the jellyfish that need not die

An ‘immortal’ jellyfish is swarming through the world’s oceans, according to scientists.

Turritopsis Nutricula is technically known as a hydrozoan and is the only known animal that is capable of reverting completely to its younger self.

It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation.

Scientists believe the cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal

Luckily it is only 5mm…

Oh well, I guess a few zillion will be slaughtered by pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies trying to patent the secret of eternal youth.

(via Warren Ellis)

enter the flux

Gonna be crashing out Island Bay way for a week, going hard on tidying up the draft, then heading to Kiwiburn, possibly early to help with set up. In many ways feel like figuring out what next can wait til after the burn since nothing quite seems to be flowing…

Whee.

Dunno how online I will be for a while.

This has been a good space to be in.

in brief

Idle Faction is/are/were AWESOME.

Hammered.

Life is chaos. All is well..

right here, right now

Michael Ventura is still the best working writer in America. Period.

Obama’s presidency appeals to our cinema-oriented sense of story: An exceptionally extraordinary man comes out of nowhere and takes power in a dangerously extraordinary time. That cinematic aura is part of what got him elected. He is that man, and this is that time, but we’d best remember that this ain’t no movie. We need to be a citizenry, not an audience.

We wanted change? We’ve already gotten more change than anyone sufficiently comprehends. Consider 2008 as it becomes 2009. Barack Obama is an urbane Northern black man elected with roughly the same white votes as Bill Clinton, a charming Southern white man … at the very moment right-wing Republicans quasi-socialized U.S. housing, insurance, and banking … just three months after Russia successfully invaded a U.S. ally (Georgia) while suffering no consequences. Those events together constitute a shattering of economic, geopolitical, and social paradigms unique in history. Add the rising might of China, India, and Brazil; the maturation of the European Union (countries that have bloodied one another for centuries acting peacefully in concert); the empowerment of Western women; and the social acceptance, throughout the West, of homosexuality and endless varieties of gender-bending. Throw in the deadly wild card of stateless entities effectively employing violence for political effect the world over. Spike all that with the connectivity of the Internet, the inexorability of climate change, and the euro now an effective competitor with the dollar. Stir it all into the same chili pot, and you have a world no one wanted and few imagined, a world surreal yet unavoidably real, brave or not, that every day races ahead of institutions created to govern a tamer world that is no more.

That is what President Obama faces. A world rearranged, a world in drastic transformation, a world in which no one can be certain of the meaning, force, or value of any of its ferociously contesting elements. Humanity, as a species, is shaken to its core. In such a crisis, “optimism” and “pessimism” are equally vacuous poses. In such a world, “negative” and “positive” are merely two sides of an eight-sided box. In such a world, no one knows what to do, and everyone must try – try our best for our own good no less than for the good of our neighbors, remembering, as Jesus most specifically taught, that even our enemy is our neighbor. The one inescapable fact, deniable by no one, is that we are all in this together. The other inescapable fact, equally undeniable, is that we’re each in this alone. Upon the paradox of these clashing facts – clashing yet blending, too – does our fate depend, all and every one of us.

When life gives you lemons

make gin and tonics.

Iron Maiden defeats the Government

Or, rather, I was excused from Jury Service ‘cos I’m going to see Iron Maiden in Auckland.

\m/


Auckland Fucking City
is reaching new heights of hilarity and depravity each week. The current issue features stuff I don’t even want to click on. Seriously recommended.

If you haven’t been reading, the interview with Brooke the Red Bull girl from issue five is an astounding piece of journalism.

And this weeks interview is pretty much indescribable but is the funniest thing I have read this year.

yup

water

Apparently there is a public meeting on 2pm Sunday at Newtown Hall about Wellington City Council plans to charge for water.

I know this via txt, so have no more information. However, in general, I am incredibly against moves to charge for or privatise water. Water is a public good, the only necessity of human life. It falls from the fucking sky, and the infrastructure is already in place. Rates already cover maintenance etc. There is no justification for charging by use.

Yes, water conservation is a good idea. Yes, we need to adopt sustainable living practices. But using the market to achieve this behaviour change is stupid and will actually lead to results that are inhuman. Worldwide we are heading into a massive water scarcity issue. By 2025, about 3.4 billion people will live in regions that are defined by the UN as water-scarce. Ten or fifteen years down the track, the results of metering will be horrific, as the price will be going up, and the human cost will not matter to the privatisers. (If you want to know what this will look like, google “water riots”, and find out what life in India, Iran, and other water scarce areas is like now.)

We can choose now whether we have a country in which water is a public good available to everyone, or whether we have a country in which access water is put beyond the reach of the poor.

effective action

Juan Cole has a couple of really interesting posts up at the moment. In them, he argues that street protests are completely ineffective. Beyond a symbolic value, I tend to agree. However, he also puts forward his analysis of how the system works, and thus what effective action actually would be. In a nutshell, this is forming monetary lobby groups to challenge the wealthy/powerful single issue lobby groups currently operating unopposed. He argues that we need to target funding to those who will support our positions so that they can survive in the political environment. The bit that interests me is he takes as his model the fundraising of Obama, MoveOn.org, etc – open source, net based, lots of little contributions from real people to match single large contributions from front groups.

This relatively informal quote captures the perspective:

The US Senate and the US House of Representatives are not afraid of street protests in San Francisco. And why should they be? What sort of threat is it to them, that we say if they don’t change their legislation we will . . . walk in the street? Their response would be, “Make sure you have comfortable shoes; now, I have to see this nice lobbyist in my office in a thousand dollar suit and alligator shoes who has an enormous check for my current political campaign.”

The representative would say to us, “I want to be reelected. You cannot stop that by walking in the street, nor can you help me win by doing so. This televangelist from an Israel lobby, in contrast, is going to help me buy loads of television commercials dissing my opponents in the next election. And, if I don’t help the gentleman out, he’s threatening to give the money instead to my rival and unseat me. So you’ll forgive me if I turn my back on you and wish you well with your, uh, walking. But I’ve got an election to win, rather than to lose, and you are irrelevant to that task.”

His case study/prompt is the Israel lobby, and his numbers come from the American setting, but yeah, anyone interested in this area should check these posts out. (Here are links to the first post, and the followup.)

The point is, these things don’t exist, but they could easily exist.

time flies

or something. Time definitely moves in mysterious ways.

Anyhow. A year ago today my brother died.

Far out.

The changes from that event are still manifesting in my life. If anything, there has been a holding pattern in some areas, while I wrote the non-fiction book, with a body of the threatened changes only now imminent.

This life thing continues to be strange.

Hopefully murder and riots ain't the harbinger of the new year

Yeah, so even not paying attention to news, the moose is aware of the Oakland riots, and the murder by police which set them off. Which, due to the magical interweb, can be seen below, if you so choose.

(Warning: is basically footage of a dude being executed by cops. Not like unbearable graphic or anything, but, y’know, real.)

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Particularly interesting is the reaction of passengers/witnesses throughout, and immediately afterwards. The swift transition from baying for action to shock and horror.

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I guess the vaguely positive interesting angle out of this is that of participatory panopticon/citizen surveillance – ubiquitous technology has the power to change things – this is one of four different videos taken by members of the public who were present that have surfaced so far, which have largely caused the riots, as there is no need to wait for an official inquiry, people can see for themselves that the action was totally unjustifiable.