Sunday, June 30, 2013

Putting party hats on CCTVs to celebrate Orwell's birthday

On tuesday the 25th of June, to celebrate the 110th birthday of George Orwell, surveillance cameras in the center of the city of Utrecht were decorated with colorful party hats! George Orwell is best known for his book ‘1984’, in which he describes a dystopian future society where the populace is constantly watched by the surveillance state of Big Brother. By putting these happy party hats on the surveillance cameras we don’t just celebrate Orwell’s birthday. By making these inconspicuous cameras that we ignore in our daily lives catch the eye again we also create awareness of how many cameras really watch us nowadays, and that the surveillance state described by Orwell is getting closer and closer to reality.

see more images here.

thanks, Boing Boing

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Winston Smith and the Dead Kennedys - The Art of Punk

On this episode of The Art of Punk we hit head on with the art behind the legendary Dead Kennedy's. From the chaotic, surreal, madness, of collage mixed with political folly that blazed their LP's and gig flyers; to the razor edge ultra simplistic four simple line DK symbol. In San Francisco we corner founding Dead Kennedy's member Jello Biafra, and discuss his own warped inspiration for the many sleeves and posters created in the early days of the band. Back in Los Angeles we talk with pop surrealist artist Tim Biskup about how the DK's affected and twisted his own young mind, and Steve Olson graces us with a few words of wisdom. Finally we meet up with master collage artist, and designer of the DK's symbol, Winston Smith in his North Beach art studio, and talk about how he was drawn into the early Bay Area punk scene - and his long and creative artist relationship with the Dead Kennedy's and Jello Biafra.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Most Exciting Media News In Years!

Haven't been hearing much about this from the good ol' mainstream media. Have you? Shocking! But now, thanks to a historic FCC decision, a chunk of our media is being delivered back into the hands of the citizens. The question is: what are we going to do with it, folks?

In this video you're going to find out:

1:05 — exactly who is going to benefit from this change

3:40 — how we can turn static into democracy without even upgrading our software

4:20 — proof that this is a huge opportunity

6:50 — how to take the first step.

Thanks UPWORTHY and Democracy Now!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our brains, and how they're not as simple as we think

from The Guardian
Neuroscience has entered the public consciousness, and changed the way we talk about ourselves. But much of what passes as knowledge is inaccurate

I never used to discuss neuroscience on the bus but it's happened twice in the last month. On one occasion a fellow passenger mentioned that her "brain wasn't working properly" to explain that she had gone through a long period of depression. On another, an exchange student enthusiastically told me that one of the advantages of learning abroad is that a new language "made your brain more efficient". In each case, the conversation was spattered with references to the brain as casually as we mention family members– "I don't think my brain can handle multi-tasking" gliding between us as easily as "my cousin studied in Paris". A grey day in London, rain on the windows, talking neuroscience with strangers.

Scientific concepts have always washed in and out of popular consciousness but like never before, the brain has become part of contemporary culture. With the recent announcement of two billion-dollar science projects, the Human Brain Project in Europe and the Brain Activity Map in the US, it would be hard to ignore the impact on public spending. Meanwhile, the Barbican has just kicked off an unprecedented month-long festival of neuroscience called Wonder, suggesting even the traditionally science-shy art world has raised an eyebrow.

But it's the sheer penetration of neuroscience into everyday life that makes it remarkable. We talk about left- and right-brain thinking, brainstorming and brain disorders. Differences between the male and female brain are the subject of regular press speculation and newspapers publish stories on brain scans that claim to explain everything from love to memory. Young people are increasingly warned that everything from video games to sexual activity could "damage their brains" while old people are encouraged to "train their brain" lest they lose its functions later in life.

Unpleasant experiences from malaise to trauma to mental illness are reframed as primarily neurological problems, while art and music are evaluated for their neurochemical effect.

Brain science is persistently championed as an answer to life's deepest problems. It reveals "the deepest mysteries of what makes us who we are", claims Elaine Fox in the introduction to her book Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, which could be the introduction to any number of pop neuroscience books that now fill our shelves. Super Brain, Buddha's Brain, The Tell-Tale Brain, The Brain That Changes Itself – you could stock a library with the new generation of books that encourage us to view life through a neurological lens.

This everyday brain talk has taken up an interesting place in our culture. Academics talk about "folk psychology", which is the collection of concepts we use in everyday life to explain our behaviours and mental states to others. Crucially, it's distinct from the scientific or systematised psychology used by professionals. When we hear common explanations like "she needs a good cry" or "men are just interested in sex", that's folk psychology in action. It's a mixture of consensus, experience and prejudice that allows us to give reasons for why people do the things they do.

One of the difficulties scientific psychology has faced is that it gives reasons for behaviour that often conflict with folk psychology. Most people assume that their experience of their own mind and other people's actions makes them sufficiently expert to discount any other explanation even if it's scientifically validated.

For example, a great deal of psychology research has shown that we tend not to have a good insight into why we make certain choices. In one of the many studies in the area, Lars Hall and colleagues gave people a survey about their moral beliefs but used sleight of hand to change the choices they had originally made. When asked to justify the beliefs they hadn't endorsed, more than two-thirds of people didn't notice the switch and happily gave reasons for why they supported the opposite of their original position. Folk psychology tells us that we can accurately explain our actions and, consequently, many people think that these well-validated psychological effects never apply to them or simply don't exist. Suggesting that someone may not fully know their own actions and that their post-event justifications might be improvised simply won't wash in everyday conversation.

The popular interest in the brain means that we increasingly have a "folk neuroscience" that is strongly linked to personal identity and subjective experience. Like folk psychology it is not necessarily very precise, and sometimes wildly inaccurate, but it allows us to use neuroscience in everyday language in a way that wasn't previously credible for non-specialists.

Folk neuroscience comes with the additional benefit that it relies on concepts that are not easily challenged with subjective experience. When someone says "James is depressed because he can't find a job", this may be dismissed by personal experience, perhaps by mentioning a friend who was unemployed but didn't get depressed. When someone says that "James is depressed because of a chemical imbalance in his brain", personal experience is no longer relevant and the claim feels as if it is backed up by the authority of science. Neither usefully accounts for the complex ways in which our social world and neurobiology affect our mood but in non-specialist debate that rarely matters. As politicians have discovered it's the force of your argument that matters and in rhetorical terms, neuroscience is a force-multiplier, even when it's misfiring.

It is important to bear in mind that part of this persuasive force comes from genuine scientific progress. The revolution in understanding neurochemistry has brought us important medical treatments for mental illness and neurological disorders, while the study of brain-injured patients has demonstrated that individual brain circuits make specialised contributions to our emotions and behaviour. The development of brain scanning technology in the 80s and 90s allowed scientists to see, at least vaguely, brain activity in healthy individuals as they undertook recognisable tasks.

But these advances have been unevenly incorporated into public debate. Brightly coloured brain scans are a media favourite as they are both attractive to the eye and apparently easy to understand but in reality they represent some of the most complex scientific information we have. They are not maps of activity but maps of the outcome of complex statistical comparisons of blood flow that unevenly relate to actual brain function. This is a problem that scientists are painfully aware of but it is often glossed over when the results get into the press.

You can see this selective reporting in how neuroscience is used in the media. Psychologist Cliodhna O'Connor and her colleagues investigated how brain science was reported across 10 years of newspaper coverage. Rather than reporting on evidence that most challenged pre-existing opinions, of which there is a great deal, neuroscience was typically cited as a form of "biological proof" to support the biases of the author.

This is often a circular argument because studies typically compare groups based on identifiable differences and then look for how this is reflected in the brain. But what defines a person, experience or action as different is the totality of the thing itself, not just the workings of the brain. The "biological proof" argument makes about as much sense as saying that you have confirmed that pancakes and pizzas "really are" different because you have chemically analysed the ingredients. It's only in rare circumstances where two things appear to be identical that a biological analysis will be the deciding factor in confirming whether they differ or not.

Crucially, most neuroscience is not concerned with if things differ but how they differ – but this is rarely the focus of media coverage. A recent Fox News article claimed that "Brain scans reveal doctors actually feel their patients' pain". But the study which inspired the news report didn't test whether doctors felt the pain of the people they were treating, rather it looked at how brain activation differed during doctors' observations of pain and pain relief. Yet the study was discussed as if it provided "proof" for the idea that doctors have empathy. While this seems an innocuous enough example, O'Connor's media review found that many stereotypes championed under the guise of neuroscience were far less positive. The researchers, somewhat wearily, noted that: "Articles devoted considerable space to demonstrating male-female neurobiological differences and also to evidence that substance abusers, criminals, homosexuals, obese people, and people with mental health conditions had distinctive brain types. Media coverage of such groups tended to correspond with existing stereotypes: for example, articles regularly linked obesity to low intelligence, adolescence to disagreeableness, and women to irrationality."

But this enthusiasm for a neurological view of human nature is not solely a media fad. Sociologist Nikolas Rose has tracked how society increasingly defines and manages individuals in terms of the brain and how this tendency has permeated commerce, law and politics. The birth of lucrative neuromarketing firms are based on this idea. Ad campaigns have traditionally been assessed by asking people about marketing material and seeing how it affects consumer behaviour. The neuromarketing industry uses brain scans and relies on the belief that this must somehow reveal the "real consumer" despite the fact that no benefits have ever been demonstrated over traditional assessments of buyer behaviour.

Politicians have also been keen to use talk of the brain to support their ideas. During the past year, references to neuroscience were used in the House of Commons to argue for a range of social reforms from early intervention with problem families to the regulation of entertainment. Chris Ruane MP argued that unemployment was a problem as it has "physical effects on the brain". As everything has a physical effect on the brain we are left none the wiser but it is interesting that not having a job was not considered problem enough. It's not that neuroscience isn't relevant to these concerns, but just that it has gained such rhetorical power that explaining your concerns in terms of fairness, success, pain or poverty no longer seems sufficient.

This is sad but, perhaps, inevitable. As neuroscience has gained authority over previous ways of explaining human nature, it is not surprising that people will be compelled to use it if they want to try and make persuasive claims about how people are or should be – regardless of its accuracy. Folk neuroscience has become Freud for Freud-phobes, everyday psychology for the sceptical, although in reality, rarely more helpful than either.

At this point, let me declare my own interests. I'm a neuropsychologist who researches the brain and treats people with neurological difficulties. I am a firm believer in the importance of neuroscience as a way of revealing previously hidden aspects of human nature and as a tool to help us overcome some of our most disabling problems. The advances we make in understanding the brain have, and will continue to have, a significant and lasting impact on our lives.

For me, perhaps the most dazzling example is brain surgery for epilepsy. Small malfunctioning brain areas can be the source of disruption that engulfs the brain in waves of activity. Removing this area can often stop the seizures but it's important to avoid anything that may be important for speech, memory or other essential functions. So patients are woken up during surgery and their brain is mapped by testing psychological functions as the surgeon temporarily freezes the identified areas to make sure they would be safe to remove. For a condition that used to send people to hospital for "incurables" it's a remarkable example of how our understanding of the intricacies of mind, brain and behaviour have developed and meshed together.

Yet instead of revealing the beautiful complexity at our core, we live in a culture where dull biological platitudes make headlines and irritating scientific cliches win arguments. In response, we do not need a simpler culture but one that embraces complexity.

Neuroscience holds a prism up to human nature. Be suspicious of anyone who says there are no colours to be seen.

FOLK NEUROSCIENCE Popular misconceptions

■ The "left-brain" is rational, the "right-brain" is creative
The hemispheres have different specialisations (the left usually has key language areas, for example) but there is no clear rational-creative split and you need both hemispheres to be successful at either. You can no more do right-brain thinking than you can do rear-brain thinking.

■ Dopamine is a pleasure chemical
Dopamine has many functions in the brain, from supporting concentration to regulating the production of breast milk. Even in its most closely associated functioning it is usually considered to be involved in motivation (wanting) rather than the feeling of pleasure itself.

■ Low serotonin causes depression
A concept almost entirely promoted by pharmaceutical companies in the 1980s and 90s to sell serotonin-enhancing drugs like Prozac. No consistent evidence for it.

■ Video games, TV violence, porn or any other social spectre of the moment "rewires the brain"
Everything "rewires the brain" as the brain works by making and remaking connections. This is often used in a contradictory fashion to suggest that the brain is both particularly susceptible to change but once changed, can't change back.

■ We have no control over our brain but we can control our mind
The mind and the brain are the same thing described in different ways and they make us who we are. Trying to suggest one causes the other is like saying wetness causes water.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Decline in fertility after age 30 may be vastly overstated

from Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing
As a woman, you do become less fertile as you get older, eventually culminating in menopause and the end of your potential babymaking years. But what does "less fertile" mean, and at what age, and how quickly does the drop-off in fertility happen?

According to this really fascinating piece by Jean Twenge at The Atlantic, some of the commonly cited scare stats — that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, say — are based on extremely old data collected from historical birth records that don't necessarily reflect what's happening with real women who are alive right now. That statistic mentioned above, for instance, comes from French records (likely those collected by local church baptismal registries) for the years 1670 to 1830.

That matters because fertility is affected by things like quality of nutrition, infection rates, and even childhood illnesses — all of which have changed drastically for the average Western woman since the 19th century.

Look at more modern records, and the outlook for post-30 babymaking is completely different.

Surprisingly few well-designed studies of female age and natural fertility include women born in the 20th century—but those that do tend to paint a more optimistic picture. One study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2004 and headed by David Dunson (now of Duke University), examined the chances of pregnancy among 770 European women. It found that with sex at least twice a week, 82 percent of 35-to-39-year-old women conceive within a year, compared with 86 percent of 27-to-34-year-olds. (The fertility of women in their late 20s and early 30s was almost identical—news in and of itself.) Another study, released this March in Fertility and Sterility and led by Kenneth Rothman of Boston University, followed 2,820 Danish women as they tried to get pregnant. Among women having sex during their fertile times, 78 percent of 35-to-40-year-olds got pregnant within a year, compared with 84 percent of 20-to-34-year-olds. A study headed by Anne Steiner, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, the results of which were presented in June, found that among 38- and 39-year-olds who had been pregnant before, 80 percent of white women of normal weight got pregnant naturally within six months (although that percentage was lower among other races and among the overweight). “In our data, we’re not seeing huge drops until age 40,” she told me.
Read the full story by Jean Twenge at The Atlantic

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Science: A New Equation Reveals
Our Exact Odds of Finding Alien Life

It’s been over half a century since Frank Drake developed an equation to estimate the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy. We’ve learned a lot since then, prompting an astrophysicist from MIT to come up with her own take on the equation. Here’s how the new formula works — and how it could help in the search for alien life.

The new formula was devised by Sara Seager, a professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I contacted her to learn more about the new equation and why the time was right for a rethink.

Assessing the Probability of Intelligent Life

Back in 1961, Frank Drake proposed a probabilistic formula to help estimate the number of active, radio-capable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy. It goes like this:


N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which we might hope to be able to communicate
R* is the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space
People have plugged in a variety of values over the past 50 years — all of them purely speculative. Values for N have ranged anywhere from one (i.e. here's looking at you kid) up to the millions.

“The original Drake Equation just gave us the format with which to see what the different ingredients would be,” Seager told io9. “No one had ever quantitatively organized our thoughts before. That’s the revolutionary nature of the equation.”

But it can never give us a quantitative answer, she says, and we shouldn’t expect the equation to be a real equation in the sense that we can have precise definitions for each term.

“It’s a wonderful, amazing, innovative way for us to think about intelligent life — or the existence of intelligent life,” she says, “But there are just so many unknowns that can’t be quantified.”

But things have changed since 1951. Thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, we now know that there's an absolute plethora of exoplanets out there. What’s more, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they orbit a diverse array of stars, and they reside in solar systems that scarcely resemble our own. Our sense of the galaxy is changing dramatically with each new discovery — as is our sense of its potential to harbor life.

Given all this new information, Seager felt that the time was right to rethink the Drake Equation.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

The World of Clouds

Here's a nice short on one of my favorite subjects, from our friends over at the Cloud Appreciation Society of which I became a proud honorary member upon publication of my book RECOGNIZE.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


from our friend Richard Metzger over at Dangerous Minds and Moca TV

I'm not sure what to make of seeing a young person with the Crass logo painted on the back of their leather jacket. I mean these days. What does it mean to them?

Of course I knew what it meant and what it stood for back in the day. I lived in south London squats in 1983 and 84 and many of my er, squatmates were classic scruffy cliched Crass punks. As a result, I regularly went to see anarcho punk gigs at places like The Ambulance Station on the Old Kent Road. Poison Girls. Chumbawamba. Flux of Pink Indians. Annie Anxiety. Flowers in the Dustbin. Rubella Ballet. I saw a lot of Crass-associated punk bands back then. (When Chumbawamba released “Everything You Know Is Wrong” in 2004, I was chuffed to bits.)

I even saw one of the final Crass gigs, a miner’s strike benefit at the Islington Bingo Hall. Between bands they let me show a little video that I’d cobbled together from particularly gruesome WWII footage set to a soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s “Polka-dots and Moonbeams.” Although I personally was not a Crass punk per se, I definitely had a foot in that tribe and Crass had a major effect on me and the way I see the world to this very day. Something that I am very grateful for.

When the band was actually together, the idea of what Crass offered was greater than the sum of its parts as well as something, frankly, that was significantly based more on the militant anarchist-vegan-anti-vivisection-pacifist-anti-religious pro-environmental stances they took, than the music itself. Crass were many things—many important things—to many people, but listenable wasn’t really one of them (I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s amusing to think about how many of the Crass punk anarchist squatter types who I knew in Brixton were also into early UB40. Not shitting you. That’s what they listened to, not Stations of The Crass!)

A big part of the appeal, like I say, were the ideas, the leafleting and sloganeering, but there was also Gee Vaucher’s brilliant graphic art and and Dave King’s iconic logo that went along with the Crass mystique. This is what their tribe rallied around. It wasn’t about them as people—most fans probably had no idea what they looked like (I didn’t) and they quite literally shunned the spotlight, performing in near darkness—it was about the fact that because of Crass’s orbit and the gravitational pull of their example and lifestyle that you could meet other people who thought they same way that you did. That aspect of Crass fandom was the glue that held that entire scene together, that you could, as Timothy Leary once said, “Find the Others.”

I think this is why young people today still want to wear the Crass logo across their backs. It may seem somewhat anachronistic—like hippie tie-die does—but the romantic notion of what that scene was all about, is, what I think, motivates kids to sport that symbol in 2013. It will never happen again quite like that, but its a testament to how influential Crass truly were that kids who weren’t even born then continue to be interested in the ideas they espoused, some of which have wormed their way far further into the culture than could have been imagined 30 years ago. Widespread veganism is merely one of the triumphs of Crass that can be seen in today’s landscape and you’d better believe they had a lot to do with it. The concept of veganism seemed so far out in the early 1980s in a way that is almost impossible to convey to someone who wasn’t around back then. People were offended by the very concept of it! Although I was already pretty much already a vegan by 1983, I had never in my life met, until falling into the anarcho punk circles orbiting around Crass’s sun, other people who had the same diet. That was a big deal with me.

Which brings me to the second installment of MOCAtv‘s “The Art of Punk” video series and its exploration of the art and iconography of Crass:

We head up to the Anarchist Book Fair in San Francisco to meet up with Gee Vaucher, and founding Crass member, writer, and activist, Penny Rimbaud. We discuss the art and the lifestyle stemming from the infamous Dial House, where they have lived, worked, and created their own brand of anarchistic beauty, for more than 3 decades. We have a sit down with artist Scott Campbell, at his own New York tattoo shop, and talk about how the art of Crass, and one single t-shirt created a fork in his own road of life. Owen Thornton talks some shit. Finally we hang out with British graphic designer Dave King - the creator of the infamous snake and cross symbol, and discuss post war England, hippies, punk, graphic design, and more, that led him to the creation of the symbol made legendary by Crass.

Next up in this series, The Dead Kennedys. Directed by Bryan Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Call me old, But Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are some shit, I just discovered them by accident

Independent with like half a billion views on YouTube, you go inter webs! I can't front on a pop sensation that does it independently.

how the fuck does an artist make this on their own?

from Wikipedia :

Ben Haggerty, known by his stage name Macklemore and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an American rapper and musician. He began independently releasing music in 2000 and now collaborates with producer Ryan Lewis, violinist Andrew Joslyn, and trumpeter Owuor Arunga. He has gained a significant online fanbase. He has released one mixtape, three EPs and two albums, although none on a major record label. His single "Thrift Shop" has been viewed on YouTube over 300 million times, and reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2013, selling more than 2.2 million copies. It was the first time since 1994 that a song reached number 1 on the Hot 100 chart without the support of a major record label. His second single, "Can't Hold Us" also peaked at #1 of the Hot 100 Chart, making Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the first duo in the chart's history to have their first two singles both become a #1 single.
Macklemore released his debut studio album The Heist on October 9, 2012, which charted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Austerity: the Greatest Bait-and-Switch in History
- The History of a Dangerous Idea

from BoingBoing:

Mark Blyth, a delightfully sweary Scottish economist, talks for about an hour to Googlers about the stupidity of austerity as a means of recovering from recession, describing it in colorful, easy-to-grasp language. This is brilliant, accessible and important economics:
Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts--austerity--to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the forces responsible for the Second World War: the Nazis and the Japanese military establishment. As Blyth amply demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we recognize austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.
Mark Blyth: Austerity - The History of a Dangerous Idea

Sunday, June 16, 2013


from the collection of Bryan Ray Turcotte

here's a link to as complete a collection as I have seen of BLACK FLAG flyers anywhere.

below catch a few of the shows I actually went to back in the day.

here's a photo of me on stage at the Black Flag show on November 18th 1980 at the Starwood taken by ED COLVER

Friday, June 14, 2013

The story behind the BLACK FLAG Bars & more

from MOCA tv

On the first episode of "The Art of Punk" we dissect the art of the legendary Black Flag. From the iconic four bars symbols, to the many coveted and collected gig flyers, singles, and band t-shirts, all depicting the distinctive Indian ink drawn image and text by artist Raymond Pettibon. We start of in Los Angeles talking to two founding members singer Keith Morris, and bass player Chuck Dukowski, about what the scene was like in 1976 - setting the stage for the band's formation, as well as the bands name, and the creation of the iconic four bars symbol. Raymond Pettibon talks with us from his New York art studio. Back in LA we meet with Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, about how the art, the music, and that early LA scene impacted his own life and career. To wrap it all up we sit and talk at length, with Henry Rollins, at MOCA Grand Ave in Los Angeles, about all of the above and more.

Created, directed, and Executive Produced by writer/author of 'Fucked Up + Photocopied', Bryan Ray Turcotte (Kill Your Idols), and Bo Bushnell (The Western Empire), The Art Of Punk traces the roots of the punk movement and the artists behind the iconic logos of punk bands such as: Black Flag (Raymond Pettibon), The Dead Kennedys (Winston Smith), and Crass (Dave King).

In addition to profiling the artists, the series includes intimate interviews with former band members, notable artists, and celebrities who have been heavily influenced by the art of punk rock including Jello Biafra, Tim Biskup, Scott Campbell, Chuck Dukowski, Flea, Steve Olson, Penny Rimbaud, Henry Rollins, Owen Thornton, and Gee Vaucher.

The filmmakers Bryan Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell take a unique approach to exploring the rich histories of these three seminal punk legends by focusing on the influential imagery and seeking out stories that have not been told yet through the artwork, which is integral to the importance and influence of each band.

On June 11, 2013 The Art Of Punk debuts on MOCAtv with an episode on Raymond Pettibon and the artwork of Black Flag. The stories behind the art of the Dead Kennedys will debut on June 18, and June 25 will see the release of the Crass episode, all of which will be available at:

Created By:


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Labron James

"Football is a game where people hurt each other. Basketball is a game where they hurt each other's feelings" - Insideplaya

Monday, June 10, 2013

NSA whistleblower goes public

from The Sparrow Project and Boing Boing

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old NSA contractor and ex-CIA employee, has revealed that he is behind the series of leaks that have appeared in the Guardian and Washington Post this weekend, which detailed top-secret, over-reaching, and arguably criminal surveillance programs run by America's spies with the cooperation of the Obama administration.

Snowden says he always intended to come forward after the leaks, and to face down the consequences of his actions. He describes himself as a disillusioned Obama supporter who was disappointed after the 2008 election to see America double down on the overreaching spying programs that had worried him when he was with the CIA. He is giving up a comfortable life with a $200,000 salary, a girlfriend, and a home in Hawai'i to blow the whistle on what he views as immoral, out-of-control spy programs. He says he does not want to be at the center of this story; he wants the focus to be on the government's actions.

He is holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong that he has barely left for three weeks. He takes extreme measures to avoid potential eavesdropping and hidden cameras. He believes he will be arrested or possibly killed, and enumerates many ways that this could happen -- rendered by the CIA, imprisoned by the Chinese government, murdered by Tong gangsters or other criminals working for American or Chinese intelligence agencies. But he says he is not afraid, and stands by his choice.

He predicts the government will launch an investigation and "say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become".

The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night," he said, his eyes welling up with tears...

...But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. "I don't see myself as a hero," he said, "because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."

Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA's surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. "What they're doing" poses "an existential threat to democracy", he said...

...For him, it is a matter of principle. "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to," he said.

His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: "I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation," reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.

He may not see himself as a hero, but I do. Thank you, Mr Snowden.

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance [Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras/The Guardian]

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I do not expect to see home again' [Q&A/The Guardian]

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Short film about Intertidal ocean life

PBS Digital Studios has launched a biweekly series called Under H2O, and the first episode is called "The Intertidal." It's only five minutes long, and well worth watching.
‘The Intertidal’ features rare underwater footage of a part of the marine world that often goes unexplored by scientists and cameramen alike: the intertidal. In this episode, Dr. Musburger and his team take cameras underwater as they sneak into this largely unexplored habitat during the short window of time when the tide is out and tide pools are accessible. With unmatched wave energy, temperature fluctuations, and salinity changes, only the hardiest plans and animals survive.
Thanks, Boing Boing

Friday, June 7, 2013

How Fox News Misleads Its Viewers

from Daily Kos / By Laura Clawson
via AlterNet:

John Stossel's revisionist history of the Great Depression.

Last week, John Stossel gave a master class in how Fox News keeps its viewers misled and misinformed on economic issues, concluding with the bombshell "fact" that "think about the Depression. That was before there was any welfare state at all. How many people starved? No one."

Whoa, really? No, actually. [4]
President Herbert Hoover declared, "Nobody is actually starving. The hoboes are better fed than they have ever been." But in New York City in 1931, there were 20 known cases of starvation; in 1934, there were 110 deaths caused by hunger. There were so many accounts of people starving in New York that the West African nation of Cameroon sent $3.77 in relief.
Also, breadlines. Also, an increase in the suicide rate. But before Stossel even got to that claim, he'd unleashed quite the load of right-wing economic messaging disguised as homespun folksy common sense.

The starting problem was the national debt, of course. Stossel opened with a man-on-the-street segment asking "what would you cut?" The people (all women, coincidentally or not) he showed attempting to answer were stumped. But of course the question needed to be challenged. What would I cut? I'd cut tax expenditures that favor the wealthy, but most people don't yet understand that exclusions from taxable income, itemized deductions, preferential tax rates on capital gains and dividends, and tax credits could be counted as government expenditures that could be cut as opposed to the dread "raising taxes." But even that aside, I'd also just plain raise revenue. That's not an option that exists in Stosselville. No, Stossel would start by cutting "whole departments. Why do we have a Commerce Department? Commerce. Just Happens. Agriculture, farmers do that, you don't need bureaucrats." One of the women on the street said don't cut education? Pshaw! "Almost all [education] has been done at the local level. Now they spend at the federal level almost $100 billion a year, scores haven't improved."

Let's look at that. The Commerce Department includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You like knowing there's a hurricane coming? That's the Commerce Department, not that John Stossel wants you to know that. Agriculture? Well, if you like to know that the meat you eat has been inspected, that's the USDA. Also, too, food stamps and nutritional assistance for low-income mothers and their children. Not that Stossel probably approves of poor children being fed. And education? That number includes things like Head Start, school breakfast and lunch for low-income kids, Pell Grants, and more. Do you want to join Stossel in waving that all off as stuff that the federal government doesn't need to be doing because education can happen at the local level? Well, your answer doesn't really matter, because if you're getting your information from Stossel, you don't even know about all that.

Wait, though! Before Stossel even got to those cuts, he unleashed a version of the federal budget as family budget that we've all seen our conservative family and friends smugly post on Facebook. And oh, wow, the U.S. has debt and no family in the history of ever had any debt without it being because they were irresponsible deadbeats. There is absolutely no such thing as investing in your family's future through a mortgage or educational loan or small business loan, is there? Not according to John Stossel, there isn't.

Then there are the government benefits. Astonishingly, John Stossel found out he is eligible for 55 government benefits for things like being a stutterer. Even though he has a job and health insurance and is "doing well in life." Except, sort of in a parenthetical aside he admits that "I don't know that I would get all of them ... but according to this website I could try and I'm in the game, I bet I could get some." Because people, those soft-hearted, soft-headed people, think the government should be helping people. And that brings us back around to the end, with the zero people who starved in the Depression, back when the government didn't help anyone and it made us all stronger or something. Except the people who actually did starve, or committed suicide, or survived only by standing on breadlines getting help fromsomeone, even if it wasn't the federal government in the early days of the Depression, before Herbert Hoover and his view that the hoboes were really well fed were resoundingly kicked out of office.

See more Alternet stories tagged with:fox news

Thursday, June 6, 2013

You have to see this zoomed out photo of
Tiananmen Square’s ‘Tank Man’

from Dangerous Minds

When a friend told me there were more shots of the still namelessTank Man” who stood in front of a phalanx of oncoming weaponry in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, I figured I would find a few photos from different angles. I did not expect a widescreen tableau that completely recontextualized the scale of the protests (and the man’s bravery, seeing that he was but armed with two plastic shopping bags).

Tiananmen Square

From this distance, you see past the four tanks in the original iconic photo, to a chillingly expansive mass of tanks and soldiers. The scale of the picture changes the story somewhat, don’t you think? (You can see a larger version here.)

I actually found this shot on the website of the right wing think tank, The Heritage Foundation! I suppose students risking (and often losing) their lives to protest an oppressive Chinese government can be easily co-opted for red scare fodder. Regardless, it’s not every day that I actually learn something new from the right wing!

A closer street-level view of the David and Goliath confrontation—shot just before the tanks reached “Tank Man” and stopped their engines—was published by photographer Terrell Jones in 2009. Look for “Tank Man” behind the guy running.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bo Diddley and The Long Lost Duchess of Rock & Roll

from Dangerous Minds

“Norma-Jean was my first sidekick.  We did everything together.” – Bo Diddley, 2005

One of the first female rock ‘n’ roll guitarists was a tall, stunning black woman with a towering bouffant hairdo, a skintight gold lame dress (or black leather pants), high heels, and a custom Gretsch electric guitar, designed by the man usually standing next to her onstage, Bo Diddley.

Technically Norma-Jean Wofford, nicknamed “The Duchess” by Bo, was the second female guitarist in Diddley’s backing band. She replaced “Lady Bo” (Peggy Jones) in 1962, with Bo hiring her first and then teaching her how to play rhythm guitar.  Lady Bo had been Bo’s lead guitar player from 1957 to 1961, leaving to form her own group The Jewel, later called Lady Bo and The Family Jewels, and work as a session musician.  Bo’s audiences’ disappointment in not seeing Lady Bo with the band prompted him to hire Norma-Jean.

Having a woman in a rock ‘n’ roll/R&B band who was not simply a back-up singer was unheard of at the time.  The Duchess, originally from Pittsburgh, was said to be Bo’s sister or half-sister, a rumor he started himself, partly because he considered her close enough to qualify as family but also because he didn’t want the other band members to make a move on her. He told his biographer, “Part of the reason I decided to go with that little lie was that it put me in a better position to protect her when we were on the road.”.

The Duchess recorded and toured with Bo for four years and was the band member he entrusted with his money.  She sang back-up with the Bo-dettes (then comprised of Gloria Morgan and Lily Jamieson, a.k.a. “Bee Bee”), managing simultaneously to sing with them, play rhythm guitar, and not miss a single dance move.  The Duchess appeared on several of Bo’s albums, recorded for Leonard Chess’s Checkers label, such as Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley and Company, Bo Diddley’s Beach Party (a live album recorded at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina), Hey! Good Lookin’, 500% More Man, and The Originator

Wofford was on Diddley’s first tour of England that featured the Everly Brothers, Rolling Stones, and Little Richard in 1963.  Audiences went wild for The Duchess’s curve-hugging stage clothes. When a British journalist asked her how she managed to get into her tight dress, the Duchess held up a large shoe horn.

Eric Burdon paid tribute to The Duchess in the Animals’ song, “The Story of Bo Diddley” in 1964.

“We were playing at the Club A Go-Go in Newcastle, our home town
And the doors opened one night and to our surprise
Walked in the man himself, Bo Diddley
Along with him was Jerome Green, his maraca man,
And the Duchess, his gorgeous sister;

He turned around the Duchess
And he said, “Hey Duchess,
what do you think of these young guys
Doin’ our material;
She said, “I don’t know. I only came across here
To see the changin’ of the guards and all that jazz.”

>The Duchess left Bo Diddley’s band in 1966 to get married and raise a family in Florida. She was replaced by Cornelia “Cookie” Redmond and later Debby Hastings, who remained in Bo’s band from 1982 to 2007. Lady Bo returned to Bo’s band to play several concerts in 1993 and the Duchess showed up at a Bo Diddley concert to say hello to her old friend in July 2004 in California, where she was then living. She died the following year in Fontana, California. Bo Diddley passed away in 2008.

Bo and The Duchess played identical Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbirds, Cadillacs, and Cigar Boxes, which he had helped design. All three models had unusual rectangular shapes, which he said made them easier to play. Decades later Bo gave one of his Jupiter Thunderbirds to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who helped Gretsch recreate the model, renamed the G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird. 

Below, even while overshadowed by Bo and his energetic guitar playing, The Duchess was still pretty hard to miss during their appearances on television shows like Shindig! and the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show /T.A.M.I.-T.N.T. Show (1966).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The First Week of Resistance in ─░stanbul - VIDEO

Protesters occupy the streets in Turkey: Demonstrating against their authoritarian Government

from Dangerous Minds (over the weekend)


Thousands of people have continued to demonstrate for a third day against the government in cities across Turkey.

The demonstrations are against the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian and “pro-Islamic policies,” which protesters believe will limit their freedom.

Crowds gathered in Taksim Square, where demonstrations originally began over plans to build a shopping mall, but soon broaden out into anger at the way in which the country is being governed.

Many demonstrators stayed overnight in the square, camped-out around a monument to Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Today in Kizilay Square, Ankara, more than a thousand protesters were fired-on by the police with tear gas and water cannon.

There have been 235 demonstrations in 67 cities across the country.

According to Amnesty International, 2 protesters have been killed, while dozens have been injured, 1 critically. Over 1,700 people have been arrested.

In an interview with Press TV, Barcin Yinanc, the associate editor for the Hurriyet Daily News in Istanbul explained some of the background to the situation:
Yinanc: Well it’s not a secret that the prime minister is a conservative person. He is a pious Muslim and I think in his mentality he has some kind of a standard definition of how Turkey should be, how the citizens should behave.

So, more and more he is trying to impose his vision of how people should behave, how Turkey should be upon the people.

Press TV: But, is that a democracy as you used the word correctly, imposing his will regardless of what his personal beliefs may or may not be. In a democracy, should it not be decided by the people themselves?

So, as you had said that he is going more and more in this authoritarian direction. Do you think that we are going to continue seeing protests like we have already witnessed. Or, do you think that it will put enough pressure on the prime minister that we will see him backing down from some of these decisions that he has made?

Yinanc: Well it is very hard to say. What I can say is that this is huge. It has been a long time since we have seen anything like that. There is this huge civil disobedience movement going on in Turkey.

Let me add that although the Turkish prime minister has implied that these are marginal groups, throughout the day, I have been in the streets, and really there is nothing marginal about these groups. They don’t carry anything. They have no violent intentions. They are just coming to protest at what they see as interference to their lifestyle.

At the end of the day, this comes as an ideological problem, because more and more people feel that the government has been too much interfering with their lifestyle and over the years this was coming step-by-step, but there was not this kind of organized reaction. So this is really a first and there is no one group dominating these demonstrators. Really everybody that has an iPhone or an internet have heard it and have come out.

So it is not representing any particular political party, but it is of course hard to say whether this will continue because - as I said - it is not oriented or organized by certain groups. It is really a lot of people coming there by their own. So it is hard to guess whether this will continue like that or not.
In an interview with Turkish state television, Prime Minister Erdogan rejected claims he was a “dictator” and said he was “committed to serving the nation.” He also said Twitter was “a curse,” and that “social media as a whole is a pain in the side of society.”

However, it should be noted that if Erdogan is serious about entering the EU, he will not be able to use excessive force to quell demonstrations, as this would breach the Human Rights of his citizens—which are guaranteed by the EU.

Amnesty International has condemned the “disgraceful” use of excessive of police force against protesters. A post on its website reads:
Urgent steps must be taken by the Turkish authorities to prevent further deaths and injuries and allow protesters access to their fundamental rights, as well as ensuring the security of all members of the public, Amnesty International said following reports of more than 1,000 injuries and at least two deaths of protesters in Istanbul.

Amnesty International kept its office, which is close to the Taksim area of Istanbul, open as a safe haven for protesters escaping police violence throughout the night. Twenty doctors are currently in the office and treating injured protestors. Other civil society organizations have taken similar actions.

“Excessive use of force by police officers can be routine in Turkey but the excessively heavy-handed response to the entirely peaceful protests in Taksim has been truly disgraceful. It has hugely inflamed the situation on the streets of Istanbul where scores of people have been injured,” said John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International for Europe.
Today, across Europe, solidarity demonstrations in support of the protesters have also taken place in Belgium, Spain and Germany. According to Euronews:
Holding up anti-government banners and chanting “Resign,” the crowds called for Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan to step down from what many now see as his increasingly authoritarian rule.

One protestor in Brussels told euronews, “We would like to get rid of this government first and get more freedom, freedom of speech. And at the end of it all, we’d like a better government, perhaps with the ideas of Ataturk, which we’ve had in the past.”

A Tumblr site Turkey Not Alone has been set up to show world-wide support for the demonstrators, which can be viewed here.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Will crushing student loan debt and worthless college degrees radicalize the Millennial generation?

from Dangerous Minds

This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. His newest book is Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It

The existing social and financial order is crumbling because it is unsustainable on multiple levels. The central state is not the Millennials’ friend, it is their oppressor.

No generation of young people is ever politicized by hunger in distant lands or issues of the elderly. It’s no rap on youth that self-interest defines what issues have the potential to radically transform their political consciousness; the transformative cause must reveal the system is broken for them and that it intends on sacrificing their generation to uphold the status quo.

The Millennial generation, also known as Gen-Y (Gen-Y comes after Gen-X), is generally defined as those born between 1982 and 2004.

The oldest Millennials were children during the first Iraq War in 1991 (Desert Storm) and just coming of age in 2001 (9/11 and the war in Afghanistan) and the start of the second Iraq War (2003).

The Millennials have entered adulthood in a era characterized by permanent low-intensity wars and central-bank/state managed financial bubbles—2001 to the present. In other words, the only experience they have is of centralized state mismanagement on a global scale.

The gross incompetence of the government and central bank—not to mention the endless power grabs by these centralized authorities—has not yet aroused a political consciousness that the system is irrevocably broken, not just for older generations but most especially for them.

Anecdotally, it appears the Millennial generation is still operating on the fantasy that all they need to do to get a secure, good-paying job and a happy life is go to college and enter the status quo machine of government/corporate America.

There are two fatal flaws in this fantasy: the $1+ trillion student loan industry and a transforming economy. The higher education industry in the U.S. operates as a central state-enabled and funded cartel, limiting supply while demand (based on the fantasy that a college degree has critical value) soars. This enables the cartel to keep raising prices even as the value of its product (a diploma) sinks to near-zero.

Since the Federal government issues and guarantees all student loans, the higher education cartel is (like sickcare, national defense and the mortgage industry) effectively socialized, i.e. funded and managed by the central state.

If you understand the student loan system is predatory, parasitic and exploitive, you have reached first base of a meaningful political awareness. If you understand the central state (Federal government) funds and enforces this system, you’ve reached second base. If you understand the vast majority of college degrees do little to prepare you to be productively employed in the real economy, you have reached third base.

If you understand the status quo is unsustainable and does not operate according the the fantasy model you’ve been told, congratulations, you’re close to home base.

I have covered all the salient issues repeatedly:

The Fatal Disease of the Status Quo: Diminishing Returns

College Grads: It’s a Different Economy

Bernanke’s Neofeudal Rentier Economy

Degrowth and Anti-Consumerism

Centralization and Sociopathology

Present Shock and the Loss of History and Context

Generation X: An Inconvenient Era

The Nearly-Free University

The central state is not your friend, it is your oppressor. The loan shark that won’t let you discharge your student loan debt without appealing each ruling against you three times is the government (and its hired-gun proxies).

The oppressor who demands you work your entire life to pay interest on public debt squandered on neocolonial wars and various cartels (sickcare et al.) is your central state.

The entity who demands you pay higher taxes so the generation entering retirement gets all that it was promised, even though the world has changed and the promises are no longer sustainable? The central state.

The oppressor that will devote its enormous resources to investigate and crush you if you actively resist the bankers and financiers who pull the political lackeys’ strings? The central state.

At some point, the Millennial generation will have to awaken to the fact that the only way to change its fate is to grasp political power and redirect the policy and mindset of the nation. Centralization is the black hole that is destroying the nation’s social and economic vigor. Decentralization, transparency, accountability, adaptability, social innovation, a community-based economy—these are the key features of a sustainable social order.

The existing social and financial order is crumbling because it is unsustainable on multiple levels. The status quo will cling to its false promises and corrupt centers of power until the moment the whole thing implodes.

Related links of interest:

Dear Class of ‘13: You’ve been scammed: How the College-Industrial Complex drove tuition so high.

Overdue Student Loans Reach Record as U.S. Graduates Seek Jobs

Bureaucrats Paid $250,000 Feed Outcry Over College Costs

Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us?

My Generation’s Disease

Podcast with Mike Swanson of on student loan debt and the Nearly Free University: Charles Hugh Smith On the Forces of Centralization and Soaring Education Costs. I always enjoy discussing issues with Mike, a polymath with a wide range of interests and experiences.

This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. His newest book is Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It