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Saturday, May 29, 2004
nine songs (via metafilter)

"Should Winterbottom, an established director with numerous credits to his name and a high public profile, have foreseen the fuss the film would inevitably generate and done more to protect the relatively inexperienced Stilley? Or is she - as Winterbottom implies - a grown-up who can make her own decisions? 'I am having a really hard time reading whatís going on,' she says. 'Iím not sure people are taking an interest because I chose to remove my name, or because I havenít done any roles before. At the moment I canít really see the wood from the trees.'"

the OC (via sideout)

"After a scene of Spannís penis penetrating Doeís vagina, Cavallo asked his assistant, 'Is there a way you can do it in slow motion?' Then, the defense lawyer asked Doe, 'Did you see any testicles?' She replied, 'I canít tell,' and Cavallo ordered the scene replayed. 'There!' he said. 'Do you see his testicles?'"

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Friday, May 28, 2004
a poisonous book (via a largehearted boy :)

"The Picture of Dorian Gray, it turns out, isnít about a picture at all. Itís about a book. Itís about the transmission of that book into the mind of the protagonist, and the destruction that ensues. The Picture of Dorian Gray is about the spiritual risks of reading."

bloody brilliant (via mini links)

"It is alarming that an account of a high-school massacre is at the centre of Douglas Coupland's latest novel. Once such things begin to register in the laconic worldview of the prophet of Generation X, it suggests that school shootings can be added to strip-malls, McJobs and semi-disposable flat-pack furniture as just another banal feature of the north American landscape."

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
"It's so tedious that everyone must be defined. And if you pull away, why is it always assumed that you have a lurking dark secret that you're hiding in a wine cellar? All of us, ultimately, we're not that interesting, when it comes down to it. What do we all do? We read a bit. We listen to a bit of classical music. We like one or two stage actors. There's not really any unreachable depths. So perhaps the less people know, the better." --morrissey, on the occasion of his sexuality

"Your DVD collection is organized, and so is your walk-in closet. Your car is clean and vacuumed, your frequently dialed numbers are programmed into your cordless phone, your telephone plan is suited to your needs, and your various gizmos interact without conflict. Your spouse is athletic, your kids are bright, your job is rewarding, your promotions are inevitable, everywhere you need to be comes with its own accessible parking. You look great in casual slacks." --brooks, a universal suburban state of grace

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Sunday, May 23, 2004
an abandoned island (via metafilter)

As days passed on the island, my impression of it began to change greatly. The innumerable articles left behind, all shrouded in dust, rusted, to me at first seemed merely drifting toward death. Yet, from one point in time, they started to look vivid, and beautiful. I thought perhaps the island, while appearing to fall deep asleep, had gradually commenced to awaken, the day it was deserted.

Order and value that only prevailed through human existence had long been disrupted. Items were scattered here and there with no context, no ranking. Everything had equal value. The sight I saw spoke of the relationship of the master and servant that had vanished at the time these items were discarded, which liberated them from human reign. To be abandoned meant freedom from all. The items left behind on the island lost their names, their given tasks, even the meaning of their existence. They laid there, as mere "objects." Books and clocks and empty bottles were no longer books and clocks and empty bottles. Things that had been domesticated by humans no longer existed on the island.

Just as the inhabitants started their new lives by leaving the island, these things too, left behind on the island, shed their identity once forced on by humans, to start their lives as "pure objects."

cooking with light (via slashdot)

In 1982, while leafing through an Edmund Scientific catalog, I came across an item with the headline "Melts Asphalt in Seconds!" It was a giant Fresnel lens, 80cm x 100cm (about a yard square), which would capture close to a kilowatt of solar energy. The idea of a lens that could "melt asphalt in seconds" was frankly appealing. I already had a 30cm (1') square Fresnel lens, also from Edmund Scientific, that I had bought about five years before, and while it could be used to ignite wood and such, it was no asphalt-melter. This new lens should have almost TEN TIMES the POWER, an exhilarating thought. It cost $105, quite a sum for me at that time, but I had to have one.

After receiving it, I found that it did perform as advertised. I built a frame for it and had fun using it to make combustible objects burst into flame, melting golf balls (the rubber cord inside comes writhing out in a most animated fashion), and generally obliterating things. In 1998 I built an altitude mount for the lens, with a tray positioned at the focus on which to place objects to be Seen by the Sun. Not having to hold the lens made it a lot more fun to play with. It made it possible to boil water, melt lead, and such.

On the Summer Solstice in 2000 I first cooked with the lens. At the focus, the Sun's image is about 1cm (Ĺ") across, but at this intensity anything is incinerated. Some experimentation showed me that moving the pan out of the focus so that the irradiated area is about 10cm across would be best for "high heat" cooking. I bought a 15cm (6") pan made of cast iron, black so that it would absorb as much as possible of the light.

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Saturday, May 22, 2004
divine makr

The point of my article was not to win the argument, but to frame it. Before I wrote that article, the dominant argument emerging from the fray was if you donít want to pay whatever Six Apart is charging for their upgrade, then youíre a fucking freeloader who doesnít deserve to use quality software. Donít hear a lot of that anymore, do you? Not from anyone who matters. Nothing like a good counterexample to shut up the armchair generals.

Think community is more important than licensing? Great! Youíre arguing against my points instead of that loudmouth down the hall, so Iíve already accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. Think Freedom 0 is just a specific example of a more general concept? Great! Iíd love to discuss that, but I canít while some loudmouth is calling me a whining freeloader. Think Movable Type is still free enough? Great, use it! I donít care if everybody makes the same choices I make. But youíre thinking about the world in my terms, and thatís enough of a victory for today.

the aftermath

He argues that a universe isn't terribly hard to create: Indeed, theoretically, one could create one in a lab, using only one hundred-thousandth of a gram of matter. Assuming all goes well, it would expand, but with such curved space that it would -- for all intents and purposes -- implode, vanishing from "our" reality while expanding in its own dimensionality.

Here's the fun part: According to Linde's theory, the creator of a universe would be able to determine the basic constituent elements of its reality, such as its level of gravity, the speed of light, etc. And in doing so, the creator could essentially communicate with her or his creation.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004
povich

Evidently even mentioning Maury Povitch on your website will result in receiving hundreds of comments from people who believe they are writing to Maury himself. The results are predictably unpredictable.
polish
Despite a favorable mention of Italy, the anthem mainly dwells on the joys of unleashing whoop-ass on occupying powers, at least two of which are now fellow EU members.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004
poles and the EU

Poles still proudly recite their countrymen's historic and scientific achievements. Europeans thought the earth was the center of the universe before the great 16th century astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, a Pole from Torun, proved otherwise. When Western civilization was threatened by Turkish and Tatar invaders in the late 1600s, Polish King Jan III Sobieski came to its rescue with an army that destroyed the Ottoman forces at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The first woman to win a Nobel prize was Poland's Maria Sklodowska Curie, who discovered radium in 1898.
davis on a scanner darkly
As has been reported, the cast is topped with Keanu Reaves as Bob Arctor, the Orange County narc who is assigned to spy on himself. Linklater has been planning this project for years; it was Reavesí interest in the story that finally got the ball rolling. (One cannot fault the guyís taste.) With an appropriateness at once amusing and touching, the rest of the cast includes some of Hollywoodís more notorious dopers: Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, and Rory Cochrane. (OK, I donít know anything about Roryís personal dispositions, but he sure looks like heís scraped the barrel of party.)

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Monday, May 17, 2004
semio-grads (via snarkout)

"From its founding as a fledgling program in 1974 to its morphing into a full Department of Modern Culture and Media in 1996, Brown semiotics produced a crop of creators that, if they don't exactly dominate the cultural mainstream, certainly have grown famous sparring with it. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, Academy Award-nominated director Todd Haynes and legendary indie producer Christine Vachon, "Ice Storm" author Rick Moody, pop-science writer Steven Johnson -- all walked the slanting corridors of Adams House, a sad cottage at the fringe of Brown's Providence campus. There at the bottom of College Hill, under the aegis of an august English professor, an academic discipline sprang up that would make some parents very worried and some students very successful."

squiggy (via boingboing)

"Does Squiggy know baseball? Heck, he knows so much he's actually changed baseball history. Lander says he is the one who persuaded former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis to admit he pitched a 1970 no-hitter on LSD. For years Ellis tried to cover it up by saying he was drunk."

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Sunday, May 16, 2004
killer inside me (via metafilter)

"This time last year I was plotting to kill a man. I was going to walk up to him, reintroduce myself and then blow his balls off. I was going to watch him writhe like a poisoned cockroach for a few seconds, then kick him onto his stomach and put three bullets in the back of his head. This time last year I had a gun, and a silencer, and a plan. I had staked out the man's tract home in Broomfield -- the gray, two-story one with the maroon trim and the American flag hanging above the doorstep. I had followed him to and from his job as an electrical engineer. I was confident I would get away with murder, because there was nothing in recent history to connect me to him. Homicide investigators look for motive, and mine was buried 25 years in the past.

"The man I was going to kill was the one who raped me in 1978, when I was seven years old."

andy's fun afterlife (via slatch)

"Andy Kaufman was born in 1949 in Great Neck, Long Island, the eldest child in a strait-laced upper-middle-class family of, eventually, five. Most prominently featured in the Kaufman family, in terms of volume, was his father, Stanley. Stanley yelled a lot, and Andy didnít like it. So he went to his room. And stayed there for the rest of his life.

"There in his room, Andy began performing at age 4, with daily artificial broadcasts on Channel 5, his name for the Kaufmansí home at 5 Robin Way. He played his act ó jokes, magic tricks, songs ó to an imaginary audience until, at age 8, he went out on the neighborhood kid-party circuit, where parents adored him but didnít pay him until he turned 14."

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Friday, May 14, 2004
haddon

pollack

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Thursday, May 13, 2004
"chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power" (via waxy links)

"chimps spend about six hours a day chewing" (via list.absenter)

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
aids

Scientists claim that humans contracted HIV from monkeys. Monkeys in Africa are endangered by a human population that was/is breeding out of control. Fundamentally the only way for monkeys to save their habitat and therefore themselves is to kill as many humans as possible and prevent the remainder from breeding. It would be evolutionarily adaptive for a wild animal in Africa to create a deadly virus and pass it to the humans who are destroying his habitat.

aila

Aila, a 10-year-old capuchin monkey, reacts to the applause of the crowd during the opening ceremonies of the 'Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled' organization's 'monkey college' facility in the Brighton section of Boston May 7, 2004. The organization, which has already trained more than 93 monkeys to live with and assist severely disabled or paralyzed people, hopes to enroll hundreds of new student monkeys in its 2-3 year 'monkey college' training program.

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Monday, May 10, 2004
not the future we were promised

Eusocial animals like ants, termites, bees, or naked mole rats, exhibit curious behaviour; their societies are stratified by role, with workers, warriors, and reproductive castes that may differ morphologically from one another. Humans aren't so obviously specialized, but if you consider our machines as part of our extended phenotype, it begins to look that way: if our machines become intentionally driven, and they're tailored to play different roles in our society, then you could argue that we occupy some kind of privileged position in a hive-relationship with tools that require our continued safety and comfort in order to further their own reproduction. There's nobody here in this hive but us queens, and the living machines we so carelessly manufacture as conveniences for our own comfort. Individual ants or other eusocial insect species all share the same genetic code, but different castes express radically different phenotypic traits, and indeed most ants are sterile workers who can only further their genetic traits by ensuring that their cousin, aunt or mother the hive-queen succeeds. Our machines don't share our genome (yet), but they share parts of the vast haze of information that has gathered around the genome, and they can only reproduce through us.

Which is, after all, why I'm writing this stream-of-consciousness digest. My word processor wants you to know that it wants me to keep writing because that enhances its own reproductive prospects.

plot line for the world revolution

Meanwhile, here is how the world revolution takes place. The big American corporations get such a lock on internal communications and foreign (military) policy through control of the government that creative use of the internet is driven elsewhere and the Middle East is transformed into a permanent war zone with energy as its focus. China keeps barreling along as cheap manufacturer to the world, target for inward investment and stimulus to the Asian economies. India begins to take off as the leading centre of the anglophone internet services economy. Latin America, Russia and Africa are out of it and Europe cannot reverse its obsession with fragmented nationalisms. The Hindu fascists are voted out and a new more progressive coalition expands the rapproachement with Pakistan and puts out feelers to China and Japan. These four countries, using Pakistan as a diplomatic bridgehead begin to assert their weight against American and Israeli militarism in the Middle East, bringing in the Saudi billions and triggering a run on the dollar in favour of the gold dinar, the yuan and to some extent the euro.

US neoliberalism turns into the hot war it always presaged and the Iraq conflict is generalised in the region, with the Palestinians as the symbol of resistance to western imperialism. The Asian alliance is drawn into the hot war, perhaps even seeks it as a way of speeding up the transfer of economic power eastwards and wresting the oil and gas out of western hands. Their slogans invoke the Third World as a whole and are echoed by insurrections of various kinds in Latin America, Central Asia and Africa. Some American, European and Japanese corporations switch sides. The last American helicopter leaves Baghdad in 2015 as Israel is forced to surrender to the new Asian military occupation and a Palestinian state is created. The USA becomes an increasingly introverted and repressive society without adequate energy supplies and Europe is caught trying to be everything to all sides as usual. And that is the world revolution of 2015. India and China can never reconcile their competition entirely and sit in uneasy dyarchy at the core of world government. But India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal are reunited and the Islamic world enjoys a long delayed resurgence.

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Saturday, May 8, 2004
you nailed it

There are no rules to be introduced into the society, no real lessons to be transmitted to the next generation. How tragic: in the information age, we are not able to retain the lessons of the past!
real world miami
dont forget to think about anything except fucking ... and as in most things, learn how to use the left hand.

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Friday, May 7, 2004
appreciatory

There's a theory of Freud's ó I know he's out of fashion, but the guy was really good at pointing out hidden motives, it's quite amazing ó called "The Narcissism of Minor Difference". Basically saying that the parts of ourselves we love most and protect most ardently are those bits which distinguish us from others who are otherwise almost exactly like us. A useful analogy is nationalism ó Canadians are obsessed with the twelve things that make them different from United States citizens, because identification is so threateningly close. Serbs and Bosnians ó they hate one another for their similarity, whereas neither can be bothered to hate the Chinese ó a lack of proximity and similarity make that hatred irrelevant. I read a neat book of psychobiographical criticism that ventured that Narcissism of Minor Difference explained why, for example, Nabokov professed to hate Freud. Because their views of human behavior were actually threateningly similar.

The same energy can fuel, of course, over-strenuous denunciations between members of affiliated groups ó The People's Front of Judea vs. The Judean People's Front. Or hatred between siblings, or lovers. And I wonder if a strong identification is necessary to fuel the rage-of-betrayal which lurks in so many critical censures.
kaleidoscope
"It was gone. When life is over it is like a flicker of bright film, an instant on the screen, all of its prejudices and passions condensed and illumined for an instant on space, and before you could cry out, 'There was a happy day, there a bad one, there an evil face, there a good one,' the film burned to a cinder, the screen went dark. From this outer edge of his life, looking back, there was only one remorse, and that was only that he wished to go on living. Did all dying people feel this way, as if they had never lived? Did life seem that short, indeed, over and done before you took a breath? Did it seem this abrupt and impossible to everyone, or only to himself, here, now, with a few hours left to him for thought and deliberation?"

Meanwhile on earth: "The small boy on the country road looked up and screamed. 'Look, Mom, look, a falling star!' The blazing white star fell down the sky of dusk in Illinois. 'Make a wish,' said his mother. 'Make a wish . . .'"

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Wednesday, May 5, 2004
cpt. herbert sobel

"Dear Sir or Madam: Soon your son will drop from the sky to engage and defeat the enemy. He will have the best of weapons, and equipment, and have had months of hard, strenuous training to prepare him for success on the battlefield. Your frequent letters of love and encouragement will arm him with a fighting heart. With that, he cannot fail, but will win glory for himself, make you proud of him, and his country ever grateful for his service in its hour of need."

spc. pat tillman

"But the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

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Tuesday, May 4, 2004
subjective time

"When your mind is focused on something other than the passage of time, you are fooled into thinking that less time has passed."

erasing memories

"Of course, we can intuitively recognise this; when we recall a past event, we are not recalling the event per se, but our memory of it from the last time we recalled it. This is why our autobiographical memories are being reshaped as we go through life."

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Sunday, May 2, 2004
matrix (via blogdex)

shrek (via gulfstream)

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Saturday, May 1, 2004
"I sometimes think there's a religion-shaped hole in my life."

"I have a beer-shaped void inside of me."

[:: comment! :]

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