My head is stuck in the cupboard

Occasionally things like this make me think mass human extinction might not be so terrible (or unlikely).

A London street is experimenting with padded lampposts to protect those not paying attention from banging into them, ITN reports.

A study conducted by 118 118, a phone directory service, found that one in 10 people has been hurt while focusing on their cell phone instead of where they were walking, ITN reports.

[…]

The study claims that 68,000 people were injured in the U.K. last year while chatting or texting on their cell phone, Infomatics reports.

118 118 will provide the padding, and in return will be allowed to advertise on them.

I hope the guys are just lying as a cunning means to acquire virgin advertising space. That would be rapacious evil, but at least signs of intellect rather than alarming stupidity.

culture notes

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s legendary films El Topo and The Holy Mountain (pretty much my favourite film ever) are both showing at the World Cinema Showcase in Wellington this month. SEE THEM. They really need to be seen to be believed. I could rant at extensive length, Hell, possibly even write a thesis on it; instead, I simply say SEE THEM. They are like nothing else, and nothing can really prepare you for them.

Here’s some random images from Holy Mountain.


Meanwhile, check out 1000 True Fans – an interesting alternative business model for creative types from Kevin Kelly

Moses tripping balls, study claims

This seems to be serious.

High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.
[…]
“The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon,” he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to “see music.”
[…]
He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible.

(via the ever fabulous technoccult)

what the hell is happening in NZ?

Right. Peripherally aware Labour is apparently down 20 points in the polls.

WTF?

I know I don’t pay enough attention to local politics, but I am basically unaware of anything wrong enough with the country (which seems to be ticking along just fine after three terms of Labour rule), or anything positive that National is offering as an alternative, to justify that sort of gulf. And just some vague sense that “it is time for a change” is, well, retarded.

So what gives?

Also, this amusing scare line with no content to back it got my attention:

Dating culture is dead – instead, young New Zealand women are regularly getting drunk and cruising around in packs looking for men to have sex with.

Which makes me think. “Oh really? Damn, maybe I should go to meat markets wearing a shirt that says “hey drunk girl, have sex with me”…”

But what really gets me is that the quote, if the genders are reversed, gives us

Dating culture is dead – instead, young New Zealand men are regularly getting drunk and cruising around in packs looking for women to have sex with.

which would basically seem to describe the status quo for at least my living memory.

*waits giggling for our nation’s heroic sexual health tsar to comment* 😛

Bios and Logos

In my seemingly never ending quest to dump more and more information into my brain, I’ve been getting into podcasts lately. There’s a bunch of really interesting talks and interviews with really smart people talking about cool stuff out there.

So far the most interesting I’ve listened to is this one from Mark Pesce, entitled Bios and Logos. Part history of evolution, invention, humanity, part extrapolation on where we’re going and what’s going on, pretty consistently mind-expanding and interesting.

A couple of quotes:

“There are periods of time when your DNA isn’t doing anything at all, when it’s quiescent. And at that time, when it’s not interacting with the world around it, it can enter what physicists call superposition. When it’s not interacting it can enter a quantum state. That quantum state says that it can be in this universe, and this universe, and this universe, and this universe. Well, it can be in a lot of different universes. In fact, it can be in ten with five hundred zeros following it, possible universes.”

30:33: “The ability for you to react to your environment from your genetic code verses being able to react to your environment because you can communicate using language is probably at least ten million to one times faster. That means at the same time we acquired the ability to speak everything about us in terms of humanity, and human culture, and human thought, and human understanding suddenly went ten million times faster.”

Recommended. 🙂

No Country For Old Men

Saw this the other day. Doubt I’ve seen any other Best Oscar winner at the movies (except Titanic, but that doesn’t count :P). Twas very good. In fact, it may well have deserved the Oscar, and how often does that happen?

Seemed McCarthy’s vision was largely unsoftened by Hollywood. And given that vision is of humanity stripped down to raw essences, lost in a meaningless and brutal world, that surprises me. Narratively it broke with any number of expectations about how stories – especially movies – work. We are left with a sequence of unpleasant events and no easy answers – certainly no reassuring ones.

Also surprising to see the Coens go serious to such good effect. Pretty damn taut throughout.

Recommended.

funny/not funny

Sometimes from the stuff I post here you’d think I never read anything funny on the intarweb. This is untrue. For instance:

Erin explains credit.

i think people pretty much all think it is their manifest destiny to own everything in sight. seriously, if you don’t own a lot of things you might as well start fucking dogs because that is how people are going to look at you. like a dog fucker.

i don’t think alot of people even understand the concept of credit though. i mean i don’t even believe in credit, but as far as i can tell, it is kind of like the bank raping you in the mouth.

11 Notes I Would Attach to Bricks I’ve Thrown Through Bank Building Windows

#4. Hey, I tried voting…
#11. I’ll have you know that despite this latest attack against the evil institutions of the state I still have more respect for the law than the current president of the United States. I mean, at least I haven’t killed anybody, yet.

But the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while is the comments on the Playmobil Security Check Point

Thank you Playmobil for allowing me to teach my 5-year old the importance of recognizing what a failing bureaucracy in a ever growing fascist state looks like. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson for kids to learn because not all pigs carry billy clubs and wear body armor. I applaud the people who created this toy for finally being hip to our changing times. Little children need to be aware that not all smiling faces and uniforms are friendly. I noticed that my child is now more interested in current events. Just the other day he asked me why we had to forfeit so much of our liberties and personal freedoms and I had to answer “well, it’s because the terrorists have already won”. Yes, they have won.

Of course, we need some not funny stuff to remind us why funny stuff is funny.

The Future of Universal Water

“Water is becoming increasingly scarce,” says von Stackelberg, pointing to the fact that less than 2% of the planet’s ample water store is fresh, and much of that is threatened by pollution. “By 2025, about 3.4 billion people will live in regions that are defined by the UN as water-scarce.”

While much of the future of universal water depends on political and social activity, technological advances in three major areas will be critical for the hydrological future: desalination of seawater or brackish groundwater, purification of water containing chemical or biological contaminants, and conservation to cut demand.

Foresight studies by both the US and UK from years and years ago pointed out this was coming. Have we seen any moves to react to this? (Other than moves to privatise water?)

And just for some coolness to finish on: screensaver that connects you to one of 400 surveillance cameras somewhere in the world in realtime

« Previous Page