MonthDecember 2007

Very graphic Bhutto assassination photos

very graphic bhutto assassination photos

Wonkette Gallery.

5 real products of the 90s cyberpunk & transhumanist hype

Life Extension – As covered previously here on Technoccult, aspirin is the best life extension drug on the market. And it’s cheap. See: Top Ten Life Extension Drugs.

Intelligence amplification – Mind machines and smart drugs never did live up to the hype, which is probably why you don’t hear much about them anymore. I actually conducted some trials with volunteers using a brain entrainment machine for my cognitive science class in college. The results: the machine didn’t do jack. I was only ever able to experiment with self-medication with smart drugs, but my general conclusion is that some of them work as stimulants (piracetum, vassopressin) but they’re not worth the money.

The good news is, there are some new high tech intelligence amplification tools on the market: “brain fitness” games like Brain Age and Lumosity. I’m not sure how much good it will do, though. See Seed Magazine’s coverage.

Virtual Reality – We’re still waiting on decent immersive VR, but the Nintendo Wii has brought some elements of VR to homes.

Brain Backups – There’s no wetware brain backup, but if you want to preserve your knowledge for all of eternity, you can try posting the contents of your brain on the web. Google and the Internet Archive (backed by Amazon) are both attempting to archive and back-up the entire web.

Space Migration – Like brain backups, this remains vaporware. But space tourism and private space programs are taking off, including one by Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos.

“Tiger Team” Reality TV Show

“On Court TV:

This v?rit? action series follows Tiger Team ? a group of elite professionals hired to infiltrate major business and corporate interests with the objective of exposing weaknesses in the world’s most sophisticated security systems, defeating criminals at their own game. Tiger Team is comprised of Security Audit Specialists Chris Nickerson, Luke McOmie and Ryan Jones who employ a variety of covert techniques ? electronic, psychological and tactical — as they take on a new assignment in each episode.”

(via Schneier on Security)

(link to “Tiger Team” on Court TV Red)

The Pentagon’s Electronic Warfare Program

“In 2003, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signed a document called the Information Operation Roadmap which outlined, among other things, the Pentagon’s desire to dominate the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

From the Information Operation Roadmap:

“We Must Improve Network and Electro-Magnetic Attack Capability. To prevail in an information-centric fight, it is increasingly important that our forces dominate the electromagnetic spectrum with attack capabilities.” [emphasis mine] – 6

“Cover the full range of EW [Electronic Warfare] missions and capabilities, including navigation warfare, offensive counterspace, control of adversary radio frequency systems that provide location and identification of friend and foe, etc.” – 61

“Provide a future EW capability sufficient to provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, denying, degrading, disrupting, or destroying the full spectrum of globally emerging communication systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependant on the electromagnetic spectrum.” [emphasis mine] – 61

“DPG [Defense Planning Guidance] 04 tasked USD(AT&L) [Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics], in coordination with the CJCS [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and Services, to develop recommendations to transform and extend EW capabilities, … to detect, locate and attack the full spectrum of globally emerging telecommunications equipment, situation awareness sensors and weapons engagement technologies operating within the electromagnetic spectrum.” [emphasis mine] – 59″

(via Global Research)

Egypt to Copyright Pyramids and Other Antiquities

“In a potential blow to themed resorts from Vegas to Tokyo, Egypt is to pass a law requiring payment of royalties whenever its ancient monuments, from the pyramids to the sphinx, are reproduced. Zahi Hawass, the charismatic and controversial head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told AFP on Tuesday that the move was necessary to pay for the upkeep of the country’s thousands of pharaonic sites.

“The new law will completely prohibit the duplication of historic Egyptian monuments which the Supreme Council of Antiquities considers 100-percent copies,” he said. “If the law is passed then it will be applied in all countries of the world so that we can protect our interests,” Hawass said. He said that a ministerial committee had already agreed on the law which should be passed in the next parliamentary session, while insisting the move would not hurt Egyptian artisans.”

(via AFP and BBC News)

links for 2007-12-25

2008 presidential primary parting shots

romney ready to fist america

With Iowa imminent, I take my parting shots at the 2008 presidential contenders at my other blog:

Parting Shots: Democrats.

Parting Shots: Republicans.

Parting Shots: Democrats

See also my Republican parting shots.

queen hillary the grim

Hillary Clinton: Since she doesn’t have any legacy other than trying and failing to ban violent video games, trying and failing to ban flag burning, trying and failing to pass universal health care, Clinton is trying to run on her husband’s legacy instead. That legacy includes the Defense of Marriage act, the Antiterrorism act, militarizing the police force, cutting welfare, and bombing the hell out of several countries. With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans? To his credit, Slick Willy made himself look “fiscally responsible” compared to pretty much all Republicans in recent memory, and managed to kill a less people during his wars. So at least there’s that. But his wife has so far voted for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and Lieberman-Kyl so there’s no guarantee she’ll even be as good as he.

obama: prince of atlantis

Barack Obama: Apparently the “politics of hope” means doing whatever Chris Dodd does, and hoping it all works out. Obama has failed to show any real leadership in the senate, but he does usually end up doing the right thing. This combined with his not fully supporting expanding the police state (which supposedly translates into “soft on crime” in Beltway-speak) and his early opposition to the Iraq War makes him better than the rest of the candidates who actually have a chance.

john edwards looking less pretty than usual

John Edwards: I don’t buy his transformation into the new Ralph Nader. Dodd’s the more progressive senator, but Edwards is more charismatic and was a veep candidate so I guess he’s gotten the momentum. Not to be trusted.

bill richardson looking his most presidential

Bill Richardson: I liked him, but he gaffed his way to irrelevance. How can this guy be a hostage negotiator?

you wish you were chris dodd

Chris Dodd: If only he were as good looking as his Mormon wife, he might have a chance. He’s being encouraged to gun for Harry Reid’s job. I hope he does – Reid made a good minority leader but he’s been a bad majority leader.

joe biden thinks you’re an idiot

Joe Biden: Y’know, Biden really had me going for a minute. His Iraq plan is good. He voted against the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, the Move-On resolution, and the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006. And he’s recently called for pressing criminal charges against the Bush administration. But then I took another look at his record and remembered that he’s exactly the sort of Democrat that makes people hate Democrats. Still, unlike Lieberman, who’s just digging himself deeper holes, Biden is doing something to make up for being a douchebag. Apparently, he’s competing with Richardson for either the veep or Secretary of State slot.

dennis is more space than you

Dennis Kucinich: He saw a UFO once, which is pretty cool. Seriously though, I’ve always been hard on the guy, but he’s actually a pretty decent rep. He’s consistently been good on civil liberties, except abortion but he’s come around on that. Unfortunately, I doubt he could even win a student council election, much less a presidential one (the US House seems to be a unique breed of political animal).

he’d have won if he’d kept the stache

Mike Gravel: Gravel released the Pentagon Papers, filibustered the draft, entered the presidential race bankrupt, makes the best campaign videos, dares to be cynical, and (unless you count Romney) is the only non-Christian in the race. Only Richardson can claim to be as accomplished as Gravel. So naturally, he’s been shut the fuck out of the race and branded a madman.

Worst? Clinton or Biden. Best? Richardson or Gravel, but they won’t win so Obama.

Have a happy holiday everyone… I’ll try to shut up about presidential candidates until at least January 3 (no promises, though).

Parting Shots: Republicans (updated)

With all the primary reshuffling that’s happened already this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first primary starts in like 10 minutes. So now’s as good a time as any to get in my parting shots on the remaining candidates. See also: my Democrat parting shots.

giuliani in drag

Rudy Giuliani: The Manhattan Mussolini. Read all you need to know here and here.

romney ready to fist america

Mitt Romney: First he ran to the left of Ted Kennedy, now to the right of George W. Bush. What does Romney actually stand for? Nothing. He’ll sell the country to the highest bidder.

mccain dropped a “bomb”

John McCain: The candidate who sang “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.” This warmongering authoritarian is the GOP’s best shot for the White House, and probably the most sane of the lot.

meet the hickabees

Mike Huckabee: Seems sane when talking about immigration, torture, and Iran. Then he’ll open his mouth and start in on homosexuality, AIDS, evolution or whether humans are primates, and it’s very clear that this Baptist minister shouldn’t be anywhere near DC. Oh, and his kid kills dogs.

fred thompson: he just looks evil

Fred Thompson: Rumored to be the laziest man in America, Fred Thompson was once described by Richard Nixon as “dumb as hell.” If actually elected, Thompson would follow the rich tradition of Reagan and W. Bush as “puppet in chief.” Who’s pulling Thompson’s strings?

ron paul: angry white man

Ron Paul: Join the Racist Revolution! Ron Paul is the Man on a White Horse for neo-nazis and autistic Internet geeks everywhere.

wait, who?

Duncan Hunter: Not worth the time it would take to write up.

alan keyes

Alan Keyes: OK, so today I ripped Ron Paul a new one for being racially insensitive, and then I did this “parting shots” thing and totally forgot that Alan Keyes was running. So read into that what you like. Personally, I just read into it that Keyes is just completely fucking forgettable. Anyway, I don’t really know much about him except that Obama already beat him once so I’m not sure why he’s even running.

Update: I wrote the following before I remembered that Keyes is running. I really don’t know enough about him to compare him to the others in the race, so I’m leaving the rest as is, just remember it doesn’t actually apply to Keyes.

So who’s the worst of the lot? Hard to say. Hunter, if he had a ghost of a chance, would be really bad. But Giuliani, Romney, and Huckabee all have a chance and are all scary as hell.

Who’s the least bad? Probably Paul, especially if tempered by a Democratic congress. If any of this motley crew, besides Paul and maybe McCain, win the presidency, expect the world to look like Children of Men in 8 years.

links for 2007-12-24

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