Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Brave New 1984

Excerpted from 

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. 

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

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Explain the relative size of geometric shapes by using Euclid’s theorem of parallelograms.

Ryan Pyle for The New York Times

Discipline issues are rare at the middle school linked to the Jing’An Teachers’ College in Shanghai. The city is thought to have China’s best schools.

SHANGHAI — In Li Zhen’s ninth-grade mathematics class here last week, the morning drill was geometry. Students at the middle school affiliated with Jing’An Teachers’ College were asked to explain the relative size of geometric shapes by using Euclid’s theorem of parallelograms.

“Who in this class can tell me how to demonstrate two lines are parallel without using a proportional segment?” Ms. Li called out to about 40 students seated in a cramped classroom.

One by one, a series of students at this medium-size public school raised their hands. When Ms. Li called on them, they each stood politely by their desks and usually answered correctly. They returned to their seats only when she told them to sit down.

Educators say this disciplined approach helps explain the announcement this month that 5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai outperformed students from about 65 countries on an international standardized test that measured math, science and reading competency.

American students came in between 15th and 31st place in the three categories.

[Complete article: New York Times ]

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

R.I.P. Billy Taylor

Billy Taylor, Jazz Pianist, Dies at 89

Billy Taylor, a pianist and composer who was also an eloquent spokesman and advocate for jazz as well as a familiar presence for many years on television and radio, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 89 and lived in the Riverdale area of the Bronx.

[More at the New York Times...]

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Iran + Venezuela + Missiles

Iran Placing Medium-Range Missiles in Venezuela; Can Reach the U.S.

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
December 8, 2010 at 5:00 am

 Print  Send  Comment  RSS

Iran is planning to place medium-range missiles on Venezuelan soil, based on western information sources[1], according to an article in the German daily, Die Welt, of November 25, 2010. According to the article, an agreement between the two countries was signed during the last visit o Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Tehran on October19, 2010. The previously undisclosed contract provides for the establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela, and the joint development of ground-to-ground missiles.

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I don't mind....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And miles to go before I sleep.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost 

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Very good but not my type...

Typewriter art from Keira Rathbone

[Link love...
of you and of everything that surrounds us... 

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bethnal Green and Roman road

olha pryymak

Bethnal Green and Roman road


2010, oil on panel, 15 x 15 cm, £98 via Etsy

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Run, Sarah, Run
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The Tea Party Nation’s new mailin’
Says for RNC head it wants Palin.
Sarah sure sounds ideal
(Even better than Steele)
If the Dems want a shot at prevailin’.

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Is this "I love you" or ...

... Nom nom nom

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Monday, December 13, 2010

We will all sleep safer...

... when the distinction is made clearer.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Today is Human Rights Day.

On this day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its conclusion that, "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

But today in Oslo, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's seat stood empty. He is in a Chinese jail. The Chinese government successfully pressured 15 nations to boycott the reception honoring his work for free speech and elections. The mission of Eleanor Roosevelt and countless others who worked tirelessly to make the Declaration a reality is not yet complete.

Human Rights First

Urban Cowboys at play...

I <3 TL

Olny srmat ploepe can raed tihs...

No wonder my dyslexia affected my math skills and not my reading comprehension.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


A new green file format: WWF.

The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed out. It’s a simple way to avoid unnecessary printing. So here’s your chance to save trees and help the environment. Decide for yourself which documents don't need printing out – then simply save them as WWF.



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Amazon’s cowardice and servility ...

Open Letter to


 on DECEMBER 3, 2010

To Customer Service and Jeff Bezos,

I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating its hosting of  the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information  and deterrence of whistle-blowing.

Daniel Ellsberg's Website


William Meloney
Voice: 270-215-4275

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Wednesday Poetry

Dawn Dreams
by Rachel Hadas 

Dreams draw near at dawn and then recede
even if you beckon them.
They loom like demons
you tug by the tail to examine from up close
and then let fly away.
Their colors at once brighter and less bright
than you remembered, they
hover and insinuate all day
at the corner of your eye.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Look what's happenin' up the to revolution, got to...

Posted By Blake Hounshell 

In a bid to stay one step ahead of the governments, companiesfreelance hackers trying to shut down its operations, WikiLeaks mobilized its vast base of online support Saturday by asking its Twitter followers to create copies of its growing archive of hundreds of classified State Department cables.

As my FP colleague Evgeny Morozov warns, aggressive action like arresting or killing Assange could spawn the rise of a vast, permanent network of radicalized hackers "systematically challenging those in power – governments and companies alike – just for the sake of undermining 'the system'." That could prove an extremely dangerous threat to the global economy and diplomatic sphere.

I particularly like the part about "radicalized hackers" ... we  can anticipate oligarchical control of the Internet any minute now. 

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Friday, December 03, 2010

And God said ...

... I need something interesting to do this afternoon... I think I will make ...

A tiny chameleon sits on a human thumbnail with room to spare. The minuscule creature is rarely spotted in the wild, and doesn’t need to change colour to help hide from its enemies. British wildlife photographers Matt and Will Burrard-Lucas were lucky to spot the tiny Brookesia during an expedition in Amber Mountain Park, Madagascar.

Picture: / BNPS (via Pictures of the day: 3 December 2010 - Telegraph)

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Norman Rockwell painting... Southern Justice

Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi) (1965)

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Great Complexities

Consider the following qualities:

Confident Humble
Courageous Prudent
Tenacious Gentle
Honest Compassionate
Decisive Flexible
Disciplined Playful
Strong Vulnerable
Deliberate Spontaneous
Discerning Intuitive
Outgoing Introspective

Which quality do you value more in each pair?

Is there any doubt that most of us tend to choose up sides between qualities, valuing one in preference to its opposite? Or that most organizations often value the whole constellation of qualities on the left over those on the right?

Many companies now build leadership programs around developing "competencies," a list of core qualities they expect all their leaders to embody. It's one size fits all, and the aim is to help people get up to speed wherever they fall short.


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Thank you Rosa Parks

55th Anniversary: Rosa Parks refuses to move
On this day 55 years ago, a woman named Rosa Parks kick-started the modern civil rights movement when the then-42-year-old refused to leave her seat in the colored section of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama

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Better if we don't name it...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

∆x∆p ≥ h/4π

... All the [ Uncertainty ] Principle actually says, in its entirety, is:

∆x∆p ≥ h/4π

That’s it.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The next great crash will be ecological...

The next great crash will be ecological - and nature doesn't do bailouts

Posted by Johann Hari 

2 days ago

Why are the world's governments bothering? Why are they jetting to Cancun next week to discuss what to do now about global warming? The vogue has passed. The fad has faded. Global warming is yesterday's apocalypse. Didn't somebody leak an email that showed it was all made up? Doesn't it sometimes snow in the winter? Didn't Al Gore get fat, or molest a masseur, or something?

Alas, the biosphere doesn't read Vogue. Nobody thought to tell it that global warming is so 2007. All it knows is three facts. 2010 is globally the hottest year since records began. 2010 is the year humanity's emissions of planet-warming gases reached its highest level ever. And exactly as the climate scientists predicted, we are seeing a rapid increase in catastrophic weather events, from the choking of Moscow by gigantic unprecedented forest fires to the drowning of one quarter of Pakistan.


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Friday, November 26, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Praying Mantis - Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii

all Creatures [great and small]


Praying Mantis - Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii. This beautiful whalbergii evolved through two of its nymph-stages on the Barberton Daisy at left, surviving because of its bright color which blended so well with the flower. Towards the end of its growth into an adult, it became a little more adventurous (but not much more) as pictured here. Once it had shed the layer in this picture, it became a fully-fledged adult, and departed after about two weeks. Total stay in this tiny ecosystem was approximately six weeks. (Photo and caption by Fred Turck) (via National Geographic’s Photography Contest 2010 - The Big Picture -

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Duke of Wellington statue, original oil painting

This is an oil on board painting, approximately 6x6 in (15x15 cm) large, completed in 2010 (drying time - 7 days from the day of this post), shipped without a frame in a foam lined manilla envelope. Remember that colours may look slightly different in person, but usually for the better!

Copyright of Olha Pryymak @

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a baby La Plata river dolphin

Richard Tesore, head of the NGO Rescate Fauna Marina, feeds a baby La Plata river dolphin in Piriapolis, 62 miles east of Montevideo, Uruguay. The dolphin, which was found on the beach in the city four days ago, is recovering at the reserve from injuries believed to have been caused by a fishing net.

(Andres Stapff, Reuters / November 5, 2010) (via Photos in the news -

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Got Dew?

Food! Any food in there?

Cadbury and Mocca, a couple of cheeky wombats at a wildlife centre in Melbourne, spot a camera and make a beeline for it before clambering all over it and sticking their noses in every nook and cranny…

Picture: Craig Borrow/Newspix / Rex Features (via Animal pictures of the week: 5 November 2010 - Telegraph)

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jaba the Frog


A mouse looks out from the jaws of a huge voracious African bullfrog. These carnivorous amphibians have an aggressive temper and can jump 3.5 metres. The huge predatory frogs sit and wait for animals to pass by. They are stimulated by movement and will lunge at pretty much anything that comes within range, including this unlucky mouse. Picture: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / MARK ABBOTT / BARCROFT MEDIA


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Monday, November 08, 2010

The same octopus...

The best way to spot an octopus on the reef is by looking out, rather than looking down.  Octopuses like to survey their territory, and when they&#8217;re resting they sit on the tops of ledges, outcroppings, etc. in order to see everything around them.  An octopus can see you coming from a long way away, so if you&#8217;re swimming along and just looking down into holes in the reef, the octopus&#8217;ll be long gone by the time you get there. The best way to find one is to swim slowly and look out at the highest points around you.  When an octopus sees you it&#8217;ll usually change color and drop down quickly, immediately giving away its position.  It&#8217;s kind of like hide-and-seek, except the octopuses don&#8217;t usually want to be found, and rather than laughing or losing gracefully, they just shoot water at you with their siphon. I found this guy in about 5 feet of water at Hanauma Bay yesterday trying to look like a rock.

The same octopus 30 seconds later...

This is the same octopus about 30 seconds later. One of the coolest things about the octopus is its ability to change color.  All Cephalopods can do this, but octopuses are by far the best at it.  They have 4 different tools which they use to change color and brightness, these are Chromatophores, Iridophores, Leucophores, and Bioluminescence, which can be activated as a chemical reaction within the octopus&#8217; skin cells. In basic terms, the octopus possesses all the colors in its skin already.  To change, it reveals certain colors by unfolding microscopic sacks in its skin and keeping others tightly shut.  It&#8217;s a very complicated, detailed process that happens in several thousandths of a second. If you want the nitty gritty on it, some great info can be found in this PDF on The Cephalopod Page.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Monday, November 01, 2010

Some politicians don't want you to vote!

Voting, misunderstood


This year, fewer than 40% of voting age Americans will actually vote.

A serious glitch in self-marketing, I think.

If you don't vote because you're trying to teach politicians a lesson, you're tragically misguided in your strategy. The very politicians you're trying to send a message to don't want you to vote. Since 1960, voting turnouts in mid-term elections are down significantly, and there's one reason: because of TV advertising.

Political TV advertising is designed to do only one thing: suppress the turnout of the opponent's supporters. If the TV ads can turn you off enough not to vote ("they're all bums") then their strategy has succeeded.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tim Profitt, the Rand Paul campaign volunteer who stomped a female protester

"I don't think it's that big of a deal. I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you."

-- Tim Profitt, the Rand Paul campaign volunteer who stomped a female protester at a Senate debate in Kentucky Monday, speaking to WKYT radio

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I spread your idea because... #20

Seth's Blog...

I spread your idea because...

Ideas spread when people to choose to spread them. Here are some reasons why:

  1. I spread your idea because it makes me feel generous.
  2. ...because I feel smart alerting others to what I discovered.
  3. ...because I care about the outcome and want you (the creator of the idea) to succeed.
  4. ...because I have no choice. Every time I use your product, I spread the idea (Hotmail, iPad, a tattoo).
  5. ...because there's a financial benefit directly to me (Amazon affiliates, mlm).
  6. ...because it's funny and laughing alone is no fun.
  7. ...because I'm lonely and sharing an idea solves that problem, at least for a while.
  8. ...because I'm angry and I want to enlist others in my outrage (or in shutting you down).
  9. ...because both my friend and I will benefit if I share the idea (Groupon).
  10. ...because you asked me to, and it's hard to say no to you.
  11. ...because I can use the idea to introduce people to one another, and making a match is both fun in the short run and community-building.
  12. ...because your service works better if all my friends use it (email, Facebook).
  13. ...because if everyone knew this idea, I'd be happier.
  14. ...because your idea says something that I have trouble saying directly (AA, a blog post, a book).
  15. ...because I care about someone and this idea will make them happier or healthier.
  16. ...because it's fun to make another teen snicker about prurient stuff we're not supposed to see.
  17. ...because the tribe needs to know about this if we're going to avoid an external threat.
  18. ...because the tribe needs to know about this if we're going to maintain internal order.
  19. ...because it's my job.
  20. I spread your idea because I'm in awe of your art and the only way I can repay you is to share that art with others.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alien Abduction Lamp By Lasse Klein

Alien Abduction Lamp By Lasse Klein

The Alien Abduction Lamp, a desk lamp in the form of a UFO that beams up a cow, is a wonderful product from designer Lasse Klein. A limited edition, the lamp features an UFO in solid cast metal with glow-in-the-dark aliens, the antenna functions as the on off switch, and it also has a third position for pulsing light and of course, the poor abducted cow.

Alien Abduction Lamp By Lasse Klein

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Female member attacked by Rand Paul supporters

By Matt DeLong

This post was updated at 6:28 a.m.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that a female supporter was attacked by backers of Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul on Monday when she attempted to approach Paul outside his final debate with Democrat Jack Conway in Lexington.

Female member attacked by Rand Paul supporters

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my...

'Rocky and Bullwinkle' creator Alex Anderson has died

Alex Anderson, the cartoonist who created the famously pun-loving 1960s cartoon characters Rocket “Rocky” J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose, has died. He was 90 and died Oct. 22 in Carmel, Calif. He had Alzheimer’s disease.

Many people, included me, have long thought that Jay Ward was responsible for the creation of Rocky and Bullwinkle, whose media-savvy adventures made them

 a cult favorite for generations of kids who felt cooler for watching their show. But it was Anderson who created the clever squirrel and his dim-bulb moose pal; Ward was Anderson’s business partner early on, a strong influence on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and did much to keep the show’s memory alive. Still, Anderson had to sue Ward’s heirs in the 1990s to regain full credit as creator of the characters.

Rocky and Bullwinkle first appeared on TV in 1959, and their escapades matching wits with their Russian enemies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale were undisguised critiques of cold-war tension. William Conrad, later famous for starring in the TV series Cannon, did the voiceover narration. The show was constructed like an old movie cliffhanger, with breathless plugs to tune in for the next installment, which would have titles such as “Avalanche Is Better Than None, or Snow’s Your Old Man.”

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Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg


Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg at Kerouac’s grave, Lowell, MA - 1975
(photo by Ken Regan)

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Restore Sanity

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Restore Sanity / Keep Fear Alive

The dueling rallies have merged into one. (Comedy Central)

Stewart will be in Washington next week to do episodes of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," Obama is a scheduled guest for Wednesday, Oct. 27.

The President has already endorsed the rally -- kinda. At a roundtable discussion last month, Obama told residents of RIchmond, Va., he was "amused" by the idea of Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity (which has since been merged with Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive), adding that it was "really important" for people who expect common sense and courtesy in their daily interactions to have a rally where their voices can be heard, as the AP reported at the time.

The Washington Post

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

John, Yoko and ...

Fun with mum and dad...

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The great Benoît Mandelbrot has passed away

The great Benoît Mandelbrot has passed away, in Wired:

It has yet to be confirmed by the mainstream media, but it seems that Benoît Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry and one of the most famous mathematicians of all time, has passed away about a month shy of his 86th birthday.

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. . .