july mutants

First up, in general, since a few people have asked offline, my feelings about the PRISM and Snowden etc can be summarised as “hmm, donating to the EFF makes a lot of sense.”

this is pretty neat: visualising wi-fi

gross: ads in your skull

How does the ruling class feel when it rules?

Robin’s clearest answer doesn’t come until the volume’s last essay, “Easy to Be Hard.” His argument is straightforward: far from their preferred self-image as the party of law and order, conservative elites relish the disorder and violence of open struggle. Particularly after the casual violence of the organized responses to the various Occupy and austerity protests, this contention may seem like second nature, but Robin pushes his claim even further: conservative elites don’t just enjoy seeing the riot gear deployed now and then, but they believe that they need recurrent doses of violence to avoid folding soggily into decadence or desuetude.

Decent introduction to the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. who is more interesting than most people:

In his quest to dig mankind’s sexual neuroses out by the roots, Reich challenged or broke nearly every taboo of Western civilization, angered almost every establishment force of the time, and died in prison for his efforts. But his influence may be far greater than he is generally given credit for.

Two straight from Nils Gilman/Deviant Globalisation:

CIA is funding a study to investigate whether humans could use geoengineering to stop climate change: http://mojo.ly/1arSmCR
The drugs of war: Heroin in Pakistan more affordable than food http://on.rt.com/tvjtzp

Reading June 2013

Meetings With Remarkable Men – GI Gurdjieff

Gurdjieff was a controversial and idiosyncratic spiritual teacher. This second volume of his works is a mixture of autobiography and teaching stories. Frustrating, bizarre and remarkable. Some pretty wild stories in there. Effectively communicates the strenuous efforts and commitment required on the spiritual path.

Life Is Real Only Then, When I Am – GI Gurdjieff

Third and final of Gurdjieff’s works, sadly incomplete – sadly because much of what he promised to write he never got around to before dying. Deeply intense exposure to the thought processes of a man who, whatever else you might say about him, was not fucking around.

Fuller’s Earth – J Brenneman

Towards the end of his life, visionary genius design scientist (and moose-hero) Buckminster Fuller sat down a few times with three children aged between 10 and 12 and explained his ideas to them and answered their questions. The result is an extraordinary treasure. Mostly he teaches the essence of his geometrical and mathematical ideas (that form the backbone of his technical masterwork Synergetics) in a readily assimilable form. But the Q&A is pretty special. Bucky answering a question like “What do you think the universe is?” is not to be missed. Easily the most accessible exposition of Fuller’s ideas ever, and a very good introduction to the man.

Changeology – John Norcross

Self-help for rationalist materialists who want the security of thirty years of research to back up what they are being told to do. Clear and pretty comprehensive, but adds surprisingly little to the literature on self-change if you are familiar with it; unless, of course, you are a rationalist materialist who wouldn’t go near that stuff, in which case, get this, and be told the same stuff, in a very rigorous and formal fashion.

The First 20 Hours – Joel Kaufmann

Book on how to deconstruct skills and approach learning any new skill fast – in 20 hours, as the title suggests. I felt this was a bit light. Kaufman’s “Personal MBA” is phenomenal, and I preordered this based on that. The true value of this will come in the application of the methods, but it did seem a little lacking… again, it may depend how much of this kind of material is familiar. Hard-core lifehackers will find some tips and tricks. Skim it from the library: all the method is in the first few chapters, the rest is examples.

All Star Superman – Grant Morrison

Nice, I guess. More fun than I remember Superman being, less fun than Morrison often is.

Walking Dead – first 3 trades – Robert Kirkman

The library had the first three trade paperbacks in at once, so I grabbed ’em to see what the fuss is about, even though I don’t give a crap about zombies. Solid, relatively taut, am pretty vague on a lot of the characters.  I can see how this is going to get intense and grinding over time. Returned the first three, and the next five were all in… so we shall see.

Having been reading and skimming a bunch of stuff for various projects.

And in other media, watched Season 3 of Game of Thrones in the space of a few days. \m/