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Arse Elektronika 2008: Schedule and tickets 
monochrom content info
Finally... this year's schedule is online. Check it out here.

Tickets can be obtained directly at the Arse Elektronika conference desk at CELLspace. But we offer the possibility to buy tickets in advance.
And yes, journalist accreditation is available.

Presentation of Arse Elektronika Anthology: "pr0nnovation?" 
monochrom content info
It is our pleasure and privilege to present you with the first Arse Elektronika Anthology: "pr0nnovation?"

From the depiction of a vulva in a cave painting to the newest internet porno, technology and sexuality have always been closely linked. No one can predict what the future will bring, but history indicates that sex will continue to play an essential role in technological development. Is it going too far to assume that research in nanotechnology and genetic engineering will be influenced by our sexual needs? The question is not whether these technologies alter humanity, but how they do so.

Edited by Johannes Grenzfurthner, Günther Friesinger, Daniel Fabry.
Published by RE/Search Publications (San Francisco) in cooperation with monochrom.

Featuring: Michael Achenbach, Timothy Archibald, Peter Asaro, Thomas Ballhausen, Binx, Violet Blue, Jonathan Coopersmith, Mark Dery, Thomas Edlinger, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Ema Konstantinova, Tina Lorenz, Stefan Lutschinger, Kyle Machulis, Aaron Muszalski, Annalee Newitz, Carol Queen, Thomas Roche, Autumn Tyr-Salvia, Frank Apunkt Schneider, Katie Vann, Rose White, Amanda Williams, Katherina Zakravsky.

Presentation at Arse Elektronika opening night at CELLspace (2050 Bryant Street, San Francisco); September 25, 2008; 8pm, doors open at 7pm.

International Year of Polytheism: Monotheism, Atheism and The You Tube 
monochrom content info
We'd like to link to a high-class comment thread on YouTube about the International Year of Polytheism's "Free Bariumnitrate" video.

Enjoy and join!

Link to comments

Giordano Bruno: Did a sixteenth-century heretic grasp the nature of the cosmos? 
In 1600, Rome's Campo de' Fiori, now a nice plaza lined with cafés, was one of the city's execution grounds, and on Ash Wednesday of that year Giordano Bruno, a philosopher and former priest accused of heresy by the Inquisition, was taken there and burned. The event was carefully timed. Ash Wednesday is the primary day of Christian penance. As for the year, Pope Clement VIII chose it because 1600 was a jubilee for the Church—a festivity that would be enhanced by the execution of an important heretic. Bruno rode to the Campo on a mule, the traditional means of transport for people going to their death. (It was also a practical means. After years in the Inquisition's prisons, many of the condemned could not walk.) Once he arrived and mounted the pyre, a crucifix was held up to his face. According to a witness, he turned away angrily. He could not speak; he had been gagged with a leather bridle. (Or, some say, an iron spike had been driven through his tongue.) He was tied to the stake, and the pyre was lit. When it had burned out, his remains were dumped into the Tiber. As Ingrid Rowland writes in "Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $27), the Church thereby made Bruno a martyr. But "a martyr to what?" she asks. That is the question that her book, the first full-scale biography of Bruno in English, tries, with difficulty, to answer


Pressure Mounts On Apple To Rethink iTunes 
"More than two-thirds of all paid-for downloads are bought from iTunes, and the store is now the biggest music retailer in the US, eclipsing Wal-Mart and other retail chains." But "beleaguered record labels are stepping up their campaign to undermine iTunes, and rumours are swirling about a dramatic U-turn from Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, over the way the iTunes store operates."

McCain VP Pick No Friend to Polar Bears 
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has ignored research showing that polar bear populations are declining in the quest to plumb new sources of energy, according to scientists, and environmental groups who fought to put the bears on the endangered species list.

New York's 9/11 Site: Planning Fiasco 
"I would say that this has probably been the greatest planning fiasco in the history of the world. Daniel Libeskind's prize-winning design, a flexible, schematic concept that established a framework of achievable, creative possibilities, has been progressively purged by political pandering and economic pragmatism. The Port Authority's own brutally detailed report earlier this year gave some cogent reasons why a strong, unified vision of civic and urban renewal on a plane worthy of a great city could not survive."

Happiness, Virtue and Tyranny 
Matthew Pianalto looks at the difference between psychological and philosophical concepts of happiness.
Several accessible books detailing the history and the psychology of happiness have landed on bookshelves in the past few years. With limited exceptions, contemporary philosophers have only a small voice in this renewed and well-received discussion of happiness. ‘Positive psychologists’ such as Jonathan Haidt are friendly to ancient Greek philosophical conceptions of happiness, but critical of the later abandonment of happiness by philosophers in the modern period. Other happiness researchers, including Daniel Gilbert and Daniel Nettle, warn that the philosophical tendency to moralize happiness beginning with the Greeks may lead to undue confusion, ambiguity and intellectual bigotry. So how do we mediate between the psychological and the philosophical aspects of happiness? How can we engage in a discussion of what happiness ‘really’ is, and what kind of happiness should be pursued, without dragging in considerations that go beyond empirical facts? And how can we do this without becoming the dreaded happiness-bigots?

Pat Buchanan Loved Obama's Convention Speech 

Alvin, Discoverer of The Titanic, To Be Retired 
Raise a glass and wipe a tear from your eye. Alvin, that intrepid Navy explorer famed for exploring the Titanic with Dr. Robert Ballard's team at Woods Hole, is heading for the great metal front porch. He will be replaced by leaner, meaner, raw cast titanium whipper snapper that is costing some 50 million dollars.


"Zuerst die Fuesse" will continue to anger the Pope 
The board of the foundation of the Museion in the city of Bolzano voted to keep the work by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger, the museum said in a statement.

Earlier in August the pope had written a letter to regional president Franz Pahl denouncing the sculpture.

Pahl himself has long opposed the display, even staging a hunger strike this summer and saying he would not seek re-election unless it was removed. The sculpture "pokes fun at the Catholic population and offends religion and the pope", he said.

Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films 

Link (thanx, Benedikt Frank!)

Pictures of Chinese factory girl on new iPhone 

According to Kiki and Bubu, the reason why there is no working class in the West anymore is "because they are all in China". And one result of globalization may be that your shiny new iPhone comes preloaded with pictures of the worker who made it, complete with a friendly smile and the mysterious East-Asian V sign (✌) gesture so often seen in photographs.

Computer viruses make it to orbit 
A computer virus is alive and well on the International Space Station (ISS). Nasa has confirmed that laptops carried to the ISS in July were infected with a virus known as Gammima.AG. The worm was first detected on earth in August 2007 and lurks on infected machines waiting to steal login names for popular online games. Nasa said it was not the first time computer viruses had travelled into space and it was investigating how the machines were infected.

The Atheist Experience: Kissing Hank's Ass 

Link (thanx, Homolka!)

Johann Rossouw on South Africa 
In the third of a series of podcasts created by Le Monde diplomatique, South African philosopher Johann Rossouw talks to George Miller about what lies behind the recent violence, and why the old colonial model of modernity lives on.

Cows face north - says Google 
They could be the world's smelliest magnets. Grazing cows tend to face the North and South Poles, claims a new study of 308 herds made using Google Earth satellite photos. The ungulate's orientation suggests that they, like migratory birds, sea turtles and monarch butterflies, tune into Earth's magnetic fields, says Hynek Burda, a biologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

Holding Obama's feet to the fire 
With his appointment of a series of Clintonite economic and foreign policy advisers, Barack Obama has attracted fire from the American left. But does this mean that hope in his campaign for the presidency is misplaced? Doug Henwood, Gary Younge, Jo-ann Mort, Betsy Reed and Ta-Nehisi Coates debate the politics of Obama’s candidacy and the huge mobilisation of support behind it.

Spell it like it is 
The idea that we shuold except student's spelling misstakes as merely ‘variant spellings' speaks to the denigration of Trooth in education.

Change the world through free architecture 
A new movement aims to change the world through free architecture.
They are challenging their entire profession to take the high design standards usually reserved for elite clients and systematically deliver them to society's most vulnerable: to design hospital rooms that give the chronically ill a sense of control over their lives, libraries that will make children spend hours with a book, or simple structures that grant working immigrants new dignity. In other words, to convince ordinary people and those on the margins that architects don't just make giant, radical shapes. They can make giant, radical change

Numbers Rock!! 
According to this article, rising gas prices in America are leading to a 22% decrease in automobile deaths this year, or around 5,000 lives saved in a year. That's almost a quarter of Iraqi civilian deaths in 2007. The average cost for 1 Gallon (3.8 litres) of gasoline in San Francisco today is the same as 83.8 Hershey's chocolate bars (1.5oz or 42.5g) in 1936, the year Jesse Owens upset the reich by earning 4 medals in the Berlin Olympics, 25% the number Michael Phelps has earned in his career to date. The gold content of those medals is at least 72G, worth USD $1,092.96, or enough to buy 454.16 gallons of gasoline in San Francisco. Assuming highway miles, that would get a person 15896 miles in a 2008 Ford Focus, or 63.8% of the earth's circumference.
Which according to this would be just enough to drive from the filling station in SF to Baghdad and back. At which point the car would have a suggested retail value of $12,690 USD.

Ted Leo - "Since U Been Gone" and "Maps" 
Ted Leo covering Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone' mixed with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'Maps'.

Link (via DNL)

Nightmare for German RIAA: 70,200 samples in 33 seconds 
"Product Placements" is a project by Johannes Kreidler:
If you want to register a song at GEMA (RIAA, ASCAP of Germany) you have to fill in a form for each sample you use, even the tiniest bit. On 12 Sept 08, German Avantgarde musician Johannes Kreidler will —as a live performance event—register a short musical work that contains 70,200 quotations with GEMA using 70,200 forms.

Link (YouTube)

A Copy of a Copy of a Copy: The Matrix, American Beauty, and Fight Club as Retellings of Pink Floyd's The Wall 
The Matrix, American Beauty, and Fight Club as Retellings of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

A Sneak Preview from "You Do Not Talk About Fight Club: I Am Jack's Completely Unauthorized Essay Collection"
[...] Instead of a generic spiritual search that the protagonists were put into, three films stood out as particularly revealing in their willingness to address the specific historical moment of our spiritual crisis as it intersected with the family, with mass media, and with gender roles. In order of their appearance, The Matrix, American Beauty, and Fight Club (released between April and October 1999) all dealt in some way with the following three themes: overmediation, fatherlessness, and homosexuality. These three movies both articulate these themes and present them as intricately but often subtextually interconnected. Ironically, these three films also have something profoundly familiar in them when compared to Roger Water's 1979 classic, Pink Floyd's The Wall, made into a film by Alan Parker in 1982. If cultural texts come and go like fashion, it was almost as if the three authors of the 1999 films produced their most creative work by unintentionally recreating their favorite movie from adolescence. [...]

Minnesota, Meatpacking And Beyond: Immigrant Rights Are Labor Rights 
Twenty-five years ago, U.S. labor activists thought we were enmeshed in a struggle against concessions, fueled by a process of deindustrialization and capital flight. Here in the Midwest, the epicenter of that formation was the Hormel strike of 1985-86, extending from plants in southern Minnesota to Iowa and Nebraska. Hormel management wanted to reorganize everything about the work in their new flagship plant in Austin, from the calculation of wage payments to the sharpening of knives, with the intent of replicating these strategies throughout their plants. They pushed veteran workers to retire, while insisting that remaining workers and new hires had no choice in a competitive industry but to accept management's terms. They made similar demands on Austin city officials -- tax breaks, the construction of infrastructure at public expense, and subsidized access to electric power.

A history of the Caucasus? 
A timely new book attempts the impossible: a history of the Caucasus.
It is a bold historian who writes a history of the Caucasus, as events of the past week have made all too clear. The region may not be much bigger than England and Wales, but its history involves three unrelated indigenous groups of people – the Abkhaz and Circassians in the north-west, the Chechens, Ingush and Dagestanis in the north-east, the Kartvelians (Georgians, Mingrelians and Svans) in the south – and representatives of many Eurasian groups (Iranian, Turkic, Armenian, Semitic, Russian) who have settled there over the past 2,000 years.

Some forty mutually unintelligible languages, of which a handful are established literary languages and several others have only a precarious recent literary status, are spoken. Worse for anyone trying to present a coherent narrative, these disparate peoples have very different histories, and only two, the Georgians and Armenians (some would add the Azeris), have a history of statehood consistent enough to be retold as one would retell the history of a West European country. Worst of all, the frequent ravages of invaders, from Arabs in the seventh century, Mongols in the thirteenth, Iranians in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries and Russians over the past 300 years, have not only destroyed and driven out whole states and peoples, but burnt the records of their very existence. Even the year of death and the place of burial of the greatest of Caucasian monarchs, the Georgian Queen Tamar, is uncertain. Historians of the Caucasus have on the one hand to have at their command an immeasurable range of expertise, from archaeology to the folklore of dozens of different languages, and on the other the imagination and verve to bridge the gaps in chronology and in any other verifiable sources. It is a task that would daunt even the teams that produce the Cambridge Histories of, say, Russia or India.

Disney's rights to young Mickey Mouse may be wrong 
Film credits from the 1920s reveal imprecision in copyright claims that some experts say could invalidate Disney's long-held copyright.


Last night I saw a crap movie with Owen Wilson and that guy with the baggy eyes, he looks like he's always on medication and just very very tired. I think the movie was called Wedding Crashers and it's from 2004 or something. It features a scene in which a fictional politician shakes hands with a real one - and that real politician was Senator McCain. For a minute I thought I was literally in the wrong movie.

And now I found this T-Shirt by Ropeadope. I like it. I hope it's not super-old news! I'm from Yurrp after all.


"Bees will escape" at Super Market 

Any sport in which your score can be a complex number deserves more attention 
Cosmic Variance reports about the hidden complexity of the olympics:
Chad laments that we don’t hear that much about the decathlon any more, because Americans aren’t really competitive. I also think it’s a shame, because any sport in which your score can be a complex number deserves more attention.

Yes, it’s true. The decathlon combines ten different track and field events, so to come up with a final score we need some way to tally up all of the scores. You know what that means: an equation. Let’s imagine that you finish the 100 meter dash in 9.9 seconds. Then your score in that event, call it x, is x = 9.9. This corresponds to a number of points, calculated according to the following formulas:

points = α(x0-x)β   for track events,

points = α(x-x0)β   for field events.

That’s right — power laws! With rather finely-tuned coefficients, although it’s unclear whether they occur naturally in any compactification of string theory. The values of the parameters α, x0 and β are different for each of the ten events, as this helpful table lifted from Wikipedia shows.

Link (thanx, Boris Kamenik!)

monochrom's "Could It Be" on blip.tv 
monochrom content info
The story of two gay subroutines... now on blip.tv

"Could It Be" by monochrom. From the Semi-Best-Of album "Carefully Selected Moments", available on iTunes.

Link (hi-res video)

Nonine recordings 

Nonine recordings is a nice label from Berlin releasing wonderful deep albums. Enjoy.


10 years of The Big Lebowski 

Next month this great movie will celebrate the 1oth anniversary of its cinema release. Therefore we conjured up a little article about the "seven deadly sins and their representation in The Big Lebowski". Because, in the parlance of our times, this a movie about religions, like buddhism, judaism and bowling.

Feedback welcome.

Venezuela seizes Mexican owned cement plants 
"Now the cement we produce will not make millionaires of some far-away men, it will be used for our houses, our infrastructure, our national development plan," said Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez, charged with overseeing the takeover, before dancing workers clad in red shirts.


monochrom's "Could It Be": The story of two gay subroutines 
monochrom content info
This is the story of two gay subroutines...

File under: monochrom musical song duet gay subroutine love schmaltz 8bit ascii romantic liebeslied folder clarinet.

"Could It Be" by monochrom. From the Semi-Best-Of album "Carefully Selected Moments", available on iTunes.

Link (hi-res video)

"Fertilizing" parts of the ocean? 
Last year, a private company proposed "fertilizing" parts of the ocean with iron, in hopes of encouraging carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton. Meanwhile, researchers elsewhere are talking about injecting chemicals into the atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting mirrors into stationary orbit above the earth or taking other steps to reset the thermostat of a warming planet.

Hello, 2006 SQ372! 
A "minor planet" with the prosaic name 2006 SQ372 is just over two billion miles from Earth, a bit closer than the planet Neptune. But this lump of ice and rock is beginning the return leg of a 22,500-year journey that will take it to a distance of 150 billion miles, nearly 1,600 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun, according to a team of researchers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II).

Beloved sci-fi memories ruined: Orson Scott Card of "Ender's Game" 
Can an author's opinion ruin the fiction he produced? For Wired's GeekDad blog, it can. Especially if the author has outed himself as a disgusting homophobe of the worst kind:
Now it's two decades later, and Orson Scott Card has written a strongly anti-gay screed that goes so far as to propose active rebellion to ensure that marriage is legally defined to his liking. Like many others who have read his diatribe, I am utterly repulsed by his words, to the point that they have drastically altered my perception of him as a person, and yes, to some extent, as an author.

So now what do I do with the copies of Card's books: Should I get rid of them?  Should I encourage my kids to read them?  Essentially, does the fact that I find his opinions utterly repugnant invalidate his work somehow?  (We can debate endlessly whether Ender's Game is really a good book, or if it's an apologia for Hitler, or whatever.  I liked it when I was a teenager, and haven't read it since; I don't know if I would like it now.)

Hack A Day recommends Arse Elektronika and Roboexotica 
monochrom content info
Nice. Hack A Day recommends two of our festivals: Arse Elektronika 2008 (San Francisco) and Roboexotica 2008 (Vienna).


Jesse Darlin': interview with our monochrom artist-in-residence 
monochrom content info
Jesse Darlin' -- our artist-in-residence -- has been interviewed by Vice Austria. (Stupidly sexist German intro, by the way.)



"In my travels round the world I have always been surprised that no matter where I go people recognize and know me, from Europe, Australia and India to the Philippines and the Zulu Nation in South Africa. This got me thinking... I realized that while two people from two entirely different countries and backgrounds may seem to have nothing in common, the only thing they might have in common is me... So I decided to start a network where people from across the world might come together and get a conversation started over me. Where it will lead, I don't know but the world would be a better place if everyone talked a little more to each other..."

Voila, Hoffspace - The David Hasselhoff Social Community


Will The Semantic Web Have a Gender? 
As machines learn to understand what the web means, what perspective will they understand it from? Who is teaching them? "Objective" descriptions of the world and the relationships in it can cause real problems, particularly for people with little power in those relationships. How will the emerging Semantic Web understand relationships and what will that mean for us as human users?

The floating ecopolis 
The concept may be radical, but it might just have to be if the worst predictions of climate change are realized. The Lilypad, a floating ecopolis for climatic refugees, is the creation of Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut. "It is" he says, "a true amphibian, half aquatic and half terrestrial city, able to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants and inviting biodiversity".
(via Weblogsky)

Carl Sagan is Agent Smith 

Sheep's testicles and strychnine: The history of performance-enhancing substances in sport 
Cathal Sheerin reports:
Athletes have always sought to gain an edge on their fellow competitors by the use of dietary supplements and other methods. At the first Olympics in 776 BC, the ancient Greeks used oral supplements made from cola plants and hashish, as well as cactus-based stimulants. They also ate sheep's testicles as an early form of testosterone supplementation. Later, Roman athletes opted for sexual abstinence and a more masochistic method of performance-enhancement – they had their servants whip them with rhododendron branches until they bled, thereby preparing them for the pain of competition.

During the 17th century, methods of performance-enhancement were equally bloody, but more invasive, as runners had their spleens removed in the belief that it would increase their speed: the operation sped a fifth of them to early graves. In the late 1800s, athletes experimented with ether-coated sugar cubes and wine laced with cocaine to offset the pain and fatigue of competition.

The growth of international competition gave extra impetus to those seeking an advantage over their fellow athletes. Most famously, America's Thomas Hicks won the 1904 Olympic marathon dosed with raw egg, strychnine and brandy, all administered to him during the race. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he collapsed on crossing the finish line and remained unconscious for several hours - but he still got his gold medal.

South Africa: not yet post-colonial 
Recent violence between the poor and the poorer in South Africa was the by-product of the country's stagnation – it has achieved what it set out to do racially, but not economically or socially. The old colonial model of modernity is still the basis for power.

Military penguin becomes a 'Sir' 
A penguin who was previously made a Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Army has been knighted at Edinburgh Zoo.
Link (via DNL)

monochrom's "Bye Bye" on BBtv 
monochrom content info
Boing Boing TV is showing our short film "Bye Bye".

Link BBtv (without copyright infringement)
Link monochrom (with copyright infringement)

Torvalds: Fed up with the 'security circus' 
Creator of Linux kernel prefers model where bugs are fixed as early as possible without a lot of hype instead of current situation. He says he is fed up with what he sees as a "security circus" surrounding software vulnerabilities and how they're hyped by security people.
Link (thanx, Franky Ablinger)

Science as Narrative: The story of the discovery of penicillin 
This theoretical paper explores the use of narrative as a captivating vehicle for representing and communicating scientific information. It does so with the use of a narrative-based exhibit found at the Alexander Fleming Museum in London. Built upon theoretical underpinnings that point to the value of narrative for learning, we examine the necessary components, if any, of narrative alongside with excerpts and images from the exhibit describing the discovery of penicillin. We wander through this specific example about what it would mean to narrativize science, as an attempt to make it meaningful to and accessible by the public.

By Lucy Avraamidou (University of Nicosia) and Jonathan Osborne (King's College London).


How DNA Repairs Can Reshape Genome, Spawn New Species 
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) have shown how broken sections of chromosomes can recombine to change genomes and spawn new species.

The Cobalt Bomb: Dr Strangelove and the real Doomsday machine 
Review of P. D. Smith's "Doomsday Men: The real Dr Strangelove and the dream of the superweapon"
Smith's study is the gripping, untold story of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, which first came to public attention in 1950 when the Hungarian-born scientist Leo Szilard made a dramatic announcement on radio: science was on the verge of creating a Doomsday Bomb. For the first time in history, mankind would soon have the ability to destroy all life on the planet. The shockwave from this statement reverberated across the following decade and beyond.

What Szilard had in mind was the third of the "alphabet bombs" that came to characterize an entire age. The first, the A-bomb, had been used to incinerate two Japanese cities. Teller's H-bomb blasted its way into public consciousness a few years later. Finally, there was the ultimate weapon: the C-bomb, a hydrogen bomb that could "transmute" an element such as cobalt into a radioactive element about 320 times as powerful as radium. A deadly radioactive cloud could be released into the atmosphere and carried by the westerly winds across the surface of the earth. Every living thing inhaling it, or even touched by it, would be doomed to certain death. In the autumn of 1950, Szilard's fears were given independent validation by Dr James R. Arnold of the Institute for Nuclear Studies in Chicago. Arnold, slide-rule in hand, had started out to debunk Szilard's arguments. He finished by publishing a set of calculations that showed that a Doomsday device, perhaps two-and-a-half times as heavy as the battleship Missouri, could indeed be built.

Don't try to tell me inaction is not a crime 
The New York Times reports the sad and revolting story of a man whose life in New York City diverged from "probable green card" to "detainee treated worse than convicted felon". In 2007, "Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons." When he went for a green card hearing, he was detained for an immigration violation and taken to jail.
In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.
Link: New York Times article about Hiu Lui Ng

Link: New York Times' In-Custody Deaths Topic Page -- The page collects NY Times articles and outside links to related material on the problem of detainee deaths in the United States. As they say on the front page of the section: "On any given day, about 31,000 people who are not American citizens are held in detention in a patchwork of county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities while the government decides whether to deport them. Getting details about those who die in custody is a difficult undertaking left to family members, advocacy groups and lawyers."

Software lego bricks = services? 
Our Franky Ablinger writes:
When IT was starting to compose software from components 20 years ago, nobody thought that in the future the component lego bricks will be known as services... And: I must confess that I only knew a handful of the services listed here...

Prixxx Arse Elektronika: Update 
monochrom content info
Check out our human and non-human participants and contestants of Prixxx Arse Elektronika!

(Bios and descriptions.)

Blogging merit badge (at last) 
The Boy Scouts of America online store has an entire section devoted to humorous "spoof" merit badges. If you think you've earned it, you can purchase badges for such things as "Blogging", "UFO sighting", and "Lighting Farts".

Unabomber objects to display of his cabin at crime museum 
Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski wrote a letter to a federal appeals court complaining about a museum exhibit of the tiny cabin where he plotted an 18-year bombing spree.

Rainbows, the next government conspiracy 

The combination of missing science classes and having access to tools for publishing theories on rainbows online seems problematic.

When filtering for obscenity, please use common sense 
Otherwise, searching for the Consbreastution of the United States will expose a clbuttic mistake.

Uwe Boll to make a movie on Dafur massacres 
Dr. Uwe Boll, director of various movie adaptions of video games, often harshly critizised for his overall skills (one review called on of his movies "so poorly built, so horribly acted and so sloppily stitched together that it's not even at the straight-to-DVD level."), announced a surprising new project: before he goes on to shoot a third movie based on the BloodRayne franchise, the German director, producer, and screenwriter will start with Janjaweed, a movie about the genocidal armed mercenaries in Darfur:
"I will also do it in the style of Mel Gibson' Apocalypto... You do it almost like a documentary, but it's a fictional movie, and it will be very brutal." "I enjoyed shooting [Tunnel Rats] in South Africa, so I will shoot there again," he continues, in reference to his most recently completed film about the special U.S. combat unit that was sent into Vietnam to kill the subterranean elements of the enemy. "The title will be Janjaweed, just like the name of the Arab hordes who drive in on horsebacks and camels and kill everyone, raping the women and hacking the babies in pieces." 

Rune Grammofon 

DNL recieved postage from Norway, from the fine music label Rune Grammofon. He calls it a pearl and tells us about the beauty of its latest three releases.

The Big Lebowski and the Seven Mortal Sins 

It is never wrong to do an in-depth text even on a very minor or far-fetched issue of this great movie. The seven deadly sins are in fact represented in the movie "The Big Lebowski" in the divine duality. Check it out.

Hugh Laurie casting for House MD 

Islam, Animation and Money: the Reception of Disney's Aladdin in Southeast Asia 
By Timothy R. White and J. E. Winn.
Much has been said about the reception of Walt Disney Incorporated's 1993 film Aladdin by Arab-American groups in the United States. However, little has been written concerning the reception of the film in other parts of the world, especially in those nations with significant Muslim populations. Although an investigation into the reception of the film in the Islamic nations of the Middle East seems obvious and appropriate, there are other parts of the world with significant Muslim populations that deserve our attention. This paper, then, is a study of the controversy surrounding the distribution and exhibition of Aladdin in the nations of Southeast Asia with large Muslim populations. These nations include Indonesia (with the largest Muslim population in the world), Brunei, and Malaysia, all of which are predominantly Muslim, and Singapore, in which Muslims constitute a significant minority. Although in the United States the issue may be regarded as primarily one concerning freedom of expression, in other parts of the world the issue is not seen as quite so simple.
Link (thanx, Bene)

Arse Elektronika 2008: Call for Outfit 
monochrom content info
Prixxx Arse Elektronika 2008 will be a dignified occasion -- and so we invite you to dress up properly. Surprise us with sex and science fiction related costumes... and maybe win a Prixxx Arse trophy yourself!

Spread the word!

Prixxx Arse Elektronika 2008, Sept 25 @ CELLspace (San Francisco).


Some eyes are more equal than others 

The New York Times has reported that the United States Army has issued a textbook for war surgeons, War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq, that details the battlefield techniques doctors have developed in response to the new kinds of trauma wounds they are seeing in the current war.
Paradoxically, the book is being issued as news photographers complain that they are being ejected from combat areas for depicting dead and wounded Americans.

But efforts to censor the book were overruled by successive Army surgeons general. It can be ordered from the Government Printing Office for $71; Amazon.com lists it as out of stock, but the Borden Institute, the Army medical office that published it, said thousands more copies would be printed.
"I'm ashamed to say that there were folks even in the medical department who said, Over my dead body will American civilians see this," said Dr. David E. Lounsbury, one of the book's three authors. Dr. Lounsbury, 58, an internist and retired colonel, took part in the 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq and was the editor of military medicine textbooks at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Amazon link: War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq

Finally on US iTunes / monochrom's "Carefully Selected Moments" 
monochrom content info
Tatatataaaa! Our CD "Carefully Selected Moments" can now be found on iTunes US...
You can listen to the full versions of all tracks.

Link / iTunes Store

Guess who's building nuclear power plants? 

"Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan" on blip.tv 
monochrom content info
Kiki and Bubu get invited to a fancy cocktail party. But the hosts seem to be rather strange...

Link / blip.tv
Link / Kiki and Bubu main page

Jupiter And Saturn Full Of Liquid Metal Helium 
Cool stuff.
A strange, metal brew lies buried deep within Jupiter and Saturn, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and in London.

The study, just published the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that metallic helium is less rare than was previously thought and is produced under the kinds of conditions present at the centers of giant, gaseous planets, mixing with metal hydrogen and forming a liquid metal alloy.

Struck By Lightning: nice collection of stories and facts 
It's random and electric, and we are forever drawn to its deadly charm.
Floyd Woods, a retired truck driver from Ardbeg, Ontario, was twelve years old in 1943 when his house was hit. The strike shot through the radio antenna, exploded in the living room intoa blue fireball that roared down the hall, lifting up the linoleum runner by the tacks, ripping the nails out of the floor, splintering the house walls as fine as kindling before it ran off over the bedrock outside and died. Woods’ guitar was hanging on the wall over his bed. Sixty-five years later, he still shakes his head: "That strike burned the guitar strings off, bing, bing, bing, threw me right out of bed and across the room so I ached for a month. Nothin’ will move you faster than lightning. Nothin'."

"project vy2ms" aims to keep Department of Homeland Security busy 
Joerg Piringer's "project vy2ms" is a site that generates bizarre documents with graphics. Joerg goal is to keep the Department of Homeland Security busy.
the project vy2ms gives customs officers, agencies and police forces new labor. it generates documents that can be read, searched and deciphered by otherwise underemployed personal. it challenges them with enigmatic language and mysterious images and diagrams.

each document is unique and has it's own serial number. however you may rest assured that NO access data associated with your download will be stored.
you can print the document or store it on your laptop, mp3-player, digital camera, usb-stick, arduino...

beware: vy2ms might also provoke interesting discussions with officials about artificial linguistics, art and language in general

Packin' the K: Pwnie-awarded corporate anthem 
Black Hat Briefings, the conference before Las Vegas based hacker con Defcon, saw the first ever Pwnie Award Ceremony. The awards reward achievements in security and horrible failures in categories such as Best Server-Side Bug, Best Client-Side Bug, Mass 0wnage, Most Innovative Research, Lamest Vendor Response, Most Overhyped Bug, Most Epic FAIL, and Lifetime Achievement Award.

Oh, and there's an award for "Best Song", which went to antivirus company Kapersky Labs for keepin' it real with "Packin' the K":

Waterboarding an attraction at New York amusement park 
New York's Coney Island amusement park re-enacts the controversial interrogation practice from the Guantanamo Bay naval base for fun, using robots:
The scene using robotic dolls is an installation built by artist Steve Powers to criticize waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique the United States has admitted using on terrorism suspects, but that rights group say is torture.
"Waterboard Thrill Ride" beckons a sign along with cartoon character "SpongeBob SquarePants" who appears tied down and exclaiming: "It don't Gitmo better!"

"Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan" on YouTube 
monochrom content info
Kiki and Bubu get invited to a fancy cocktail party. But the hosts seem to be rather strange...

Link / YouTube
Link / Kiki and Bubu main page

BBtv features "Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan" 
monochrom content info
Kiki and Bubu get invited to a fancy cocktail party. But the hosts seem to be rather strange...
Featured on Boing Boing TV, in a shortened version.

Link BBtv
Link Uncut Version

monochrom's "Kiki and Bubu and The Good Plan" 
monochrom content info
Kiki and Bubu get invited to a fancy cocktail party. But the hosts seem to be rather strange...

Link to Director's Uncut

Yet they keep cranking it out. 

The Future of Sunglasses 

Behold the Uber Shades, the Swiss Army Knife of sunglasses, which are clearly the future.

12 LEGO Models Recreated in Cake 

There are basically two things in life which are simply wonderful and never fail to produce a happy smile on everyone's face: LEGO and cake. Which is why there is probably nothing that compares to the awesomeness of LEGO models recrecated in cake.


Hacking personal genetics 
The study of the human genome is slowly moving from the area of professionals to a point where it's available to amateurs. 23andMe offers a commericial service to compare your genes with friends, family and the world and decipher the history written in your genes (starting at 999 US$). You can also try out a free demo that includes an example family, the Mendels.

MyDaughtersDNA.org takes a different approach in their community focused on aiding those with challenging genetic conditions. Non-commericial in nature, it is a forum dedicated to expanding the understanding of genetics conditions and variations in the human genome, motivated by a personal cause:
The inspiration for this site comes from the unusual coincidence that I was trained as a clinical geneticist and I have a daughter with an unknown genetic syndrome. The community of clinical geneticists have been diligent and helpful but a definitive diagnosis remains elusive. It is very possible she has a new syndrome but despite my efforts, the molecular (or DNA) variant causing the syndrome is not known with certainty though I have identified a candidate. Were I not a physician trained as a geneticist,  it is likely my daughter’s condition would be lumped together with other patients in a category of heterogeneous but similar clinical conditions. This is the standard and respectable way that physicians deal with novelty.  It is a way station on the path to some greater understanding of human biology.  It takes the trained eye to spot the uniqueness of a case, sometimes a lucky scientific insight, or simply the tincture of time for science to catch up with the human condition.  In all cases, the question at hand -- what does she have --  has to be asked and re-asked and that is best done of everyone. This site allows that open question to hang out in the public begging unapologetically for an answer.

Hulk: "Well, down to business... what a lovely macaroon!" 

Atomic Bomb Go Game 
Today marks the anniversary of the first atomic bomb drop on a city. The nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945 and interrupted a celebrated Go game between Hashimoto Utaro, who was the Honinbo title holder, and Iwamoto Kaoru, who was the challenge:
The blast from the atomic bomb detonation above Hiroshima interrupted the game in its third day. It came at 8.15 am and at a point where the players had replayed the position - but had not yet started the game again. There were injuries to some of those there caused by flying glass, and damage to the building. Segoe was blown off his feet. The game wasn't resumed until after lunch. The game was then played to a conclusion, Hashimoto winning by five points with White (there was no komi). This tied the match 1-1.

Hybrid Cars? Too Quiet? 
Scientific American suggests:
Pedestrians, used to loud engine noise, have less warning when a car powered by a hybrid or electric motor approaches.
Well, let's get used to it.

Aurora: future user experience for the web? 
Aurora is a concept video exploring one possible future user experience for the Web, created by Adaptive Path as part of the Mozilla Labs concept series.

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

But will it really happen?
Link (via Manfred Wuits)

The Future of Playgrounds? 
The latest jungle gym talks to you, and connects to the web.


China's Olympic Trials 
"Go Red for China!" was the slogan unveiled on the Chinese mainland by Pepsi-Cola, whose ubiquitous blue can will, "for a limited time," be red. Pepsi is just one of many companies advertising at the Olympics, at a cost of up to $6 billion, in an attempt to tap a largely untouched market of more than 1 billion. "You've never seen the Olympics in a market that has such domestic commercial scale," Michael Wood, chief executive for greater China at advertising firm Leo Burnett, told the New York Times. "When the Olympics were in Los Angeles and Atlanta, the U.S. market was already fully developed."

This is the Olympics the West wanted: games where the grandest prize is not a gold medal but a glittering entree to China's seemingly endless army of potential consumers. This is the reason that George W. Bush will attend the opening ceremonies, the first U.S. President to do so on foreign soil, and that in March, mere days before the crackdown in Tibet, Condoleezza Rice, laughably, took China off the State Department's list of nations that abuse human rights.

Teaching at Harvard: Narcosis 
The banality and sense of entitlement of rich students at Harvard left John H. Summers feeling his teaching had been degraded to little more than a service to prepare clients for monied careers.
Teaching on the part-time staff at Harvard is a little like visiting Disney World. The magic dust induces a light narcosis.

monochrom's "Carefully Selected Moments" on last.fm 
monochrom content info
Our CD "Carefully Selected Moments" can now be found on last.fm...
You can listen to the full versions of all tracks.

Link / last.fm

Christopher Bickerton on Europe and its discontents 
"Le Monde diplomatique" starts a new series of podcasts. And in the second part, Christopher Bickerton talks to George Miller about the many different groups who all voted no in the Irish referendum, and what this means for Europe.

Mao, a pop art phenomenon? 
By Holland Cotter.
"I went to see the Great Wall. You know, you read about it for years. And actually, it was really great. It was really, really, really great."

That was Andy Warhol after his only visit to China, in 1982.

He loved what he saw. He loved, he said, that everyone here dressed alike. He loved that the Great Wall, the world's biggest Private Property: Do Not Enter sign, was in a Communist country. He loved that Mao Zedong, whose face he had painted because Life magazine called Mao the most famous man in the world, was still a superstar even though he had been dead for six years.

China was Pop. It still is. It's still a nation of uniforms, but of more and more kinds of uniforms. I saw outfits with matching corsages on department store salesgirls, the slate-gray shirts of guards stationed at luxury high-rises and the Chloë Sevigny T-shirts that teenagers wear on Beijing streets.

Mao's image is less conspicuous here than it once was. His status took a dip when the savageries of the Cultural Revolution began to be told. His face doesn’t appear on a new 10-yuan bank note issued for the Olympics, but it's on all other currency above the small-change level. He remains omnipresent, like some Warholian multiple. Look and you'll find him. His star power holds. [...]

Large Hadron Collider: The Rap 

You know a science experiment has arrived when a rap song extolling its virtues just hit YouTube. After 14 years, CERN, the European particle physics lab near Geneva, is getting ready to switch on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), designed to seek out new particles including the long-awaited Higgs boson and the possible source of dark matter as well as study the differences between matter and antimatter. The lab says it plans to send the first particles through the LHC's 17-mile- (27-kilometer-) diameter ring in early September and gradually bring it up to full speed over two months. In honor of the impending start-up, Alpinekat, aka Kate McAlpine, a science writer for CERN, has produced a five-minute rap video starring herself and friends dancing in the bowels of the machine. McAlpine's rap, written during her 40-minute bus commute from Geneva to CERN, gives a rhythmic tour of the mysteries of modern physics and the workings of the LHC, noting that "the things that it discovers will rock you in the head." It even has a good hook.
Link (via SciAm)

Creating first nerve cells from reprogrammed stem cells 
After nearly a decade of setbacks and false starts, stem-cell science finally seems to be hitting its stride. Just a year after Japanese scientists first reported that they had generated stem cells by reprogramming adult skin cells — without using embryos — American researchers have managed to use that groundbreaking technique to achieve another scientific milestone. They created the first nerve cells from reprogrammed stem cells — an important demonstration of the potential power of stem-cell-based treatments to cure disease.

Could China lead the green revolution? 
China, pilloried as the world's biggest polluter, has quietly taken a lead in moving to a low-carbon economy, according to a report by an independent climate advisory group.

Resource Allocation recommends the BlogWarBot.
If you have ever had a frustrating political discussion with someone, where you just can't see eye to eye because you have completely different preconceptions, then you will know how these discussions can degenerate.

Sick and tired of getting involved in these sorts of discussions on blogs Chris Clarke developed the BlogWarBot an automated opponent to carry on these discussions for him. You can check out some of the resulting discussions here: Blogwars reconsidered And engage in battle yourself here: BlogWarBot.

Tonight we mean it when we dance 
"The dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks."

The current issue of Adbusters skewers the hipster scene in a wildly self-important essay that ends, "The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new."

The article is enjoyable to read, since of course it's fun to read about how trashy and pointless hipsters are. But I have no idea how it made it past the factcheckers:
Hipsterdom is the first 'counterculture' to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.
Can it really be true that the folks at Adbusters have never read Adorno and Horkheimer writing about the culture industry?

Oldest joke traced back to Sumerians in 1900 BC 
The world's oldest recorded joke has been traced back to 1900 BC and suggests toilet humour was as popular with the ancients as it is today. It heads the world's oldest top 10 joke list published by the University of Wolverhampton today.
Link (thanx, Andras Vasaros!)

Syncretism! International Year Of Polytheism -- Call And/Or Contest 
monochrom content info
Our friend Adam Flynn joins the polytheistic movement and posts a call... Call For Syncretism!
As civilizations bumped into one another in antiquity, they tended to discover that they had many different gods. But since most pantheons break down gods into somewhat similar areas of expertise, the greeks just figured that the barbarians had funny names for their gods, and combined the two. This eventually got to the point where you could slam almost any two gods with similar areas of expertise together to get something subtly new. Some of my favorite gods, like Mithras and Hermes Trismegistus, come from the intercultural mashups (Persio-Roman and Greco-Egyptian, respectively) that were going on at this time.


So I propose that the international year of Polytheism, in the interest of kick-starting the spread of polytheism, hold an open call for syncretism and de-euhemerism. Combine your favorite gods with modern saints or legendary figures of our times. Let a thousand syncretic gods bloom. Say, for instance, one of those sainted old nuns like Mother Teresa or Mother Cabrini...they might make a good match with a hearth goddess like Demeter, or if you want to push a little farther, with Cybele, mother goddess of the wild earth. Or perhaps Saint Stephen (Istvan) of Hungary, the badass magyar warrior king whose severed hand is a national relic, might well be identified with Labraid Lámh Dhearg (Labraid of the Red Hand), the Celtic sun god whose legecy lives on in the red hand of Ulster.
Read Adam's entire call here!
And help!

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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