MonthDecember 2010

Announcing The Invisible Community College – a Study Group on The Invisibles

Our Sentence is Up

The Invisible Community College is a study group dedicated to Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles moderated by Popjellyfish, Trevor Blake and me. Weekly reading assignments will be sent to a mailing list for one year beginning January 23, 2011. If you would like to participate, you must sign-up for the mailing list before then.

There will be monthly public, in-person discussions in Portland, OR based on the reading. Those in other cities are encouraged to organize their own study cells.

Registration is Now Closed

Curriculum:
‘The Invisibles’ by Grant Morrison.
‘Our Sentence is Up’ by Patrick Meane
‘Anarchy For The Masses’ by Patrick Neighly
‘Grant Morrison’ by Patrick Meaney

The Invisibles
Available as individual issues, in digital form for the iPad, collected trade paperbacks and in an incomplete form in German-language trade paperbacks. Individual issues out of print, include letters to and from GM not collected in trade paperbacks. Trade paperbacks in print, include art not found in individual issues.

Individual monthly issues published by DC Comics 1994 – 2000:
Volume 1 Issues 1-25: September 1994 – October 1996
Volume 2 Issues 1-22: February 1997 – February 1999
Volume 3 Issues 12-1: April 1999 – June 2000

Individual Digital Issues
Available through DC Comics app for the iPad

Trade Paperbacks (English):
1. Say You Want a Revolution. (ISBN 1-5638-9267-7)
2. Apocalipstick. (ISBN 1-5638-9702-4)
3. Entropy in the UK. (ISBN 1-5638-9728-8)
4. Bloody Hell in America. (ISBN 1-5638-9444-0)
5. Counting to None. (ISBN 1-56389-489-0)
6. Kissing Mister Quimper. (ISBN 1-5638-9600-1)
7. The Invisible Kingdom. (ISBN 1-4012-0019-2)

Trade Paperbacks (German, incomplete):
Invisibles Monstereditionen 1: Revolution Gefallig?
Invisibles Monstereditionen 2: Ordnung & Entropie

Reference:
Patrick Meaney: Our Sentence is Up / Seeing Grant Morrison’s The
Invisibles. Book. (ISBN 978-0578032337)
Patrick Neighly and Kereth Cowe-Spigai: Anarchy For The Masses / The
Disinformation Guide To The Invisibles. Book. (ISBN 0-971-39422-9)
Patrick Meaney (director): Grant Morrison / Talking with Gods. DVD.

Quenched Consciousness: a Moebius Tumblr

Moebius

Quenched Consciousness is a Tumblr dedicated to the art of French comics legend Moebius.

BTW: You can now follow Technoccult on Tumblr here. I’ve also resurrected Klintron’s Brain as a Tumblr as well.

See also:

Moebius Redux A Life in Pictures, a documentary on Moebius.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Dossier

SubGenius Custody Battle Finally Over, but Reverend Magdalen is Still Banned From Keeping SubGenius Materials in Her Home

I’m a little late in reporting this, but here’s some good news:

The final deadline of September 22, 2010 came and went without any last-minute attempts by Reverend Magdalen’s former boyfriend to appeal the custody decision. This means that the custody case is now officially CLOSED IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. Any further attempts to disrupt Magdalen’s relationship with her son would have to be filed in the state of Georgia. This means that he would most likely have to SPEND MONEY to do so.

In other words: After four years of hell and over $100,000 in costs to her, IT’S OVER. And the final result is an anticlimax: Magdalen, her husband, and her ex-boyfriend are back to the status quo. That, plus she is still the only SubGenius officially banned from keeping SubGenius materials in her home, where her innocent son might accidentally come across them and become corrupted into the corrupt, obscene, decadent SubGenius cult that got his Mom into trouble in the first place.

The High Weirdness Project: Reverend Magdalen

(Thanks Trevor)

I’m very saddened, however, that Magdalen is still banned from possessing SubGenius materials in her own home. That can’t possibly constitutional.

LHC Disproves One Form of String Theory

LHC CMS Experiment graph

The results continue to pour out of the LHC’s first production run. This week, the folks behind the CMS detector have announced the submission of a paper to Physics Letters that describes a test of some forms of string theory. If this form of the theory were right, the LHC should have been able to produce small black holes that would instantly decay (and not, as some had feared, devour the Earth). But a look at the data obtained by CMS shows that a signature of the black holes’ decay is notably absent. […]

Contrary to some reports, this result doesn’t mean the death of string theory, only the particular flavor that predicted black holes at these energies. Eliminating some models is a critical process of narrowing down what’s possible, but most theoretical constructs have a range of possible models, and string theory is no different. In fact, it’s entirely possible that the ADD model was generated simply because physicists were looking for something they could possibly test in the LHC.

Ars Technica: LHC spots no black holes, eliminates some versions of string theory

Can Vertical Farming Scale?

Vertical farming

Some researchers, such as Ted Caplow, an environmental engineer and founder of New York Sun Works, a non-profit group, argue that even using renewable energy the numbers do not add up. Between 2006 and 2009 Dr Caplow and his colleagues operated the Science Barge, a floating hydroponic greenhouse moored in Manhattan (it has since moved to Yonkers). “It was to investigate what we could do to grow food in the heart of the city with minimal resource-consumption and maximum resource-efficiency,” says Dr Caplow.

The barge used one-tenth as much water as a comparable field farm. There was no agricultural run-off, and chemical pesticides were replaced with natural predators such as ladybirds. Operating all year round, the barge could grow 20 times more than could have been produced by a field of the same size, says Dr Caplow.

Solar panels and wind turbines on the barge meant that it could produce food with near-zero net carbon emissions. But the greenhouses on the barge were only one storey high, so there was not much need for artificial lighting. As soon as you start trying to stack greenhouses on top of each other you run into problems, says Dr Caplow. Based on his experience with the Science Barge, he has devised a rule of thumb: generating enough electricity using solar panels requires an area about 20 times larger than the area being illuminated. For a skyscraper-sized hydroponic farm, that is clearly impractical. Vertical farming will work only if it makes use of natural light, Dr Caplow concludes.

One idea, developed by Valcent, a vertical-farming firm based in Texas, Vancouver and Cornwall, is to use vertically stacked hydroponic trays that move on rails, to ensure that all plants get an even amount of sunlight. The company already has a 100-square-metre working prototype at Paignton Zoo in Devon, producing rapid-cycle leaf vegetable crops, such as lettuce, for the zoo’s animals. The VerticCrop system (pictured) ensures an even distribution of light and air flow, says Dan Caiger-Smith of Valcent. Using energy equivalent to running a desktop computer for ten hours a day it can produce 500,000 lettuces a year, he says. Growing the same crop in fields would require seven times more energy and up to 20 times more land and water.

But VertiCrop uses multiple layers of stacked trays that operate within a single-storey greenhouse, where natural light enters from above, as well as from the sides. So although this boosts productivity, it doesn’t help with multi-storey vertical farms.

The Economist: Vertical Farming: Does It Really Stack Up

The article suggests that rooftop farming may be a more practical alternative in the near term. Here’s what VertiCrop looks like:

urban farming

Video: Captain Beefheart Documentary

(via Dangerous Minds)

The Art of Carly Elizabeth Schmitt

Ashley by Carly Elizabeth Schmitt

Ashley by Carly Elizabeth Schmitt on Flickr

I particularly like this NSFW piece.

(Thanks Danny)

Your Brain May Not Fully Mature Until You’re in Your 30s or 40s

Brain diagram

New research from the UK shows the brain continues to develop after childhood and puberty, and is not fully developed until people are well into their 30s and 40s. The findings contradict current theories that the brain matures much earlier. […]

The prefrontal cortex is the region at the front of the brain just behind the forehead, and is an area of the brain that undergoes the longest period of development. It is an important area of the brain for high cognitive functions such as planning and decision-making, and it is also a key area for social behavior, social awareness, for empathy and understanding and interacting with other people, and various personality traits.

PhysOrg: Brain is not fully mature until 30s and 40s

I imagine this will cause some problems for personality theory.

(via Richard Yonck)

Charles Burns’s New Comic is “William S. Burroughs Meets Tintin”

Xed Out cover

It has been five years since Charles Burns made a major splash with Black Hole, a dark masterpiece about a sexually transmitted plague that mutates its way through unsuspecting teenagers in a 1970s Seattle suburb. His first serious attempt at long-form narrative, the hulking 368-page graphic novel managed not only to wow the cartoonist’s fans but also to convert countless new readers to the uncomfortable pleasures of his unique brand of broody modern horror.

After some time away to indulge his interest in photography, Burns has returned to comics with X’ed Out, a book that draws heavily on two of the author’s key influences, William S. Burroughs and Tintin.

William Burroughs, meet Tintin

(via Matt Staggs)
Xed Out art

Check out Burroughs’s own foray into comic books here.

Why Was There an Explosion of in Interest in Magick in 1984?

Google’s new NGram viewer gives a fascinating look at how memes ebb and flow throughout the years by sharting the appearance of certain words within all the books indexed by Google Books. So far, you can search between 1800 and 2008.

For example, here’s science and religion:
Science and religion Ngram

Here’s one that’s really interesting. Looking at the history of the word “magick,” there’s an explosion of interest beginning in the 1980s:
Magick NGram 1800-2008

A closer look reveals that the bump that starts an upward trend occurs between 1984 and 1985:
Magick NGram, starting with 1980

Occurances of the word “occult” have always been much higher, but seems to follow a similar but less exaggerated increase in the 80s and 90s:
occult vs. magick NGram

“Occult” seems to start rising a little earlier than “magick.” It also declined more sharply in recent years and went through a pronounced trough in the late 90s.

It’s also interesting how popular the word “magick” was in the early 1800s, long before Aleister Crowley started using it. But it’s never been as popular as magic with a c:
magic and magick Ngram

Note the cute little devil horns! (This could be due to scanning issues – see Danny Sullivan’s commentary here).

A few notes:

Michelle Remembers (the book that helped start the Satanic Panic) was released in 1980 and Falcon Publishing started around that year.

Some of Llewellyn‘s biggest hits like Wicca and Modern Magick didn’t come out in the late 80s, but the publishing house has been around since the 1901 (founded in Portland, incidentally). According to Wikipedia, the company started publishing authors like Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley in the 60s. The other big publisher of occult and new age books, Weiser, was founded in 1956 – also well before the 80s explosion.

McMartin preschool trial started in 1983 and through the 1987. This probably contributed significantly to number of books published on magick and the occult during this period.

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