MonthJune 2008

The Fight to End Aging Gains Legitimacy, Funding

aubry de grey

This weekend, his organization, The Methuselah Foundation, is sponsoring its first U.S. conference on the emerging interdisciplinary field that de Grey has helped kick start. (Its first day, Friday, will be free and open to the public.) The conference, Aging: The Disease – The Cure – The Implications, held at UCLA, is an indication of how far de Grey has come in mainstreaming his ideas.

Less than a decade ago, de Grey was a relatively unknown computer scientist doing his own research into aging. As recently as three years ago a cadre of scientists wrote in the Nature-sponsored journal EMBO Reports, that his research program, known as Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, was “so far from plausible that it commands no respect at all within the informed scientific community.” Also in 2005, MIT-sponsored magazine Technology Review went so far as to offer a $20,000 prize to anyone who could prove that de Grey’s program was “so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate.” (No one won.)

Full Story: Wired

Amnesty International’s Traveling Gitmo Cell

Amnesty International’s Traveling Gitmo Cell

Full Story: Subtopia

(via Tomorrow Museum

Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties

spaced out

“Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties” explores the crash pads, hippie communes, infinity machines and other far-out dwellings of the time period. Author Alastair Gordon, whose other works have dealt primarily with the clean modernism of airports and mid-century Hamptons homes, turned his attention to the design, architecture and visual culture of LSD-inspired era, much of which hadn’t been adequately preserved or documented until now.

Full Story: Cool Hunting

Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties

spaced out

“Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties” explores the crash pads, hippie communes, infinity machines and other far-out dwellings of the time period. Author Alastair Gordon, whose other works have dealt primarily with the clean modernism of airports and mid-century Hamptons homes, turned his attention to the design, architecture and visual culture of LSD-inspired era, much of which hadn’t been adequately preserved or documented until now.

Full Story: Cool Hunting

Italian Soldiers Floored By 77-year-old Japanese Woman

Keiko Wakabayshi training the soldiers of the Folgore brigade, at the Livorno barracks

“Martial arts expert Keiko Wakabayshi, nicknamed the “Samurai Granny”, has been hired by the country’s military to train recruits in hand-to-hand combat. Miss Wakabayshi, who stands exactly 5ft tall, looks tiny compared to her charges who are mostly over 6ft. But the pensioner is a trained master in an array of martial arts disciplines including jujitsu, jojitso, kenjitso, judo, kendo and karate. She wipes the floor with soldiers of the Folgore brigade at their barracks in Livorno on a daily basis.”

(via The Telegraph)

Interview With Dr Reggie Ray On American Buddhism

Dr. Reginald ‘Reggie’ Ray brings us four decades of study and intensive meditation practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as well as a special gift for applying it to the unique problems, inspirations, and spiritual imperatives of modern people. He currently resides in Crestone, Colorado, where he is President and Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, founded with his wife Lee who is Vice-President, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study and preservation of the teachings of Ch?gyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the practice lineage he embodied.”

“A senior teacher in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Reggie talks Dharma, controversy and guides the audience through a weird form of meditation.”

(via Elephant Journal)

(Related: “I Am So Over This Buddhism Shit” by Brad Warner via Suicide Girls)

Five Myths About the New Wiretapping Law

Myth No. 1: This bill is a compromise.
Myth No. 2: We need the bill to intercept our enemies abroad.
Myth No. 3: The courts will still review the telecom cases.
Myth No. 4: The Democrats must fold because of the November election.
Myth No. 5: The law will be the “exclusive means” for surveillance.

Full Story: Slate

(via Cryptogon)

The Unclear Origins of Oil

Kevin Kelly writes:

Crude oil is almost $140 per barrel.

By now you’d think we would know where it comes from.

No one really knows. The conventional wisdom is that oil descends from algae from eons ago. Lots and lots of algae. Unimaginable mounds of dead algae in quantities no longer found on this planet, pressed, and cooked into hydrocarbon liquids. Thus: fossil fuel. Others, notably the Russians, have an alternative theory that oil comes from non-biological carbon compounds deep in this planet, like the methane oceans we find on other planets. In this scenario oil is a planetary phenomenon. Indeed this abiogenic oil could still be forming in the earth. Thousands of Russian papers supporting this view have still not been translated. The American astrophysicist Thomas Gold also advocated a similar idea (which may or may not have been influenced by the Russians) in his book “The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels”.

Full Story: Kevin Kelly

(via OVO)

This reminds me that we have made only the most esoteric of references to Thomas Gold.

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe

dymaxion dwelling machines

“Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe” is a showing of Fuller’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art from June June 26-Sept. 21, 2008. The occasion has generated a ton of news stories about Fuller. Here are a few:

The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller

Can Fuller be rehabilitated as a 21st century design hero?

A 3-Wheel Dream That Died at Takeoff

Chaos Theory

(via Trevor Blake’s OVO)

If you can’t make it to New York to see the exhibit, perhaps you can make it to these two Portland events:

“The Approximately Omnidirectional Ephemeralization of Richard Buckminster Fuller.” – a presentation by Trevor Blake at Esozone, October 10th.

“R. Buckminster Fuller: The History [and Mystery] of the Universe” – a play about the life and work of Fuller. October 14 – December 7, 2008 at Portland Center Stage.

Previously: Dymaxion Man: Buckminster Fuller essay and slideshow

The 21st Century Writer

Good article on the future of writing and publishing with Tim O’ Reilly, Stephen Abram, Douglas Rushkoff, and Frank Daniels:

“It’s a snowy February Monday in midtown Manhattan. Publishing magnate and tech guru Tim O’Reilly’s ‘Tools of Change’ conference has just opened at a Marriott off Broadway. The timing is fortunate; publishers HarperCollins and Random House have just announced that they will be offering more book content online and au gratis. The affable O’Reilly-who has been urging publishers to go digital since the early eighties-refuses to gloat (much). ‘They weren’t even trying to keep electronic copies [of manuscripts],’ recalls O’Reilly. ‘You look at these announcements today, they seem too little too late,… but it’s allowing them to start innovating, to become part of the technology process.’ ‘Twenty years ago, people wouldn’t have listened,’ says Sara Domville, president of F+W Publications book division. ‘They’ll listen now.’

As the publisher of an extremely popular series of computer manuals, O’Reilly is a bright star in a field of drab. Dubbed the ‘guru of the participation age’ by Steven Levy in a 2005 Wired profile and a ‘graying hippie’ with a ‘hostility toward traditional media’ by author Andrew Keen, O’Reilly makes millions of dollars promoting open source at his conferences and selling do-it-yourself know-how to anyone who browses the computer aisle at Barnes and Noble. His message to the world’s publishing elite exudes a Wizard of Oz simplicity: Give more product away on your Web site, thereby attracting more people to sell on something pricier than a book- like a bunch of books or a conference ticket. The approach works for him at least. Some 900 publishing execs from Simon and Schuster, Norton, etc., have paid $1,100 apiece (on average) to learn how to give content away.

‘I think I’m optimistic,’ said Sonia Nash of Random House, echoing the uncertainty of the attendees, editors, and publishers from around the world eager to find some reason to feel good about the future of what they sell.”

(via The Futurist)

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