Saturday, March 31, 2012

All the window-cameos from the old Batman TV series

from BoingBoing:
In this compilation video, Loomyaire compiles all fourteen of the "window cameos" from the Adam West Batman TV series, in which real-life personages and characters from other TV shows popped out of windows while Batman and the Boy Wonder were scaling a building-face and traded Laugh-In style quips with the heroes. Included in the video are appearances by (in order) Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark, Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee), Sammy Davis Jr., Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana), Howard Duff as Detective Sam Stone on "Felony Squad," Colonel Klink (Werner Klemperer), Lurch (Ted Cassidy), Don Ho, Andy Devine as Santa Claus, Art Linkletter, Edward G. Robinson, Suzy Knickerbocker and Carpet King (real name unknown).


Friday, March 30, 2012

"Carts of Darkness"

Carts Of Darkness is a fascinating film in and of itself but when you factor in the fact that its director, Murray Sipple, is a quadriplegic the film enters the realm of the astounding.
I have not always relied on a wheelchair for my mobility. As an able-bodied person I was a high school quarterback, dedicated mountain biker, skateboarder, and a snowboarder. I lived in Whistler, B.C and directed five independent action sport videos that were pre-“X-games” and pre-“mainstream extreme”. I set down deep roots in a short period while living in the mountain community; and traveled internationally filming snow and skateboarding. That lifestyle/ dream was destroyed in 1996 when a high-speed motor vehicle accident compounded by an emergency room error rendered me a quadriplegic. Throughout the following eight years, I continued to hope that my life could still somehow include my passion for filmmaking. Eventually, I was able to renovate a home in North Vancouver that became a model of accessibility and independence. But outside the comforting accessibility of this new home, my vantage point was largely limited to flat pathways, accessible public buildings, and shopping centers. I learned to drive a van which extended my freedom, but my limited hand dexterity made it difficult to work a camera like I had before. So in spite of solid gains in the direction of freedom and mobility, I found myself largely retreating from the dream of returning to filmmaking. The next few years were chiefly spent adjusting to my disability and trying to ignore the craving to make films. I discovered the story behind Carts of Darkness when I was grocery shopping one evening. I noticed some loud individuals who were cashing in bottles. I had a romantic vision that both of our lifestyles were stereotypes to the passing customers: the drunken and comically disordered bottle returners, and me, wheelchair-bound and precarious in my adapted vehicle. When I approached the men with the idea to make a film, a world was revealed to me I had never expected to discover in my own neighbourhood. Murray Sipple
Carts Of Darkness documents the lives of ‘bottle-pickers’, the hardships they endure, and their method of letting off steam thru the extreme sport of shopping cart racing. 

From: DangerousMinds

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Science & Religion A Comparison

I don't know who made this, but i like it. Thanks!

via Hip Hip José

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'Holy Cow'

Visualtraveling presents 'Holy Cow' a ten minute piece summarizing a month long [skateboarding] journey through the chromatic & chaotic countries of South Asia.
Pushing and on boards were Walker Ryan, Laurence Keefe, Michael Mackrodt and Kenny Reed.

Directed, filmed & edited by Patrik Wallner

And the previous from Patrik Wallner
'Where do we Land?' Converse China trip to Mongolia.

Both clips are pretty damn cool.

Related: Early skateboard innovator and pioneer Larry Stevenson 81 dies

Monday, March 26, 2012

monday Hendrix bonus

Here’s something quite special…Burning Of The Midnight Lamp promo from 1968.

A promotional video fro the song Freedom from Jimi Hendrix originaly released on the 1971 Cry Of Love album after his death. Uses footage from the 1969 Newport Pop Festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, also footage of Jimi visiting actor Rudolph Valentio's mansion.

Thanks, DangerousMinds, and Fabio

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Full Jimi Hendrix Documentary
for Your Sunday Sermon

This is how it should be done.

Produced and directed by Joe Boyd and Gary Weis two years after Jimi Hendrix’s death, Jimi Hendrix is a solid documentary comprised of some great live performances and insightful interviews with friends, family and a cool mix of musicians including Peter Townsend, Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, Noel Redding and Little Richard.

There’s a particularly lovely scene of Hendrix playing a twelve string acoustic guitar… pure, simple and beautiful.

Live footage from Monterey, Isle of Wight, Woodstock, Fillmore East and the Marquee Club. Deeply satisfying.
from DangerousMinds

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5 Freedom-Killing Tactics Police Will Use to Crack Down on Protests in 2012

from Alternet, by Steven Rosenfeld
Across America many cities and police forces are eyeing new ways to crack down on protesters.

The First Amendment right to assemble and protest is going to get a black eye in 2012—as it has every time there has been an upsurge in America’s social justice movements.

Already in city after city, protesters and civil rights lawyers are troubled by proposed and newly enacted anti-protest rules, many of which are likely to be found unconstitutional if they have their day in court. In the meantime mayors, police and in some cases federal agencies are making detailed plans to thwart protests at local and national events.

In many cities, ordinances aimed at Occupy protesters are emerging to restrict protests and anything resembling camping on sidewalks, streets and parks. New fees are being drawn up to discourage large demonstrations. Anti-leafleting and postering rules are also muzzling people trying to spread the word about events. And all of that is being shepherded with a new pretext for using paramilitary tactics, replacing last year’s "health and safety" excuse for sweeping away Occupy sites with the rationale of protecting "national security" in a presidential election year.

“It looks to me like the law enforcement preparations are similar to what we have seen at most of the political conventions or other major events over the last dozen years, which is paramilitary policing against a civilian population,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee. “This tends to be different than the way Occupy actions have been handed for the most part, although one can point to Oakland or the New York Police Department [as exceptions]. But I would stress that it is not new.”

Verheyden-Hilliard and her colleagues, including hundreds of volunteer attorneys across America who helped defend Occupy protests last fall, are not just continuing to litigate numerous instances of abusive policing—such as the trap-and-detain tactics used in mass roundups in New York, Oakland and the use of excessive force on university campuses. They are tracking the latest versions in a well-known policing playbook now being fine-tuned for 2012’s big events, such as Chicago’s NATO summit in May, the national political conventions in late summer, and the anticipated re-emergence of local Occupy protests when the weather warms.

“People do overcome,” Verheyden-Hilliard said. “But I think you have to have a fair and honest assessment of what the grounds are in front of you in order to be able to succeed. We think that people should know the hurdles they are facing. Yet at the same time, it is not all hand-wringing. There are a lot of people who go over the top and say fascism is here. Fascism is not here. We are still out in the streets.

“We still have democratic abilities to be out in the streets. It’s just that there are real problems that people are facing. People have to know what they are, but they can fight them and they can overcome them.”

What follows are the main pages from the anti-protest playbook being fine-tuned by municipal officials in advance of 2012 protests.

Tactic 1: Expanding Permit Requirements: Municipalities -- and not just Charlotte, South Carolina, where the Democratic National Convention will be held, and Tampa, Florida, where the Republican National Convention will be held -- are adopting local ordinances requiring protesters to apply for permits months or weeks in advance, even if they haven’t unveiled all of their rules for the events. That idea is not only to prevent spontaneous assembly, but also to create deterrents, leading to tactic two: charging protesters for exercising their rights.

Tactic 2: Charging Protesters for Municipal Costs: In supposedly liberal cities, such as San Francisco and Syracuse, New York, city halls have told protest groups they have to pay for the costs of (unwanted) police escorts and other fees to discourage marches. The fees—which can be challenged in court and thrown out if found to be selectively applied—are in Charlotte’s new rules for the Democratic Convention and include “hiring and paying off-duty law enforcement officers, or reimbursing the city for costs of providing on-duty law enforcement officers, to appropriately police street closures.” In Tampa, the new rules require protesters apply 60 days in advance for special permits and obtain insurance.

These fees are in addition to fines against groups if people put up their signs, posters or leaflet supporting their cause. New York City and Washington, DC, has versions of these anti-leafleting and poster rules. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, Public Citizen has sued over a new county rule forcing protesters to pay for its legal costs. “There’s hundreds of different rules about it,” Verheyden-Hilliard said, saying these fees were one of the “under the radar” trends and obstacles facing protesters in 2012.

Tactic 3: Demonizing Protesters In Pre-Event Press Conferences: The track record of police saying there are mounting public health emergencies was a central feature before Occupy evictions in New York’s Zuccotti Park, Oakland’s Oscar Grant Plaza, Washington’s McPherson Square and elsewhere. In Chicago, police officials looking ahead to May’s NATO summit have begun to invoke the 2012 corollary: security concerns, saying downtown businesses are anticipating riots with police saying that they do not know how many protesters will show up, “some of whom could become violent.” These smear tactics not only justify spending vast sums of public money on policing, but they also deter peaceful people from coming out to join the protest.

Tactic 4: Creating Exclusion Zones and Segregating Protesters: There have been many court rulings asserting the First Amendment right of assembly in the street and on sidewalks. However, that has not stopped a range of municipalities and even state legislatures from eyeing or passing laws that range from making protesting in the street in front of a private home illegal—such as legislation passed by the Georgia Senate last week or Charlotte’s new protest rules—or that bar camping on city property. Charlotte’s anti-camping provisions were used to shut down the city’s Occupy protest.

The sidewalk and camping restrictions are part of a trend of declaring larger areas of cities off-limits to protesters. In Washington, DC, which has some of the most protest-friendly rules in the nation (after repeatedly being sued and losing in federal court), the city is eyeing a proposal to extend sidewalk restrictions to all parkland—targeting future Occupy encampments. This trend continues with more sweeping measures like declaring a large swath of a city a special security zone, such as at the NATO summit and during the national political conventions, where paramilitary forces will be deployed.

Some restrictions are reasonable, such as the U.S. Coast Guard closing and patrolling the Lake Michigan shore and Chicago River during the NATO summit. But others, such as Charlotte’s new rules, impose broad and likely unconstitutional restrictions. These start with banning any object or activity that blocks roads, outlaws crossing police lines, bars possessing anything the police say can conceal a weapon or person’s identity (backpacks and scarves), limits the hanging of banners on private property without permission from property owners, and makes it illegal to use police scanners inside the security perimeter (but does not stop police from spying on protesters, including using helicopters).

The national political conventions each receive $50 million for security from the federal government. In Tampa, Florida, where the Republican Convention will be held in late August, the downtown will be sealed off from public access, roads closed, and the city will spend $30 million hiring 4,000 additional law enforcement personnel, local papers report. Tampa police already have spent nearly $300,000 on an armored SWAT vehicle and $1.18 million on “video linkages” between ground police and helicopters, the news reports say. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also has been hostile to would-be protesters, telling local papers, “Just because they want to occupy something doesn’t mean we are obligated to provide them with an opportunity to camp out in a public park or on a sidewalk.” He has all but rejected the Florida ACLU’s efforts to negotiate.

In Charlotte, the police won’t “talk about $25 million in new equipment for the DNC,” the Charlotte Observer reported in a January article that talked about how the technology and equipment will affect how local policing is conducted for years. The ordinance upgrades in Charlotte and Tampa do not expire after the conventions. Civil libertarians expect both events to be highly militarized with protesters treated poorly.

“Exclusion zones are appalling,” Verheyden-Hilliard said. “We completely oppose and do not negotiate for any type of pens or pits in which people can stand. Our view is that people have the right to be on the streets and sidewalks and it is not a compromisable right. But that is definitely what you are going to see this year.”

Tactic 5: Mass Arrests, Punitive Detention: As many Occupy protesters learned last fall, the police have the bullhorns, handcuffs, pepper spray, waiting vans and jail cells at their disposal if they want to conduct sweeps, and use trap and detain tactics. Perhaps the best-known example was the mass arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge—which is being litigated to possibly impose rules on New York police to prevent similar arrests and to clear the records of those arrested. However, it is an unfortunate reality that despite all the constitutional protections and subsequent court victories, including collecting damages, the police can and do overpower protesters.

Perhaps the best warning to protesters of impending police overreach can be found in the rules that Washington, DC was forced to adopt in 2005, after it lost a series of suits and a sympathetic city council wanted to restrict police excesses. Washington’s revised standards include: restrictions on using police lines, restrictions on ordering an crowd to disperse or to end an event; a ban on arresting someone who is parading without a permit. It requires that protesters be given time to comply with an order; restricts the use of riot gear; limits the period of arrest and detention; restricts the use of pepper spray; prohibits inhumane use of handcuffs or physical restraints; requires food and water be given to anyone arrested; requires those arrested be given a statement on how to obtain a quick release; requires detailed arrest records be kept; and requires police to display badges.

Even with these standards in law—which are a list of tell-tale signs of police excesses—Washington city officials this week are eyeing legislation to ban "crowding" in city parks, and an attorney representing the police department was chastised by a federal judge this week for knowingly submitting false affidavits in an ongoing lawsuit over past protests.

Hope Not Fear

Despite these obstacles, civil rights lawyers are already looking at ways to defend First Amendment rights at 2012’s largest events: the NATO summit and political conventions. Also, there is a large cadre of lawyers across the country who gained experience during last fall’s Occupy protests and can be deployed quickly as events spiral.

“Nationally, what we were able to accomplish this past fall in terms of legal support was unprecedented,” Verheyden-Hilliard said. “I am the co-chair of National Lawyers Guild mass defense committee, and as Occupy actions sprung up all over the country, we were able to pull together hundreds of volunteer attorneys, law students and legal workers in cities and towns throughout the U.S. without notice.”

But looking toward the national political conventions, the hurdles are more formidable, she said, because the police and various federal agencies are not discussing their plans.

“We are working with legal teams in Tampa and Charlotte who are looking at ordinance challenges, permitting issues, etc.,” Verheyden-Hilliard said. “As it unfolds I would expect there to be legal challenges, but part of the initial hurdle is trying to pin down from law enforcement what the restrictions are going to be. One of the tactics that the government uses is to try to wind down the clock and not provide information on restrictions until the last minute so that you are only able to go to court on a short time-frame and without opportunity to develop a record to overcome the pretextual and untested security claims that will be presented to the judge. The fact is they know well in advance what they are planning to do.”

There are other major factors the police cannot control, however. The first is the number of people who will protest—whether it is in local Occupy protests or national political events. When enough people take to the streets, police cannot arrest everyone. Nor can they control the media from covering police overreach and excessive force. Together those factors can change the political climate and force governments at the local, state and national level to adopt reforms—not because legislators are feeling benevolent, but because they are worried about what is happening in the streets.
Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet and is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

© 2012 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why War Isn't Inevitable: A Science Writer Studies the Secret to Peaceful Societies

From Alternet By Brad Jacobson
As the drumbeats for war with Iran reach bellicose heights, a new book argues that waging war is not an innate part of our nature.

When President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he expressed a well-worn notion about warfare: "[W]ar is sometimes necessary, and war is at some level an expression of human feelings." Today, as the drumbeats for war with Iran once again reach bellicose heights, a timely new book argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, waging war is not an innate part of human nature.

In The End of War, veteran science journalist John Horgan applies the scientific method to reach a unique conclusion: biologically speaking, we are just as likely to be peaceful as we are to be violent. So what keeps humans bound by a seemingly never-ending cycle of war?

In a phone interview with AlterNet from his home in New York's Hudson Valley -- situated within earshot of the mortars and howitzers at West Point Military Academy's artillery range -- Horgan dispelled multiple myths about the impetus for war, the combination of which, he believes, sustains the institution of war despite rational thought and an overwhelming human aversion to killing. A longtime Scientific American writer and director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, Horgan also charts a new course for rejecting the old paradigm of war's inevitability and finally releasing mankind from its destructive grip.

Brad Jacobson: Was there an overriding factor that drove you to write this book?

John Horgan: Yeah, it was my discovery that started right after the U.S. invasion of Iraq: the vast majority of people, both American and people around the world, believe that war is a permanent part of the human condition. That we've always fought wars and we always will. I have surveyed thousands of people on this issue now, young and old. I ask people this question: Do you think war will ever end? And usually between 80 and 90 percent of the time people say, "No, war will never end. We're always going to have wars of some kind or other." And when I would ask people why they were so pessimistic, they would give me a range of reasons. Often it would be, "War is part of human nature." "War is in our genes." Or it would be an environmental explanation: war comes from the tendency of humans to overpopulate different regions, leading to a competition for resources.

There have been other surveys of people's attitudes toward war going back to the 1980s. I cited those in my book, too. And those found quite a bit of pessimism, but not nearly as much as I found over the last seven to eight years.

So I wrote the book basically to rebut this extremely pessimistic point of view, which is also held by people at the highest levels of power. I quote Barack Obama right at the beginning of my book. At the fucking Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, he's giving this incredibly pessimistic and wrong view of warfare as dating all the way back to the origin of humanity. And that leads him to say, "Let's face it, we're not going to eradicate war in our lifetimes." Even if you believe that, I think it's awful for our leader, especially someone like Barack Obama, whom I voted for in part because I thought he would not be a hawkish president and get us out of these terrible wars we've been in recently. Even if he is personally pessimistic, I want vision from him, especially when he's accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. How about a vision of a world without war instead of saying this is just the way it is and you have to accept it?

BJ: Didn't he also receive the Nobel just days after calling for a troop buildup in Afghanistan?

JH: That's right. When he was in Oslo, Norway, where he accepted the Peace Prize, this was about nine days after he had announced that he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

BJ: You also cite another line from Obama's Nobel acceptance speech, which you dispel in your book: "War in one form or another appeared with the first man." Why do you think this belief has become such entrenched conventional wisdom?

JH: That's a good question. I have been tracking the anthropology of war literature since the late 1980s. And since then, this view that war is really ancient and innate has become dominant in science. There's a group of scientists at Harvard, in particular, starting with Edward Wilson, also Richard Wrangham, Steven Pinker, Steven LeBlanc. Very influential, very smart, respected scientists who've been repeatedly putting out this idea that war, as Obama said, is at least as old as humans, and might even be older and go back millions of years to the common ancestor with chimpanzees. That theory is now accepted and has seeped down to the level of the general population. I hear it all the time. I see it cited in all sorts of popular books about human nature, human psychology, as well as about aggression and warfare.

And I think that really, as a scientific hypothesis, has a lot to do with people's pessimism these days. In addition to a more obvious reason, which would be that over the last decade we've had 9/11, followed by two very serious wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the war on terror. So I think this bad scientific theory has a lot to do with people's pessimism, which is why I devote a chunk of my book to rebutting that.

BJ: I found it fascinating that you not only show in the book that humans are as equally genetically related to chimpanzees as they are to peace-loving bonobos, but also you debunk the idea that chimpanzees are necessarily innately violent to begin with.

JH: And not just violent to begin with, which they can be. The claim is more specific than that: that chimps in one group band together and raid chimps from another group. Usually it's just ambushing one or two. In most cases, it's just finding a little baby and ripping it apart.

What I found when I looked at the literature carefully is we're talking about a very small number of these incidents over the past few decades. Depending on how you count them, just a couple of dozen. And you have literally hundreds of years of human observations, if you count individual scientists watching individual troupes [of chimpanzees], but which has accumulated just a handful of these troupe raids that lead to deaths. Even anthropologist Richard Wrangham -- who's sort of the chief proponent of this idea that human warfare and chimpanzee warfare are very similar -- says that this is very rare behavior. And Jane Goodall has suggested that this behavior might be a response to changes in the way that chimps behave as a result of the encroachment of humans on their habitat, even as a result, for example, of Goodall herself putting out bananas and so forth.

So, you know, you've got this really dramatic, consequential claim about human nature and about war, this great scourge of humanity, based on really flimsy evidence. I mean I have great respect for Steve Pinker and Ed Wilson and even Richard Wrangham. But they should know better than to be putting out this theory as fact when the facts do not support it.

BJ: If humans are as genetically related to bonobos as we are to chimpanzees, why isn't that cited more often in discussions on the human impetus for war?

JH: Well, you know, bonobos are getting a lot of press lately. Peaceniks love to cite them, especially peaceniks who think that humans are innately pacifistic and gentle. Actually, I cite the bonobos research to counter all the chimp stuff. But really I think all of that is pretty much irrelevant. We really should be forgetting about the chimpanzee and bonobos stuff -- that might've evolved very recently. The way that chimps or bonobos act now might have nothing to do with what was happening millions of years ago with the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans.

The literature that I think is really significant from this question about the origins of war concerns the first appearance of war in the archeological record. The point I make in my book is that, in spite of what is often said about war being very ancient going back to the beginning of humanity, as Obama said, war is quite recent. The oldest evidence for war is 12,000 years ago and even that is kind of an outlier. Really all the evidence for war starts about 10,000 years ago. And war seems to have emerged independently in various parts of the world and then rapidly spread.

So this is a cultural innovation that happened actually quite late. It happened after -- well after -- the invention of complex tools, the invention of cooking, after we see evidence for religion, after the emergence of art and music. War came after all those things, so in no way is it something that's an instinct or really deeply embedded in us. It's a very recent cultural innovation and it's not something that then became permanent in all human societies.

The fascinating thing about war, too, is that it emerges in some places and then it disappears. And some societies that were once extremely warlike can become peaceful, at least when it comes to group violence, for very long periods after that. Which again, undercuts the whole notion of war being this deeply engrained biological behavior.

BJ: So why does war happen?

JH: After biology, the next most common explanation is that war happens because humans tend to overbreed. We make too many copies of ourselves and then we start fighting over stuff -- water, game, land, women have been a source of conflict for fighting among men. Now we fight over oil and other strategic resources. After biology, this resource competition theory is by far the most common explanation of war. And often the two are combined, biology plus resource competition.

The problem is it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. I look at the evidence for the resource scarcity argument and there are some wars where there are clearly some fights over resources, over oil or land or whatever. But there are many wars that aren't. And the fascinating thing about war that a lot of people fail to understand is that war can arise for almost an infinite variety of reasons. Wars happen because maybe you just got some charismatic sociopath who convinces people in his tribe to go and kick the asses of the tribe next door. And when that happens, you have this new behavior that emerges that rapidly spreads. What does that neighboring tribe do if it's attacked by the one led by this sociopath? It either has to run away or it has to fight in self-defense. That's what makes war so insidious.

War really should be seen as a meme, as a self-perpetuating idea or behavior that becomes very persistent and deep-rooted once it emerges in a given region. And I think you can see the evidence of that over the last decade. What have been the motives behind the wars that have happened starting with 9/11? We invaded Afghanistan because we were attacked on 9/11. That was a war of vengeance. We were trying to get the guys who did it to us. The same with the invasion of Iraq. And if you didn't think Iraq was revenge for 9/11, well, it was because Saddam Hussein was threatening us. We thought he had weapons. So fear of war, in that case, caused us to launch a preemptive attack.

Now you've got the case of Iran, the drums of war are beating again. Why is that? Is it over resource competition? No, not at all. It's because we think Iran is going to attack us because they're building nuclear weapons. And of course Iran, if it is interested in nuclear weapons, is interested in them because they think we're going to attack them or Israel is going to attack them. So I think you see clear evidence even right now, if you look around the world, as war as something that perpetuates itself apart from any other causes or factors.

BJ: If the acceptance of war's inevitability is largely a meme, an idea that self-perpetuates in a culture, how do societies counter that?

JH: Yeah, Jesus, it's a good question. I think we have already seen over the last century a sea-change in popular attitudes toward war. If you go back before World War I, you can find a lot of people, prominent intellectuals and political leaders, who talked about war as something that was intrinsically good. As something that was worth doing for its own sake because it was good for the character of a nation. Teddy Roosevelt talked that way. And so did a lot of prominent intellectuals. Even [the psychologist] William James, who was a pacifist, granted that war can be very stimulating for character and marshal virtues that are admirable. All that kind of bullshit.

But the idea that war is just something that's good to do apart from any other higher goal of national purpose or so forth has really diminished. In part because the gigantic industrial scale of wars that we had with World War I and World War II, which really took a lot of the glamour out of war.

We still glorify the macho virtues of war in some ways. I think the number-one movie last week was the one about the Navy Seals who got Osama bin Laden. But it's not as deep-rooted as it once was. I feel as though there is so much exposure now to the real horrors of war, from the inevitable civilian casualties and so forth. I think morally overall people are more prepared to denounce war once and for all than they were at pretty much at any other time in recent human history.

BJ: Can you describe the implications of the fierce Amazonian tribe, the Waorani, on the ability of mankind to turn away from war?

JH: It was this tribe in Ecuadorian Amazon that was first studied more than 50 years ago by anthropologists and had extraordinary high rates of violence. They were higher than anything that had ever been measured. More than 50 percent of the population died violently, for the most part, in raids of one village on another. It had just always been that way. And of course, as I said, it becomes self-perpetuating. People in each village would be so fearful of everybody else that if you met somebody in the forest, you would immediately need to run away or you'd try to kill them. And they were constantly carrying out preemptive attacks on each other.

But they were smart enough to realize that this was crazy. It was unsustainable. But how do you get out? And these missionaries came up with an ingenious idea. They couldn't even have peace parleys because any people meeting together from different villages would be worried that the other guy would pull out a spear and stab them. And so the missionaries came up with this ingenious idea of arranging negotiations by flying a plane over each other's camps to first deliver conciliatory messages. By having people from one village vowing to the other, "Hey listen, we've got to stop fighting. What do you say?" And this gradually led to a truce. And this extremely violent society became, not completely non-violent, to be honest, but much less violent. And especially, these rates of group attacks started diminishing in frequency.

It again shows the self-perpetuating nature of war and also the ability of people collectively to come together and say -- apart from any other conditions of the society like political, demographic, or economic factors -- "We don't want to do this anymore so let's stop. It's stupid. "

And of course we've seen examples of this among very sophisticated modern states. Switzerland and Sweden both about 200 years ago decided that war was stupid and they stopped fighting. They are prepared vigorously to defend themselves. They have an army. But they haven't been involved in any war in combat.

One of my favorite examples is Costa Rica, which in the 1940s went through a terrible civil war in which the army turned against the people. After the war was over, the victors, who were very progressive, especially in retrospect, said, "We never want this to happen again. Armies in this country seem only to cause trouble. So let's get rid of the standing army and invest those resources in education and infrastructure and tourism and so forth." And as you probably know, Costa Rica is in the middle of what has been over the last half century one of the most violent places in the world. It's right next to Nicaragua, near Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. And while war is raging all around it and terrible poverty, Costa Rica has thrived. And according to lots of so-called social happiness indexes, it's the happiest place on earth. And again, it was just something they decided to do.

Some people think that for war to end we have to first create a utopia. We have to first have complete social justice and economic equality and get rid of all poverty, have complete freedom and democracy and so forth. But actually I think things work the other way. First, you get rid of war and militarism, and then a lot of these other wonderful things can happen in part as a result of that. And I think that's what Costa Rica has shown.

BJ: You also debunk the notion of man as a natural warrior, exploring the overwhelming reluctance of soldiers in major wars, including the Civil War, World War I and World War II, to fire their guns directly at the enemy, even with a clear shot and when ordered by their superiors. It was definitely eye-opening to me.

JH: It was eye-opening to me, too. And I love the fact that the person who compiled these data is a guy named Dave Grossman, who is a Special Forces colonel and an instructor at West Point. He's a soldier and a real hard-ass. And he wrote this book called On Killing, which basically makes the case and presents massive data to show that far from being innate warriors who are just dying to kill people, the vast majority of men are extremely reluctant to kill other people. And this has been a real problem for soldiers in wars going very far back, including the Civil War, as you mentioned. There's some evidence from the Napoleonic War. There was a big survey done of U.S. combat veterans in World War II and it found that lots of guys who were infantrymen -- these are kind of the grunts in Word War II -- they were not firing at all or were firing away from the enemy. They did not want to kill someone.

As a result of that the Army was horrified and they completely revamped their training to boost the firing rates of combat soldiers. They did boost the rates in the Korean War and especially in the Vietnam War. But what Grossman said is that as a result there are higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. For example, in Vietnam, because the soldiers were reacting in horror often to all the death they were meting out.

BJ: Weren't these types of tactics to ensure higher firing rates still employed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan? And aren't they, then, continuing to lead to higher rates of PTSD?

Yeah. And so one of the things that's happened in modern warfare of course is that you're not shooting somebody 30 passes away as often anymore. Firing or killing has become even more automated. You have bombing. You have very long-range artillery and so forth. I mean that was true by WWII as well. But it's become even more true today. And of course now you have the ultimate remote killing machine, which is the drone. You got a guy sitting in an office in Nevada and he's pulling a trigger and blowing away a supposed terrorist in Yemen or Pakistan or Iraq. And what's interesting is that there have been all these reports that drone operators -- who are so far removed from actual bloodshed, and are completely removed from any danger to themselves -- are also experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Which, again, I think shows that most people are not natural warriors. It's not something that most people want to do.

It's true also of the origins of war if you go back many thousands of years to right up to the present. There's this wonderful anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, who has presented evidence about how war, once it emerged in some of these very early tribal societies, became such an important part of culture that it had a profound impact on male and female roles and identities. And it was the emergence of war that led to male macho-ness, the male embrace of the kind of warrior identity and how being really tough and aggressive was the essence of being a man. It wasn't that males are intrinsically tough and aggressive and that's why war happens. It was more that the causality, according to Hrdy, was the other way around. War emerges and then the culture tries to elevate the martial virtues because war then becomes such an important part of the culture.

BJ: You cite Abu Ghraib and the actions of, as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld referred to them, a "few bad apples," the guards who were involved in torture and abuse of prisoners and portrayed in the media as natural born monsters. But you show how many people, including Rumsfeld, failed to either acknowledge or understand that most causal factors of cruelty in wartime settings most often stem not from individuals themselves but from the fact of being immersed in a wartime setting, surrounded by war's inherent brutality, bloodshed, fear and madness.

JH: So again we've been talking about the degree to which humans are biologically predisposed to hurt each other. So one of the questions is: Are there some people who are just bad apples or sociopathic or sadistic?

In the case of Abu Ghraib, this was a real question. Were the people who committed the abuse at Abu Ghraib just bad people, bad apples? There's this wonderful book written by a very prominent psychologist named Philip Zimbardo called The Lucifer Effect. He made a very good case that it's not bad apples who generally are responsible. There are bad apples out there, but almost all war crimes, abuse and atrocities and so forth, are a product of the environment of what he called the "bad barrel," of a situation that almost forces people to act violently and cruelly toward others.

Zimbardo did this really dramatic experiment in the 1970s, one of the most famous experiments in the history of social psychology, called the Stanford Prison Experiment, where he got a bunch of good, clean-cut Stanford students to pretend to be guards and prisoners in a fake prison in the basement of a Stanford building. And within a couple of days the guards were acting like absolute sadistic beasts to the prisoners, who were just other Stanford students. These weren't sociopaths. These were kids who were just playacting in the beginning but then quickly got into their roles so much that things really got of hand.

I think it's a very persuasive piece of evidence. You know, war is like the ultimate bad barrel. Once a war breaks out, then good, humane, decent people, in spite of themselves, often end up acting like absolute monsters. And it's not something innate. It's not something that's always there in their genes. It's something that's brought out by war itself.

BJ: What is the case for the very small percentage of people who enjoy killing or feel no compunction to kill as being the driving force of war throughout history?

JH: Well, this emerged from a study by a couple of psychiatrists after World War II of combat veterans. They found that the vast majority of people after continuous combat for 60 days basically go crazy. But a very small percent, about 2 percent, are having a great time.

There are some people who would say these natural-born killers or sociopaths are responsible for all war. And some of them end up being leaders, like Stalin and Hitler. Except that the evidence for that is not really good. You can't underestimate the degree to which these people actually do contribute to certain wars. Another case, for example, is the Rwanda genocide [where a small percentage of people actually carried out the majority of the killing].

But I think that when you look at the totality of war through history, including wars that are happening right now around the world, that explanation doesn't work very well. It's not like all the American soldiers who are volunteers now in Iraq and Afghanistan are sociopaths. War is more about conformity, or at least as much about conformity as it is about innate aggression and hostility.

Modern warfare is so disconnected from the kind of basic male aggression that leads to bar fights or hockey fights and that sort of thing. It really needs to be explained more by political, social and cultural factors. It's much more often that war turns people into sociopaths than sociopaths causing war.

BJ: What about the idea that if there were more women running countries then that would lead to the end of war?

JH: It has a lot of appeal and I kind of was favoring that for a while in the way that I thought if all nations were democratic, then there would be no war. The only problem is that there's so much counter-evidence. The United States has remained extraordinarily belligerent and militaristic even as women's rights have advanced. We haven't had a female president yet, but we've had some very powerful female figures in politics, including Hillary Clinton, who, as far as I can tell, is probably more hawkish than Barack Obama himself. And you also have somebody like Condoleezza Rice. And there are very militaristic female war leaders throughout history.

BJ: One main criticism of your book is that you give short shrift to the power and influence of the military-industrial complex, of weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists and friends in government. How do you respond to that?

JH: Yeah, I think that's a valid objection to my book. The military-industrial complex is extremely important. Some people broaden that and say, "You're not going to get rid of war as long as you have capitalism because we'll always have war profiteering, where people are going to benefit too much from war for it to go away." My response to that would be that the great titans of capitalism right now are companies like Amazon and Google and Apple. Haliburton is like loose change in the pocket in one of these companies. It's tiny. Even big aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin are tiny compared to these other companies that just see the rest of the world not as places to be conquered through war but as potential markets. They don't want war. They want free trade and commerce. This is the impetus behind globalization.

Globalization can lead to problems. It can lead to economic exploitation and so forth. But capitalism, in general, and I hate to say this -- I'm like a liberal socialist myself -- can be a very progressive force, a profoundly antiwar force that I think, with courageous political leadership, will make the problem of the military-industrial complex go away very rapidly. It's happened in the past. It happened after the Civil War. It happened after World World I. The problem is that since World War II the military-industrial complex has become very powerful and entrenched. But I think with enough collective will of the people and some decent political leadership, that's not going to be a problem.

BJ: Who is Gene Sharp and how has he influenced your thoughts on war?

JH: He's one of the great minds and great moral leaders of our time. He's a political scientist who started in the 1970s. He's churned out an enormous number of papers and books on the power of nonviolent activism to bring about extraordinary political change -- toppling dictators, overcoming injustice within a society. He's looked not only at the obvious examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but at many other examples through history and compiled all these techniques that people can use to accomplish pretty much any political-social goal in their society. Very quietly he has had an enormous influence on world affairs. Just recently he's gotten a lot of attention because it turns out that activists in Tunisia and Egypt, people who were part of the Arab Spring, had adopted some of Sharp's techniques.

I wish his writings were better known because I think the world would be a better place. Obviously there is still a lot of tyranny and injustice in the world. But Sharp holds out the hope that that can be overcome nonviolently and that the consequences of nonviolent revolution are almost always much better than violent revolution.

BJ: What type of action do you hope your book inspires?

JH: I mention somewhere in the book and would like this to be discussed among progressive activists: What should your priorities be? You know, do you work on environmental issues, against global warming? Against poverty and world hunger? Do you work on the advancement of women's rights? I mean all those are worthy causes. But I actually think that in terms of leverage, of focusing on one thing that can then have a cascade of other positive effects, focusing on militarism and war should be the priority. Because if we can really reduce the militarism of this country, really cut back on our military budget, get rid of nuclear weapons and create a more rational international policy, then I think that a lot of these other things will be much easier to address. Environmental issues, economic injustice issues, female inequality, all those sorts of things.

Brad Jacobson is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist and contributing reporter for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @bradpjacobson.

© 2012 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Dock Ellis On His 67th Birthday: LSD Memories, Celluloid Dreams

from The Classical:
Given that his Baseball Reference comparables include Mike Boddicker and Charlie Leibrandt, Dock Ellis has enjoyed a good deal more staying power in baseball lore than would seem reasonable. He had some very good seasons during his long career, with his best coming as co-ace of the 1971 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates. But that was the only season in which Ellis made an All-Star team, and one of just a handful of seasons in his career that even made basic statistical sense—when he went 17-8 with the Yankees five years later, Ellis struck out 65 batters in 211 2/3 innings. Which was 11 fewer than he walked.

And there was, of course, the ineffable and irreducible Dock-iness of the guy. If his K/BB ratio was somewhat mindbending, it could be argued that this was also the least surprising thing about a dude otherwise given to rocking curlers in the locker room, free-associating his way through interviews, and building with future Poet Laureate Donald Hall. And there was, of course, the no-hitter that Ellis threw on June 12, 1970, against San Diego, in which Ellis walked eight, plonked one, and was frying royally on acid throughout.

You have probably heard about this, because it is is amazing. You might have read A.J. Daulerio's attempt at a pharmaceutically accurate re-enactment of the feat, or enjoyed the fact that Vice has turned the doing-something-incongruous-while-on-acid genre into a very amusing web series. There is a brilliant video about the experience, narrated by Ellis, directed by James Blagden, and godfathered by the good people at No Mas. You have almost certainly seen this video, but it couldn't really hurt to watch it again, right? Because of how great it is, I mean, and because it's Dock Ellis's birthday, and it's surely what he would want.
But while all of this is indeed very awesome, there was more to Dock Ellis than this unique Legacy of Acid Curveball Visionz and his varied on-field feats. It's that other, broader, actual-human-person Ellis who has lost ground to the tripping-balls one—the former being the one who was regarded, somewhat ridiculously and certainly ignorantly, as a black militant during his playing days; the one who mentored kids in the California correctional system; the one who, to reiterate this in case it didn't resonate enough before, collaborated on a book with a future United States poet laureate. All of whom, of course, were very much the person who would wind up pitching a no-hitter while tripping balls. It's that guy—the one who is also all of those Dock Ellis-es—that fascinates and animates the people behind No No: The Dockumentary, a new documentary about Ellis and his various lives.

The project, which co-producer Chris Cortez expects will be finished within the year, is already some ways along—Cortez estimates that the team has shot over 50 hours of footage, with interviewees ranging from former teammates Dave Cash, Al Oliver and Steve Blass to the Ellis family in Southern California and the kids Dock worked with in the correctional system. "We became interested in Dock the same way as everyone else," Cortez says. "I mean, this is the guy who pitched a no-hitter on LSD." What animated the film, though, and what has been revealed during the 50-plus hours of interview coverage, is that Ellis was significantly more than the sum of that one deathless lysergic landmark and other quantifiable achievements.

Which is also true of just about every human, but especially so in the case of Ellis, who was so very publicly his contradictory, confounding, relentlessly Dock-ish self to stand out even in an era when players could afford to be weird—"Something about making $9,000 instead of $9 million let these guys be different," Cortez says. "And Dock had no fear with the tongue."

"He was born into a middle class life, and was in many respects a regular middle-class California kid," Cortez says. "But he was always drawn in these strange directions." Mapping those directions, and the tides that carried Ellis from one strange port to another, is a necessarily complicated task, but one that Cortez says is in the home stretch—editing has begun on the footage, although the film will likely launch a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund some animation and other last-minute needs.

Offering guidance during the process is an "advisory committee" that seems both appropriately and implausibly all over the map—it includes Ellis's former big league contemporary Scipio Spinks, South By Southwest founder Louis Black, and legendary punk photographer Glen E. Friedman, whom Ellis befriended at a ballgame when Friedman was a kid (there's a picture of them together on Friedman's website). It's a diverse group, all of whom Cortez says have offered input on matters ranging from verisimilitude to budgeting. There's the sense that, given who Dock Ellis was—how many things and how many people simultaneously, and how joyously he embodied those different identities—only a group this diverse could come close to capturing him.

We'll have a longer Q&A with Cortez about the film sometime soon, but for now, celebrate Dock Ellis Day—responsibly, please: LSD is pretty bad for you—secure in the knowledge that more Dock-related good times are coming. We may not see his like again, but we won't have reason to forget him anytime soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shit Skateboard Photographers Say

I actually never referred to myself as a "skateboard photographer", since in my day, there really wasn't such a specific thing. You could be a photographer, but certainly nothing so specific. That said, when shooting skating I would have to admit i have said a few of these things, although perhaps more era appropriate versions ;-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

‘Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer’
Chicago Billboard Provides Helpful Reminder

from Gawker
You know what season this is? It's hot dog season. Winter's over, baseball's spring training has begun, and people are wearing shorts again. Here in New York, it is time for hot dogs.

Or at least that's what we were thinking, before this billboard went up on the Eisenhower expressway in Chicago, and we immediately regretted every hot dog we've ever eaten or even thought about eating and swore to never eat another hot dog ever again. The signage is part of an ad campaign paid for by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and it is meant to make you clench your butt cheeks. (And, I guess, to point out how processed meats influence colorectal cancer rates.)

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council has fired back against the ads, which exist in varying states throughout a number of cities by now (Miami's version warns, simply, that "Hot dogs can take you out of the game"). The Council says that PCRM is a "pseudo-medical animal rights group" and says that the ad campaign is nothing more than "an effort to advance their goal to create a vegan society."

"Hot dogs are part of a healthy, balanced diet," the president of the American Meat Institute tells the Chicago Tribune, but I won't believe it until I see it on a billboard.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Six New Inspiring & Sustainable Museums

from inhabitat:

Jeongok Prehistory Museum in Korea

This shiny serpentine museum in Korea is dedicated to the prehistory of the area and a sort of time capsule to explore early man. Designed by French firm, X-TU Architects, the Jeongok Prehistory Museum features a high performance double-walled facade to energy efficiently maintain a constant interior climate.

Utah Natural History Museum

Dedicated to the natural history, flora, fauna, minerals and dinosaurs found in the region, the Utah Natural History Museum is an abstract interpretation of Utah’s landscape. Located in Salt Lake City and designed by Todd Schliemann and New York City-based Ennead Architects, the museum is aiming for LEED Gold certification, features a green roof, solar system and a copper facade sourced only miles away.

Salvador Dalí Museum

This fantastical museum is completely dedicated to the incredible works of Salvador Dalí. Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, the HOK-designed museum not only seeks to minimize energy use and its impact on the environment, but is also hurricane resistant. When the next big one rolls through, the museum will still be standing and protecting all of Dalí's important works.

Ningbo History Museum

The Ningbo History Museum was designed by the 2012 Pritzker Prize winning architect, Wang Shu and stands as his signature work. Built from rubble, using traditional techniques and local labor, the museum is like an inverted mountain and dedicated to the culture and art of the Ningbo region in china.

Cité de l’Océan et du Surf

Located near the ocean in Biarritz, the Cité de l’Océan et du Surf is dedicated to surf, the ocean and their roles upon our leisure, science, and ecology. Designed by Steven Holl, the museum is meant to resemble the ocean, beach and the surf and features glass structures to fill the space with daylight.

Museum of Liverpool

Designed by Copenhagen-based 3XN, the new museum is a bold structure located on the Mersey River in Liverpool. Inside the Museum of Liverpool features exhibitions on the history of the port town and its influence on the world. Energy efficiency played a huge role in the building's design, which includes the use of a ‘trigeneration’ system to create heat, electricity and cooling in one integrated process as a way of reducing carbon emissions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Sex Pistols: "I Swear I Was There - The Gig that Changed the World"

from DangerousMinds

It’s been described as one of the most important gigs of all time, one that saw hundreds, even thousands of people claim they were there. In truth only around 30-40 people saw The Sex Pistols perform at the Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976. But of those who did, most went onto form a generation of legendary bands - The Fall, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Smiths.

Also, allegedly in the audience were such future ambassadors of taste as Anthony H. Wilson, who would co-found Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub, and nascent journalist/writer Paul Morley.

Culturally, it was an event akin to the storming of the Bastille, for it unleashed a revolution.

I Swear I Was There tells the story of that now legendary night, and talks to the people whose lives were changed by The Sex Pistols.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Case for Dolphin Rights

from BoingBoing By Maggie Koerth-Baker:
Recently, I posted a series of videos where science writers talked about some of the fascinating things they learned at the 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. In one of those clips, Eric Michael Johnson talked a bit about a panel session on whether or not certain cetaceans—primarily whales and dolphins—deserve to have legal rights under the law, the same as people have.

This is an issue that just begs controversy. But in a recent blog post following up on that panel and the meaning behind it, Johnson explains that it's not quite as crazy an idea as it might at first sound.
It was just this understanding of rights as obligations that governments must obey that formed the basis for a declaration of rights for cetaceans (whales and dolphins) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Vancouver, Canada last month. Such a declaration is a minefield ripe for misunderstanding, as the BBC quickly demonstrated with their headline, “Dolphins deserve same rights as humans, say scientists.” However, according to Thomas I. White, Conrad N. Hilton Chair of Business Ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the idea of granting personhood rights to nonhumans would not make them equal to humans under law. They would not vote, sit on a jury, or attend public school. However, by legally making whales and dolphins “nonhuman persons,” with individual rights under law, it would obligate governments to protect cetaceans from slaughter or abuse.

“The evidence for cognitive and affective sophistication—currently most strongly documented in dolphins—supports the claim that these cetaceans are ‘non-human persons,’” said White. As a result, cetaceans should be seen as “beyond use” by humans and have “moral standing” as individuals. “It is, therefore, ethically indefensible to kill, injure or keep these beings captive for human purposes,” he said.
Johnson also makes an interesting point—there's a legal basis for this kind of thing. After all, if corporations can be people, my friends, why not dolphins?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And today, a look way back at skateboarding

Compared with yesterdays post we've come a long way, huh?

This was a sequence in the film Five Summer Stories...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rally this Wednesday at Mr. 1% Fundraiser

Rally this Wednesday at Mitt Romney Fundraiser
Wednesday, March 14 at 11:00am at The Waldorf Astoria New York

Saturday night the NYC general Assembly reached 100 % consensus on the Mr 1% Rally at the Waldorf Astoria.
Here's the facebook event page:

Wednesday, Republican kleptocrat Mitt ’1%’ Romney will join a bevy of Wall Street bankers for a fundraiser to fill his election coffers right here in Manhattan, at the Waldorf Astoria in midtown. At a luncheon hosted by a billionaire supermarket magnate friend, Romney will shmooze the SuperPACS and corporate fat cats, and we want to mobilize OWS to show this radical 1% fringe that their time is up.

Community organizations, unions, and pro-worker coalitions will be out there but we want to make sure that the message isn’t just about Romney’s record, or partisan politics. We want to highlight the the nightmare of corporate personhood, and the selling of our democracy to the top bidder.

But rather than just mix our message in with other protests being planned, a group of participants from across OWS is proposing a fun rally to highlight Romney’s true masters. We’re proposing a “1%ers for Romney (or Obama)” rally with people dressed to the nines—we’ll work on costumes like ball gowns and suits and tophats and tiaras— and signs that echo Romney’s own words, like “Corporations are People Too!” as well as “Buy Your Own Politician. Romney’s Mine” and “Ask Me About my Super PAC” etc.

We need creative minds and people willing to put in a little work between now and next Wednesday. We need help designing a scenario, gathering materials, and coming up with funny, smart, biting messages that do more than just slam Romney for his political positions and rather critique a system in which a tool like Romney could be in the political position he’s in.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

1970's L.A. Street Gangs Documentary

On YouTube the person who posted this says:
This is an amazing little documentary! I bought it on eBay as a 16mm film and have had it converted to DVD. I'll bet you've not seen it before!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Corporate Infomercial of the Month

Tony Hawk, never one to shy away from corporate endorsements, holds onto some integrity with this one.

Nice work kid.

My first, and only new car I ever owned was a Honda. In 1983 I bought a 1971 Mercedes Benz 280 SEL (now owned by Brett Ratner). After I bought that car I vowed i wouldn't buy another car unless it was electric. Luckily I live in New York City and haven't owned a car in many many years...

Friday, March 9, 2012


from Tara at DangerousMinds

Here’s an educational film released in 1976 by Counselor Films to teach wild and unruly yoots why graffiti is stoopid. The first minute or so of Graffiti: Fun or Dumb? is truly laugh-out-loud funny.
Using kids’ own arguments (both pros and cons), film presents overwhelming evidence that vandalism is dumb. Shows that graffiti-type vandalism costs over $20,000,000 a year.
The short film is available for purchase at A/V Geeks.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Solar storm heading for Earth, communications disruptions expected

from Xeni at BoingBoing

The largest solar storm in five years is heading toward us, and may disrupt some airline flights and communications systems over the next few days.

The Guardian quotes a NASA official: "Solar storms have three ways they can disrupt technology on Earth: with magnetic, radio and radiation emissions. This is an unusual situation when all three types of emissions are likely to be strong."

More details on the solar phenomenon at NASA, with images and a cool video created from Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) data.

Related coverage: Washington Post,, Boston Globe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Flashback: When The Skateboarding Craze Took Over NYC

Interesting take on our sport/art from Gothamist:
Back in the 1960s, photographer Bill Eppridge documented the new fad: skateboarding. This was for LIFE magazine's cover story, for their May 14th, 1965 issue—the text on the cover read "The craze and the menace of skateboards," and featured a photo of Pat McGee, the national girl's skateboarding champ of the time.

According to the internet, skateboarding was born sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s, with the first manufactured skateboards ordered by a Los Angeles surf shop. But the popularity of skateboarding didn't happen until the 1960s, a decade which even saw the birth of Skateboarder Magazine.

While I am totally familiar with the Patti McGee cover of LIFE magazine in the 60's, I had never seen these pictures from the inside of the issue before, or even knew of their existence, INCREDIBLE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tougher Than Leather
(watch the full movie)

If you've never seen this fictional 1988 "student film" of Rick Rubin's then you must ASAP, especially If you are a fan of Run-DMC, The Beastie Boys, Rick Rubin, or Def Jam during the early years, (there's also a classic Junk Yard band performance at a backyard party, and Slick Rick to name a few.)

I have no idea how long Tougher Than Leather will last on YouTube, and it's not on DVD as far as I know, but it's a classic, tasteless epic, that needs to be seen to be believed. It actually played in theaters to riots. Some great cameo's too (Rick's dad, Russell Simmons dad [RIP] who put in two of the greatest performances in the film, to name a few, besides the infamous Richard Edson, and Lois Ayres, George Drakoulias and I running down the street for a hot second at around the one hour mark too).

If you live in lower Manhattan you may also recognize some of the locations all within a walk from the original Def Jam offices at 298 Elizabeth street. I shot some stills on the film that I'll add below (the poster up top was based on one of my photos as well.)

Enjoy, I know you will. I'm re-watching, after not seeing it for over 20 years, as i'm putting together this post, and it's blowing my mind.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Myth of the 8-Hour Sleep

from BoingBoing:

Historically, people slept for four hours, woke up for a couple of hours, then fell back asleep for another four hours, according to historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech. In 2001, he "published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks."
His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.

During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.

And these hours weren't entirely solitary - people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.

A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".

BBC: The myth of the eight-hour sleep

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Maize Fields

from PlanetSave:

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. Unfortunately, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without them knowing it.
Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.
During their investigation, controllers have found Pioneer and Monsanto products among the seeds planted.
The free movement of goods within the EU means that authorities will not investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary but they will check where the goods can be found, Bognar said. Regional public radio reported that the two biggest international seed producing companies are affected in the matter and GMO seeds could have been sown on up to thousands of hectares in the country.
Most of the local farmers have complained since they just discovered they were using GMO seeds. With season already under way, it is too late to sow new seeds, so this years harvest has been lost.

And to make things even worse for the farmers, the company that distributed the seeds in Baranya county is under liquidation. Therefore, if any compensation is paid by the international seed producers, the money will be paid primarily to that company’s creditors, rather than the farmers.

Source: Planetsave

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Fine 25 minutes of True Hip-Hop History ...

This show was fucking amazing, i remember stumbling upon it by mistake back then and it blew my mind, the RunDMC performance is one of the greatest moments in Hip Hop History.

Graffiti Rock‘s Michael Holman and DJ Jimmy Jazz

Before Yo! MTV Raps and Rap City hit the markets in the late ‘80s, New York culture maven Michael Holman first made the move to put hip-hop culture on TV with the show Graffiti Rock.

In 1984, Holman—who played music with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo in the legendarily obscure band Grey—got a bunch of banker friends to put together $150,000 to shoot the pilot for the series at Madison Ave. and 106th St. It screened on WPIX channel 11 in June 1984.

Holman turned the show into a seminar on the culture. Alongside future superstars Run D.M.C., Kool Moe Dee and Shannon—and cameos by “Prince Vince” Gallo and Debi Mazar—he featured his own crew the New York City Breakers, pieces by graf artist Brim, and hilarious slang translations. For the time, the show is pretty slick and ready for prime-time. Holman picks up the tragic story from there…
So the show airs and actually does much better than people thought! We got great ratings and aired in 88 syndicated markets, nationwide. But when we went to Las Vegas to sell the show at NAPTE (National Association of Producers of Television Entertainment) we hit a wall. First, the station managers (the people responsible for purchasing new shows in their markets) didn’t understand why “Graffiti Rock,” and hip hop was different to what Soul Train was offering. Secondly, certain stations wouldn’t take the chance to buy “Graffiti Rock,” unless other, larger markets did first. Chicago was waiting on L.A. to bite, and L.A. was waiting on New York. But the major New York syndicated stations at the time, were controlled by unsavory characters, and they wanted money under the table to put the show on the air! My main investors refused to deal with these forces (I of course would have done whatever I had to to get it on the air, and am still pissed they didn’t play along!)...
Graffiti Rock proved a legendary snapshot into what hip-hop TV was about to be. What a shot in the arm it would have been for the culture. Gnarls Barkley would later lovingly spoof Holman and the show for the video for their 2008 hit “Run” and before that, the Beastie Boys sampled Holman’s excellent little seminar on scratching in pt. 2 on their tune “Alright Hear This.”

Here's an an appeal for you to reward a culture hero like Holman by buying the DVD for just $9.95. I bought it as soon as it was released for double this price!

Thanks, DangerousMinds