[ B l o g / / Archive]

PyEphem: the astronomy library for Python 
PyEphem provides scientific-grade astronomical computations for the Python programming language. Given a date and location on the Earth's surface, it can compute the positions of the Sun and Moon, of the planets and their moons, and of any asteroids, comets, or earth satellites whose orbital elements the user can provide. Additional functions are provided to compute the angular separation between two objects in the sky, to determine the constellation in which an object lies, and to find the times at which an object rises, transits, and sets on a particular day.
Link (via Schockwellenreiter)

Phoenix to Earthlings: I've Landed! Awesome! 
Whoever thought a NASA spacecraft could be so adept at social networking and Web 2.0?
Link (via yarnivore)

To what culture does the concept of "cultural property" belong? 
To what culture does the concept of "cultural property" belong? Who owns this idea?

It has, like much material property in the last 50 years, often changed hands. And in doing so, it has also changed meanings and grown in importance. It now affects the development of museums, alters the nature of international commerce and even seems to subsume traditional notions of property.

It was brought to modern prominence in 1954 by Unesco as a way of characterizing the special status of monuments, houses of worship and works of art — objects that suffered "grave damage" in "recent armed conflicts." In its statement Unesco asserted that such "cultural property" was part of the "cultural heritage of all mankind" and deserved special protection.

But the framers of that doctrine with its universalist stance would hardly recognize cultural property in its current guise. The concept is now being narrowly applied to assert possession, not to affirm value. It is used to stake claims on objects in museums, to prevent them from being displayed and to control the international trade of antiquities.

It is critically surveyed in an illuminating new book, "Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage" (Princeton) by James Cuno, the director of the Art Institute of Chicago and former director of the Harvard University Art Museums. The idea is as troubling as Mr. Cuno suggests. It has been used not just to protect but also to restrict.

The art of Adolf Hitler (with a little help from the Chapman brothers) 
When the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman bought a series of paintings by Adolf Hitler for £115,000, many questioned the morality of paying for works produced by one of history's most brutal dictators.

Yesterday, the brothers unveiled 13 of the watercolours, on which they had added psychedelic rainbows, stars and love hearts, and placed them back on the market for £685,000.

The Chapmans denied that the paintings, which are selling as a single work, sought to "redeem" Hitler, and classed the original watercolours as "bland" and lacking in talent. "The idea of redeeming Hitler is bad, the idea of redeeming his work is a staggering work of genius," said Jake.

He hoped the defacement of Hitler's work, which includes landscapes, vistas of Roman ruins and still life, which the dictator painted when he was young, would have him "spinning". The changes they had added meant it was no longer Hitler's work, he added.

"If hell exists and Hitler exists in it, he would be spinning if he saw these. It's not his work any more. It's our work," he said.

Following concerns that the work could be bought by Nazi sympathisers, White Cube Gallery in London, where it is showing, has stated that it will be extremely careful about who it sells to.

Slide Rule Sense: Amazonian Indigenous Culture Demonstrates Universal Mapping Of Number Onto Space 
The ability to map numbers onto a line, a foundation of all mathematics, is universal, says a study published May 30 in the journal Science, but the form of this universal mapping is not linear but logarithmic. The findings illuminate both the nature and the limits of the human predisposition to measurement, a foundation for science, engineering, and much of our modern culture.

Earth Aliens! 
It's hard to imagine that life on another planet would be any weirder than what we have on Earth already. For proof, see these beautiful photos of the lifecycle of a Cecropia Moth.

Credit: Michael Cook


Extraordinary: James Last in the Soviet Union 1972 
Wonderful footage material of a 1972 James Last convert in the USSR.

Link (thanx, Richard Wientzek)

Nicole Hassoun Experimental Study On Meeting Needs 
Experimental Philosophy recommends:
Political philosopher Nicole Hassoun has just published an experimental study on the questions of distributive justice that arise when governments are forced to choose between meeting different people's needs.

Religion: A Feature? 
By distilling religious belief into a genetic predisposition, a computer program may explain how humans evolved a spiritual side.

Doing Battle With the Bard: Shakespeare vs. Milton 
"Is Milton Better Than Shakespeare?" asks Nigel Smith in the title of his new book (Harvard University Press, 240 pages, $22.95). The obvious answer is no: It would be hard to dispute that Shakespeare's plays are more powerful, and more central to our culture, than Milton's biblical epics or his artfully classical lyrics. Around the world, when people dream about true love, they think of Romeo and Juliet; when they thrill with ambition, they think of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and so on down the list of Shakespeare's characters. Harold Bloom could even speculate, not quite in jest, that Shakespeare invented human nature, so completely does he seem to dominate our imagination of what it means to be human.

Sydney Pollack, Film Director, Is Dead at 73 
Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay as director, producer and sometime actor whose star-laden movies like "The Way We Were," "Tootsie" and "Out of Africa" were among the most successful of the 1970s and ’80s, died Monday at home here. He was 73.

Humans = Cool: Mars Orbiter Snaps Phoenix During Landing 
Wow. Humans = Cool.
A telescopic camera in orbit around Mars caught a view of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suspended from its parachute during the lander's successful arrival at Mars Sunday evening, May 25.

The image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter marks the first time ever one spacecraft has photographed another one in the act of landing on Mars.

Link and

Podcast of Talks on Eugenic Sterilization in Alberta 
Podcasts are available of nearly all of the talks that were given in a public conference held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton last year, "Eugenics and Sterilization in Alberta: 35 Years Later". Eugenic sterilization was practiced in Alberta until 1972, when a new provincial government repealed the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta. The conference was public not only in the sense that it was "open to the public" but in that it strove to include the voices of community members who were affected by the long history of eugenic sterilization in the province of Alberta.
Link to podcasts (via What Sorts of People)

Google Adwords: context matters 
Text ads can be smart, funny, and sometimes unintentionally hilarious when they show up in the wrong context.


Insane: 256-gigabyte solid state drive by Samsung 
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest computer chip maker, said today it has developed a new solid state drive which is expected to replace hard disk drives in laptop computers.

Samsung said its 256-gigabyte solid state drive (SSD) for data storage is 2.4 times faster than traditional hard drives. The company plans to begin production of SSDs this year.

The new SSD "represents a bold step in the shift to notebooks with significantly improved performance and larger storage capacities," the company said in a statement.

Howard Zinn: On Anarchism 
An interview with Howard Zinn (Professor Emeritus of political science at Boston University) by Ziga Vodovnik (Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana).
Ziga Vodovnik: From the 1980s onwards we are witnessing the process of economic globalization getting stronger day after day. Many on the Left are now caught between a "dilemma" - either to work to reinforce the sovereignty of nation-states as a defensive barrier against the control of foreign and global capital; or to strive towards a non-national alternative to the present form of globalization and that is equally global. What's your opinion about this?

Howard Zinn: I am an anarchist, and according to anarchist principles nation states become obstacles to a true humanistic globalization. In a certain sense the movement towards globalization where capitalists are trying to leap over nation state barriers, creates a kind of opportunity for movement to ignore national barriers, and to bring people together globally, across national lines in opposition to globalization of capital, to create globalization of people, opposed to traditional notion of globalization. In other words to use globalization - it is nothing wrong with idea of globalization - in a way that bypasses national boundaries and of course that there is not involved corporate control of the economic decisions that are made about people all over the world.

Ziga Vodovnik: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once wrote that: "Freedom is the mother, not the daughter of order." Where do you see life after or beyond (nation) states?

Howard Zinn: Beyond the nation states? (laughter) I think what lies beyond the nation states is a world without national boundaries, but also with people organized. But not organized as nations, but people organized as groups, as collectives, without national and any kind of boundaries. Without any kind of borders, passports, visas. None of that! Of collectives of different sizes, depending on the function of the collective, having contacts with one another. You cannot have self-sufficient little collectives, because these collectives have different resources available to them. This is something anarchist theory has not worked out and maybe cannot possibly work out in advance, because it would have to work itself out in practice.


Freeman Dyson: The Question of Global Warming 
Freeman Dyson reviews "A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies" (by William Nordhaus) and "Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto" (edited by Ernesto Zedillo).

The World Food Crisis: Sources and Solutions 
By Fred Magdoff.
An acute food crisis has struck the world in 2008. This is on top of a longer-term crisis of agriculture and food that has already left billions hungry and malnourished. In order to understand the full, dire implications of what is happening today it is necessary to look at the interaction between these short-term and long-term crises. Both crises arise primarily from the for-profit production of food, fiber, and now biofuels, and the rift between food and people that this inevitably generates.

NASA: "Se7en Minutes Of Terror" 
That's how the NASA PR video calls today's interplanetary nail-biter: the Phoenix spacecraft performs a series of challenging maneuvers right before it lands on Mars.

And: The Phoenix spacecraft is not only twittering, but doing it in the first person. (Bio: "I dig Mars!")

Twitter / Link
NASA / Link

(via bre, sfslim)

"Creation Science 101" by Roy Zimmerman 

Slavoj Zizek on Tibet: Dream and Reality 
What if China now is our past and future? The West is projecting not only its own spiritual fantasies upon Tibet, but its own economic fears upon China, imagining a power struggle quite different from that which has actually happened in Tibet. We have to learn to look at Tibet as it is – and China too.

Richard Dawkins: Rapping Evolution 

Werner von Braun: A 20th-Century Faust 
Wernher von Braun is an iconic figure of the 20th century, someone who built deadly missiles for Adolf Hitler and the Saturn V rockets that sent Americans to the Moon. Michael J. Neufeld's long-awaited biography, Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War, steers a course between the extremes of demonization and hagiography. "Von Braun has often been depicted as a saint or a devil, as a hero of spaceflight or as a Nazi war criminal," observes Neufeld. "It is comforting to pigeonhole him as either white or black," he goes on to explain, "because then one does not have to deal with his ambiguity and complexity, or the ambiguity and complexity of the moral and political choices offered to scientists and engineers in the modern era." Neufeld's thorough, nuanced, insightful account does this challenging subject justice.
Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War. Michael J. Neufeld. xvi + 587 pp. Knopf, 2007. $35.


Why Do Astronauts Suffer From Space Sickness? 
Rotating astronauts for a lengthy period provided researcher Suzanne Nooij with better insight into how 'space sickness' develops, the nausea and disorientation experienced by many astronauts.

Guestblogging for Laughing Squid / From Vienna with LED Love 
monochrom content info
I'm guestblogging for Laughing Squid... and took the chance to propagate Metalab's wonderful LED Matrix project.


monochrom's projections: "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World" 
monochrom content info
This time we want to talk about Stanley Kramer's 'It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World'. And of course show it.

Sunday, May 25. 8 PM @ Raum D / Museumsquartier, Vienna.

Link / Mad World (desc, German language)
Link / monochrom's projections (desc, German language)

Chrisitee Art-Opening Today 
Good friend Chrisitee a.k.a. 8 Hours Manatee, real name Christian Tanzer, is having an exhibition at Inoperable/Vienna in the 7th district, and the opening reception is at 4pm. Come down.

clstrfcuk Blog 
There's a pretty cool new blog out there, done by a couple of Vienna boys, and I suspect it's the same dudes that had something to do with the now defunct Partyspam. Don't quote me on that one though.

Anyway, clstrfcuk posts mp3s and get you in the right mood for going out and being all nihilist and stuff. The result might be that you will end up puking down the 12th floor of some aparment-building, and your photo going straight into the Don'ts-section of Vice. Oh wait, that'd be a Do.

Great collection of H. P. Lovecraft quotes 
If we knew what we are, we should do as Sir Arthur Jermyn did; and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil and set fire to his clothing one night.

("Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family")

Is it permissible for God to kill people? 
Interesting discussion.
Many people have difficulty with God's acts in the Bible because God seems to be committing or commanding immoral acts (e.g., when God commands the Israelites to wipe out certain people-groups, including children). I think that many of these charges can be alleviated if some good justification can be given for the claim that it is morally permissible for God to kill people as he does in the Bible.

One step towards arguing for the claim that it is morally permissible for God to kill people is to argue that people do not have the right not to be killed by God. I may have the right that you not kill me, and vice versa, but perhaps there are different considerations with God. The difference is that while others don't own my body, God may own my body. There are three options:

a) God owns the body inhabit and I don't,
b) I own my body and God doesn't
c) God and I jointly own my body.


A Tale Of Two Storms: Myanmar And New Orleans 
Sometimes you hear things that are so unbelievable that you wonder whether it was all in your imagination. That is precisely the way that I felt in listening to comments by the Bush administration on the disastrous cyclone that hit the south Asian nation of Myanmar (Burma).

Don't get me wrong. I am no fan of the military junta that runs Myanmar and has both repressed its people and served the multinational corporations. I am sickened by their anemic approach in responding to the disaster, one in which it is now estimated that at least 127,000 people may be dead. Yet in listening to the Bush administration and their rants against the Myanmar junta's approach to the disaster, one could get the impression that there had never been something called the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Consider, for just a moment, the Bush rhetoric; in fact, just consider one piece of it. President Bush criticizes the Myanmar junta for its failure to allow into the country foreign aid workers to help with disaster recovery. While this criticism appears to be absolutely correct, it ignores an interesting fact: in the aftermath of the Katrina disaster the governments of both Cuba and Venezuela offered badly needed assistance. The Bush administration, under those circumstances, either ignored the offers or turned them down. In fact, the Cuban government had experienced personnel on standby prepared to fly to the Gulf Coast (note: Cuba has a great deal of experience with hurricanes).

What is striking here is not only the hypocrisy of the Bush administration but that few commentators have even noticed. A global chorus of outrage has been expressed with the Myanmar junta, but a significant silence surrounds any comparison with the failures of the Bush administration's approach in the Katrina disaster.

Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes? 
One of the most basic facts of life is that the future looks different from the past. But on a grand cosmological scale, they may look the same.

Ono In Copyright Fight Over Lennon 
Ono In Copyright Fight Over Lennon Yoko Ono is battling in court to prevent a filmmaker whose documentary challenges the theory of evolution from using John Lennon's song, Imagine, in the soundtrack.
The filmmakers acknowledge they did not ask Ono for permission to use 15 to 20 seconds of the song. But they argue they are protected by the 'fair use' doctrine.

Strictly Business 
For those who skateboard, this post will provide 4 minutes of joy. For those who know that band Clara Luzia, this post will provide surprises, and definitely more joy. For those who think Vienna is a boring place and would rather live in Berlin, this post will provide a hefty "just go ahead and leave this city then".


Andi Luger part in Strictly Business DVD, 2008. Get it here.

National Institutes of Health's new "Undiagnosed Diseases Program" 
If TV's Dr. House, diagnostician extraordinaire, is ever truly stumped, he can refer his patient to the National Institutes of Health's new "Undiagnosed Diseases Program."

Health care providers will refer patients whose symptoms do not fit any known pattern, and the agency will invite some of them for a work-up at the NIH's Clinical Center in Bethesda. After examinations by dozens of medical specialists, patients might be enrolled in one of the existing 1,500 ongoing clinical trials or perhaps inspire a new investigation. In addition to attempting to diagnose the undiagnosable, the program will also identify subtypes of more common illnesses, leading to a "catalog of descriptions of conditions – a phenotype atlas that will provide new information for textbook diagnoses," said William A. Gahl, MD, PhD clinical director at the National Human Genome Research Institute, who was one of a panel of speakers at a telephone news conference today announcing the program.

Are We Really Discovering "Interesting" Knowledge From Data? 
By Alex A. Freitas (Computing Laboratory, University of Kent)
This paper is a critical review of the literature on discovering comprehensible, interesting knowledge (or patterns) from data. The motivation for this review is that the majority of the literature focuses only on the problem of maximizing the accuracy of the discovered patterns, ignoring other important pattern-quality criteria that are user-oriented, such as comprehensibility and interestingness. The word “interesting” has been used with several different meanings in the data mining literature. In this paper interesting essentially means novel or surprising. Although comprehensibility and interestingness are considerably harder to measure in a formal way than accuracy, they seem very relevant criteria to be considered if we are serious about discovering knowledge that is not only accurate, but also useful for human decision making. The paper discusses both data-driven methods (based mainly on statistical properties of the patterns) and user-driven methods (which take into account the user’s background knowledge or believes) for discovering interesting knowledge. Data-driven methods are discussed in more detail because they are more common in the literature and are more controversial. The paper also suggests future research directions in the discovery of interesting knowledge.

Body's natural painkillers may block phobias 
The way humans are conditioned by fearful stimuli is to some extent damped down by the body's own pain-relief system, a study suggests. The finding may shine light on the neural mechanisms behind anxieties, phobias and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

1968: The mysterious chemistry of social change 
The last thing the legacy of 1968 needs is nostalgic commemoration, writes Mike Marqusee. Even as it was happening, it was being packaged for consumption. Nor should we celebrate it in the name of some abstract spirit of resistance. It was a year of contradictions and confusions, many of which continue to confront anyone who wants to take part in a movement for radical change.

"Skin Is Longing For A Cream" with Audrey Penven and Jesse' Darlin 
monochrom content info
Our artists-in-residence Audrey Penven and Jesse Darlin' are part of the exhibition "Skin Is Longing For A Cream" @ Freiraum/Museumsquartier Vienna.

Opening: May 21, 2008; 7 PM.

Servo reports about Roboexotica 2007 
monochrom content info
A great article by Simone Davalos about Roboexotica 2007.

Christian Wackos Galore: The Skoptsy 
The Skoptsy were a secret sect of Christianity in imperial Russia. The Skoptsy are best known for practicing castration of men and removal of women's breasts in accordance with their teachings against sexual lust. The movement originated as an offshoot of the sect known as the "People of God" and was first noted in the late eighteenth century. The Skoptsy were persecuted by the imperial government and later by the Soviet Union, but enjoyed substantial growth before fading into obscurity by the mid-twentieth century.
Link (via lfodemon)

Will Elder: "I was raised on chicken fat." 
Will Elder, whose frantic, gag-filled illustrations helped to define the comic identity of Mad magazine and who was a creator of the Playboy cartoon serial "Little Annie Fanny," died Wednesday in Rockleigh, N.J. He was 86.

Times = tough / Music = soft 
When times get tough, as in America during the Great Depression and the Second World War, music gets soft. The times, surveys say, are once again tough, and they're likely to stay that way. A sustained period of stylistic regression is thus a possibility. But there is no law that says history has to repeat itself in an endless loop.

Doom all pixels! Photoshop disasters! 
The great blog "Photoshop disasters" collects... well...
Have you seen a truly awful piece of Photoshop work? Clumsy manipulation, senseless comping, lazy cloning and thoughtless retouching are our bread and butter. And yes, deep down, we love Photoshop.


Smart grids: home energy management 
Weblogsky reports:
Coming soon: better tools for monitoring and regulating power consumption in the home. "Power companies will be able to cue us...to make choices about when and how we consume power. And most likely, we'll have our computers and appliances carry out those decisions for us." It's not just that we're managing power efficiency with smart tools, but we're doing it interactively with feedback to and from the energy provider.

Interior Of Mars Is Colder Than Previously Thought, So Any Possible Liquid Water Would Be Deep Underground 
New observations from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that the crust and upper mantle of Mars are stiffer and colder than previously thought. The findings suggest any liquid water that might exist below the planet's surface and any possible organisms living in that water, would be located deeper than scientists had suspected.

The Orgasmic Mind: The Neurological Roots of Sexual Pleasure 
Martin Portner reports that achieving sexual climax requires a complex conspiracy of sensory and psychological signals—and the eventual silencing of critical brain areas.

UK Family Names: 1881 and 1998 
A post at 'Linguism' links to a useful-looking site that "tracks the distribution of family names in Great Britain in 1881 and 1998":
This gives the absolute frequency of a name, and also its relative frequency (occurrences per million of the population) and ranking (where its frequency stands in relation to all other family names). There is also a map which shows the areas where the name appears most frequently.
Link (via language hat)

Hillary: Testosterone is Not to Blame 
By Tim Wise.
Hillary Clinton is finished, and contrary to the insistence of many of her supporters, sexism has had virtually nothing to do with it.

Gloria Steinem was wrong in her now infamous New York Times op-ed a few months back. Clinton's problem was not that she was a woman and that 'women are never front-runners' (indeed, just a few weeks prior to Steinem writing those words, Hillary had been just that, not that facts matter, I guess). Her problem was that she exuded, as did her husband even more than she, a sense of entitlement, a sense of being owed the Presidency, a sense that--as I've heard so many white women say these past few months--'it's our turn,' as if philogynous voting behavior were the moral duty of women everywhere.

Please understand, when I say that sexism has had nothing to do with Clinton's electoral demise, I don't mean to suggest that there were no men out there who voted against her because of sexist, even misogynist views. I have no doubt there were. And it is certainly true that Clinton faced repeated denigration by male media pundits who played upon gender stereotypes and sexist imagery in their criticisms of her. All of that happened, to be sure, and it is indefensible (Interestingly, the worst example of misogyny probably came from Clinton supporter James Carville who suggested that Hillary has more balls than Obama, and ya' know, balls are just what the world needs more of).

MUTO: a wall-painted animation 
DaddyD recommends MUTO. And I re-recommend.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Aliens against Aids 

Originally uploaded by DNL+
Today's headline off the Austrian daily Kurier is so good on so many levels, it's insane. Offensive? Check. Stupid? Check. Written by Chris Morris? Nope! This is real!

Black doll / White doll: Exploring self-image 
High school student Kiri Davis explores the self-image of black children in the US by repeating the historic "doll test" of Dr. Kenneth Clark that led to school desegregation. The experiment shows how many black children are trapped by low self-esteem.

Link (via SOS Mitmensch)

A praise to Monty Python 
Monty Python freed the world from the punchline, the "cum shot" doctrine of television humor. May they be praised in eternity!

Useful Distractions: International Law Blog 
"Opinio Juris" is a weblog dedicated to reports, commentary, and debate on current developments and scholarship in the fields of international law and politics. Pretty interesting stuff...

I like software: power plants open to hacker attack 
A software package widely used to automate power stations and production lines has a serious security vulnerability.

pranks.com on monochrom/BLF: The Great Firewall of China 
monochrom content info
pranks.com reports about our cooperation with the Billboard Liberation Front: "The Great Firewall of China" at the Google headquarters in Mountain View.

Eric Nyandu Kabongo: A Boatman's Story 
Eric Nyandu Kabongo is a singer and artist from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The violence that has engulfed his country forced him to flee his home. He moved to Gabon, where he was attacked, then to Benin, where he didn't feel at home, and then, like many sub-Saharan Africans, to the northern coast of Libya. There, living in a cramped room with five other migrants, he faced daily hostility from a suspicious local population. For him, like many others in his decision, Europe became the "Promised Land" - the land of milk and honey. And that's why he got together the money to pay for a 300 kilometres trip across the Mediterranean in an open fishing boat.

Simple Artificial Cell Created From Scratch To Study Cell Complexity 
A team of Penn State researchers has developed a simple artificial cell with which to investigate the organization and function of two of the most basic cell components: the cell membrane and the cytoplasm--the gelatinous fluid that surrounds the structures in living cells. The work could lead to the creation of new drugs that take advantage of properties of cell organization to prevent the development of diseases. The team's findings will be published later this month in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


Israeli History at 60 
A history of contention over a contentious history.

A Missouri University's Successful Strategy Against Illegal Downloads? 
Oh bugger!
In order to download (or upload) files on any peer-to-peer network whatsoever, all on-campus users have to pass an online quiz on copyright infringement. But not just once. Passing the test -- with a perfect score -- enables peer-to-peer access for six hours on the user's on-campus registered machines. The next time, the student, staff or faculty member has to go to the intranet Web page and take the randomized test again.

DIY at the Jugendmedienmesse, Saturday 
Exactly one year ago I was one of a handful of great people that organised an exhibition on DIY-culture in Vienna (here's last year's post). This year we were asked to be part of the Jugendmedienmesse here in Vienna, a fair for young people that are interested in journalism and the media. There's big names at that fair - and us. We show kids the beauty of DIY-publishing, we made a zine for it and also a little blog. Come and visit if you're in the area!

DKJJK.blogspot.com (a little HOWTO on blogging for kids that really need a little kick in the backside!) ;)

monochrom proclaims: The International Year Of Polytheism Will Be Endless 
monochrom content info

In 2007 we started a project to honour religions which are not into that blunt one-church-under-one-God-stuff, but hail to the chaotic postmodern multitude of Gods and Goddesses. Religion should be like a swinger club, we believe. A dark room where you worship a God but you don't even know which God you're worshipping. That would be pretty cool we think. Worshipping Gods and Goddesses doesn't need to be some boring and dull and heteronomous thing for bores and squares clinging to whatever bloody tradition they have inherited. It can be a ride to the shopping mall of the unknown. Go out with one God/Goddess, come home with another. Worship one God/Goddess in your living room, while you hide another God's/Goddess's sacrificial altar in the toilet.
Tell everybody you're into Greek Gods/Godesses but actually worship Polynesian ones when nobody's watching. Play off the Norse Gods/Godesses against Hinduism. Let them fight and use their superpowers to entertain you. And so on.

Polytheism is a big party that screams "Bring your own God!" on the invitation. Now you understand why we were so sad about it being over. Damn you, 12/31/2007! Fucking monotheist moderation tricked us again: Fun is an ocean but it ends at the shore! We sat around crying a little and talking bullshit, depressed and weary of life. But then it struck us: If this great polytheism project is about kicking the unhealthy influence of monotheist crap out of our lives, why not kick out the Gregorian calendar­ which definitely is some Christian nonsense.

Why should polytheists stick to that calendar anyway? Why couldn't the year of polytheism be a somewhat polytheist year of which nobody knows exactly when it will end and when it has started? Nifty! So we went to ask the Gods and Goddesses what they would say at which date the year of polytheism expires. As always they have not come to an unambiguous ordeal yet and they just keep on arguing and arguing. Since they can not notify us, we cannot close the year of polytheism as you will surely understand. So just choose an individual bundle of personal Gods/Goddesses and join us waiting for them to stop their quarrel. You are welcome unless you're a Nazi pagan asshole buying that bullshit of a "true and authentic religion" somehow related to that place in which you were born by chance.

Check us out saying fuck off to Nazi polytheists!


Stephen Fry defends public service BBC 
Stephen Fry was enlisted by the BBC this week to deliver a lecture on the future of public service broadcasting.
Video link (via Helge F)

Cyberdyne Building Factory To Construct Consumer Power Exoskeletons 
Our friend BotJunkie reports about a new consumer power exoskeleton:
This is Cyberdyne's HAL (hybrid assistive limb) exoskeleton, a powered robotic suit designed to significantly increase the strength of the wearer. Using sensors attached to the skin, HAL senses which muscles you intend to move, and powers its joints at the same rate as you move yours, allowing you to walk around effortlessly while wearing the fifty pound suit. If you pick something up, the suit is able to compensate for a portion of the weight, effectively increasing your strength from 2 to 10 (!) times. The suit can be used indoors or outdoors and will provide power for between about three to five hours before it needs a recharge.


Seal caught on tape molesting a penguin 
A seal has been caught on camera trying to have sex with a penguin. This seems to be the first example seen in the wild of a sexual escapade between a mammal and a different kind of vertebrate such as a bird, reptile or fish, "although some mammals are known to have attempted sexual relief with inanimate — including dead things — objects," said researcher Nico de Bruyn, a mammal ecologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Link (via Jana Herwig)

Laughing Squid features "The Great Firewall of China" 
monochrom content info
Scott Beale is helping to spread the word. And the art.

monochrom and BLF: The Great Firewall of China // BBtv video 
monochrom content info
Boing Boing TV.


monochrom and BLF: The Great Firewall of China // Photo set 
monochrom content info
Finally, entire photo set of Google Campus Sculpture Mob is online.

Link (yes, next time we should visit Yahoo)

For Immediate Release // monochrom and BLF: The Great Firewall of China on Google's Mountain View campus 
monochrom content info
As shareholders at Google's annual convention were counting their well earned dividends, America's premier billboard improvement corporation, Billboard Liberation Front, assisted the Austrian arts collective monochrom in a monumental advertising coup designed to celebrate Google's online partnership with the Peoples Republic of China.

China's heroic effort to protect their enormous internet market (162 million!) from an overload of useless information includes a moratorium on abrasive, ugly, and thoroughly misleading concepts such as truth. China's Internet "Cultural Revolution" is made possible through support from America's most leviathanesque behemoth, Google Inc. 'Don't be evil' says Google's PR department!

During Dr. Eric Schmidt's keynote address on China, BLF and monochrom agents worked feverishly to improve signs on Google's campus.

monochrom came to the USA to promote a singular concept called Sculpture Mobs. "No one is safe from public sculptures, those endless atrocities!" explained Johannes Grenzfurthner, "All of them labeled 'art in public space'. Unchallenging hunks of aesthetic metal in business parks, roundabouts, in shopping malls! It is time to create DIY public art! Get your hammers! Get your welding equipment!"

At the Maker Faire in San Mateo earlier this month, Johannes and accomplice Daniel Fabry trained attendees to erect public sculptures in a simulated Wal-Mart parking lot in just 5 minutes before "security" was called. Google and the PRC proved to be the ideal test case clients for this new advertising improvement technique.

Said Grenzfurthner, "We needed to maintain a low standard of political metaphor to give American citizens a chance to understand it. From an aesthetic perspective, The Great Firewall is radically mediocre. In the end, China's stoic indifference to Western art insanity is quite impressive."

As BLF CIO (Blank) DeCoverly pointed out in his power point presentation,
* My god the Chinese masses are so lucky,
o not having to grapple with the incessant flood of information
o The veritable 'Tower of Babble' we Americans and to a lesser extent our European cousins have to digest from our
  + iPods
  + Computers
  + Televisions
  + PDFs
* Each and every day

"The truth is a bummer," agreed BLF CEO Jack Napier, "it's confusing, and they're damn lucky Google has such a lovingly orchestrated filter to shelter them from it"

The BLF (http://billboardliberation.com) has been improving outdoor advertising since 1977. Prior campaigns have included work for Exxon, R.J. Reynolds, General Motors, Revlon and Apple Computers.

monochrom (http://monochrom.at/english) is an Austrian based worldwide collective dealing with technology, art, context hacking and philosophy since 1993. Some of them are afraid of skin cancer.
Link to exclusive Boing Boing TV video documentation

Spider Bots! Molten Steel Man! 
The Walking Beast is a mechanical creature that walks on 8 legs!

I call it the Beast because of it's size. Its current weight is 11,300 Lbs. When finished it will be approximately 6 tons (12,000 lbs)! It stands 11 feet tall, 8' 4" wide and 23 feet long! It is capable of transporting 8 people including the driver. It has a step height of 41" and a stride of 5 feet!

The machine is powered by a 454 cubic inch chevy V-8 married to a modified TH400 trans coupled to two klune extreme under drive planetary gear boxes, uses a rockwell 2 1/2 ton military axle to supply power to the leg crank shafts, The final drive ratio is 125:1. The legs are supported on a 4 link system and uses 56 pivot points and 114 bearings. I am currently working on the hydraulics for the elevator. the elevator is used to get passengers to the top of the machine and doubles as a cornering device, it will have a pivot pad on the bottom that will lift one side of the machine to allow it to walk in a circle. The speed of the machine is yet to be determined as I am still working the bugs out!

Link (via Suicide Bots)

Alternative To Silicon Chip Invented By Student 
Even before Weixiao Huang received his doctorate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his new transistor captured the attention of some of the biggest American and Japanese automobile companies. The 2008 graduate's invention could replace one of the most common pieces of technology in the world--the silicon transistor for high-power and high-temperature electronics.

The Warrant Report and the philosophers who investigated the Kennedy assassination 
Tim Madigan on the philosophers who investigated the Kennedy assassination.
It has now been almost 45 years since John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. In September 1964, the Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy was issued by the United States Government. It is generally known as the Warren Report after Earl Warren, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who chaired the Commission. Constituting 26 volumes of testimony and evidence, the Warren Report concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who caused JFK's death.

From the start, questions were asked about the validity of the report. While initially a majority of people agreed with the Commission's findings, today well over two-thirds of all Americans do not accept that Oswald acted alone, while a significant number doubt that he was involved at all. How is it that in a relatively short amount of time, a report issued by such seemingly impeccable sources has come to be so widely disparaged? One major cause was the skeptical critique brought upon it by philosophers.

It is a remarkable fact that three of the earliest and most influential critics of the Warren Report were professional philosophers – Bertrand Russell, Richard Popkin and Josiah Thompson. Russell, who was 91 years old at the time of the shooting, was one of the first prominent individuals to raise serious questions about the report, even before it was completed.

'Fraggle Rock': The Musical 
The Weinstein Co. will turn the Jim Henson series "Fraggle Rock" into a live-action musical feature.


Paraflows 2008: Utopia / / Call for Papers 
monochrom content info
The topic of the 3rd festival for digital arts and cultures in the city of Vienna is UTOPIA.
[...] UTOPIA can be traced back to the book 'De Optimo Reipublicae Statu deque nova insula Utopia Libellus vere aureaus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus (Of the best state law and of the new island Utopia, truly a golden booklet, as pleasant as it is cheerful)' by Thomas Morus which was first published in 1516. The text alludes to positive scenarios of technical, spatial and social constructs which have not been realised. Usually, technology plays a major role in utopian phantasms. More often than not their realistic implementation is a matter of availability of technology and very often it is – especially in digital art – the starting point of a work of art. [...]
More info and submission requirements

Torture, Law, and War 
The website for the UC Conference on Torture, Law, and War now has audio and video of conference presentations available. Participants include the philosophers Nancy Sherman, Marcia Baron, Claudia Card, David Sussman, Scott Anderson, and Jeff McMahan, amongst others. Albie Sachs (South African Constitutional Court) gave the keynote address, "Four Tales of Terrorism."

Living bandage heals damaged organs 
A layer of healthy cells wrapped around organs could lead to powerful new treatments for diseased body parts.

Speculate to accumulate: IMF, WTO -- and clever plans 
By Serge Halimi
The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation promised that more trade would help to eradicate poverty and hunger. Foodcrops? Self-sufficiency in food? They had a better idea. Local farms would be closed down or encouraged to concentrate on exports. This would make the most, not of natural conditions which might be good for growing tomatoes in Mexico or pineapples in the Philippines, but of the fact that production costs are lower in Mexico and the Philippines than they are in Florida or California.

Farmers in Mali would rely on more highly mechanised, more productive producers in the Beauce or the Midwest for grain supplies. The farmers would pack up, move into town and get jobs in some western firm that had relocated to take advantage of cheaper labour than it could find at home. The countries on the East African seaboard would lighten their load of foreign debt by selling their fishing rights to the factory ships of wealthier countries. The Guineans would import tinned fish from Denmark or Portugal. Never mind the additional pollution generated by transporting all these goods. A life of bliss was guaranteed and so were the profits of the middlemen – wholesalers, shippers, insurers, advertisers.

The World Bank, prime promoter of this "development" model, now tells us that there may be food riots in 33 countries. And the WTO fears a resurgence of protectionism: some food-exporting countries – India, Vietnam, Egypt, Kazakhstan – have decided to reduce exports in order to feed their own people. What a nerve! The North is easily upset by other people's selfishness. The Chinese eat too much meat, that’s why the Egyptians are short of wheat.

'Obedience': Milgram's film about his social psychology experiments 
If you do not know about the Milgram experiment on obedience, please read the Wikipedia article. And I highly recommend Milgram's fascinating film on the subject: "Obedience".

Link (via histologion)

monochrom car gets new license plates 
monochrom content info
Our monochrom car -- mostly used for transporting strange DIY stuff and getting posh internet celebrities to and from the Vienna airport -- got new license plates.

More than fitting, we think.

["KO" actually stands for the county 'Korneuburg', but please read it as 'Keep On'. The '1' is a bad capslock typo.]

Converting Toxic Computer Waste Into Fuel? 
Discarded computer parts could one day wind up fueling your car. That's because researchers in Romania and Turkey have developed a simple, efficient method for recycling printed circuit boards into environmentally-friendly raw materials for use in fuel, plastic, and other useful consumer products.

"The Dreamers": Revolution as a Gala Dinner and a Game 
A close, detailed viewing and extended discussion of the context, plot, and themes of Bertolucci's controversial masterwork.


Are the chances of an accidental nuclear war back again on the increase? 
Do you know about this? On Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day, 2007, two U.S. jets were scrambled from the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska to intercept two Russian long-range "strategic" bombers (strategic being a euphemism for nuclear-capable) in the skies over the Aleutian Islands as the bombers approached Alaskan air space.

The U.S. F-22 jets monitored the Russian Bear H bombers at close range for a few minutes before the bombers turned back. This encounter was one of the consequences of Vladimir Putin's decision, announced last August, to resume regular "strategic flights" of its nuclear bombers. Most reports said that the bombers were not carrying nukes, that the flights were ostensibly for "training" and "readiness" purposes, although nuclear armed missions were not explicitly ruled out. And probing the state of U.S. and NATO warning and defense systems and reminding the world of Russia's superpower status may have been on the agenda as well.

The Thanksgiving Day encounter was not an isolated incident.


Haiti: A grain of dissimilarity 
In Greek legend a chimere is a fearful, fire-belching monster with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail. For Haitians it means a gangster.

Jesse Darlin': New monochrom resident artist 
monochrom content info
Jesse Darlin' is our new artist in residence.

Jesse is a pirate, rebel, post-postmodernist, rent-a-muse and neo-archetype in progress. Hacking protocols and drawing on formal and informal explorations of archetypology, disposable culture and beauty myths, she walks across the channels and works across the platforms in search of hypotopia­ the organic autonomous aesthetic that grows on the psycho-geographic underbelly of popular and consumer culture.


Humour as a Weapon? Georg Paul Thomann and the New Right 
monochrom content info
Haha. A "New Right" writer created an article about humour, pranks and political activism for "New Right Australia / New Zealand" -- and he mentions our Georg Paul Thomann. Link (via Pranks.com)

Wired: Bot Bartenders Sling Drinks at Roboexotica USA 
monochrom content info
Wired's Jenna Wortham reports about Roboexotica USA. Great pics.
Aficionados of alcohol and androids alike celebrated the first stateside gathering of cocktail-serving robots this weekend at Roboexotica.

Patrons delighted in drink-making droids that ranged from a fire-spewing drink warmer, a fully automated mind-reading mixologist and a shot-pouring conveyor belt built entirely from Legos.

"You have liquor, fire and robots," said Johannes Grenzfurthner, Roboexotica organizer and member of art collective monochrom in Austria. "How could we go wrong?"

The annual gathering of booze-pouring robots is usually held in Vienna, Austria. To celebrate its approaching 10-year anniversary, organizers threw a San Francisco satellite event.

Though the U.S. event was slightly smaller than its Viennese counterpart, the barbots landed with a booze-fueled bang.


Laughing Squid's excellent Roboexotica USA pictures and videos 
monochrom content info
Brilliant pictures and videos of Roboexotica USA.


Roboexotica USA: More blog and press reactions 

Roboexotica USA: Blog and press reactions 

[Censored] Success! 
monochrom content info
[Censored] was [censored]. [Censored]! We keep you updated.

Laughing Squid features Roboexotica USA 

IQ and Religion: Graph! 

The graph shown above relates the arithmetic mean IQ measured in various country's populations, to the fraction of each country's population that believes religion is very important.

The green diamonds represent individual countries; the yellow line is a linear regression (y = mx + b), calculated by the least squares method. The United States data point is circled in red.

Roboexotica USA! 
monochrom content info
What could be better in life than robots and cocktails? Well, nothing! Roboexotica is the premier cocktail making robot event which happens in Vienna each year. This week it comes to San Francisco. Join us for good music, cocktails, and robots that pour you drinks, insult you, and test your BAC. Several different artists from around the Bay Area and Europe will be presenting their work for your imbibing pleasure.

Next Saturday the first US Robexotica exhibition is opening at Space, 354 5th St. San Francisco.

The Austrian cocktail robots that came to the Bay Area for Maker Faire will be joined by several local creations, ones that have been to Vienna for Roboexotica before, and some that haven't.

You are invited to join us at the grand opening on Sat. May 10th from 8pm-2am!


monochrom in Oakland: "I Can't Be Blamed For Transfiguring History But For Laziness, Though" 
monochrom content info
May 9 we will have a performance in Oakland, California.
I Can't Be Blamed For Transfiguring History But For Laziness, Though

A musical gala evening with monochrom featuring Damon Smith (acoustic bass), Phillip Greenlief (saxophone), Weasel Walter (drums), Aurora Josephson (vocals).
At 21 Grand gallery, Oakland, CA; 415 25th St. / Friday, May 9 2008 / 8 PM

monochrom's Sculpture Mobs: Documentation online 
monochrom content info
Find our complete Sculpture Mobs documentation online.

Please send us any additional flickr streams or picture links! Thanks!


Laughing Squid publishes Maker Faire pictures (including Sculpture Mobs) 
monochrom content info
Scott Beale of Laughing Squid posted nice pictures of Maker Faire, including some great pictures of our Sculpture Mobs training setting.

Link (all pix)
Link (Sculpture Mobs)

sexuality.about.com features Arse Elektronika 2008 
monochrom content info
Cory Silverberg about Arse Elektronika 2008.
The folks at monochrom who brought us Arse Elektronika 2007 are back, asking the question on everyone’s mind: Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep? Check out their call for presenters, performers, and collaborators. [...] Having heard so many good things about last years conference I can't wait to see what comes out of this one. It's rare to find an event that strives to engage sexuality in academic, artistic, and pornographic ways all at once. With the recent success of Sex2.0 and the announcement of a second Arse Elektronika, I'd say things are looking up.

Sculpture Mob Photos 
monochrom content info
At Maker Faire monochrom created a simulated public parking lot and held trainings in sculpture mobs. Participants learned how to erect a sculpture in just 5 minutes before "security" is called.

This is in preparation for a secret mission in the near future.

photo: jocelynpaigekelly

monochrom's SCULPTURE MOBS: Training Camp @ Maker Faire Bay Area 2008 
monochrom content info
Just two more days! It is time for SCULPTURE MOBS!

monochrom offers free courses, in-depth training and invites people on a couple of guerrilla field trips.

Where? At Maker Faire Bay Area 2008! May 3 and 4!

Offical website

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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.

Booking monochrom:

External monochrom links:
[monochrom Wikipedia]
[monochrom Flickr]
[monochrom blip.tv]
[monochrom GV]
[monochrom Youtube]
[monochrom Facebook]
[monochrom iTunes]
[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