Archive | April 4, 2013

The Politics of Eremitism

Meng-hu writes at hermit’s thatch:

The folly of society attempted to change itself and its course using the same contrived tools that brought it to its present precipice is an important lesson for the solitary.

Intrinsic to power and authority are the means of retaining and replicating itself, and these tools cannot be relinquished without self-destruction. Even such a devolution would not last. Some other aspirant to power and control would quickly fill the vacuum. This process could be described as an evolutionary instinct: the instinct of self-preservation and reproduction. Except that we are not speaking of individuals but of social and political institutions, of cultures and circles of power. Hence, the analogy of instincts is not accurate, but the desire for power and the extension and preservation of power is a good description.

The solitary already senses that institutions and organizations are not authentic beings. Indeed, they are abstractions, projections of individuals holding power, extending their power into families, associates, dynasties, cultural institutions, and ultimately into strong political, social, economic institutions, organizations, and structures.

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FBI attempts to explain UFO memo

FBI.gov

I can’t decide which part of this story is more interesting, that the most popular file in the FBI’s Vault is a short memo referencing flying saucers, or that the FBI thinks that some sixty years later they can assuage the frenzy of ufologists and paranormal investigators with hand-waving explanations.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the government has disavowed as opposed to disclosed. But let’s face it, if this one-page memo from 1950 is the lynchpin in the case for government knowledge of extraterrestrials, it’s not a particularly overwhelming indictment. Though addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover from Guy Hottel (then head of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office), it purports second-hand allegations from a redacted informant, and starts with the incredulous tone of ‘so-called flying saucers’ and concludes ‘no further evaluation was attempted.’

Via Yahoo News:

The file, published by the vault in April 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act, has been viewed nearly a million times, the FBI said, in part because media outlets “erroneously reported that the FBI had posted proof of a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico [in 1947] and the recovery of wreckage and alien corpses.”

“A bizarre memo that appears to prove that aliens did land in New Mexico prior to 1950 has been published by the FBI,” the Daily Mail declared in 2011.

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Pink Floyd and Tom Stoppard Celebrate 40 Years of Dark Side

British playwright Tom Stoppard has announced that he’ll be producing a new broadcast for BBC Radio 2. Inspired by and featuring the music from the Pink Floyd classic Dark Side of the Moon, the long-simmering project will hit the airwaves this August -just in time to celebrate the 1973 release’s 40th anniversary.

Here’s what The Guardian has to say:

The play, called Dark Side, was described by Radio 2′s head of music, Jeff Smith, as a “dramatic examination of themes including conflict, greed and madness”.

The project has the blessing of Pink Floyd’s frontman, David Gilmour, who said he had read the script and found it fascinating.

Stoppard, whose plays include Arcadia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, is a long-time Pink Floyd fan. His 2006 play Rock’n’Roll, which also starred Sewell, featured haunting allusions to the band’s founder, the late Syd Barrett, and was described by one critic as a “deeply moving memorial to the great lost leader of British pop”.… Read the rest

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Hallucinated Sheet Music

Vaughan Bell writes at Mind Hacks:

Oliver Sacks has just published an article on ‘Hallucinations of musical notation’ in the neurology journal Brain that recounts eight cases of illusory sheet music escaping into the world.

The article makes the interesting point that the hallucinated musical notation is almost always nonsensical – either unreadable or not describing any listenable music – as described in this case study.

Arthur S., a surgeon and amateur pianist, was losing vision from macular degeneration. In 2007, he started ‘seeing’ musical notation for the first time. Its appearance was extremely realistic, the staves and clefs boldly printed on a white background ‘just like a sheet of real music’, and Dr. S. wondered for a moment whether some part of his brain was now generating his own original music. But when he looked more closely, he realized that the score was unreadable and unplayable. It was inordinately complicated, with four or six staves, impossibly complex chords with six or more notes on a single stem, and horizontal rows of multiple flats and sharps.

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Are Men Doomed To Go Extinct?

The Sydney Morning Herald on evolutionary scientists’ assertion that biological males as we know them are on the way out, due to the inherent flawed nature of the Y chromosome:

The poorly designed Y chromosome that makes men is degrading rapidly and will disappear, even if humans are still around.

Evolutionary geneticist Jenny Graves says that while the process is likely to happen within the next five million years, it could have begun in some isolated groups. Professor Groves, who first made the prediction some years ago, gave a public lecture on the subject for the Australian Academy of Science.

If humans don’t become extinct, new sex-determining genes and chromosomes will evolve, maybe leading to the evolution of new hominid species. “As long as something came along in its stead, we would not even suspect without checking the chromosomes,” she said on Tuesday. This had happened in the Japanese spiny rat, which had survived the loss of its Y.

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Eric Ducharme: Florida’s “Real” Merman

Picture: Eric Ducharme (C)


“Mer-man, dad! MER-MAN!”

Real-lief merman Eric Ducharme says it’s a lifestyle choice.

Via Yahoo:

His love for all things mermen began as a child when, according to his website, his grandparents took him to an underwater theater and a woman in a mermaid costume swam by blowing kisses to the audience; at age six, Ducharme’s father hired two mermaids to swim up to a dock where the boy was eating his birthday cake. When he was 13, Ducharme created his company Mertailor, LLC and sold his own handcrafted tails made from garbage bags and various fabrics. Three years later, he put on his first show, swimming as the mermaid prince in the Weeki Wachee Springs Little Mermaid show. “Eric is obsessed with mermaids,” says his mother Candy Ducharme. “We have our own passions. That’s Eric’s life.”

Keep reading.

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28 Percent Of Americans Believe In Global New World Order Conspiracy

Belief in powerful shape-shifting lizards is also trending. Public Policy Polling has released the results of a telephone survey this past month of 1,247 registered voters which measured belief in various conspiracy theories. Findings include:

• 21% of voters say the US government covered up a UFO crash in Roswell, NM.
• 28% believe a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order, .
• 20% believe there is a link between vaccines and autism.
• 7% think the moon landing was faked.
• 13% think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.
• 14% say the CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in America’s inner cities in the 1980’s.
• 4% say they believe “lizard people” control our societies.
• 51% say a larger conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination.
• 5% believe that Paul McCartney actually died in 1966.

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State Senator Testifies NYPD Commissioner Told Him Police Goal Was To “Instill Fear” In Minorities

Is one purpose of the NYPD’s controversial and wide-ranging “Stop and Frisk” policy to instill entire communities with the feeling of a military occupation? Via Gothamist:

A federal trial challenging the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk is currently underway in federal court in Manhattan, and today a State Senator testified that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly once admitted to him that stop-and-frisk targeted blacks and Hispanics—and that the policy was intended to “instill fear.”

State Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat who is also a former police captain, testified that during a meeting with Kelly in 2010, he complained to the commissioner that stop-and-frisk disproportionally impacted blacks and Hispanics. Adams says Kelly responded that “he targeted or focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that any time they leave their homes they could be targeted by police.” Adams testified that he told Kelly that was illegal.

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