MonthDecember 2007

David Cronenberg interviewed by Wired News

What Cronenberg is moving toward is a more muted version of the exercises he’s always created. His new films just happen to involve gangsters rather than scientists and technological freaks.

What has not been left behind is Cronenberg’s capacity to shock and disturb an audience riveted by his films’ destruction of the human body. And in a world saturated with snuff films the likes of which Videodrome could barely imagine, he’s more than willing to take the less-is-more approach to physical violence.

“We’re in a very bizarre era right now, where snuff porn that never really existed before is now available,” he says. “If you want to see beheadings or stonings, you can see them any time you want on your computer. And it’s low-tech, too: not the internet, but a woman being stoned to death.”

He’s taken that cultural phenomenon to heart: The most advanced weaponry in Eastern Promises is a carpet knife.

Wired News: Cronenberg Drifts From Tech Horror, but Shocks Remain

The full, unedited version is here

Just How Dangerous Is Police Work?

So just how dangerous is police work? Generally, police are about three times as likely to be killed on the job as the average American. It isn’t among the top ten most dangerous professions, falling well behind logging, fishing, driving a cab, trash collecting, farming, and truck driving. Moreover, about half of police killed on the job are killed in traffic accidents, and most of those are not while in pursuit of a criminal or rushing to the scene of a crime. I don’t point this out to diminish the tragedy of those cops killed in routine traffic accidents. My point is that the number of annual on-the-job police fatalities doesn’t justify giving cops bigger guns, military equipment, and allowing them to use more aggressive and increasingly militaristic tactics. A military-issue weapon isn’t going to prevent traffic accidents. In this context, then, it makes sense to remove from consideration deaths not directly attributable to the bad guys.

So take out traffic accidents and other non-violent deaths, and you’re left with 69 officers killed on the job by criminals last year. That’s out of about 850,000 officers nationwide. That breaks down to about 8 deaths per 100,000 officers, or less than twice the national average of on-the-job fatalities.

[…]

Twice the national average means police work certainly carries added risk. But is it the kind of risk that justifies, for example, a more than 1,000 percent increase in the use of SWAT teams over the last 25 years? […] Of course, if policymakers were really serious about protecting police officers, there’s one thing they could do that would have a dramatic, immediate impact on officer safety: They could end the drug war.

Full Story: Hit and Run.

Ron Paul says he rejects the theory of evolution

Via Wendy McElroy, who also passes along some info regarding Paul’s flip flops on immigration.

Ron Paul says he rejects the theory of evolution

Via Wendy McElroy, who also passes along some info regarding Paul’s flip flops on immigration.

links for 2007-12-28

Cyberpunk Documentary from 1993

I’ve only watched the first 20 minutes. So far they’ve talked to Timothy Leary, William Gibson, and Mondo 2000’s Michael Synergy.

Review: The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution

the invisibles evocation of john lennon

The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution.

(Disclosure: this review was commissioned by the R/evolutionary Culture Shop)

The Invisibles is a psychedelic sci-fi series about a team of anarchist freedom fighters who employ time travel, magic, martial arts, and drugs in their battle against the tyrannous Outer Church. King Mob, the group’s leader, explains: “We want to show people how to make their own exits, even if they have to use dynamite… We’re trying to pull off a track that’ll result in everyone getting exactly the kind of world they want. Everyone including the enemy.”

Grant Morrison, a Scottish comic book writer, is fond of explaining that he wrote the Invisibles in response to his alien abduction experience in Kathmandu in the 1994. He also calls it a “hypersigil,” a form of magical fiction. Morrison says that he strongly identified with the King Mob character and found that the by incorporating real aspects of his life in the series, he could make fictional aspects of the series bleed into his own life. When the series was almost canceled, he encouraged readers to use a chaos magic technique to save the series. Apparently, it worked and he was able to finish the series as planned.

The first volume begins in modern times, with the Invisibles recruiting Jack Frost – a teenage delinquent from Liverpoor who may be the next Buddha. Frost’s first mission involves accompanying the team back in time to rescue the Marquis de Sade from prison during the French revolution. Later volumes continue to sprawl backwards and forwards in time, with characters’ actions from different time periods reverberating throughout history.

Although the Invisibles begins as a romantic “good guys vs. bad guys” story, the lines begin to blur as Morrison deconstructs issues such as conformity, activism, and violence. Brilliantly complex and inherently mind altering, the Invisibles is a countercultural “must read.”

Buy The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution from the R/evolutionary Culture Shop.

The Top 10 Data Breaches of 2007

“If there’s only one thing you’ll remember from 2007, it will be Britney Spears’ meltdown. But if there are two things you remember, it will be Britney and the thousands of data breaches that were reported in 2007, right? Right? Well, it’s what we’ll remember, and since we don’t necessarily do celeb gossip (unless you’ve got a good security angle…) we decided to offer up a review of the best and worst of Disclosure ’07.

Each breach gets rated on our nifty, unscientific “Class-Action Outrage Scale,” judging the likelihood that ambulance-chasing lawyers could have a field day. Look out Monster.com: We estimate nine of 10 lawyers are outraged on behalf of your 1.3 million victims. Our “D’oh! Factor” (thank you, Homer Simpson) reflects just how egregious and goofy the breach was. Take a look at how Swedish Urology Group earned itself five out of five Homers. Ick. Some breaches on our list are serious. Some are funny. And some are just plain sad. But all of them were probably preventable. Alas.”

(via CSO)

Docs Change the Way They Think About Death

“Consider someone who has just died of a heart attack. His organs are intact, he hasn’t lost blood. All that’s happened is his heart has stopped beating-the definition of “clinical death”-and his brain has shut down to conserve oxygen. But what has actually died?

As recently as 1993, when Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the best seller “How We Die,” the conventional answer was that it was his cells that had died. The patient couldn’t be revived because the tissues of his brain and heart had suffered irreversible damage from lack of oxygen. This process was understood to begin after just four or five minutes. If the patient doesn’t receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation within that time, and if his heart can’t be restarted soon thereafter, he is unlikely to recover. That dogma went unquestioned until researchers actually looked at oxygen-starved heart cells under a microscope. What they saw amazed them, according to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “After one hour,” he says, “we couldn’t see evidence the cells had died. We thought we’d done something wrong.” In fact, cells cut off from their blood supply died only hours later.”

(via Newsweek)

links for 2007-12-27

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