Buddhism and DMT

Someone recently asked on Reddit: Reddit: Has a monk ever taken DMT and the results been recorded?
I like this response:

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!

Being An Atheist Is A Hassle, But Being A Lady Atheist Can Be The Pits

Vice interviews “Boobquake” founder Jennifer McCreight:

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.

Full Story: Vice: ATHEISM?-?SEXISM?=?ATHEISM?+
See also: How I Unwittingly Infiltrated The Boys Club And Why It’s Time For a New Wave Of Atheism:

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.

Previously: How An Anti-Feminist Screed Ended Up In a Physics Journal

RZA To Direct Adaptation Of Grant Morrison's Happy!

With his directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists, less than a month away, RZA is continuing his push into directing.
The former hip-hip producer and frontman for the Wu-Tang Clan is teaming up with comic book author Grant Morrison and producer Reginald Hudlin to adapt Morrison’s latest comic, Happy!, for the big screen.
RZA is attached to direct and would produce with Hudlin, a producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Morrison will write the script.

Hollywood Reporter: NY Comic-Con: RZA Teaming Up With Grant Morrison for ‘Happy!’ (Exclusive)
(via Wolven)

Douglas Rushkoff Announced Next Book: Present Shock

Present Shock cover by Douglas Rushkoff
Douglas Rushkoff’s next book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now will be published March 21, 2013.
Rushkoff discussed the idea of present shock back in 2010 The Edge Annual Question — 2010:

By surrendering my natural rhythms to the immediacy of my networks, I am optimizing myself and my thinking to my technologies — rather than the other way around. I feel as though I speeding up, when I am actually just becoming less productive, less thoughtful, and less capable of asserting any agency over the world in which I live. The result something akin to future shock. Only in our era, it’s more of a present shock.
I try to look at the positive: Our Internet-enabled emphasis on the present may have liberated us from the 20th century’s dangerously compelling ideological narratives. No one — well, hardly anyone — can still be persuaded that brutal means are justified by mythological ends. And people are less likely to believe employers’ and corporations’ false promises of future rewards for years of loyalty now.
But, for me anyway, it has not actually brought me into greater awareness of what is going on around me. I am not approaching some Zen state of an infinite moment, completely at one with my surroundings, connected to others, and aware of myself on any fundamental level.
Rather, I am increasingly in a distracted present, where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before me are ignored.

He also discussed some of these themes in an interview in New Inquiry last May.
See also: Alex Pang‘s idea of Contemplative Computing. Pang has a book forthcoming as well.

1 Member Of Pussy Riot Freed After Appeal, Others Still In Jail

The Guardian reports:

A Moscow appeals court has released one of the jailed members of anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot, but ordered two others to serve the remainder of their two-year jail term in a Russian prison colony.
Yekaterina Samutsevich, the oldest of the three women at 30, walked free into the arms of her father, after serving six months in a pre-trial detention centre after being found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August.
A panel of three judges accepted the argument of Samutsevich’s new lawyer that she had not participated fully in the group’s February performance of an anti-Putin “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral. Samutsevich had been kicked out of the cathedral shortly after entering, meaning she did not engage in the “aggressive movements” that had offended Russia’s Orthodox believers, she argued.

Full Story: The Guardian: Pussy Riot member freed after Moscow court appeal
(via Meredith Yayanos)

How Can Knowledge Be Preserved In Case Of Collapse?

Adam Rothstein on preserving tools and specialized knowledge (such as science and engineering) in case of a collapse:

Any number of aspiring futurists, science-fiction authors, preppers and Dark Mountaineers can present us with a point-by-point plan of how to survive a species-threatening cataclysm, the true effectiveness of which can only be judged in practice. So let us leave survival up to those who will need to hack it, and instead ask what can we do now to make things a bit easier for our post-apocalyptic children of the future?
We might bury useful tools everywhere in a strategy resonant with Philip K. Dick’s The Penultimate Truth, to make surprising archaeological Easter Eggs of power saws and streaming media tablets to the future’s struggling humankind. But without cellular data contracts and extension cords, these might not prove very useful. Far better to provide them with knowledge, argues Grassie, in order to kick start their inevitable journey back through scientific progress to re-learn the things we will lose. You can give a post-human descendant species-branch a CD-ROM and they can surf Encarta for a day. Or you can teach a post-human descendant species-branch to write objective secondarily-sourced encyclopedia articles, and they can have their own Wikipedia-esque debates about editing procedures for the rest of their brutish and short lives.

Full Story: The State: Satellites of History
Rothstein goes on to note some attempts to preserve knowledge for the future, and questions whether the endeavor matters.

The Secret History Of How Marvel Comics Went Bankrupt

Marvel Quarterly Report issue 1 Big Guns
For any comics historians in the room, Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story has just been published. The Comics Journal has an excerpt dealing with Marvel in the early 90s and some of the decisions it made as it inched towards bankruptcy:

Bank’s concerns weren’t rooted in some naïve idealism about artistic purity; he worried about Marvel’s long-term business interests. Field representatives had gone out to nearly forty different stores, collecting sell- through numbers—the number of copies that retailers actually sold to readers, as opposed to the larger number of copies that distributors sold to retailers—for a dozen different comics over a three-issue period. The findings were stunning.
“Every time we did one of these stupid-ass covers that caused us to increase the price by 33 percent—say issue #475—we would have a 20-percent drop-off from 474 to 476. The numbers would spike for #475, but we’d actually lose readers from #474 to #476. It was consistent with every single example.”
Of course, none of this would have an impact on Marvel’s quarterly goals. Marvel’s bottom-line reports, which only reflected distributor-level numbers, would continue to show sales and profits going up, even as the readership began to cool and the retailers, who couldn’t return unsold copies, absorbed the costs. “In the meantime,” said Bank, “we were killing the stores that were feeding us.”

The Comics Journal: Marvel’s Bottom Line
(Thanks Ian!)
As it happens, I just read TCJ’s history of Image Comics last weekend, which details the role Image’s chronic lateness had on the retail business.

Students Turning Away From College And Toward Apprenticeships?

I don’t know if this is common enough to call a trend, but it does sound interesting:

“I was planning on getting a degree in international relations, but with financial aid and how difficult it is to pay for college and everything,” she says. “So when Siemens came along and gave me the offer, it was too good of an opportunity to just let it go.
With college costs rising and student debt mounting, a group of college-prep kids in Charlotte are opting for an alternative route: European-style apprenticeships.
Siemens hired her and five other apprentices last year. These days, Espinal works on the factory floor.
“Running a machine, learning about programs, how to set up a machine for a program, also learning how to use tools and learning how to read blueprints,” she says.

NPR: A Different Road To Work, Bypassing College Dreams