MonthMarch 2007

Gupta’s Libertarian Observation

“Free people create free markets. Free markets do not necessarily create free people.”

Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view

A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women’s council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.

Full Story: Reuters.

France opens up its UFO files

France became the first country to open its files on UFOs on Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1600 sightings spanning five decades.

The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported, catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists.

“It is a world first,” says Jacques Patenet, the aeronautical engineer who heads the office for the study of “non-identified aerospatial phenomena.”

Full Story: New Scientist.

(Thanks Fell!)

Moral dilemma? Brain tells right from wrong

It’s wartime, and an enemy doctor is conducting painful and inevitably fatal experiments on children. You have two kids, ages 8 and 5. You can surrender one of them within 24 hours or the doctor will kill both. What is the right thing to do?

For most people, this scenario based on one in William Styron’s novel Sophie’s Choice is almost an impossible dilemma.

But for a group of people with damage in a part of the brain’s frontal lobe that helps govern emotions, the decision is far clearer. They would allow one child to die.

Scientists say a study involving these people has produced unique insights into the brain mechanics of moral decision making and shows that in some key situations emotions play a fundamental role in moral judgements.

Full Story: ABC (Australia).

(Thanks Ulysses Lazarus!)

(see also: Re-Thinking Disorders).

A Voyage to Arcturus

A Voyage to Arcturus

The full text of the gnostic sci-fi novel A Voyage to Arcturus, a book Alan Moore cites as one of the best underrated books of all time, is available for free on the Gutenberg Project.

A Voyage to Arcturus full text

You can also buy it in print, though the edition with an introduction by Alan Moore appears to be out of print.



On lighter note:

The Ampelmann web site

Ampelmann Wikipedia article.

Welcome Back, Occulterati!

Ep11 - Thurston

EPISODE 11 :: “Fnordsmithing”

Ben Mack and Lorenzo Clark unleash a wild fnord in the Occulterati studio, conjuring an unexpectedly smooth show.

Duration :: 00:31:32
Download :: MP3 (28.872MB)

Hosts :: Brenden Simpson, Wu

esoZone tickets available – early bird discount, plus special bonus!

esozone 2007

Portland, OR. August 10-12, 2007.

Paul Laffoley. Foolish People. Viking Youth. Freeman. Many more.

esoZone tickets are now available! The sooner you buy your ticket, the less expensive it will be. So act now!

The web site has been updated with more information about the event.

As a special bonus for anyone who buys a weekend pass, we will include an exclusive reprint of the Akashic Record of the Astral Convention zine edited by Hakim Bey. In 1987 Hakim Bey invited several friends and allies to astrally project to Antarctica for a convention. Afterwords, visitors sent their accounts to Bey and he compiled them into this zine. This collection was originally sent only to the contributors and has never before been reprinted. It features lost works by:

Hakim Bey
Shirley MacLaine
James Koehnline
Ivan Stang
Feral Faun (aka Apio)
Reverand Crowbar (aka Susan Poe)
Trevor Blake

Ticket Prices:
3/15 – 4/15

Friday – $14.95
Saturday – $24.95
Sunday – $24.95

Weekend Package – $49.95

4/16 – 6/15

Friday – $14.95
Saturday – $34.95
Sunday- $34.95

Weekend Package – $74.95

6/16/ – 7/31

Friday – $14.95
Saturday – $59.95
Sunday – $59.95

Weekend Package – $124.95

At the door:

Friday – $15
Saturday – $70
Sunday – $70

Weekend Package – $150

Boston Globe feature on Paul Laffoley

paul laffoley The Cosmos Falls into the Chaos as Shakti Urborosi

Full Story: The Boston Globe.

Blogging where speech isn’t free

Ethan Zuckerman:

My friend Jon Lebkowsky put together a really excellent group for our panel at SXSW. The panel focused on the challenges of blogging in countries where there’s no reasonable expectation of freedom of speech. On stage, we had Shava Nerad from Tor, Rob Faris from the Open Net Initiative, Shahed Amanullah of, and Jasmina Tešanovi?, a Serbian journalist and blogger – a great range of speakers from experts on technical constraints on speech to people who’ve written and spoken from very difficult countries.

Rob Faris opens by suggesting that the cyberutopian fantasies of the Internet as an open, special place beyond national boundaries, is being dismissed as a fantasy. At least two dozen countries are filtering in the Internet and there are others ONI is watching closely – there’s a concentration of countries that filter the Internet in the Middle East and in East Asia. In many cases, filtering doesn’t just block sex or drug content, but prevents people from accessing political content. Filtering is messy and incomplete – Rob suggests we take a moment and have some sympathy for the poor censors, who are taking on an impossible task, as it’s very difficult to block any content without collateral damage. (His tongue is firmly in cheek.)

Full Story: …My Heart’s in Accra.

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