best when viewed in low light


What Is Real?

What's there to say other than: this is brilliant TV.

You Mean Soap?

At 2:00:00:

In the battle against resilient bacteria, everyone is looking for a mutation-proof cure. But even with the millions in R&D, they still can't get past the basics.

Plus, don't ask the soap industry! They're the ones that made the personal hygiene industry into a vacuum of disposable income (the "Health & Personal Care" sector, NAICS 446, generates sales around $1.2 billion annually, and that's from 2002 statistics).



This just proves that the UN is useless. They're "alarmed"?

Israel has cut now cut off all forms of post-primitive energy from Gaza (and it's not the first time). THIS is the real plan for the Palestinians.

Where is Condi? Where is the super-militant Bush administration? Where is the US, who just made a Palestinian state their next "top priority"?


Che Ironic

Riddle me this, readers:

How did it come about that Che Guevara's hair was SOLD in an AUCTION?Che's soul weeps.

Better Than Reality

Dr. Castronova strikes again! This time with his sidekick, the Canadian Wonder Mark Bell.

Their argument, in a nutshell: life sucks! live your fantasies in a virtual world!

More Castro.


Size Matters

Brain size, that is. Or so the polygenists thought.
Interestingly, by criticizing the social and political context of scientific knowledge and discovery, Gould also opens us up to the critique of what we now consider to be truth - that equality (a concept, just like intelligence or inferiority) is a similarly fallible presumption.

But this suggestion is unacceptable in mainstream thought - scientific or otherwise - so we reject this as "not truth".

But if science does not progress inevitably, albeit with mistaken intellectual diversions, towards an objective truth - we can call this scientific evolution - then is our contemporary scientific data simply an aesthetically pleasing explanation for the world in which we now live?

Virtual World Economics

Finally! A replacement for the now-defunct

Here we have

Castro Goes to Washington

Mr. Castronova, futurist (and social scientist) extraordinaire, went to good old Georgetown University the other day and rocked their (virtual) world!

His basic premise: fantasy life, as found in synthetic worlds, fills a deep need for humans - one we lost, arguably, along with an institutionalized belief in God or other supernatural beings.

Religious or no, humans want to find meaning. And for some of us, quantum physics isn't enough.

All's Fair

In war, or so they say.

Then that begs the question: Are Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza at war? Not exactly.

But according to Israel, they don't have to be at war to treat the entire Gaza strip like a slave ship. I'm not in favor of continuous bombing of Israeli settlements, but cutting electricity off from an entire region of people? That's equivalent to "bombing them back to the stone age".

This would be an appropriate time for the US - now, officially in favor of a Palestinian state - to step up the protection of its new proto-democratic pet underdogs.
Here's an alternate, and self-stated "radical" opinion. It's frighteningly more reasonable than the Bush administration's sudden peace-making frenzy.


Fire! Fire!

John McPhee must be getting telegrams from the future.

In 1990, he wrote an extraordinarily prescient book called The Control of Nature, in which he describes three natural phenomena that, try as we might, we humans can NOT control.

The first is about the endless (and increasingly impossible) battle against the natural course of the Mississippi river. He discusses the system of levees in the delta, and has quotes from multiple employees of the Army Corps of Engineers who claim that a high storm surge (like the one in a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane) will destroy their carefully laid plans.
The second is about the endless expansion of Los Angeles into the surrounding hills, which destroys the native plantlife and undermines the integrity of nature's cycle of construction and destruction. The cycle begins and ends with raging wildfires, which clear out the dead plant matter and deposit mineral-rich soot into the earth. The hardy and fire-resistant plants that survive hold that soil together in the face of the rains that follow. Without these plants (replaced, as they often are, by roads, houses, etc) the soil absorbs the water, but can not hold it in place, and so begin the mud & rock slides and flooding.

All I'm saying is, you think this is bad?
Wait til it rains.


Set It Off

I chose this article title because the increasing visibility of politically influential women in recent media coverage begs two questions - both addressed fairly well (albeit superficially) by the film.

1. Do women have different motives for acquiring power than men do?

2. If so, why do they attempt to acquire it through similar means?


Guess Who's Coming To DC

Is that a brown man on the cover of the New York Times?

No way!

Next thing you know, we'll have a woman running the country.

That's a joke, right?

It's Inevitable

Oil at $100 a barrel.

I told you so. (Well, not you, but I told him.)

It's close and getting closer.
If I had a dollar for every dollar I would have made if I had invested...


Didn't See That Coming

First this:
Now chaos (the video):
Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan! And 40 minutes later over a hundred people are dead.
Someone objected?

Dubai Rules!

From a reader:

have you seen this shit?


Iraq On, Turkey!

Good news! Now the persecution of Kurds (this is also relevant) by the Turkish government can overlap with the continuing Western infringement of Iraqi freedoms!Yes! Finally, someone can take the burden off US!

Sleep With The Fishes

Not that we need any more evidence for the coming apocalypse:
Now we can't even eat sushi in good conscience!


Get A Second Life!

You, too, can be in the vanguard of digital education!
Just do what Sarah Robbins does!Just kidding, you actually have to be a talented teacher, technology won't save you.

Agenda Unveiled

The Bush administration has been moving towards official support for a Palestinian state for a while, and since I consider it lucky that They ever reveal the underlying agenda for their inscrutable foreign policy, I'll take it. Better late (and politically underhanded) than never.

Brilliant that in the Middle Eastern press, this looks a little different:


Good For Gore

Nobel Peace Prize goes to Al Gore and the UN climate panel. (We even get a picture of Al, looking the visionary.)

Great! Now what do we plan to DO about it?


Fuck The Alliance

WoW, the source of anti-Alliance racism.

So, guy, tell us how you really feel.


End It All!

No, really. Just close all the schools, stop torturing the children, and let them learn.
Or they'll just go crazy and kill everyone.

From the NYT:

October 10, 2007

Gunman Opens Fire at Cleveland High School

A student opened fire inside a Cleveland high school today, shooting and wounding several people and creating moments of sheer terror for students, school officials and parents. He then apparently shot and killed himself, The Associated Press reported, citing police officials.

Mayor Frank Jackson said the injured included two male students and two male adults, who suffered gunshot wounds, and a 14-year old girl who hurt her knee while trying to escape the chaos that erupted in the school as word of the shootings spread.

"All the children are in stable, good condition," Mr. Jackson said outside the school, SuccessTech Academy, in downtown Cleveland, referring to the injured. He added that the two injured adults were in a more "elevated" condition.

"They have the shooter," he said of the police, who descended on the school shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern time. In his brief remarks to reporters, the mayor provided few other details about the shooter, or about how the incident ended.

The Cleveland television station WOIO-19 and other local news media reported that the gunman may have been a 14-year-old student, and that he died after a brief manhunt by police inside the school, which is housed on several floors of an office building on Lakeside Avenue.

Several students and parents told reporters that the shooter had recently been suspended from the school, and returned today with weapons.

“The student had two guns, one in each hand, and fired them both while walking down the hallway,” Channel 19 reported.

Televised scenes outside the school showed dozens of police cars, SWAT team members running in and terrified parents being reunited with their children coming out of the school. Gurneys were seen being wheeled out of the school and loaded into ambulances.

One student told The A.P. that she heard the principal say “Code Blue” over the public address system, and that prompted students to start running. Others said that word of the violence spread quickly from student to student in cellphone calls and text messages.

Doneisha LeVert said she hid in a closet in the building with some of her friends, The A.P. reported.

Ronnell Jackson, 15, told the news agency that he had ducked out of the door of the school when he saw the shooter running down the hall.

“He was about to shoot me, but I got out just in time,” he said. “He was aiming at me — I got out just in time.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on its web site that city police were called to the school at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time and that paramedics were summoned to Room 310, where one person was shot, and to Room 415, where another was shot in the lower chest.

SuccessTech is a nontraditional public high school whose mission, according to its web site, is “Problem-based service learning with an emphasis on technology.”

It occupies the third, fourth and fifth floors in a sprawling building that also houses some administrative offices. The school building is near the city’s police headquarters.


Let Sprinting Dogs Lie

Sometimes it's not necessary to enforce the rules to the letter. Sometimes it's better to let the past be what it was, with all the attendant fallacies of memory and myth.

Such is the case with Marion Jones, who has been forced to return her Olympic medals because she was using some variation of steroids during the 2000 Sydney games.

I remember that summer, and I remember Marion Jones, and I want to remember her as a highly trained athlete who runs with grace and determination. And that doesn't change even with all the roids in the world.

Demonizing this woman for partaking in any and all means necessary to WIN is one of the most undermining and counterproductive messages our culture sends: WIN at all costs, but don't break the RULES, except for when you get away with breaking the rules, and then it's ok.


It's Alive!

And the only tool we'll really need to bring on the 21st century open society.

That's right. The $100 Laptop - in reality the $188 laptop - will be on sale starting next month. It's got everything you want and more, and it has the chance to harness the potential of the informationally disenfranchised masses.

Be scared.

Iran Says Booyah!

Wait, I have an idea. Let's go to war with Iran. Then we can be really overextended militarily and economically, and further our hegemonic demise.


Fuck The C Club

The Evil Empire is hard at work.

Is It Artificial?

All things deteriorate and die, so the notion of property is, itself, totally artificial. If we choose to assign a tangible value for something abstract, we agree to do so through every level of abstraction.

The notion that "virtual" property is not equivalent to physical property is anachronistic. If The Walt Disney Company (itself a virtual individual) can own Mickey Mouse (an idea, rendered by masses) for over 100 years (a super-human timespan; thanks, Sonny), then I can own that sword in Everquest and nobody, but nobody, can tell me that I don't have all the rights that apply to property ownership in the world where I exist (aka "Real").

Here's what sucks. As soon as you accept that abstraction, and there is no distinction drawn between the Real and the computer-mediated, all the rules apply, too. Nobody wants the rules unless they're in their favor.

I get that the point of Dusan Writer's post here is about the decisions of the platform owners and the 'suggestion' that they should make those decisions with the input of the participants, but I would argue: what authority do the players have other than that derived from their choice to participate?

I'm all for democratization, but Linden is more like Lex Luthor than Martin Luther - their goal is money (with a dash of megalomania - but hey, takes one to know one).


We've won the War on Drugs!

Oh, well actually, the US government is taking credit for the increase in cocaine prices due to a decrease in supply. For those of you unfamiliar with these economic terms, that means that your yay is gonna cost more for a while, and the DEA would like you to thank them for that.

But hey, if it's at all like the War on Terror, prices will be back to normal in, say, 24 hours, so it's a good thing they put out the press release today.

In related news, people are growing pot in the woods! Libertarians! Somebody stop them!



Yes! A brave soul has created the first (that I know of) synthetic world-based novel.

Someone read this and let me know how it is!


Across The Lines

Theydared to go.

[But doesn't it look like the shape of the Korean peninsula in that image is actually a body of water?]

In the past...