MonthJune 2009

Chris Anderson Is Worse Than Wal-Mart

On known plagarist and hack Chris Anderson’s terrible business practices:

What he is actually proposing is the complete divorce of capital and earnings from those who make the product that is being sold. The only thing that is “Free” in this instance is the labor of the people who earn Chris Anderson money.

What he is literally saying is that the business side of an editorial operation—which is, in this case, the owners, not merely the part of the organization that handles the business of the site—is the complete authority of the editorial operation. That they retain all of the value, and that they have no obligation to share any of that income with any other part of the business. (In his description, this website in question “makes good money,” which then pays the people who make the website something “nominal; a few bucks,” or nothing at all.)

All of which is to say that the owners provide none of the product which is actually being sold and retain nearly all of the profit of that labor.

What he is proposing is down somewhere, on the scale of ethics, well beneath Wal-Mart’s policies of no longer hiring any full-time workers so as to avoid health and unemployment insurance. It is in fact some weird sort of neo-feudal, post-contract-worker society, in which he will create a dystopian and eager volunteer-slave system of “attention-paid” enthusiasts (which is to say, people with no other options, and no capital of their own) to create products from which rich people can get richer.

The Awl: Chris Anderson Is Worse Than Wal-Mart

(via Richard Metzger)

South Korea also crowd sourcing intelligence – via game

South Korea’s normally clandestine intelligence agency is running an internet game challenging citizens to spot real North Korean spies and uncover communist moles.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service is running the game on its website, challenging ordinary citizens to keep a close eye on people who praise the communist North.

It also asks people to dob in anyone taking photos of sensitive military bases, those who stick up pro-North Korea propaganda, and even anyone who covers their mouth when they talk.

The spy agency is offering laptops, cameras and game consoles to 200 winners.

ABC: Game challenges Koreans to spot real spies

(Thanks m1k3y)


SAMPARKOUR from Wiland Pinsdorf on Vimeo.

Commercial/music video director Wiland Pinsdorf’s SAMPARKOUR is “a short that reveals the city of São Paulo (Brazil) under the look of Parkour. Where people see obstacles, Zico Corrêa visualizes new possibilities.”

Shot in HD with a 35mm lens adapter, the short is simultaneously dizzying and becalming, presenting Corrêa’s death-defying feats in a breathtaking rush of carefully framed shots and well-paced edits. Today –perhaps more than most days– it is deeply satisfying to witness a collaboration (between filmmaker and athlete, city and gravity) so vital, immediate, and perfectly alive.

(via Coilhouse)

XKCD: Idiocracy


From: XKCD

Remember folks:

we occur at random among your children

(Image via Johnny Brainwash)

More skepticism regarding social networking tools in Iran

Here’s another one: On Wednesday, a reader alerted the Lede to an Iranian government Web site called, where authorities had posted pictures of protesters and were asking citizens for help in identifying the activists. That’s right—the regime is now using crowd-sourcing, one of the most-hyped aspects of Web 2.0 organizing, against its opponents. If you think about it, that’s no surprise. Who said that only the good guys get to use the power of the Web to their advantage?

Slate: How the Internet helps Iran silence activists.

(via Metaphorge)

See also: The Kitty Genovese Model

Seeking Common Ground in Conversations Can Stifle Innovation and Reward the Wrong People

The best baseball players don’t always get elected All-Stars. And the Nobel Prize doesn’t always go to the most deserving member of the scientific community. This, according to a pair of recent studies, is because such recognition can depend upon how well known an individual is rather than on merit alone. Moreover, because it’s human nature for people to try to find common ground when talking to others, simple everyday conversations could have the unfortunate side effect of blocking many of the best and most innovative ideas from the collective social consciousness.

“In our research, we found that people are most likely to talk about things they think they have in common with others, rather than topics or ideas that are more unusual or striking,” said Nathanael J. Fast, a PhD student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Fast is one of three authors of the paper “Common Ground and Cultural Prominence: How Conversation Reinforces Culture,” with Chip Heath of the Stanford Business School, and George Wu of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. “This has the effect of reinforcing—or even institutionalizing—the prominence of familiar cultural elements over ones that are perhaps more deserving.”

Stanford Graduate School of Business: Seeking Common Ground in Conversations Can Stifle Innovation and Reward the Wrong People

(thanks G.V.)

Michael Jackson: Man of Tomorrow

When we look at Michael Jackson, I believe we’re looking at the future of our species. Michael is a creature from a future in which we’ve all become more feminine, more consumerist, more postmodern, more artificial, more self-constructed and self-mediating, more playful, caring and talented than we are today. But it’s hard to use those adjectives, because they’re Either-Or adjectives and he’s from the world of Yet-Also, a world I believe we will all come to live in if we’re lucky, a world where there is no more authenticity-by-default-through-brute-necessity and no more “human nature”. A world of pure synthesis, pure self-creation.

Jackson is what all humans will become if we develop further in the direction of postmodernism and self-mediation. He is what we’ll become if we get both more Wildean and more Nietzschean. He’s what we’ll become only if we’re lucky and avoid a new brutality based on overpopulation and competition for dwindling resources. By attacking Jackson and what he stands for — the effete, the artificial, the ambiguous — we make a certain kind of relatively benign future mapped out for ourselves into a Neverland, something forbidden, discredited, derided. When we should be deriding what passes for our normalcy — war, waste, and the things we do en masse are the things that threaten us — we end up deriding dandyism and deviance. And Jackson is the ultimate dandy and the ultimate deviant. He can fly across our Either-Or binaries, and never land. It’s debateable whether he’s the king of pop, but he’s undoubtedly the king of Yet-Also.

Consider all the extraordinary ways in which Michael Jackson is Yet-Also. He’s black yet also white. He’s adult yet also a child. He’s male yet also female. He’s gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he’s also never fucked their mothers. He’s wearing a mask, yet he’s also showing his real self. He’s walking yet also sliding. He’s guilty yet also innocent. He’s American yet also global. He’s sexual yet also sexless. He’s immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He’s Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He’s real yet also synthetic. He’s crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He’s the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He’s bad, yet also good. He’s blessed yet also cursed. He’s alive, but only in theory.

Momus: Never land

(via Metaphorge)

Cannabis-Psychosis link not caused by dopamine increase

There is now growing evidence that cannabis use causes a small but reliable increase in the chance of developing psychosis. Traditionally, this was explained by the drug increasing dopamine levels in the brain but a new study shortly to be published in NeuroImage suggests that the active ingredient in cannabis doesn’t effect this important neurotransmitter.

Despite some dissenting voices, disruption to the mesolimbic dopamine pathway is widely thought to be the key problem in the development of delusions, hallucinations and the other psychotic symptoms commonly diagnosed as schizophrenia.

This has led to the assumption that the small increased risk of psychosis reliably associated with cannabis use is due to the drug increasing dopamine levels in a deep brain structure called the striatum.

In itself, this is partly based on another assumption – the virtual mantra of recreational drug research that ‘all drugs of abuse increase dopamine levels in the reward system’ of which the striatum is a part.

This new study, led by neuroscientist Paul Stokes, tested dopamine levels by using a type of PET brain scan where participants are injected with a radioactive tracer that binds to free dopamine receptors. Higher dopamine levels will mean that there are less free dopamine receptors and, therefore, lower tracer levels.

Mind Hacks: The straight dopamine theory could be up in smoke

Excerpt from Antero Alli’s new book The Eight-Circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body

You can check out an excerpt from Antero’s new book, The Eight-Circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body at Reality Sandwhich:

Antero Alli: Eight-Circuit Brain excerpt

You can buy a DVD of Antero Alli’s talk from Esozone: The Other Tomorrow from Original Falcon:

The 8-Circuit Brain DVD

(note: this is not an official Esozone product, and Esozone does not benefit financially from sales of this product).

Toaster made with iron ore gathered by hand

toaster made from iron ore gathered by hand

This toaster was built from scratch by Thomas Thwaites, a design student at the Royal College of Art, London, as a project in extreme self-sufficiency and to highlight the effects of mass production we take for granted.

Using a £5 ($8) toaster as a model he spent a 9-month period, gathering the raw material by hand from mines across the UK and processing them himself. He smelted the iron ore in an old microwave.

The final product cost close to £1200 ($2000), more than 200 times the cost of his shop-bought model. The toaster will be on display at the RCA Summer show in London this week, where Thwaites hopes to “toast [visitors] something”.

New Scientist: Picture of the Day

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