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Years ago, while a student at USC’s Cinema Production Department, I took a class taught by Arthur Knight, whose The Liveliest Art: A Panoramic History of the Movies was a standard textbook at colleges and universities all over the world. In it he argued that cinema was the liveliest art because it incorporated all arts. It’s a notion that was dear and sacrosanct to all of us cinephiles. For centuries it was cathedrals that incorporated all arts; then it was opera; in the 20th century, supposedly, cinema. Nowadays that’s hardly the case. Hollywood blockbusters are made for the PG-13 audience, except for a few “serious” movies that aim at Academy Awards recognition and, under the pretense of being socially or culturally relevant, are generally platitudinous. Then there are the inevitably marginal “independent” movies that, far from incorporating all arts, are minimalistic not only in production values but above all in content.
Seeing Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, therefore, was a surprise. Here is a film that does just what Arthur Knight promised in his outmoded book: it attempts to incorporate all arts—and succeeds triumphantly. I haven’t seen anything so réussi and riveting since The Big Lebowski, though they are two very different films. From 1998 to 2013 it has been, admittedly, a long drought.
Critics have praised the film but, I’d venture, for the wrong reasons, such as, for example, a vivid depiction of decadence in the Berlusconi era (really? Hasn’t Rome, from the poetae novi through Emperor Caligula to the Borgias, already written the ultimate handbook on decadence?). Many critics have also made the seemingly inevitable comparisons with how Rossellini and Fellini utilized Rome in some of their most memorable films. While we must applaud such perspicacious reviewers for taking History of Italian Cinema 101, The Great Beauty shines of its own light.
Jep Gambardella, the leading character, turns sixty-five at a supremely lavish party thrown in his honor, and we since follow him in his long nocturnal walks through Rome to and from many a party and a soirée, while we become acquainted with his paradoxically warm detachedness and creeping nostalgia. As a young man he was the king of all socialites, publishing a novel early on that gave him fame, and then nothing else. He is now a full-time flâneur as well as a journalist who works very occasionally for an upmarket periodical, owns an apartment with a large terrace overlooking the Colosseum, and wears a variety of impeccably tailored bespoke suits.
What most critics cannot realistically know is that in Italy culture retains a largely regional denomination. Within thirty seconds of hearing an Italian speak I can tell where he or she is from. The city—and region—one belongs to doesn’t only influence their pronunciation of Italian, but their worldview. Aristocrats (and there are plenty of blue-blooded characters in Sorrentino’s film, including a count and a countess for hire for soirées) are trickier: their pronunciation is neutral; their worldview, not parochial. A different and more ancient type is that of the clericus vagans—the wandering student or professor who moved from town to town across Europe in search either of learning or of teaching. As both activities were carried out in Latin, whether the person hailed from Bologna, Padua, Paris, Oxford or Salamanca made no difference; their worldview was neither parochial nor non-parochial, but universal.
The character of Jep Gambardella is from Naples; so is the film director and even the actor who plays Jep, Toni Servillo, incidentally also a distinguished theater and opera director. Naples’s illustrious philosophical tradition and Weltanschauung are at the core of the entire work. Few realize that Naples is older than Rome; was for centuries Europe’s most populous and cultured city; and still boasts the largest historical center in the world. Among its philosophers are St. Thomas Aquinas, Giordano Bruno (from nearby Nola but educated in Naples), Giambattista Vico, Benedetto Croce. In high culture circles it is a known fact that the erudite Neapolitan has a distinctly Eastern worldview, a singular blend of fatalism and, one would say, Taoism.
It’s most unusual that a film would deal bluntly with high culture, as The Great Beauty does. There is plenty of deprecation and self-deprecating in it, but Jep Gambardella, who has attended parties with almost religious assiduousness since his youth and who normally sleeps during the morning and the early afternoon, from time to time quotes from authors (whom he must have read and metabolized already; he’s never shown reading anything, as if by now he had already absorbed all knowledge). In his personal library the observant watcher will notice a long shelf of books published by Adelphi, an Italian publishing house that since its inception in 1962 has uncompromisingly published rather rarefied texts. Admittedly, most of the authors Gambardella quotes are to be found in the canonical history of western literature. He is no esotericist, at least not ostensibly. But he yearns for aesthetic and metaphysical transcendence, of which there are more than glimpses throughout the film and especially toward the end. To the casual viewer he may seem world-weary; he is not, just disarmingly sincere. Things in general are not all that important or to be taken all that seriously, he’s come to realize, and many of them are just tricks, anyway. He also has a sharp wit that makes him, once more, a Neapolitan through and through. And indeed in the ancient history of both cities, Rome and Naples, rather than Rome alone, lies much of the film’s meaning. What decadence have they not already witnessed in the past? What vices, pretenses, fads, lies, persecutions, executions, invasions, rebirths, inventions, epidemics, grandiose ideas, follies, assorted aspirations and forms of government have they not already experienced?
Everything in the film is masterful: the photography, flying/flowing camerawork and editing; the dialogue and the acting; the music selection and its seamless editing; the deliberately thin plot that nevertheless keeps propelling the film forward; the many characters, sub-characters and sundry types; how the sublime is constantly yet effortlessly juxtaposed to the ridiculous; the overall wit and lightness of touch; and finally Rome herself, the eternal city, so insufferably, infuriatingly, absurdly yet nonchalantly beautiful, from her most celebrated sights down to her most recondite places.
I don’t know how many more years will pass before another film renders justice to the medium as this one does—all the more reason not to miss it while it’s been shown in “selected cities” around the country.Guido Mina di Sospiro is co-author of the disinformation® book The Forbidden Book, co-authored with Joscelyn Godwin, and the recently published The Metaphysics Of Ping-Pong, published by Yellow Jersey Press, Random House, and long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book Award 2013.
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Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone occasionally delves deep into issues that most major publications would rather leave well alone. Case in point, it’s report on what it takes to provide America with cheap meat. Not for the faint of heart…
Sarah – let’s call her that for this story, though it’s neither the name her parents gave her nor the one she currently uses undercover – is a tall, fair woman in her midtwenties who’s pretty in a stock, anonymous way, as if she’d purposely scrubbed her face and frame of distinguishing characteristics. Like anyone who’s spent much time working farms, she’s functionally built through the thighs and trunk, herding pregnant hogs who weigh triple what she does into chutes to birth their litters and hefting buckets of dead piglets down quarter-mile alleys to where they’re later processed. It’s backbreaking labor, nine-hour days in stifling barns in Wyoming, and no training could prepare her for the sensory assault of 10,000 pigs in close quarters: the stench of their shit, piled three feet high in the slanted trenches below; the blood on sows’ snouts cut by cages so tight they can’t turn around or lie sideways; the racking cries of broken-legged pigs, hauled into alleys by dead-eyed workers and left there to die of exposure. It’s the worst job she or anyone else has had, but Sarah isn’t grousing about the conditions. She’s too busy waging war on the hogs’ behalf.
We’re sitting across the couch from a second undercover, a former military serviceman we’ll call Juan, in the open-plan parlor of an A-frame cottage just north of the Vermont-New York border. The house belongs to their boss, Mary Beth Sweetland, who is the investigative director for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and who has brought them here, first, to tell their stories, then to investigate a nearby calf auction site. Sweetland trains and runs the dozen or so people engaged in the parlous business of infiltrating farms and documenting the abuse done to livestock herds by the country’s agri-giants, as well as slaughterhouses and livestock auctions. Given the scale of the business – each year, an estimated 9 billion broiler chickens, 113 million pigs, 33 million cows and 250 million turkeys are raised for our consumption in dark, filthy, pestilent barns – it’s unfair to call this a guerrilla operation, for fear of offending outgunned guerrillas. But what Juan and Sarah do with their hidden cams and body mics is deliver knockdown blows to the Big Meat cabal, showing videos of the animals’ living conditions to packed rooms of reporters and film crews. In many cases, these findings trigger arrests and/or shutdowns of processing plants, though the real heat put to the offending firms is the demand for change from their scandalized clients – fast-food giants and big-box retailers. “We’ve had a major impact in the five or six years we’ve been doing these operations,” says Sarah.
In its scrutiny of Big Meat – a cartel of corporations that have swallowed family farms, moved the animals indoors to prison-style plants in the middle of rural nowhere, far from the gaze of nervous consumers, and bred their livestock to and past exhaustion – the Humane Society (and outfits like PETA and Mercy for Animals) is performing a service that the federal government can’t, or won’t, render: keeping an eye on the way American meat is grown. That’s rightfully the job of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the agency is so short-staffed that it typically only sends inspectors out to slaughterhouses, where they check a small sample of pigs, cows and sheep before they’re put to death. That hour before her end is usually the only time a pig sees a government rep; from the moment she’s born, she’s on her own, spending four or five years in a tiny crate and kept perpetually pregnant and made sick from breathing in her own waste while fed food packed with growth-promoting drugs, and sometimes even garbage. (The word “garbage” isn’t proverbial: Mixed in with the grain can be an assortment of trash, including ground glass from light bulbs, used syringes and the crushed testicles of their young. Very little on a factory farm is ever discarded.)…
[continues at Rolling Stone]
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The most important revolutionary aspect of the printed page: it allowed people to learn how to improve themselves and change the way they thought about the world
Disinfo has echoed the point that the internet is alike to the printing press here: The Global Awakening. It’s an observation which is almost a cliché and it certainly wasn’t new when I wrote that article. The frustrating thing about the comparison is how hard it is not to be drawn toward the headline grabbing side of what happened next,- The French Revolution and a whole lot of violence. This is partly because it terrified the world’s leaders so much at the time that they’ve never let us forget about it. For me though what’s more important is the spread of radical ideas which preceded and underpinned those events, a period known as “The Enlightenment”. That process is less spectacular and blood thirsty but far more important, long lasting and relevant to you right now.
In our universe the further away an event is the more our minds give it a false symmetry it lacks when seen close up. The moon looks like a perfect round sphere but get closer and its crater marked surface is revealed. This is also true for events in our past and there’s a danger the most positive direct consequence of the printing press could be misunderstood by overly excited would be authoritarians keen to rouse “the masses” and “occupy” positions currently held by an ”elite” they claim to despise. In my opinion such an exchange of power would not serve us because no matter what your ideology a seat of domination in the future will encounter the same problems those who currently claim to lead are experiencing: the entire notion of a hierarchical dictatorship is coming apart.
I try to explain why I believe this here: Why We’re Not Living In 1984 Today: Orwell’s Oversight but in short, leaders lead by controlling information and the communications revolution makes this impossible. Furthermore, victory in the oncoming ‘war on information’ is beyond their power, no matter how hard they try, just like the ‘war on drugs’. The Western World’s massive financial difficulties limit their ambitions for now but make no mistake, the internet is causing them to lose their grip on consensus reality.
The fact we’ve lived in a world where the common narrative implied it was their responsibility to sort things out means some people are focusing upon the likely indirect results which the internet may have upon a small few, the infamous 1% but this is to miss the point of the new era in which we find ourselves. I believe would be “revolutionaries” would do well to concentrate upon the less publicised but far more profound aspect of the net: its an incredible learning tool! It represents the fact that we can now teach each other how to think.
I’m old enough to remember the pre-internet world. Back then people would often say, “ooh, he’s even bought a book on it” when they spoke of a friend or relative who was learning a new skill. This is an echo of the most important revolutionary aspect of the printed page: it allowed people to learn how to improve themselves and change the way they thought. This is the driving force behind any meaningful long term social change ever experienced in any society ever. A violent revolution, where the ruling elites have their heads cut off and are replaced by equally excitable “left wing” or “right wing” demagogues, would mean nothing in the long term other than a depressing game of spot the difference.
I was very disappointed by the Occupy protests I attended in London. I felt I was watching some of the dull Labour Party activist types who put me off politics during my time at University and ultimately led to my total disenfranchisement because Tony Blair. As I chatted to them they seemed hugely in favour of censorship, were quick to anger if I questioned their ideas and seemed wholly focused upon fixing other people rather than themselves. I have had similar encounters with people who adopt the Anonymous pose.
The dangers of censorship are key to my argument here. When one person censors someone else they deny you access to a perspective. Even if they’ve done this because they’ve decided it’s for the collective good you’ve lost the chance to learn something. This is why censorship is one of the roots of limited intelligence within a society and conversely what’s so great about free speech. I believe my generation, and the ones beneath it, have been badly let down by the education system. It’s tempting to think this is because it’s not in the immediate interests of our rulers to explain how the game is weighted in their favour but this is only an unfounded, perhaps unfair, suspicion. Either way their keen appetite to control the information you’re allowed to find should not be supported by anyone without serious consideration and a solid counter argument to this piece you’re now reading.
Although I’m suggesting something that I’d like everyone to do I am aware of the fact that collectives tend towards fascism. Any idea that requires other people to do as you say can be a dangerous first step towards the authoritarian mindset. People usually know what’s best for them in their life and if they don’t it’s always better they learn how to spot hazards rather than rely upon others to do it for them. That’s partly why my call to action is so vague and subjective; improve yourself.
Any movement which requires you to move in a particular direction someone else has chosen will teach you how to follow. What our nations need now is a people who can think for themselves and choose their own path. An uncensored internet lets us do that and without question Western liberal democracy, for all its faults, has the potential to grow individuals who are capable of unique thought. This must be encouraged, not suppressed.
That’s where you come in. The true path for a revolution in my opinion begins with self improvement and learning not what to think but how to think. As we approach the new year there will be a lot of people indulging our culture’s practice of making a “New Year’s Resolution” or two. I suggest that you use this opportunity to do precisely that, sort yourself out and improve who you are. If you’re a political revolutionary do it with the same conviction which you’d use to challenge The Illuminati, or The evil Tories, or The Communist leftards, or The Racist Republicans or The Dozy Democrats, or whomever it is you oppose.
This meme is embedded in most of the decent movements that have sprung up recently, including Occupy and Anonymous, but it often gets ignored by followers. This blog entry is an attempt to remind you of it. The phrase “be the change you want to see” often comes up. This article is perhaps a bit of meat on that bone. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think we may have some quite dicey times ahead of us in the next couple of years but it’s not the most important aspect of what is happening to people right now, it’s only a distracting headline.
If you look for it there appears to be a self-improvement revolution happening already, although it may just be the company I keep in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I’ve seen plenty who used to be fat but have now lost weight, I suspect they’ve used the net to learn about diet and exercise. More subtle though are those people who used to be total idiots at school but are now capable of occasionally admitting they were wrong or behaving more reasonably, I suspect they’re on a similar trip. Digital communications technology such as mobile phones and the net force a form of self awareness by recording conversations and activities. Revisiting events at a later date can be incredibly powerful. Re-reading a drunken or angry conversation in your Facebook chat box is a very profound change to the way you can see yourself. Looking at a picture of the night out you went, on where your clothes were too tight, puts the issue of your weight into sharp relief.
It is these changes, which seem small but are magnified by the volume of people they impact upon, that will lead to a better society as a whole. The biggest most important changes that you can make to your world are the ones you can make right now to yourself and the way you think. The more people who take up this challenge of fixing themselves first the less unlikely the wider changes needed in our society will be. Joining those who are using the net as a tool for self development seems to me like the most useful thing you can do. If we all do that we might well all move in different directions but the definition of the word “revolution” will move away from something which involves violence and brings long term suffering.
Nick Margerrison ( tries to fix himself regularly on Twitter here )
 The Labour party is the UK equivalent of The Democrats.
You’d think with my level of obsessive music nerdiness I’d have read a bunch of musician biographies at this point in my life but you’d be completely wrong. I listen to so many bands that there aren’t many I care enough about to devote that level of energy to, but being a fan since I was a teenager, Ministry: The Last Gospels According to Al Jourgensen was something I couldn’t resist. And it’s not like I read it because of the music really. I was more curious as to how a long time heroin addict is not only still alive after all these years but also continues to put out quality shit for the most part.
I remember reading an interview nearly a decade ago where he was talking about cleaning up off smack while recording and thinking to myself: errr, that guy was strung out back in the 90’s. I can’t vouch for his recent output but both Animositsomina and Houses of the Molé which came out in the early 2000’s were both surprisingly solid. How is that possible? The guy would have to be superhuman to shoot all that junk and still be able to talk, but talk he can, and interspersed between depraved tales of bestiality (I wish I was joking), colostomy bag sex (again), and in general living the most charmed/horrifying existence known to anyone in history, there was something even more unexpected and weird going down throughout the book, namely, aliens. What’s most compelling about these stories is that he just slips them in between tales about making records, hanging out with celebrities, and doing gargantuan amounts of hard drugs as if there’s nothing remotely off about it. Just another strange day in a life filled with exorbitantly strange days. It’s not the focus of the book all but rather a minor footnote. He starts by just dropping this statement and letting it hang:
“If you’re into UFOs and extraterrestrials, you know the Grays are these little fuckers from another planet who come down to earth every once in a while to check it out. They’ve been keeping an eye on me from an early age. I didn’t get the name ‘Alien Jourgensen’ for nothing.”
Ummm, okay. One of those things you could just dismiss to junk psychosis, but it continues when he talks about a missing time incident during his teen years. All he remembers is a screen image scenario about hitting an albino deer with his car and nothing else:
“for years none of us had any recollection of what happened right after the crash. The next thing I knew, it was the next day and I’m waking up in my dorm room bed, which is insane because the car was not drivable. I didn’t even have any memory of having owned a car. My friend, who’s now an Alaska state senator was like, “what happened to your car?” And I reacted like there was no car. I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He just thought I was being weird.
From that point on I took buses and hitchhiked all over the place. Also, I was missing twenty-four hours of my life. It was just gone. It took me almost two years of asking questions to the girls who were with me that night to finally remember we were even in a car wreck with an albino deer. All at once we suddenly said “Yeah, yeah, I remember that!” I never got my car back. I don’t know what happened to it. And I’m sure there was some sort of alien activity that took place. These extraterrestrials took us somewhere and checked us out for a full day and sent us home. Throughout my life these guys have kept tabs on me. I don’t know what they want, but whatever it is I’ll give it to them. I like these fuckers. I think they’re cool. I’m not scared. I just feel kind of impatient, like, “whatever it is you’ve got planned for me, just do it. Let’s go.”
Classic alien contactee fare. Missing time. Foggy seemingly implanted memories with multiple people involved. Weird, but it gets even weirder when he talks about a gray terminating his wife’s pregnancy later in life:
“But I know aliens exist. I’ve had a few run-ins with them and Angie (Al’s wife) can vouch for me.
When we were in Sonic Ranch (studio) one of the gray fuckers came into our bedroom. He crept in and started running around in circles. He woke me up and I started screaming at him. He was wearing this shiny uniform and had a big, bulbous head. He was agile as a monkey. He must have leapt out a window because the next thing we knew he was on the roof. I heard his feet scampering and then he took off. The really strange thing is that Angie was pregnant at the time with my child. She was in her first trimester. And after that meeting with the Gray, there was no more pregnancy. She didn’t miscarry –it was just gone. I don’t know if they somehow stole the fetus or what, but she never woke up even as I was screaming at this thing.
Having a baby at the time would have been extremely difficult for but of us.”
Annnnnnd, that’s basically all he has to say about aliens in the entire book. Now, the obvious accusation one would hurl at someone in his position is that he’s just making up these claims to move units, but as established, it’s such a small part of the book as a whole it’s negligible. Not only that, but the guy has dirt and stories about more celebrities than nearly anyone. He was there the night River Phoenix died. He hazed a pre-fame Trent Reznor, hung out with William S. Burroughs, and lived with and was experimented on by none other than Timothy Leary. This book didn’t need a few random stories about aliens to sell and I sure as fuck didn’t know it had them until I read it. It’s not like he was playing it up in the press interviews. He seems to bring these things up mainly because it’s something odd about his life experience that he’s never been able to rectify. The easy thing to do would be shut up about it but Al isn’t the sort to give a fuck what people think of him. Having read more books about UFO’s than rock stars, what I find fascinating about the whole thing is how the experiences didn’t strike him as terrifying at all like they do to most people in similar situations. He says he likes them. Also should be noted that he describes his continual acid hallucinations (even under the direction of Leary) as involving giant spiders. If you’ve read Strieber, you’ll recall that his guardian gray presented itself as a hyper-dimensional sex spider. No, really.
So what the hell is going on here? Because of our puritanical views towards recreational drug use, it’d be easy to dismiss his stories as just being the ramblings of a guy who’s mind is well beyond fried, but then you have to take Sammy Hagar into account. That’s right, the red rocker also released a book that talked about his alien encounters back in 2011 and he was basically straight edge until his 30’s and even then he never did much more than drink tequila at Cabo Wabo. A lot of the experiences he talks about happened in childhood before all that bro stuff, including this gem:
“That’s right. It was real. [Aliens] were plugged into me. It was a download situation. This was long before computers or any kind of wireless. There weren’t even wireless telephones. Looking back now, it was like, “Fuck, they downloaded something into me!” Or they uploaded something from my brain, like an experiment. “See what this guy knows.”…”
Having never had a typical alien encounter, I find that one particularly fascinating because after I started fooling around with magick, that’s what happened to me. I had the sensation that updates were being downloaded into my hypnagogic sleep states for about six months. It’s like they were installing a sort of inter-dimensional translation software and when they were finished they seemed quite proud of themselves. I could go on and on about this stuff forever (and I do on Facebook, friend me).
Why do I think these rock star UFO stories are so significant? Well, because the biggest lie perpetuated by the media and pop culture in general is that all supposed alien contactees are three toothed rednecks living in trailer parks in the middle of nowhere. You still see comedians making ignorant jokes about it to this day. And yet, neither of these guys are losers. They’re both far more successful than 99% of the population. More successful than most billionaires. It’s one thing to make a billion dollars, it’s another to have millions of screaming fans and women continually getting in line to fuck you. These books might be the most significant events in mainstreaming supposed abductee phenomenon in years. So the next time some normal person makes a comment about aliens only abducting hicks that no one cares about, bring up Al Jourgensen, or Sammy Hagar. They’ve both written about it in books and what an oddly matched duo. How hilarious is it to think that “aliens” are not only involved in the molding of pop culture but that they do this by infiltrating the minds of the anti-Bush dude from Ministry, and errrr, the guy who replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen? That ba-da-da-da-da-ditty-da guitar sing along part in Why Can’t This Be Love is sort of inhuman. They do have a sense of humor those fuckers. Oh, and for the record, my favorite Ministry album is Filth Pig by a long shot. He was going doom way before it ever got trendy and rarely gets any credit for doing so. Most people hated that record. You know what’s even stranger? I’ve now dated two consecutive women who not only love that album but request that I play it as an aphrodisiac continually. Odds? One in a gajillion.
Ministry: The Lost Gospels of Al Jourgensen is out now and would make a perfect Christmas gift. Couldn’t recommend it any more highly.
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How ‘Thor’ May Save the World:
Unbeknownst to most climatologists that decry nuclear energy for its environmental liability (in the form of radioactive waste and potential Chernobyl/Fukushima meltdown), there is a friendly and feasible cousin to the Uranium reactor that uses Thorium (yes named after the Norse god of thunder).
Thorium is an element much more abundant than Uranium in the Earth’s crust (comparable in abundance to Lead), and is already produced industrially as a byproduct of rare-earth-metals mining. Thorium reactor designs (using liquid Fluoride as coolant) consume atomic fuel far more efficiently than Uranium reactors using pressurized water as a coolant. Furthermore, these reactors are ‘incapable of meltdown’ and produce hazardous radioactive materials lasting only 300 years as opposed to 10,000 years for Uranium, in relative quantities of 1 ton instead of 35 tons, respectively. Unlike Uranium reactors, Thorium does not pose a proliferation risk because none of the products or reactants present viable materials for creating an atomic bomb.
Ironically, this is one of the primary (and only) reasons why atomic energy in the United States went the way of Uranium, because Kruschev was making ICBMs like SAUSAGES! and we needed plenty of fissile material to account for our perceived lag in the ability to end life on earth.
Thorium reactors are NOT new technology. Research and development started in the early 1950s. From 1965-69 scientists and engineers had successfully operated a working plant for 15,000 hours. Glenn Seaborg (of Seaborgium fame) announced to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1968, “I think that some day the world will have commercial power reactors of both the uranium-plutonium and the thorium-uranium fuel cycle type.” The future for Thorium seemed bright! However in 1973 Alvin Weinberg, the foremost advocate for Thorium energy, lost his position as director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, effectively because he was unwilling to throw Safe Energy under the bus of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Due to its lack of genocidal application, the obscurity of Thorium reactors persists to this day. Most people, including nuclear scientists, know little about it. From Chemical and Engineering News: “it’s possible to have a Ph.D. in nuclear reactor technology and not know about thorium energy.” Nuclear physicist Victor J. Stenger first learned of it in 2012: ” It came as a surprise to me to learn recently that such an alternative has been available to us since World War II, but not pursued because it lacked weapons applications.”
It seemed suspiciously as if Thorium had been erased from the books altogether. I tried to surmise whether there is an ‘old-boy’ coalition of military generals, politicians, and Uranium miners keeping an impish hand in the face of Thorium advocates. However it’s probably just mass incompetence again; the International Atomic Energy Association seems amenable to Thorium-based reactors, though pessimistically contradicting Dr Joe Bonometti with regards to the fuel’s abundance in the Earth’s crust, and the reactors’ cost of operation. Watch Bonometti’s talk titled The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor: What Fusion Wanted To Be or the short version (recommended).
Currently Thorium nuclear energy is finding a large niche in India, who has lots of Thorium-rich monzanite deposits and very little Uranium (and a huge number of people). India has plans for 62 mostly-Thorium reactors to become operational by 2025. Other players are China, and Norway (Thor Energy, how pagan!) and the US who is “quietly collaborating with China” on reactor designs, and has found some lofty advocates like Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch after 40 years of obscurity.
If this technology indeed has proven reserves capable of lasting (by one estimate) 1000 years at current energy consumption rates, and would (by one account) be cheaper than coal, and significantly safer than Uranium fuel-rod reactors, what is to stop it from capping the climate crisis (right in the knee)? Talk about it to your nuclear engineer and tree-hugger friends!
The post ‘Lack of Genocidal Application’ Keeps Science From Exploring Thorium Energy appeared first on disinformation.
Abby Martin goes over the latest NSA revelations which outline how the agency has spied on online gamers in the World of Warcraft and Second Life, calling out how taxpayer dollars are squandered in these fruitless counter terrorism efforts.
The post NSA Pwns World of Warcraft & Nerds Out on Porn | Big Brother Watch appeared first on disinformation.
Basically, envision Alfred Hitchcock’s The Byrds but with Amazon delivery drones suddenly turning against you. Ars Technica reports:
Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released all the hardware and software specifications that hobbyists need to build an aerial drone that seeks out other drones in the air, hacks them, and turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.
“How fun would it be to take over drones, carrying Amazon packages… or take over any other drones and make them my little zombie drones,” Kamkar asked rhetorically in a blog post.
Dubbed SkyJack, the contraption uses a radio-controlled Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter carrying a Raspberry Pi circuit board, a small battery, and two wireless transmitters. The devices seek out wireless signals of nearby Parrot drones, hijack the wireless connections used to control them, and commandeer the victims’ flight-control and camera systems.
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Jerry Lembcke writes at CounterPunch:
Writing for his October 25, 2013 New York Times column, Paul Krugman noted the attraction that apocalyptic scenarios had for American investors, policy makers, and economists. He named Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as “deficit-scolds” whose doomsaying has been overwrought, and he reprised a 2010 article by Alan Greenspan in which the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve warned that the national budget deficit would lead to soaring inflation and interest rates, trends that we have not yet seen.
Mr. Krugman is an economist so it is understandable that it would be the scaremongers in his own area of expertise that catch his attention. His concern that the “debt-apocalypse community,” as he calls it, includes powerful people whose technical judgment might be clouded by irrational fears is legitimate. A single policy enunciation by any one of them, after all, can make or break the life-chances of millions of people around the globe.
But left as it is by his column, Krugman appears to think some gentle teasing like his—he calls his mistaken peers “Chicken Littles”—might diminish the credibility of the end-of-time crowd in the arena of public opinion, if not actually disabusing them of their fantasies. He also assures his readers that they needn’t fear an ultimate final collapse, a “fiscal apocalypse,” such as that warned of by the fear-peddlers he names.
He says all this as if the prophets of national cataclysm have arrived from another planet with a message that is totally alien to the populace hearing it. In fact, the real relationship between the people, cultural apocalypticism, and the elites whose rhetoric associate them with it is something closer to the inverse of what Krugman implies.
One need look no further than the titles of movies and books produced over the last fifteen years to see the extent of apocalyptic themes in American popular culture. One search of film titles returned over 900 such references including those to Apocalypse 2012: The World after Time Ends, Apocalypse: World War II, and Zombie Apocalypse 2012, all made in the new century. Playing on the theme, films like the very popular Apocalypto made in 2006 by Mel Gibson broadened the audience for that imagery, as did television documentaries like Doomsday Preppers about people preparing for the end of the world. By some count, the end-of-time book series known as Left Behind, about those “raptured” to the after-life and those left behind, was the largest selling book series of all time.
In the last five years, the New York Times alone has used the word “apocalypse” in news stories more than 1,100 times.
Culture-critics attuned to these currents would easily recognize that the policy elites that Krugman is critical of are not responsible for the fear and anxiety expressed by many Americans about the insecurity in their lives—the people have their own sources of that, thank you. Rather, the elites are smartly feeding into a thick and deep vein of uncertainty running through the country wherein they know their forecasts of fiscal collapse will find resonance.
Krugman’s Times piece carried the title “Addicted to the Apocalypse”; understanding that “addiction” as a socio-cultural malady, rather than a fixation of professors and pundits, does not diminish it as a cause for concern. Indeed, the history of mischief that has come out of the nihilist impulse in apocalyptic imagery—think Nazi Germany—underscore the importance of an inquiry into the American iteration of those ideas.
Read more here.
Is there no limit the the dastardliness of the Illuminati? Latest conspiracy theory about their supposed nefarious activities via The Inquistr:
Paul Walker conspiracy theories are attempting to link Family Guy’s Brian the dog, Illuminati, and drug cartels in an awkward way of explaining the death of the Fast & Furious 7 star.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the death of Brian the dog led to conspiracy theories stating Seth MacFarlane might try and quit Family Guy.
One story going around has Paul Walker being killed by the Illuminati, a group that supposedly controls the world from the shadows. Why would they do this? Like many celebs, including Tim Tebow, Walker had been working with typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. Supposedly the Illuminati was trying to poison medicine going to the country with “birth control” that would neuter the population and Walker found out about it. How did they kill him? Theories range from brakes to a sabotaged fuel line all the way up to a missile fired from an unmanned drone.
Another conspiracy theory focuses on Walker’s friend, Roger Rodas, and almost sounds like a plot from a Fast & Furious movie. The idea is that since Rodas spent a lot of time in Central America he could have been approached by drug cartels wanting him to do money laundering through one of Rodas’ charities. So in this case the car crash was rigged in some fashion to target Rodas and Paul Walker got caught in the crossfire.
But none of those ideas were as weird as the conspiracy theories attempting to link Paul Walker and Brian the dog.
[continues at The Inquistr]
The post Paul Walker Conspiracy: Illuminati or Drug Cartel Responsible? appeared first on disinformation.
The next drug-related hysteria? Via CNN, a plastic surgeon claims that his field’s experts link pot smoking with gynecomastia, or, as the professionals term it, man boobs:
For now, if you have moobs, it’s probably best to put out that joint. Gynecomastia, otherwise known as man boobs (or moobs for short), is a condition that affects approximately 33% to 41% of men between the ages of 25 and 45.
Gynecomastia is caused by a hormone imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. Animal studies have shown that exposure to the active ingredient in marijuana can result in a decrease in testosterone levels, a reduction of testicular size, and abnormalities in the form and function of sperm.
So can smoking pot really give you man boobs? Probably. Although the association between marijuana and gynecomastia hasn’t been conclusively proven, it appears very plausible. The majority of plastic surgeons I’ve consulted with routinely inquire with their gynecomastia patients about cannabis use and recommend they stop smoking immediately.
The post Can Smoking Marijuana Cause Enlarged Breasts In Men? appeared first on disinformation.
If you think working for a bank is a good idea, because a bank is a lucrative business, a business which is responsible for handing out the currency that keeps the economy running, the people working, and the masses fed, then why are bank tellers in the same boat as fast food workers and Wal-Mart employees?
VIA CBS Money Watch
Taxpayers spend $899 million annually in state and federal benefits to support bank tellers and their families, according to a new report from The Committee for Better Banks.
One-third of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance, ranging from Medicaid to food stamps, the financial industry employee advocacy group found, citing research from the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. In New York state, almost 40 percent of bank tellers and their family members are enrolled in public assistance programs, costing the state and federal governments $112 million in benefits.
“Bank workers in New York, across the nation and around the globe are being squeezed, very much as other hourly workers in the economy are,” the report noted. “Banks’ internal employment practices, just like their external practices, increasingly drive inequality.”
It’s not as if banks can’t afford to pay their tellers more, judging from a surge in executive pay: Compensation for the top 50 financial chief executives rose by 20 percent in 2011 and 26 percent in 2010, the study notes.
Take Wells Fargo (WFC) chief executive John Stumpf. Listed as one of the country’s most overpaid CEOs by Bloomberg, Stumpf earned $22.9 million in 2012, a raise of almost 16 percent from his 2011 pay of $19.8 million. That makes him the highest-paid top executive among the country’s top commercial banks, according to The Wall Street Journal. Profit for the company jumped 19 percent in 2012, helped by a surge in mortgage-banking income.
So what does the average teller at Wells Fargo make? Less than $11 an hour, or about $22,600 a year, according to job site Glassdoor.com. While that’s above the federally mandated baseline wage of $7.25 an hour, the pay is low enough to qualify a family of four for food-stamp benefits.
“It’s not a livable wage,” Alex Shalom, 20, a part-time worker at Bank of America (BAC), told the Washington Post. “Bank of America is making all of this money . . . but we’re not getting paid for holidays.”
Carl Jung called meaningful coincidences and parapsychological occurrences by the term “synchronicity,” but noted that some things are merely attributable to “probability of chance.” Writing on Reality Sandwich, Nick Meador wonders: do we know how to tell the difference?
In recent times the term “synchronicity” has become one of the trendiest words in circles that self-identify as conscious or transformative. The Internet contributed to this, no doubt, by exposing so many of us to schools of thought like Jungian psychology (the origin of synchronicity) that had been partially or totally omitted from general education programs. However, common discussion and application of the term doesn’t take into consideration the fact that the Internet and connected technologies are constantly influencing our perception of supposed synchronicities. When we evaluate these phenomena more closely, it becomes unclear whether we’re identifying them correctly or interpreting them in a useful way.
The word “synchronicity” first appeared in the 1950s, when Carl Jung brought it forth in the development of archetypal psychology. Jung defined the term in 1951 as “a meaningful coincidence of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved.” He applied the term not only to these striking coincidences, but also to parapsychological occurrences like clairvoyance, telepathy, and precognition. Yet it’s important to acknowledge that these phenomena are much older, or even timeless; examples abound in various artforms throughout human history.
Read more at Reality Sandwich.
The conspiratist world view—the belief that a unified cabal of elitists is manipulating world events, mind controlling the population,that the main stream media is nothing but lies and that we already live in a police state and a New World Order, etc. has become ubiquitous in global culture. It is the premise of so many Facebook posts, viral memes, websites, radio shows and movies. It transcends red and blue and is as likely to be heard amongst the far right and the far left. It is a perspective widely held in Europe, Central and South America, the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and almost any place you can think of. Typically, the purveyors of this point of view think they are daring revolutionaries waking up the sheeple, etc. and don’t seem to notice that they are actually just one more of a vast and growing multitude who hold this perspective. Many of these people are close friends of mine. My challenge to them is to listen to this talk and consider whether this worldview actually represents an awakening rather than a distorted perspective riddled with problematic assumptions and reality testing issues.
When you live in the Serial Killer Capital of the World (unofficially) it’s easy to think your neighbor might have young girls chained up in the basement. However, according to James Renner, this is not the case even in northeast Ohio. Beginning as a journalist and then as a writer of true crime, Renner spent many years investigating the most brutal abductions and killings in the Cleveland/Akron/Canton area. Some of these cases have since exploded on to the national scene and what may have been regional news is now international. But James Renner also writes fiction–really good fiction. I read The Serial Killer’s Apprentice years ago and when I saw that The Man From Primrose Lane was available, I grabbed that too. The novel is like nothing I’ve ever read before and the shift in the story is so jarring (in a sensational way) that I can’t believe he pulled it off. The book is currently being adapted to film with actor Bradley Cooper “attached” which must be some kind of Hollywood lingo for “involved.” Renner is already revising his next novel which he claims is even weirder than The Man From Primrose Lane, and if that’s true, I cannot wait.
I sat down with James at a crowded Starbucks on a Friday morning and was immediately struck by his calm, kind demeanor. I guess I expected him to burst through the glass doors, slamming his six-shooter down on the table like John Wayne in an old western. After all, the guy investigates serial killings. But that was not the case and I found Renner to be articulate, unassuming, and really thoughtful with a twinkle of mischief in his eye. As a parent, I gathered hope from his thoughts on the rarity of abductions and killings, contrary to what the mass media might have you believe.
Before you sneak a peek into your neighbor’s basement window, listen to what an expert has to say about serial killers. You’d probably be better off investing in a can of Lysol or a bar of hand soap. Ladies and gentlemen, journalist, palindrome, writer: James Renner.… Read the rest
The post Your Kids Are More Likely to Die From The Common Cold Than To Be Abducted By Strangers appeared first on disinformation.
Is that elf watching you? ProPublica reports on fascinating classified documents unearthed from Edward Snowden’s trove revealing that NSA and CIA spies have placed numerous avatars in popular virtual realms:
Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.
Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.
The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players.
But for all their enthusiasm — so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.
The documents do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the effort, and former American intelligence officials said that they knew of little evidence that terrorist groups viewed the games as havens to communicate and plot operations.
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1997 Address by Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, plus 5 videos
Below you will find Nelson Mandela’s 1997 address at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as well as five relevant videos:
“We have assembled once again as South Africans, our Palestinian guests and as humanists to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine.
“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the organisers of the event, particularly the United Nations Information Centre and the UNISA Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies for this magnificent act of compassion, to keep the flames of solidarity, justice and freedom burning.
“The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own. We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face.
“Yet we would be less than human if we did so.”
Nelson Mandela comments on death of Yasser Arafat on 11 Nov 2004
“It behoves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice.
“Even during the days of negotiations, our own experience taught us that the pursuit of human fraternity and equality – irrespective of race or religion – should stand at the centre of our peaceful endeavours. The choice is not between freedom and justice, on the one hand, and their opposite, on the other. Peace and prosperity; tranquility and security are only possible if these are enjoyed by all without discrimination.
“It is in this spirit that I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood.
“We would be beneath our own reason for existence as government and as a nation, if the resolution of the problems of the Middle East did not feature prominently on our agenda.
“When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system.”
Desmond Tutu at the Russell Tribunal on Israel’s apartheid (excerpt
“But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians; without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.
“We are proud as a government, and as the overwhelming majority of South Africans to be part of an international consensus taking root that the time has come to resolve the problems of Palestine.
“Indeed, all of us marvelled at the progress made a few years ago, with the adoption of the Oslo Agreements. Leaders of vision, who saw problems not merely from the point of view of their own narrow constituency, had at least found a workable approach towards friendship and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.
“I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to these Palestinian and Israeli leaders. In particular, we pay homage to the memory of Yitshak Rabin who paid the supreme sacrifice in pursuit of peace.”
“We are proud as humanists, that the international consensus on the need for the implementation of the Oslo Agreements is finding expression in the efforts of the multitude of Israeli and Palestinian citizens of goodwill who are marching together, campaigning together, for an end to prevarication. These soldiers of peace are indeed sending a message to us all, that the day is not far off, when Palestinian and Jewish children will enjoy the gay abandon of children of God in a peaceful and prosperous region.
“These soldiers of peace recognise that the world we live in is rising above the trappings of religious and racial hatred and conflict. They recognise that the spurning of agreements reached in good faith and the forceful occupation of land can only fan the flames of conflict. They know from their own experience that, it is in a situation such as this, that extremists on all sides thrive, fed by the blood lust of centuries gone by.
“These Palestinian and Israeli campaigners for peace know that security for any nation is not abstract; neither is it exclusive. It depends on the security of others; it depends on mutual respect and trust. Indeed, these soldiers of peace know that their destiny is bound together, and that none can be at peace while others wallow in poverty and insecurity.”
Differences between Israel/Palestine and apartheid South Africa
“Thus, in extending our hands across the miles to the people of Palestine, we do so in the full knowledge that we are part of a humanity that is at one, that the time has come for progress in the implementation of agreements. The majority of the world community; the majority of the people of the Middle East; the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are suing for peace.
“But we know, Mr. Chairman, that all of us need to do much much more to ensure that this noble ideal is realised.
“As early as February 1995, our government formalised its relations with the State of Palestine when we established full diplomatic relations. We are proud of the modest technical assistance that our government is offering Palestine in such areas as Disaster Management, women`s empowerment and assistance to handicapped children. But the various discussions with our counterparts in Palestine are an indication that we can do more.”
Architect of Apartheid in Israel: “If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist” – Blumenthal Pt4
“We need to do more as government, as the ANC and other parties, as South Africans of all religious and political persuasions to spur on the peace process. All of us should be as vocal in condemning violence and the violation of human rights in this part of the world as we do with regard to other areas. We need to send a strong message to all concerned that an attempt by anyone to isolate partners in negotiations from their own mass base; and attempt to co-opt tes is bound to hurt the peace process as a whole.
“We must make our voices heard calling for stronger action by world bodies as well as those states that have the power, to act with the same enthusiasm in dealing with this deadlock as they do on other problems in the Middle East.
“Yes, all of us need to do more in supporting the struggle of the people of Palestine for self-determination; in supporting the quest for peace, security and friendship in this region.
“But at least we can draw comfort from the fact that, our meeting today is yet another small expression of our empathy.
“We hope that, by this humble act, we are strengthening the voice of peace and friendship in Israel and Palestine; so that, as we enter the new millennium, we shall all have taken a giant stride towards a world in which our humanity will be the hallmark of our relations across colour, religious and other divides.
“I thank you.”
I received another angry email and I thought that this might be a good time for us to discuss the moderation system here at Disinfo.com.
A year or two, we implemented the Disqus comment moderation system. It wasn’t an easy decision for us to make, but it had occurred to me that the majority of the “anonymous” comments we received were abusive or disruptive. A lot of it was racist in nature or just completely unhinged (or both), and some of it was even violent. Deleting comments or banning deranged visitors who could just turn around and make up three or four more sockpuppets and start again was turning into a full-time job; An exercise in futility.
In order to better promote the growth of an inquisitive, involved and invested community, the decision was made to eliminate anonymous comments and require our readers to log in via Disqus.
Disqus is a third-party solution to community moderation that requires the use of some kind of more or less consistent, verified identity to comment on our site. It’s not perfect. For one thing, you can game it if you’re really, really intent on staying anonymous – even beyond the anonymity of just using a throw-away email address or whatever to register with the system – and for another, it sometimes falsely flags legitimate comments as spam. This can be a problem.
When Disqus suspects that a comment may be spam, it removes it and places it in a folder marked “Spam” for approval by an administrator – yours truly. While I do generally check the comments several times a day, sometimes things happen. Occasionally a comment will linger in the spam folder for a few hours. This is especially likely to happen if the comment is made while I’m asleep. Most people are pretty reasonable about this kind of thing, but you’d still be surprised by the number of angry (normally anonymous – again) email I get accusing site management of deleting this or that comment because it’s too “controversial” or threatening to the status quo. At this point, I’m pretty much used to the insults, and my response is to go and check the spam filter and approve the comments. When I can (In essence, when the angry commenter leaves a legitimate email address), I respond back and explain the situation nicely and encourage them to try commenting again. Very rarely, I’ll discover that there’s a good reason why their comment was flagged.
I don’t like playing policeman here or anywhere else. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary for the benefit of our community, and when it is, I’m far more likely to shoot to kill than issue proverbial tickets. Deleting comments piece-meal is a half-measure. If it’s the kind of comment that I would feel compelled to delete then it’s already going to be pretty damned bad: Racial epithets and other forms of bigoted comments that might make visitors not feel welcome are big on the list, as are threats of violence. Finally, there’s insults to the community here. What I mean is that if your entire comment history consists of insulting the intelligence of readers, contributors and commenters, then you’re better off going elsewhere. (I honestly don’t understand how or why one would waste the precious moments of his or her time reading things that you they know they hate, but I guess there are people who don’t value their time like you and I do. However, I will do what I can to make sure you direct your attention elsewhere.)
When I read these things, I almost always just ban the commenter outright. Why the ban? It’s because if you feel comfortable calling someone the “n-word”, threatening to find them and set their house on fire, or enjoy trolling as a hobby then you need to go elsewhere. I’d rather get a thousand angry emails from banned nutjobs than lose even one of our valuable contributors, commenters or readers. Trust me when I say that I’d happily discard thousands of deranged bomb-throwers to keep the majority of the people who are currently reading this post. Sure, it can cut down on our site traffic, but in the long run, I think that I’d rather have a small but great community than a sprawling hellhole.
There are caveats to a lot of what I’m talking about here. Sometimes we all have bad days. I certainly do, and even some of our best contributors and commenters sometimes lose their tempers or say something that perhaps they shouldn’t have said. In those cases, I’ll comment on the thread and ask him or her to tone it down, or I’ll email the commenter with a very polite warning. In other words, if you’re a regular around here then I’m far more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt – especially if you’ve not completely flown off the handle and threatened to find and kill someone or something of the sort
I should also mention that just being disagreeable, annoying or contrarian isn’t enough to get you banned. You can’t run a site like this without trafficking in the bizarre or contradictory. I don’t care if you believe in global warming or think it’s a conspiracy of some sort. If you think that the Illuminati is behind the success of the Kardashians then that’s just dandy. Occultist? Atheist? You’re welcome here. Bring it. Keep it weird. Argue your heart out. Even I don’t understand, agree with or especially enjoy some of the things we discuss here, but my job is to make sure that there’s a lot of good stuff on the ideological buffet. I know you won’t like all of it, either, but I want to make sure that there’s at least something here for everyone to nibble on.
What I’ve written about here doesn’t apply to most of you. I hate even bringing it up. Unfortunately, moderation is something that has to be done, and I’d rather you know exactly how, why, and when these kinds of things happen around here.
Attempting to contact the dead puts people into a unique mental state, the Daily Grail reports:
A new study co-authored by Dean Radin and Julie Beischel has found that electrocortical activity during mediumistic ‘communication’ is distinctly different than during other contemplative moments such as thinking about living or imaginary people.
The research was done to explore two questions: possible correlations between the accuracy of mediums’ statements and the electrical activity in their brain; and the differences in mediums’ brain activity when they intentionally evoked four different subjective states.
To do so, the researchers collected psychometric and brain electrophysiology data from “six individuals who had previously reported accurate information about deceased individuals under double-blind conditions” (ie. mediums).
The researchers conclude[d] that the differences in electrocortical activity “suggest that the impression of communicating with the deceased may be a distinct mental state distinct from ordinary thinking or imagination”.
The post Study Suggests Mediumship May Be A Distinct Mental State appeared first on disinformation.
Own a trash can? Have a basement, garage or closet? Are you physically able to wrap pears in tinfoil or drop stuff on a floor? Well, you might as well buy a villa in France, friend, because you are a successful contemporary artist. That’s right: Now you, too, can earn $100,000 to $1 million at Art Basel without even leaving the house! It’s that easy.
Wait a second, you’re asking, do I need to buy all kinds of fancy equipment or expensive professional art supplies? No and no! Just follow these 14 simple DIY steps using everyday household items and a little imagination. We’re not even going to make you buy the infomercial DVDs or pay shipping and handling, we’re just going to give away this life-changing information free of charge.
If you’re also asking yourself, “Didn’t the original gangster Marcel Duchamp figure this shit out almost a hundred years ago with his famous found-object urinal?” The answer is yes, and congratulations for taking art history 101 in college. “But how is it then that an entire generation of RISD grads can keep ripping off the same idea year after year and still convince these corpulent billionaires to line up at the trough?” It’s art, you philistine; didn’t you go to college? Now let’s get down to business. All prices quoted below are real.
1. Wad up a pile of your soiled underpants and drop them on the floor. Done. Congratulations! You are a fucking genius. Seriously. This piece sold for $3,500. We told you this would be easy! Now you can barely afford to keep your underwear on—it’s like printing money. (Rosa by Adriano Costa, Sadie Coles Gallery)
2. Splash some paint on a couple of used mattresses. Demand $65,000. EACH. You’re getting the hang of it. (Untitled by Wade Guyton, Kelley Walker, Greene Naftali Gallery)…
[check out the rest at Vocativ]
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