors. Yet these simple, noble machines continued to serve their market. When John Deere entered the multi-cylinder fray, it did so with the most advanced, groundbreaking machines ever built — the New Generation tractors. These tractors set the trends for all subsequent tractor development through the latter half of the 20th century."

Mobile-phone radiation damages lab DNA: European studies point to cellular harm.

Salt: A World History: Mark Kurlansky's excellent book about the (cultural) history of salt.

Quote: "Homer called salt a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. Today we take it for granted; however, as Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in this world-encompassing book, salt-the only rock we eat-has shaped civilization from the very beginning. Its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind. Until about 100 years ago, when modern geology revealed how prevalent it is, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities, for without it humans and animals could not live. Salt has often been considered so valuable that it served as currency, and it is still exchanged as such in places today. Demand for salt established the earliest trade routes, across unknown oceans and the remotest of deserts: the city of Jericho was founded almost 10,000 years ago as a salt trading center. Because of its worth, salt has provoked and financed some wars; it was, as well, a strategic element in the American Revolution and the Civil War, among other conflicts. Salt taxes secured empires across Europe and Asia and have also inspired revolution (Gandhi's salt march in 1930 began the overthrow of British rule in India); indeed, salt has been central to the age-old debate about the rights of government to tax and control economies. The story of salt encompasses fields as disparate as engineering, religion, and food, all of which Kurlansky richly explores. Few endeavors have inspired more ingenuity than salt making, from the natural gas furnaces of ancient China to the drilling techniques that led to the age of petroleum, and salt revenues have funded some of the greatest public works in history, including the Erie Canal and the Great Wall of China. Salt's ability to preserve and to sustain life has made it a metaphorical symbol in all religions. Just as significantly, salt has shaped the history of foods like cheese, sauerkraut, olives, and more, and Kurlansky conveys, in his saga and through 40 historic recipes-how they have in turn molded civilization and eating habits the world over."
Link 1
Link 2

Moving Left Is Always Better: Quote: "When Democratic Party leaders move to the right, astute leftists quickly criticize them. The critique has three core components. One... watered down pandering ignores real needs. Democrats make themselves irrelevant. Two... supinely ceding moral high ground to Republicans is an operational disaster. Democrats make themselves weak. Three... compromising political aims does reaction's work for it. Democrats become Republicans.
Why then do many leftists follow the same rightward path that whimpering Democrats follow? Why do we jettison radicalism for liberalism?"

Now do "Brazil": Andy Ihnatko, computer columnist and humorist, tried to explain the plot mechanism of "Shallow Hal" to his mom. Nice.

NASA Set To Launch First Comet Impact Probe: Launch and flight teams are in final preparations for the planned Jan. 12, 2005, liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., of NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft. The mission is designed for a six-month, one-way, 431 million kilometer (268 million mile) voyage. Deep Impact will deploy a probe that essentially will be "run over" by the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 at approximately 37,000 kph (23,000 mph).

The Antikythera Mechanism: Quote: >The Antikythera Mechanism is the name given to an astronomical calculating device, measuring about 32 by 16 by 10 cm, which was discovered in 1900 in a sunken ship just off the coast of Antikythera, an island between Crete and the Greek mainland. Several kinds of evidence point incontrovertibly to around 80 B.C. for the date of the shipwreck. The device, made of bronze gears fitted in a wooden case, was crushed in the wreck, and parts of the faces were lost, "the rest then being coated with a hard calcareous deposit at the same time as the metal corroded away to a thin core coated with hard metallic salts preserving much of the former shape of the bronze" during the almost 2000 years it lay submerged.<

A True Troops Moment:


Biometric passports are 'a tall order': Experts warn that security systems are too immature for a 2005 start.

A Few Notes on the Literary Establishment and "the urgent conjunction of art and politics"

The Icelandic Phallological Museum, Reykjavik:

Quote: "The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik contains a collection of over one hundred and fifty penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland. Visitors to the museum will encounter thirty eight specimens belonging to fifteen different kinds of whale, one specimen taken from a rogue polar bear, nineteen specimens belonging to seven different kinds of seal and walrus, and ninety three specimens originating from nineteen different kinds of land mammal: all in all, a total of one hundred fifty one specimen belonging to forty two different kinds of mammal. It should be noted that the museum has also been fortunate enough to receive a legally-certified gift token for a future specimen belonging to Homo Sapiens."

Termination or Transformation? - The Relationship Between Technology, Ideology, And Subjectivity In The Cinema: Robert F. Arnold's essay about the Terminator films and recent changes in the U.S. auto industry.

KITT vs. Herbie

Survival Guide to Homelessness: Quote: "I spent nearly five years, from mid-1996 to the beginning of 2001, homeless, or as I liked to call it with a distributed household. I had storage, shelter, mailbox, telephone, shower, bathroom facilities, cooking equipment, and transportation, even access to television, radio, computer equipment, and ac power. I had the essence of a home. It was simply more geographically scattered than is traditional in our culture. I'm not the first to do what I did, to live homeless well. I'm not the first to find advantage in homelessness. It is a well kept secret that homele: otessness can be freedom and comfort can attend it. The secret is well kept because revealing that you are homeless in this society is dangerous. There is stigma. There are even laws prohibiting it. Imagine that. There are laws against being homeless. Let me say that one more time. There are laws against being homeless. [...]"

Fruitful, Consuming Paranoia: A Sci-Fi Master’s Madness: Sam Munson has a book review in the New York Observer on the latest biography of Philip K. Dick. Quote: "The progression from Blade Runner through Total Recall to Paycheck has all the hallmarks of one of his stories—black irony, psychological degradation, and the implication of a vast conspiracy organized to deceive and persecute one man. The young Dick would have written it as a dark comedy, the older as a bizarre Christian fable. Dick’s journey from neurotic bohemian to full-blown religious psychotic is as fascinating a tale as anything he ever wrote [...] Mr. Carrère [...] has seized on the fact that Dick’s books resulted, almost uniformly, from progressively more serious derangements of his psyche."

The "Pythons" Autobiography by the "Pythons":

Marvellous book. Perfect gift, I tell ya. I'd like to quote Barry Forshaw's review: "That The Pythons by the Pythons is going to be an absolute treat is evident even from the book's blurb. The six men behind Monty Python's Flying Circus--the most influential of all British TV satires--are actually four Englishmen, one Welshman and an interloping American, and it's largely in the words of John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam that we're told about the fractious process through which one of the great glories of British TV and film came into being. Yes, Graham Chapman is here too, although sadly he died some years ago. The acerbic Chapman would have loved the frequent irreverent references to the fact that now he's dead. But nobody is spared in the hilarious introduction: its unsparing analyses of the post-Python careers of the participants would have most showbusiness types phoning their lawyers. But that's just one of the many joys in this chunky, arm-straining celebration of the glorious and surrealistic humour of the Monty Python team. Bob McCabe, the man who managed to corral the unruly members of the team here, has helped create this marvellous tome. It functions as a history of a well-loved comedy phenomenon, a biography of six extremely talented men and also a really eye-catching object: the book's design utilises the unmistakable animation style, created by Terry Gilliam, that was so much a part of the TV series and films. The iconoclastic attitude to the participants is perfect, but who would have accepted anything less from social critics as deadly as the Python team? In fact, the revelation here that they were often at each others' throats suggests that inter-Python conflict may have been the catalyst that produced their inimitable humour. The only problem with The Pythons by the Pythons is resisting the temptation to read it at a sitting."

The Case For Chechnya: An analysis by Tony Wood. Quote: "Eager to embrace Putin, Western rulers and pundits continue to connive at the Russian occupation of Chechnya, as Moscow’s second murderous war in the Caucasus enters its sixth year. Traditions of resistance, popular demands for sovereignty and Russia’s brutal military response, in Europe’s forgotten colony. [...] The scale of destruction wrought in Chechnya in the course of the last decade, the scores of thousands of deaths, the continuing savagery of the occupation, all form a standing rebuke to the complacency of Western governments and citizens alike. But the most shameful aspect of both Russian and Western reactions to Chechnya—a mixture of eager complicity and mute acquiescence—is the consistent refusal to countenance the Chechens’ legitimate aspirations to independence. We should have no truck with such evasions. The Chechens are engaged in an anti-colonial struggle comparable to those waged by Europe’s other colonies in Africa or Asia in the last century. They have never accepted foreign dominion—‘no legitimate Chechen authority has ever signed any formal treaty accepting Russian or Soviet authority’—and have repeatedly given democratic approval to the idea of sovereign statehood. The starting point for any discussion should be the fact that they are as entitled to their independence as any other nation." (via Histologion)

The Presidential Prayer Team:

Quote: >Many across America and Americans in other countries are heeding the call to pray for our President. In a short time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, well over a million people have registered their promise to pray daily for the President. That number is increasing by the thousands of new team members every month. News of The Presidential Prayer Team is spreading rapidly throughout America as people march to the tempo of an almost forgotten tune, "God Bless America." The independent, nonprofit organization behind The Presidential Prayer Team, has a singular purpose: to encourage Americans to pray daily for the President.<

The Rebel Sell: If we all hate consumerism, how come we can’t stop shopping? Quote: "It is a position that Thomas Frank, editor of The Baffler, has been trying to communicate for years. Strangely, all the authors of anti-consumerism books have read Frank—most even cite him approvingly—and yet not one of them seems to get the point. So here is Frank’s claim, simply put: books like No Logo, magazines like Adbusters, and movies like American Beauty do not undermine consumerism; they reinforce it."

Bourgeois Revolutions: On the Road to Salvation for all Mankind: This year's Isaac Deutscher memorial lecture was given by Neil Davidson. He took up the controversial issue of the role played by bourgeois revolutions in the formation of the modern world.

Venezuelanalysis.com is an editorially independent website produced by individuals who are dedicated to disseminating news and analysis about the current political situation in Venezuela.

Mother of All Battles: Embroidery by Grayson Perry.

Quote: "I wanted to make an embroidery piece that was as traditional as a vase. Folk costume is an essential element of ethnic identity. Many recent wars and genocides have been about ethnic identity."

Fear of Pharming: Controversy swirls at the crossroads of agriculture and medicine. Article by Alla Katsnelson.

Lego Harpischord:

Quote: "With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts (..) And is playable. (..) It's taken two years of theorizing, designing, collecting parts, building, testing, and rebuilding. Originally, upon thinking about the potentials of making a LEGO musical instrument, I had hoped to reproduce a piano, but ditched the idea due to the enormous tension involved (40,000 lbs.)--there's a reason why pianos have steel frames. Its ancestor, the harpsichord, seemed more practically possible--the key/jack workings are simple levers, the strings are plucked, it's smaller, and it maintains less tension. Coincidentally, I was in my Bach phase anyways."

UCLA Neuroscientist Gains Insights Into Human Brain From Study Of Marine Snail: What can cellular neuroscientists learn about the human brain from studying a marine snail? Much more than one might suspect. "On a cell biological level, the mechanisms of learning and memory are identical, as far as we can tell," said David Glanzman, a UCLA professor of physiological science and neurobiology.

Challenge is a bi-monthly leftist magazine published in Jaffa by Arabs and Jews focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Quote: "Challenge is a bi-monthly leftist magazine focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a global context. Published in Jaffa by Arabs and Jews, it features political analysis, investigative reporting, interviews, eye-witness reports, gender studies, arts, and more. Challenge had its start in the first Intifada, continued through the Oslo process, and now it elucidates the turbulence following the collapse of negotiations. For the last twelve years we have offered our readers an uncompromising analysis of events. We pointed out the flaws of the Madrid-Oslo process from its very beginning. We didn’t "fall into line" during the rule of Labor (1992-1996), and we do not hold our tongues when the Palestinian Authority violates human rights."


The Terror of Intellectual Property: The Case against the Critical Art Ensemble.

Meltdown Blamed for Big Freeze: Prof Torbjorn Tornqvist says he has found new evidence that a massive meltdown of polar ice 8,200 years ago put North America into a deep freeze for a century.

The Imperial Blowback: Robert Fisk gives a rare interview about reporting on the Middle East.

The Ontological Reversal: A Figure of Thought of Importance for Science Education: Abstract: >The Ontological Reversal: A Figure of Thought of Importance for Science Education The German philosopher Edmund Husserl criticised natural science for contributing to an "ontological reversal", meaning that abstract mathematical models of phenomena are taken as more real than phenomena themselves, as they appear in our everyday experience. Nowadays many scientists have abandoned the correspondence theory of truth concerning their theoretical models, but the effects of the "ontological reversal" may still linger among lay people. The primary purpose of this paper is to investigate whether this "reversal" is present in the thinking and reasoning of pre-service science teachers. In the project upon which the paper is based, twenty-three student teachers were introduced to Goethe's theory of colour. They were then placed in small groups and given the task to discuss whether Goethe's theory is scientific or not. The group discussions were recorded and analysed in terms of thematic contents. The ontological reversal seemed to be present as an implicit "figure of thought" in some of the statements made in the discussions. The educational consequences of this kind of thinking for science teaching are discussed.<

David Deutsch's Lectures on Quantum Computation

Monkeys miss out on music: Cotton-top tamarins show no preference for harmonious tones.

Troops Stay in Touch on Intranet: A free collaborative service is an alternative to the military's portal site for sharing photos and family news. A soldier can read bedtime stories to his kids, but it can be scary for folks at home to see what's really going on overseas.

What's the Matter with Kansas? Thomas Frank, one of "our most insightful social observers" (Los Angeles Times) cracks the great political mystery of our time: how conservatism, once a marker of class privilege, became the creed of millions of ordinary Americans.

Dorothea Lange: A retrospective exhibit covering Lange's photos from 1923 to 1964.

American Terminator - Myths, Movies and Global Power: Quote: "The hard-hitting sequel to the bestselling Why Do People Hate America? explores the myths that sustain America's belief in itself, and the global consequences to which these myths lead. Ranging from the vision of the Founding Fathers to the myth-making machine of Hollywood, exemplified by the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger to Governor of California, this book investigates the dangerous dream in which America is determined to live." (via disinfo.org)

Escalation: Life in the Second Bush Administration: Intro: "Throughout the last forty years a legitimate Revolution was taking place in this country. It was quieter and more clandestine than the Socialist revolutions of the 60's, growing from within, from the grassroots upward. It was by the Right, and they now have control of the nation. Orwell may be spinning in his grave, but Barry Goldwater is cackling like a madman in his."

The world's first multinational: Corporate greed, the ruination of traditional ways of life, share-price bubbles, western imperialism: all these modern complaints were made against the British East India Company in the 18th century. Nick Robins draws the lessons.

Pontifical University to Take on the Devil: The Regina Apostolorum says it will hold a special 'theoretical and practical' course for priests on Satanism and exorcism in response to what the Church says is a worrying interest in the occult.

MIT, Columbia Begin New Energy Experiment: MIT and Columbia University students and researchers have begun operation of a novel experiment that confines high-temperature ionized gas, called plasma, using the strong magnetic fields from a half-ton superconducting ring inside a huge vessel reminiscent of a spaceship.

Ye Olde Iconography

Construction of world's tallest tower to begin: On completion, the Burj Dubai tower will stand just shy of half a mile high, at 800 metres, and boast 160 floors.

Atkins Carb Counting Mobile App: Quote: >Planning on stuffing your face with too many cookies this holiday season? Atkins Nutritionals has teamed up with Digital Chocolate (oh the irony) to provide carb-counting software for mobile phones. The service, called "Atkins 2Go," will presumably add some nominal monthly fee to the user's cell phone bill, and will offer instant access to the carbohydrate content of various foods as well as personal weight loss statistics. Not content with just catering to mobile phone users, Atkins has also teamed up with NoviiMedia to develop similar carb-tracking software for Palm handhelds, apparently to compete with Weight Watchers International's "Weight Watchers on the Go" service for Palms. Interesting, but it's not probably not much less convenient to get off one's ass and Jazzercise or sweat to the oldies a few times a week. The whole "stay fit while sitting around like a slovenly blob of man-jello," diet craze scares me somehow. The epic consumption of animal flesh does not, however, kidneys be damned.<

Susan Montag's Episteme: Nice cartoons.

Hihokan - Erotic Museums in Japan: Intro: >Hihokan, or translated "House of Hidden Treasures" became popular in 1971 and you still can find them, practically unchanged since more than 30 years.<

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: Intro: "At about this time each year, without fail, the lament will go out about how the real meaning of Christmas has been lost. This pre-Christmas tut-tutting is as much of a tradition as the obligatory Christmas cards, and treated in the same casual way. But for many, Christmas was stolen and Dr Seuss’s Grinch didn’t do it. It was Adam Smith, the father of the social science we call economics."

Electrical brainstorms busted as source of ghosts: Quote: "Studies showing that magnetic stimulation of the brain induces spiritual experiences are being queried by researchers who cannot reproduce key results. If the traditional theory is wrong, scientists will be left struggling to explain how such thoughts and sensations are generated."

Thunderbird v1.0: Quote: "With the release of Mozilla’s Thunderbird 1.0 comes the best ever way for your average blog reader to check out their favourites. The new version of Thunderbird has built in RSS reading which allows you to read your blogs like email." (via stubbornlikeamule)

New Dr. Who: The teaser trailer for the new Doctor Who series is online. (via SubIntSoc)

Is Bush the Antichrist? The Christian right and the Christian left are engaged in a debate over who 'owns' Jesus—and whether Dubya is a force for good or evil. With a long look at concepts of 'the Antichrist' and 'End Times'.

A red flag on 'Incredibles’ politics: Quote: "I'll bet most of you who've seen "The Incredibles" didn't know you were watching right-wing propaganda. Heaven knows, I didn't. [...] The Incredibles reflects such ambivalence to the point that you could project whatever politics you have onto its thematic template. Only why would you bother? Why isn't it enough for an animated feature to be well-written, engrossing and imaginative? Is it because grown-ups feel so guilty about enjoying feature-length animation for its own sake that they have to grasp at socio-cultural straws?"

Spider-Man 2: Science, Sexuality, and Other Sticky Subjects. Peter Parker uncovers performance issues in contemporary masculinized science.

Is Science Making Us More Ignorant? The attempt to integrate basic cultural beliefs with the scientific outlook calls for a new interdisciplinary academic field. Such a field could contribute to the debate over public literacy in science and help motivate public support for science.

Erratic Impact's Philosophy Research Base is categorized by history, subject and author. Integrating text resources with the best online resources, this study guide attempts to aid both academic and general interest in all philosophical genres and their related fields. Dig In!

How do paleontologists determine the sex of a fossilized creature? William J. Sanders, assistant research scientist and supervising preparator at the Vertebrate Fossil Preparation Laboratory of the University of Michigan's Museum of Paleontology, explains.

Erotic Zipai Collection: Quote: "'Zipai' is a Chinese term to mean pictures of a person taken by one's self ... The web is full of such pictures because many young girls love to showcase themselves in such manner. Zipais don't have to be erotic but most of the ones you see on this site is." (via Fleshbot)

A Strange Streak Imaged in Australia: Quote: "Explanation: Meteor experts don't think it's a meteor. Atmospheric scientists don't think it's lightning. The photographer insists that the streak and flash on the above image has not been created digitally. So what is it? Nobody is sure. APOD's editors do not claim to know - one purpose of posting this image is to mine the eclectic brain trust of APOD's readers to help see if some unusual phenomenon was caught serendipitously. The strange features were captured on a series of images intended to monitor cloud changes in the background. Images taken just before and after the above frame show no streak or flash. The light pole near the flash has been inspected and does not show any damage, although the light inside was not working. If you think you know what is going on, instead of sending us email please participate in an online discussion. If a convincing argument or consensus is reached, the answer will be posted on APOD at a later date."

John Lennon's Encounter with Aliens: Oh boy... John Lennon, according to Uri Geller: 'I leapt out of bed and there were four people. They were little, bug-like creatures, with big bug eyes and little bug mouths and they were scuttling at me like roaches.'

VoodooPad: Quote: "VoodooPad is a new kind of notepad. It's like having your own digital junk drawer, where you can jot down notes, web addresses, to-do lists... Anything on your mind. VoodooPad automatically links each page together, to form a miniature world wide web, on your desktop! Anybody familiar with the WikiWikiWeb will feel right at home with VoodooPad."

Northeastern Researcher Finds Missing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: A Northeastern University researcher today announced that he has found that the soil below oak trees exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide had significantly higher carbon levels than those exposed to ambient carbon levels. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that elevated carbon dioxide levels are increasing carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems and slowing the build-up of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Logan's Run 2005: Some news about the remake.

Intellectuals and Democracy: The Three Figures of Knowledge and Power: Brian C.J. Singer (an Associate Professor in Sociology at Glendon College, York University) wants to take a brief look at what he considers a fairly conventional understanding of what intellectuals are, or ought to be. Quote: >Turn to Edward Said's short book, Representations of the Intellectual (Said, 1996). Without entering into the details of the argument, Said claims that the intellectual is someone who "speaks truth to power." Now the first and most obvious thing to note about this definition is the separation between truth and power that it supposes. There are truth-tellers, i.e., intellectuals, on one side and there are power-holders on the other. The truth-tellers do not have power and the power-holders' primary concern is not with the truth; they may even be positively mendacious. This disjunction of power and truth, or power and knowledge (to nod to the Foucaultian formula), is the central claim of this paper. And no doubt this claim speaks to how intellectuals or would-be intellectuals represent themselves, and represent the duality of their condition. They see themselves as being at a distance from power and, oftentimes, from society itself (Said has much to say about their exiled or marginal condition). Thus they represent themselves as having little influence, and even as having difficulty getting their voices heard. However, this disjunction also speaks to the one "advantage" of the intellectual condition. For the distance from power is compensated by a proximity to truth. Indeed, the one appears to act as surety for the other, the separation from the powers-that-be (or powers-that-would-be), and from their narrow interests and partisan intrigues, appearing as a necessary condition for the intellectual's privileged relation to knowledge. It is this privileged relation, this epistemological advantage, that constitutes the very definition of the intellectual mission: to speak the truth even when most would prefer not to listen because it is tainted by power relations.<

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Great collection.

The Cuban Biotech Revolution: Embargo or not, Fidel Castro's socialist paradise has quietly become a pharmaceutical powerhouse. (They're still working on the capitalism thing.)

Prairie Dogs Appear to Have Their Own Language: Con Slobodchikoff, biology prof, prairie dog linguist: 'So far, I think we are showing the most sophisticated communication system that anyone has shown in animals.'

The Eagle And The Bear: Nice blog entry about Linton Kwesi Johnson, who some call 'the father of dub poetry'.

After Iraq: Vulnerable imperial stasis. Excellent essay linked via Radical Philosophy.
Link (PDF)

US review rekindles cold fusion debate: Energy panel split over whether experiments produced power.

Wikinews: DaddyD reports: "Wikinews is online. The idea behind it should be familiar enough to fans of wikipedia: provide a free and open resource for the generation of news content. You can not just read the news, you can write it too."

Encyclopedia of Ethics: Kenneth Shouler praises Lawrence and Charlotte Becker for producing an encyclopedia of ethics which is truly encyclopedic.

Making Waves: Feature by Lena DeTar (via Asimov's).

Rumsfeld, Others May Be Investigated, Tried by German Court: In a daring application of a new German law, a US-based group has asked German prosecutors to probe and indict 10 top American officials for tortures committed in Iraq -- crimes from which they have thus far been insulated.

Conditions On Vast Plain On Mars Could Have Been Suitable For Life: Scientists have long been tantalized by the question of whether life once existed on Mars. Although present conditions on the planet would seem to be inhospitable to life, the data sent back over the past 10 months by NASA's two exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, showed a world that might once have been warmer and wetter -- perhaps friendly enough to support microbial organisms.

Vaccine A: If author Matsumoto is right, the first Gulf War could emerge as this generation's Tuskegee.

The 100 Oldest Currently Registered .COM Domains

Elephant - Take Me Out: Teens, disconnected from a life not in their control, look for a Big Feeling of their own making. Two find it in violence, extending a twisted valentine to a world caught in a trance and ready to be ‘taken out.’

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monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, context hacking and political activism. Our mission is conducted everywhere, but first and foremost in culture-archeological digs into the seats (and pockets) of ideology and entertainment. monochrom has existed in this (and almost every other) form since 1993.

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External monochrom links:
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[monochrom Twitter]

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 2 / The Adventure Game

Climate Training Camp

Krach der Roboter: Hello World!

Slacking is killing the DIY industry (T-Shirt)

Carefully Selected Moments / CD, LP

Freedom is a whore of a word (T-Shirt)


International Year of Polytheism 2007

Santa Claus Vs. Christkindl: A Mobster Battle

Could It Be (Video clip)

Pot Tin God

Hacking the Spaces

Kiki and Bubu and The Shift / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Self / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan / Short film

Kiki and Bubu and The Feelings / Short film / Short film

Sculpture Mobs

Nazi Petting Zoo / Short film

The Great Firewall of China

KPMG / Short film

The BRAICIN / Short film

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf / Sector 1 / The Adventure Game

I was a copyright infringement in a previous life (T-Shirt)

Brave New Pong

Leben ist LARPen e.V.

One Minute / Short film

Firing Squad Euro2008 Intervention


A tribute to Honzo

Lessig ist lässig

I can count every star in the heavens above -- The image of computers in popular music

All Tomorrow's Condensations / Puppet show

Bye Bye / Short film


PC/DC patch

Proto-Melodic Comment Squad


The Redro Loitzl Story / Short film

Hax0rcise SCO

Law and Second Order (T-Shirt)

They really kicked you out of the Situationist International?

Death Special: Falco

Applicant Fisch / Short film

When I was asked to write about new economy

Taugshow #6

Taugshow #7

Taugshow #9

Taugshow #10

Taugshow #11

Taugshow #14

Taugshow #15

Campfire at Will

Arse Elektronika 2007, 2008, 2009 etc.

The Void's Foaming Ebb / Short film

Remoting Future

When you / Short film


Free Bariumnitrate

Toyps / Typing Errors

ARAD-II Miami Beach Crisis

The Charcoal Burner / Short film

Digital Culture In Brazil


Nation of Zombia

Lonely Planet Guide action

CSI Oven Cloth

Dept. of Applied Office Arts

Farewell to Overhead

Google Buttplug

Fieldrecording in Sankt Wechselberg / Short film

Dark Dune Spots

Campaign For The Abolition Of Personal Pronouns


Space Tourism

In the Head of the Gardener

Entertainment (Unterhaltung) / Short film

Cthulhu Goatse

Nicholas Negroponte Memorial Cable

Coke Light Art Edition 06

Experience the Experience! (West Coast USA/Canada Tour 2005)

April 23

Overhead Cumshot

Irark / Short film


Instant Blitz Copy Fight

A Patriotic Fireman

A Micro Graphic Novel Project

Noise and Talk

The Exhilarator


SUZOeG Training / Short film

The Flower Currency


A Holiday in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf

How does the Internet work?

Paraflows 2006 and up

Special Forces

Coca Cola

About Work

Turing Train Terminal

Me / Short Film

Massive Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling Network


Some Code To Die For

The Year Wrap-up

Soviet Unterzoegersdorf Metroblogging

Project Mendel

Display, Retry, Fail

Manifesto of Ignorantism


Towers of Hanoi



Every Five Seconds an Inkjet Printer Dies Somewhere




We know apocalypses

452 x 157 cm² global durability

A Good Haul

Blattoptera / Art for Cockroaches

Minus 24x

Gladiator / Short Film


An attempt to emulate an attempt

Paschal Duct-Taping

Laptop Crochetication


Somewhere in the 1930s

Soul Sale

The Department for Criticism against Globalisation

Dot Smoke

Georg Paul Thomann

Nurgel Staring

War On

Let's network it out


Mackerel Fiddlers


Disney vs. Chrusov / Short film

Bulk Mail

Easter Celebrations

Mouse Over Matter

Condolence for a Crab

Force Sting

Turning Threshold Countries Into Plows


A Noise

A. C. A.

Hopping Overland

Achy Breaky Heart Campaign

Hermeneutic Imperative III

Holy Water / Franchise

Roböxotica // Festival for Cocktail-Robotics


Engine Hood Cookies


The Watch

Creative Industry 2003

This World

Cracked Foundation For The Fine Arts

Sometimes I feel

Fit with INRI

Growing Money

Catapulting Wireless Devices

Buried Alive

Illegal Space Race

Magnetism Party

Brick of Coke

1 Baud

Scrota Contra Vota

Direct Intervention Engine

Oh my God, they use a history which repeats itself! (T-Shirt)


Dorkbot Vienna