Lars von Trier Explains Dogme 95

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Originally posted on The Cinematika.

Lars von Trier turns 59 today and to honor the legendary auteur, Indiewire shared this short documentary about the Dogme 95 movement.

In an effort to take power away from the studios, von Trier founded the movement with Danish director, Thomas Vinterberg, in 1995. The movement “ended” in 2005 and included films from notable filmmakers such as Harmony Korine and Susanne Bier.

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Disdaining ‘the Search for Truth’

Paul R. Pillar writes at Consortiumnews:

It is unusual for a political leader to disavow truth-seeking as explicitly as Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin did when he tried to expunge from the longstanding mission statement of the University of Wisconsin a reference to “the search for truth” being a core purpose of the university.

Walker backed off, but only after public outrage and only with a retraction of his previous retraction that blamed the proposed change on a “drafting error.” The change in the mission statement was one part of a larger proposal by Walker that would slash much of the state’s subsidy of the university system.

The prevailing interpretation about Walker’s moves is that striking blows against the elite intellectuals one finds on the campus of a leading university — and suggesting, as Walker did, that the university could adjust to budget cuts by increasing professors’ work loads — pleases a sector of the Republican primary electorate to which Walker is appealing in seeking a presidential nomination in 2016.

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The Use of DMT in Early Masonic Ritual

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I must say, the concept of DMT ritual being associated with freemasonry or the existence of psychedelic secret societies in the deep south are both topics I was completely unaware of until tipped off by a fellow esoteric writer on FB by the name of PD Newman. Compelling reading, for sure:

What qualifies a Man for the Seventh Order [of Masonry]? A. …the Composition of the Grand Elixir. (Post Boy Exposé, 1723)1

As outlandish as it may sound, allusions to the entheogenic properties of the acacia are commonplace in Masonic literature and various rituals. For, it would appear that the psychoactive nature of acacia was fairly widely known in certain Masonic circles at least up until the late 1700s. However, some time between the mid to late 18th century and the 19th century occult revival, the secrets of acacia, like the true word of a Master Mason, appear to have been lost.… Read the rest

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The Shiite Rambo Takes on ISIS

Abu Azrael, as he is known, is purported to be a legendary commander of the Imam Ali Brigade, an Iranian proxy group fighting in Iraq. He has become a cult figure with Iraqi social media users creating tribute Facebook pages to him and circulating images of Abu Azrael holding axes, waving swords, and abusing the corpses of ISIS fighters.

More information here.

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American Psychological Association Bolstered CIA Torture Program

It’s official: The American Psychological Association helped the US Government create the torture program so brutally rendered at places like Abu Ghraib and depicted so shockingly in the documentary Doctors of the Dark Side. James Risen (yes, that James Risen) reports for the New York Times:

The American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-Sept. 11 war on terror, according to a new report by a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists.

APA Report

The report is the first to examine the association’s role in the interrogation program. It contends, using newly disclosed emails, that the group’s actions to keep psychologists involved in the interrogation program coincided closely with efforts by senior Bush administration officials to salvage the program after the public disclosure in 2004 of graphic photos of prisoner abuse by American military personnel at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

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A Universe of Causes [Interview with Physicist George Ellis]

We assume that effect follows cause. But could this most basic of beliefs be mistaken?

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Mathematician George Ellis made his name focusing on some of the big questions of cosmology and relativity. Along with Stephen Hawking, he co-authored 1973’s The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, which attempted to describe the very foundations of space itself.

More recently, Ellis has been focusing on top-down causation – the process by which higher level organised systems, such as humans, interact with their own component parts. His theories have important repercussions across many fields of research – from consciousness and free will to understanding quantum phenomena. Ellis is also an active Quaker and was a vocal opponent of apartheid during the 1970s and ‘80s.

We spoke to Ellis about his theories, their implications, and the reasons behind certain resistance to these ideas.

What exactly is top-down causation?

A key question for science is whether all causation is from the bottom up only.

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Interview: Why I Played the Cello at a Baghdad Bombsite

Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

Barry Malone writes at Al Jazeera English:

Bombs are, sadly, not unusual in Baghdad. But when a car packed with explosives detonated in the busy Mansour district this week, killing at least 10 people and injuring 27, something very unusual happened.

Karim Wasfi, the renowned conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, turned up as soldiers and police secured the area.

He took out his cello, sat down on a chair, and started to play. Images and video clips of the man some simply call ‘maestro’ quickly went viral, not only on Iraqi social media, but further afield.

Wasfi spoke to Al Jazeera about his decision to play the instrument, about why music and culture are as important as food and water, and about why the Middle East should be living in peace.

Al Jazeera: Why did you go to the site of a car bomb to play your cello?

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DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) Magic Bullets

The boffins at DARPA have come up with a pretty cool idea – bullets that magically adjust course to hit their target. Here’s what they say about the video they’ve released:

DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, which developed a self-steering bullet to increase hit rates for difficult, long-distance shots, completed in February its most successful round of live-fire tests to date. An experienced shooter using the technology demonstration system repeatedly hit moving and evading targets. Additionally, a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.

This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are moving and accelerating. EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that can impede successful hits.

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Dr. Pimple Popper


I have been known to frequent Reddit’s infamous subreddit, /r/popping, more than once. (No, I haven’t fully subscribed. And, yes, my boyfriend leaves the room when I start watching this stuff.) So, I can attest that there is definitely an audience for pimple, cyst, blackhead (and whatever else) popping. Something about it is…dare I say, satisfying.

Therefore, it’s not a surprise to me that dermatologist, Dr. Sandra Lee, has become an Internet sensation. Lee has begun offering free zit popping sessions if her clients agree to be filmed. So far, no one has declined.

via Oddity Central:

“I find this little subculture fascinating,” Lee said, in a recent interview. “I pop these things, and yeah they kind of make me feel good, they’re satisfying, but it’s not like I seek them out.” But every time a client walks in to her office, she offers to pop their zits for free, if they’ll allow her post it online.

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Breaking Convention 2015

unnamedThe program for the third Breaking Convention (largest psychedelics conference) has been officially released. If you’re in/near the UK or are a psychedelic aficionado, you’ll definitely want to check out this year’s line-up.

The academic program has been released for Breaking Convention 2015. The largest psychedelics conference in the known universe is taking place once again at the University of Greenwich, slap bang on the Prime Meridian at the centre of time and space. The event features more than 130 academic speakers, a Film Festival, a weekend Music Festival, a Visionary Art Gallery, 15 free workshops, mind-boggling journeys through pulsing light contraptions, dance performances, live icaros, traditional shamanic ceremonies (and much more besides) and is held in one of the most visually stunning buildings in the country. The Old Royal Naval College was designed by Sir Christopher Wren at the end of the 17th Century and has been described by The Independent as ”more breathtaking than the Versailles of Louis XIV”, and by UNESCO as one of the “finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles”.… Read the rest

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