Archive | September 2, 2013

New Fukushima Leak Patched with Plastic Tape, Radiation Readings Soar

Pic: Accuweather (C)

Pic: Accuweather (C)

Why hasn’t the Invisible Hand of the Market fixed this yet?  Via Common Dreams:

Radiated water leaking from tanks at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is 18 times more dangerous than had been previously reported.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which owns the Dai-Ichi Fukushima plant, originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was 100 millisieverts an hour.

Now, the company admits, the testing equipment used in the previously announced August 22nd testing could only read measurements of up to a maximum of 100 millisieverts.

Saturday’s test, using a more accurate device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour, a level that Reuters says is “enough to kill an exposed person in four hours.”

In addition, TEPCO announced Sunday that it has discovered a leak on another pipe emitting radiation levels of 230 millisieverts an hour. TEPCO said it halted the leak from a pipe connecting two water storage tanks by patching it with plastic tape just hours after stumbling upon the potentially lethal radioactive hot spot.

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OFF Pocket Takes Your Phone Off the Grid (Sorry NSA)

off pocketI imagine every disinfonaut will be wanting one of these… Josh Dzieza reports on the OFF Pocket for Daily Beast:

Haute couture usually makes you stand out, but Adam Harvey and Johanna Bloomfield imagine a future where it can help you hide.

The newest item designed by Harvey, an artist with a background in mechanical engineering, and Bloomfield, a fashion designer, is called OFF Pocket, a metallic-fiber pouch designed to block all wireless signals to your phone. Bloomfield calls it a “privacy accessory.” For the next month, it will sit alongside other examples of counter surveillance chic from Harvey’s company, PRVCM, in a “privacy gift shop” at New York’s New Museum.

Harvey and Bloomfield’s first collaborative project, Stealth Wear, a line of futuristic looking streetwear that shields the wearer from thermal imaging cameras, debuted this January at the fashion boutique Primitive London. Stealth Wear was more of a “provocation” than a consumer fashion line, Harvey says, designed to make people aware of how invasive thermal imaging could be, and the sort of counter-measures that would be required to block it.

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Does Information Overload Cost The United States A Trillion Dollars Per Year?

information overload

Will contemporary society’s ever-growing, never-ending stream of information gradually paralyze and destroy us all? In 2008 the IT consulting firm Basex claimed this as a conservative estimate, with the figure presumably rising since then:

According to our latest research Information Overload costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $900 billion per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation. This is a fairly conservative number and reflects the loss of 25% of the knowledge worker’s day to the problem. The total could be as high as $1 trillion.

Information overload describes an excess of information that results in the loss of ability to make decisions, process information, and prioritize tasks. It is nothing new – it was very much on the minds of thought leaders centuries ago, including Roger Bacon, Samuel Johnson, and Konrad Geßner whose 1545 Bibliotheca universalis warned of the “confusing and harmful abundance of books” and promulgated strategies for coping with the overload of information.

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DragonCon 2013 Exclusive: The Transmedia of Tomorrow

Exclusive: DragonCon 2013 – The Transmedia of Tomorrow: The Art That Lies To Tell The Truth

01-dragonconlogoFiction and non-fiction, fact and myth, often aren’t opposites.

These lines blend a little more every day. When these things play such a crucial role in our news as well as entertainment media, and in a world where social media platforms are often at the front lines of cultural revolutions, it is increasingly necessary that these things are understood. Join us for a discussion on this topic, along with links to a variety of articles that expand upon and support the limited amount that can be discussed in a 45 minute panel.

This three person panel is a truncated transcript of the initial Dragon*Con discussion, moderated by David Metcalfe. The other two participants were transmedia artist James Curcio and Damien Williams, who you may have caught at one of many other panels at Dragon*Con this year including “How To Be a Comics Scholar,” “Devouring Selfhood: Zombies In Narrative,” “Gender, Race, and Identities in Comics,” and many others.Read the rest

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Obama Will Launch a Huge Propaganda Blitz – and May Attack Syria Even If He Loses the Vote in Congress

Barack Obama meets Combatant Commanders in the Cabinet RoomGrassroots pressure has forced President Obama to seek approval from Congress for an attack on Syria. But Obama is hell-bent on ordering a missile assault on that country, and he has two very important aces in the hole.

The administration is about to launch a ferocious propaganda blitz that will engulf a wide range of U.S. media. And as a fallback, the president is reserving the option of attacking Syria no matter what Congress does.

Until Obama’s surprise announcement Saturday that he will formally ask Congress for authorization of military action against Syria, the impassioned pitches from top U.S. officials in late August seemed to be closing arguments before cruise missiles would hit Syrian targets. But the pre-bombing hyper spin has just gotten started.

The official appeals for making war on yet another country will be ferocious. Virtually all the stops will be pulled out; all kinds of media will be targeted; every kind of convoluted argument will be employed.… Read the rest

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Is The Western Media Promoting War on Syria? Are All The Facts in? Does It Matter?

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile -cropAs the United States threatens to target Syria militarily, how can we expect the military strikes to be covered?

First, there are very few US or western journalists stationed in Syria,  and many of the citizen reporters on the ground have become casualties, and/or have been intimidated and forced to leave.

That assures poor coverage of  those who will be hurt or become predictable and disposable “collateral damage.”

A front page New York Times article on Friday reporting on Syria, carries no dateline and was filed from Beirut. The Times explains that mainstream journalists cannot work freely in Syria, and contends that social media offers better coverage.

The paper quotes Absi Smesem, Syrian journalist, as saying,

“There are no objective sources of information on either side, neither with the regime nor the rebels .We need to get out of this Facebook phase, where all we do is whine and complain about the regime.”

Writing on Salon, in a piece picked up by Mediachannel.org, Patrick L Smith indicts western “lapdog media,”  asking,

“When was it that journalists began thinking of themselves as national security operatives?

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Plastic Surgery To Create A Permanent Smile Debuts In South Korea

permanent smileI’m guessing this terrifying procedure is nonetheless cheaper than a lifetime on antidepressants. The Atlantic reports:

South Korea has helped paved the way for double-eyelid surgeries, dimple injections, calf reductions and even double-jaw surgery, to name a few. Now South Korean plastic surgeons are taking on surgery that alters the appearance of emotion. A new technique called “Smile Lipt” (whose name combines “lip” with “lift”) carves a permanent smile – the procedure turns up the corners of the mouth.

The procedure is increasingly popular among men and women in their 20s and 30s—especially flight attendants, consultants and others in industries aiming to offer service with a smile. The Seoul-based Aone Plastic Surgery has patented the procedure. For $2,000, it now offers patients the chance to be thus transformed:

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