“Something in the insect seems to be alien to the habits, morals, and psychology of this world, as if it has come from some other planet, more monstrous, more energetic, more insensate, more atrocious, more infernal than our own.” — Maurice Masterlinck, Belgian playwright, 1862-1949
The NY Times asks if we should we launch an all out war on mosquitos? That’s what the ZOCK manifesto proposed. Actually, they proposed chemical war on all insects. Maybe this writer has seen the Hellstrom Chronicle too many times.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have a freaky web site. They’re working on a project to create tiny spy cameras that mimic the behavior and appearance of insects, and have an Information Awareness Office subsite with the “eye in the triangle” logo. What other creepy stuff are they working on?
“Destructive artist” Otto Muehl’s ferociously nihilistic manifesto ZOCK, originally published in 1967 and translated in the most recent Exquisite Corpse, is one of the most disturbing things I’ve read in a long time. It calls for the complete destruction of pretty much everything. However, one idea in it blew my mind: “ZOCK will eliminate the race problem in a very simple way: 1. A general ban on sexual intercourse between people with the same skin color.”
In high school I had this biology teacher named Mr. May that showed The Hellstrom Chronicle to all his classes. I saw it twice: once in biology and once in AP Environmental Science. I thought that it was a real documentary about a particularly cracked-out scientist but it turns out that it’s a mocumentary. I’m sure that May knew all along, but he never let on. I wonder if any of my peers ever knew it was fake or if I was the only sucker who thought this kook was for real. Anyway, it’s worth watching if you happen to find it for rent somewhere.
A brilliant idea: encode works of art into the DNA of cockroaches (one of the toughest species on the planet). A project from virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier and friends:
All living things contain DNA, including some strands, called introns, which have no known function. Lanier and his colleagues Dr. David Sulzer, a Columbia University assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry, and Lisa Haney, a conceptual illustrator, propose putting these introns to good use. They would translate the contents of every issue of the magazine this year from two-digit computer code (0-1) into four-digit DNA language (A-G-C-T) and then splice that information into the introns of . . . a cockroach.
They don’t stop there. They have worked out a careful program of interbreeding that would ensure the genetic transmission of this information. Thus, after 14 years, every cockroach in New York would be an archival cockroach.
Maybe we should be looking at cockroaches and beetles to see if there’s ALREADY anything encoded in their DNA.