...and allergies, wind and speed limits will also offend you. A free family protection tool coming to a smart-phone near you. Feel free to vomit.
Link (via fra, bagasch)
Bart Simpson promotes Scientology?
Ned Flanders would not approve.
The Globalisation of Addiction
In his third book, The Globalization of Addiction: a study in poverty of the spirit, Bruce Alexander proposes a radical rethink of addiction.
Bruce Alexander is best known - though deserves to be much better known - for the 'Rat Park' experiments he conducted in 1981. As an addiction psychologist, much of the data with which he worked was drawn from laboratory trials with rats and monkeys: the 'addictiveness' of drugs such as opiates and cocaine was established by observing how frequently caged animals would push levers to obtain doses. But Alexander's observations of addicts at the clinic where he worked in Vancouver suggested powerfully to him that the root cause of addiction was not so much the pharmacology of these particular drugs as the environmental stressors with which his addicts were trying to cope.Review
Inquiry: Grilled-Cheese Madonna
Since it came to light in 2004, it has become the quintessential holy image to appear on an item of food: the face, many say, of the Virgin Mary on a grilled-cheese sandwich. While it has sparked little piety—the Catholic church has not sanctioned it as divine—it has become the subject of controversy and ridicule and has even suffered insinuations of fakery. I once had custody of the curious item, and I was actually able to photograph and examine the image under magnification. Here are my findings. [...]
Bolivia Looking Forward: New Constitution Passed
After Bolivia's new constitution was passed in a national referendum on Sunday, thousands gathered in La Paz to celebrate. Standing on the balcony of the presidential palace, President Evo Morales addressed a raucous crowd: "Here begins a new Bolivia. Here we begin to reach true equality."Link
The funniest sentence in the Russian language?
>>the goat cried out in an inhuman voice<<Link
Revisiting "In the Heat of the Night"
By Leonard Quart.
In the fifties and through most of the sixties few if any Hollywood films dealt in a serious and authentic manner with black life. The only one that readily comes to mind is Michael Roemer's (a white filmmaker) Nothing But a Man (1964), starring Ivan Dixon as an itinerant black laborer in the Deep South of the early 60s. Nothing But a Man was a low-budget, realist film that managed to capture the humiliation of being a second-class citizen in the 60s south, and, more distinctively, African-American society's class differences and the fragility of its family structure.Link
What The Obama Government Might Mean To The Arts
Barack Obama was sworn in on 20 January with a historic mandate for change. Extraordinary times call for bold actions and visionary ideas. Big government is back. Hopes are for an administration that is not only more progressive, but also smarter.Link
Scandinavia, Atheist Heaven
So the typical Dane or Swede doesn't believe all that much in God. And simultaneously, they don't commit much murder. But aren't they a dour, depressed lot, all the same? Not according to Ruut Veenhoven, professor emeritus of social conditions for human happiness at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Veenhoven is a leading authority on worldwide levels of happiness from country to country. He recently ranked 91 nations on an international happiness scale, basing his research on cumulative scores from numerous worldwide surveys. According to his calculations, the country that leads the globe — ranking No. 1 in terms of its residents' overall level of happiness — is little, peaceful, and relatively godless Denmark.Link
Why Chinese Is So Damn Hard
If you plan to learn Chinese, you may be interested in this enlightening and delightful piece by David Moser, University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies:
Whereas modern Mandarin is merely perversely hard, classical Chinese is deliberately impossible. Here's a secret that sinologists won't tell you: A passage in classical Chinese can be understood only if you already know what the passage says in the first place. This is because classical Chinese really consists of several centuries of esoteric anecdotes and in-jokes written in a kind of terse, miserly code for dissemination among a small, elite group of intellectually-inbred bookworms who already knew the whole literature backwards and forwards, anyway. An uninitiated westerner can no more be expected to understand such writing than Confucius himself, if transported to the present, could understand the entries in the "personal" section of the classified ads that say things like: "Hndsm. SWGM, 24, 160, sks BGM or WGM for gentle S&M, mod. bndg., some lthr., twosm or threesm ok, have own equip., wheels, 988-8752 lv. mssg. on ans. mach., no weirdos please."Link
S. M. Stirling's "The Sky People"
"The Sky People" by S. M. Stirling. Mind-candy! The first probes to Venus and Mars in 1962 revealed that we live in Edgar Rice Burroughs's solar system, which rather re-directs the Cold War.
Marc Vitrac was born in Louisiana in the early 1960's, about the time the first interplanetary probes delivered the news that Mars and Venus were teeming with life—even human life. At that point, the "Space Race" became the central preoccupation of the great powers of the world.Link
The Story of Mister W.
Is It Time to Bail Out of America?
California State Controller John Chiang announced on January 26 that California's bills exceed its tax revenues and credit line and that the state is going to print its own money known as IOUs. The template is already designed.Link
2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut
Nick DiChario envisions a not-so-rosy future courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut.
Review"Everything was perfectly swell.So begins '2 B R 0 2 B', a clever short story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the author of far more famous works such as Slaughterhouse Five, Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, and many others. The story first appeared in the January 1962 issue of the pulp sci-fi magazine Worlds of If.
Free download of story on Project Gutenberg
Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Turning Us Into Mad Hatters?
Well, it turns out that the anti-high fructose corn syrup crusaders had something to fear all along. Not just rotting teeth or hyperactivity, but evidently mercury in their children's Frosted Flakes and Fruit Gushers, too.
Delirious Screens: Flesh Shadows & Cool Technology
By Ted Hiebert.
Behind the screen, there is nothing. Not darkness, not fantasy, not even the flickering lights of consciousness aroused. And yet, within the screen, the case is quite the opposite -- here, within the delirium of technological living we encounter an intensified imaginary, new worlds of interactive possibility, in short, new opportunities for the falsification of being.Link
Helium Rains Inside Saturn, Jupiter And Other Jovian Planets
Models of how Saturn and Jupiter formed may soon take on a different look. By determining the properties of hydrogen-helium mixtures at the millions of atmospheres of pressure present in the interior of Saturn and Jupiter, physicists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have determined the temperature at a given pressure when helium becomes insoluble in dense metallic hydrogen.
What, Exactly, Is Slumdog Millionaire?
Is it a) a portrait of the real India, b) a Bollywood-style melodrama, c) a fairy tale, or d) a stylishly shot collection of clichés?
Poe at 200
2009 marks the bicentennial of Edgar Allan Poe, arguably the most famed and influential writer in American history. Not only does his work entirely limn the culture, but he also created no fewer than two genres of popular fiction — mystery and modern horror — almost single-handedly. Virtually anyone in the U.S. can recite his poetry (a few lines here and there, at least). His personal life and ambitions inform the clichés of the starving writer in his garret and that of the mad genius. And it's nigh impossible for someone to graduate from an American high school without having read him.Link
When extreme programming becomes the standard, extreme hiring is the next step. They keep looking for skills, yes. But for kindergarten skills: the next employee will be the one who is collaborative and helps others in fulfilling their tasks. In particular they want participants to "make their partner look good."
Guess they are mad as hell.
2 Euro 50 for "Force Sting"!
We got two more donations (50 cents and 2 euros) for our campaign "Force Sting", thus raising the bar to 55 euros!
"Force Sting" tries to force the rock singer "Sting" ("Russians love their children too") to appear for a bad cause (e.g. skinning seal babies, atomic energy in Eastern Europe, total extinction of species, sterilization of lefties, excessive packaging; Windows XP presentations are harmless). For this cause we want to offer him a sum of money so high that he cannot refuse. Thus we need your support!
Clever Critters: 8 Best Non-Human Tool Users
[...] a compilation of some of the most interesting animal tool use yet observed. Much more likely remains to be found: until Jane Goodall watched chimpanzees fishing for termites with sticks, scientists had been reluctant to credit animals with such sophisticated behavior — perhaps because, as Charles Darwin noted, "Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal."Link
Google & the Future of Books
By Robert Darnton
How can we navigate through the information landscape that is only beginning to come into view? The question is more urgent than ever following the recent settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who were suing it for alleged breach of copyright. For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. The authors and publishers objected that digitizing constituted a violation of their copyrights. After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and Google agreed on a settlement, which will have a profound effect on the way books reach readers for the foreseeable future. What will that future be?Link
Smallest Possible Switch: Single Gold Atom Forms The Contact
The smallest mechanical switch plus an electronic switch of a type never seen before. That’s how physicist Marius Trouwborst sums up the results of his PhD research on electric current through atoms and molecules. "The ultimate aim of nanotechnology is to use molecules for electronics," he says. "That aim has now come a step closer."
Objectified: Documentary about Industrial Design
Objectified is a feature-length independent documentary about industrial design. It's a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It's about the people who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It's about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. It's about our relationship to mass-produced objects and, by extension, the people who design them.
Link trailer (via peterpur)
Urban Hacking: Paraflows 2009
paraflows 09 - festival for digital arts and cultures
The topic of the fourth festival for digital arts and cultures in the city
of Vienna is URBAN HACKING.
The city of Vienna has a long tradition of art performances and interventions in public spaces. This year's festival paraflows09 would like to connect these approaches to public and urban spaces while at the same time comment on the roles of digital media by exploring, challenging, and constructing urban infrastructure.
We are interested in projects that investigate the use of urban space for performances, the hacking of and intervention with urban publics. How can areas of freedom be created, discovered and be put to use? How do regulated spaces work as opposed to the unsupervised? Whom does the city/street/net and their infrastructure belong to? What role does technology play in the urban space? How can social structures be designed and remodelled? How can "urban hacking" redefine urban space, make us think about and live in it along different lines? To what extend can the redefinition of public spaces help to manifest protest against the establishment, advertisement, and consumerist societies?
The net, a public infrastructure with all its alcoves, possibilities and mechanisms, has now also become an important instrument for society to communicate. By adding hyper space into the equation internet has expanded the public real spaces. How these parallel levels of reality organise themselves and what freedom of movement they grant the individual person is one of the issues of paraflows09 URBAN HACKING.
For more information on paraflows09 URBAN HACKING visit http://www.paraflows.at.
We are looking for artistic positions dealing with the issues as afore mentioned.
Pls send your application as pdf file via e-mail to: urban_hacking(at)paraflows.at
or ship to:
DEADLINE: March 15th, 2009
Puns involving hell, pleas for help and pointless misspellings
This chart is genius. It's about the 'Metal, Kid.
I got this link via the 'Tap. Not Spinal. The Crail.
Making Things: Gaza Edition
In this video a pair of polite young fighters in Gaza show how they make the homemade rockets which they fire into Israeli settlements. It's sort of like this instructables guide, except that the rockets are supposed to kill people. Most of them don't, because these guys have little more than plumbing supplies to work with.
The launch scene is strangely serene, having more the feel of a college prank than an act of aggression. These are the kind of parallels I find most disturbing.
monochrom: "One Minute"
There is too much talking...
Link (hi-res available)
The Obama Action Figure & Its Creator
Screenkids.tv present "The Obama Action Figure & Its Creator".
Supertrain! A series about a super train!
What a gem of ultratelevisionary television.
The series took place on the "Supertrain", an imagined nuclear-powered bullet train that was equipped with amenities more appropriate to a cruise ship than a train, such as swimming pools and shopping centers. It was so big it had to run on very broad gauge track (not two sets of tracks as depicted in some advertising). The train took 36 hours to go from New York City to Los Angeles. Much like its contemporary The Love Boat, the plots concerned the passengers' social lives, usually with multiple intertwining storylines, and most of the cast was composed of guest stars. The production was elaborate, with huge sets and a high-tech model train for outside shots.
Link (via Hawkdog)
Wanderwörter in Indo-European languages
A nice blog entry about Wanderwörter (words that travel between languages in a region).
This is the last of the posts I promised, showing what loanwords, including Wanderwörter, look like from the standpoint of mainstream historical linguistic methodology. After this I'm going to have to stop posting for a while; term is starting, with a full load of teaching and advising, and unfortunately I’m also chair of my department at the moment.Link
Bailouts for the banks, bullets for the people: Mass uprising of Greece's youth
Why did Greek youth take to the streets? For the first time since the second world war young people have no hope of a better life than their parents. But there is also a failure of trust in politicians and all state institutions, particularly the police.
A Talk with Frank Wilczek
Frank Wilczek, a theoretical physicist at MIT and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (2004), is known, among other things, for the discovery of asymptotic freedom, the development of quantum chromodynamics, the invention of axions, and the discovery and exploitation of new forms of quantum statistics (anyons). He is the author of Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces.
The most exciting thing that can happen is when theoretical dreams that started as fantasies, as desires, become projects that people work hard to build. There is nothing like it; it is the ultimate tribute. At one moment you have just a glimmer of a thought and at another moment squiggles on paper. Then one day you walk into a laboratory and there are all these pipes, and liquid helium is flowing, and currents are coming in and out with complicated wiring, and somehow all this activity is supposedly corresponds to those little thoughts that you had. When this happens, it's magic.Link
Why Cuba Still Matters
By Diana Raby.
In the early 1990s there was near unanimity in the media, in Western political circles, and even among academics that the collapse of the Cuban revolution was imminent. Even today, many observers regard it as only a matter of time for Cuba to undergo a transition to democracy (understood as a narrowly defined polyarchy) and a "market economy."Link
'Molecular Parasites' In Human Genome?
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, determined the structure of a protein (L1ORF1p), which is encoded by a parasitic genetic element and which is responsible for its mobility. The so-called LINE-1 retrotransposon is a mobile genetic element that can multiply and insert itself into chromosomal DNA at many different locations. This disturbs the genetic code at the site of integration, which can have serious consequences for the organism.
Social Networking Sites and the Surveillance Society
Social Networking Sites and the Surveillance Society. A Critical Case Study of the Usage of studiVZ, Facebook, and MySpace by Students in Salzburg in the Context of Electronic SurveillanceBy Christian Fuchs.
Link (PDF) [via gf]
The Goon Bible Project - Book of Job
Some Points About Pointing
Raymond Tallis shows that the gesture is not so obvious.
My pointing something out to you is a request for joint visual attention to the same object. It is based on a highly explicit general sense of the kind of creature you are: unlike other creatures, (most) humans have an unequivocal sense that others have minds. On top of this, there is a specific sense of your knowledge being defective compared with mine, based on my observation of your (literal) point of view. We are reminded just how remarkable this is when we encounter human beings who lack this sense: people with autism who have no integrated sense of themselves, and no sense of other's sense of themselves. A poignant early sign of autism is the failure to point – a gesture which usually appears towards the end of the first year of life, before the emergence of language. Pointing, in short, is a potent testimony to the infant's sense (again unique to human beings) of living in a shared, common world, a public reality, and of its communicative urge.Link
Why we can't stop birds downing aircraft
The aircraft that splashed into the Hudson River is unlikely to be the last plane to be downed by a birdstrike, says Paul Marks.
Assassins of the Mind
When Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on novelist Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses, it was the opening shot in a war on cultural freedom. Two decades later, the violence continues, and Muslim fundamentalists have gained a new advantage: media self-censorship.Link
Vocabulary of Smell?
So why is it that the words we use to describe smells are the names of actual things with particular odors (rose, ammonia, hay, sulphur), while we have abstract words for color (red, green, light, dark) and touch (rough, smooth, hard, soft)?
In honor of Ricardo
In the movie "Wrath of Kahn", William Shatner immortalized his mortal enemy by shouting his name for a long time.
This graph shows just how long the average person holds down the 'a' key when google searching for Kahn!
It drops off after 13, but picks up a bit around 40.
Rest in peace, Ricardo Montalbán.
Barackwurst: The Inauguration Sausage
You may live in a giant hologram
Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.
The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.
How to fix a broken plasma screen -- with a baseball bat and a wall
When solidarity with the Jewish state becomes dangerous: Police Remove Israeli Flag during Islamist Protest March in Germany
Police in the western German city of Duisburg have admitted they removed flags a student had hung in his apartment in support of Israel during a pro-Palestinian protest march in the city. Officers broke down his door and removed the flags. (...)Link
'War on terror was wrong' says David Miliband in today's Guardian
David Miliband, Britain's Foreign Secretary, wrote a comment in today's Guardian about the mistake of lumping together everything under the sun and brand it 'the war on terror'.
"The "war on terror" also implied that the correct response was primarily military. But as General Petraeus said to me and others in Iraq, the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife."
India: Gods and Corporations
Most corporates, of course, do both things--swindle the earth as well as invest in religion. And they take care to bribe the auditors in both places. Especially in India, where Hindus actually worship wealth as a goddess called Laxmi, and where the acquiring of vaibhav (worldly stature, replete with wherewithal) is an endorsed spiritual goal. Like religious institutions of the top order the world-over, the Vatican for one, some of India's temple trusts are among the richest corporates going, and the classes and the masses have an appropriately unequal access to their sanctum sanctorums. And those that are out of caste have none, even as many gods that are installed within have not even a human face.Link
Coffee Lovers, Club Mate Consumers: High Caffeine Intake Linked To Hallucination Proneness
High caffeine consumption could be linked to a greater tendency to hallucinate, a new research study suggests.
RIP Ricardo Montalban
He was a "suave leading man who was one of the first Mexican-born actors to make it big in Hollywood." But he's best remembered by Boomers and Gen-Xers as a preternaturally smooth TV pitchman for Chrysler, Capt. Kirk's most butter enemy in the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and as the presiding spirit on the series Fantasy Island.
The End of White America?
The Election of Barack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend: the gradual erosion of "whiteness" as the touchstone of what it means to be American. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, what will the new mainstream look like--and how will white Americans fit into it? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? And will a post-white America be less racially divided—or more so?
Jonathan Mann: What Does It Mean To Love A Machine?
Jonathan finally published a YouTube video of the song he debuted at the Arse Elektronika 2008 opening night in San Francisco.
What Does It Mean To Love A Machine? from Jonathan Mann on Vimeo.
Add N To (X) - Metal Fingers In My Body
Just how much time do you spend on Twitter?
You wonder how much time you wasted by twittering?
monochrom at ETech's LateTech
Join us Wednesday, March 11 for LateTech, our [somewhat] late night soiree where tech meets comedy, magic and more! Be more than just a spectator or passive member of the audience. LateTech is our showcase of conceptual tech wizardry where the audience becomes part of the spectacle.Link
History of the Internet
The tyranny of nodes: Towards a critique of social network theories
Networks have become a powerful metaphor to explain the social realities of our times. Everywhere we look there are attempts to explain all kinds of social formations in terms of networks: citizen networks, corporate networks, gamer networks, terrorist networks, learning networks… and so on. Information and communication technologies—in particular the internet—and the structures they enable have greatly influenced how we imagine the social. It's similar to what happened in cognitive science when the computer was taken as the favored metaphor for explaining how the brain works, except that now we are attempting to explain how the social works.Link (via cuuixsilver)
Nonsense On Stilts? A Quaker View of Human Rights
Mark Frankel examines Quaker perspectives on human rights [Nonsense on Stilts? – A Quaker view of Human Rights edited by Nigel Dower, William Sessions Ltd, 2008, 116pps, £7.50, ISBN: 1850723737].
Quakers are non-doctrinaire Christians with a fine tradition of work for peace and social justice. This collection of eight essays by Quaker activists and academics attempts insights into the nature of human rights and the thinking which informs them. It takes its title from the vivid remark of Jeremy Bentham that natural rights are nonsense and inalienable natural rights are 'nonsense on stilts'. Bentham denied that rights could be deduced from nature, but he would have been quick to agree that basic principles for the protection of the individual could and should be enshrined in law. This collection of essays avoids the abstract question of the naturalness of rights, but takes as read that human have legal rights, and tries to bring a specifically Quaker perspective to the issue.Link
Between imperial client and useful enemy: Pakistan's permanent crisis
By Justin Podur.
Pakistani scholar–activist Eqbal Ahmed, who died in 1999, had a canny ability to predict events. In a 1974 article for the Journal of Contemporary Asia, he suggested that Pakistan was headed towards a police state structure because of the class and ideological composition of the military and its supremacy over civil society. Other sectors, such as the bureaucracy, feudal landlords and the small entrepreneurial class, were weak and subordinate. Opposition parties, meanwhile, were 'given more to hyperbole and public meetings than to organizing and resisting. A large part of the opposition is either ideologically reactionary or indistinguishable from the party in power.' A police state would use either a kind of developmental-fascist ideology (as happened in Chile, Brazil and Greece) or it would rely on religious fundamentalism, and would find an eager sponsor in the United States. 'Unfortunately,' the article concludes, 'the democratic and revolutionary groups in Pakistan to whom falls the responsibility of halting this trend are as yet only weakly developed.'Link
Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love
Challenging both capitalism and the values of Western civilization, the gay socialist writer Edward Carpenter had an extraordinary impact on the cultural and political landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A mystic advocate of, among other causes, free love, recycling, nudism, women's suffrage and prison reform, Carpenter's work anticipated the sexual revolution of the 1960s and placed him at the epicenter of the literary culture of his day.
How exactly will Obama get all his stuff into the White House?
After Barack Obama is sworn in on Jan. 20, he and his family will move into the White House. But how exactly will the president-elect get all his belongings into his new home? Will he hire movers?
What Happened To The Promised New Era Of Black Film-Makers?
You could now literally count on one hand (using two fingers) the number of black directors who can get their projects made and distributed at a steady rate.Link
The English working class is dead...
...and its traditions and values have been replaced by sentimentality and the false promises of celebrity and credit cards. It's time the people rediscovered their collective power and sense of pride, argues Scottish novelist Andrew O'Hagan.
Report: Proletarian Errors Are Good Errors
They are the elite! They are the crop of crops! They are the (d)awn of the future! They are the beta-testers! And they are doing an excellent job!
Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector II will be at your fingertips soon!
Are all intuitions created equal? Knobe Effect? Huh?
Well... really? Hmm.
Experimental philosophers have gathered impressive evidence for the surprising conclusion that philosophers’ intuitions are out of step with those of the folk. As a result, many argue that philosophers’ intuitions are unreliable. Focusing on the Knobe Effect, a leading finding of experimental philosophy, we defend traditional philosophy against this conclusion. Our key premise relies on experiments we conducted which indicate that judgments of the folk elicited under higher quality cognitive or epistemic conditions are more likely to resemble those of the philosopher. We end by showing how our experimental findings can help us better understand the Knobe Effect.Link PDF
Mosquitoes Create Harmonic Love Song
That pesky buzz of a nearby mosquito is the sound of love, scientists have known for some time. But a new Cornell study reports that males and females flap their wings and change their tune to create a harmonic duet just before mating.
Who Carries Out Spectacular Acts of Terrorism and Why?
By Nitasha Kaul.
Spectacular Acts of Terrorism create Events which are designed to shift the public discourse by rupturing processes of dialogue and understanding. A Big Bang such as planes that crash into buildings, or trains that explode, or discotheques that blow up, or a rain of bullets across a city -- brings about a quantum shift in every single aspect of individual perception and public policy -- immediately. This is the deliberate outcome of such Spectacles -- they are planned to disrupt incrementalist and rational development of thought processes at every level of a pluralist functioning state and society. This is why they happen unannounced, this is why they happen simultaneously at multiple locations, and this is why they target places of public prominence.Link
The 3 Rules of the Internet
Jonathan Mann rocks again.
Act Fast: The Assassination Spam
Wow. New one. Some old buddy doesn't want to assassinate me. But he needs to pay his work colleagues.
-------- Original Message --------(via Roland Ortner, bagasch mailing list)
Wobblies and Zapatistas
Interview with the authors of Wobblies and Zapatistas:
The book is about the need for Marxists and anarchists to lay down their ideological weapons and create a single Left resistance to what capitalism is doing to the world. The hostility between the two traditions is a little like a feud between extended families handed down from generation to generation: Hatfields and McCoys in American history, or the families of Romeo and Juliet. In reality Marxism and anarchism should be like two hands, the one analyzing the structure of things, the other throwing up unending prefigurative initiatives. Neither tradition has been so successful that it can speak of the other with lofty dismissal or contempt. We need each other.Link
From Thermopylae to the Twin towers: The West's selective reading of history
By Alain Gresh.
Shortly after the first world war, the French literary critic and historian Henri Massis (1886-1970) preached a crusade against the dangers threatening European values and thought – largely identified with those of France, in his mind. He wasn't entirely misguided: across the world, colonised nations were in revolt. He wrote: "The future of western civilisation, of humanity itself, is now under threat... Every traveller, every foreigner who has spent any time in the Far East agrees that the way in which the population thinks has changed more in the last 10 years than it did over 10 centuries. The old, easy-going submissiveness has given way to blind hostility – sometimes genuine hatred, just waiting for the right moment to act. From Calcutta to Shanghai, from the steppes of Mongolia to the plains of Anatolia, the whole of Asia trembles with a blind desire for freedom. These people no longer recognise the supremacy that the West has taken for granted since John Sobieski conclusively stemmed the Turkish and Tartar invasions beneath the walls of Vienna. Instead they aspire to rebuild their unity against the white man, whose overthrow they proclaim".Link
Husband Wants Kidney Back
Many divorces turn acrimonious, but a New York divorce has turned potentially life-threatening. But a new litmus test has emerged for real acrimony: has your soon-to-be ex asked for a donated organ back? Only then do you know you are in a truly deadly divorce!Link
Ten extinct beasts that could walk the Earth again
The recipe for making any creature is written in its DNA. So last November, when geneticists published the near-complete DNA sequence of the long-extinct woolly mammoth, there was much speculation about whether we could bring this behemoth back to life.Link
Who Checks the Spell-Checkers?
Microsoft Word's dictionary is old and outdated. Here's how to fix it.
A Bad Economy - Good For Literature?
In the economic downturn of the 1980s, literary fiction flourished in the UK. So will we see a repeat this time around?
Who on earth would make a plush Crucifix?
Biofuel Development Shifting From Soil To Sea, Specifically To Marine Algae
Today, the most fervent attention in biofuel development has shifted from soil to the sea, and specifically to marine algae. Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, along with researchers at UCSD’s Division of Biological Sciences, are part of an emerging algal biofuel consortium that includes academic collaborators, CleanTECH San Diego, regional industry representatives, and public and private partners.Link
Beyond Bailouts: On the Politics of Education After Neoliberalism
As the financial meltdown reaches historic proportions, free-market fundamentalism, or neoliberalism as it is called in some quarters, is losing both its claim to legitimacy and its claims on democracy. Once upon a time a perceived bastion of liberal democracy, the social state is being recalled from exile, as the decades-long conservative campaign against the alleged abuses of "big government" - its euphemism for a form of governance that assumed a measure of responsibility for the education, health and general welfare of its citizens - has been widely discredited. Not only have the starving and drowning efforts of the Right been revealed in all their malicious cruelty, but government is about to have a Cinderella moment; it is about to become "cool," as Prince Charming-elect Barack Obama famously put it. The idea has enchanted many. The economist and recent Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, has argued that the correct response to the current credit and financial crisis is to "greatly expand the role of government to rescue an ailing economy," with the proviso that all new government programs must be devoid of even a hint of corruption. Bob Herbert has called for more government regulation to offset the dark cloud of impoverishment that resulted from the last thirty years of deregulation, privatization and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. And there are others, sophisticated thinkers all, such as Dean Baker, David Korten, Naomi Klein and Joseph E. Stiglitz, who have traced the roots of the current financial crisis to the adaptation of neoliberal economic policy, which fostered a grim alignment among the state, corporate capital and transnational corporations. Even New York Times op-ed writer Thomas Friedman has found a way to live comfortably with the idea. He wants to retool the country's educational mainframe, teaching young people to be more creative in their efforts to build "the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure," - even as the stated goal unhappily recapitulates the neoliberal fantasy that unchecked growth cures all social ills. And a contrite Alan Greenspan, erstwhile disciple of Ayn Rand, recently admitted before a Congressional committee that he may have made a mistake in assuming "that enlightened self-interest alone would prevent bankers, mortgage brokers, investment bankers and others from gaming the system for their own personal financial benefit."Link
Twilight of the color photo
Like the shepherds, the color print has nearly vanished. Today, you get some glossies sent out as holiday cards, and some lucky ones get matted and framed, but the vast majority of color photographs now taken - and there are countless millions of them - pass before us, just briefly, on a screen.Link
Marina Abramovic: How we in the Balkans kill rats
From "The Star" movie (1999). This video was a piece of the "Balkan Baroque" installation (Venice Biennale 1997). Marina Abramovic was awared the Gold Lion Award for the installation.
Scholars unpack the secrets of charisma, and suggest the elusive quality can be taught.
Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: A Nation In Transit (Video)
Finally -- a recording of "Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: A Nation In Transit" is available for download. Enjoy our slightly glorious gala, presented at 25c3 in Berlin (December 28, 2008).
Video link / mp4
Video link / m4v (iPod compatible)
monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, context hacking and political activism. Our mission is conducted everywhere, but first and foremost in culture-archeological digs into the seats (and pockets) of ideology and entertainment. monochrom has existed in this (and almost every other) form since 1993.
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