Marker Assisted Selection

This is pretty interesting article from Jeremy Rifkin, whose job is basically to know about neat technologies that will shape the future. In it he argues that GM foods will become unnecessary, and that a new genetic scanning technology will allow us to greatly improve yields and plant resistances by traditional cross-breeding methods. Same result, but much safer.

Now, in an ironic twist, new cutting-edge technologies have made gene splicing and transgenic crops obsolete and a serious impediment to scientific progress. The new frontier is called genomics and the new agricultural technology is called marker-assisted selection (MAS). The new technology offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding. A growing number of scientists believe MAS – which is already being introduced into the market – will eventually replace GM food. Moreover, environmental organisations that oppose GM crops are guardedly supportive of MAS technology.

And while there are caveats aplenty buried in the article, and the people who would like to own the food chain and sell it back to us will certainly do their best to achieve dominance, for anyone who has seen The Future of Food (which, by the way, the library has), this is good news.

Dope is rife in this town

Like, more so than I ever remember. Like every night, where ever one goes. On the streets and in our bedrooms.

Shame I have books to write.

My question is, what’s up with the rifeness?

in the future, talk to anyone

Well, this sounds cool.

A “Tower of Babel” device that gives the illusion of being bilingual is being developed by US scientists.

Users simply have to silently mouth a word in their own language for it to be translated and read out in another.

The researchers said the effect was like watching a television programme that had been dubbed.

The system, detailed in New Scientist, is not yet fully accurate, but experts said it showed the technology was “within reach”.

What is noticably trippy is it isn’t reacting to sounds but brain and muscle impulses.

Early days yet, but if something like this were possible… woo. Everything human changes.

Cultural Void Moment

Being in Real Groovy and discovering a “classic” range of metal t-shirts, including Iron Maiden, which have been prefaded from black to grey, whilst myself wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt that once was black but now is more or less that exact grey after a decade or so of use.

Hit'n'Miss Aotearoa #7: Nurse With Wound

Undulating Ungulate proudly presents Hit’n’Miss Aotearoa #7: Nurse With Wound

Nurse With Wound
are the creepiest, and possibly evilest band on earth. For many years they have terrorized the very notion of music itself with their relentless creative experimentalism. They rule.

Here we depart from the norm and present the Undulating Ungulate 33rpm remix of A Short Dip In The Glory Hole. Taking a fundamentally disturbing piece of music and turning it into one of the most distressing things you will ever hear. Listen to it loud, stoned, in the dark. If you dare.

(Uh. If you happen to be Nurse With Wound and object to this, ask and it can be removed. In that case, the same effect can be obtained by playing the b-side of the 12″ single of Brained By Falling Masonry at 33RPM. If NWW can release an entire album of slight warping of their music while being transferred between tapes, this is kosher too 🙂

the abolition of work

The Abolition of Work is an essay by Bob Black. It’s pretty stunning, and should be read by anyone who has ever been employed or unemployed, and especially by anyone who is frustrated with their work.

The incredibly quotable Black puts forth a hefty and persuasive paradigm shift, defining work as;

… forced labor, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick.

and goes so far as to suggest its outright abolition, claiming it as the basis of all ills in society – categorizing work as the cause of increasing stupidity, early death, and social alienation, and adopting a quasi Foucaultian analysis of “Discipline” as a form of slavery unique to the modern world. It’s a really fascinating case, and absolutely worth your time to read for yourself.

Free time is a euphemism for the peculiar way labor as a factor of production not only transports itself at its own expense to and from the workplace but assumes primary responsibility for its own maintenance and repair.

Makes you think, yeah?

…directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. […] Because work is unnecessary except to those whose power it secures, workers are shifted from relatively useful to relatively useless occupations as a measure to assure public order.

His argument is to turn the remaining necessary work into play, and the rest of human time to play, leisure, and freedom. (Reminds me of Buckminster Fuller’s prediction that there would come a point in the future to pay people to stay at home and do nothing rather than suffer the environmental damage of millions of people commuting to non productive jobs and the necessary infrastructure and resulting waste to support them when they got there.)

Anyway. Fascinating. Best essay I’ve read in ages. Go! 🙂

Bush flip flops on Iraq

Bush claims “we have never been stay the course on Iraq.”

You can watch it here.

The video is naturally followed by a sampling of Bush quotes like “We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq.” 8/4/05

I’m sure I have said this before, somewhere, but it must be really nice to live in a magical Bizarro world where everything you say is true.

It’s just scary that it overlaps with ours.

(cheers, Steve)

Chaos below the radar

It seems that the French riots never really ended.

An average of 112 cars a day have been torched across France so far this year and there have been 15 attacks a day on police and emergency services. Nearly 3,000 police officers have been injured in clashes this year.

Somehow this is news to me.

The conflicting spin seems to be “OMG, Islamic radicalists are causing trouble” vs “the economy is totally screwed and there are no jobs for the rioters”.

Poll # 5 : we know nothing

Which of the following recent news articles is the best indication that we know nothing much about reality; that we are still in effect sitting around the campfire in the night telling stories about the howling black abyss beyond the circle of firelight?

1) The structure of our past may not be what we think – maybe 9000 year old submerged city
found off coast off India, turning our notion of history upside down

2) The structure of the future might challenge what we think of as human – article on the possible evolution of two distinct species of human

3) The total nature of reality may be wayyy different than we think – apocalyptic voodoo priest Padre Engo interview. Warning: freaky.

4) The Christian worldview/notion of ultimate reality appears to be highly revisable – the Pope abolishes “limbo”.

5) Insert your own.

Albino Moose seeks refuge

We are putting out a call to all Norwegians to rescue this albino moose

albino moose

before moose hunting season (can you imagine something so barbaric?) begins tomorrow.

We have arranged sanctuary for the moose in The Moose Lands of Work Damn You Work. It is up to you, oh internet, to do the rest.

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