Archive for June, 2009

The ghost of Rolling Stone past

Rolling Stone today may be the bloated corpse of rock you won’t even poke with a stick in case you puncture it and accidentally catch a whiff of the fetid gases trapped inside, but once upon a time it paid for some great writing.

But rock journalism, as Frank Zappa said, could be seen as “…people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.”

And as with any literary criticism, good writing is good writing. Just because you’re writing about something great (or bad) doesn’t make your writing good (or bad. Or right.)

Aladin Sane, 1973

Aladin Sane, 1973

David Bowie

Aladin Sane

…Aladdin is less manic than The Man Who Sold the World, and less intimate than Hunky Dory, with none of its attacks of self-doubt. Ziggy, in turn, was less autobiographically revealing, more threatening than its predecessors, but still compact. Like David’s Radio City Music Hall show, Aladdin is grander, more produced: David is more than ever more mastermind than participant. Aladdin’s very eclecticism makes it even less exposed, conceptually, than Ziggy. Three of the tracks, “Pretty As a Star,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” and the related “The Jean Genie,” are inferior, they lack the obdurate strength of the remaining songs, not to mention the perfection of Hunky Dory and Ziggy. The calmness of the former, the inexorability of the latter (which manages to subsume the question of each individual song’s merit) are not Aladdin Sane’s.

But The Jean Genie as an inferior track? History is not always kind. I expect it will be equally kind to me.

But there’s always the flip side.

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Pigeons as film critics

mediated through the lens of fundamentalism. Is that too strong?
If only we knew in advance what concepts were going to be presented in a movie that we might actually have to explain to our children. Otherwise we might actually have to make sure our kids understood that people have sex, that people die, that people can lie and steal and that pagans worshop satan and after the rapture they’re all going to dammed for all eternity in the firey lake. And Jesus loves you.
It’s becoming harder and
harder to identify a movie
that can be enjoyed by
the entire family.
Because most family
movies are shit.
Monsters Vs. Aliens
Content Description:
Sex: A female character kisses another character on the head.
Language: Su*k-1; Bo*bies-1; Holy Cheeze Its-1; G/OMG-2
Violence: There are several exciting chase scenes and parents should realize that their really young children might possibly be alarmed; a character jumps through a window; A character is shot with a needle; a woman strikes a large cockroach; a large robot attacks and is taken down; characters are chased; accidents on road; some explosions and threats.
Drugs: Medication used in a needle; a robot says, “I’m so buzzing”.
Nudity: An animated man is briefly seen on a toilet but it is not graphic.
Other: There is a scene of a church wedding; a character is supposed to be a missing link.

Who do Christians turn to when they need someone to tell them how to think what to watch? Why the Dove Foundation!

Is it a bird? Is it a cake mix? It's a bird.

Is it a bird? Is it a cake mix? It's a bird.

Because what I want to know before going to see a film is “What would I want to think Jesus would want to tell us to tell our children?”

If only we knew in advance what concepts were going to be presented in a movie that we might actually have to explain to our children. Otherwise we might actually have to make sure our kids understood that people have sex, that people die, that people can lie and steal and that pagans worshop satan and after the rapture they’re all going to be dammed for all eternity in the firey lake. And Jesus loves you.

Now there’s no need to worry. Or think for yourself.

It’s becoming harder and harder to identify a movie that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Because most deliberately ‘family’ movies are shit.

Monsters Vs. Aliens

Content Description:

Sex: A female character kisses another character on the head.

Language: Su*k-1; Bo*bies-1; Holy Cheeze Its-1; G/OMG-2

Violence: There are several exciting chase scenes and parents should realize that their really young children might possibly be alarmed; a character jumps through a window; A character is shot with a needle; a woman strikes a large cockroach; a large robot attacks and is taken down; characters are chased; accidents on road; some explosions and threats.

Drugs: Medication used in a needle; a robot says, “I’m so buzzing”.

Nudity: An animated man is briefly seen on a toilet but it is not graphic.

Other: There is a scene of a church wedding; a character is supposed to be a missing link.

The satanic evolutionary link between man and fish

The satanic evolutionary link between man and fish

Nationalism and Religion in a Global Age

In case you missed it at RMIT Storey Hall in March, you can now listen to the very interesting 2009 Tom Nairn lecture by Professor Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California.

Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State 
If you don’t have a spare hour and eighteen minutes, here is the text version of the lecture (PDF 193 KB)
From his site…
Professor Mark Juergensmeyer is director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, professor of sociology, and affiliate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics, and has published more than two hundred articles and twenty books, including the recently-released Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State (University of California Press 2008). His widely-read Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (University of California Press, revised edition 2003), is based on interviews with religious activists around the world–including individuals convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, leaders of Hamas, and abortion clinic bombers in the United States–and was listed by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as one of the best nonfiction books of the year.

Adaptive transmit eigenbeamforming with orthogonal space-time block coding in correlated space-time channels

Conventional space-time codes can provide a significant improvement in system performance only if the signal paths are spatially uncorrelated, a condition that is hardly met in practice. In this paper, we mitigate this condition by combining a technique of eigenbeamforming, based on the channel correlation matrix, with orthogonal space-time block codes (O-STBC) at the transmitter side of the link. No feedback information from the receiver (the mobile station) is utilized in the proposed structure. Simulation results using 4-ary PSK signaling showed that this idea outperforms existing techniques in both uncorrelated and correlated channels in terms of bit-error rate and symbol-error rate.

Now this is what scientific research should sound like. It almost makes sense, but the specific meaning slides just beyond your grasp, like a tethered lobster trying to pick up a large frozen boiled egg.

Lobsters, like snails and spiders, have blue blood due to the presence of haemocyanin, which contains copper

Lobsters, like snails and spiders, have blue blood due to the presence of haemocyanin, which contains copper

Wordle wordlet wordled

Tag clouds are like the quality of mercy – they swarm like leaf-cuter ants in the heavens, stripping the tree of knowledge so as to feed it to the eternal fungus that rules beneath the earth with its endless mycelium, stretching across the kilometres and boundaries of common sense. Especially is you are reading this on a mobile device. Really?

Wordle tag clouds are of special interest. The gallery seems quite pointless, but interesting nevertheless.

An issue of Web: may have this technology applied to it.

Issue number 38 of Web: as represented ideo-diagramatically. With words.

Issue number 38 of Web: as represented ideo-diagrammatically. With words.

Or the speeches of various individuals. All of who are interesting, but some of more relevance than others.

Automated concrete poetry has its moments.

And who writes the best concrete poetry? Guillaume Apollinaire? Malarme?

Or NASA?

The exciting world of bike lights

As seen in the latest edition of Ride On, the Bicycle Victoria magazine, Fibre flair bike lights are omnidirectional. They use LEDs to light flexible optic fibre.

I also came across the link on the Shifterbikes blog.

And they have a nifty video with some great glitchy techno.

Skipping in front of the Bolte Bridge to advertise bike lights

Skipping in front of the Bolte Bridge to advertise bike lights

And they’re from Melbourne. Hooray!

Nazipedia

How many different version of reality are out there? As many as there are people. How many are ludicrously racist? Slightly less, but still a lot. One of the more bizarre is Metapedia, or to put it another way – Nazipedia, which unfortunately isn’t an example of Poe’s Law. But definitely Godwin’s law

Ah, the good old days of Wolfenstein 3D

Ah, the good old days of Wolfenstein 3D

From their preamble…

Metapedia is an electronic encyclopedia about culture, art, science, philosophy and politics.
The word ‘Metapedia’ is derived from two concepts from classical greek: ‘meta’ that means ‘outside’ or ‘beyond’; and ‘enkyklios paideia’ that means ‘encyclopedia’. The name has a dual symbolic meaning:

  • Metapedia sets its focus on topics that usually are not covered in — i.e. that falls outside of — mainstream encyclopedias.
  • Metapedia has a metapolitical purpose, to influence the mainstream debate, culture and historical view.

The project is still in its early stages, but the database is growing every day and you are heartily welcome to contribute to the growth of this valuable and unique encyclopedia.

At least they claim it’s unique. I certainly hope there aren’t more like it lurking out there. But what they really mean is…

Hey everybody, we’re Nazis! National Socialism, which is the polite name for the Nazi party, was really misunderstood – we just wanted to rule the world for 1000 years (for starters), in which time we would have killed everyone who was the least bit different from us and by us we mean some idealised version of the Aryan race (but not actually Aryans as they came from India which is full of brown skinned people) and people who think Nazi apologist David Irving is actually an historian instead of an hysterical racist.

The Register has a good take on it.

Conservapedia too pinko? Try Metapedia

Even Conservapedia finds it too strange a bedfellow. But that might make it homosexual, which it really isn’t, really.

And at time of writing, Consversapedia have this on their front page

The YouTube video producer Swordsman of Faith continues to battle evolutionists over his anti-evolution video which cites the Conservapedia evolution article and the video was produced over 60 days ago! It appears as if many Darwinist cannot face the truth that Adolf Hitler was an evolutionist and that the Nazi eugenics program and the Holocaust have their roots in Darwinism!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

Take that you dammed evolved beings and windmills! Yes, this animated gif went with the text. Classy.

And speaking of windmills – Metapedia — The Encyclopedia for Racists, by Racists

But perhaps the last word should go to somewhat dubious and dramatic Encyclopedia Dramatica.

Metapedia is a Nazi wiki ridden with a prime example of arrogant white trash who think that they’re well cultured in the fine arts of philosophy and science. Encyclopedia Dramatica is often mistaken for this horrible website for some inexplicable reason. As of May 10th 2009, Metapedia.org was voted number one in Cracked.com’s 5 Terrifying Bastardizations of the Wikipedia Model(though metapedia put it on their current events section of their site that they were voted number one alternative wiki.). In what can only be described as a tragedy, Encyclopedia Dramatica was only voted number three, but that’s fine, seeing as how batshit crazy the other two were. (in case you were wondering, number two was some shitty website about paganism whose domain expired in 2008)

So maybe the final last word can go to Cracked.

5 terrifying bastardizations of the wikipedia model

  1. Metapedia
  2. Pagan Wiki
  3. Encyclopedia Dramatica
  4. Wikifur
  5. Conservapedia

And so on and so forth

thenewreality