Author Archive | Haystack

Amazon is the Walmart of the Internet

cubicle_farm“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk,” says one Amazon employee. “If you’re a good Amazonian, you become an Amabot,” says another. The New York Times describes the hellish working conditions that Amazon inflicts upon its white-collar staff:

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

Many of the newcomers filing in on Mondays may not be there in a few years. The company’s winners dream up innovations that they roll out to a quarter-billion customers and accrue small fortunes in soaring stock.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Best Four Minutes of Alan Watts

…(minus an intro from the double-rainbow guy), in which you are reminded that “what you are basically — deep, deep down — far, far in — is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.”


Kensho from Aaron Paradox on Vimeo.

Short film dreamt by Aaron Paradox.

Narrated by Alan Watts audio courtesy of alanwatts.org.
Music: “The Way” by Zack Hemsey.
Sound design by Jacob Thomas Czech.
Additional 3D Animations by Mike Winkelmann.
Dreamer’s voice by Paul “Bear” Vasquez.
Visuals and animation by Aaron Paradox.

Kensho poster: https://www.flickr.com/photos/133149322@N02/19264316153/

“This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.”
— Rumi

Youtube version: https://youtu.be/bPJ5AjlPt4M

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Magical Thinking at the Core of the Confederate Flag Hysteria

Kurz & Allison

Historical prints depicting Civil War battles are among the  merchandise currently being removed by Amazon.

That’s right, I’m calling it hysteria — this zealous, self-congratulatory crusade to abolish all representations of the Confederate battle flag, from the Dukes of Hazzard reruns nixed by TV Land, to the books and historical artwork currently being removed from the Amazon catalog. The mass killing in Charleston has reaffirmed the Stars and Bars as an icon of militant white supremacy, and now society is taking a stand:

No longer will we tolerate that which reminds us of the divisions in our society. Our ongoing history of institutional racism will no longer be quite as apparent in department store inventory as it once was. We will browse eBay for iPhone cases without fear of being reminded of just how much racial bigotry is still entrenched in our culture.

We will lead a purely symbolic charge against violence and racism, even if it means empowering the very symbol that we seek to abolish.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Anti-Braker Speaks Out Against NTSB and Big Automotive

woodlawn14

Alternative braking techniques might save countless lives, but will Big Government allow the debate?

Robert Moore Jr. describes the push-back he received when he made a personal decision to remove the brakes from his car:

Guys, I wanted to let you know about a personal decision I recently made. I don’t really feel like discussing it, but I want to put my position out there. Please be respectful. This is a really long post, but please read the whole thing.

I’m taking the brakes off my car. This isn’t a rash decision, so please listen up.

A few weeks ago I saw a car accident – two people went through an intersection at the same time. Both slammed on their brakes at the same time and collided. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

But then it occurred to me – if they had just gone through the intersection, they wouldn’t have collided.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

They’re Really Mad at Seymour Hersh Now

liar liarSeymour Hersh’s investigation into the real events surrounding bin Laden’s death not only makes the government look bad, it also shows-up the news media who have been its patsy for years. Accordingly, their response to Hersh has been eerily reminiscent of what was portrayed in the 2014 film Kill the Messenger. This from the Columbia Journalism Review:

Seymour Hersh has done the public a great service by breathing life into questions surrounding the official narrative of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet instead of trying to build off the details of his story, or to disprove his assertions with additional reporting, journalists have largely attempted to tear down the messenger.

Barrels of ink have been spilled ripping apart Hersh’s character, while barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his claims—even though there’s no doubt that the Obama administration has repeatedly misinformed and misled the public about the incident.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Apparently, Mars One is All a Big Scam

Not Mars, just a rusty car door.

Not Mars, just a rusty car door.

Joseph Roche is an astrophysicist who applied for Mars One on a lark. His experience suggests that the organization is all about making bank on the hype it generates, rather than an earnest attempt to explore space. This from a piece by Elmo Keep at Medium:

As Roche observed the process from an insider’s perspective, his concerns increased. Chief among them: that some leading contenders for the mission had bought their way into that position, and are being encouraged to “donate” any appearance fees back to Mars One — which seemed to him very strange for an outfit that needs billions of dollars to complete its objective.

“When you join the ‘Mars One Community,’ which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points,” Roche explained to me in an email. “You get points for getting through each round of the selection process (but just an arbitrary number of points, not anything to do with ranking), and then the only way to get more points is to buy merchandise from Mars One or to donate money to them.”

“Community members” can redeem points by purchasing merchandise like T-shirts, hoodies, and posters, as well as through gifts and donations: The group also solicits larger investment from its supporters.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Our Government is Violent and Cruel Because We are Violent and Cruel

Police_State_Pittsburgh_G20

Photo by Flickr user katesheets (CC)

“After all the analysis of the normalized dysfunction of democracy in America,” writes David Masciotra at Alternet, “launched with the assumption that the political system fails to represent the will of the people, the question remains: what if it actually does represent the will of the people? That the system is actually succeeding in upholding its representational promise might be the simplest and most probable answer to the mystery of America’s comatose slumber in a nightmare of torment for the oppressed and treasures for the oppressors.”

It seems police can get away with anything: choking men who have surrendered; shooting unarmed teens; knocking pregnant women to the ground. While the issues involving race, civil rights and the relationship between law enforcement and communities are essential for examination and correction, few are talking about how all of this fits into the larger pattern of America’s cultural decline and decay.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

What do Occupy and the Tea Party have in Common? More than you Might Think.

In an article entitled “The Six Principles of the New Populism (and the Establishment’s Nightmare)” Robert Reich outlines six points of agreement between “Occupy” leftists and the “Tea Party” right:

[Editor’s note: We only took the first few sentences of each point, follow the link to read the entire article.]

1. Cut the biggest Wall Street banks down to a size where they’re no longer too big to fail. Left populists have been advocating this since the Street’s bailout now they’re being joined by populists on the right.

2. Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, separating investment from commercial banking and thereby preventing companies from gambling with their depositors’ money. Elizabeth Warren has introduced such legislation, and John McCain co-sponsored it. Tea Partiers are strongly supportive, and critical of establishment Republicans for not getting behind it.

3. End corporate welfare – including subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, big pharma, Wall Street, and the Ex-Im Bank.… Read the rest

Continue Reading