MonthDecember 2014

A Buddhist priest confronts Japan’s suicide culture

Here’s a long piece by Larissa MacFarquhar from the New Yorker last year about Ittetsu Nemoto , a Zen Buddhist priest who works with suicidal people and shut-ins known as “hikikomori.” Read the whole thing, but I found this letter a hikikomori wrote to Nemoto, included in the article, particularly interesting:

Long ago, becoming a training priest was recognized as a way of living, and I think that considerable numbers of the priests were people who had troubles that prevented them from living in society—people who would be called depressed or neurotic in today’s terms. . . . The basic rule was to leave the family and friends, discard all the relationships and renounce the world. . . . The old society accepted these training priests, although they were thought to be completely useless. Or rather, it treated them with respect, and supported them by giving offerings. . . . In very rare cases, some attained so-called “enlightenment,” and those people could spread teachings that could possibly save people in society who had troubles. In other words, there were certain cases where training priests could be useful to society, and I think that is why society supported them. . . . I think that training priests and hikikomori are quite similar. First, neither of them can fit in to this society—while the training priests are secluded in mountains, hikikomori are secluded in their rooms. They both engage in the activity of facing the root of their problems alone. . . . However, nobody accepts this way of living anymore, and that’s why hikikomori hide in their rooms. . . . But hikikomori are very important beings. Hikikomori cannot be cured by society; rather, it is society that has problems, and hikikomori may be able to solve them.

Full Story: The New Yorker: Last Call

The KKK is Recruiting Veterans

Short Vice documentary on the modern KKK’s attempts to recruit veterans to their cause. They claim both Klan membership and right-wing extremist activity are both up in recent years, but I wish there were some quantitative research to back that up.

See also:

The Military-Gang Complex

The Sexist [and racist] Facebook Movement The Marine Corps Won’t Stop

Why it’s so hard to talk about social responisbility in technological innovation

Georgina Voss on why it’s so hard to define responsible innovation, especially with regards to defense contracting:

For a fun festive game, you and your loved ones can go through this enormous list from the European Commission of “dual use” technologies, which includes gas masks, plant pathogens, imaging cameras, and lasers; and try to figure out the military and civilian use cases for each one. Technologies, and parts thereof, can slide between these spaces, with the former director of the US Navy’s Future Operations Unit stating to the Christian Science Monitor that “There isn’t any ground-breaking technology that the military hasn’t found some way to eventually weaponise” (and he was speaking in the context of the Navy developing an underwater drone that looks like a shark, so think on that over the holiday season).

Conversely, the origin story of many ostensibly mainstream technologies such as the internet, GPS, and spaceflight, can be found in military research. The latter is particularly important in considering how defence companies bump up against responsible innovation, because defence companies often do far more than create defence technologies: BAE Systems, for example, also develops commercial aircrafts, advanced materials, and energy management systems.

Full Story: The Guardian:

See also:

The Military-Maker Complex: DARPA Infiltrates the Hackerspace Movement

Voss and Justin Picard’s podcast Gin and Innovation.

Mution Vectors: December 25th Edition

Photo by avlxyz / CC

Photo by avlxyz / CC

Status Update

Long time no see. I mentioned last month that my wife and I had put in an offer on a house. Well, we got it, so now we’re getting ready for the big move to Portland’s illustrious Gateway district. But today we’re taking a break from painting, flooring, packing and moving — not to mention professional obligations — to partake in the American tradition of lounging about and eating on the 25th. I’ve actually got a backlog of vectors to share with you, but I’ll keep this one short.

Browsing

Watching

We just finished watching the first season of The Knick, which starts slow but turns into an amazing piece of auteurism. Think we’re going to watch the Black Mirror Christmas special today.

Reading

Rip It Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds.

Listening

8-bit Reggae

A Look at Contemporary Amish Life

The 8-Bit Reggae Underground

Robert Berry writes:

There is an alternative universe in which the most important reggae tune of 1985 was not Prince Jammy and Wayne Smith’s ‘Under Me Sleng Teng’, but the music to a Nintendo game called Wrecking Crew.

The game saw a pixelly young Mario smashing his way through a series of obstacles with a hammer as big as his face. The skanking soundtrack, with its square-wave walking bass and off-beat 8-bit accents, was created by a 27-year-old Sly and Robbie fan named Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka. In this other world, kids who grew up with SNES controllers permanently appended to their thumbs are today busily recreating classic riddims using Gameboys, toasting over chiptunes, and colouring in power-up mushrooms with the distinctive red, gold, and green of the Ethiopian flag.

Fortunately, the internet is a place where all parallel worlds exist at once, and this alternative reality is just a few clicks away, down a wormhole composed of Wikipedia pages, Facebook groups, and Soundcloud communities.

Full Story: Fact Mag: Digital mystics: the strange story of the 8-bit reggae underground

(via Chris)

Status update: head bobbing furiously.

See also:

Jahtari netlabel

Natty Droid netlabel

Laptop Reggae/Electric Dub group on Soundcloud

Pasta and Vinegar’s 8-bit reggae playlist

Dada Data and the Internet of Paternalistic Things

Flash fiction from Mindful Cyborgs co-host Sara Watson:

My stupid refrigerator thinks I’m pregnant.

I reached for my favorite IPA, but the refrigerator wouldn’t let me take one from the biometrically authenticated alcohol bin.

Our latest auto-delivery from peaPod included pickles, orange juice, and prenatal vitamins. We never have orange juice in the house before because I find it too acidic. What machine-learning magic produced this produce?

Full Story: The Message: Dada Data and the Internet of Paternalistic Things

See also:

The Nightmare on Connected Home Street

The Internet of Things Could Drown Our Environment in Gadgets

The Dark Side of the Internet of Things

Seeing Like a Supply Chain

Emily Horne and Tim Maly on the origins of the modern shipping industry and its puzzling lack of security:

At a 2005 hearing before the Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack, witnesses raised a nightmare scenario: the Poor Man’s ICBM.

The theory is that you could load a shipping container with a nuclear weapon, or some other WMD, and watch it sail into somewhere like Port Newark, where it would explode while awaiting inspection. […]

100% scanning was meant to be implemented by 2012. When the law was passed, roughly 4% of shipping container cargo was being inspected. As of today, scanning has reached… 4%. The compliance deadline has been moved to 2016. It probably won’t happen then either.

Full Story: Primer: Seeing Like a Supply Chain

Mindful Cyborgs: What is Post-Nihilism? Part 2

The second installment of our interview with synthetic zero‘s Arran James and Michael Pyska. This time around, we talk about post-nihilism as political therapeutics, Stoicism and what we would do on the eve of human extinction.

Download and Notes: Mindful Cyborgs: Post Nihilistic Whispers Part 2

You can find part one here.

Instead of prosecuting torturers, Obama prosecuted the guy who revealed the program

Timothy B. Lee writes:

But the Obama administration has had a different attitude when it comes to those who revealed the existence of the CIA torture program. In 2012, the Obama administration charged former CIA official John Kiriakou for leaking classified information related to the torture program to reporters. Threatened with decades in prison, Kiriakou was forced to plead guilty and accept a 30-month prison sentence. He’s in prison right now.

Full Story: Vox: Instead of prosecuting torturers, Obama prosecuted the guy who revealed the program

© 2017 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑