Join the Making of Online Courses With Some Dangerous Minds

As previously posted on Disinfo, The Institute of Art and Ideas have started an educational platform called IAI Academy with free online courses from world-leading scholars on the ideas that matter.

The physical version of the IAI Academy, where the courses are filmed in front of a live audience, takes place at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival for philosophy and music. This year’s version runs from 21st to 31st May in Hay-on-Wye in Wales and will add Academy courses on everything from how culture affects mental illness with the president of the World Psychiatric Association Dinesh Bhugra to how AI will change our societies by the Data Editor of the Economist Kenneth Cukier.

All courses from last year’s Academy can be found here, and the full programme for this year’s festival courses here. The festival itself is 11 days of big thinking and music with over 200 world-leading speakers including Lawrence Krauss, Roger Penrose and Paul Krugman, and 270 artists such as Lianne la Havas, Mike Skinner and Rae Morris.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Should libertarians hate the internet? A Nozickian Argument against Social Networks


This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

My title is needlessly provocative, and may ultimately disappoint, but bear with me a moment. I’ve recently been reading Andrew Keen’s book The Internet is not the Answer. It is an interesting, occasionally insightful, but all too often hyperbolic, personalised and repetitive critique of the internet age. I recommend it, albeit in small doses. But this is a digression. I do not wish to give a full review here. Instead, I wish to dwell on one idea that struck me while I read it.

In the fourth chapter of the book, entitled “The Personal Revolution”, Keen launches into a scathing critique of the “Instagram”-generation. He excoriates them for being a selfie-obsessed, narcissistic and attention-seeking generation, increasingly parochial and disengaged from the world. But he reserves his major criticisms for the company itself, which is simply one of the many large-scale internet networks that provides a social space or platform in which we can upload, share and search one another’s content (Google, Facebook and Youtube being the other obvious examples – and yes I know Youtube is owned by Google).… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Weird Relationships

"Rimbaud" by Étienne Carjat - Close-up from Arthur Rimbaud [1872] - foto de Étienne Carjat. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Rimbaud” by Étienne Carjat | Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Most of us, at this point in our lives, have been in some odd relationships. What is weird to one person is different to another of course. We all have different baselines.

Some of us find it odd if our partner doesn’t really get into Christmas, or doesn’t think Breaking Bad is all that good. Others are totally comfortable being in polyamorous, master/slave relationships and using women as furniture. Read more about that here.

Personally I feel more comfortable with weird. I have been extremely close to a woman for years now who is odd — and also rather brilliant. The only people that make me feel uncomfortable are those that have a preconceived notion of what normal is.

With that said, one can go too far, as I certainly have in the past. One can always take things to a place that is a bit dark, and that maybe, just possibly, you need to back away from, to protect your own mental health and those around you.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Bald-headed Idiot-Assholes and the Quest to Identify what Enlightenment Isn’t

Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)

Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)

If you run in certain circles, and if you spend enough time around a certain kind of person (or if you live within hitchhiking distance of  Crestone, CO), you will eventually find yourself in the company of a person who has convinced themselves that they are “enlightened.” For me, I don’t know why, but it happens a lot. I know a lot of enlightened people. I know so many enlightened people I’m almost surprised that their enlightenment hasn’t somehow rubbed off on me through a spiritual osmosis of some kind. WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE?!!!

In reality, though, it’s a good thing that their enlightenment has never infected me. At least, I think it’s a good thing. Most of these enlightened people are fucking incorrigible. They’re stuffy, haughty, self-serious asswipes who are always trying to point out that you suck because you don’t behave in an enlightened way.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Operation Jade Helm 15, Wal-Mart Closures Over ‘Plumbing Issues’ Spark Martial Law Conspiracy Theories

jade helmRemember the recent fuss over Operation Jade Helm? Well now the same "usual suspects" conspiracy theorists are linking it to a spate of closures of Wal-Mart stores due to some vague plumbing issues. The Inquisitr picks up the story:
The right-leaning conspiracy theory blogosphere has come alive once again with conspiracy theory speculations linking recent reports that several Wal-Mart stores have closed across the U.S. with Jade Helm 15 military training exercises scheduled to begin in July in some selected states, including Texas, California, Utah and Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. According to ABC Action News, more than 2,000 Wal-Mart employees nationwide learned on Monday that they were being laid off because their stores were being closed for reasons that WFLA and KSN-TV, both mainstream news sources, admitted were “weird” plumbing issues...
Continue Reading

The Benign Weirdness of Seattle’s Mystery Machine

No, this isn’t some peculiar homage to Scooby Doo. This is something much weirder than some deranged fanboy or candy wielding creepazoid in a cartoon themed van.

Weirder, certainly, but in a curiously benign way. An Operation Mindfuck kind of way.

This tale is all about a slightly sinister soda machine on the streets of Seattle with a ‘Mystery’ button that dispenses random cans of soda pop.



Who is behind it and why remain a mystery, but I’d like to think that some acid addled benevolent prankster or hilariously warped social scientist is behind the conspiracy.

Atlas Obscura has the details:

On the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East, in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood lies the world’s most mysterious soda vending machine. Nobody knows the true history of the rusting machine, which looks like it was spat straight out of the Seventies, but locals continue to plunk down their change and the machine never seems to run out of stock.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Man Who Claims He Just Founded a New Country in Europe

TIME profiles Vit Jedlicka, founder of Liberland, Europe’s newest country (maybe):

A Czech man is claiming to be the president of a new country he founded in Europe.


Vit Jedlicka, a member of the conservative Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic, is the self-appointed president of Liberland, which he says sits on unclaimed terra nullius territory wedged between Serbia and Croatia. The 3 sq. mi. “country,” where taxes are optional and a military is nonexistent, does not “interfere with the territory” of the two states, according to Liberland’s website.

“The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments making their lives unpleasant through the burden of unnecessary restrictions and taxes,” reads a statement announcing the creation of the new country this week. The country’s motto is: “To live and let live.”

Jedlicka, speaking by phone from Prague, told TIME that the effort began as a political stunt to garner media attention.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Activism with Shauna Aura Knight

Down at the Crossroads – Podcast Episode #056

iTunesStitcherDirect DownloadRSS

056_shauna_aura_knight_2Hello and thank you once again for joining me down at the crossroads for some music, magick, and Paganism. Where witches gather for the sabbath, offerings are made, pacts are signed for musical fame and we cross paths with today’s most influential Pagans, occultists, and deep thinkers. I am your bewitching, bald, and no longer congested host Chris Orapello and tonight we meet with author, teacher, and blogger Shauna Aura Knight to discuss activism, how to get involved, and her experiences with being an activist. Shauna and I have a powerful and eye opening discussion as we put our ears to the ground about some hot button issues while I try extremely hard to not sound as congested as I was when I spoke with her. So, please forgive me for how I may sound in this episode.Read the rest

Continue Reading