Author Archive | Desna Destri

In Search of Disorganised Religion

linknotbrokenVia The Spectator:

Theo Hobson attends Grace, an alternative Christian service in west London, and finds it arty, irreverent, postmodern — and full of people seeking a new way to worship

I went to church last weekend. Sort of. It was a Saturday evening service run by a group of laypeople in an Anglican church in Ealing. It’s a monthly event called Grace. What sort of people attend? Quite trendy ones. People who are a bit too trendy for normal church. The sort who know how to link a computer up to sound and visual equipment. No grannies, no kids.

Soft club music pulsed as I entered, and a big screen showed an art installation: furniture made of neon strips. In the middle of the pewless nave were a couple of sofas, a table and chairs, and a fridge; round the edges were some beanbags. I sat on one. This month’s theme was Home.

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Pets – The New Kids

traveling-with-pets-in-a-carGinger Strand writes for Orion Magazine on the modern day pet industry at Global Pet Expo 2007:

As you glide down over central Florida into Orlando International Airport, the Earth glitters up at you as if strewn with diamonds. The lush, landscaped grounds of the airport are ringed, like much of the Sunshine State, with a circlet of man-made lakes.“All this was once swamp,” the driver of the Mears private van—Florida’s idea of mass transit—tells me. We pass a sign for Boggy Creek Road. “They built canals and retention ponds to drain it and built the airport on top.” We pass a rectangular lake crisscrossed with overhead tracks from which cables tow waterskiers in mechanized circuits. We pass a billboard announcing Shamu’s All-New Show. Traffic slows to a crawl because this is the highway to Disneyland, and the driver switches to unfurling a fairly comprehensive, if unattributed, recap of An Inconvenient Truth.

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The Paradox of Fairness

Jenny Diski writes for the New Statesman:

justiceDesert, the noun deriving from the verb “to deserve”, appears to be an essential human dynamic. It is at least a central anxiety that provides the plot for so many novels and films that depend on our sense that there is or should be such a thing. Like Kafka and Poe, Hitchcock repeatedly returns to the individual who is singled out, wrongly accused, an innocent suffering an injustice. Yet consider Montgomery Clift’s priest in I Confess, Henry Fonda in The Wrong Man, Blaney, the real killer’s friend played by Jon Finch in Frenzy, James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much and Cary Grant in North by Northwest; none of them is – or could be according to Hitchcock’s Catholic upbringing – truly innocent of everything, and often their moral failings give some cause for the suspicion that falls on them.

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Computers That Can’t Fail

legofthesixtiesVia PCWorld:

When you see reports about the small, remote-controlled drones that the military uses to gather intelligence and target enemies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it’s easy to assume that all our weaponry is equally modern. Some significant weapons systems that our military depends on today, though, run on technology that dates back, in some instances, to the Vietnam War era.

The U.S. Navy’s ship-based radar systems and Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment, which maintains that country’s nuclear warheads, use PDP minicomputers manufactured in the 1970s by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Another user of the PDP is Airbus, the French jetliner manufacturer.

The PDP was among the second wave of mainframes called minicomputers because they were only the size of a couple of refrigerators instead of big enough to fill a room.

The F-15 and F-18 fighters, the Hawk missile systems, parts of the U.S. Navy submarine fleet, and Navy fighter test systems on aircraft carriers use DEC’s VAX minicomputers from the 1980s for various purposes, according to Lynda Jones of The Logical Company in Cottage Grove, Oregon, which helps keep these antiquated systems functioning.

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Kalifornian Exile, Dark Yogi and Dreaded Anomaly

goagildecorIn recent years ‘Darkpsy’ has proliferated through psychedelic trance like Yersinia pestis, with a clear goal in mind; the destruction of everything you think you are. Graham St John from the University of Queensland sensitively delivers his observations of the phenomenon, and the role of Goa Gil during it’s ichorous ascension to pandemic status, on Dancecult.net. While Gil’s methods and motives have been met with considerable criticism, he remains a potent and influential figure throughout the scene.

Angel’s Camp, near Santa Cruz, California, 11–12 October 2006.

It’s well past midnight, as psychedelic savants and nouveau freaks amass under redwoods. Overhead, the cosmos is vast and the stars are blinking back on those gathered in the clearing, soon to be buried under an avalanche of “killah” bass-patterns. Goa Gil is wreaking his usual havoc on those who’ve arrived to celebrate his 55th birthday. The “Godfather of trance” performs within a makeshift shrine, pushing darkpsy from a pair of Sony TCD-D8 DAT Walkmans,1 under Tibetan flags, over a statue of Ganesh with a Buddha decorated in plastic lotus flowers seated nearby.

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Poetic Re-Evolution: Reality Sandwich Interviews Jodorowsky and Montadon

Sophie Pinchetti interviews filmmaker and artist Alejandro Jodorowsky and his wife and artist Pascale Montandon for Reality Sandwich (originally from the magazine, THE THIRD EYE):

Created by four hands, a third artist is born. The artistic communion, first drawn by Jodorowsky and then infused with colour by Montandon, levitates between fantasy, tragedy, humor and spirituality — all of which recall the essence of mysticism and symbolic theatrics in Jodorowsky’s films.
Sophie Pinchetti:  Your collaborative work seems to converge around spirituality. Where does your interest come from? 

Alejandro Jodorowsky: Spirituality is abstract. True art leads you to the discovery of your spirit. It’s not the quest, it’s the application, the practice of spirituality.

Pascale Montandon: In the same way I was simply going to say that it is a way of being in the world, a way of living. And obviously when you do an artistic work, the material of work is oneself.

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Who Reigns Supreme?

I’ve been listening to more music recently than I have reading new things, and even though I first heard this track a few years ago, it’s one I find myself often revisiting… cautiously. As time has passed, I have found with each listen it’s relevancy has increased, and it begs some uncomfortable and rarely asked questions.

Delivered with elegance and poignancy, this is  Recoil’s “Supreme”.

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The Moral Calculi of Sociopathy

Authored by Venkat of Ribbonfarm:

 This is the question of good and evil. For those of you who want the elevator-pitch version, the short position is this: my entire thesis is amoral; there are good and evil sociopaths; more sociopaths is a good thing; the clueless and losers are exactly as likely to engage in evil behaviors as sociopaths. Details follow. Keep in mind that this is a very rough sketch, and a sidebar to the main series that I really don’t want to pursue too far.

The Word “Sociopath”

A large number of commenters have objected to this term, and it has also led to some unnecessary confusion. Néant Humain, in a precise comment, pointed out that my use of the term does not square with the clinical use (actually, the term is no longer considered clinically precise at all, and has been replaced by phrases like “antisocial personality disorder”).

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A Science In Search Of A Subject

"Water's Early Journey in a Solar System" (Artist Rendition)

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ever wondered if we are not alone in the universe?

As this truly nerdgasmic crash-course by Robert A. Freitas Jr speculates, the scope for alien life could be positively astronomical.  Via xenology.info:

Xenology is the study of all aspects of life, intelligence, and civilization indigenous to environments other than Earth. Over the last three decades xenology has advanced rapidly on many fronts. Biochemists have studied the origin of life on this planet, knowing that if they can duplicate the major early steps of “abiogenesis” in the laboratory then the evolution of alien life is a very likely – maybe inevitable – event. NASA biologists have spent much time developing sophisticated life detection instruments such as the miniature biochemical automated test laboratories carried to Mars by Viking in 1976. There is growing interest in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, in which radio scientists look for powerful transmissions or leakage radiation from advanced extraterrestrial supercivilizations.

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