MonthMay 2003

Frankenfoods Fight Back

Interesting piece in Better Humans about genetically modified crops.

Despite environmentalist opposition and European Union moratoriums, expansion of genetically modified crops is increasing as evidence for their benefits and safety grows. Research shows that rather than harming the environment, genetically modified crops are helping to improve the environment by reducing pesticide use. And rather than hurting developing nations, they are being used by developing nations to address agricultural and nutritional problems. Top it all off with the fact that scientists have found no evidence for harm from consuming genetically modified crops, and it becomes apparent that the de facto battle against them is all but lost.

Link.

Drowning Rat camping trip coming soon to Oregon

Drowning Ran is a Burning Man inspired camping trip this weekend in Oregon:

Drowning Rat is simply a camping trip in the rainy, miserable, cold woods of Oregon, happening the weekend after Mother’s Day. We make a rat (out of branches, last year) and do a little ritual, and drown the thing.

There’s also hot springs, whiskey, fire, pirate songs, feather boas, George Bush in the forest with a disco ball and the Golden Pee Pot. Eating feasts, and pies that appear to be covered in rat turds. It ain’t a festival. It’s in a regular campground, exact location TBD.

Link.

Graffiti blog

Forgot about this one yesterday: a flash based graffiti map.
Link (via Boing Boing).

Psychogeography Talk

From a talk by someone with Social Fiction:

Perhaps you remember the main character in Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger who commits a murder for now other reason than the way the ocean reflects the sun in his eyes. This is a very clear & powerful example of a psychogeographical effect, an effect that can be consciously engineered in the composition of the city.

William Burroughs tried to expose subliminal messages in newspapers by chopping them up, psychogeography as a city space cut-up does the new thing: it tries to find out what’s out there, encrypted beneath the surface, by navigating through it in unusual ways.

Link

See Also:

Introduction to Psychogeography

Two Reads on Psychogeography

The Headmap Manifesto

Theologians and pop-culture experts see ‘The Matrix’ as a phenomenon shaping public opinion about religion

Here’s a piece from the Christian Science Monitor on the role of religion in the Matrix.

Mr. Frankfurter and other religious experts say “The Matrix” does not represent orthodox Christianity nearly as much as Gnostic Christianity.

Gnosticism never developed a well-defined theology, but it depicts Jesus as a hero figure who saves mankind through “gnosis,” or esoteric knowledge. In the Gnostic philosophy, the physical world is not part of God’s creation, but a manifestation of a lower god – a nightmarish reality that imprisons mankind, say religious experts. Gnostics believed they could achieve salvation, not by overcoming evil and sin with God’s grace, but by learning the “higher knowledge” about reality.

Gnostic threads are present in many religious traditions, including Sufism and Buddhism. As woven by “The Matrix,” these threads tie together current concerns with an ancient knot.

“All of this stuff has been bouncing around in the human brain for centuries. When it comes into this hip new iteration in the cyberworld, it all sounds familiar,” says Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.

Link (via Purse Lips Square Jaw).

Doctors ‘stole brains for research’

“The brains of thousands of mentally ill and depressed people were illegally removed for research, a government inquiry is expected to reveal.”
Link (via Die Puny Humans).

Ten Chapters on Tchkung

Adam Greenfield has posted his review of a 1994 Tchkung show. I saw them a few months ago, 8 years after this review was written, and it still holds true.

What did I want them to do with that energy? What might I have done with it myself? Alternately, what might I have done if only it was asked of me in that interval before the showbuzz wore off? Part of the problem here is that Tchkung is playing with fire, in more ways than the merely literal. The piercing, the firebreathing, the dervish-dancing, the relentless rhythms: these are all shamanic techniques for the alteration of consciousness, and there is no doubt but that they work. In their original contexts, they are all used by people undertaking specific initiatory journeys, when guided by others steeped in the traditions of their use. Of course, none of these conditions obtains at a Tchkung show. What happens when you put several hundred people into a suggestible state, in an environment filled with extraordinarily powerful signs of no fixed meaning?

v-2: Ten chapters on Tchkung

See also: Tchkung’s Post World Manifesto

Study could free Nietzsche of syphilis scourge

“‘Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality,’ said Professor Stephen Houlgate at Warwick University. ‘If this new research gets rid of another misconception about him, I’m delighted.'”
Link (via Disinfo).

Popularity of hobbies by geographic location

An interesting thing about Meetup, a web site for organizing local interest groups, is that it ranks cities by number of people signed up for certain meets.

  • Burning Man City: Seattle
  • Body Modifcation City: Toronto, ON (# 2 is Tel Aviv)
  • Discordian City: Seattle
  • Magickal City: Charlotte, NC
  • Smart mob City: Denver
  • Coffee City: Chicago (Seattle was only # 6)
  • Comics City: New York
  • Dumpster Diving City: New York
  • Straight Edge City: Providence, RI
  • Pagan Parenting City: St. Louis, MO
  • Amiga City: Tel Aviv
  • Newly Single City: Toronto, ON
  • X-Men City: London (with a whopping 2 members)
  • Japanese Pop City: Houston
  • EFF City: Austin
  • Nanotech City: Minneapolis

    What’s big, city by city?

  • Tel Aviv: Pagan
  • Rio: Linux
  • Moscow: Britney Spears
  • Perth: Goth
  • Madrid: Russell Crowe
  • Cairo: Knitting
  • Stockholm: Body Modification
  • Prague: Vampire (not the game apparently…)
  • New Delhi: Sex and the City
  • Islamabad, Pakistan: Gilmore Girls
  • Congratulations to Woody Creek’s Royal Couple

    Hunter S. Thompson married his assistent Anita Beymuk April 24th.

    It was done with fine style and secrecy in order to avoid the craziness and drunken violence that local lawmen feared would inevitably have followed the ceremony. I know nothing about planning even the simplest wedding, nothing at all, and neither does sweet Anita, who is now my Wife. So we did it the Bhuddist way. We drove straight to the County Courthouse on a stormy Thursday morning and were happily married by noon. Sheriff Bob performed the ceremony, his wife took pictures, and a black priest from Sicily handled the video camera. It was fun.

    AP: Writer Hunter S. Thompson Gets Married

    Hey Rube: The royal wedding (Thompson’s column)

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