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Wednesday, October 30, 2002
naqoyqatsi review

Perhaps the solution is to stop analyzing the images altogether and set ourselves free from them. Just as it is a heresy to paraphrase classical music by discovering "stories" or "messages," perhaps "Naqoyqatsi" and its brothers need to be experienced as background to our own streams of consciousness--nudges to set us thinking about the same concerns that Reggio has. I have problems with "Naqoyqatsi" as a film, but as a music video it's rather remarkable.

BFC review

Note: The movie is rated R, so that the Columbine killers would have been protected from the "violent images," mostly of themselves. The MPAA continues its policy of banning teenagers from those films they most need to see. What utopian world do the flywheels of the ratings board think they are protecting?

[:: comment! :]

Tuesday, October 29, 2002
baikonur cosmodrome (via metafilter)

Unlike many space launch facilities in the World, both Baikonur and Plesetsk are not directly situated on or near a coast. Consequently, the lower, sub-orbital stages of USSR/CIS boosters normally fall back on former Soviet territory. This situation limits the permissible launch azimuths to avoid impacts near populated or foreign regions, e.g., due east launches (the most advantageous) from Baikonur are forbidden since lower rocket stages would fall on Chinese territory. For those launch corridors which are used, tens othousands of tons of spent boosters, many with toxic residual propellants still on board, now litter the countryside. Steps are underway around both Baikonur and Plesetsk to mitigate the situation, but the problem remains monumental.

my heart (via metafilter)

I spent my morning helping one of my undergrads clean the blood and brain matter off the back of the head of a 23 year old who attempted to kill himself after killing his girlfriend. The blood and brains had been on his head for four days. We talked about how much pain he must have been in to do this (in direct opposition to the nurses who were "punishing him" for his actions by ignoring his basic needs). We held his hand. We talked to his mother who "noticed" that someone had washed his hair. This is "med-surg" nursing.

[:: comment! :]

Monday, October 28, 2002
two-dot ellipsis :D

What's with the two-dot ellipsis? Personally I think that, in theory, it works, and give us two layers of ellipsocity. The traditional three-dotter "..." is for true trail-offs and whole missing words and phrases. The new, hip (edgy) two-dot model ".." is for lesser ommisions, such as ends of words or ends of expected phrases (eg, "when in Rome.."). This could also be viewed as simply a more substantial version of the period on an abreviation

lure of the exotic

americans can get away with saying things like 'i am the big cahuna' whereas british people just sound silly saying things like that. the only downside of the american show is that americans seem to be more competitive, which can mean that things get a bit serious sometimes. in the new show FMC the brits often lose and find it all rather funny and are very self-deprecating. but the americans sometimes cry!

[:: comment! :]

Friday, October 25, 2002
human muscle (via missingmatter :)

Philippe Poulin, at the Paul Pascal Research Center in France, is working on threads generated by bonding carbon nanotubes and a soluble adhesive. He told New Scientist: "The important thing is that the Chinese team can produce more pure fibre."

[...]

"You can generate forces that are 100 times that of a human muscle with the same mass," Poulin says. "The bad news is that currently it doesn't last very long."
ori-int (thanks carey!)
Can it become independent?

CandyGirl/fantastic
It can't become independent.
Since it is dangerous if it falls, please do not put against a wall etc.
In the case of prolonged, please use the exclusive stand.

[:: comment! :]

Thursday, October 24, 2002
time porn

Call it time porn. Just as sexual pornography titillates us with images from a forbidden world in which casual sex is there for the taking, do modern images, on television shows and in advertising, show us free time, a thing we covet but cannot have?

The characters of "Seinfeld" wallow obscenely in unscheduled time, as did the characters on "Cheers," probably the mother of all time-porn shows.

888

I was a little frustrated earlier today. I was asking myself, "Why do I do all these strange things?" I ride in cars, I pay taxes, I go to school, I bathe everyday. But why? What if I just stopped. Stopped speaking, stopped going to school, stopped bathing, stopped dressing myself, what would be the harm in that?

[:: comment! :]

Wednesday, October 23, 2002
dude, just saw presumed guilty on pbs, this incredible documentary about public defenders in san francisco. sort of had these hbo-like taxicab confession interludes that were kind of distracting, but damn the subjects were amazing. if it's ever on again (which it should be) GO WATCH IT!

also the latest scientific american frontiers, the intimate machine was pretty good btw. PBS ROCKS :D

[:: comment! :]

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
the origins of human cooperation

Biological explanations of cooperation are based on kin altruism, reciprocal altruism, and mutualism, all of which apply to human and nonhuman species alike. But human cooperation is based in part on capacities that are unique to, or at least much more highly developed in, "Homo sapiens.” We seek an explanation of cooperation that works for humans, but does not work for other species, or works substantially less well. Central to our explanation will be human cognitive, linguistic, and physical capacities that allow the formulation of general norms of social conduct, the emergence of social institutions regulating this conduct, the psychological capacity to internalize norms, and the basing of group membership on such non-kin characteristics as ethnicity and linguistic behavior, which facilitate highly costly conflicts among groups. We show that these could have coevolved with other human traits in a plausible representation of the relevant environments. The forms of cooperation we seek to explain are confirmed by natural observation, historical accounts, and behavioral experiments. Our account is based on a plausible evolutionary dynamic involving some combination of genetic and cultural elements, the consistency of which can be demonstrated through formal modeling. Moreover, the workings of the models we develop account for human cooperation under parameter values consistent with what can be reasonably inferred about the environments in which humans have lived.
the impact of US cotton subsidies on africa
Africa’s experience in cotton raises wider concerns about American policy. Through its aid program, the Bush Administration has sought to promote free-market reforms in Africa. Similarly, trade preferences under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) are conditional on African governments liberalizing agricultural markets, including in the cotton sector. Yet when farmers in Mali or Burkina Faso enter world markets they are forced to compete against heavily subsidized American exports.

Notwithstanding constant references to the ‘family farm’ on the part of US policy makers, farm subsidies are designed to reward and encourage large-scale, corporate production. The largest 10 per cent of cotton farms receive three quarters of total payments. In 2001, ten farms between them received subsidies equivalent to $17m.

[:: comment! :]

Monday, October 21, 2002
supremely disaffected!

There's nobody out there I really want to talk to. There's nothing outside that door that interests me. When I go out, all I can think about is how much I wish I was back home. I'm fairly good-looking, people tell me I'm a nice guy . . . I'm just not interested is all. I've met up with some IRC friends that really intrigue me in real life and yet still I wish I was back on IRC chatting with them rather than talking with them face to face (perhaps because I can't turn them off in real life?). The entirety of the real world just seems as utterly banal as anything on the television I haven't used in a year. You see a lot of stuff being said on this site about the government not representing the interests of the people, "Not In Our Name", etc. - well, what if you viewed the entire world that way?

former astronaut :D

"Through your vision, creativity and dedication, you'll be able to reach for the stars and help your customers reach for the stars," she encouraged them. "You are at the forefront of a revolution in understanding the way people use their imagination and creativity to interact with information and interact with each other."

[:: comment! :]

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