March 27, 2005

Police 'showdown' averted in Schiavo case

I was only going to post one item about this whole business, but this simply must be blogged:

'Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''' (Miami Herald article [free registration required])
Avoid the free registration bullshit by reading this mirrored copy of the article over at Steve Gillard's News Blog. Link found via Majikthise.

March 26, 2005

Man tried to steal gun to "rescue Terri Schiavo"

'A man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo," authorities said. Michael W. Mitchell, of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall's Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Randy McKenzie, the owner of Randall's Firearms, said Mitchell pulled out the box cutter and broke the glass on a couple of display cases. "He told me if I wasn't on Terri's side then I wasn't on God's side, either," McKenzie told The Associated Press.' (Bradenton Herald article via Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog)

March 25, 2005

Smuggler hauls art into the museum (again)

'A British graffiti artist who goes by the name “Banksy” went one step further, by smuggling in his own picture of a soup can and hanging it on a wall, where it stayed for more than three days earlier this month before anybody noticed.


“My sister inspired me to do it. She was throwing away loads of my pictures one day and I asked her why. She said ’It’s not like they’re going to be hanging in the Louvre.”’ He took that as a challenge. “I thought why wait until I’m dead,” he said.' (MSNBC article)

March 23, 2005

EPIC continues to probe ChoicePoint

This is from an EPIC bulletin dated March 11, 2005. The hearings they mention should have happened by now, but I haven't had a chance to keep up with latest developments, as right now I'm in the middle of several messy and time-consuming things all at once. Anyway, certain things bear repeating:

'Serious questions continue to surround the sale of personal information to criminals by ChoicePoint, a commercial data broker. Last week, it was revealed that ChoicePoint had also sold personal information to criminals in 2002. This week, security breaches were announced by commercial data broker Seisint, and by retailer DSW Shoe Warehouse.The continued news of new and old breaches has shifted the debate in Washington from one where Congress was discussing whether a problem exists, to one where legislators are focusing on what should be done. Hearings on ChoicePoint will be held within the next week in the Senate
Banking Committee and the House Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.'
Find more information at the Electronic Privacy Information Center's ChoicePoint page.

Senators Chambliss-Nelson Introduce Intelligence Reform Bill

'WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., today will introduce intelligence reform legislation that would create, for the first time, a unified intelligence command (INTCOM) to bring a majority of the military intelligence capabilities within the Department of Defense (DoD) under a single commander.

The Military Reorganization Act of 2005 would provide the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with one primary advisor regarding military intelligence, and help ensure our combatant commanders and our troops on the ground have a military intelligence structure that is streamlined, inclusive, easy to use, and provides them access to the most timely and accurate intelligence available.' (Information Warfare Site article)

March 13, 2005

New Erik Davis Book

Erik Davis, the maverick researcher whose independent seminars I've recently had occasion to enjoy, has a brand new book out. Guess what it's about? From his own announce mailing list:

'I am happy to announce the publication of my book on the fourth Led Zeppelin record, the one with the four goofy symbols, "Stairway to Heaven," and the weird old man on the cover. This laborette of love is part of Continuum's 33.3 series, which features writers on different classic rock and pop albums. The books are short, which means they not only read fast and fit snugly in your pocket (they are slightly larger than a PDA), but cost just under ten bucks. So please check it out, and pass on the word.'
Consider it done, Erik. Oh, he also sends over a few choice snippets. How about this one:
'So what happens when we take Crowley's advice and start playing Led Zeppelin records backwards? If you get your hands on a Technics deck or decent sound software and reverse Stairway to Heaven's central verses, you will probably just hear the slurring, sucking sonic taffy that youd expect. But if the appropriate passages are properly isolated, and you are prompted beforehand, then you are likely to hear things like "Here's to my sweet Satan" or "There's no escaping it". I certainly did, although the actual phrases sounded more like "Yish tomai swee Zaydn" and "Hair-airs no esgaybin id"' (...)
What else to add... Ah, yes: If you really can't think of a nice neighborhood bookstore to wander off to, here's a link for ya, you lazy bastard.

March 07, 2005

NASA Fakes Moon Landing!

'Heroic images or NASA fraud? At last we have the conclusive proof! The image on the left clearly shows the supposed 25,000 of thrust generated by the lunar lander to arrest its descent. Yet in the image on the right, where is the giant crater this would have created? Looks like the complex web of NASA lies is about to unravel!' (brainsluice article)

February 28, 2005

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Enhance Open Government

'The OPEN Government Act would add teeth to the FOIA by encouraging agencies to release information in a timely manner. The law would require agencies to assign tracking numbers to requests within 10 days of receipt. Agencies would also be obligated to create telephone or Internet services to allow individuals to track the status of their requests and estimated completion times for processing. Agencies failing to respond to a request within 20 days would lose the right to withhold information unless they could show good reason for the delay, or if disclosure would endanger national security, reveal personal or proprietary information, or violate the law.'

For more info on the above-mentioned bill, click here.

For more info on the Freedom Of Information Act, click here.

(Source: Electronic Privacy Information Center bulletin)

February 21, 2005

RIP: Hunter S. Thompson

'DENVER - Hunter S. Thompson, the hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America’s underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” has committed suicide.

Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s officials said. He was 67. Thompson’s wife, Anita, had gone out before the shooting and was not home at the time. His son, Juan, found the body.' (MSNBC News story)

UPDATE: Here's also the NYT article Disinfo links to, and a SF Gate article as well. I don't really have any words to add that wouldn't be banal. My response to this will simply be to make some bartender's day. I know Dr Gonzo would approve. Over and out.

February 17, 2005 A parent's primer to computer slang

Somebody, uh, had to do this, I guess... In all seriousness, though, it's pretty ridiculous, considering the sheer amount of variations on the leetspeak theme that kids have created and continue to create. "Not difficult to translate"? Bah. Good luck "protecting" your children...

'While it's important to respect your children's privacy, understanding what your teenager's online slang means and how to decipher it is important as you help guide their online experience. While it has many nicknames, information-age slang is commonly referred to as leetspeek, or leet for short. Leet (a vernacular form of "elite") is a specific type of computer slang where a user replaces regular letters with other keyboard characters to form words phonetically—creating the digital equivalent of pig Latin with a twist of hieroglyphics.

Leet words can be expressed in hundreds of ways using different substitutions and combinations, but once one understands that nearly all characters are formed as phonemes and symbols, leetspeek isn't difficult to translate.' ( article)

February 15, 2005

Paul Ford: The Banality of Google

'Of course, you don't arrive at a morally profound motto like “don't be evil” without some serious thought. Here are some of the mottoes that Google tried out and rejected:

* Google! Dance with the devil, but go home before it gets serious.
* Google! We won't commit genocide in most circumstances.
* Google! Don't eat no babies.
* Google! We could do good, but we're like, whoa.
* Google! Begone, demon!

Those suck! So how did Google come up with “don't be evil?” If you do not know the answer, you clearly did not attend an Ivy League business school like the author of this article. So I will tell you: they did focus group testing of their mottoes. They tested the evil brand concept one day, and the good brand concept the next. On evil day, they brought in vampires, werewolves, Satan, and a kraken.' ( blog entry)

February 09, 2005

Smart projectors do not require artificial canvases

This is cool:

'"We have developed a fully automatic image correction technique that supports projections of real-time graphics or video content onto everyday surfaces. The output appears as being projected onto artificial (white and planar) canvases. The actual surfaces, however, can be geometrically complex, arbitrarily textured and colored," said Prof. Oliver Bimber.'


'Researchers developed a correction methods implemented in software that amend all geometric and color distortions caused by absence of white canvas. The system automatically determines all parameters required for real-time geometric pre-distortion and color correction of video frames delivered by PAL/NTCS compliant devices like DVD players or game consoles, or real-time monoscopic or stereoscopic graphics. Neither the geometry of the surface nor internal or external parameters of projector and camera have to be known for calibrating the system.' (PhysOrg story)

January 29, 2005

Teen Sentenced for Releasing Variant of Blaster Worm

'Minnesota teen Jeffrey Lee Parsons got a year and half for releasing a Blaster variant. The lightweight sentence was due, said the judge, to the parents' neglect. Quoting the judge: 'It's not a healthy thing to lock yourself in a room and create your own reality.'(/. story)

December 21, 2004

Psychogeographical Markup Language

'PML is a set of keywords lifted from various sources that can be used to capture meaningful psychogeographical [meta]data about urban space. PML is a unified system of psychogeonamic classification that lurks behind the psychogeogram: the diagrammatic representation of psychogeographically experienced space.

PML is the base layer for a psychogeographical content management system that can:
1) be used to transform a mass of subjective data into an objective representation
2) be used as an engine that, after being fed certain parameters, generates new psychogeographical drifts
3) be used to develop further a cartography that negates the territory
4) be datamined to show never before suspected patterns in the urban fabric
5) be fired up into a new mythology for urban space
6) be used to take the fingerprint of a city
PML incorporates work done in fields like annotated space, geo-tagging, mental mapping, GIS & collaborative mapping but is different in that it aims at the invisible & the absurd.' (Generative Psychogeography Project page via Die Puny Humans)

December 20, 2004

Attention Acts as Visual Glue

'A brain-mapping study provides new support for the theory that attention is the glue that cements visual information together as people scan complex scenes. The research was conducted by Vanderbilt psychologist René Marois and his colleagues and published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.' (Exploration feature via Heckler & Coch)

December 18, 2004

Suspect Allegedly Presented Baby Cut From Womb As Hers

'MELVERN, Kan. -- Witnesses say a Kansas woman charged with killing an expectant mother and cutting out the woman's fetus was seen showing off a tiny baby girl as her own.

A few hours later, police arrested Lisa Montgomery for the crime. Authorities said she soon confessed to strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett (pictured, left), 23, a Missouri woman she'd met on the Internet, cutting open her womb and stealing her fetus. Stinnett had been 8-months pregnant.' ( article)

December 15, 2004

Emperor Norton's name may yet span the bay

Thanks, San Francisco. I look forward to crossing the Norton Bridge very soon:

'More than a century after a quirky San Francisco character who called himself Emperor Norton I ordered a bridge be built spanning the bay, a move is under way to name the later-day Bay Bridge in his honor.

The drive was publicized by Chronicle cartoonist Phil Frank in his strip "Farley" -- perhaps a fitting forum for a man who walked the streets of San Francisco in the late 1800s with a plume in his hat and a sword in his hand, issued his own currency and declared that calling the city "Frisco" was a High Misdemeanor.' (SF Chronicle article)

December 11, 2004

Santas accused of street brawl

'Festive cheer and goodwill was in short supply in Newtown when people dressed as Santa were involved in a mass street brawl, say police.

Officers used CS spray and batons to break up trouble amongst up to 30 people, following Newtown's annual charity Santa run.

There were five arrests hours after around 4,000 Santas finished racing.' (BBC News article)

December 06, 2004

The 6X Group: Call for Eco-Tech Professionals

This just in from the enigmatic Miquael Gaio, a self-described "archetypal engineer" with whom I've attended Erik Davis' "Altered State", a class on California spirituality:

Human beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present trends continue one half of all species of life on earth will be extinct in 100 years.

6X is a community action group formed for the purpose of increasing public awareness of the current global mass extinction of species. 6X was founded by faculty and students at the California Institute of Integral Studies (, operates under the auspices of the institute, and is open to all concerned public citizens. The formation of 6X was catalyzed by the work of CIIS faculty member David Ulansey, PhD., and his website,

We are currently looking for eco-conscious designers and developers to
participate in producing web-based aspects of a multi-tiered media
project to disseminate information of the mass extinction of species to
the general public. We are seeking web-savvy people who are willing to
either volunteer resources, or work at in-kind or moderate rates, with
specialty skills in the following areas:

- Graphic Design (Print and/or Web)
- Flash Design / ActionScript Programming
- Content Writing / Editing
- Data Base Development / Management (MySQL)
- PHP programming
- Content Management Systems
- Community Forums / Mailing Lists
- Streaming Media

If you are interested in being involved, and would like to know more, email (m AT transcendigital DOT org) a description of your skills, your standard rate, and a moderated rate that you could contribute toward the project.

Please forward this email to any one who may be interested.

thank you,

Miquael Gaio
6X Council Member
Web Committee

November 29, 2004

Scientists Give Human Organs to Lamb

'WASHINGTON - In Minnesota, pigs are being born with human blood in their veins.

In Nevada, there are sheep whose livers and hearts are largely human.

In California, mice peer from their cages with human brain cells firing inside their skulls.

These are not outcasts from "The Island of Dr. Moreau," the 1896 novel by H.G. Wells in which a rogue doctor develops creatures that are part animal and part human. They are real creations of real scientists, stretching the boundaries of stem cell research.' ( article via /.)

NASA sending hammer to space

Everybody cross your fingers:

'If all goes well, an 820-pound copper "hammer" the size of a bathtub will separate from its mother ship and, 24 hours later, smash into the comet's icy nucleus at about 23,000 mph.

The high-speed impact will wallop the pickle-shaped comet with energy equivalent to 4.8 tons of TNT, said Michael A'Hearn, a University of Maryland astronomer and principal investigator on the $311 million mission.

Nobody's sure what will happen next.' (The Arizona Republic article via FARK)

Poachers kill 'dolphins that saved swimmers'

Well, that didn't take long:

'POACHERS in New Zealand may have killed two members of a pod of dolphins that recently saved the lives of swimmers from a great white shark attack, lifeguards said yesterday.

The mutilated carcasses of the two bottlenose dolphins were found on Wednesday in the Awaroa River, which branches off the upper reaches of Whangarei Harbour on North Island’s east coast.' (The Scotsman article via AmSam)

November 25, 2004

Paul Graham: Why Nerds Are Unpopular

'I know a lot of people who were nerds in school, and they all tell the same story: there is a strong correlation between being smart and being a nerd, and an even stronger inverse correlation between being a nerd and being popular. Being smart seems to make you unpopular.

Why? To someone in school now, that may seem an odd question to ask. The mere fact is so overwhelming that it may seem strange to imagine that it could be any other way. But it could. Being smart doesn't make you an outcast in elementary school. Nor does it harm you in the real world. Nor, as far as I can tell, is the problem so bad in most other countries. But in a typical American secondary school, being smart is likely to make your life difficult. Why?' (Paul Graham article)

November 23, 2004

Dolphins save swimmers from shark

'Howes tried to drift away from the group, but two of the bigger dolphins herded him back just as he spotted a three-meter (nine feet) great white shark swimming towards the group.

"I just recoiled. It was only about 2 meters (6 feet) away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face," Howes said.

"They had corralled us up to protect us," he said.' ( article)

November 17, 2004

Naropa Audio Archives: Peter Lamborn Wilson (and more)

Naropa University runs a great online audio archive, as a way of

'preserving and providing access to over 3500 recordings made at Naropa University since 1974. The collection was developed under the auspices of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (the name of the university’s Department of Writing and Poetics) founded by poets Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg and contains readings, lectures, seminars, panels and workshops from a constellation of artists who aim at restoring the poet’s ancient role as keeper of the culture and social commentator.'
You can probably imagine the veritable treasure trove of material that's now freely accessible thanks to this wonderful project... and if not, just wander around the site a bit to be thoroughly wowed.

Needless to say, the curators are constantly adding recordings, and I highly recommend subscribing to their RSS feed to be automatically notified of new additions.

A place to start could be this 1999 Peter Lamborn Wilson lecture, in which he clearly and forcefully makes his controversial case against drug legalization. Here's the article to go with it.

Next, you might wanna check out this 1984 writing class led by Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs in which, among other points of interest, Burroughs goes into his idea of "Life as a Cut-Up" in some detail.

Just two examples. Now go and splurge.

November 14, 2004

Male fish becoming female?

'BOULDER, Colo. - Researchers in Colorado have made a startling discovery. Fish, apparently male, are developing female sexual organs. Scientists believe it's the result of too much estrogen in the water and they're finding estrogen in rivers across the country.
Government researchers recently found natural estrogens and estrogen mimickers in 80 percent of the streams they tested in 30 states.
[... ]
No one is certain what the impact is on humans. But since finding evidence that estrogen may be turning male fish into female fish, scientists are now looking at what it means for the nation's drinking water.' (MSNBC Nightly News article)

November 13, 2004

Kuro5hin: Coding Viruses for the Mind

'If as some have suggested religions are viruses of the mind, then it might make sense to separate the components of any given religion into two parts. The first part being those things which are necessary to maintain viral infection and which assist in the infection of new hosts. The second part is the payload: Those instructions which the virus writer wishes those who have been infected to carry out or execute.

My hope is that this method of analysis will assist others in understanding the structure of existing religions as well as those who aim to write one from scratch.' ( article)

November 12, 2004

Virus warning: Cyborgs at risk

'Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University in England, is looking forward to becoming a cyborg again.

But the academic, who has wired his nervous system up to a computer and put an RFID chip in his arm, is also warning that the day will come when computer viruses can infect humans as well as PCs.

Speaking this week at Consult Hyperion's fifth Digital Identity Forum in London, Warwick spoke of a future when those who aren't cyborgs will be considered the odd ones.

"For those of you that want to stay'll be a subspecies in the future," he said.' (CNET article)

November 10, 2004

Stage Sex Man Shocks Again in Court

I refuse to be complicit in letting this tale of heroism slip through the cracks:

'OSLO (Reuters) - A couple who sparked outrage by having sex on stage in front of thousands of stunned rock concert goers in Norway shocked again on Tuesday when the man pulled down his trousers in court.

"Oops, I must have dropped my pants," Tommy Hol Ellingsen, 28, said as he stripped in front of reporters during a break at a local court in Kristiansand, southern Norway.

Hol Ellingsen and Petra Leona Johansson, 22, were in court after refusing to pay a fine of 10,000 crowns ($1,574) each for copulating on stage during a concert in July.' (Yahoo! News article)
Reuters Oddly Enough: absolute must read. Not many newsfeeds can claim that, if you ask me. Go to the source: HTML or RSS.

November 07, 2004

Ground Zero Suicide Inspired by Election

'NEW YORK - A 25-year-old man from Georgia who was apparently distraught over President Bush (news - web sites)'s re-election shot and killed himself at ground zero. Andrew Veal's body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A shotgun was found nearby, but no suicide note was found, Coleman said.' (Yahoo! News article)

November 02, 2004

The Nation: Not Quite an Exact Portrait

Alright. So, right about now could be an appropriate time to take a look at this:

'In its current form, the United States electoral system discriminates against large segments of the population, reinforces the power of money to influence politics, serves to bolster the two-party system and produces results that often conflict with the will of the majority. Perhaps in recognition of this state of affairs, only 51 percent of eligible voters participated in the last US presidential election in 2000, the lowest level in the advanced industrial world. The reality is that the representative nature of the US government, as determined by elections, is more myth than reality--a comforting storyline that masks a harsh truth.

Consider the following facts.' (The Nation article via Disinfo)

November 01, 2004

Kuro5hin: Shroomin' at the Ballot Box

'Approximately three hours ago, I decided to do mushrooms for the first time in nearly four years. Seemed as good a time as any. It's a sunny October day in Denver. Brown leaves constantly cascade on me as I walk down the sidewalk, blissfully trying to ignore the crackheads who think I'm a walking ATM and a group of ese's who are giving me the evil eye. Church bells are ringing (ringing...ringing really loud...does that always happen around noon?...shit) crazy black dudes are singing along with their 1991-era Walkmans. Everything was peaceful, and I felt at one with the universe.

Why oh why did I decide to fuck it all up by going to vote today?' ( article)

October 25, 2004

Four More Aeons! Four More Aeons!

This just in from the Somebody Had To Do It Dept:

'This site is dedicated to the great old one, who should return from his slumber to take over the U.S. government and make this country a whole hell of a lot better as the leader of our executive branch. Or destroy it and drive everyone insane, kill us all, or something really nasty! Remember, Cthulhu for President, why vote for the lesser of two evils?'
There is a t-shirt, too. Of course.

Remember, kids: the end is nigh, R'lyeh is rising, and and the cold unspeakable evil of the Old Ones is coming from all sides.
Let's try to have some fun tonight, OK?

October 19, 2004

Inventor Rejoices as TVs Go Dark

'Sanders Li's paper plate held nothing but a crumpled napkin. His meal finished, he lingered. His unblinking eyes gazed at Sex and the City on a 15-inch color TV over the counter at Nizario's Pizza on 18th Street in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood Sunday evening.

In the middle of a scene, the TV turned off.

For 10 seconds, Li kept looking, waiting, not blinking through his glasses. At last, he left his stool, trashed his plate and emerged into the cool autumn night.

Leaving, he passed 48-year-old Mitch Altman, who was twiddling a matte-black plastic fob on his key chain. Altman's blue and purple hair reflected the pizza shop's neon, and he was smiling excitedly.

"We just saved him several minutes of his life," he said.

Li agreed. He said he didn't care that the TV was gone, even though he had been watching the show.

Altman's key-chain fob was a TV-B-Gone, a new universal remote that turns off almost any television. The device, which looks like an automobile remote, has just one button. When activated, it spends over a minute flashing out 209 different codes to turn off televisions, the most popular brands first.' (Wired News article)

October 18, 2004

Science Turns Monkeys Into Drones; Humans are Next

'LONDON - Scientists have discovered a way of manipulating a gene that turns animals into drones that do not become bored with repetitive tasks. The experiments, conducted on monkeys, are the first to demonstrate that animal behaviour can be permanently changed, turning the subjects from aggressive to "compliant" creatures.

The genes are identical in humans and although the discovery could help to treat depression and other types of mental illness, it will raise images of the Epsilon caste from Aldous Huxley's futuristic novel Brave New World.

The experiments -- detailed in the journal Nature Neuroscience this month -- involved blocking the effect of a gene called D2 in a particular part of the brain. This cut off the link between the rhesus monkeys' motivation and reward.

Instead of speeding up with the approach of a deadline or the prospect of a "treat," the monkeys in the experiment could be made to work just as enthusiastically for long periods. The scientists say the identical technique would apply to humans.' (Ottawa Citizen article)

October 15, 2004

How to Fake It

This Something Awful article by David Thorpe on how to fake vast storehouses of popular music lore is really funny:

'Trust me; you don’t want to learn everything about rock and roll. It’s a pain in the ass having a brain filled with worthless trivia about worthless art. It’s impossible to learn more about rock and roll without hating rock and roll more than before. That’s how I became the twisted old monster that I am today: knowing stuff. I used to be a fresh-faced teenage genius, in love with music and in love with the world. Then I started learning more and more; now I see every rock band as an exotic symptom of a diseased culture, and if I could sign some sort of order to have them all thrown in a volcano, I’d do it in an instant.

Luckily, there’s really no actual need to know anything. If you want to impress people with your boundless wit in the field of popular music, all you have to do is convincingly fake it. It’s not hard at all. Just like anything else worth knowing, from tying a necktie to building a nuclear bomb, you can learn to do it just by reading a single stupid article on some two-bit Podunk website. I’ve been watching people do this for years; it’s impossible to have conversations about music frequently without running into quite a few sly bastards who have mastered the art of faking musical knowledge and quite a few more who are at least half-assedly attempting it.' (Something Awful article)

RFID Implant Story

'About 2 months ago I had an idea. A crazy, but semi-cool idea. Pretty much everyone knows about the chips people inject into their dogs so if they ever get lost they can find them. However, not many people understand the chips. From the first second I heard about the chips, I wanted one. I wanted to be able to say I have a microchip inside me. I wanted to be trancend the barrier of science fiction and be one of the first to have a chip under my skin.

The next few weeks were spent researching the technology, not because I thought I'd actually be doing it, but because I was interested in it. I came across a couple websites of prospective companies trying to create a human chip (, as well as writings about Kevin Warwick and some other lady who had two of them put into her hand. Kevin had only left his injected for nine days, and it was then removed. Others had left them in permanently. In all, I only found about five personal accounts of people who had them.

I found out that the chips were about the size of a grain of uncooked rice, and were supposed to be injected right under the loose area of skin. They had been used in dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, horses, cows, fish, and tons of others. When scanned within a few inches by a frequency designated scanner, a nine digit number in the following format shows up (XXX*XXX*XXX). AVID Technologies ( is the creator of the most popular chip for animals. They manufactured the ones the lady had put in her hand.

At this point I was really interested in having one of my own. I found an online veterinary supply company ( and within minuites had ordered an AVID microchip with pre-sterile syringe for a mere twelve dollars. I figured that If I chickened out I could always just inject it in my dog and register it.' (Something Awful Forums post)

October 14, 2004

Girl says bones belong to ghost

'A Russell County fifth-grader is convinced bones found in her home last weekend belong to a mysterious friend who told her about being chopped up years ago.

Investigators have few clues about how and when the bones got inside insulation under the living room floor of the mobile home on Jowers Road, near East Alabama Motor Speedway.

The 10-year-old, Stephanie Ogden, and her family have lived in the home since 1998. Her great-grandparents, John and Marion Stewart, own the home.

The bones were found Saturday as the Ogdens, who are renovating the home, pulled up boards in the living room floor. Russell County Sheriff's Lt. Heath Taylor said an initial analysis shows the bones are from the pelvis and leg of a child at least 10 years old, and the child has been dead at least 10 years.' (Ledger-Enquirer article)

Physics Professor Goes on Rage in Class

'LAFAYETTE, La. - A University of Louisiana at Lafayette physics professor was banned from the campus Wednesday and taken to the coroner's office for evaluation after threatening his class, university officials said.

Student Kacie Spears said professor Louis Houston lost control right after class began Wednesday morning and was yelling obscenities.

"Then he told us if we got out of our seats he's gonna kill us. He went on the black board and wrote "911 now", so we were really in fear for our lives," Spears told KATC-TV.

Spears said Houston slapped a student and then told his class he was God.' (Yahoo! News article)

October 12, 2004

Information in the Holographic Universe

This is old, but I just saw it and I'd like to share. Ended up visiting the site as a result of meeting somebody I hadn't seen in years. Check out this Scientific American August 2003 article informing us that 'Theoretical results about black holes suggest that the universe could be like a gigantic hologram':

'An astonishing theory called the holographic principle holds that the universe is like a hologram: just as a trick of light allows a fully three-dimensional image to be recorded on a flat piece of film, our seemingly three-dimensional universe could be completely equivalent to alternative quantum fields and physical laws "painted" on a distant, vast surface.

The physics of black holes--immensely dense concentrations of mass--provides a hint that the principle might be true. Studies of black holes show that, although it defies common sense, the maximum entropy or information content of any region of space is defined not by its volume but by its surface area.

Physicists hope that this surprising finding is a clue to the ultimate theory of reality.'

October 11, 2004

"Scrabble is a religion. I do not mean this metaphorically."

Really cool web short story, Powered by Flash: Highly recommended!

RFID tags in clothes are coming

Via Bruce Sterling, I found this communication by Katherine Albrecht, Founder and Director of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering):

'Dear CASPIAN members and supporters:

I have disturbing news from the RFID front lines. CASPIAN has uncovered evidence of industry plans to deploy RFID tracking devices in consumer clothing items.

A $600 million company called Checkpoint has developed prototype labels containing RFID spychips for Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, and Champion sportswear. These tags contain tiny computer chips with unique ID numbers that can be read remotely by anyone with the right equipment.

CNET picked up the story on Friday, September 24th. You can read it at:,39024663,39124341,00.htm

Photos of the spychipped clothing labels can be seen on our website at:

Potentially, people wearing the tagged clothing items could be identified and tracked as they pass through Checkpoint-equipped doorways and store portals, as they stand near Checkpoint's retail "smart shelves" containing hidden RFID reader devices, or when they enter Checkpoint's planned RFID "smart zones" in stores.' (Beyond the Beyond blog entry)

Atomic register offers route to quantum computing

'The fundamental memory component of a quantum computer has been built for the first time using a string of atoms. This could offer a more reliable way to build a working quantum computer than other techniques, suggest researchers.

Quantum computers exploit the quantum properties of matter to perform calculations. While conventional computers use binary digits - or bits of information - in the form of electrical charge, quantum computers use quantum bits, called qubits.

And because particles can be in several states at once, qubits would allow huge numbers of computations to be carried out simultaneously - beyond the capabilities of a conventional supercomputer.' (New Scientist article)

Douglas Rushkoff: Networks without a Net

And more from Rushkoff, on the emergence of wireless networks and how the most interesting among them could be those who are independent of the internet. One user's comment to his entry also highlights an important point.

'...Just as the Internet has fostered a sense of global connectivity for users pinned to their desktops, the wireless network -- by coming along in one's pocket -- can enhance users' connections to their immediate environments and temporary communities. After all, wireless users have left their homes and offices for a reason. Away from their desktops and, in many cases, laptops, they are in "nomadic mode", not office or home mode.' ( entry)
I tend to agree on the nomadic point, seeing the potential of that modality etc. I'm not sure, however, that it would be necessary for the new networks to 'forgo access to the Internet' in order to reap the benefits of mobility -- and I even suspect that there might be serious losses in taking this approach, because of the issues raised by the commenter as well as others. At any rate, the article is definitely worth a read; check it out.

It's the worldview, stupid

Just saw (a bit late, admittedly, but I've been too swamped to check my RSS feeds lately -- and to do way too many other things, unfortunately) this insightful point made by Douglas Rushkoff in connection with the first presidential debate:

'In the absolutist, polar world view, evil quite clearly exists. All enemies are a single thing. Now, the enemy is flying planes into us, so we've got to go there and get them. Think of it more like a father protecting his house. One day, a robber breaks in and hurts one of the kids. Dad buys a shotgun, and you better not be caught riding your bike across his lawn.

If the enemy is understood as Satan, himself, then it doesn't matter which arm of Satan is after you - you respond the same way. See, to Bush it doesn't matter whether there's a causal or conspiratorial connection between America's various enemies. Whether or not our enemies know it, they are heads on the same demon.' ( entry)

September 30, 2004

Somebody Had To Say It Go. NOW. And watch the Quicktime videos.

(Thanks to Kyron for the link!)

September 29, 2004

Monkeys go on rampage

'SOME 40 monkeys went on the rampage in a western Bangladeshi village after one of their young was accidentally electrocuted, a report said today.

The large monkeys, known as hanumans in Bangladesh, were eating nuts from the residents of the remote Keshabpur village in Jessore district yesterday, but ran off when a stone was thrown at them, the Bengali-language Sangbad daily said, quoting residents.

A baby monkey was electrocuted after being caught in a live wire as they fled, sparking the animals to use sticks to attack several homes and shops in the village, the newspaper said.

They later left taking the baby monkey's body.' ( article)

September 22, 2004

Trio Of Hurricanes Plants Bumper Crop Of Magic Mushrooms

From the Dept. of Collateral Effects:

'SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (Wireless Flash) -- Recent hurricanes like Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne have been bad for homeowners but they could be a real trip for hippies.

According to ethnobotanist Clark Heinrich, psychedelic -- or "magic" -- mushrooms commonly crop up when areas receive more rain than usual.

Heinrich says the `shroom boom is most likely to be in areas with a lot of landscaping bark -- and that includes the grounds near government buildings and industrial parks. In fact, he predicts thousands of psilocybin mushrooms are popping up near police stations but says the authorities have no clue.' (NC Buy article via Fark)

September 20, 2004

Show Tunes 1, Fundamentalists 0

Awaken, See, Act:

'This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a woman’s voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the “Lord’s” word to the train car’s sleepy riders. Of course, I had forgotten the headphones for my subway evil sounds blocking device. The train stops and starts.

The words denigrating “gay devils” reach my ears. I stand up.

Me: “Excuse me, but do you mind keeping your voice down, I am trying to read.”

Preacher Lady: (screams) “I got to testify.”

Preacher lady hitches up her skirts and tells me that I am going to hell for interrupting you-know-who’s word. Two or three OTHER Christian ladies on the train start shouting at me and discussing my prospects as the Devil’s prison bitch. The last straw was a 50 something red faced man in a suit slamming his Bible towards my face.

There was only one thing I could do.

Me: “If you all don’t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.”' (Ladies Village Improvement Society blog entry)

September 19, 2004

Panem et Circenses

Makes total sense:

'Detainees at the troubled Kariong Detention Centre on the NSW Central Coast were given flat-screen TVs in each of their rooms to keep them out of trouble.

Staff at the central coast facility say about 20 sets were purchased, in addition to three Xboxes for common rooms.' (The Australian article via Fark)
For some strange reason, reading this article reminded me of a certain album cover, which I haven't thought about ever since I casually glanced at it, let's see... hmm, about 12 years ago.

What scares me about this is the Xbox part, though. I mean, they are doing this to curb violence, right? And they put only THREE Xboxes in the common rooms for the ENTIRE JAIL? Clearly these people have never been gamers themselves, and they are tragically out of touch with their gamer children.
Easy two-bit prediction: after a while, this will become like periodically throwing a small rock of crack cocaine in a roomful of raving addicts. I shudder to think what they're going to come up with then...

Nick Mamatas on Movies These Days

This is just absolutely perfect:

'Going to the movies these days is not dissimilar to attending an extended performance art piece which involves several gorgeous people, all in wonderful if somewhat tasteless costume, wheeling a wheelbarrow full of raw, rancid bacon onto a stage. Handed pitchforks by sequined-spangled assistants, the costumed beauties grab hold tighly of the handles, stick the spears of the forks into the wheelbarrow, and then FLING the rancid bacon at the audience, all while screaming "EAT IT! EAT IT, YOU FUCKING PIGS! YOU FUCKING LOVE IT!" The audience leaps to action, scrambling along the aisles and trying to grab up and shove as much of the foul bacon into their fat mouths as they can, stopping only to look up at the performers, point to their stuffed cheeks, and mumble through tangles and blobs of rancid meat, "YUTH YUTH AH FUFF ITH!" The stars sneer and howl, "THAT'S RIGHT, YOU JOWLY MOTHERFUCKERS, GOBBLE IT UP, AND SHIT YOURSELVES IN GLEE!" When the meat runs out, the show is over.' (Nick Mamatas' Journal entry)
Finally, something allows me to justify uttering the infamous acronym: LMAO!

September 17, 2004

1963 Burroughs Interview [mp3]

Via Disinfo:

'William S. Burroughs: The Algebra Of Need

Legendary author William S. Burroughs talks with Gary Goldhill about his audience, the 'Literary Outlaw' mythology, and the cut-up technique he developed with Brion Gysin. Recorded by the BBC on 15 May 1963 and highly recommended listening.'

Like Alex said.

September 14, 2004

Arthur Magazine

I know 99% of you will have already seen this in the same place I saw it — but it bears repeating and saving among these pages as well:

'Arthur Magazine is high quality writing and artwork by some of the nation's finest scribes, cartoonists and photographers: People with good taste, people who break ground, people who have a sense of passion, humor and righteousness for what they're covering. People like David Byrne, Kristine McKenna, Michael Moorcock and Douglas Rushkoff.' (via Disinformation)
Check out the site, there's quite a bit of content there. Of course, the appealing thing is really a subscription to the magazine itself... hmm.

New World Disorder #3

is out, online at

The editors kindly alerted me to this event (it is... doesn't exactly happen very often) by sending me this partial table of contents via email:

Contents include:

The Way In is the Way Out: An Interview With Daniel Pinchbeck

Lovelights@Leary-Eisner.Com by Bruce Eisner and Timothy Leary

From Proletariat to Soulitariat: An Interview With Pat Kane by Phil Leggiere

Messiahs in the Stream by William H. Kennedy

Conspiratorial Recollections: An Interview With Adam Gorightly

Zero Ground by Mac Tonnies

Dreamachines, Wishing Machines or Feraliminal Lycanthropizers, Anyone?

An Interview With David Woodard by Jan Bruun

The Shia Girl by Michael Muhammad Knight

Parallax Empire /// Burning Ground by Adrian Gargett

murderous_disillusionment / CH@OS by Kenji Siratori

Centripetal Culture and Blackout by Jason Lubyk

Reviews of Adam Gorightly's The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Inspired the Counterculture and Kenji Siratori's Blood Electric
Go thou and Read.

September 13, 2004

Underground Cinema Reprise (with classic quote)

The group responsible for building a secret cinema in the Paris underground has stepped forward (according to this Guardian article I found via BoingBoing). The group responds to the name La Mexicaine de la Perforation and its spokesman, known only as "Lazar", had the following public statement to make:

"Urban explorers are the only people who, between us, know it all. We move between each network. We know where they link up - often, it's us who made the link. The authorities, the police, town hall, they don't know a hundredth, a thousandth, of what's down there."
I love it. Things like this restore my faith in human beings, and in that special, oft-overlooked little ability they are supposed to have: to pursue, with energy and determination, goals that go well above and beyond mere survival, beyond the quest for power, beyond the bottom line.
Go read the whole article -- you might be inspired to creatively alter your surroundings, too. Eris knows we could use more French imports like that in this country... "freedom fries", "freedom kissing" (?) and related reptilian-brain revisionism notwithstanding. Actually, this reminds me: check out for an urban exploration site based in this continent (I think they're Canadians, but I'm not positive).

September 12, 2004

Amsterdam Suburb Deploys Cows To Stop Citizens Engaging In Public Sex

'According to the mayor of a small Dutch town, allowing Highland heifers to graze in a nearby nature reserve will help deter couples who have scandalized the upright citizens of Spaarnwoude with their open-air sex antics.

Mayor Ellen van Hoogdalem-Arkema said the brazen behavior of amorous outdoor enthusiasts has angered and embarrassed people walking their dogs in the reserve or taking their grandchildren for a stroll.

"Visitors experience great annoyance from people having sex in public and apparently the presence of the cows turns the people off having sex," the mayor said.' (Yahoo! News article)

You mean there's governments out there who don't feel they have the right to dispatch police in riot gear in cases like this? Goodness gracious! No wonder the terrorists are winning.

September 08, 2004

100% Underground Cinema

No, literally:

'Police in Paris have discovered a fully equipped cinema-cum-restaurant in a large and previously uncharted cavern underneath the capital's chic 16th arrondissement. Officers admit they are at a loss to know who built or used one of Paris's most intriguing recent discoveries.

"We have no idea whatsoever," a police spokesman said.

"There were two swastikas painted on the ceiling, but also celtic crosses and several stars of David, so we don't think it's extremists. Some sect or secret society, maybe. There are any number of possibilities."

Members of the force's sports squad, responsible - among other tasks - for policing the 170 miles of tunnels, caves, galleries and catacombs that underlie large parts of Paris, stumbled on the complex while on a training exercise beneath the Palais de Chaillot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

After entering the network through a drain next to the Trocadero, the officers came across a tarpaulin marked: Building site, No access.

Behind that, a tunnel held a desk and a closed-circuit TV camera set to automatically record images of anyone passing. The mechanism also triggered a tape of dogs barking, "clearly designed to frighten people off," the spokesman said.

Further along, the tunnel opened into a vast 400 sq metre cave some 18m underground, "like an underground amphitheatre, with terraces cut into the rock and chairs".

There the police found a full-sized cinema screen, projection equipment, and tapes of a wide variety of films, including 1950s film noir classics and more recent thrillers. None of the films were banned or even offensive, the spokesman said.' (The Guardian article)
Let's just hope (in?)sanity somehow prevails, and they figure out a way to keep it open so people can use it. I have heard much about Paris' system of underground tunnels, a "city under the city", as it were. But this one is a real classic. There are probably absurd quantities of assorted weirdness down there, just waiting to be discovered.

August 18, 2004

The Beast

Filmmaker Brian Flemming, after directing Nothing So Strange, a mockumentary which imagines the assassination of Bill Gates, is now at work on The Beast. According to its pre-production official site, the film will be based on little-known historical data which suggests that Jesus Christ may have never existed. Release date? 06-06-06, of course.

Fair bet: this project will cause Flemming & Co. to catch even more flak than they did for, um, "killing Bill". I genuinely look forward to seeing how the most arrogant and narrow-minded names in news (like Fox's Cavuto, whom you can admire at work on Nothing So Strange in the previous link) will respond to a movie that carries the infectious meme of Jesus as a historical sham. I do hope they won't put Brian through too much hell, though.

And now, the Questions of the Day: Would we ever see such movies if it weren't for independent filmmakers? And when things of this level of controversy do make it into the big Hollywood channels, isn't it usually because somebody like Flemming did it years earlier? OK, so my Questions of the Day are a tad rhetorical. Nonetheless, they point to a reality that is worth thinking about. While you're thinking, click this link and visit another Flemming project: Free Cinema. From the site:

'Now that digital technology has made the feature film as cheap to produce as a novel (i.e., for nothing), it has become possible for filmmakers to experiment with their own copyrights in ways that were formerly impractical.

It is a virtual certainty that Hollywood will not be conducting these experiments.

That leaves us. And the free-culture movement is showing us the way. Already, Open Source and Free Software have transformed the software industry, making software creators happier, better and more independent. New musicians are getting turned on to free culture every day.

What feature filmmakers are going to put their toes in this water? What new and exciting cinema could be created outside of the standard Hollywood copyright dogma? What happens when you set a feature film free? Free Cinema intends to find out.'

August 10, 2004

Winged Cat “From Hell” Put to Death in Central Russia

'A winged cat has been killed by villagers near the Central Russian city of Kursk. The locals drowned the deformed puss after believing it was a messenger of Satan, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reports.

On entering her yard, Nadezhda Medvedeva saw how a stray cat stood up and, just like a chicken, stretched out two wings. She said that at that moment her hair stood on end. The locals had no doubt the unlucky cat was a messenger of the devil, the website writes.

Where the cat came from and why it appeared in the village of Bukreyevk nobody knows. Nadezhda Medvedeva, whose home is located on the edge of the village, said she initially heard a soft meowing.

“We poured some milk into a bowl,” Medvedeva recounted. “A tom cat came out — ginger, huge, twice as big as normal. He drank greedily and started meowing again…asking for more. We started feeding him. After a couple of days my daughter came running in all scared and whispered: ’Mom, come and look at the cat! He’s got wings!’”' ( article via FARK)
I believe the sequence of letters you're looking for is OMFG.

August 06, 2004

Doom 3

The much-awaited Doom 3 has finally hit the shelves. The predictable, knee-jerk, tedious bleating about violence and videogames, on the other hand, never went away. And Circling The Square, a blog which I've mentioned before and thought dead, is back with a brilliant post on the subject:

'It's no secret that computer games make normal, well-adjusted youths want to commit acts of brutal violence. It's only natural! While various watchdog groups (ie. busybodies) have harshly criticized DOOM 3 for its baroque orgies of blood and gore, Circling the Square takes a rather different position.

It is certainly true that the violent content of video games has contributed to many serious social problems over the years. But at CtS, we feel that the problem hasn't stemmed from the presence of violent content so much from as the lack of specificity in that content.

Back in the old days, games were so abstract that you could never tell just how players would choose to express their uncontrollable violent impulses. The debut of Pong in 1972 inspired thousands of incidents, ranging from fist fights to vehicular homicide to carpet bombings of small South American nations: all because Pong enthusiasts couldn't relate the Pong experience to their own multi-hued, three dimensional lives. Jeffrey Dahmer, a Pac-Man fanatic, couldn't figure out what "power pellets" were - those mysterious white dots that gave Pac-Man his strength. This confusion left Dahmer feeling empty inside – an emptiness he could only fill by devouring the mutilated corpses of over a dozen gay black men. And who among us hasn't dropped cinderblocks on sleeping hobos from a penthouse apartment window after an all-night Tetris marathon? Abstract games inspire abstract violence – and that sort of violence is neither constructive nor entertaining!'
Read the whole thing, then go play your little hearts out!

August 04, 2004

here comes the Dreammachine

Via Invisible College:

'On Thursday, August 12, West Portal Books (111 West Portal Ave., San Francisco) unveils a month-long Brion Gysin Dreamachine window display, featuring the psychoactive device in practically 24/7 operation. Though mild entheogenic effects may be felt through the window or inside the store during business hours, optimum viewing is experienced after dark with eyes closed. This will be the Bay Area's first ever Dreamachine exhibit, other than the machine's brief appearance during a William S. Burroughs memorial service held at the SF Art Institute in 1999. Currently on display at West Portal Books, through August 11, is a Wishing Machine. The peculiar devices find literary companionship through Burroughs' work.'
I am so going to this thing — needless to say, perhaps. August 12th, be here NOW!

Hakim Bey: An Anarchist in the Hudson Valley

Via LVX23 comes a link to this Hakim Bey interview, by Jennifer Bleyer of Brooklyn Rail. Excerpt:

'Bleyer: What do you think about Burning Man and other events that are in essence Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) but don’t necessarily dismantle the power structures of global capital?

Wilson: I’ve never been to Burning Man, but that’s just accidental, because I’ve given up travel. As far as I can tell it’s a lovely thing. I call those things "periodic autonomous zones." The thing about the TAZ is I didn’t invent it, I just gave it a name. I think it’s a sociological reality that groups of people will come together to maximize some concept of freedom that they share as naturally as breathing. When all the potential for the emergence for a TAZ is maximized, either because you’ve helped to maximize it or because your local situation has arrived at a certain point where it becomes possible, you’ll do it. Like I’ve said before, a TAZ is anywhere from two to several thousand people, who for as little as two or three hours or for as much as a couple of years manage to keep that mood going. And it’s incredibly vital. It’s vital that every human being should have some such experience, or else they’ll never know that another world is possible. So Burning Man is a kind of periodic autonomous zone. As soon as the first hint of commercialization or tiredness appears, then I would think the best thing to do is to close it down. Move on, reappear somewhere else. And ultimately, I do believe that another world is possible and that permanent changes could be made. But that’s different. That’s a revolution.'

July 29, 2004

The Flat Earth Society

Yes, that's the name of a real society. No, they're not kidding. Yes, the following is really an excerpt from their official FAQ.

'1. What is the Earth's shape?
The Earth is flat. It is shaped in the form of a pentagon, and thus has five corners.

2. What is the "middle corner"?
If one was to draw a line from each corner to the centre of the opposing side of the Earth, the line would intersect in the middle of the Flat Earth. This place is known as the Middle Corner.

3. Hey, wait a minute, that is not a real corner...
So? The equator of the spherical earthers is an imaginary line as well. Does this mean that their model does not have a northern and a southern hemisphere? You cannot count in imaginary numbers, but does that mean that they do not exist?

4. What about the northern and southern hemisphere?
Globularist rot. This implies the Earth being a SPHERE, which it is not. The Earth has, however, an Inner and Outer Ring.

5. What is Platygæanism?
Platygæanism is the scientific hypothesis which holds that the Earth is flat or planar in topology.

5. Does the "middle corner" prove that 5=6?
And so on and so forth. Visit these fine specimens of utter intellectual defiance in the face of anything at
And many thanks to RAW for alerting me to their continued, stubborn existence. At first I thought he was, you know, kidding.

July 22, 2004

Domain Name Anarchy

Last year's Hackmeeting, Italy's main hacker convention, brings us this attempt to establish an independent, grassroots DNS network:

'The goal of DNA project is the creation of a parallel network of authoritative name server for some Top Level Domains freely grass root created.

Internet growth extinguished (at least statistically speaking) the hacker feeling which charcterized the Net for over twenty years, creating a population of telematic sheeps, which pretend they can control their communicative power because they can post three messages a day on their favourite forum. Reality is that the Net is no more in its majority in the hands of its very users.

The best expression of Net self-organization (one of its main fundamental concepts) is limited to small, isolated manifestations of individual opinions, when, some years ago, organization, topology and services were promoted, proposed and developed by the same folks who deeply knew the Net. And that's not the whole story...'
Click here for the whole story. The language is Italian by default, but if you enable cookies in your browser and click here before browsing the site, you'll be able to view most of its contents in English. Found on, Italian magazine of 'Hacktivism, e-Music and New Media Art' (link goes to English version).

Alan Moore: The man who invented the future

The great Alan Moore muses on media and the warping of human consciousness in this Salon interview (you'll be required to watch a short ad to read it, alas):

'One of the reasons we singled out media in "V for Vendetta" was because it is one of the most useful tools of tyranny. We invite it into our own home every night; I'm sure that some of us think of it as a friend. That might be a horrifying notion but I'm sure there are people who think of television as perhaps one of their most intimate friends. And if the TV tells them that things in the world are a certain way, even if the evidence of their senses asserts it is not true, they'll probably believe the television set in the end. It's an alarming thought but we brought it upon ourselves. I mean, I think that television is one of the most diabolical -- in the very best sense of the word -- inventions of the past century. It has probably done more to degrade the mind and intelligence of its audience, even if they happen to be drug addicts or alcoholics; I would think that watching television has done more to limit their horizons in the long run. And it has also distorted our culture.' (Salon interview via BoingBoing)

UPDATE: LVX23 has archived this interview as a PDF, so you don't have to pay Salon or watch the ad to read the whole thing. Good job, LVX23! You know, I really do wonder how many of those subscriptions they sell. Can't be that good of a business model... but then again, maybe there's enough chumps out there to make it worthwhile. Who knows.

July 21, 2004

Cognitive Liberty vs. Mind Control

Just found this article by Richard Glen Boire, director and chief legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics (formerly known as the Alchemind Society):

'The opposition is coming from people who might be called bioconservatives. They believe that drugs should only be used to make sick people normal, and should not be used to improve, enhance or selectively modify the mental functioning of healthy people. Their concern is often rooted in religious beliefs that perceive the nonmedical use of drugs as immoral and unnatural. Attempting to improve human functioning, rather than simply correct malfunctions, they say, is to audaciously take on Godlike powers and endeavor to skirt natural limits that the Creator placed on human beings.

Last fall, the US President's Council on Bioethics, an influential panel of 18 scholars appointed by George W. Bush, released a 300-page report titled Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. Among other topics, the report addressed memory-management drugs.

While the council carefully avoided explicitly structuring its analysis on conservative religious values, these are deeply infused in its report. The majority of the council members are ardently religious.' (Betterhumans article)

July 16, 2004

Plankton Power

'Phytoplankton may be small, but that doesn't mean they can't do big things -- like change the weather to suit their needs.

A recent study funded by NASA's Earth Science Department shows that the tiny sea plants release high quantities of cloud-forming compounds on days when the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays are especially strong. The compounds evaporate into the air through a series of chemical processes that result in especially reflective clouds. This, in turn, blocks the radiation from bothering the phytoplankton.

The findings not only confirm earlier theories that plankton are linked to the creation of clouds above the ocean but could also lead to a better understanding of how living things affect the Earth's climate.' (Wired article)

July 09, 2004


Besides its dubious name, The Register's online store brings to you today's Manifestation of Twentythree (click here).

July 06, 2004

23-acre body of water disappears

Today's weird 23 story brought to you by MSNBC (though I got to it a little late):

'WILDWOOD, Mo. - To folks around Wildwood, it is nothing but freaky: an entire 23-acre lake vanished in a matter of days, as if someone pulled the plug on a bathtub.

Lake Chesterfield went down a sinkhole this week, leaving homeowners in this affluent St. Louis suburb wondering if their property values disappeared along with their lakeside views.

“It’s real creepy,” said Donna Ripp, who lives near what had been Lake Chesterfield. “That lake was 23 acres — no small lake. And to wake up one morning, drive by and it’s gone?”' (MSNBC article via One More Day...)

July 03, 2004

Pump Up the Volume 2004

'This was going to be “How-To increase the range of your iTrip mini”. But after playing around with the new iTrip mini, the FM broadcasting accessory for the iPod (our review here) our little minds got working on some ideas. We thought we might be able to make the range of Griffin’s iTrip mini a little better if took it apart and exposed the antenna, turns out we could. And then we thought, hey- we could use a couple iPods to broadcast something we wanted to get out there, perhaps not “should” that is, but could. So that was our motivation, and here’s the How-To.' (Engadget blog entry via Slashdot)

Exhibit With Human Bodies Debuts in L.A.

'LOS ANGELES - A pregnant woman lies on her side with a hand behind her head as if posing for a nude photograph. But her dead body isn't the only thing exposed. Her heart, intestines and 8-month-old fetus are visible as well.

The woman was one of more than 200 people who donated their cadavers for use in "Body Worlds: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies," which makes its U.S. debut Friday at the California Science Center.' (Yahoo! News article)

Webcam lets users eyeball others

'Instant messaging could get a lot more interesting if webcam technology from Microsoft gets the go-ahead. i2i, in development at Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, UK, is a two-camera system which very carefully follows an individual's movement.

It uses a specially developed algorithm to fuse what each camera sees to create an accurate stereo "cyclopean" image. This means it looks as if users are looking each other in the eye.' (BBC News article)

July 02, 2004

late Bloomsday linkage

Dublin - June 12-17, 2004 — B.L.O.O.D. F.O.R. S.A.L.E. is a "Wi-Fi performance at the ReJoyce Festival celebrating Bloomsday 100", by Christophe Bruno.

'As James Joyce did 100 years ago, I walk through Dublin, but with a Wi-Fi handheld and a digital camera. On my way, I record everything I see, mainly company logos or brands, as if my eyes were "spammed". Then, through the wireless network, I send all this visual spam to a program on my server that fetches related "sponsored epiphanies" from the whole Web. These epiphanies are incorporated into the text by Joyce in real-time.'
Follow this link for a detailed description, images and downloadable video of the performance.

And since I've finally gotten around to mentioning anything at all about Bloomsday, let me also link to these related and somewhat rambling comments, posted by a user on the online social network I just like how he sounds:

'The noise machines strategy--Mock the fnord. Pretend that the year 1904 didn't have a bigger meaning outside of the date. That's right, if you don't see the fnord, it can't hurt you. Reinforce that new ideas are dangerous. Label the work of art as fiction or fantasy. Those crazy hippies have another ritual pole they are dancing around. There are economic liabilities to publicly being a wiccan.'

File under: EYKIW

'As you may already know, one of America's two political parties is extremely religious. Sixty-one percent of this party's voters say they pray daily or more often. An astounding 92 percent of them believe in life after death. And there's a hard-core subgroup in this party of super-religious Christian zealots. Very conservative on gay marriage, half of the members of this subgroup believe Bush uses too little religious rhetoric, and 51 percent of them believe God gave Israel to the Jews and that its existence fulfills the prophecy about the second coming of Jesus.

Liberals could read these statistics and sneer about "those silly Republicans" were it not for the fact that it's the Democrats who hold these beliefs. And the abovementioned ultrareligious subgroup is not the so-called "Religious Right" but rather the so-called "African-Americans."' (Slate article, link via MoorishGirl)

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Remember: EYKIW.

July 01, 2004

Man Nails Himself To Cross In Protest

'ZACATECAS, Mexico -- A farmer upset about not getting his party's nomination to run for the Zacatecas state legislature nailed himself to a wooden cross and donned a crown of thorns in a protest outside the state's electoral office.'

Yeah. For real. ( article)

April 28, 2004

dark dungeons of the mind

Back to hysterical fundamentalism and its discontents, with this classic cartoon from Chick Publications, which explains how playing Role Playing Games is actually a gateway to witchcraft.
I'm at a loss for words on this one... I'd use the word "medieval", but that would probably be unfair to the Middle Ages, a wonderful historical period of progress for mankind. When compared to where these people are at, that is.

Go thou and read the cartoon. It's only funny until you meet somebody that really believes this shit, so take the opportunity while you can — you never know.

reasons why hexing people is not a good idea, #666:

'Wonders will never end, they say. For several hours, doubting thomases and credulous Togolese all got glued to the seats behind their TV sets, starry-eyed, as a delegation of penitent fetish priests from the local voodoo Anyigbaton Hunorgah fetish shrine of Klikor in the Volta Region of Ghana was shown making a pilgrimage to Lome, begging President Eyadema to free them from a demonic curse.

The curse was believed to have been imposed on them after a spiritual ritual they claimed they had indulged in to kill President Eyadema, allegedly backfired.' (The Gahanaian Chronicle article)

Oh, that... subversive mainstream media?

The NY Times has a nice article on South Park, the wickedly funny cartoon that's been infecting young (and not-so-young) minds, worldwide, for almost 7 years now.

Continue reading "Oh, that... subversive mainstream media?" »

April 27, 2004

spooks will soon be haunting blogs

Via both Warren Ellis and Nick Mamatas, here's a link to this Yahoo! News story: apparently, US intelligence officials have announced that they may soon start tracking weblogs.

A question sweeps through the nation: how do they manage to always lag this far behind?

Continue reading "spooks will soon be haunting blogs" »

we all knew this was going to happen

Via Warren Ellis' die puny humans:

US firm Microvision has developed a system that projects lasers onto the retina, allowing users to view images on top of their normal field of vision.

It could allow surgeons to get a bird's eye view of the innards of a patient, offer military units in the field a view of the entire battlefield and provide mechanics with a simulation of the inside of a car's engine. (BBC News article)

April 21, 2004

RFID implant madness

More support for Neal Stephenson's argument that after 9/11, writing science fiction is pointless, because the future is here now:

A company called VeriChip has developed a subcutaneous RFID device, the kind of stuff that we used to see in futuristic nightmare (cheezy) fantasies like 1999: Escape from New York.

Continue reading "RFID implant madness" »

March 06, 2004

who cares about the RIAA?

Just what I wanted to read:

Hello and welcome to Comfort Stand Recordings, a not-for-profit community driven label where all releases are free for download with artwork and liner notes. Having no business model or profit motive we strive to bring you recordings that we find interesting, compelling and downright enjoyable. Everybody needs free music...

Indeed. Check them out right here.

February 29, 2004

As Bill Hicks would have said...

... is life too fucking weird or what?

Alex Jones published a photo, supposedly from a 1982 issue of the SF Chronicle, that shows a smiling John Kerry as he visits... well, as he visits Anton Szandor LaVey, former leader of the Church of Satan.

Continue reading "As Bill Hicks would have said..." »

February 16, 2004

the punishment follows the crime

Haven't seen any other American blog pick this up yet:

The British Government is considering dismantling the BBC (Yahoo! News article).

Continue reading "the punishment follows the crime" »