Friday, August 31, 2012

AdHawk: who's behind that political ad?

from BoingBoing:

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez,
The Sunlight Foundation recently launched a free mobile app to help voters better know who is buying political ads this election year. Ad Hawk available for iPhone and Android, listens to campaign, super PAC and issue ads on the TV or radio and then lists information about who placed the ads, their campaign finance profile and other information.

Ad Hawk is simple to use: just listen, identify and learn. When you see a political ad on TV or hear one on the radio, open the app to have Ad Hawk start listening to the ad. In less than 30 seconds, Ad Hawk will create an audio fingerprint using open-source technology and start searching our database of thousands of ads for a match. We identify new ads by monitoring media reports and the YouTube channels of political groups and campaigns. When Ad Hawk finds a match, users will get information on their phone about how much money the ad's sponsor received or spent, where the ad is on the air and media reports about the candidate or political group.
Ad Hawk: Identify Political Ads As They Air

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

Bill Nye, “The Science Guy” thinks Creationism isn’t appropriate for children.

At one point in this video, Nye explains that when he is confronted with an adult who seems stuck on Creationism as their primary reality tunnel, he tells them they can “deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”

from BigThink:
What's The Latest Development?

The biggest development is not a development at all. Bill Nye, aka, "The Science Guy" is not dead, as was widely reported this weekend on Twitter. In fact, a Big Think video titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children" has made news by having, as of this writing, over 1.7 million views and thousands of comments and Facebook likes. The video, which was posted on Big Think in March but was only recently posted to our Youtube channel a few days ago, has garnered a great deal of media attention, including from CNN, ABC, Slate, The Christian Science Monitor and more.

It is unclear exactly where the rumors of the popular children's science educator's death started, but it seems likely that they began with this article from The Onion, which fictitiously reported that Nye was killed in an accident when trying to fill a hot air balloon by mixing baking soda and vinegar (which, by the way, produces heavier-than-air carbon dioxide). Several news sources have also speculated that the rumor may have started as a backlash against Nye's perceived attack on religion. This has happened before, notably surrounding an instance in which Nye was booed and walked out on by the audience at a lecture in Waco, Texas for stating (I kid you not) that the moon reflects the light of the sun and produces no light of its own.

In the video, Nye says that while everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion, creationism is unequivocally wrong, and that people who still believe it -- or more importantly, insist it is taught to their children -- hold society back for everybody. Nye argues we need a scientifically literate and educated population.

In his words: "I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."

What's The Big Idea?

Nye is making a point that is larger than creationism:

In past centuries, you could afford to live your life out just fine without believing in evolution. Today, we not only know more about science, we have an innovation economy that is based on science. As Nye points out, evolution is fundamental to our understanding of the known universe. So sure, everyone has a right to believe whatever they want. However, if you reject science, you won't succeed, and we as a society won't succeed to the fullest extent.

That's why Nye says that creationism is an idea that will vanish.

But there is still more at issue. The rejection of science has broad ramifications, and this idea -- one might call it "the war on science" -- applies to other matters on which Americans disagree. If there is a war on science, then Climate Change and the link between vaccinations and autism are surely some of its greatest battles.

What we have, then, is a pervasive and divisive issue that actually has absolute answers. No wonder the beloved edu-tainer thought it worth it to take the issue on, and no wonder the video has gathered the response that it has. After all, if you reject science, you are, in the words of the inimitable Science Guy, "just not going to get the right answer; your whole world is a mystery... instead of an exciting place."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

4 News Stories That Probably Make the Rest of the World Think Americans Are Gun-Crazed Bigots

From Alternet:

A future person reading the newspapers from 2012 would surely conclude that Americans were a bigoted, gun-crazed bunch.
As always, the news cycle this summer has had its ups and downs – tales of hope mixed in with plenty of stories that make you want to scream (cough, ahem, Chick-fil-A).

Looking back at the stories that dominated the news over the past few months, it’s clear that many of them are indications of the state of our nation. In particular, they point to some of our major problems as a country: persistent economic inequality and prejudice against people of color, LGBTQ Americans, and women, to name a few. Though we have seen some progress toward a more equitable and fair society, a future person reading our newspapers from the past several months would surely conclude that the Americans of 2012 were a bigoted, gun-crazed bunch.

Here are some of the stories from this summer that illustrate just where we stand.

1. Shootings, shootings, and more shootings

There are some people -- conservatives for sure, but some moderates and liberals too -- who argue that “this isn’t the appropriate time” to talk about gun control legislation. I understand the impulse to avoid politicizing personal tragedies, but if the aftermath of three deadly shootings – in Colorado, Wisconsin and just this week, Texas – isn’t a good time to talk about gun control, when is? As this infographic [3] created for the Nation by Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn illustrates, every year we see some 20 mass murders using guns in this country. Meanwhile, 30,000 people die each year from guns, while 70,000 are injured. You will literally never find a time when multiple Americans have not recently suffered because of guns. So if not now, when?

That’s not to say it will be easy. If it was, the fierce gun control advocates out there (and there are many [4]) would have had more luck influencing policy. As the Nation’s Katha Politt wrote in her latest column [5]:
The trouble is, as with so many aspects of conservatism—the anti-choice movement, the Tea Party, Ron Paul—“gun rights” supporters win on intensity and single-mindedness. We have common sense, but they have a master narrative: rugged individualism, patriotism and self-defense....

Of course, your average gun enthusiast is hardly tomorrow’s Holmes or Loughner or Page—you have to be mentally ill to commit mass murder—but without a gun, it’s difficult to kill and injure a whole crowd of people, no matter how much you’d like to. Gun advocates have devoted a great deal of ingenuity to trying to discredit this elementary point. And to the extent that gun-control supporters have become depressed and discouraged, they have succeeded.
Still, the widely publicized shootings this summer illustrate that the need to get our gun laws under control has never been greater.

2. The Olympics

The Olympics may have been hosted in the UK this year, but they sure told us a lot about Americans’ views on race and gender.

There was, for instance, the absurd chatter about gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas’ hair. Douglas made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win the all-around gymnastics gold, immediately becoming a role model for girls everywhere. Although this story may have been overblown on sites like Jezebel, she also took some legitimate heat [6] for not having a perfectly coiffed ‘do. To her credit, Douglas was unflappable. “I don't know where this is coming from. What's wrong with my hair?" Douglas told the Huffington Post [7] . "I'm like, I just made history and people are focused on my hair?"

Then there was the fact that, immediately after Douglas’ big win, NBC aired a commercial featuring a monkey doing gymnastics. Of course it’s likely that the commercial was scheduled in advance. But because NBC’s coverage was tape delayed, the network did have time to recognize the problem. Even more to the point: did no one over there think of the racial connotations of that commercial in the first place? (Apparently not.)

We also saw the U.S. media tending to give more airtime to “white, glossy female athletes to the exclusion of the women of color on their teams,” as s.e. smith notes over at Global Comment [8].

NBC and its commentators scored low on the gender equality scale as well, inventing bitter rivalries between women where there may been nothing but healthy competition. (See: the manufactured narrative about Russian gymnasts being over-emotional “divas.”) And don’t even get me started on the coverage of female beach volleyball players [9].

The women of the U.S. Olympic team kicked serious butt this year. If they had competed as a country of their own [10], they would have tied for second place in the number of gold medals earned and came in fourth in medals overall. They – and all the women at the Olympics this year – deserved better.

3. Chick-fil-A

The Chick-fil-A story is one that just won’t die. Day after day, week after week, it reminds us that a large number of our fellow Americans were willing to spend hours standing in line for fast-food chicken sandwiches to prove how much they don’t want gay people to get married.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the story kicked off when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told a Christian newspaper that his company “operate[s] on biblical principles” and is “very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit.” This elicited both criticism from LGBTQ rights groups, which had targeted Chick-fil-A for its anti-gay attitudes many times before, and praise from members of the Christian Right who are against same-sex marriage and other civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. That praise culminated in the much-ballyhooed “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” which was concocted by Mike Huckabee and others to urge “traditional family” supporters to buy piles of sandwiches and waffle fries. For America and freedom. Or something.

Although the U.S. has seen a number of LGBTQ advances recently – new states recognizing same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans [11] now supporting that right – this saga demonstrates that we still have a long way to go before LGBTQ Americans have the legal rights and the respect that they deserve. Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day participants may not speak for the majority of us, but they’re still around. And they sure are loud.

4. Healthcare reform goes before the Supreme Court

We learned a lot of things about the state of our nation in the frenzied days immediately before and after the Supreme Court issued its decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. We learned, in many cases not for the first time:

--That some media outlets care more about being first than being right. [12] (CNN and Fox News were in such a rush to report the news of SCOTUS' decision that they both got the news wrong.)

--That Republicans would rather have a political “win” than see thousands of Americans gain access to affordable healthcare.

--That John Roberts might possess a shred of compassion [13].

Above all else, we learned that we will get much-needed healthcare reform, even if the reforms aren’t perfect in every way.

The healthcare saga and other major stories of the summer show us that, however much progress we have made as a society, we have many battles left to fight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Great old clip:
Mister Rogers defending PBS
to the US Senate

In 1969, Fred Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. His goal was to support funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in response to significant proposed cuts by President Nixon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wondering what the fuck Greg Ginn is up to these days?

DaveTV brings you GREG GINN & THE ROYAL WE at The Metropolis, Austin, Tx. August 18, 2012

here's two pictures I took with Greg in them, around 30 years ago

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trying to Protect a Reef With an Otherworldly Diversion

from the New York Times:

— Most people head off to an art exhibit with comfortable shoes and a deep appreciation for creativity. Jason deCaires Taylor’s work requires flippers and, to really appreciate it, a depth of at least 12 feet.

Mr. Taylor labors over his sculptures for weeks, five-ton concrete figures of men, women and children, many of them modeled after people in the fishing village near here where he lives and works. The little boy Carlito sitting on a rock. The proud Joaquín glancing skyward. The old man everyone knows as Charlie Brown clasping his chin in contemplation.

In a stifling warehouse filled with bodies — ceramic replicas and false starts — he fusses over their lips and noses. Gets the hair just right. Adjusts their clothing.

Then he sinks them in the sea.

There, they rest in ghostly repose in the Museo Subacuático de Arte here, serving at once as a tourist attraction and as a conservation effort by drawing divers and snorkelers away from the Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest barrier reef system in the world, and toward this somewhat macabre, artificial one.

The nearly 500 statues, the first ones placed in 2009 and 60 added this year, have acquired enough coral, seaweed and algae to give them the look of zombies with a particularly nightmarish skin condition. Eventually, in six years or so, the coral will completely overtake them, leaving only suggestive shapes.

“Foremost, it’s an opportunity to view this other world,” Mr. Taylor said. “We are surrounded by water, but people have no understanding what their planet is. It helps see ourselves as part of the world.”

Mr. Taylor places the works, anchored with special sand bolts, in water shallow enough forsnorkelers to get a view, the sunlight filtering through the blue water casting odd shadows and drawing out unexpected pinks and oranges from the coral.

But divers get the most out of it, with close-ups of the rainbow swirl of coral and algae. Fish dart in and around and — in an ecological twist — feed off the “people.” At night, Mr. Taylor said, a family of sea turtles has been known to go sightseeing.

Purists may shudder at the idea of altering the sea in any way. But Mr. Taylor, who uses marine- grade concrete specially prepared to entice coral and be close to neutral pH, notes that the exhibit inhabits but a fraction of the sea.

“It’s like putting a sculpture in the Sahara,” he said, contending that the works contribute to the greater good of preserving the natural reef by diverting divers away from it.

Some scientists agree, as long as the artificial reefs are placed in a way that is minimally disruptive to the sea floor and to natural reefs.

“I have seen the pictures, and it looks intriguing,” Richard E. Dodge, executive director of the National Coral Reef Institute in Florida, said of the museum. “If it is not so extensive that it impinges hugely on the natural reef, it does help by providing an alternative dive site.”

Others are more skeptical, saying that the museum serves more as a tourist attraction and that the reef is harmed more by pollution from the resorts and by climate change than by visitors to it.

“It is neither a benefit nor a harm to the reef, but I do not see it as a conservation project,” said Roberto Iglesias Prieto, a scientist in Cancún who studies the reef.

Mr. Taylor, a 37-year-old Briton, was drawn to Mexico after an earlier project of 65 works off the Caribbean island of Grenada got a lot of attention.

He grew up in England, Spain and Malaysia, where he developed a passion for diving and coral reefs, and he was trained at the Camberwell College of Arts in London.

From his days as a young graffiti artist in London with the moniker Intro, he knew he wanted to do environmental art, but he figured it would be a retirement hobby.

He has led a vagabond life — at one point, he designed theater sets in London — that by the mid- 2000s took him to Grenada, where he initially planned to open a dive shop but reconsidered the idea for one critical reason: “I couldn’t deal with the public,” he said.

Instead, dabbling with sculpturing in his unhappiness and lamenting the damage to the reefs there, he sank his savings of about $50,000 into the lightning strike of an idea for underwater works that would represent the “serious time bomb” of humans’ consequences on nature and the hope for recovery.

It grew into an underwater park of 65 works, a collection that includes the oft-photographed “Lost Correspondent” — a lonely man typing at his desk in the vast blue water — and “Vicissitudes,” a ring of 28 boys and girls with African features clasping hands at the bottom of the sea.

Some have interpreted the ring of submerged figures as a statement on slavery. But Mr. Taylor said that the models were local children and that he sought to convey the message of “change and children taking on the characteristics of their environment.”

The work was damaged by storms, with part of it collapsing, so on a recent afternoon Mr. Taylor was putting the finishing touches on a sturdier replacement that will soon be carried by ship to Grenada.

The notice that the Grenada works received drew the attention of officials here at the National Marine Park, an aquatic preserve off Cancún visited by about 750,000 people annually. They had started building small, ball-like artificial reefs to lure people away from the damaged natural one, and, with federal financing, they wanted Mr. Taylor to design thousands of sculptures. So far there has been money for about 500.

It seemed natural to use local residents as models, Mr. Taylor said, and after carefully screening them for what he called “strong lines and good bone structure,” he subjected the volunteers to a two-hour molding process that included a head-to-toe blanket of paste.

The one common feature of the statues: their eyes are closed, seeming to give them an added air of intrigue, but it is simply because the molding materials would otherwise get in the models’ eyes.

“I was afraid when they started covering me,” said Joaquín Adame Sutter, a 53-year-old fisherman who was the model for “Man on Fire,” a statue with fire coral protruding from the skin. “I said let’s do my body first, and tomorrow you can do my face. It was a funny feeling, you know.”

The success of the museum has led to some commercial work for Mr. Taylor, including designing an undersea metallic piano sculpture for the magician David Copperfield’s private Bahamas island. It plays recorded music.

And Mr. Taylor’s photographs and sculptures were exhibited last month by the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Manhattan.

Still, a dream project he is developing in his head would hardly be accessible, an antidote to the wide exposure of his art. It would be a provocative political work (he declined to give specifics) that would be submerged in the deep sea in an unspecified ocean, to be seen only, perhaps, in photographs.

“So much of life is built around myth,” he said, hinting at the message. “I would put it so a hundred ships would never find it.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nocebo, now available
without a prescription!

from BoingBoing

New, from the makers of Maximum Strength Placebo, it's Nocebo, the product you will almost certainly regret."
Now for the first time, Nocebo is available for sale direct to the general public! Despite containing no active ingredients whatsoever, Nocebo can cause a wide range of undesirable effects, from nausea to diarrhea, that is because it's potency lies entirely inside the human brain! Nocebo merely suggests that it is bad for you, your brain and body does the rest!
Buy Nocebo, only £5.99 GBP!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OG Turntable Genius: Watch a Young Grandmaster Flash Ride the Wheels of Steel

In this excerpt from the legendary Dutch TV documentary about old school hip hop, Big Fun In The Big Town, a young Grandmaster Flash displays his “turntabilism” techniques—“backspin” “punch phrasing” and “scratching”—for the camera.
The original classic “The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel” was recorded live. Holy shit. Keep that in mind as you listen.

Thanks, DangerousMinds

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The desert that creates the rainforest

from Maggie Koerth-Bake at boingboing

This is probably the most amazing thing I learned all weekend. The Amazon rainforest—with all its plant and animal life, and all its astounding biodiversity—could not exist as we know it without the patch of African desert pictured above.

The rainforest is amazing, but the soil it produces isn't very nutrient rich. All the minerals and nutrients that fertilize the rainforest have to come from someplace else. Specifically: Africa. Scientists have known for a while that this natural fertilizer is crossing the Atlantic in the form of dust storms, but science writer Colin Schultz ran across a 2006 paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters that not only produces evidence for a much larger trans-oceanic transfer of dust than was previously assumed ... it also pinpoints the exact (and astoundingly small) location where all the fertilizer in the Amazon is coming from.

The research paper, itself, is pleasantly readable, as far as these things go, so I'm going to quote directly from it. One quick note before I launch into this quote. The authors are measuring the mass of the dust in teragrams (or Tg). As you're trying to wrap your head around this, it might be helpful to know that 1 Tg = 1 million tons.
A total of 140 (± 40) Tg is deposited in the Atlantic ocean and 50 (± 15) Tg reach and fertilize the Amazon basin. This is four times an older estimate, explaining a paradox regarding the source of nutrients to the Amazon forest. Swap et al suggested that while the source for minerals and nutrients in the Amazon is the dust from Africa, it was estimated that only 13 Tg of dust per year actually arrive in the Amazon. However, they pointed out that 50 Tg are needed to balance the Amazon nutrient budget.

Here we show a remarkable arrangement in nature in which the mineral dust arriving at the Amazon basin from the Sahara actually originates from a single source of only ~ 0.5% of the size of the Amazon: the Bodélé depression. Located northeast of Lake Chad (17°N, 18°E) near the northern border of the Sahel, it is known to be the most vigorous source for dust over the entire globe.
Basically, these 2006 calculations account for all the fertilization needs of the Amazon, while previous calculations left a weird gap in between the amount of dust the rainforest needed and the amount the scientists thought was getting there.

Also: The place the dust is coming from is a single, highly specific region. As Alexis Madrigal pointed out at The Atlantic, we're talking about a patch of desert only 1/3 the size of Florida supplying the nutrient needs of a jungle that is roughly the same size as all 48 contiguous United States. Mind, blown.

Read the full research paper at Environmental Research Letters

Check out The Atlantic's write up on this, including a satellite photo of the dust storms in question.

Follow the guy who started it all—the very smart, very entertaining, and very tall Colin Schultz

Monday, August 20, 2012

What your hamburger really costs [VIDEO]

from Grist
The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers, the latest animated short from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) — the folks who brought you last summer’s The Price of Gas — takes a big-picture look at the web of problems associated with industrial beef production. The video hits all the most important points, but what’s most noteworthy is the actual number the reporters arrived at when calculating the hidden — or externalized — costs of the average burger: $1.51 (or $72 billion for the 48 billion burgers Americans eat every year).

On the CIR website the video’s co-reporter Sarah Terry-Cobo explains how she and co-reporter/producer Carrie Ching arrived at this number with an environmental consulting firm called Route2 Sustainability. The annotation reads:
We looked at a range of ways beef is produced and came up with an average that is close to how a cow would be raised in Fresno, Calif.: about 1 pound of greenhouse gases per ounce of beef, or about 6½ pounds of greenhouse gases per quarter-pounder. We looked at studies that showed the health costs of treating overweight people and associated illnesses, such as high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes — that’s about 75 cents per burger. Then we looked at how much water it takes to produce a pound of beef — that’s about 50 cents per burger. We also looked at the price of a ton of carbon — that’s remarkably small for the U.S., less than one-hundredth of a penny. But in the European Union, because it has a functioning carbon market, the price would be about a nickel per burger. Daniel Lopez Dias, the lead economist on the calculations, notes that these figures are conservative and don’t include effects from air and water pollution, effects of low wages that slaughterhouse workers receive and the high risk of injury they face, or general effects of urban sprawl.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Fox Tale

A Fox Tale is inspired by a Chinese legend. It tells the story of two brothers on the hunt for a fox. But this particular fox is not quite what it seems. Directed by Thomas Bozovic, Alexandre Cazals, Julien Legay, and Chao Ma.

Directed by Thomas Bozovic, Alexandre Cazals, Julien Legay, Chao Ma.
Music by Guy-Roger Duvert
Sound Design by: Nicolas Titeux

Friday, August 17, 2012

Time wars: our finite lives frittered away in the precarious world of automation

from BoingBoing:
Mark Fisher's essay "Time-Wars" riveted me. It's an analysis of the way that stories about technology and work -- both explicit political/ideological stump speeches and futurism, and science fiction stories -- have failed to keep pace with the reality of work, automation, and "precarity" (the condition of living a precarious economic existence). After all, time is finite. Life is finite. Automation makes it possible not to work, or to work very little, at least in the rich world. The system distributes the gains of automation so unevenly that a tragically overworked class is pitted against a tragically unemployed class. Meanwhile, the only resource that is truly non-renewable -- the time of our lives -- is frittered away in "work" that we do because we must, because of adherence to doctrine about how money should flow.
For most workers, there is no such thing as the long term. As sociologist Richard Sennett put it in his book The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, the post-Fordist worker “lives in a world marked … by short-term flexibility and flux … Corporations break up or join together, jobs appear and disappear, as events lacking connection.” (30) Throughout history, humans have learned to come to terms with the traumatic upheavals caused by war or natural disasters, but “[w]hat’s peculiar about uncertainty today,” Sennett points out, “is that it exists without any looming historical disaster; instead it is woven into the everyday practices of a vigorous capitalism.”

It isn’t only work that has become more tenuous. The neoliberal attacks on public services, welfare programmes and trade unions mean that we are increasingly living in a world deprived of security or solidarity. The consequence of the normalisation of uncertainty is a permanent state of low-level panic. Fear, which attaches to particular objects, is replaced by a more generalised anxiety, a constant twitching, an inability to settle. The uncertainty of work is intensified by digital communication technology. As soon as there is email, there are no longer working hours nor a workplace. What characterises the present moment more than our anxious checking – of our messages, which may bring opportunities or demands (often both at the same time), or, more abstractly, of our status, which, like the stock market is constantly under review, never finally resolved?

We are very far from the “society of leisure” that was confidently predicted in the 1970s. Contrary to the hopes raised at that time, technology has not liberated us from work. As Federico Campagna writes in his article “Radical Atheism”, published on the Through Europe website. “In the current age of machines … humans finally have the possibility of devolving most productive processes to technological apparatus, while retaining all outcomes for themselves. In other words, the (first) world currently hosts all the necessary pre-conditions for the realization of the old autonomist slogan ‘zero work / full income/ all production / to automation’. Despite all this, 21st century Western societies are still torn by the dusty, capitalist dichotomy which opposes a tragically overworked section of population against an equally tragically unemployed one.”

Campagna’s call for a “radial atheism” is based on the recognition that the precariousness that cannot be eliminated is that of life and the body. If there is no afterlife, then our time is finite. Curiously, however, we subjects of late capitalism act as if there is infinite time to waste on work. Work looms over us as never before. “In an eccentric and an extreme society like ours,” argue Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming in their book Dead Man Working, “working has assumed a universal presence – a ‘worker’s society in the worst sense of the term – where even the unemployed and children become obsessed with it.” (2) Work now colonises weekends, late evenings, even our dreams. “Under Fordism, weekends and leisure time were still relatively untouched,” Cederström and Fleming point out. “Today, however, capital seeks to exploit our sociality in all spheres of work. When we all become ‘human capital’ we not only have a job, or perform a job. We are the job.”

INCUBATE-special: Exclusive essay ‘Time-wars’ by Mark Fisher

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why I Wear the # 21

Roberto Clemente was one of my idols as a pre-teen, His integrity and heart inspired me forever.
Here's an interesting little piece that was posted on ESPN's website recently.

Thanks, Doug!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pussy Riot's closing statement

from BoingBoing:
Argument in the show-trial of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot -- who gave an unlicensed anti-Putin performance in a cathedral and now face harsh, Stalinist justice for daring to point out the spy-emperor's nudity -- has concluded. Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has given a tremendous closing statement, which is a masterful summary of Russian oligarchy:
The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be used openly as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power [in Russia].

Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, national corporations, or his menacing police system, or his own obedient judiciary system. It may be that the tough, failed policies of Putin’s government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, the bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced him to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign; otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more convincing, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the helm. It was here that the need arose to make use of the aesthetics of the Orthodox religion, historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections and civil society, but from God Himself.

How did he succeed in doing this? After all, we still have a secular state, and shouldn’t any intersection of the religious and political spheres be dealt with severely by our vigilant and critically minded society? Here, apparently, the authorities took advantage of a certain deficit of Orthodox aesthetics in Soviet times, when the Orthodox religion had the aura of a lost history, of something crushed and damaged by the Soviet totalitarian regime, and was thus an opposition culture. The authorities decided to appropriate this historical effect of loss and present their new political project to restore Russia’s lost spiritual values, a project which has little to do with a genuine concern for preservation of Russian Orthodoxy’s history and culture.

It was also fairly logical that the Russian Orthodox Church, which has long had a mystical connection with power, emerged as this project’s principal executor in the media. Moreover, it was also agreed that the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the Soviet era, when the church opposed, above all, the crudeness of the authorities towards history itself, should also confront all baleful manifestations of contemporary mass culture, with its concept of diversity and tolerance.
Olenska | Yekaterina Samutsevich closing statement at the Pussy Riot Trial

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where Anonymous actions come from

from BoingBoing:
Quinn Norton reports in depth on Wired with a careful, important account of where Anonymous's actions come from -- how coordinated activity (political, lulzy, legal and illegal) can emerge from noise, randomness, bombast and joking. This is the best description of how decision-making works in decentralized movements, and has important implications for the future of activism, governance, politics, crime and security:
But it’s a mistake to identify Anonymous entirely with these arrestees, some of whom were blackhats and others who were guilty of just using the LOIC. The hacks draw their power from the support of the wider collective, not the other way around. The majority of Anonymous operations are conceived and planned in a chaotic and open fashion. At any given time, a few thousand people are congregating on the Anonymous IRC channels, figuring out for themselves what it means to be an anon. And together they embody whatever Anonymous is going to be that day.

Most of the time, in most of the channels, there’s little more than conversation; sometimes a whole channel will consist of lurkers, with no one contributing a thing. But when some offense to the net is detected, anons will converge on one or more of these “chans,” with hundreds or thousands arriving within hours—many of them new to Anonymous and yet all primed and eager to respond. What looks in one moment like a sad, empty chat room can quickly become the staging ground for a major multipronged assault.

Consider OpBART, which flared up in August 2011 and dealt with an unlikely issue for Anonymous: the messy offline world of race relations and police violence. Ever since 2009, when a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man named Oscar Grant, protests against abuse of authority by transit police had grown. On August 11, anti-BART activists were planning a rally at several of San Francisco’s underground transit stops to protest another shooting by a BART officer, this one of a homeless man named Charles Hill. It was an unremarkable story by the standards of the national media, but the response from BART to the planned protest did catch the interest of the local press: To thwart protesters from coordinating via mobile devices, BART cut cell service at its downtown stations.
How Anonymous Picks Targets, Launches Attacks, and Takes Powerful Organizations Down

Monday, August 13, 2012

Forrest Gump’s investment in Apple would make him a billionaire today.

I gotta admit I really loved the movie "Forrest Gump" when it came out, and recently even Chuck D. wrote on Twitter "Fkn ForrestGump movie and music can't be topped in my opinion maybe because every song covers my 52 years .."

So with that I bring you the story from Cult of Mac:
In the 1994 Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump, there’s a short scene in which Tom Hanks’s character opens a letter of thanks from Apple after his former military colleague and business partner Lieutenant Dan invested some of the profits from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in “some kind of fruit company.”

If Gump was real and if he was still clinging on to his investment today, he could have a staggering 12 million shares in the Cupertino company, worth around $7 billion. decided it would be fun to calculate what that investment in Apple would be worth today, “as a way of illustrating Apple’s extra-ordinary growth.”

How much of the shrimping profits Dan invested exactly isn’t mentioned in the movie, so a notional amount of $100,000 is used for this. Given the success of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, that’s certainly a plausible figure, and it would have given the pair around a 3% stake in Apple at the time (1970s).

By 1980, that stake roughly translated into 1,476,460 shares, which would have been worth $43 million at the end of the stock’s first day of trading. When the Forrest Gump novel made its debut in 1986, that figure would have reached $46 million, and would have ballooned again to $91.5 million by the time the film was released in 1994.

That sounds like an incredible sum of money, but it’s hardly anything when you consider what Gump’s shares would be worth today. According to Fancy Dress Costumes:

After accounting for two more stock splits in 2000 and 2005, Forrest & Lieutenant Dan’s holding now stands at 11,811,680 shares. As of today, 2nd July 2012, Apple is trading at $591. That means their initial investment of $100,000 back in 1978 is now worth… $6,980,702,880.

Nearly $7 billion! If only we all had a friend like Lieutenant Dan.

Friday, August 10, 2012

History of Hip Hop
Annual mixes you can play from 1980-2009

from Brooklyn Radio

Cosmo Baker, DJ Ayres, and DJ Eleven of The Rub present their history of hip-hop series on!

Beginning in 1979, the Reagan decade is counted down with each years pop hits, underground club classics, and obscure gems. Youll start with the genres block party roots in the South Bronx with Grandmaster Flash and work your way through its mainstream acceptance with Run D.M.C. and LL Cool J. Get ready for the boombox breakdance era of early rap in New York City. Its the History of Hip-Hop: The 80s.

After a tour of the 80s, the crew digs into the genre as it becomes a pop culture phenomenom in the 90s. Starting with the jazzy samples of the Native Tongues movement in the early part of the decade, with groups like A Tribe Called Quest and the Jungle Brothers, the series moves into the gangster pop of the East Coast/West Coast rivalry. Theres plenty of Biggie, Tupac, Dre, Snoop, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, club classics, forgotten singles, the start of the indie era with Rawkus, and flavors from different parts of the country as the genre expanded to the South.

After a tour of the 80s and 90s, the crew digs into the recent past with the millenium decade. As the genre reached commercial success in the last decade, its sound would touch everything that was pop. Get ready for 50 Cent, Kanye West, The Neptunes, and The Dirty South taking over Americas airwaves.

Stream & Download from the archives:

thanks, Sean Bonner

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Happens When Atheists Confront Mortality?

from AlterNet By Tom Jacobs

Two sets of researchers ask whether nonbelievers turn toward God after contemplating death.
Are there atheists in foxholes? That timeless question (the literal answer to which is yes ) is a shorthand way of asking whether, when confronted by their own mortality, even nonbelievers’ thoughts turn to God.

Research published earlier this year tentatively concluded that they do . But a new study , conducted by scholars from three countries, reports that death-related thoughts lead us to reaffirm whatever belief system gives our lives meaning—and for atheists, that’s something other than religious faith.

“Our tentative conclusion is that even nonreligious people are tempted toward religious belief, if only implicitly, in the face of death,” writes Oxford University psychologist Jonathan Jong . He is lead author of a paper entitled “Foxhole Atheism, Revisited,” published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

“The psychological comforts of religion do not appear to be of universal necessity,” counters University of Missouri psychologist Kenneth Vail . He’s the lead author of the paper “Exploring the Existential Function of Religion,” published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Both papers provide evidence that reminders of death increase the religiosity of believers. This supports one of the basic tenets of Terror Management Theory , a school of thought built on the insights of the late anthropologist Ernest Becker.

According to TMT, a basic function of religion is to provide a buffer against death-related anxiety. It does this, primarily, by promising believers an ongoing existence that transcends earthly mortality. So it’s no surprise that both sets of researchers found a link between thoughts of mortality and increased devotion.

In the first of three experiments Vail describes, death reminders enhanced the religiosity of both Christians and Muslims. Christians were more likely to express belief in Jesus and deny the divinity of Allah and Buddha; conversely, Muslims were more likely to express belief in Allah and deny the divinity of Jesus and Buddha. (Buddhists do not, however, claim divinity for Buddha, and Islam’s Allah is usually seen as the same monotheistic God worshiped by Christians and Jews.)

Similarly, Jong found that when reminded with death, “participants explicitly defended their own religious world view, such that self-described Christians were more confident that supernatural religious entities exist.”

But when it came to nonreligious people, Jong found a disconnect between conscious beliefs and unconscious ones. Like the believers, the nonreligious responded to death reminders by strengthening their commitment to their world view—in their case, the firm belief there’s no such thing as supernatural entities.

But using an implicit association test, he found that after thinking about death, nonbelievers “wavered from their disbelief.” Specifically, 71 students from the University of Otago in New Zealand were presented with a series of 20 nouns, which they were instructed to categorize as “real” or “imaginary” as quickly as possible.

Jong reports that “while believers strengthened their beliefs, non-believers wavered from their disbelief” after thinking about their own mortality. Specifically, they were slower to label such concepts as “God” and “heaven” as imaginary.

In other words, when death was on their minds, “believers more readily judged religious concepts as real,” he writes, “while non-believers found it more difficult to judge religious concepts as imaginary.”

While respectful of Jong, Vail takes issue with his methodology; he isn’t convinced a less-rapid response time necessarily denotes increased doubt. Furthermore, he notes that all nonbelievers are not created equal.

His research, conducted with Jamie Arndt of the University of Missouri and Abdolhossein Abdollahi of the University of Limerick, Ireland and Islamic Azau University in Iran, distinguished between atheists and agnostics, and found they reacted to death reminders quite differently.

Specifically, in one experiment, death reminders “motivated agnostics to increase their religiosity, belief in a higher power, and their faith in God/Jesus, Buddha, and Allah.” Basically, they were more open to immortality-promising deities of any stripe.

But in a separate experiment, the notion of death did not increase atheists’ very low levels of religiosity or belief in a higher power.

In Vail’s view, this suggests people who strongly reject religious belief find other ways of dealing with “the psychological problem of death,” such as devoting themselves to some secular cause that will endure beyond their lifetimes.

So while the larger conclusions of the two papers “largely converge,” as Vail notes, they point to different answers regarding whether, say, Christopher Hitchens started to waver from his firm disbelief in his final days.

“Implicit religious belief is a difficult thing to sample,” Jong concedes, “and we hope that more work is done on this in different samples, including more militant atheists.”

Any volunteers?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BLONDIE "One Way or Another"
cool mini BBC doc

I was never a Blondie fan at all in any way, but looking back, they did have a few good songs and Debbie Harry was a bit of a Bad Ass you gotta admit... and this is a pretty cool doc, i am sure some of you will enjoy.

from DangerousMinds:
Blondie: One Way or Another (2006) is a terrific BBC documentary full of energy and groovy interviews from the likes of Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Tommy Ramone, Roberta Bayley, Mike Chapman and Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.

Blondie’s self-titled debut album never left my turntable for the first few weeks that it was released (1976). I was living in a hotel and had very few possessions. The Blondie album along with The Ramones and Patti Smith’s first lps were among the handful of stuff I owned - vinyl treasures that were soon joined by Television and Mink DeVille.

Spend a pleasurable 71 minutes with some of New York’s finest alumni of CBGB: Debbie, Chris, Jimmy and Clem.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How a Loan Between Friends Can Destroy the Relationship

from Alternet By Anneli Rufus :
Asking friends for loans is like asking them for sex: Whatever happens, the relationship will never be the same again.

At this point in history, money holds such massive emotional baggage that asking Can I have some of yours for a while? or Will I ever get it back? are some of life's weightier questions.

And now, we the people -- underwater, unemployed and terrified -- are forced ever more into the position of borrowing and lending among ourselves. Facing increasing personal financial crises, many of us now gaze dollar-sign-eyed at those with whom we lunched and shopped and shared secrets in gladder times.

When friends ask friends for loans, what's really being asked? What's the emotional "interest" on such loans -- and can friendships survive them?

Ella Hodges had three kids and worked part-time for a law firm when her husband's business failed in 2010. For the first time in her life, she needed to borrow money. But from whom?

"I knew that my friend Bree had a lot of money, and I knew she would say yes," Hodges remembers. "She knew I had always been very fiscally careful, so she trusted me. But how could I put Bree into the position of worrying that maybe the payback might never come? How could I put that burden on our friendship?"

Debating endlessly what she calls "the ask," Hodges thought about a neighbor who had run into hard times.

"She received numerous $1,000 loans from fellow church members who, when they later saw her at McDonald's or the movies, were clearly thinking: 'Sarah, is this really the best use for my money?'"

Borrowing from banks has its downsides, "but money loaned between friends is not free of strings. It's not clean. Conditions are imposed either implicitly or explicitly that give the giver a permanent one-up over the getter," Hodges says. "One friend will always be high, the other low, and someone will always feel judged. Borrowing money from Bree would make her my banker. She could then justifiably scrutinize every decision I made. If she loaned me money, then asked me out for drinks, should I not drink? If I buy a car, does she get to choose it?

"I'm a very self-conscious person. Others aren't. They wouldn't share my concerns about borrowing money or spending it."

Tory Fisk learned this when his friend, a laid-off computer programmer we will call Jed, asked Fisk last year for an $800 loan.

To music-teacher Fisk, $800 was a lot. "Friends are usually in the same economic class as each other, so if you ask your friend for money, that friend is probably not going to be some cavalier Richie Rich smoking solid-gold cigars. It'll be someone to whom the amount of money you're requesting seems substantial."

Having always earned more than Fisk, Jed spent freely -- "so we always had the same amount: not much. And always assuming that he would always be employed, he eventually realized that he wouldn't."

Jed told Fisk he needed the $800 "for essentials like food," and promised to repay it in $50 monthly installments.

"In typical scam-artist fashion, he lavished me with praise: 'You're my best friend in the world.' So you feel guilty for not wanting to give. Also in typical scam-artist fashion, he said, 'If the situation was reversed, I would do it for you.' But the situation never would be reversed. So of course he could make these grand promises that he knew he would never need to keep," Fisk says.

Fisk loaned Jed the money.

Jed missed the first payment, then the next. One day Fisk was startled to see Jed "wearing a fancy new suit. He said that when you're down and out, you need good clothes to impress potential future employers.

"With every missed payment, I found myself feeling more and more critical about his lifestyle. It was like, if I'm supporting you, then I have a stake in your choices. You're supposed to use that money to get back on your feet -- not enjoy yourself," Fisk seethes.

It angered Fisk that Jed refused to seek work in any field besides programming.

"He said he wouldn't lower himself. Suddenly, every little thing he did made me incredibly annoyed. He'd invite me out and when I said no, he'd offer to pay my way. Right -- pay my way with my money. How generous."

Eventually, Jed stopped mentioning the loan. No more apologies or promises to pay double or triple next time.

"He probably assumed it was forgotten and that since it was forgotten, it was forgiven," Fisk says. "But in fact it was a festering sore. To me, $800 is a lot of money. It's not like a cup of sugar loaned to your neighbor."

Jed's changed situation -- jobless, indebted -- "didn't change his personality," Fisk says. "It didn't imbue him with responsibility."

As a last-ditch effort, Fisk created a small business with Jed.

"His carelessness ruined the business. That, along with never repaying the loan, ended our friendship."

Every human relationship has its boundaries and taboos. If sex and money are our culture's twin obsessions, both wreak similar havoc on friendships. Asking friends for loans is not unlike asking them for sex: Whatever the answer, the relationship changes forever -- typically in a haze of guilt, shame and regret.

The size of a loan that one friend requests from another puts a neon price tag on that friendship. Is a new iPad worth more to you than a roof over my head?

After Rose Guinne lost her job, "I had no choice but to borrow money. I had always prided myself on being able to pay my bills," but for the first time in her adult life, "I had no savings, no way of earning extra cash. I was embarrassed to approach my parents because I wanted to be able to demonstrate my independence.

One day Guinne ran into a friend we will call Howard. Twenty years her senior, he asked in a fatherly way why she seemed so sad.

"So I told him. ... Then it just burst out of me; I said, 'I know it's a lot of money, but is there any way you'd have $300?' ... I was ashamed. I had always wanted to project the image of a good businessperson and I felt I had failed."

Howard wrote her a $300 check.

"I had been brought up to know that my actions were and are accountable, so I said, 'Let's draw up an agreement and we'll each have a copy,'" Guinne recalls.

They drafted and signed it on the spot.

"It was to be paid back in installments at no interest, with a particular target date. If there was a delay in payment it had to be agreed upon by both parties.

“Howard smiled at me -- I’ll never forget that smile -- and said, 'I trust you.'

"Every two weeks, I’d hand him a check and we noted on our agreements what had been paid and what the remaining balance was. We were like two business associates doing this, and we even laughed about it.

"Because we handled it in a businesslike manner and were professional about it, our friendship remained very much on track -- as a matter of fact, even more so, because he knew he could trust me and I could trust him. Trust is so important," Guinne says.

True. That's why Ella Hodges decided not to ask Bree for a loan after all.

"Our response when a friend asks us for a loan reveals our true feelings about that person," Hodges says. "You can cloak your answer in whatever terms you want, but it reveals either that you think they'll pay it back or that they won't. There might be good reasons for either thought, but as soon as you have to confess this by saying no, it's horrible."

Hodges borrowed money from a relative instead. Nor did she ever cash the check that another caring person had given her.

"I kept it in my wallet for a long time, just in case," Hodges says. "Then I gave it back."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Henry Rollins - the DisInfo interview

Henry continues to amaze me with his constant growth and ability to articulate. While I don't agree with everything he says 100% I really respect and appreciate hearing his perspective and hearing him share that with the world.

Dig It!

(no picture, just audio)

Download MP3 HERE if above file does not play for you.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Class War for Idiots: Libertarianism = Assholism

from DangerousMinds


The term “Libertarian” has long been synonymous with “Asshole” in my estimation, and I think it’s safe to say that Jacobin magazine editor Connor Kilpatrick probably feels the same way.

Today is the centenary anniversary of the birth of Libertarian icon, economist Milton Friedlman, so what better day for the publication of the most viciously hilarious takedpown of the Libertarian position that I think I’ve ever read?

Excerpted from the much longer “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” which was cross-posted today at both Naked Capitalism and The Exiled:

Libertarianism isn’t some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional “left to right” spectrum. It’s a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

It’s the “third way” for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: “No, no: the problem isn’t that we’re too capitalist. It’s that we’re not capitalist enough!”


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think they’re John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doing…whatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s all make-believe, except for the chain-mail–they brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly “good ones”—anti-war libertarians—we’re still talking about people who think Medicare’s going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, they’ll talk about the deficit and say we just can’t afford entitlement programs. Well, that’s obviously a joke, so move on. Then they’ll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantánamo Bay in Greenland.

Here’s the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bosses—this is the power to say “I’m gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my a chillwave band. And I’ll still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.”

Sounds like freedom to me.

Standing ovation!

Read more of Connor Kilpatrick’s “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” at either The Exiled or at Naked Capitalism. Trust me it’s a fantastic, totally worthwhile read.

Predictably, the reddit thread about Kilpatrick’s article is fascinating, too!




Friday, August 3, 2012

"School House Rock" - UPDATE 2012

"ALEC Rock"
Produced by Mark Fiore (, The ALEC Exposed Project ( and Alliance for a Better Utah (

Thursday, August 2, 2012


from DangerousMinds

How big a dickhead is President Vladimir Putin?

Well, we’ll soon find out, as three members of Feminist Punk Rockers, Pussy Riot went on trial today, charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".

Their crime? Performing an anti-Putin, anti-religious song at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow, in February this year.

It was a moment of shock political theater, as the band stormed the altar while shouting "Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!"

Now, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, and Maria Alekhina, 24, face up to 7 years in jail for their actions.

These women have been detained since March, without access to their families or possibility of parole. Russian opinion is divided over the arrests, but there have been major protests across Moscow in support of Pussy Riot.

However, it is feared Pussy Riot won’t get a fair trial, as Putin is the real force behind the prosecutions. Nikolai Polozov, one of Pussy Riot’s defence lawyers, told the Daily Telegraph:
“They went on to Putin’s sacred ground and he’s a vengeful person. I’m sure he gave the signal for this prosecution.”

Mr Polozov said he expected a guilty verdict but could not predict the sentence. “It could be two months, it could be seven years,” he said.

“If Putin is under pressure, say on Syria, or something else happens, he might use the girls as a distraction and earn some political capital by putting them away. And then they’ll be sewing felt boots, like Khodorkovsky, in a prison colony.”
Amnesty International are currently organizing a campaign to Free Pussy Riot:
Today marks the start of Nadezhda, Maria and Ekaterina’s trial. It’s been a long time coming: they’ve been held in Moscow police cells since their arrest in February, denied access to their families – including their young children.

Last week, the Moscow City Court ruled to extend their detention by another six months on the grounds that the women committed a serious crime, and may abscond if granted bail.
You can help Pussy Riot by clicking here, or here.


Previously on Dangerous Minds

Pussy Riot: Russian riot grrrls lead the way