On the origin of the bulldog

When they were not burning witches or stoning prisoners the mob amused themselves with bear-baiting, setting dogs on bulls, badger-baiting, and cockfighting. A bear would be chained by the neck in the middle of an open space and dogs would be turned on him. The crowd would bet on the first dog killed, the first dog to take a hold, and the first pair of dogs to get the bear down. Bull-baiting was often referred to as the national amusement. The bulldog, symbol of the British nation, was developed for this sport. The dog was bred to have an unshot jaw so that even while he was holding the bull by the nose he could still breahe, and a broad, squat body on bandy legs to make it difficult for the bull to turn him over.

When attacked by dogs, an experienced bull kept his head low to protect his nose and present his horns to the pack. If he managed to toss a dog, the dog’s owner ran in and tried to catch the animal as it fell to keep its back from being broken. One man stood by with a pole to push the falling dog into the arms of its owner. Once a dog took his hold, nothing could get him loose. Whatever portion of the bull’s nose he was holding had to be cut off. Bulls that were veterans of many baitings had no noses… they had been sliced away piece by piece.

That tasty nugget was from The Hell-Fire Club, by Daniel P Mannix, which is a fairly deranged and somewhat disturbing historical account of the 1700s.

Maybe TV isn’t all bad… keeps the mob down, doncher know?

one from Jung

“To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.”
– Carl Jung

sleepy thoughts

Playing gigs is awesome release. Gets rid of gunged up frustrated energy, brings back some needed calm. If I had any doubts about why I do this, they evaporated with the tension.

Having ridiculously huge parties that get shut down by police and noise control is odd. Odder was the two completely unexpected, really excellent, conversations which occurred at that party. Yay for meeting really on to it people. Somehow ended up going to bed after 6am despite feeling like going to bed about 11pm.

It is quite fascinating when different parts of the self want different, mutually exclusive, outcomes.

Depending which part of the self makes a decision, our lives can take very different turns.

Do you ever find yourself unutterably, utterly, violently, foully, deeply, tiredly, fiendishly, fiercely, intensely, physically, sick of being who you are?


Stop being frightened. You only see a monster because they want you to see monsters everywhere. They’ve conditioned you to look for monsters in every shadow, every coat hung on every door.

As long as we keep seeing monsters, we’ll continue to need protection. And that’s how other people get to control our lives.

– Doom Patrol, Grant Morrison.

anti-terror dolphins

The US Navy is training dolphins and sea lions to “fight terror”. Before, of course, it was the Russians. But anyway. I found this wonderfully surreal.

The sea lions carry in their mouths a cable and a handcuff-like device that clamps onto a terrorist’s leg. Sailors can then use the cable to reel in the terrorist.

Wouldn’t that just mess with your head? Swimming away and a freaking sea lion comes up and handcuffs you.

This, too, seemed surreal.

Animal rights activists worry that the dolphins and sea lions sent to Washington state could be harmed by the cold water, and worry that the animals might transmit diseases to the area’s killer whales.

We are one crazy damn species.

Well, at least our fascist overlords will have neat stuff.

U.S. military develops Robocop armour for soldiers

Included in the Pentagon’s Future Warrior Concept are a powerful exoskeleton, a self-camouflaging outer layer that adapts to changing environments and a helmet which translates a soldier’s voice into any foreign language.


Of course, it’s all a matter of priorities.

The sheer scale of U.S. military research spending and the pace of recent advances in aircraft stealth technology and guided precision bombs are staggering.

Do you feel more secure?

The Sex Magicians

Holy Chao!

A lost Robert Anton Wilson novel, available free in pdf

Direct download link.

(via blogs all over the place)

pretty pictures of the world that is, will be, and will never be

An Antarctica you don’t often see
ice pools in a dry valley

A floating and rotating city to be in Dubai
so so modern

Visions of the future from Russia in 1900
and all that could have been

(via thrillingwonder)

not so funny now, is it?

“What happens in the UK is probably going to happen here tomorrow. We’re the same kind of society.”
– NZ Privacy Commisioner Marie Shroff, front page article, “Sleepwalking into a Surveillance Society” Dom Post, 10-4-07

Regular readers of the blog will have noticed quite a focus on the trend to a total surveillance society happening in the modern world. Technology is an amazing tool, but the uses to which it is put must be thoroughly questioned in advance. Knowing about it is the first step to stopping it happening here.

I like autonomy to the fullest extent possible. I like freedom. As far as I am concerned that means taking responsibility for what I do. I wholeheartedly prefer solutions to social problems that require people to take responsibility for their actions rather than removing freedom and enforcing stifling retarded rules for all. We are not omniscient. Rules, even well intentioned, have unintended side-effects. The less rules, the better.

(To this way of thinking, the speed limit is the speed at which the most incompetent driver can drive safely. A competent, or incompetent, driver who chooses to exceed the speed limit chooses full responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Imagine a future where your computer controlled car will not allow you to drive over the speed limit. Now imagine taking your wife in labour to the hospital.)

This is likely an idealist position, but my beef with the “realist” position of total surveillance is the power and potential for abuse. There is still no adequate answer to the question “Who watches the watchmen?” Human beings are fallible, corruptible, and weak. Including those in power. That is why we must be very careful what power we give others over ourselves, because chances are they do not deserve it intrinsically.

I see this as part of a distressing trend towards infantalization of the population. At the library today, there is a sign warning people to take care on the stairs. I mean, shit. How long before plastic forks have “Warning: Do Not Stab Into Eyes” etched into them?

For people to do better, they must be given the opportunity. Forced choice is no choice.

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