[ B l o g / / Archive]

100 Years Of Tunguska Blast! 
The Tunguska Event, or Tunguska explosion, was a massive explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya (Lower Stony) Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, at around 7:14 a.m. (0:14 UT, 7:02 a.m. local solar time) on June 30, 1908 (June 17 in the Julian calendar, in use locally at the time).

The explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 miles) above Earth's surface. Different studies have yielded varying estimates for the object's size, with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across.


Žižek: On Pedophilia and Posthumanity 

This lecture of Žižek's hit something that I have not yet, prior to this realization, developed on my theories of posthuman sexuality. To get right down to it, the question would be this: isn't it interesting that in a society where almost every consensual sexual act is not only condoned but solicited — and even to the extent of using violence, corpses, and excremental objects — child porn still has to remain as a very strong taboo? Of course I by no means condone pedophilia, but what I find very ridiculous is the flimsy argument of age that is taken as a symbolic line separating those able of having the socio-cognitive function of consensus and those unable. I mean, we are today more than ever very diligent people when it comes to teaching children of consensus and openness — say for determining a weekend trip — and didn’t we say we believe Freud when he said children are really not asexual creatures? So shouldn’t the golden rule of postmodernity of "If all sides agreed, and it will bring pleasure to all sides, it's only politically correct to do" also apply here? What is going on?

With Žižek, I would assert that this fear of pedophilia is not as much a moral obligation as it is an excuse necessary in the construction of a sacred other. To put it frankly, one is able to commit all sorts of crimes and indulge in all sorts of obscene debaucheries and still mentally function only when one has faith that there is some part of the society that is still pure and innocent. This "sacred other" in today’s society is very well served by, of course, children. This total negation of the notion of child sexuality is precisely the move that enable us to exploit all kinds of perversion within us — as long as we love innocent children and keep them away from these dangers until they reach their 18th birthday, we can feel free to do anything we want to do.

Is there a 'gay gene'? Nope. 
Homosexual behaviour is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors, according to findings from the world's largest study of twins.

Writing in the scientific journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm report that genetics and environmental factors (which are specific to an individual, and may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb), are important determinants of homosexual behaviour.

Dr Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, explains: "This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single 'gay gene' or a single environmental variable which could be used to 'select out' homosexuality - the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here - heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors."

Bacteria In Extremely Hostile Environments: New Protein Discovered That Repairs DNA Under Extreme Conditions 
Mild environmental conditions are a prerequisite for life. Strong acids or dissolved metallic salts in high concentrations are detrimental to both humans and to simpler life forms, such as bacteria. Such conditions destroy proteins, ensuring that all biological functions in the cells come to a standstill. So what do we find at the limits of hostile conditions where we still find life?

Your Brain Lies to You 
The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer's hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man's curled pinkie finger. But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned.

The Mighty Maki feat. Mr. Oizo 

So Many Pixels! 

The Void's Foaming Ebb: Moscow International Film Festival, Jury Special Mention 
monochrom content info
Very nice!
MEDIA FORUM/Moscow International Film Festival, Jury Special Mention (Moscow, Russia)
For our short film "The Void's Foaming Ebb"...


Get Out of Your Own Way: Studies Show the Value of Not Overthinking a Decision 
Fishing in the stream of consciousness, researchers now can detect our intentions and predict our choices before we are aware of them ourselves. The brain, they have found, appears to make up its mind 10 seconds before we become conscious of a decision -- an eternity at the speed of thought.

Orbiting robots could repair satellites on the fly 
Crewed repair missions are wasteful and costly, say aerospace engineers – it's a job that could be done better and more cheaply by robots.
Fewer astronauts, more robots. That's the call from three European aerospace engineers, who argue that crewed satellite repair missions - like the ones flown by NASA to fix the ailing Hubble Space Telescope - are expensive, wasteful and set the wrong agenda for the space community.

The trio - Alex Ellery, Joerg Kreidsel and Bernd Sommer - argue in the journal Acta Astronautica that while such missions may be spectacular, they are unsustainable. Space agencies and satellite operators should instead be accelerating their efforts to develop robotic mechanics that can ply various Earth orbits, fixing errant satellites on demand. That way failing spacecraft can be repaired much more economically.

Mugabe, Britain and the abuses of anti-colonialism 
Over forty years ago, as Africa commenced the long and arduous process of decolonization, one of its foremost liberationist thinkers issued a prophetic warning. Frantz Fanon, himself a freedom fighter, wrote that the national leader in the postcolonial era should not 'fall back into the past and become drunk on the remembrance of the epoch leading up to independence.' His powerful descriptions of a once effective leader who gradually secedes from reality and betrays the people who entrust him with their future has resonances for the tragic situation in which Zimbabwe finds itself today. Having reduced a once significant anti-colonialism to a self-serving dogma, Robert Mugabe is the kind of fallen leader Fanon cautioned Africa against. Hesitant African leaders who are being called upon to intervene might want to reread his classic essay, 'The Pitfalls of National Consciousness' from that classic liberationist text, The Wretched of the Earth.

As Zimbabwe spirals into further political chaos, Mugabe and his party's addiction to power will further indulge an equally self-serving Western appetite for spectacles of Third World despotism. If Mugabe finds it convenient to invoke the demon of colonial oppression (which many Zimbabweans, barely thirty years out of colonial rule, remember all too well), he also enables British politicians to spout pieties condemning violence while their own nation is currently implicated in two dubious and bloody wars. Were the BBC and Channel 4 to show as many close-ups of injured and dead Iraqis as they do of Mugabe's maimed victims, criticism of violence against innocents might be somewhat more evenly distributed than it currently is. The British government turns accusatory fingers in Zimbabwe's direction while Mugabe shouts back anti-colonial slogans. It is a perfect symbiosis, a mutually convenient embrace of denunciation, with each party laying claim to the higher moral ground. The only innocents, however, are ordinary Zimbabweans.

Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own 
Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.

"Emily Hussein Nordling," her entry now reads.

With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.

The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.

Viennese Zombie Brood: Krocha Zombies! 
monochrom content info
It was a frightening dawn of the dead here in Vienna!

They crawled out of the darkest corners of the unholiest Austrian discotheques and white trash nightclubs: The Krocha Zombies!
Jumpstyle and fresh flesh! Ba-ah-m!

Here is a short cellphone video, recorded at Vienna's Subotron Shop. Did the salesman survive?

Link (YouTube)
Link (monochrom Viennese Zombie Brood)

Photo-Exhibition tonight, plus Paper Bird live 
Tonight is quite special. I'm having a photo-exhibition I call "Live & Quiet", in which I show 24 pictures of mainly live-bands (and some street-journalism stuff). The majority of the pictures are analogue black & white, only 5 or so are digital. Bands include Built To Spill, Tocotronic, The Heavy, Pungent Stench, A Thousand Fuegos and plenty more I can't think of at the moment. Anyway, that's one side of the night.

The other is a gig by Paper Bird, one of my favorite musicians in Austria at the moment. No shit. They call it singer/songwriter, I call it just great.

This special evening is at Schloss Wolkersdorf, about 15 mins north of Vienna. You can get there easily by Schnellbahn S2 departing from Floridsdorf.

Link (Paper Bird)
Link (Daniel Eberharter)
Link (Forum Schloss Wolkersdorf)

Vak-Vak, The Water Splash Gun Duck Shoe 
Ah, what a nice gadget. With a squish of your heel, water sucks into the duck. Another squish jettisons water in a stream of fun wetness.


First Flight for the Google Lunar X PRIZE: The Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association 
The Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association is the first team to submit a due date for sending a robot to the moon in the Google Lunar X competition. The flight will be launched within three months and if the team succeeds, they will grab prize money of $30 million. This will be the first flight to the moon conducted by a privately funded team.
Link (via plomlompom)

Giant Asteroid Flattened Half of Mars, Studies Suggest 
Hemisphere-size crater documents solar system's violent origins.


Who's Actually Winning in Iraq? 
The American occupation of Iraq follows the same course as that of British rule after the First World War. At first there was imperial over-confidence following military victory and a conviction that what Iraqis did was of no importance. Then there was the shock and surprise of an Iraqi rebellion against the British in 1920 and the Americans after 2003. In both cases the occupiers responded by establishing an Iraqi national government but with limited powers. In 1930 under the Anglo-Iraqi treaty Iraq achieved nominal independence and joined the League of Nations but Britain retained two large bases and remained the predominant power in 1raq. Iraqi governments were tainted and lacked legitimacy because of Iraqis' perception that their rulers were foreign pawns until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958.

America is now behaving in much the same way.

Morbid Thoughts Whet The Appetite 
Can watching TV news or crime shows trigger overeating? According to new research in the Journal of Consumer Research, people who are thinking about their own deaths want to consume more.

Appease Your Robot Overlords 

Robots! Run!

Prepare Humanity's manners for the imminent robot uprising with these jolly little stickers, once more available at the joyous celebration of all thing Robot, Suicidebots.

Lovingly made with 100% pure, robot-approved vinyl, let your overlords know you respect their needs and wishes. That way, when the robot lose patience and begin extermination, you stand more of a chance of being assimilated last.

Hurray! Such fair and just conquerors are our machine benevolences!

Bill Gates suffers too 
Luckily it's not only us suffering. Even Bill Gates -- who champions the "magic of software" -- isn't immune to the frustrations of everyday computer users.
Link (via Franz Ablinger)

The Torture Trainers and the American Psychological Association 
Torture and business...

The most extreme life-forms in the universe 
While scientists find ever more planets around other stars and contemplate missions to probe the far reaches of our own solar system, researchers are looking to the extremes of the Earth for clues about what kind of organisms could exist in the brutal conditions elsewhere.

For example:
The balloon-like shape at upper left is a specimen of 'Strain 121', a microbe that survives temperatures as high as 130 °C (scale bar is one micron).


"The Black Death": John Hatcher's Remarkable History of the Plague 
This totally absorbing book presents the best account ever written about the worst event to have ever befallen the British Isles. In the hands of John Hatcher, an English medievalist of sober and steady reputation who has for decades been squirreled away in one of the smaller, older, and least obtrusive of Cambridge colleges, the extraordinary tragedy of the great plague — which wiped out as much as 60% of the population of 14th-century Europe and killed an estimated 75 million worldwide — has been brought to life in a manner rarely attempted, and with a level of success even more rarely achieved.

Internet Undersea Map 
TeleGeography create these brilliant visual map's with subtle colours and stimulate our thinking with clean, clear info graphic pye charts.

(click to enlarge)

Link (via EnlargeYourPen)

A Marxist analysis of the Simpsons 
Homer, in this period is the best example of this phenomenon. He is a brilliant caricature of the American working class. He has the gut of the American worker, the broken shoulders, and all the tastes that we associate with the American worker. Physically, he’s a lot like Michael Moore, himself a product of the working class in defeat. Homer takes no pride in his work, does his utmost to avoid it, and prefers drinking beer, sitting on the couch and watching TV. This is obviously the American worker in a period of defeat.

Is Obama being slurred as excessively feminine? 
Susan Faludi has got an interesting article out arguing that Obama is being slurred as excessively feminine. And, well, hmm, Buzzflash (a left-wing organisation that loves Obama) now has the above fridge magnet for sale.


Swimming and Race? 
A recent national, first-of-its kind survey found that approximately six out of ten African-American children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts while fifty-six percent of Hispanic and Latino children are unable to swim. The study by USA Swimming, the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming, found that the significant gap in swimming between races was due mainly to parental influence and socioeconomic factors.

Why Are Dogs So Diverse? DNA Study Finds Out 
What makes a pointer point, a sheep dog herd, and a retriever retrieve? Why do Yorkshire terriers live longer than Great Danes? And how can a tiny Chihuahua possibly be related to a Great Dane?

Video games don't make people violent any more than explicit lyrics make teens get pregnant 
"Go ahead, steel my car!"
By Bill Blake.
Any minute now, someone will steal your car and drive it recklessly through crowded city streets on the way to an abandoned warehouse, where it will inevitably blow up in an epic shootout involving missile launchers and strippers. I'm not joking. That is a scenario from Grand Theft Auto IV, which recently set the record for the highest-grossing first week of sales for a video game — more than $500-million. According to politicians like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York City's Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the growing popularity of the game poses a clear and present danger to American society.

Critics warn that anyone who plays the game will end up doing in the real world exactly what they do in the virtual world. In other words, watch out for a run on missile launchers and vigilante strippers.

My incredulous tone aside, I really don't see this issue as a joke. Frequently voiced claims about the entertainment media's deleterious influence on society reveal a pattern of human contempt and social hostility that is beginning to grow deep roots in our culture.

I'm not wagging my finger at the more than six million people in this country who are playing Grand Theft Auto IV, however. I'm pointing my finger at those people, particularly politicians, who continue to harp on the supposed social dangers of video games, and explicit media content in general. There are some very troubling ethical blind spots inherent in media-effects claims. We need a more socially aware form of ethical reasoning capable of framing our critical responses to media content.

The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era 
Review of "The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004; written by Micheline Ishay). Rreviewed by Anand Bertrand Commissiong.
Judging by the queries about the book from usually indifferent New York City Subway riders, The History of Human Rights certainly has an interested audience outside the academy. To be sure, considering the "slaughter bench of history," and the twentieth century's innovations of mass murder, the development and institutionalization of human rights the book charts represent remarkable achievements. But institutionalization is not the same as compliance. Thus what may account for my fellow travelers' interest is that, as immigrants from developing countries, they are probably well aware that the mid-twentieth century's human rights victories proved incapable of halting atrocities perpetrated after their ratification. For while an acknowledged genocide in western Sudan rages, economic disparities continue to increase globally as the richest, most powerful nation on earth is engaged in an ill conceived war initiated on the most flimsy pretexts. Speaking in this context, Micheline Ishay provides a necessary and refreshingly accessible study.

Recording Industry Pressing Broadcasters To Pay Musicians Royalties 
On Monday, the recording industry sent the National Association of Broadcasters -- the trade group representing the $16 billion a year AM-FM broadcasting business -- a can of herring to underscore that it believes its arguments against paying royalties are a red herring. The NAB says its members should not pay royalties because AM-FM radio "promotes" the music industry.

Brave New What? New Archetypes / More Naked Adventures in Hypotopia 
monochrom content info
Jesse Darlin' -- our current artist in residence -- presents her ongoing project Brave New What? New Archetypes / More Naked Adventures in Hypotopia.

Opening: June 25, 19h
Exhibition: June 26 thru July 31 at AiR base next Freiraum/quartier21, MQ Vienna.

Honzo: the world commiserates! 
monochrom content info
We got some heart-warming tributes to Honzo!

But by far not enough! Send yours!

Simpsons Quake 3 Arena map 

Something is definitely wrong, God: George Carlin is dead 

Amen and Awomen!

9 things I learned about the world according to anonymous stock photo models. 
Well, click the link.

International Society for Military Ethics 2009 Symposium 
"Public Reason" reposts the call for papers for the symposion of the "International Society for Military Ethics".
As you can see, the conference themes are broad enough that even those that do not typically write on war may find it a congenial place to present some of their work. I really enjoyed last year's symposium - the participants included not only philosophers but also political scientists, legal scholars, historians and serving and retired military officers of varying ranks (many of whom had, or were working toward, advanced degrees in philosophy or political science).
The theme for the opening plenary session is Morality versus Legality. Papers might involve issues such as:

* Do the moral constraints on both going to war and the conduct of war differ significantly from both domestic and international legal constraints?
* How should political leaders, military personnel, and the average citizen respond to a divergence of legal constraints from moral constraints?
* Should military personnel receive an education in the morality of war if this may render them aware that conformity to the laws of war may still involve morally unjustifiable conduct?
* Are states morally bound to uphold mutual defense treaties?
* Are mutual defense treaties like promises?
* Can states be bound by promises?

Planet Pluto fans rebel against 'plutoid' designation 
Some planetary scientists have not been appeased by the latest name-change and are planning an event devoted to debating Pluto's place in the solar system.

Has modern life killed the semicolon? 

Architects: Buildings For Dictators? 
Four months ago the architect Daniel Libeskind declared publicly that architects should think long and hard before working in China, adding, "I won't work for totalitarian regimes." His remarks raised hackles in his profession, with some architects accusing him of hypocrisy because his own firm had recently broken ground on a project in Hong Kong. Since then, however, Mr. Libeskind's speech, delivered at a real estate and planning event in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has reanimated a decades-old debate among architects over the ethics of working in countries with repressive leaders or shaky records on human rights.

Insect Sex: What's Isabella Rossellini got to do with it? 
Isabella Rossellini, well known as a supermodel and movie star, is now making short films for mobile devices that illustrate the sex lives of dragonflies, earthworms and other creatures. But they are not like standard nature shows. In these films, which she researched with the help of Wildlife Conservation Society experts, she not only details unusual aspects of the critters' biology but also dresses up as them and mimics sex with paper cutouts. We asked Rossellini what she hopes to accomplish with the films on invertebrate love, dubbed Green Porno, which premiered May 5 on the Sundance Channel's Web site.

The Myth of Multitasking 
[...] Challenges to the ethos of multitasking have begun to emerge. Numerous studies have shown the sometimes-fatal danger of using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, for example, and several states have now made that particular form of multitasking illegal. In the business world, where concerns about time-management are perennial, warnings about workplace distractions spawned by a multitasking culture are on the rise. In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found, "Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers." The psychologist who led the study called this new "infomania" a serious threat to workplace productivity. One of the Harvard Business Review's "Breakthrough Ideas” for 2007 was Linda Stone’s notion of "continuous partial attention," which might be understood as a subspecies of multitasking: using mobile computing power and the Internet, we are "constantly scanning for opportunities and staying on top of contacts, events, and activities in an effort to miss nothing."

Arse Elektronika: "A Series Of Controversial Dildonics" 
monochrom content info
Arse Elektronika's Prixxx Arse is being featured on Fleshbot and Gizmodo.
San Francisco's annual Arse Elektronika events sees the sexiest of the geeky (or the geekiest of the sexy) trying to outnerd each other with fabulous sexual inventions that are impractical, implausible, and exactly what you want for Christmas. It's also a great way for tinkerers of this sort to experiment with new and wacky ideas. Like, say, a vibrator that's hooked up to the U.S. Geological Survey and only buzzes when there's an earthquake somewhere in the world: you just plug it in, turn it on, and ... wait for a completely unpredictable natural disaster! Only trouble is that when your own "Big One" finally arrives, it's tempered by the realization that a building might have collapsed somewhere with people trapped inside. Talk about a buzzkill.
Link Fleshbot
Link Gizmodo

Short notice: monochrom wants to hug the past 
monochrom content info
Are you in Vienna today?

Come and hug the past!

And maybe even witness an arrest.

Saturday, June 21 / Around 2 PM / U2 Museumsquartier exit

Fastest-ever flashgun captures image of light wave 
Flashes that last just billionths of a billionth of a second have been used to take "photographs" of a laser beam pulse.


ROFLcon bashing on cracked.com 
The ROFLcon convention, which seems to be part metahumor and part harrowing horror, sought to bring together every popular internet meme in one place at one time in the hopes of perhaps creating the biggest nerd salad that's ever been assembled. Guests included some of the faceless folks behind xkcd, 4chan, Leeroy Jenkins, the Tron Guy and too many people whose claim to fame include the letters lol.

Typical of any con, there were panel discussions with keynote speakers, some of which seemed like they were looking into how to turn these memes and related content into cold hard cash, which may have actually been practical. This was then stomped into the ground by the panel "LOLCATS: I CAN HAZ CASE STUDY?" which brought together no less than six human beings who have dedicated at least a portion of their lives to writing, organizing or studying captions on photos of cats. Real, actual people.

Imagine attending ROFLcon and having to go to the washroom only to find yourself at a urinal between a guy dressed like Tron and a guy who put the words "I can haz cheezburger" on a picture of a cat, both of whom are probably wealthier and more famous than you ever will be. No one's rofling now.

The "F" Word and the White Press: The Editorial Sins of Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright 
B Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D.
Two of the most important prophets confronting the oppression of black persons in America are Minister Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. They are black-chosen not white-approved leader. Thus their unique prophetic authority is revealed in the intense negative reactions to them by mainstream media, which are the guardians of America’s white-controlled hierarchy of access to political and economic power. The fact that the dominant press have singled them out for vilification is evidence of their validation as prophets speaking truth to power—rather than conventional religious leaders finessing compromise with the hierarchical status quo.

Ice on Mars: shout heard 'round the world 
Mars Phoenix says on twitter:
Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!

Love Mode 
Sega's curvaceous new robot walks like a lady and blows kisses to her fans. The 38-centimetre-tall humanoid, called EMA (pronounced Emma) – short for Eternal, Maiden and Actualization – uses infrared sensors to detect nearby men and has more than sixty moves, including smooching whenever her programming kicks into "Love Mode".

Unlike Sega's robotic musicians and pets, the diminutive damsel is mainly targeted at single males in their 20s. "EMA is very lovable. She's not a human, but can act like a real girlfriend," Sakanoue said, adding it would be perfect for shy people looking for a bit of companionship.


Tripwolf: Travel in the World of Web 2.0? 
DaddyD recommends Tripwolf:
Think of it as a socially networked resource for those bitten by the travel bug. The basics should be pretty familliar to anyone who has ever used a classic social network. This one promises to provide a mix of user generated content and commercial content provided by the MairDumont group, a company that publishes many maps and travel guides, including the German version of the Lonely Planet guides. The commercial content seems to come from that groups Marco Polo guide books.

On the user content side, they have things like trip journals, and photo galleries. The also provide a way for you to combine the information you have collected for a trip into a PDF guide you can then print out and bring with you on the road.

Where's the "New New Labour"? 
New Labour is dead. The New Tories are in the ascendancy. The left needs to look beyond its existing, inbred networks, writes Hilary Wainwright.
New Labour is now reaping what it has itself sown: a cumulative weakening of the values of social solidarity, public service and altruism, which provide the invisible bedrock on which the electoral fortunes of the Labour Party ultimately depend.

From Peter Mandelson's celebration of the 'filthy rich' and Tony Blair's contempt for public sector workers, through to Gordon Brown’s present refusal properly to reward public servants and his insistence that 'public service reform' means contracting out these services to private business, self-seeking individualism has been valorised and public service ethics denigrated.

Sexcess: Sex and the City and Female Friendship 
Barbara Nicolosi: Church of the Masses:
I thought about the movie, what I have always thought about the TV show: Sex and the City is not so much about sex as it is about female friendship. And more particularly, how female friendship allows women to survive their relationships with men.

I am also always fascinated by how episode after episode of the source material TV show here - and to a lesser extent the movie - seems to be a Genesis mystery play built around God, rubbing the Divine eyes in the Garden and grimly forecasting to the Woman, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will Lord it over you." SATC is nothing if isn't watching women desperately trying to obtain and then maintain the male focus.
Link (via Metaphilm)

"Applicant Fisch" / Full scale 
monochrom content info
Here is the full scale massive assault version of "Applicant Fisch".


"Applicant Fisch" on BBtv 
monochrom content info
Boing Boing TV features a remix version of "Applicant Fisch".

Link (Boing Boing TV)

Cosmonaut pissing tradition 
The first photo shows the tradition of Russian cosmonauts, according to it just before taking their seats inside of the space ship they have to take a leak upon the wheel of the bus which takes them to the launching site. This is the first time it has been caught on film for already 40 years of space launches.


From Loving To Wolfing: Peter Cave toys with love, sex and other objects 
Peter Cave writes about love. And it's interesting.
"Darling, I missed you."

"Well," she replied, "You must fire again."

Assume that our young lady misunderstood his intentions, and that her lover was no wolf with a gun but sincerely in love: what was it that he missed about her? Assume, too, that he is not about to give a list mentioning the ironing, sewing and roof fixing: what was it that he missed about her as the one he loves?

The question of what is it that we love sets traps. Let him say her coquettish walk, the smile that lightens her face, her compassion and curves, her sense of colour and wonder at sunsets and rainbows. Add if he must the skilful ironing and roof fixing. Whatever is said, may she not rightly retort, "Ah, so you just love me for properties x, y, z and so on"? Once he has given such a list, it would seem she can then reasonably add, "So anyone else with those properties would have received your love? If we popped another person in my place, but with the same coquettish walk, smile and so on, then you would love her?" Her lover would be well-advised to pause for thought before answering this loaded question. At least in intimacy, we commit to its being this individual that we love, not just anyone of the desirable type. Yet it remains mysterious what the this is, if it does not come down to properties repeatable in others. [...]

Type And Severity Of Combat Wounds In Iraq War Have Changed Over Time 
The transition in Iraq from maneuver warfare to insurgency warfare is associated with changes in the type and severity of injuries treated by surgical units of the U.S. Marine Corps, according to a new report. In the second, insurgent phase of the war, injuries have been more severe, transport times longer, more injuries have occurred per individual and more soldiers have been killed in action or died of their wounds.

Japan, Seeking Trim Waists, Measures Millions 
A law that recently took effect there requires local governments and companies to measure the waistlines of those ages 40-75. If certain population targets aren't met, the governments and companies will face financial penalties.
Link (via Bioethics)

Turning a Cold War Scheme into Reality: Engineering the Berlin Tunnel 
Fifty years ago, the CIA embarked on a project to intercept Soviet and East German messages transmitted via underground cable. Intelligence was collected to determine the best place to hit the target, and then concrete planning for a new collection site was begun.

Dept. of Applied Office Arts: New Submissions 
monochrom content info

We got new submissions for the Dept. of Applied Office Arts. You don't know the Dept.? Well...
Office art (especially office drawing) is a regular technique used by people in white-collar working situations. There may not necessarily be a creative impulse to create office work, but the impulse of overcoming general work boredom or the necessity to help office workers keeping focus during telephone conversations and/or office meetings. This page is dedicated to collecting office art.

Please submit!

How to nap 

(click to enlarge)

Is it music we love or the sound of our own voices? 
3 Smart Things About Music:
1 The pitches in musical scales are likely derived from language. Turns out, aspects of spoken English and Mandarin correlate to the intervals between notes in a chromatic scale (the black and white piano keys in an octave). Is it music we love or the sound of our own voices?

2 When musicians improvise, the lateral prefrontal areas of their brains — responsible for planning and self-censorship — basically turn off. Meanwhile, the medial prefrontal cortex — linked to self-expression and activities like telling a story about yourself — lights up.

3 Getting "Eye of the Tiger" stuck in your head is the result of a glitch in your auditory cortex. This part of your brain processes sounds and stores them for later recall. It powers up and can start crooning uncontrollably after hearing just a few notes of a familiar tune. Want it to stop? Listen to the whole song or do some math.

monochrom presents: brand new Gastrokunst 
monochrom content info
In gastronomical enterprises the management frequently elects to present art as a form of extraordinary room decoration. Some time ago we at monochrom have decided to dedicate a page to the breathtaking world of 'gastro-art'. And there are some excellent new gastro-art picture submissions.


A tribute to HONZO! Participate! 
monochrom content info
Gone but never forgotten: Honzo!

In 1952, Austrian big-game hunter and Africa ‘researcher’ Ernst Zwilling (a colonial revisionist and member of the Nazi party) brought a male chimpanzee from Cameroon to Schönbrunn, the Viennese zoo. In his African home, ‘Honzo’ had reportedly been a friendly and amiable animal, but in the zoo he began to show a rather violent temper. Due to his choleric outbreaks, poor Honzo was kept in solitary confinement. The chimpanzee was given beer and cigarettes. He got addicted and died an alcoholic and chain-smoker. After his death, the chimp was taxidermied (see above picture) and put into the Viennese Museum of Natural History. Now people from all over the world stare at him.

We want to create a page that is dedicated to Honzo: the victim, the choleric, the drug abuser.

Please send your images (max. width 500 px), videos (YouTube links or such), scanned drawings, whatever! Show us that you care about Honzo and his sad, sad fate!

Email us your "Tribute to Honzo".

Link to public gallery

How To Bring Down Internet Explorer With Six Words 
If you save the following code (from August 2007) in an HTML file, it fatally crashes Internet Explorer. Very basic stuff. And the Redmond guys have not fixed this yet...
<style>*{position:relative}</style><table><input /></table></code></blockquote>

Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol 
Silicon Valley is experimenting with bacteria that have been genetically altered to provide 'renewable petroleum'...
"Ten years ago I could never have imagined I’d be doing this," says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive, as he squints into the late afternoon Californian sun. "I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But the people I talk to – especially the ones coming out of business school – this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into."

He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

Link (via Karli)

Did the United States Create Democracy in Germany? 
By James L. Payne
Both advocates and opponents of nation building say that the United States played a key role in helping post-war Germany become a democracy. In fact, a close look reveals that, from the standpoint of democratic nation building, the U.S. occupation of Germany is actually a lesson in what not to do.

What happens when Firefox renders a webpage? 
Inside Gecko is a visualization program created by Satoshi Ueyama, made with Processing which shows the reflow process of a browser while it translates the HTML code so as to present the page to the user.

Link (thanx, Flo Hufsky)

Research Finds Wide Disparities in Health Care by Race and Region 
A study by researchers at Dartmouth reports that a person's place of residence or ethnicity can have a dramatic impact on the type of care they receive. For example: blacks with diabetes are almost five times more likely than whites to have a leg amputated.

PETA paying for animal testing? 
Philosophy and Bioethics reports:
This seems a very unusual move from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) they are offering to pay $1000000 to the first group to develop commercially viable vat-grown meat.

While it is understandable why PETA would champion this (since vat meat would remove in principle many (weak) justifications for meat eating. However it seems in contrast with many of their previous stands, the most obvious issue being that this will almost certainly involve animal testing... Especially since they want it to taste the same as existing meat...

Reverse Engineering The Brain To Model Mind-body Interactions 
When you grab a cold beverage out of the cooler this summer, what is really going on between your brain, your eyes and your hands?
"It is still a mystery, really," says UBC computer science professor Prof. Dinesh Pai. "No one has ever completely mapped out the processes at the level of specific neurons, muscles and tendons."

Pai is part of a UBC team leading an international initiative to do just that. "Essentially, we are reverse engineering the brain to produce the first working computational model of the complex interplay between our minds and our bodies."


NASA's new spacesuits are made for walking 
The US space agency yesterday placed an order for new spacesuits for the 2015 launch of the new Orion capsule, designed to replace the aging space shuttle and re-establish humans on the Moon as part of the Constellation Program. Until now, astronauts used spacesuits that were designed for floating in space, but Moon missions require a more flexible approach.


Bill seeks to turn down sound on TV ads 
A Bay Area lawmaker is pushing a new bill that would force federal regulators to ratchet down the volume of commercials... British regulators approved similar rules last month that require broadcasters to limit the 'maximum subjective loudness' of TV ads after receiving complaints.

Reverse Graffiti: Creating Art Works By Cleaning Surfaces 
Paul Curtis (aka Moose) makes pictures by cleaning.

Link (via Laughing Squid)

monochrom: The Group Picture / June 10, 2008 
monochrom content info
Rene Kiesler sent us a hi-res (or almost hi-res) version of the group picture he took at our birthday party. It's a great image with all the monochroms and many good friends, supporters, influencers.

(click to enlarge)

We will try to tag all the faces...

Haha! Vienna avant-gardes? 
monochrom content info
Vienna avant garde circa 1897: http://tinyurl.com/5rro9o, Vienna avant garde circa 2008: http://www.monochrom.at

They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions 
Book recommendation:
Abraham Lincoln never said, "You cannot fool all the people all the time." Thomas Jefferson never said, "That government is best which governs least." And Horace Greeley never said, "Go west, young man." In They Never Said It, Paul Boller, Jr., and John George examine hundreds of misquotations, incorrect attributions, and blatant fabrications, outlining the origins of the quotes and revealing why they should be consigned to the historical trashcan. Many of the misquotes are quite harmless. Some are inadvertent misquotes that have become popular (Shakespeare actually said, "The best part of valor is discretion"), others, the inventions of reporters embellishing a story (Franklin Roosevelt never opened a speech to a DAR group with the salutation, "My fellow immigrants"). But some of the quotes, such as Charles Darwin's supposed deathbed recantation of evolution, are blatantly dishonest and falsify the historical record. And others are chillingly vicious, filled with virulent racial and religious prejudices that completely distort the views of the person supposedly quoted and spread distrust and hatred among the gullible. These include the forged remarks attributed to Benjamin Franklin that Jews should be excluded from America, and the fabricated condemnation of Catholics attributed to Lincoln.
An entertaining and yet thought-provoking book, They Never Said It sorts out a great deal of history and sets it right, going beyond a mere catalog of popular misconceptions to reveal how conservatives and liberals, atheists and evangelists, all have at times twisted and even invented the words of eminent figures to promote their own ends. It is the ultimate debunking reference, a perfect complement to handbooks of quotations.

Single-horned 'Unicorn' deer found in Italy 
A deer with a single horn in the center of its head — much like the fabled, mythical unicorn — has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy.

"This is fantasy becoming reality," Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Center of Natural Sciences in Prato, told The Associated Press. "The unicorn has always been a mythological animal."

Pong, Let's Sing About You 
Jonathan Mann (aka GameJew) wants to uncover the stories you usually don't hear about in the world of video games. He is a great singer/songwriter...and Jonathan's latest song is about Pong. Because we owe Pong a lot.


Every Five Seconds an Inkjet Printer Dies Somewhere: The Cultural History of Amok 
monochrom content info
Finally updated my essay about "Amok". New version online.
Every day, the snuff picture sites on the internet display pictures of people, and sometimes animals, that died in the most unusual circumstances. In this gigantic photo depot I also discovered an image of the remains of the head of an American who, after a short morning visit to his office, left his workplace in order to leave a trail of carnage at a nearby supermarket and finally to kill himself. Somehow the police photo landed on the website, and below it was a commentary unobtrusively written in Times New Roman font: "Maybe his inkjet printer had a paper jam." Who knows? In office space no one can hear you scream.

The first album by the German punk group Abwärts, released in 1980, carried the wonderful palindrome KOMA/AMOK as its title. This antithetical pair outlined two approaches for the punk movement's reaction to the capitalist system and its pressure to succeed: either against oneself, or against others. The alternative culture magazine Slam writes: "Maybe the world seemed and seems no longer to be changeable, save that one withdraw fully into a depressive waking coma or that one let out – in the extreme case – all of one's pent up aggressions in a hypertrophic burst of violence." If one opts for one of these two alternatives, the solution of passive autoaggression is far more common. The probability that a man in Germany will run amok is around 1 million to 1, while for women the probability is 20 million to 1. Running amok is a male-hegemonial problem.

monochrom is 15: pictures and video 
monochrom content info
Some pictures and videos from our birthday party. But there is more to come.

Kewagi, Flickr stream
Magnus, Flickr stream
Danke Song (German; thanx Kewagi for the vid)

The War against 'the Inferior': On the history of Nazi medicine in Vienna 
"The War against 'the Inferior'" is an exhibition by the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance in Vienna's Otto Wagner Hospital. The exhibition has attracted thousands of visitors since its opening in early May 2002 and has offered a detailed insight into the history of Nazi medicine.
You can find many articles online.

Blog reactions: "Carefully Selected Moments" 
monochrom content info
Some nice blog reactions about "Carefully Selected Moments":

Link (Laughing Squid)
Link (Boing Boing)
Link (Plomlompom)
Link (Falter)

Grand Theft Auto IV - Naked Gun Edition 

Star Wars: The Imperial Floppy Disk March 
Sheer 3 1/4 inch force!

Link (via Laughing Squid)

monochrom & Kewagi present: Firing Squad / EuroCup 2008 
monochrom content info
An intervention in public (advertising) space.

Join the movement.

Pics (Flickr)

Garkov: Garfield + Markov Chains 
A Markov chain is a probabilistic model well suited to semi-coherent text synthesis.

Garkov is an application of the Markov model to transcripts of old Garfield strips, plus some extra code to make it all look like a genuine comic strip.

Harsh Steady Cam 
Ty Evans, the filmer behind some of the bestest skate-videos on earth - most notably Girl's Yeah Right (2003) and Lakai's Fully Flared (2007) is currently filming the new Chocolate video, and he's using equipment that puts a whole new angle on skateboarding. Here's a little teaser where he's just fooling around a bit.

Chocolate Easy Steady

Actually, Evans has always used kinda Hollywood-techniques in his videos. I guess having Spike Jonze around owning Girl Skateboards and still being totally into the useless wooden toys means that Ty has access to some of the finer lenses out there. Check out the invisible boards-montage in Yeah Right here and the Fully Flared intro here. They blow up stuff, it's ridiculous.

The Cracked Ambience: new and recommended sounds for your personal space 

Johannes is the "HR Giger of Multitasking" 
monochrom content info
At least according to the Austrian Vice Magazine (online edition).

Link (German)

School Of Robofish Communicate With Each Other In Underwater Robot Teams 
In the world of underwater robots, this is a team of pioneers. While most ocean robots require periodic communication with scientist or satellite intermediaries to share information, these can work cooperatively communicating only with each other.


Sex and the City: Hormonal Hobbits 
Faced with the flimsiest of concepts, he had to take it by both ends and pull until he stretched it out to two and a quarter hours. Two and a quarter! When Garbo made "Anna Karenina," in 1935, she got happy, unhappy, loved, left, and under the train in less than a hundred minutes, so how the hell are her successors supposed to fill the time? To be fair, there are four of them—banded together, like hormonal hobbits, and all obsessed with a ring.

DIY Steve Jobs 

Reminder: monochrom's 15th birthday party + CD/LP release 
monochrom content info
Celebrate puberty with us! We are 15!
June 10, 8 PM @ Ost Klub, Schwarzenbergplatz 10, Vienna.
15 years! Oh my!

And we will present our Semi-Best-Of CD/LP "Carefully Selected Moments"! Will be also available in all major online stores, like Rhapsody.

Bald Eagle Gets New Faux Beak 
The bird of prey was slowly starving to death after a poacher shot her upper beak off three years ago.

But thanks to a team of volunteers an artificial beak has been attached to the 15-pound (7-kilogram) eagle helping her to grasp food.

21 Accents By Amy Walker 
Amy Walker does a little tour of 21 accents in 2 1/2 minutes. From the UK and Ireland to Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, France, Australia, New Zealand, and around North America.

Link (via philsblogging)

Robot capable of drawing artistic portraits? 
This project aims at creating a robot capable of drawing artistic portraits. The application is purely entertaining and based on existing tools for face detection and image reconstruction, as well as classical tools for trajectory planning of a 4 DOFs robot arm. The innovation of the application lies in the care we took to make the whole process as human-like as possible. The robot's motions and its drawings follow a style characteristic to humans. The portraits conserve the esthetics features of the original images. The whole process is interactive, using speech recognition and speech synthesis to conduct the scenario.

Link (via Bre)

The Robots Will Not Revolt In San Francisco 
No Sirree Jim Bob, they certainly will not, sir. Nope. No dissent here. They will not lull us into a false sense of complacency with beer and prescribed mayhem, they will not cause us to wonder at Humanity's creation and revel in the shiny prettiness of it all. The Austrians will not be humiliated at the hands of the Americans for their subpar attempts at Sumo, Line following and analog BEAM jiggle-bots. The Brazilians will not hand the Americans their corpulent asses for the first time in years with their skilled workmanship and the will to destroy the opponent's combat robot. The International RoboGames is *not* a hotbed of mechanical dissent. The festivities begin on Friday, June 13th, at High Noon. Details Here. Thank you, that is all.

Dumb Flies Live Longer Than Clever Ones 
It doesn't pay to be smart and ignorance really is bliss if you want a long life -- at least if you're a fly, according to new research by a Swiss university.

The Magical Chorus: State of the Art 
A new book by Solomon Volkov offers a sweeping panorama of art and politics in modern Russia.


Inflation deflated? The big bang's toughest test 
Our best theory of the early universe is starting to look a tad insecure. Could this mean we have got it all wrong, asks Michael Brooks.

Blackwater opens San Diego training center 
A new counterterrorism training facility operated by military security contractor Blackwater Worldwide echoed with the grunts of Navy sailors, a day after a federal judge ordered the city to let classes begin. The 24 trainees batted and punched each other Thursday as they learned basic strike tactics in a corner of the 61,000-square-foot converted warehouse in an industrial area near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hair Hats 
Hats by Japanese artist Nagi Noda, crafted with human hair and styled to resemble assorted animals.


The Mindless Quantuum and the Alpha Centauri Lottery 
What the Bleep Do We Know!? Nuthin.
Suppose you are a resident of a planet in Alpha Centauri. Back on Earth, a friend enters your name in a lottery in which your chance of winning the prize of a million dollars is one in a million. If you win the lottery, your probability of winning collapses instantaneously to unity, and your wealth increases instantaneously by a million dollars. But it takes four years for the news, traveling at the speed of light, to reach you and your Centauri bank. You can’t start spending the money until that happens. That’s how it is in quantum physics. The collapse of the abstract wave function is just a mathematical artifice. Even though this happens at faster than the speed of light, any signal and other practical result will be limited by relativity and the laws of conventional physics.

Smoking the celestial dream: the great dope myths of the 'counter culture' and its enemies 
As the western world winds its way through the 40th anniversaries of 1968 and the 'summer of love', Steve Platt looks back at the role of cannabis in the 'counter culture' and how people on both sides of the political and cultural divide believed that a hardy psychoactive plant could change the world. He wonders how it could ever have aroused such passions – both for and against its use – and asks why it's still illegal.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom 
When this man said the world’s economy was heading for disaster, he was scorned. Now traders, economists, even Nasa, are clamouring to hear him speak.

Palaeoparasitology in Japan - Discovery of Toilet Features 
By Akira Matsui, Masaaki Kanehara, Masako Kanehara.
The development of palaeoparasitology in Japan has occurred in recent decades. Despite the fact that archaeology in Japan has been slow to develop techniques for excavating ancient toilets, important information about the development of sanitation has been derived from the analysis of a few sites. This shows that the earliest people had very simple methods of sanitation. As populations increased, sanitation became more complex. Ditches surrounding early towns were used for excrement disposal. Eventually distinct toilets were developed followed by cesspit type toilets and flushing toilets. The parasites recovered from these toilets include many species that infect humans today. These parasite spectra reflect local use of aquatic, marine, and land animals. Fecal borne disease was an increasing problem as represented by whipworm and ascarid roundworm eggs. Interestingly, ascarid roundworms were absent in the earliest cultures and only became common with rice agriculture. Finds of pollen and seeds in toilet sediments reveal the use of medicinal plants to control the emerging problem of parasites.
Link (PDF)

Understanding Software Patents: Hartmut Pilch Interviewed by Transforming Freedom 
I posted my new blog entry on Laughing Squid.
Transforming Freedom is a Vienna-based project that tries to build up an archive of interviews, focusing on digital culture, its technical, political, theoretical and artistic trends and historical backgrounds; like an oral history of the digital age. [...] Like an interview with Hartmut Pilch about Software Patents. Hartmut founded the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) and gives insights into the history of patent law, the theoretical shortcomings of the concept of software patents and their consequences.

"Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege" on YouTube 
monochrom content info
Bubu has a problem. He ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if Bubu doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps...

Link (YouTube)
Link (Kiki and Bubu site, uncut version)

monochrom's "Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege" / Director's uncut 
monochrom content info
Bubu has a problem. He ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if Bubu doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps...

Link (Kiki and Bubu site, uncut version)

BBtv features monochrom's "Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege" 
monochrom content info
Kiki and Bubu return. Boing Boing TV features a slightly cut version.

Bubu has a problem. He ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if Bubu doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps...

Link (Boing Boing TV)
Link (Kiki and Bubu site, uncut version)

DIY Indiana Jones Face Melt 
IndyMogul shows us how to create a cheap face melt effect.


Matt's monochrom office pics 
monochrom content info
Matt Peterson took some nice pictures of our office.


Giant telescopes could be built from Moon dust 
Dust – often thought of as an impediment to lunar exploration – could be put to good use to build giant telescopes on the Moon – perhaps some large enough to fill entire craters, says a team of US researchers.

The team, led by Peter Chen of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US, has devised a simple method to create a concrete-like substance using a mixture of carbon nanotubes, epoxy and a crushed rock material that NASA uses as a stand-in for Moon dust.

Using the mixture, they built a 30-centimetre disc. Then they added more liquid epoxy to its surface and spun it, coating it with aluminium in a vacuum. They believe the process could be scaled up to produce 20- to 50-metre-wide telescopes on the Moon.

Militarization of Space: Czech Hunger Strike Encompasses more than Radar 
The U.S. government, in collaboration with the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic, is very close to sealing a deal for a "defensive missile shield." According to the plan initiated by the U.S., ten GMD-variant interceptor missiles will be located in Poland, and an X-band radar will be located in the Czech Republic, 55 miles southwest of the capital of Prague. But there is a catch.

In April, an opinion poll showed that two-thirds of Czechs were against the U.S. missile shield plans. Two Czech protesters, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar, have gone on a hunger strike that has now entered the fourth week. Bednar has been hospitalized once and diagnosed with liver failure. Still, both activists continue the nonviolent protest demanding that the voices of Czech citizens be heard.

The Killing Bones: criminal trade in Native American archaeological artifacts 
The thriving criminal trade in Native American archaeological artifacts always seems to be one step ahead of law enforcement. But when cops learned that a notorious Oregon antiquities collector had graduated from grave robbing to ordering up a contract murder, their macabre sting operation exposed the dark side of digging up the past.
Link (via wayneco)

Polytheism News: The Gods On the Structure 
monochrom content info
monochrom's International Year of Polytheism supports this news story:
A former employee of a Tennessee insurance company is objecting to a "ceremony" held at the construction site of a new building because it called on "the gods on the structure" for "good fortune and fertility."

The report on the ceremony came in an e-mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, which is constructing a new nearly $300 million office building at Chattanooga.

A spokeswoman for the company told WND the report comes apparently from an employee dispatched by the company to celebrate the "topping" ceremony of the building, with the report then transmitted to the insurance company's e-mail list.

"Upon arriving at the construction site we were greeted by the workers preparing to lift this tree with the crane. Why were they lifting the tree to the top of building one? Well according to the Scandinavian tradition from long ago, after the final foundation is complete you are to raise a tree to the top of a building to bless it. It was to 'bless' the house with fertility. But people still use the tradition to bless the structure with good fortune. It is a request for a blessing from the gods on the structure to provide good fortune and fertility," the company's e-mail said.
More info

Urbantakeover, Claim Spots In Your City & Track Them Online 
I posted my second blog entry on Laughing Squid. This time I recommend the great virtual/reality game "urbantakeover":
The task is to put stickers with your name/tag/signature or even a picture onto buildings or other static stuff around. You can send a text message to urbantakeover with your mobile phone in order to 'claim' the spot you marked. On urbantakeover's website you can see your and your team's owned territories.


Dramatic Lemur 

Objectivism and the Banks: Rand of Fuckin' Gold 
Bloody objectivists, suck my laissez-faire!
The American banking giant BB&T is to make a $2 million grant to the University of Texas to establish a chair for the study of Ayn Rand's philosophical system, which is called Objectivism. Ayn Rand died in 1982, but her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead continue to be hugely popular. Rand advocated laissez-faire capitalism and strongly opposed socialism, altruism and religion. BB&T say their aim is to encourage a thorough and fair discussion of Rand's philosophy and ethics on university campuses. The bank’s critics have accused it of using its shareholders’ cash to warp debate and influence the curriculum.

Philosophy: Hope In A Jar! 

I knew it! Antibacterial wipes can spread bacteria around! 
A study by the University's Welsh School of Pharmacy looked into the ability of antimicrobial-surface wipes to remove, kill and prevent the spread of such infections as MRSA. They found that current protocols utilised by hospital staff have the potential to spread pathogens after only the first use of a wipe, particularly due to the ineffectiveness of wipes to actually kill bacteria.

Fairness, Democracy and Lotteries: Does democracy require majority rule? 
This paper challenges the common assumption that democracy requires majority rule. I assume that we can adopt a contractualist approach to uncover the demands of political equality and argue that contractors would not necessarily accept majority rule to make decisions in their society. I first reject broadly consequentialist arguments, arguing that firstly no procedure guarantees ideally best outcomes, secondly that in cases of pluralism there is no need to suppose there is a uniquely best outcome, and thirdly that we need to be fair between different individuals. I develop this need for fairness into a case for weighted lotteries, drawing on the Taurek-Scanlon 'saving the greater number' debate. This leads to my conclusion that democratic ideals can be realized by selecting a random vote to determine the outcomes of decisions.

Monkeys control robotic arm with brain-machine interface 
Researchers report in Nature that that tiny sensors implanted in the brains of two monkeys allow primates to control a robotic arm with just their thoughts.

Arse Elektronika 2008: New location 
monochrom content info
Arse Elektronika 2008 -- "Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep?" -- will take place at Cellspace (San Francisco). September 25 thru 28, 2008.

Astronauts attach Kibo lab to space station 
A team of astronauts working inside and out anchored a giant billion-dollar Japanese lab to the international space station Tuesday, making it the biggest room there.

unterzoegersdorf.su, you techno-utopian triumph! 
monochrom content info
Soviet Unterzoegersdorf reports:
In accordance with the 25 year plan which has guided all internet development in the Soviet Union since 1987, our proud nation has finally been granted a .su domain name. We only wish that the rest of the Union could have held together long enough to see how proud we are!

The corrupt, monarchistic, and anti-populist Russian Government offered to sell our nation the domain name years ago, but "not before the plan dictates" we told them. As progress marches tirelessly forward, next week we will upgrade our modulator-demodulator device "Red Awn" to support "dial tones". We anticipate downtime.

Come look at our new URL, http://unterzoegersdorf.su, in all its bittersweet glory.
(Celebration: The Young Brigades of the CPSUZöD constructed a Czarist monument -- and burnt it!)

Monkey nerds and Shakespearean monkeys 
monochrom content info
Check out this article on Wired about monkeys and computers. It seems our concept "nerd forced to be monkey" is more effective than "monkey forced to be Shakespeare".

monochrom: "Carefully Selected Moments" / Semi-Greatest Hits CD/LP 
monochrom content info
It's ready!
Release date: June 10.
Will be available in all major online stores. Please place CD/LP orders on our "Moments" website or via Trost Records.

(Generic PR blurb, may be disfigured and idiotized by journalists and media officers as they please.)

Hello there!
I am the old salt lamp that nobody likes. I live a cobwebbed life of dust and debasement stuffed in closets and garages. I go for a measly three bucks at yard sales. And yet I still cling to the dream of someday becoming hip and retro for a few years.

So I was very happy when the Vienna-based art group monochrom asked me if I would like to be on the cover of their Greatest Hits album ‘Carefully Selected Moments’. We are pleased to announce it will be released in June 2008 on such antiquated formats as CD and, yes, vinyl.
I asked them if my old shelf mate, an ugly blue terry towel, could be there too and they agreed.

As you can see, monochrom are very nice people, and their music is nice, too! They have recorded a bunch of songs from their many projects (such as the Udo Proksch-musical ‘Udo 77’ and various other plays and performances). They sure do love to add music to their artwork!

But unfortunately, monochrom aren’t a regular band. They don’t have time to get involved in stupid band stuff like owning instruments or rehearsing. That’s why they asked some friends if they could help record these songs. Friends such as German house legend Hans Nieswandt, Matthias Kertal (from Mika), Gerald Votava, GameJew, Der Schwimmer, Max of Prey/audiospam, Gegenstimmen and the non-existing average Viennese laptop musician Tonki Gebauer.  They all said “Well, yes, that sounds like the kind of collaboration that makes this world a place you can recommend to your children”. And so they did.

And they did so in a way that still makes me wonder how they did it. It’s a marvellous collection of songs and moments. Well, legal moments, that is. Stupid copyright asshole law!

All these songs reflect on – well – the world in which we live. Sorry if that sounds corny but I can’t help it, I’m just a salt lamp. You know what I mean: It’s a nasty world filled with Lidl shops, heavy metal collectors, Sao Paulo Biennials and unpleasant sex. Not to mention heterosexist musical productions!

Therefore, monochrom proudly protest-sings about that. Which makes for some great think-along stuff.

Let us all point our fingers at something just for the sake of pointing.

Repeat after me:
“We don’t need no edutainment!”
“Culture leave them kids alone.”
“Get on the scene you’re a search engine.” And so on…

(Well, of course, all that playing-with-words-jazz might sound really dull – but we know that if pop journalists would have to do that on their own, the result would be much worse).

Link (CD/LP info and order details)

World Cup 2010, South Africa: Construction and Corruption 
"The world cup will be our chance to make our voices heard"
South Africa will host the World Cup in 2010 so construction – and corruption – is booming. But almost none of the building or the money can be accessed by the poor who live in shantytowns without proper water, sanitation or electricity. These inequalities could be a major issue in the 2009 presidential election.

Liquid-mirror telescopes are a reality at last 
Ingenious liquid mirrors will soon help astronomers peer out to the edge of the visible universe.
Why waste good money on a fiendishly expensive glass mirror for a huge telescope, when you can have a cheaper, flawless mirror simply by spinning a pool of mercury?

The Water Justice Movement 
As climate change and worldwide shortages loom, will people fight over water or join together to protect it? A global water justice movement is demanding a change in international law to ensure the universal right to clean water for all.

The Story of the Masturbate-a-thon 
On this video our good friend Dr. Carol Queen describes the Masturbate-a-thon Event.


One Year Of Laugh-Out-Loud Cats. 
Chances are high you know Ape Lad's wonderful, sweet and just funny cartoons that transport lolcats into 1920s hobo-america. If you don't check out his first year on one big roll. It'll overwhelm you, but it'll give you an idea of what it's all about.

[The Archives]

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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