the near earth asteroid defense system #thinkglobalactsolar

Posted by on October 23rd, 2013

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Lu began by noting that deflecting lethal asteroids is the easy part. We know how to do it and already have the needed technology. Years before a threatening asteroid converges with Earth, we can ram it from behind with a rocket with the precise amount of energy needed to speed it up just enough to miss our planet and keep on missing us in the future.

Funding such a mission will be straightforward. Once you know when (and even where) a catastrophic impact will occur, there will be abundant motivation to pay for heading it off. With good sky reconnaissance, we’ll have years of warning. But that reconnaissance doesn’t exist yet.

As I do several times each year since they first began, I’ve been catching up the Long Now Seminar’s on Long Term Thinking. Much as love hearing visions of Starship programs and DeExtinction projects, it was former astronaut Ed Lu’s talk (above) that really leapt out. Because it is both fantastic and realistic, and immediate. And necessary.

Lu spoke about the consequences of the Overview Effect:

http://www.vimeo.com/55073825

We have to start acting as one species, with one destiny. We are not going to survive if we don’t do that.

Coming back to Earth a changed man, and wanting to do something real. Long story, short (you can hear it all above, after all), he’s founded the B612 Foundation. Their self-assigned mission, to build and launch Sentinel:

The Sentinel Mission will provide a unique opportunity for the public to take ownership in a historic space mission that will protect Earth, while providing the necessary roadmap for future exploration.
Sentinel is a space-based infrared (IR) survey mission to discover and catalog 90 percent of the asteroids larger than 140 meters in Earth’s region of the solar system. The mission should also discover a significant number of smaller asteroids down to a diameter of 30 meters. Sentinel will be launched into a Venus-like orbit around the sun, which significantly improves the efficiency of asteroid discovery during its 6.5 year mission.

 

They’re aiming to share resources with NASA, and funding it via philanthropy and donations from the public. And whilst I view philanthropy as the benevolence of those that have accrued wealth through various forms of economic and legal force, it’s better that those funds get directed toward doing something other purely cosmetic, vanity projects. We simply don’t have time to linearly fix all world’s problems. The pragmatist in me maintains that the rescue mission must accomplished by whatever means are available.

Which brings us to the newly created, half jesting, semi-fictional, deadly serious Overview Effect Enforcement Agency. The product of a conversation between some creatively titled futurist folks on Twitter, it exists, if only as a rescue-lutionary theory object, to encourage the sending of the world’s leaders into low-earth orbit for a cognitive readjustment. A tactic deployed by Picard in an episode of Star Trek: TNG, to correct his own elevation to godhood. As recent political theater events of extreme dramatis demonstrate, it’s sorely needed. And as I suggested: if they learn something, they can come back too.

Because there are more threats to the world than just the ego’s of political leaders and billionaires. Like Lazarus Comets:

“We found a graveyard of comets,” said Ferrín. “Imagine all these asteroids going around the Sun for aeons, with no hint of activity. We have found that some of these are not dead rocks after all, but are dormant comets that may yet come back to life if the energy that they receive from the Sun increases by a few per cent.”

Resurrected space rocks don’t discriminate on imaginary human divisions of map, religion or creed. We can learn something from them. We can be bigger, grow up, build out into the solar system, and beyond. It’s just an idea. But what else has ever changed the world than that?


The Many Posthuman Aspects of PacificRim

Posted by on October 22nd, 2013

Or: the candy-coated man/machine rescue mission.

Pacific Rim is many things. Many shiny, spectacular, immersive, self-aware, monster genre mashing, robot smashing, crowd pleasing, city destroying, heroic dancing things. But apart from its surface appeal, it’s also the delivery system for some incredibly out there, subversive, challenging ideas. This may just be my reading of it, and that’s fine. But I suspect Guillermo Del Toro is guilty of being a clever, clever human and knew exactly what he was doing with this blockbuster movie.

Allow me to explain my thinking here. This is not a review. It’s a “User Guide for Humans”, from barely opened, posthuman eyes. This is an analog mind-meld, I mean drift; an English language sequence as slow-boot brain update. Are you ready to accept Singularity?

Want some Candy?

Taken at face value, Pacific Rim is… completely absurd. And if that wasn’t immediately apparent from its premise, it’s clear by halfway through the film that’s it’s winking hard at you. And shouting at you with Idris Elba’s mandatory “the apocalypse is cancelled” speech at the climax, that amazing actor barely containing the joy on his face in getting to deliver an epic line like this. Pure man-child bliss… just the kind you might expect to find in a mech suit vs kaiju fightfest.

Now those of the Otaku-bent might want to do a detailed analysis of the origins and influences and details of Pacific Rim, and that’s exactly what this post on Medum.com has done, if you want it.

I’m not anti-Otaku. Hell, I raced home as a kid to watch Robotech, and collected what Transformers I could afford. When I toured Japan in ’09 I stumbled onto the Mobile Suit Gundam arcade game and played it every day I was there. I clutched my pilot card when I walked into the preview screening of Pacific Rim, and wore the pirate Neon Genesis Evangelion tee I picked up in a store in Akihabara.

I have been absolutely psyched for this film, and its complement Elysium, all damn year.

What I am saying is there’s a lot more going on below the surface of Pacific Rim. Just don’t expect it to cohere into a logical whole.

Go Borg or Stay Human

First we have the “dance-dance pilot systems”. With its shiny video game aesthetics, and drama engine device, it is first and foremost pro-Borg; celebrating the union of more than one human conscious into a greater whole. There’s been a lot of Borg-hate going on since Google Glass dropped into the world, and I’m looking mostly at Stop the Cyborgs.

Mind you, I walked into this movie with my head having been resident inside in Ramez Naam’s Nexus’verse for a good month. One of the elements of that future world is human hate of anything group-mind (not unlike the linear future world of the Star Trek-verse’s Federation), following various terrorist attacks and cult fiascoes.  So to immediately recognise that there were Borg heroes, front and centre in this film was yet another joyful moment.

Then we have the Robo/Borgsexuality.

Posthuman Gender & Robosexuality

It’s fair to say there are fans going into this already fetishising being inside giant robots…

…which brings us to the giant confusion of posthuman gender. Because what does that even look like from a human perspective? Maybe it’s two buff guys in shiny suits merging through a shared childhood to form a union with a rocket punching, sock’em bot? Maybe it’s also some weird, ritualised staff fighting sequence that isn’t a romantic, courtship sequence… because that would make the two brothers incestuous and homoerotic and is anyone else getting uncomfortable thinking deeply about this?

Let’s cut to the heroic scientist “drifting” with a random chunk of giant alien brain… why on Earth would a Kaiju fanboy ever be turned on by humongous glial cells of extra-dimensional origin?

Chief prosecutor for the homoerotic subtext of jockeying flightsuits argument, thinly fictionalized Quentin Tarantino, explains:

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you want subversion on a massive level…

 

Those of us raised on Robotech also obsessively watched Top Gun as teens. Hell, my gaming nick was Maverick for much of my youth. So the reconciliation scene at the end of Pacific Rim, the begrudging acceptance of the owner of worst Aussie accent ever and our hero… totally recapitulates Top Gun.

And if you’re still not convinced, you haven’t been watching True Blood; same actor, explicitly homoerotic mind-meld:

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Message received collective unconscious!

Make what you will of the fact that I really hope we get to see the bulldog don a mech suit and borg it up with friendly, genetically engineered Kaiju in a sequel. Plot that on your human linear Kinsey scale!

Move over Seven of Nine, the new borg sexiness is definitely here.

Posthuman Battlesuits

Once you’ve accepted that, the “city as a battlesuit [Matt Jones guest post on io9]” is a not a stretch of the brain meats at all. The mech suit as embodiment of the merger of humanity and its infrastructure; the champion of the Anthropocene. Especially visible when you’ve got ships being used as baseball bats and “Gipsy Danger [using] shipping containers like brass knuckles”.

Each Jaegar is built to defend a city, but really, it’s manifesting its surrounds, even merging with them.

As Matt Jones quotes from a British architecture journal:

While Batman’s Gotham City and Superman’s Metropolis largely reflect the character of the superheroes who inhabit them (Gotham is grim, Metropolis shines)

And as he compares to a hero of The Authority:

“Hawksmoor defeats the giant, monstrous sentient city by wrapping himself in Tokyo to form a massive concrete battlesuit.”

Posthuman defense systems with local characteristics.

And while we’re stretching that long bow of your mind, let’s add that you can argue that its also a recapitulation of one Earth’s oldest tales: Marduk the City God vs the Serpent. The Jaegar as the city turned God-like, and if the Kaiju aren’t the contemporary incarnation of the “monster of primeval chaos”, than what is?

“It’s not Posthuman without going Post-State”

It’s not a posthuman tale without things going post-state. The foolish, political human types gripped by their illusions of control decide that building a giant wall trends much better in the polls, and it’s within that construction effort that we find our hero lurking at the film’s commencement. Kaijus walk right through megastructures dramatis (or thinly disguised metaphors at the political penchant for building barriers to keep out unwanted arrivals). Anyway… our pragmatic, military leader, Idris Elba (TV’s Luther), unencumbered by the requisite trope of giant wall of video-screened suits ordering him turns to… “extra-legal funding sources”, continuing the rescue mission by any means necessary.

In this case, dealing with a bizarre caricature of a bad guy with great shoes; the hybrid Spy Kids enemy / Bond Villain. (Ranking the film just above Contact on someone’s “Top 10: Projects funded by an absolute Bond Villain?” list)

But let’s not miss the metaphor of the real villains; the Kaiju themselves. Thomas Hobbes described the State as a Leviathan. And what better way to portray the entities that have really destroyed the climate of this planet for their own ends, what more apt depiction of rogue geoengineers than as giant monsters?! It’s definitely how the various manifestations of corporate-democratic empire looks to the rest of the world.

And this is the most subversive element of all snuck into the subconscious of the audience for a gigantic popcorn flick by a Mexican director. Perhaps no surprise then that the film did terribly in the US, but made serious bank globally.

 

Maybe it’ll take the US a decade or so to appreciate it, as critics are just now accepting Southland Tales, but when you’re watching Elysium wondering why augmented super soldiers are battling with swords and chainsaws over the rights of a breakaway civilisation to exist, remember that Ron Perlman probably said it best in the post-credits scene:

where is my other shoe? -^

When will it drop?

Disproving its antecedent film on things that lurk in the cracks of the earth, beneath the waves, The Abyss: “They want us to grow up a bit, and put away childish things. Of course, it’s just a suggestion.

With Del Toro it’s posthuman man-children dancing off to the rescue, and that’s just super by me.


Special Guest Post from the UK: Cat Vincent brings us “Rate Of Return: Woolwich, 4GW and Kayfabe.”

Posted by on May 27th, 2013

In this special guest post, Cat Vincent reports from the UK on the aftermath of the Woolwich attack, and 4GW (Fourth Generation Warfare).

Rate Of Return: Woolwich, 4GW and Kayfabe.

The recent murder of a soldier by two men on the streets of London has produced a wave of shock and horror around the world.

It has also produced a vicious backlash, both officially and otherwise: the British government has responded with increasing pressure for near-total internet surveillance to be put into law and also restricting the availability of certain ‘radical’ Muslim websites, while the thuggish forces of the neo-Nazi English Defence League have staged several highly-publicised (but poorly-attended – tens or hundreds at most) marches and riots.

At the same time, a heavily organized and well-planned series of non-violent actions (protests in dozens of cities across the world, with literally millions in attendance) against the Monsanto corporation were all but ignored in the popular press. Why is this?

I don’t think it’s as simple or as cynical as the old saying “if it bleeds, it leads”… though certainly, that’s a factor. What it makes me think about specifically is the theoretical work of writer John Robb on the subject of 4th Generation Warfare (4GW).

Robb, a former USAF special ops pilot and security consultant, discussed the concept of 4GW – effectively, the warfare conducted by small non-state actors against heavily militarized governments – at length in his blog Global Guerillas. One of his key concepts in why 4GW is so effective is that of the “return on investment” (RoI). From Robb’s book, Brave New War:

In the summer of 2004, Iraq’s global guerrillas attacked a southern section of the Iraqi oil pipeline infrastructure (Iraq has over 4,300 miles of pipelines). This attack cost the attackers an estimated $2,000 to produce. None of the attackers was caught. The effects of this attack were over $50 million in lost oil exports. The rate of return: 250,000 times the cost of the attack.

It’s clear that the return on investment for the Woolwich attack is considerable, probably on a level of millions to one – committing the UK government to millions, even billions of pounds in police, military and counter-intelligence spending for no more than a couple of hundred quid on some knives and axes and a rusty old revolver. (In fact the cost is so low, the action having been performed by just two people, it makes the attack close to being what the writer Brainsturbator described in his Skilluminati blog as 5GW – warfare committed by “super-empowered individuals” – though in this case, the empowerment comes from their media use more than their actual tool set. Skilluminati in general, and the 5GW Project in particular, are I think vital mind-tools for the aware Grinder.)

Yesterday, I put a mention of the RoI of the Woolwich murder on Twitter (which is what prompted the Grinding editorship to ask for this article). The main thing I didn’t get the space to expand upon there was the question of cui bono? – if there’s a return on investment for such a violent action, who actually profits from it?

A clue about this appeared on my Twitter stream not long after, in a conversation between Brainsturbator and Damien Williams (@wolven) of this parish: the subject of conversation was not terrorism, but a term from professional wrestling: Kayfabe.

To quote from the brilliant Edge essay by Eric Weinstein (who is best known this month for possibly reconciling all modern physics)

Because professional wrestling is a simulated sport, all competitors who face each other in the ring are actually close collaborators who must form a closed system (called “a promotion”) sealed against outsiders. With external competitors generally excluded, antagonists are chosen from within the promotion and their ritualized battles are largely negotiated, choreographed, and rehearsed at a significantly decreased risk of injury or death. With outcomes predetermined under Kayfabe, betrayal in wrestling comes not from engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct, but by the surprise appearance of actual sporting behavior. Such unwelcome sportsmanship which “breaks Kayfabe” is called “shooting” to distinguish it from the expected scripted deception called “working”.
Were Kayfabe to become part of our toolkit for the twenty-first century, we would undoubtedly have an easier time understanding a world in which investigative journalism seems to have vanished and bitter corporate rivals cooperate on everything from joint ventures to lobbying efforts. …What makes Kayfabe remarkable is that it gives us potentially the most complete example of the general process by which a wide class of important endeavors transition from failed reality to successful fakery.

One of the consistent myths of pro wrestling is the concept of the “face” and the “heel” – the good guy and the bad guy. Within the consensus reality of the Kayfabe, these are mortal foes… right up to the point where one or the other makes a “heel-face turn”, the good guy becoming the bad or vice versa. (Like, say, the ‘heroic rebels’ of the CIA-sponsored Mujahideen becoming the post-9/11 enemy…) But in reality, they’re still just performers in a symbolic, mythical struggle. Whether they consciously co-operate or not, both sides need the struggle in order to continue their identity, to define their reality.

So, again – who profits? Those invested – emotionally, financially – in the game, on both supposed sides. The extremists; the governments who seek any excuse to cow the populous, to keep every single person scared and surveilled; the radicals who want to tear down anything that doesn’t look exactly like their fantasy world (be it Dar-al-Islam or Rule Britannia); the corporations that sell the weapons to them all or, like Monsanto, rely on the distraction to conceal their agenda. And, by pure coincidence, those who want to tame the internet, to stop those who don’t want to suffer for their gain from finding out more about the truth behind the spectacle. Anyone who wants to play another game, wants a future of co-operation not competition, strength for all instead of profit-and-loss… are just collateral damage for the drones and the thugs.

John Robb doesn’t write about 4GW directly that much, these days. In his consideration of precisely how one should defend against it, he came to understand the necessity of working towards the living conditions which are most effective in resisting terrorism in general and such cheap RoI attacks in particular – decentralized infrastructure, local and networked co-operation unlocked from hierarchy. People acting in groups sharing common goals, working towards long-term building of resilient communities rather than zero-sum enemies to be obliterated. A long-term solution that strives to bypass the reflexive tit-for-tat of this conflict, to benefit all.

As I wrote this, the EDL marched on Whitehall. Again, only a couple of hundred of them, faced with a similar number of anti-fascist protesters. Supposed patriots are giving Nazi salutes and fighting police in the very heart of British governance, claiming to be protecting England against the infidel. Another front in The Forever War opened these past few days… and for those who aren’t part of the kayfabe, who strive to break past the fourth wall of us-and-them, resilience is becoming that much harder. We have to keep looking for the tools to grind our bodies, minds and tribes to be strong and flexible enough to endure the crushing pressures of these wrestling behemoths, to always remember that whoever appears to be the face or the heel… this should not, cannot be just war.

It must always be a rescue mission.

Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent is a writer and journalist on the Fortean beat, a contributing editor to The Daily Grail and a former professional combat magician. He lives in Yorkshire, England.


Wake. The. World

Posted by on April 25th, 2013

History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
~ James Joyce, Ulysses

For two weeks I saw As everywhere. On tshirts, broken signs, torn stickers… or just lying there, on the ground.

Never actually the Avenger’s A, except in my mind’ eye. What connections was my unconscious making?

There are three heroes in Joss Whedon’s movie: Phil Coulson, Natasha Romanova and Clint Barton.

Then there are the projections of the Collective Unconscious: the vicious sky god, the rage monster, the personification of the techno myth and enCAPsulation of the Amerikan Fighting Spirit.

And the Villain? Witness the speech of the embodiment of the Patriarchy, and all Forces of Control:

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And sadly, reality proved this to be true… with the Disney arm of Global Capitalism delivering this Patriarchal  message:

The Disney Store is selling Avengers t-shirts for women with the slogan “I Need a Hero” and “I Only Kiss Heroes,” and an Iron Man t-shirt for boys that reads “Be a Hero.” This sends a harmful message about who can and cannot be a leader in this world. These shirts promote the idea that men and boys are meant to do the saving, and that women and girls are the ones who need to be saved.

Which is completely absurd because the *core hero* of The Avengers is Natasha Romanova (aka Black Widow). She recruits the Hulk, tricks Loki into revealing his scheme, and basically saves the world. As Alyssa Rosenberg describes her for ThinkProgress:

Black Widow, given a personal stake in the fight when Loki brainwashes Hawkeye, tells the villain who wants to know if she’s in love with him, “Love is for children. I owe a debt,” and leaves it at that. Her refusal to clarify leaves room for Loki to speculate, and ultimately to reveal more than he intended. All sorts of skill sets matter in a conflict this big and complex. And without making her a victim or a lesser member of the team, Black Widow’s reactions are a regular reminder that superheroics and space invaders have real impact beyond the financial support of the Cinematic Demolition Industrial Complex. Watching her come back to herself after being badly beaten in a fight is a reminder of how damaging these powers can be when applied to ordinary people. And hearing her tell Captain America in an unconvincing deadpan “It’ll be fun,” when she tries a hugely risky gambit without the protection of enhancement or godlike abilities makes the enterprise seem more serious. These things may be entertaining as hell to watch, but they’d be terrifying to actually carry out.

Ian Grey does an excellent job parsing through the reviews the film got, where seemingly every male critic saw only the Michael Bay-esque aspects of the spectacle presented, and missed the apparent subtly of Black Widow’s role because she wasn’t shouting about it, just getting it done. Witness the entertainment marketing complex displaying a complete lack of critical thinking… almost as if the role of reviews in the press is to repeat the message of the dominantor paradigm, regardless of the truth of the content being promoted.

null

Natasha is the embodiment of heroism: highly trained, empathetic, cognitively agile and unhesitatingly able to make ‘the sacrifice play’, literally in Cap’s face. And that deserves to be repeated until it sinks in:

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Now, post-movie The Avengers we have Jonathan Hickman writing up a storm in the new run of Avengers (and New Avengers) comics… delivering, at core, this message:


Taking the FULL COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS and showing it to us… to build a better tomorrow, together, today. A Mythic Global Frequency.

Tune in and WAKE THE WORLD. Because it’s asleep at the wheel of history and we have figurative seconds to change course if we wish to avoid the coming Crash.


NYPD vs CultureJammer round2 #droneculture

Posted by on December 1st, 2012

“Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” by ESSAM (full rez here)

I’ll let Gawker do the talking:

Essam Attia is the New York street artist responsible for placing fake NYPD ads reading “Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” around town. In September, he gave a video interview to Animal NY, with his identity and voice obscured, in which he discussed this project and his art in general. Wednesday morning, the NYPD arrested him at home.

The NYDN reports that he’s charged with “56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession,” the last (and possibly worst) charge coming because cops found an unloaded .22 pistol under his bed when they arrested him. On a practical level, Attia was not the most careful art criminal. He signed his work “ESSAM;” and he told Animal that he was a “a 29-year-old art-school grad from Maine, who served in Iraq as a ‘geo-spatial analyst.’” It probably did not take an incredible amount of police work to narrow down the possibilities.

Still—great work by the NYPD to prove Essam’s point: you are all being watched. Poke humor at the ALL SEEING GOVERNMENT EYE, and it will make you pay. IT KNOWS ALL. In the Animal interview, author Matt Harvey noted, “He agrees that there is an inherent irony in his spoofs: the very fact that the NYPD (which claims to be strongly pursuing him with their ‘counter terrorism squad’) hasn’t caught him yet, is proof that we have not reached a state of Orwellian control.”

Ah…. cancel that.

[Photo via Animal]


PLURALITY [short film]

Posted by on October 6th, 2012
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via @leashless | falkvinge


#NDAA #TrapWire Resistance is not futile

Posted by on August 22nd, 2012

The new totalitarianism of surveillance technology [GUARDIAN]

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TrapWire: The Truth Behind The Hype [STORIFY]
My Abraxas and TrapWire Saga [Tim Shorrock]

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How to Make an Invisible Mask for Video Cameras [WIKIHOW]

http://www.vimeo.com/45819231

DARPA-Funded Researcher Can Take Over Android And Nokia Phones By Merely Waving Another Device Near Them [FORBES]

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#cryptoparty

When reality resembles one product of the Nolan brothers (Person of Interest), how long until it’s a Bane’esque “fire rising” taking centre stage?

North Korea builds EMP munition [DEFENSETECH]

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Free The Network (30min doc on OWS)

Posted by on April 3rd, 2012

The 30-minute piece follows hacker Isaac Wilder and his Free Network Foundation from providing internet access to the Occupy activists in Zuccotti Park, to their aspirations for user-owned fiber backbones; and includes commentary from journalist Melissa Gira Grant and author and media critic Douglas Rushkoff.


Debtocracy

Posted by on March 25th, 2012

Your (other) weekend longwatch, how Greece’s economy collapsed:

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Riot Police vs. Disabled Protesters

Posted by on February 27th, 2012

David Mercato - Reuters - Bolivia

(Photo: David Mercato, Reuters)

 

A caravan of about 50 adults and children ended a 1,000-mile, 100-day trek through Bolivia at the protest near government offices in La Paz on Thursday. Scuffles broke out and pepper spray was used after the group were blocked by riot police, who stopped them reaching the legislature and presidential palace to petitioning MPs and the presidential palace for a tripling of the £91 monthly state subsidy for disabled people. The protesters tried to break through the lines using their crutches and wheelchairs but were forced back in a melee in which several people were injured and four detained. The protest organisers then declared a hunger strike by 10 adults and a round-the-clock vigil by the rest.    (Via:  The Guardian)

 


Graffiti and Revolution

Posted by on February 21st, 2012

Great look at protest through street art, from the Arab Spring to Northern Ireland.

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Al Jazeera interviews graffiti artists JR and RSH for this spot on graffiti as the world’s oldest form of social media.

Get a free download of RSH’s book BOMB: A Manifesto of Art Terrorism here:

http://raymondharmon.com/BOMB.html

via DISINFO


’5th Branch of Government’

Posted by on February 17th, 2012


another Poster Boy NYC


Motherfuckn’ Bailout Association

Posted by on February 4th, 2012

By Poster Boy NYC.


Anonymous really are EVERYWHERE

Posted by on January 26th, 2012

Awesome picture of the day comes to us from Poland:


higher rez here.

WTF Video of today comes to us from… (go on, watch it first)

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Read the rest of this entry »


Bank of Amerika is using your money to…

Posted by on January 13th, 2012

Lovely bit of culture-jamming from the streets and ATMs of San Fran by the Rainforest Action Network:

The stickers also encourage BoA customers to “Stop doing business with Bank of America until they start behaving responsibly” and have the URL to our new blog, which we’ve just launched along with The New Bottom Line:BankruptingAmerica.tumblr.com.

We’re using that blog to track all the ways BoA is bankrupting America, hence the name. We’ve received so many submissions it’s clear to us that this website was badly needed. There are lots of grievances to be aired with regard to how Bank of America is conducting its business these days, as it turns out. (Not that that’s terribly surprising.)

via Mission Mission


The Coming War on General Purpose Computing – Cory Doctorow’s 28c3 keynote (VIDEO)

Posted by on December 28th, 2011

The copyright war was just the beginning…” Watch as Cory Docotorow extends the copyright struggle into a 100year battle. Stay for the extra QnA (30mins in) where he addresses many of the issues of the day.

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via BoingBoing

See Also:


Charles Stross draws the lines – accurately – between #SOPA and the Coming Insurrection

Posted by on December 18th, 2011

* title borrowed from Mark Pesce‘s tweet linking to Stross’s blogpost.

Here is Charlie Stross’s ‘view of contemporary US politics’ / flame-war bait. Watch him link SOPA and ‘the Coming Insurrection‘ in eight easy-to-follow steps (some steps not shown):

1. The USA is already a functional oligarchy. (Or, more accurately, a plutarchy.) It has been functioning as such for some time — since 1992 at the latest, although the roots of this system go back to before the Declaration of Independence — it’s a recurrent failure mode. Historically such periods last for a few years then go into reverse. However, this time the trend has been running since 1980 or even earlier. What we’re now seeing are the effects of mismanagement by the second generation of oligarchs in power; the self-entitled who were born to it and assume it to be the natural order of things.

3. Public austerity is a great cover for the expropriation of wealth by the rich (by using their accumulated capital to go on acquisition sprees for assets being sold off for cents on the dollar by the near-bankrupt state). But public austerity is a huge brake on economic growth because it undermines demand by impoverishing consumers. Consequently, we’re in for another long depression. (The outcome of this new long depression will be the same as that of the first one: the main industrial power — then it was the UK; now it’s the USA — will lose a lot of its remaining economic lead over its competitors and be severely weakened.)

7. Modern communications technologies (including the internet) provide people with a limitless channel for self-expression (not to mention distraction— endless circuses without the bread). They also provide the police state with a limitless flow of intelligence about the people. Note also that it’s possible to not merely listen in on mobile phone calls, but to use a mobile phone as a GPS-aware bugging device, and (with a bit more smarts) to have it report on physical proximity (within bluetooth range — about 20 feet) to other suspects. The flip side of social networking is that the police state knows all your acquaintances.

8. So I infer that the purpose of SOPA is to close the loop, and allow the oligarchy to shut down hostile coordinating sites as and when the anticipated revolution kicks off. Piracy/copyright is a distraction — those folks pointing to similarities to Iranian/Chinese net censorship regimes are correct, but they’re not focussing on the real implication (which is a ham-fisted desire to be able to shut down large chunks of the internet at will, if and when it becomes expedient to do so).

Read the whole thing, and stay for the comment war.


Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock

Posted by on December 13th, 2011

photo from artofthestate, graffiti by BANKSY

UPDATE – Moar BANKSY for your [local unit of attention currency], from unurth:


UK Riots and the F-word

Posted by on September 12th, 2011

If the young are not initiated in to the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth.
– African Proverb

This vernacular video documentary does an almost perfect job sketching out the complexity of the situation in the UK.

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Which brings us to the F-word: FERAL:

In the sense of “abandoned by – or escaped from – society”, “living outside the mainstream”, “beyond the control of rules, regulations and accepted norms”, even “gone wild”, feral seems quite a reasonable choice of word to describe something big and faceless such as an economy, the media, or even, at a pinch, a powerful and privileged elite. But when you start applying it to people (youths, yobs), or to a disadvantaged group of people (an underclass), it’s somehow different. Then feral becomes, intentionally or not, dehumanising. Use it in that way and you’re comparing humans to animals. Which isn’t, can we agree, a very nice thing to do.

As Paul Raven tweeted, this is “the worst sort of Othering”, and why we shall never cease repeating here There Is No THEY!


Michel Collon on the intervention in Libya and elsewhere

Posted by on August 22nd, 2011

Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex.

– Frank Zappa

Forgive this video it’s poor English subtitles, it’s rare that someone on a television program truly tries to capture the complexity of current affairs instead of reducing their argument to a series of emotive, simplistic appeals.

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via @darkoptimism