MonthSeptember 2011

Nuclear Fusion Closer to Becoming a Practical Reality?

NIF giant laser

Using nuclear fusion – star energy – to power the world’s dishwashers, TVs and servers has long been a twinkling in the misty eyes of physicists, but it inched closer to reality this week as the American National Ignition Facility (strap line: “Bringing Star Power To Earth”) struck a deal with the UK company AWE and Oxford-based Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The National Ignition facility (NIF) in California – at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – has been using lasers to force together the isotopes and create the fusion needed for the process to work. Scientists there believe they are within years of achieving the goal in the lab and project that the concept could eventually become a commercially viable energy source.

The Register: UK, US ink boffinry pact on laser fusion ‘star power’

Brad Neely’s China, IL to Debut Oct 2 on Adult Swim

China, IL

Adult Swim is running a first look of Brad Neely‘s China, IL featuring both Baby Cakes and the Professor Brothers. It’s strange to see the characters with pupils.

It’s scheduled to debut at midnight, Sunday October 2, but I’m not sure if that means Saturday night/Sunday morning or Sunday night/Monday morning.

Adult Swim: China, IL (Warning: video starts automatically)

Here’s one of my favorite Professor Brothers segments by Neely:

Stark, Minimalist Posters Explaining Different Philosophies

determinism by gex



London based graphic designer Gex sells these stark posters representing different philosophies.

You can see them all here and purchase them here. You can read the text better in the online shop.

(Thanks Supervert)

The Interactive Electronic Sculptures of Stanley Lunetta

Stanley Lunetta Obilisk

In the 1960s, Stanley Lunetta created a number of interactive scultures using electronic audio generators. Some of them were still running as of 2008. Some responded to elements such as heat and light to change the sounds, others had more explicit human interactive elements.

You can find more information at Lunetta’s site, including the Moosack Machines section.

(Thanks Zir)

Transparency is No Substitute for Integrity

Summary: Disclosure of conflicts of interest isn’t enough, in fact in may make matter worse. But conflicts of interest may also be inevitable. Integrity is what matters, but that’s hard to measure.

Disclosure: I work for SiliconAngle, a TechCrunch competitor.

I love transparency. I think it’s an important for governments, and institutions like the press, to be as transparent as reasonably possible. I also agree with Jay Rosen that if the “view from nowhere” – the faux-objectivity of the mainstream press – were replaced by “this is where I’m coming from” we’d all be better off. Everyone has biases, and it’s better to get those out of the way than to pretend they don’t exist.

But transparency isn’t a cure-all.

In the debate over Michael Arrington’s “Crunch” branded venture capital fund, many suggest that Arrington if discloses to his potential conflicts of interest, and therefore his biases, that will be good enough. In fact, that might be better than pretending to be objective. But is this the case?

Continue reading

Witch Style Hits Diesel

Diesel Witch Style, staff, skull

See also:

Beta Unit 2

Multifunctional Clothes for Modern Mystics

paris vogue satanism pics

Devil Worship Is The New Black

“Partisan Bickering” Is Not the Problem

This article by former GOP staffer Mike Lofgren has been going around lately, and if you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth reading no matter your political inclination. Not so much for any new insights but as a coherent “where things stand” piece. It’s long and covers a lot of ground, but here are two particularly important bits:

The media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable “hard news” segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the “respectable” media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the “centrist cop-out.” “I joked long ago,” he says, “that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'”

The problem with the debt ceiling debate was not one of “partisan bickering.” It was one of Republican obstructionism. Framing it as partisan bickering, which establishment media has a tendency to do, was negligent reporting. Every single issue ends up being described this way.

The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America’s plutocracy. Their caterwauling about deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public. Whatever else President Obama has accomplished (and many of his purported accomplishments are highly suspect), his $4-trillion deficit reduction package did perform the useful service of smoking out Republican hypocrisy. The GOP refused, because it could not abide so much as a one-tenth of one percent increase on the tax rates of the Walton family or the Koch brothers, much less a repeal of the carried interest rule that permits billionaire hedge fund managers to pay income tax at a lower effective rate than cops or nurses. Republicans finally settled on a deal that had far less deficit reduction – and even less spending reduction! – than Obama’s offer, because of their iron resolution to protect at all costs our society’s overclass.

This was also demonstrated by the party’s eagerness to engage in deficit spending when the spending was going to enrich defense contractors in the form of war spending during the Bush administration.

(As a side note, my hopes for a left/libertarian alliance were dashed again during the deficit ceiling debate, with libertarians typically siding with the GOP on the issue even though the Dems were only pushing to close tax loopholes. I should have expected that, because even when Republicans suggest that tax loops for the rich should be closed, the general response is usually “shut up commie.”)

Truth Out: Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

My biggest point of disagreement with Lofgren is probably his take on the Democrats. I don’t think Democrats are merely spineless any more. They serve the same corporate donors that the GOP does. It’s not in their best interest to actually pass the measures they propose. You can see the same sort of behavior, occasionally, from the GOP – the bailout for example.

The bailout was and is unpopular among the conservative base, and with good reason. But except for a few token objections the GOP, for the most part, fell in line and bailed out their masters. The way the stimulus package worked out (mostly it was tax cuts) and the health care bill (Dems happily threw-out the public option without a fight) was not a fear of the GOP, it was loyalty to their donors. They made a show of trying to enact progressive legislation for their base, but their actions show who they really serve (I’ve made this case before). As Matt Taibbi wrote last month:

The Democrats aren’t failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there’s political hay to be made moving to the right. They’re doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I’ve said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television. […]

The Democrats, despite sitting in the White House, the most awesome repository of political power on the planet, didn’t fight at all. They made a show of a tussle for a good long time — as fixed fights go, you don’t see many that last into the 11th and 12th rounds, like this one did — but at the final hour, they let out a whimper and took a dive.

We probably need to start wondering why this keeps happening. Also, this: if the Democrats suck so bad at political combat, then how come they continue to be rewarded with such massive quantities of campaign contributions? When the final tally comes in for the 2012 presidential race, who among us wouldn’t bet that Barack Obama is going to beat his Republican opponent in the fundraising column very handily? At the very least, he won’t be out-funded, I can almost guarantee that.

That is what leads to so many of us on the left and dare I say the center feel powerless, and see the two parties as essentially being the same – not because of “partisan bickering.”

I should also note that I don’t think this is a “real” conspiracy. I very much doubt the Democrats are having meetings deciding to throw fights or even elections. I don’t think there are lobbyists calling up Obama telling him what to do. They don’t need to tell him, and congress doesn’t need to be told how to play the game.

Wired Interviews Vegan Black Metal Chef

Wired did an interview with the famous Vegan Black Metal Chef. I posted his first video here: Are you also in a band?

Vegan Black Metal Chef: Yes, my main project is called Forever Dawn. You can hear some old, shit recordings on the MySpace.

I would describe it as industrial symphonic black metal. I play all of the instruments in this and have a live keyboardist and bassist to play shows. I like the songs a lot, but the recordings were done when I had no idea what I was doing.

I am currently recording a new album for this project and putting together a new stage show. I also play keys in an eclectic metal band called Fields of Glass. I was not on the first album, though. Do you perform in makeup and outfits similar to what you wear as Vegan Black Metal Chef?

Vegan Black Metal Chef: Yes, that is my Fields of Glass band attire.

Wired: Vegan Black Metal Chef Is Still Cooking With Hellfire

Here’s the most recent two episodes, one on quick and easy meals and the other on vegan sushi:

The Mad Max Future Already Happened

Fun post from steelweaver about how Mad Max was inspired by the 1976 oil crisis and has some unsettling parallels with our current situation:

as I remember it, the setting for the first movie in the Mad Max series is a world where oil scarcity has led to economic disaster and the beginning of the breakdown of social order; where, whilst the police and justice systems continue to function, governmental cutbacks have diminished their ability to effectively maintain control; and where, whilst small pockets of civil society remain relatively unchanged (Max lives in a comfortable suburb with his wife and child), increasingly large areas are plagued by criminal gangs of looters.

Just saying…

In fact, the three-movie arc of the Mad Max films is in many ways a beautifully realised totally ridiculous, but excellently costumed, account of the slow breakdown of order (I), followed by total chaos (Road Warrior), followed by the first stages of re-establishing technology, trade and culture (Thunderdrome).

steelweaver: A Mad Max future

(Via Brainsturbator)

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