A Man of Fantasies: Casanova the Novelist

The autobiography of Giacomo Casanova, many-faced man of mystery and otherworldly charm, reads like an erotic fantasy. Each affair and adventure is so bawdy and unbelievable that one wonders whether Casanova’s entire life was one rompish fairytale in the style of The Arabian Nights or The Decameron. Casanova sets the tone of his memoir with the a story of his nighttime gondola journey to the island of Murano on the outskirts of Venice. Casanova’s grandmother decides to take the eight-year old to see a witch in order to heal his incessant nosebleeds. After receiving her payment, the woman locks him in a box and initiates a healing ritual:

“after lavishing caresses upon me, takes off my clothes, lays me on the bed, burns some drugs, gathers the smoke in a sheet which she wraps around me, pronounces incantations, takes the sheet off me, and gives me five sugar-plums of a very agreeable taste.Read the rest

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Ultimate Outsider Art: Prisoner Paintings

The eerily compelling tale of the escaped convict manhunt in Upstate New York may be over, but the revelation that Richard Matt used his paintings as currency to help facilitate his escape prompts the New York Times to focus on what may be the ultimate outsider art: prisoner paintings:

The news that Richard W. Matt, the convicted murderer who was killed by the police on Friday after a weekslong manhunt, spent most of his time behind bars painting technically skilled portraits of Julia Roberts, President Obama and fellow inmates’ relatives, and bartering them for preferential treatment, has come as a surprise to many.

Marilyn Monroe by Richard W. Matt. Photo: Heavymetal.com

Marilyn Monroe by Richard W. Matt. Photo: Heavymetal.com

But to those who have spent years teaching art in prisons or making it themselves as inmates, such a trade is a deeply ingrained ritual of incarcerated life. It is practiced informally or as part of established programs by a wide range of prisoners, many of them, like Mr.

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What if your manager’s work could be replaced with an algorithm?

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

John Rice, University of New England and Nigel Martin, Australian National University

As new organisational forms emerge, much managerial administration undertaken by large organisations is being shown to be a waste of time and money. Generally, networked computers can do these tasks far more effectively, fairly and consistently than human managers.

This is changing best practices rapidly, and organisations that do not respond, by reducing administrative overheads, are being left behind by those that do.

One defence of the human manager is her or his capacity for empathy, and yet organisations everywhere are rife with interpersonal strife – bullying, victimisation and low morale. If human managers exist primarily to ensure happier workplaces, they are failing at this basic task.

Are we at the dawn of an age without managers and, if so, could this be a very good thing?

What do managers do, really?

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Some physicists believe we’re living in a giant hologram — and it’s not that far-fetched

I knew it – we’re living in a giant hologram! Well actually the holographic principle as explained at Vox isn’t quite what I had in mind:

Some physicists actually believe that the universe we live in might be a hologram.

Calabi yau formatted.svg

The idea isn’t that the universe is some sort of fake simulation out of The Matrix, but rather that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. It’s called the holographic principle.

The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and much like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. Like the characters on a TV screen, we live on a flat surface that happens to look like it has depth.

It might sound absurd. But if when physicists assume it’s true in their calculations, all sorts of big physics problems — such as the nature of black holes and the reconciling of gravity and quantum mechanics — become much simpler to solve.

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Rajneeshpuram [Free Documentary]

In 1981, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a spiritual leader from India, and thousands of his disciples, set out to build a new city, a utopian community in the desert — Rajneeshpuram — on what had been the Big Muddy Ranch in Eastern Oregon. Thousands of people from around the world gathered here to celebrate life and transform the landscape. But by 1986, they were gone.

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AssaUlt!

Uber Police

Monday

Too damn early…

I’m in the Citizen’s Cab lot and run into Crooks, of last week’s fame – cab driver turned “rideshare” after losing his taxi permit for Paratransit fraud who last Saturday night totaled his sub-prime loan Uber Camry in a very public T-bone collision with a pink mustachioed Lyft “rideshare”.

(Gulp!) I really hope he did not read last week’s blog!

Sack, “Crooks! Waz up, mane! Hey! I heard about that Lyft, um, running the red and you T-boning it. Dude was taken to General in an ambulance, eh? And you went on your own? You ok?”

Crooks, “Ye-ah, I ok. My wife lettin’ me use ‘er Hyundai ’til it all git figur’d owt. Jus’ ‘ere washin’ ‘er cahr.”

I see behind Crooks stands a silver Hyundai SUV all beaded with water, with a suction-cupped phone and “U” signage visible in the windshield, over by the Citizen’s Cab hose and vacuum station… and right next to the new-ish sign acknowledging California’s drought (and increased commercial water bill) that states:

“NO WASHING PERSONAL VEHICLES.… Read the rest

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Why Are Beggars Despised? by George Orwell

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

via Reddit (r/books):

It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary “working” men. They are a race apart–outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men “work,” beggars do not “work”; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not “earn” his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic “earns” his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless respectable people.… Read the rest

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Video allegedly shows UFOs blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere before NASA cuts live feed

Is NASA intentionally tweaking UFOlogists? The claim is that NASA keeps cutting off live video feeds of UFOs, per International Business Times:

UFO seekers are riled up over another alleged instance of NASA cutting their live transmission to keep the “existence of aliens a secret” which has surfaced online via a video claiming to show UFOs blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA ISS feed

According to Sunday Express, the live transmission was coming from the International Space Station when three UFOs slowly come into view (blurred, of course) and then fly out of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The lights leave Earth seconds before the live video feed is allegedly cut by NASA due to a reported “loss of signal”.

Clapway reports that the three UFOs gradually move in what appears to be an ascending path. Then two of the UFOs disappear and when NASA cuts the live feed, the third UFO is still in view.

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Shamans Publish 500-Page Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia

Mayoruna.jpgIf you want to try the shamanic healing methods of Amazonian shamans, you generally have to go to the Amazon and find a shaman. That may change with the publication of a 500-page Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia, reports Acate Amazon:

Deep in the farthest reaches of the Amazon rainforest, the last remaining elder shamans of the Matsés tribe came together from distant villages in a quest to save their ancestral knowledge from the edge of extinction. This meeting concluded over two years work and culminated in the first encyclopedia of indigenous knowledge written by Amazonian tribal shamans ever produced.

On May 16th, after more than two years of work, the leaders of Acaté and the Matsés met to finalize the Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia. This historic meeting was held over a period of five days in the Matsés village of Puerto Allegre on the Rio Yaquerana, one of the most remote villages and the last settlement before the river’s headwaters, a vast territory that contains at least one ‘uncontacted’ tribal group living in voluntary isolation…

The health of Amazonian peoples has always depended on the wisdom of their elders.

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Synchronicity and the Secret of the Co-creator

Sync final

Synchronicity and the Secret of the Co-creator

Synchronicity: is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner [to the observer]. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.

If you believe synchronicity is simply coincidence, then you haven’t read any of the top experts in the field. The famous psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung coined the term synchronicity in the 1920s to reference the alignment of universal forces with a person’s experiences.

These forces have been sought out for centuries in many spiritual traditions as a means of aligning with the “flow.” This usually takes years of disciplined meditation, study, ritual or by other means to navigate this journey toward a harmonic “individuation.” To some the search is inward for the self, yet for others it’s an outward search for spirituality.

My first experience with synchronicity was on March 21st at 3:03am which is the 3rd month, 3rd week, 3rd hour, 3rd minute or 3333, on the equinox and the moment of my birth.… Read the rest

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