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Monday, March 28, 2005
poop story [via]

history judge [via]

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Friday, March 25, 2005
communist manifesto :D (via 2bh's)

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigor in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.
political economy (via bs'wl)
Treasury Secretary Snow preaches that currency values should be set in free and open markets, as all good students of microeconomics are taught to believe and preach. In the real global world of fiat currency regimes, however, the notion of a free and open market in currencies is an oxymoron. Sovereigns, everywhere, have the power, granted or taken from their peoples, to declare what is and isn’t legal tender for the payment of debts. This is an awesome power: monopoly power over money creation.

Accordingly, the notion of free and open markets in currencies is but a veil over reality. Yes, in real time, countries with convertible currencies and no capital controls ostensibly let the markets determine the value of their currencies in terms of other currencies. But at the end of the day, sovereigns retain control over the supply of their currencies, otherwise known as the size of their central banks’ balance sheets (or their ministry of finances’ balance sheets, which are but one step removed from their central banks’ balance sheets). This is reality!

Thus, economists steeped in the textbook microeconomics doctrine of purchasing power parity, also known as the "law" of one global price, are constantly frustrated in forecasting currencies. In the textbook, global arbitrage is presumed to bring currencies into such an alignment that prices for goods and services denominated in various currencies are all roughly equal. In the real world, currencies deviate so far from presumed purchasing power parity values as to make a mockery of the concept. Why?

Very simple: there is no free and open global market in citizenship. Sovereign countries retain the power to print passports and visas. In turn, sovereign governments – especially democratically-elected governments, but also governments with democratic tendencies – must be responsive to their citizens’ needs and wants, not global citizens’ needs and wants. Thus, sovereign countries should and do have the ability to print their currencies in sufficient volume to keep them undervalued on purchasing power parity terms. It’s called mercantilism. And all developing countries practice it, to some degree, so as to bootstrap themselves to prosperity by exporting goods to developed countries, while importing their superior know how, institutions and political stability.

This is neither good nor bad, just the way it is: developing countries acting in their own perceived best interest, undervaluing their currencies through the power of sovereign-owned printing presses for money. Developed countries do the same thing, just in a different way, overvaluing their passports by restricting their production via sovereign-owned printing presses. This is neither good nor bad, just the way it is. Thus, it is impossible to forecast future currency values without starting with an assumption as to how developing countries will run their printing presses for money and developed countries their printing presses for passports.

[:: comment! :]

Monday, March 21, 2005
wild world (via lhb)

The new essays about how iPods provide channels for community are as vacant as the old essays about how Walkmen were factories of isolation and alienation. Technological advance dictates that the desires to be connected to other people, and the sometimes conflicting desires to be lovin' you some Top 40, will grow increasingly portable. That's neither good nor bad, it's just inevitable. The tech that "lets" you work while in a café—the digital abstraction and transmission of data—is the exact same tech that lets you rip songs onto an MP3 player while you're "posting to your blog," which, let's be honest, sounds like slang for the solitary pleasures. If there's a meaningful advance in the Shuffle, it's not regarding alienation or connection but technologies of narcissism. It asks you to delight in your own excellent sensibilities every three minutes. It asks you to look at yourself and admire.
bad connections (via fimoculous)
In the 16th century, Venetian and French glassmakers perfected a technique of coating glass with an alloy of silver to produce an effective mirror. Mirrors soon proliferated in public spaces and private homes, and owning a pocket or hand mirror became a marker of status. The mirror, you might say, was an early personal technology -- ingenious, portable, effective -- and like all such technologies, it changed its users. By giving us, for the first time, a readily available image of ourselves that matched what others saw, it encouraged self-consciousness and introspection and, as some worried, excesses of vanity.

[:: comment! :]

Sunday, March 20, 2005
de zengotita (via mefi)

The core original thought in the book is this idea of representations being inherently flattering. Everyone knows that ads seek to flatter you, but as far as I know, no one has noted the significance of just being addressed, period. I mean this in the sense that an evolutionary psychologist might think of it: You're wired to respond when someone addresses you. Someone says hello, makes a token gesture, acknowledges your existence, and you respond. In this mediated environment, you're incessantly addressed in flattering ways just by virtue of the fact that you are surrounded by these representations. But it's in the nature of flattery to fail to satisfy you.

That's where the motivation for what I call the virtual revolution comes from. As the technology became available, and even before, a class of spectators began to claim the status of celebrity. They felt entitled to it because they've been flattered so much. I think this idea is synthetic: It pulls together phenomena all the way from the popularity of memoirs and autobiographies of ordinary people, from reality TV to blogs, to taking pictures of your life on your cellphone. On and on...

There's the possibility of turning this whole idea -- that we're constantly performing our lives and riddled with self-consciousness -- into a virtue. Maybe we look back on our grandparents -- who had little sense of who they were, compared to us, they were just there -- and envy the authenticity of their being: I feel like such a phony compared with my grandfather. But then, on the other hand, you could look back and say, poor man, he was practically a zombie...

The second really original idea in this book is that when chance and necessity are all that's left to you of reality -- and there's not much of it -- then the opposite of real is no longer phony or artificial, which is what it has been since the romantics. The opposite of real now is optional. The slight feeling of unreality that attends all the commitments you actually make attends them because they're made against this horizon of choices. So this plays into the idea that reality is accident and necessity. To the degree that your life is literally furnished with people, things, activities, places that you've chosen, there's a slight feeling of surface-ness about it all. Because on the horizon there is always "Oh, I could have done this other thing, or been this other way, and maybe I still will." That haunts the way you are. And that's why real things in your life have this slight feeling of simulacra-ness.
du rushkoff (via golublog)
In a holograph, fractal, or even an Internet web site, perspective is no longer about the individual observer's position; it's about that individual's connection to the whole. Any part of a holographic plate recapitulates the whole image; bringing all the pieces together generates greater resolution. Each detail of a fractal reflects the whole. Web sites live not by their own strength but the strength of their links. As Internet enthusiasts like to say, the power of a network is not the nodes, it's the connections.

That's why new models for both collaboration and progress have emerged during our renaissance—ones that obviate the need for competition between individuals, and instead value the power of collectivism. The open source development model, shunning the corporate secrets of the competitive marketplace, promotes the free and open exchange of the codes underlying the software we use. Anyone and everyone is invited to make improvements and additions, and the resulting projects—like the Firefox browser—are more nimble, stable, and user-friendly. Likewise, the development of complementary currency models, such as Ithaca Hours, allow people to agree together what their goods and services are worth to one another without involving the Fed. They don't need to compete for currency in order to pay back the central creditor—currency is an enabler of collaborative efforts rather than purely competitive ones.

For while the Renaissance invented the individual and spawned many institutions enabling personal choices and freedoms, our renaissance is instead reinventing the collective in a new context. Originally, the collective was the clan or the tribe—an entity defined no more by what members had in common with each other than what they had in opposition to the clan or tribe over the hill.

Networks give us a new understanding of our potential relationships to one another. Membership in one group does not preclude membership in a myriad of others. We are all parts of a multitude of overlapping groups with often paradoxically contradictory priorities. Because we can contend with having more than one perspective at a time, we needn't force them to compete for authority in our hearts and minds—we can hold them all, provisionally.

[:: comment! :]

Saturday, March 19, 2005
ipod therefore iam (via andrew sullivan :)

"TiVo is God's machine, the iPod plays our own personal symphonies, and each device brings with it its own series of individualized rituals. What we don't seem to realize is that ritual thoroughly personalized is no longer religion or art. It is fetish. And unlike religion and art, which encourage us to transcend our own experience, fetish urges us to return obsessively to the sounds and images of an arrested stage of development."
stars and their lies (via greencine!)
Hollywood, a cluster of metal sheds in the shabbier suburbs of Los Angeles, itself a suburb of nowhere, has created what is virtually the first religion devoted solely to entertaining its congregation. Hollywood has taught us how to behave when falling in love, standing up for our beliefs, defending our families and seeking a better life. Most of us, mysteriously, have accepted its guiding hand, in countless ways of which we're largely unaware.

[:: comment! :]

Wednesday, March 9, 2005
"The bottom line is that nobody really cares what happens in prison. Nobody wants to know. Prisons are the default value of every society." -philip zimbardo on abu ghraib

"He is quietly polite; and, much as the exquisite manners of the Japanese preserve their privacy from outsiders, his courtesy acts as a moat." -arthur lubow on beck hansen

[:: comment! :]

Tuesday, March 8, 2005
take the position of the camera

Today, an increasing number of us consume culture through mediating technologies—the camera, the recording device, the computer—and these technologies are increasingly capable of filtering culture so that it suits our personal preferences. As a result, we are more willing to test and to criticize. As we come to expect and rely on technologies that know our individual preferences, we are eager as well to don the mantle of critics.

it allows answers to find questions

But today, I see within us all (myself included) the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self-evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the "instantly available". A new self that needs to contain less and less of an inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance—as we all become "pancake people"—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.

[:: comment! :]

Wednesday, March 2, 2005
"I head for the core of the labyrinth, giving myself up to the void." -haruki murakami, kafka on the shore :D

"A labyrinth! Now I get it!"
"The door to the interior sun is at the center."
-alexandro jodorowsky, the incal: the epic conspiracy :D

[:: comment! :]

Tuesday, March 1, 2005
oh hey, almost forgot to update :D not much really going on, had some network problems but've sinced fixed and upgraded... um, what else? sortuv randomly watched the other side of heaven, l'auberge espagnole and shattered glass; oh and code 46 has a great look to it!

it's like gattaca meets until the end of the world (can you get the 5hr cut anywhere?) not really as good as either, but it looks & feels a lot (well maybe not a lot :) better, sorta like bladerunner is/does.

hopefully 2046 is as good!

oh and got m.ward's transfiguration of vincent and smoosh's she like electric :D uh, and the friday night lights and life aquatic soundtracks are pretty great, too!

[:: comment! :]

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