Archive | June 20, 2013

LATEX LOVE: A NSFW JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF SEX DOLLS

ENR_15A very pretty friend of mine had been asked by an admirer if she would be willing to have a sex doll made ofher, a thought she is still considering.  When she told me this, I was astounded that such a thing could be done.  After talking to my friend, I was baited to explore what was really going on with these adult dolls.  Though there are many sex dolls now on the market, with manufacturers and suppliers around the world, the most discriminating buyers of sex dolls want hyper-realism.  It just so happens that the most realistic dolls in the world are made right here in Los Angeles by a man named Matt Krivicke, the founder of Sinthetics.  I reached out to them to setup a tour of their facilities.

In the meantime, I mused about how we look at dolls in general.  Little girls want idealized babies to nurture and care for with perfect features and a life-like feel.  While they know that they are not alive, they certainly draw serious affinity toward them and often cherish them for a lifetime.  Boys also are drawn to the figures of the dominant male type.  In our culture, these concepts are bolstered at every turn.  With this in mind, is it really that surprising that there is an entire subculture of people who enjoy life size dolls?  Some people treat them as a young person would treat their doll, with a sense of companionship, or even with the idea of collecting beautiful things, while others use them as relentlessly wanton sex slaves.

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TI&TB #032 – A Deed Without A Name

The Infinite and the BeyondPodcast: Episode #032 — A Deed Without A Name

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Lee MorganIn the latest episode of The Infinite and the Beyond, we speak with Australian author and teacher, Lee Morgan about her new book A Deed Without A Name: Unearthing the Legacy of Traditional Witchcraft. Lee identifies as a pagan animist – witch and runs a blog titled My Craft and Sullen Art where she identifies herself as a Traditional Witch, non traditional dichotomy-smasher, line-blurrer, bone-singer, folk-healer, head-bender, and sometimes poet. Find her on facebook, as well as at Australian Traditional Witchcraft, and at Anderean Witchcraft.

We hear some awesome music by Swallows from their latest album, “Witching and Divining.” Swallows is an Americana/rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota who has recently released their second full-length album, the roots-oriented Witching & Divining.Read the rest

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Stephen Bond: ‘Why I Am No Longer a Skeptic’

strawman2Writer Stephen Bond’s eloquent rejection of  the skeptic movement is sure to ruffle a few feathers here.  Is he overstating his case and condemning a large group of well-meaning people for the actions of a poorly behaved few? (I’m particularly intrigued by his own dismissive and somewhat patronizing generalization of people who hold minority beliefs as only doing so because they’re powerless and marginalized and need to reject whatever authority has dictated to be an acceptable  belief system.)

What about his suggestion that many of his former colleagues prefer to spend their time reaching for low-hanging fruit instead of taking a swipe at thornier issues? It is important to emphasize that he isn’t rejecting the idea of skepticism, per se, and certainly not reason and science. His fight is what he perceives as dogma rather than the message itself.

Excerpt:

Our political system, education and culture leave a lot of people marginalised, lost, impotent, irrelevant, and made to feel so daily.… Read the rest

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Japanese Scientists Receive Approval To Create Human-Animal Embryos

human-animal embryos

The Japan Times reports on mixing and matching the components of humans and non-human animals:

Proposed experiments with animal-human embryos cleared the first regulatory hurdle Tuesday as Japanese scientists seek permission for tests that could see human organs produced inside the growing body of an animal.

Researchers want to introduce a human stem cell into an animal embryo, to create a so-called chimeric embryo, which they can implant into an animal’s womb.

The hope is that this stem cell will grow into a fully-functioning human organ — a kidney or a liver, for example — as the animal matures. This would mean when the creature is fully grown, the organ could be harvested from the animal and used for transplanting into a person in need.

Unlike in the United States, there is little public opposition to research of this kind, with domestic media coverage overwhelmingly positive, reflecting relatively high levels of scientific literacy in the country.

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Suspected Commander of Nazi SS-led Unit Found Living in Minnesota

michael karkoc

Michael Karkoc, photographed in 1990, is suspected of leading a unit blamed for torching villages filled with women and children. Photo: Chris Polydoroff/AP

via The Guardian

AP investigation alleges Michael Karkoc lied about his role in the second world war when emigrating to the US in 1949

A commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of torching villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the US and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after the second world war, according to evidence uncovered by Associated Press.

Michael Karkoc, 94, told US authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during the war, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by AP through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Mind Viruses, Post-Modernism and the Rise of the Neo-Shaman: Everyone is Sick in the Head

Memetic exorcism?

Ideology_IconAlthough now we tend to associate the word “meme” with image macros, the original intent was to conceptualize why certain ideas – religious, political, moral – spread more quickly than others.

Some personal ideas regarding this is that contagion is dependent upon simplifying complex concepts in as few words as possible, invoking tried and true cultural archetypes, and using charismatic people as initial meme vectors.

Now, we’re all infected with these mind viruses to some extent or the other, but some of them are more destructive than others and not all of us are aware of them. When you’re aware of mind viruses they can be used constructively. For example, “Follow the Golden Rule” or “Save the environment.” In addition, toxic memes can be used as well to inoculate against full infection, much like one can be immunized against the flu by using “dead” viruses. Awareness and consent – and subsequent moderation –  is critical in this process.… Read the rest

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Texas Becomes First State Requiring A Warrant For Email Spying

email spyingI never thought I’d say this, but, has Texas set an example that should be followed on the federal level? Ars Technica reports:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill giving Texans more privacy over their inboxes than anywhere else in the United States.

On Friday, Perry signed HB 2268, effective immediately. The law shields residents of the Lone Star State from snooping by state and local law enforcement without a warrant. The bill’s e-mail amendment was written by Jonathan Stickland, a 29-year-old Republican who represents an area between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Under the much-maligned 1986-era Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), federal law enforcement agencies are only required to get a warrant to access recent e-mails before they are opened by the recipient. As we’ve noted many times before, there are no such provisions in federal law once the e-mail has been opened or if it has sat in an inbox, unopened, for 180 days.

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Uncle Sam and Corporate Tech: Domestic Partners Raising Digital Big Brother

Thomas Friedman 2005 (5)A terrible formula has taken hold: warfare state + corporate digital power = surveillance state.

“National security” agencies and major tech sectors have teamed up to make Big Brother a reality. “Of the estimated $80 billion the government will spend on intelligence this year, most is spent on private contractors,” the New York Times noted. The synergy is great for war-crazed snoops in Washington and profit-crazed moguls in Silicon Valley, but poisonous for civil liberties and democracy.

“Much of the coverage of the NSA spying scandal has underplayed crucial context: The capacity of the government to engage in constant surreptitious monitoring of all civilians has been greatly enhanced by the commercialization of the Internet,” media analyst Robert McChesney pointed out this week.

Overall, he said, “the commercialized Internet, far from producing competition, has generated the greatest wave of monopoly in the history of capitalism.” And the concentration of online digital power is, to put it mildly, user-friendly for the surveillance state.… Read the rest

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