Fascinating mental states can be attained through meditation, but Buddhists don’t really go for an attitude of exploring trippy phenomena. The purpose is to get over the endless craving for pleasurable mind states. So adding more uncontrollable stimulation is basically just adding more confusion. Of course, you can turn any situation into a practice, so if you find yourself dosed with DMT, don’t panic – just actualize great prajna wisdom and stay grounded in the hara!
24-year-old Portland anarchist Leah-Lynn Plante was imprisoned for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury. Like two other Northwest activists incarcerated earlier this year, Plante had not been charged or convicted with a crime but was nonetheless jailed for her silence.
Plante’s support network announced Friday that she was released from federal prison a couple of days ago after spending a week in solitary confinement. The announcement says that information is scarce and that Plante, having believed she would face 18 months behind bars, is too traumatized to speak to the media.
Is it fair to say that, on the whole, atheists aren’t that crazy about feminism?
I think, for some people, atheism is the one minority identity they have. They’re not gay, they’re not black, they live in the United States, and a lot of them are middle-class or higher. Being an “atheist” is the one thing that they take on as their cause, and they think it’s the most important because it’s the only one that affects them. It puts their priorities out of order a little bit. Once you’ve figured out God doesn’t exist, that’s great! But there are other irrational things you might believe in, like sexism.
I don’t feel safe as a woman in this community – and I feel less safe than I do as a woman in science, or a woman in gaming, or hell, as a woman walking down the fucking sidewalk. People shat themselves with rage at the suggestion that cons should have anti-sexual harassment policies. DJ Grothe, president of JREF, blamed those evil feminist bloggers for TAM’s female attendance problem instead of trying to fix what’s scaring women away (and then blocked me on Twitter and unfriended me on Facebook for good measure). A 15 year old girl posted a photo of herself holding a Carl Sagan book to r/atheism and got a flood of rape jokes in return. The Amazing Atheist purposefully tried to trigger a rape survivor. Paula Kirby decided we’re all feminazis and femistasis. I’ve become used to being called a cunt or having people threaten to contact my employers because a feminist can’t be a good scientist. Rebecca Watson is still receiving constant rape and death threats a year after she said “Guys, don’t do that.” And mentioning her name is a Beetlejuice-like trigger for a new torrent of hate mail.
Brendan McCarthy (known for Zenith, Rogan Gosh and more) and Al Ewing (writer of many a 2000 AD strip) have a new comic out called Zaucer of Zilk, which has been running in 2000 AD but is now available in the States from IDW:
This is actually from 2008, but it’s a pretty good overview of DARPA projects:
From the “ones to watch”:
Z-man: The aim: to allow soldiers to scale vertical walls without ropes or ladders at a rate of 0.5 metres a second. The solution: mimic the microscopic hairs, or “setae”, that allow geckos to stroll up walls and across ceilings. Small robots that climb using synthetic setae have already been demonstrated, but DARPA hopes to extend this technology to humans.
Scott Carney wrote a long piece for Details about “India Syndrome” — one of may place specific menal disorders (see Wired’s coverage of Jerusalem Syndrome, which mentions that the majority of people dealing with these syndromes have pre-existing psychiatric issues).
But particularly interesting is a bit about the potential negative sides of meditation (something that we’ve discussed herebefore):
Less discussed are the disorienting and damaging side effects of meditation. Neophytes have reported seeing walls move or rooms change color. The introspective state that is one of the goals of meditation can induce feelings of paranoia and terror. According to Willoughby Britton, a neuroscientist at Brown University who studies the effects of meditation on the brain, practitioners can perceive small sounds as cacophonies and lose the sense that they are in control of their own actions. Britton has claimed that this experience, which some refer to as the “dark night,” has caused numerous people to wind up on psych wards under suicide watch. Guided visualizations… are “designed to completely psychologically rearrange you,” says Paul Hackett, a lecturer in classical Tibetan at Columbia University. In a foreign setting, that kind of experience can be even more traumatizing, especially when you take into account the way some Westerners in India tend to snack at the country’s spiritual smorgasbord—a little Ashtanga yoga here, some Vipassana meditation there. “People are mixing and matching religious systems like Legos,” Hackett says. “It is no surprise that people go insane.”
My wife and I are going to New Orleans next week to visit family. We’ll probably be pretty busy, but I wanted to see if any Technoccult readers want to meetup while we’re there, or if anyone can recommend anything to do/see while we’re there.
Zen Faulkes explains how an issue of the Canadian Journal of Physics dedicated to chaos theory ended up running an anti-feminist screed that reportedly claimed that “half the children of working mothers suffered ‘serious psychological damage.'”
The article was penned by Gordon Freeman (pictured), who was the guest editor of this one issue of the journal. It was pretty obvious what had happened, in broad strokes: he abused his editorial power to get his poisonous opinion piece into the pages of the journal.
The details of exactly how this happened were a little more complicated. Freeman organized a conference on chaos theory, and was assembling papers that had been presented at a conference for publication in the Canadian Journal of Physics. Apparently, the deal was that the journal would publish all the papers Freeman compiled, provided that they were presented at the conference, and that they were peer-reviewed.
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a dedicated to celebrating women in science, technology, engineering and math and encouraging more women and girls to become get involved in those areas.
But John Graham Cumming writes:
Every year when Ada Lovelace Day comes along I find myself disappointed that Lovelace has been chosen as the symbolic ‘woman in science’ because her contribution is minimal, the claims about her are overblown and there’s a much better role model who really contributed a lot: Marie Curie.
Interesting thoughts though I hope this doesn’t lead to a pointless rivalry — the important thing is to encourage is to get more people involved in STEM, not to fight about which women were more important.