Tag Archives | History

Reason Magazine Subpoena Stomps on Free Speech

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Virginia Postrel Via Bloomberg View:

Wielding subpoenas demanding information on anonymous commenters, the government is harassing a respected journalism site that dissents from its policies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York claims these comments could constitute violent threats, even though they’re clearly hyperbolic political rhetoric.

This is happening in America — weirdly, to a site I founded, and one whose commenters often earned my public contempt.

Los Angeles legal blogger Ken White has obtained a grand jury subpoena issued to Reason.com, the online home of the libertarian magazine I edited throughout the 1990s. The subpoena seeks information about commenters who posted in response to an article by the site’s editor Nick Gillespie about the letter that Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht wrote to Judge Katherine B. Forrest before she sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Ulbricht was convicted of seven felony charges, included conspiracies to traffic in narcotics and launder money, and faced a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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Surfing the Liminal Aether with Bruce Damer Ph.D

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Bruce Damer with Terence McKenna in 1999.

Via Midwest Real

Dr. Bruce Damer is a multi-disciplinary scientist and a (proud) woo-drenched renaissance man. He researches evolutionary biology, especially focusing on the murky questions surrounding the origin of life. Damer also designs asteroid-wrangling spacecrafts and is an expert in computer science who has spent decades researching emergent, lifelike virtual systems.

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Why is it that we’re always searching for someone to tell us answers? We have an obsession with experts, scientists, teachers — gurus of all sorts. As long as I can remember, I’ve been under the impression that learning and knowledge come from some sort of external source, but what if that’s entirely backward? 

What if all of the answers are right there inside of you, somewhere within your own deepest murk just waiting to be discovered? Perhaps great men are simply skilled facilitators of knowledge and learning, while the actual evolving and growth is wholly incumbent upon the individual.Read the rest

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Which Life Form Dominates Earth?

Springtails can be smaller than a pinhead (Credit: Sinclair Stammers / NPL)

Springtails can be smaller than a pinhead (Credit: Sinclair Stammers / NPL)

Nic Fleming Via BBC:

We humans tend to assume we rule the Earth. With our advanced tool making, language, problem solving and social skills, and our top predator status, we like to think of ourselves as the dominant life form on the planet.

But are we?

There are organisms that are significantly more numerous, cover more of the Earth’s surface and make up more of its living biomass than us. We are certainly having major impacts in most corners of the globe and on its other inhabitants.

But are there are other living things that are quietly having greater, more significant influences? Who or what is really in charge?

If world domination is a numbers game, few can compare with tiny six-legged, shrimp-like springtails, or Collembola. Ranging from 0.25-10mm in length, there are typically around 10,000 per square metre of soil, rising to as many as 200,000 per square metre in some places.

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The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral”

I, Robot coverCoby McDonald Via California Magazine:

Good vs. bad. Right vs. wrong. Human beings begin to learn the difference before we learn to speak—and thankfully so. We owe much of our success as a species to our capacity for moral reasoning. It’s the glue that holds human social groups together, the key to our fraught but effective ability to cooperate. We are (most believe) the lone moral agents on planet Earth—but this may not last. The day may come soon when we are forced to share this status with a new kind of being, one whose intelligence is of our own design.

Robots are coming, that much is sure. They are coming to our streets as self-driving cars, to our military as automated drones, to our homes as elder-care robots—and that’s just to name a few on the horizon (Ten million households already enjoy cleaner floors thanks to a relatively dumb little robot called the Roomba).

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Death Is The Road To Awe: The Art of Joseph McVetty.

Visions Of The Reverend Mother, 35''x46'' Latex paint, gouache, and pencil on paper.

Visions Of The Reverend Mother, 35”x46” Latex paint, gouache, and pencil on paper.

Joseph McVetty is an artist and illustrator living and working in Portland, Oregon. The masked participants of these drawings are acting out communal rituals involving new age occult signifiers such as crystals, chakras, energy fields, levitation, and conjuring. Each drawing aims to evoke the feelings associated with the cultish, drop-out supernaturalism, and homespun magic.

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Disinformation featured artist: Mu Pan and Humanity’s Fundamental Need for Narrative

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Spider Woman。2015. 30″ x 44″Acrylic on paper.

Artist Statement

Mu Pan, born 1976, lives in Brooklyn NY

My work is quite simply about telling stories; stories in actual history, stories in imaginative history, and stories about human nature. I strongly believe in humanity’s fundamental need for narrative in visual imagery. To tell my stories, I often utilize animal forms, anthropomorphic or otherwise, in an effort to show the viewer the folly of human beings and the boundless power of animals. I draw references from the histories of China, Japan, and the United States, all of which have had a huge influence on my upbringing. Having been born into a military family, I am fascinated by battle scenes. Many such scenes in my work point to the irrevocable mistakes humans have made in the past. I re-create the historical scenarios in my own interpretation, perhaps to lament what we can no longer make up for, or perhaps to imagine that justice can prevail, if only in my image.… Read the rest

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Famous Drunks in History

avondmaal-klaar

Lords of the Drinks has compiled a list of famous, influential drunks.

Via Lords of the Drinks:

It’s often thought or said that heavy drinkers contribute nothing to society. Well, we believe the opposite is true. Some of the greatest men and women in world history made it a daily mission to get absolutely smashed. These are the stories of the people who will be remembered forever. Brave warriors, wise politicians, creative artists, excellent sportsmen and many other distinguished historical figures made this list. Just think what the history and present existence of humankind would have looked like without these boozers…

Benjamin Franklin, ‘Founding Father’ of the United States
André the Giant, French wrestler
Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter
Ulysses S. Grant, General in the American Civil War and US president
Alexander the Great, conqueror from ancient Greece
Peter the Great, the Russian tsar of partying
Ernest Hemingway, American writer

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“God Is Not A Christian. Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu” – Desmond Tutu

"Desmond Tutu 2013-10-23 001" by Libris Förlag - mynewsdesk. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Desmond Tutu 2013-10-23 001” by Libris Förlag – mynewsdesk. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Via Real Leaders:

In this exclusive interview with Real Leaders, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and social rights activist Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says he is not threatened by the beliefs of others. He believes the world should become more aware of our shared humanity to avoid future conflicts.

You represent a very specific world view, Christianity, yet have managed to mediate between opposing belief systems and make people aware of their common humanity. How have you managed this? 

It doesn’t matter where we worship or what we call God; there is only one, inter-dependent human family. We are born for goodness, to love – free of prejudice. All of us, without exception. There is greater commonality in our belief systems than we tend to credit, a golden thread expressed in the maxim that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. 

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Report Reveals $8.5 Trillion Missing From Pentagon Budget

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via Crooks and Liars:

Yahoo Money’ The Daily Ticker  is reporting that is has discovered a Reuters investigation that reveals$8.5 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for.

You read that right. While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for the 47 million Americans living in poverty – the highest amount in nearly two decades –  Republican U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has the audacity to complain that $20 billion dollars in automatic sequester cuts to the massive and secretive $565.8 billion Defense Department budget are ” too steep, too deep, and too abrupt,” all while the Pentagon and the Defense Department are overseeing massive fraud, waste, and abuse.

For anyone wondering, Reuters reports that the D.O.D.’s 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China.

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Romeyn de Hooghe: Hieroglyphica — Symbols of Ancient People

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EGYPT-CHALDEAN-HYROGLYPHIC-SYMBOL-Romeyn de Hooghe-1735 Plate 2 dealing with Egyption and Chaldean Hyroglyphics and symbols, This plate shows: A. Pilars of Seth. B. Pyramid. C. King, nimrod with the crown of the Chadeans. D. Chaldean high priest. E. Fire god. F. Wisdom, Philosophy. G. Wise men, Seres. H. The bull Amunx or the ox Apis. I. Laziness. K. Bestiality, brutality. L. Lazy owl. M. Cain, primitive stubborn.

Hieroglyphica, of, Merkbeelden der oude volkeren : namentlyk Egyptenaren, Chaldeeuwen, Feniciers, Joden, Grieken, Romeynen, enz.

Translation: Hyroglyphics or symbols of ancient people: namely Egyptians , Chaldeans , Phoenicians, Jews , Greeks, Romeynen , etc.

By Romeyn de Hooghe, edited by Arn. Henr. Westerhovius and published in Amsterdam by Joris van der Oude, 1735.

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