The Cthulhu-based Cryptocurrency

off_240x240What might HP Lovecraft have made of his nightmarish Cthulhu character being used in a trendy cyptocurrency, “Cthulhu Offerings,” one wonders… From The Verge:

Written in the voodoo cultspeak of futurist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” the creepy Cthulhu Offerings may be the most confusing digital currency yet.

“The time draws near, the return of The Great Old One is upon us,” writes the developer. “Join us in our ritual.”

The currency was announced in September by a user, Blazr2, on the cryptocurrency forum Bitcointalk. Its growth has been slow but steady since then. The “ritual” refers to the distribution of coins, or OFF. Like other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, users can run the OFF client to slowly generate more coins. The algorithm will adjust the difficulty of mining once half all coins are generated in order to pace the release of coins.

It also appears that OFF is designed to randomly reward one user with a windfall:

During the last five days, the ‘Tharanak shagg,’ or “promise of dreamland,” the ritual reaches final pitch and the daily special blocks are highly increased.

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Chomsky on America’s Increasingly Corporatized University System

Being a graduate of a large educational institution this hits close to home. It also outlines why I eventually decided to forego my plans to work within academia.

via Alternet:

On hiring faculty off the tenure track

That’s part of the business model. It’s the same as hiring temps in industry or what they call “associates” at Wal-Mart, employees that aren’t owed benefits. It’s a part of a  corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line.

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Set Your Good Vibe Blasters on High! Liam Wilson of Dillinger Escape Plan Talks Yoga, Meditation, Psychedelics and More on Midwest Real.

Via Midwest Real

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Yoga, meditation, float tanks, psychedelics, philosophy, creativity, freedom nuggets and shit on the water slide of life.

Liam Wilson Liam Wilson is best known for playing bass in the spastic, technical, incredible progressive metal mainstay, Dillinger Escape Plan. If you’re a fan of heavy music and you somehow haven’t heard of them over the course of the last 15 or so years, I don’t even know what to say.

For those in the “not so much into metal” camp, fear not! This man is likely the opposite of what comes to mind when you imagine a guy with millions of head bangs under his belt. He’s a voracious reader, a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, a yogi, a psychonaut, a student of many philosophies, and a bunch of other things I can guarantee he’d never be comfortable calling himself.

We spent very little time hovering around the surface in this conversation. In fact, I think Liam might have been a little bit excited to be on a show that welcomes fare beyond the discussion of his bass rig (which is glorious, by the way).… Read the rest

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Artist Creates Stunning Sculptures From Beehives

I was looking for articles about honeybees to post on True Mind’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I came across the artwork of beekeeper Ren Ri. It’s stunning and I thought that the Disinfo community might be interested as well. He creates everything out of bits of beehive and beeswax.

via Alessandro De Toni Cool Hunting:

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Artist Ren Ri (who trained at Tsinghua Academy of Art and Saint Petersburg State University in Russia) creates art that is influenced by his childhood—one that occurred amongst the beautiful scenery of Wuhan’s lush vegetation. “Back then, I was spending a lot of time observing animals and plants; my passion for moulding was parallel to an interest for insect ethology,” he recalls. Thus came the inspiration for his project “Yuansu II” which is crafted from the extraordinary medium of beeswax.

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The artist’s unconventional medium is fascinating and has a life of its own—adding character and volatility to each piece of art.

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Google’s New Moonshot Project: the Human Body

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A brave new world beckons as Google boldly goes towards a new frontier… From the Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. has embarked on what may be its most ambitious and difficult science project ever: a quest inside the human body.

Called Baseline Study, the project will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people—and later thousands more—to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be.

The early-stage project is run by Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who pioneered cheap, high-volume tests for HIV in blood-plasma donations.

Dr. Conrad joined Google X—the company’s research arm—in March 2013, and he has built a team of about 70-to-100 experts from fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.

Other mass medical and genomics studies exist. But Baseline will amass a much larger and broader set of new data. The hope is that this will help researchers detect killers such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, pushing medicine more toward prevention rather than the treatment of illness.

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Fecal Transplants Let Packrats Eat Poison

Neotoma_cinerea_(bushy_tailed_woodrat)

Bushy tailed North American woodrat.

Eating shit could literally save your life!*

Via ScienceDaily:

Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found.

The new study confirms what biologists long have suspected: bacteria in the gut — and not just liver enzymes — are “crucial in allowing herbivores to feed on toxic plants,” says biologist Kevin Kohl, a postdoctoral researcher and first author of the paper published online today in the journal Ecology Letters.

The study of woodrats, also known as packrats, raises two concerns, according to Kohl and the study’s senior author, Denise Dearing, a professor and chair of biology:

  1. Endangered species may lose diversity of their gut microbes when they are bred in captivity. When they are released to the wild, does that leave them unable to consume toxic plants that once were on their menu?
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Dinesh D’Souza’s Fantastic Summer Leads To Fall

Dinesh DSouza speaking at CPAC 2012 croppedHow Dinesh D’Souza became Fox News’s conservative poster boy is still something of a mystery to me, but regardless the Republican Right is championing D’Souza more than ever as his fantastic summer leads into the Fall, when he may go to prison. Profile in the New York Times:

Nobody wants the summer to end, but especially not Dinesh D’Souza.

In June, he published, “America: Imagine a World Without Her,” which spent a week as the No. 1 book on Amazon, and is currently No. 2 on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list.

In July, he released a companion film, which has grossed more than $12 million, already roughly the same as the total of such well-known documentaries as “Hoop Dreams” and “Roger & Me,” counting inflation.

But in September, he will stand before a judge in a Manhattan courtroom and face a possible prison term after pleading guilty earlier this year to a violation of campaign-finance laws.

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Man Goes to Hospital for Circumcision, Wakes Up to Penis Amputated

 Circumcision knive, Dem. Rep. of the Congo, workshop of the Mangbetu region; wood, iron; late 19th/early 20th century

Circumcision knive, Dem. Rep. of the Congo, workshop of the Mangbetu region; wood, iron; late 19th/early 20th century

Yikes!

via Al.com:

The lawsuit says the patient was receiving medical treatment from a doctor at Urology Centers of Alabama. Another doctor performed the surgical procedure in June. The lawsuit does not give an exact date.

“When the plaintiff … awoke from his aforesaid surgical procedure, his penis was amputated,” according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs “never gave consent for the complete or partial amputation of (his) penis.”

Efforts Tuesday evening to reach the man’s attorney, John P. Graves, were unsuccessful.

Kate DeWitt Darden, vice president of marketing and communications at Baptist Health System, said they do not comment on who might or might not have been a patient and generally do not comment on pending litigation.

Officials with Urology Centers of Alabama had not immediately responded to a request for comment prior to publication of this story.

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How The NSA hacks your devices

NSA-octopusFrom The Register:

“It’s not as bad as you thought – it’s much worse.”

A leaked NSA cyber-arms catalog has shed light on the technologies US and UK spies use to infiltrate and remotely control PCs, routers, firewalls, phones and software from some of the biggest names in IT.

The exploits, often delivered via the web, provide clandestine backdoor access across networks, allowing the intelligence services to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks that conventional security software has no chance of stopping.

And if that fails, agents can simply intercept your hardware deliveries from Amazon to install hidden gadgets that rat you out via radio communications.

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Columbus-ing Around: Columbus, The Borg, and the Great White Devil

The BorgA challenging new post over at Modern Mythology asks what we are actually talking about, when we talk about race:

History is portrayed as a science. And yet popular history remains as much subject to emotion as reason. History may be consciously rewritten; much more often, it simply evolves. … The present is a consequence of the past. But the past is an invention of the present. (Empires Apart.)

This concept of whiteness as function rather than people or culture is presented surprisingly clearly in the character of the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation. They are a perfect metaphor for whiteness not as race but as force of hegemonic appropriation, as you can see in the first episode they appear in, “Q-Who?”

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