November 28, 2006
Former World Bank head James Wolfenson puts the complacent West on notice.
Wolfensohn said that somewhere between 2030 and 2040, China would become the largest economy in the world, leaving the United States behind.
By 2050, China’s current two trillion US dollar GDP was set to balloon to 48.6 trillion, while that of India, whose economy weighs in at under a trillion dollars, would hit 27 trillion, he said, citing projections by investment bank Goldman Sachs.
A world in which China and India call the shots through economic power. Interesting. I’ve always wondered what would happen to capitalism when it started biting whitey’s ass. Of course, the inhuman corporate egregores we have created to rule us don’t actually care what colour anyone’s skin is, and by then, on current form, all power will be given unto them.
I thought this was interesting, too.
The phenomenal rally by the two countries was a return to form rather than a novelty, he said, as they together had accounted for 50 percent of global GDP from the 1500s until the industrial revolution reduced that to between five and seven percent.
So the gross imbalance of colonialism may slowly be unravelling in a globalised world?
November 27, 2006
is the title of a novel written by Theodore Sturgeon in 1953. I read it over the past few days and it is shitkickingly ace.
Unfortunately there is no way to describe why without blowing it. Something very original and strange is at work, delving deep into the psychological. The delivery of the first two parts is superb; the third part seems slightly weaker by comparison, but is endlessly fascinating.
Pretty sure this is one of the best novels I’ve ever read – as distinct from one of the best SF or fantasy novels I’ve read, as oddly I would place Bester’s The Stars My Destination (which I also loved, for totally different reasons) in that category.
More Than Human is pure literature, transcending genre, but strangely ghettoised by a handful of its ideas.
November 26, 2006
In 1969, the New Zealand Government launched an inquiry into Scientology in New Zealand: the Dumbleton-Powles report.
The inquiry was within very set limits:
At the outset of these hearings the commission wishes to declare its intention that they shall be confined to the order of reference which the secretary has just read. The commission is concerned only to hear about and examine cases where it is said that Scientology has in New Zealand led to the estrangement of families, affected the control of persons under 21, or put unreasonable pressure upon former Scientologists who have left it, or other persons.
The commission particularly wishes to emphasise two matters: First, the inquiry is not in general to extend to or include any inquiry into the “philosophy, teachings or beliefs” of Scientology. Secondly, it is to concern itself with the “activities, methods, and practices of the Hubbard Scientology Organisation in New Zealand”.
So it doesn’t become as interesting as it could otherwise have – or at least amusing, as it is already pretty funny to see Scientology being described by beaureaucrats who don’t get it – though throughout it is really the documents and letters from Scientology itself which are the most eye-opening.
The most interesting stuff I found was under c) the pressures put on critics or people who left. But there is a bunch to wander through for anyone curious about this particular chapter of our history.
Incidentally, they find against Scientology on all counts within the remit of the inquiry, but generally found that actions taken within the organisation to change had resolved the issues.
Just while we’re at it, check out William S. Burroughs’ take on Scientology, which is much more entertaining reading.
November 24, 2006
Undulating Ungulate Proudly presents: Hit’n’Miss Aotearoa #8: Black Boned Angel
Man, Wellington is awesome. For five bucks you can see world class weirdness like Black Boned Angel on a Thursday night. Taking the stage slowly, wreathed and hooded in black, they play dirges for the damned, epic walls of feedback, drone and noise. Beautiful.
For fans of Sunn 0))), Boris, and the direction doom could have evolved in 🙂
November 23, 2006
Around, I guess. But not blogging. For shame!
I read a novel the other day. It doesn’t happen often. The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Easily one of the most creative, inventive, fast-paced and fun novels I have ever read, while still subtly being about stuff. Awesome. (Probably essential for anyone who wants to get where cyberpunk came from, too.)
Been doing a bit as a film extra lately. Sitting around in bars, going through and eating garbage, and, unexpectedly, my first on-screen kiss.
Liking writing, and making music, at the moment. Ideas aplenty.
Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is pretty good evidence that he’s still taking lots of drugs and writing whatever comes into his head. Fun.
And just for some “what the hey?”, A man who was stopped for a routine traffic violation somehow managed to shoot himself in the back of the head while handcuffed in the back seat of a police cruiser, cops said.
November 18, 2006
A couple of quick links on privacy related themes:
UK biometric passports appear to be easily hacked and all your information quickly found.
Six months ago, with the help of a rather scary computer expert, I deconstructed the life of an airline passenger simply by using information garnered from a boarding-pass stub he had thrown into a dustbin on the Heathrow Express. By using his British Airways frequent-flyer number and buying a ticket in his name on the airline’s website, we were able to access his personal data, passport number, date of birth and nationality. Based on this information, using publicly available databases, we found out where he lived, his profession, all his academic qualifications and even how much his house was worth.
And this privacy international study (via Draw), handily represented as a pretty colour coded chart of the most heavily surveilled countries in the world, by type of surveillance. A few surprises in there, too. NZ rates as “Systematic Failure to uphold safeguards”.
November 17, 2006
November 16, 2006
November 15, 2006
Sorry. This is probably the saddest article I’ve read in a while.
With no space to store bodies, some victims of the sectarian slaughter are not being kept for relatives to claim, but photographed, numbered and quickly interred in government cemeteries. Men fearful of an anonymous burial are tattooing their thighs with names and phone numbers.
Not sure why that bit got to me. I guess it’s just imagining being in that situation. How does it feel to tattoo your name on your legs because chances are you’ll be murdered and no one will be able to identify you?
The article goes on to talk in detail about the logistical problem of way more dead bodies turning up than there are spaces for them, all the time, and how you adapt to that.
As much as the US bears a huge culpability for creating the conditions for chaos to flourish, one must note that the Iraqis are doing a certain amount of this to themselves. When the hell is it ever necessary to abduct people and torture them to death with power drills?