cult of economics reaches limits of physics

This is pretty wonderfully mad: black holes in the bazaar.

The excessive speeds being sought to enable financial transactions at every tinier fractions of a second for trading advantage are approaching a level where fluctuations from gravity and other limits of physics may appear.

(For context on this, see this TED talk about algorythms being used to run trade and reshape the world.)



mutants mutants everywhere


Billionaire Google Founders and James Cameron investing in space mining company.

This was news when I first read it. Oh well. Ho ho ho. Mostly keeping it in to note: Anyone else read Stephen Donaldson’s Gap series? 😉 Shades of the UMC. Can you see these dudes as the Dragon?

Is Russia building super weird weapons?. (And even if it is just propaganda, as Time hilariously makes it out to be without ever questioning what it reports from its own government sources, is this any weirder than the shit DARPA claims to be doing anyway?)

101 spectacular nonfiction stories. This is a pretty awesome curation. Really worth trawling through.

The rape of men as weapon of war. Startling and disturbing.

Dau sounds like the most insane way to make a movie ever. Shooting for several years now in an enclosed city-set recreating a Stalin era world. Just berserk. Assuming it is real.

Life is short. Cute, feel good.

EO Wilson on the origins of the arts. Interesting insight from sociobiological perspective.

Fun and interesting set of definitions of science from smart people.


And also, if you have not seen episode one of Black Mirror (it is a standalone thing) and don’t know about it, then seriously acquire a copy and watch it, without spoilers if at all possible.The single best piece of television I have seen in years. Extraordinary.


sunday mutants 14/4/12


* 48 psychological facts about yourself worth knowing

definitely worth the read. far from the usual sort of guff.

* Chris23 summarises the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2011.

well worth reading. short clear but excellent summary of where shit is at, current pressure points in the world system, etc.

* Reality as failed state

interesting analysis of the disconnect between different actors in the world

* old maps online

the largest collection of old maps online

* a downloadable archive of all of the amazing Grey Lodge online magazine

Grey Lodge was one of the first and greatest sources of underground, avant garde, occult culture. some absolute gems in their collection.

* future of publishing news: freemium, a fascinating funding model for writing from China

basically serialised online fiction. free at first. as it gets more popular, you have to pay. seems to be working for some people.

* BBC reports that implanted wireless devices are hackable by McAfee… ie if you have an insulin pump, it can be turned off, or made to release all its contents at once, by external signals…


And, as a follow-up to the last post on economics, here is a nugget from the awesome Nils Gilman:

Stat of the day: Sustaining a 2.3% growth rate to the year 3500 would require us by then to be capturing the entire energy output of the Sun

Capitalism cannot work.


(lots of todays stuff came from catching up on technoccult and URBEINGRECORDED for the first time in ages)

the most right on, human economics I have seen for a while

AMY GOODMAN: And if you’re teaching young economists, the principles you would teach them, what they’d be?

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: The principles, you know, of an economics which should be are based in five postulates and one fundamental value principle.

One, the economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy.

Two, development is about people and not about objects.

Three, growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.

Four, no economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.

Five, the economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.

And the fundamental value to sustain a new economy should be that no economic interest, under no circumstance, can be above the reverence of life.

(yoinked in full from here)


Full interview with Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef here.

sunday mutants (no fooling edition)


This week, almost by theme…


An unexpected clump of data on prisons:

Analysis of incarceration and death rates (abstract) turns up some weird nuggets :

Black male prisoners, however consistently exhibited lower death rates than black male nonprisoners did.

Cue this tweet from Nils Gilman: “Stat of the day: More black men are disenfranchised today (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than when the 15th Amendment was ratified”

(Oh, and there are now more Americans in jail than there were in Stalin’s gulag archipelago.)



All about information:

* A universe of self-replicating code – Brain food from George Dyson.

* Fascinating short piece with graph revealing that lots of books written in the 20th Century have effectively vanished/no longer available due to being copyrighted: the missing 20th century

* Apparently there’s been an explosion in the number of retractions in scientific journals.


Randomness from around the world:

Chinese wedding with a 6 ferrari dowry and 70 million overall price-tag.

Micro-chip embedded intelligent t-shirts used to track student truancy in Brazil.

(Man school uniforms are going to be fun in the future.)


And a wee dose of utopian future, almost: Free ebook of Lester Brown’s World on the Edge – How to prevent economic and environmental collapse.