CJW: Welcome to another bumper issue (is it a “bumper” if they’re all that long?).
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The latest unlocked bonus is Experiments in Expectation - On GPT-3, in which I played around with GPT-3 (but found it underwhelming for how I’d hoped to use it).
Daniel Harvey (DCH) - Designer, writer, provocateur. Pro-guillotine tech critic. @dancharvey
m1k3y (MKY) - sometimes i write things. patreon.com/m1k3y
Marlee Jane Ward (MJW) - is also Mia Walsch. Writer, apocalypse witch.
Corey J. White (CJW) - Author, podcaster, sin-eater.
Lidia Zuin (LZ) - Journalist, MA in semiotics, and PhD in Arts. Sci-fi writer, futurology researcher and essayist. @lidiazuin
MKY: Biden Wrote a Stern Letter to Oil Refiners. His Government Should Take Over the Industry Instead.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the world’s governments were already on track to produce double the amount of fossil fuels than is consistent with capping warming [below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit)]. War has helped make that problem even worse. Western sanctions on Russia have further tightened energy markets, raising prices and profits and buoying prospects for an industry rocked by Covid-19 and longer-term trends like the still sluggish rollout of electric vehicles.
“There’s no way that the energy transition in the oil and gas industry happens at a reasonable rate without greater state intervention”
Please tell me our local politicians are figuring this out now too? I mean, we should be grateful that the ‘good’ neoliberal party is in charge now right? They’ll definitely see the logic in nationalising things right? I am so relieved to hear that.
CJW: If we can farm metal from plants, what else can we learn from life on Earth? - James Bridle at The Guardian
What I have come to understand about these plants is that, by virtue of their evolutionary history and their close association with the soil, climate and wider ecosystem in which they have emerged, they embody a certain kind of knowledge: an understanding and accommodation with the places they have found themselves in. Humans have sought out deposits of rare metals for thousands of years, and developed ever-more violent ways of accessing them, but these plants have been around far longer, and have found more equitable and regenerative ways of doing much the same thing. Perhaps we have something to learn from them.
A new conception of intelligence is emerging from scientific research: rather than human intelligence being unique or the peak of some graduated curve, there appear to be many different kinds of intelligence with their own strengths, competencies and suitabilities.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen someone talking about plant hyperaccumulators harvesting metals from the soil, but this is James Bridle, who is always worth a read.
DCH: Doctorow wrote about Bridle’s new book recently. The title of the book, of course, is an homage to John Berger’s seminal text, Ways of Seeing. Like Corey I’m a huge fan of Bridle but I do worry a bit whenever technologists get excited about parallels to the natural world.
MKY: Polar bear population discovered that can survive without sea ice
This is what passes for ‘good news’ these days. Some polar bears have adapted to an ice-free Arctic. Personally, I’m team Pizzly. Go south young bears. Age of the hybrid beast.
DCH: Bitcoin’s crash is good for the climate by Tim McDonnell at Quartz
When the price of bitcoin soared over the last two years, energy consumption rose and then plateaued, as many miners found the price high enough to justify mining but not high enough to justify new investments in mining hardware. But the latest crash—the price has fallen by half since May 1, to about $20,800 per bitcoin—seems to have crossed a critical threshold. Energy consumption is falling for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, according to an estimate by Alex de Vries, a Dutch economist who studies cryptocurrency energy trends.
The dirtiest mining operations – typically in Kazakhstan – were amongst the first to shut down as crypto winter began. Obviously if prices go back up dirty mines will spin back up but those ops were already on precariously thin margins anyway. Mainly due to the unreliability of the country’s power grid and out of date tech used by the miners.
In hottest city on Earth, mothers bear brunt of climate change - at Reuters
Anti-protest laws are an affront to democracy. They have no place in Australia - Kieran Pander at Guardian and Australia: Climate Protesters’ Rights Violated - Human Rights Watch
UN Chief: Fossil Fuel Companies “Have Humanity by the Throat” by Fiona Harvey (DCH: No relation) Mother Jones & Ocean Oil Slick Map Reveals Enough Greasy Patches to Cover France—Twice by Sasha Warren Scientific American
The race to produce green steel by Marcello Rossi, Undark
How to Fight Climate “Delay”—Denial’s Hipper, More Dangerous Cousin by Liza Featherstone The New Republic
MKY: Engaging with Saudi Arabia Isn’t the Problem - Elizabeth Headers at Inkstick
The Biden administration has just made two decisions that directly contradict one another. First, the administration declined to invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to the Summit of the Americas, reasoning that those countries “are not exemplars” of “democratic governance.” Now the administration is reportedly planning a direct meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [who] has never been held accountable for overseeing the brutal murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He is also presiding over a genocidal war in Yemen. And he runs a kingdom that not so long ago was dubbed a “pariah” state by none other than then-presidential candidate Joe Biden due to its human rights record. How do we reconcile this double standard?
The answer is that these developments expose what has always been true: US foreign policy is not and never has been centered on democracy and human rights. On the contrary, those values are invoked only when useful to justify policies that are primarily motivated by other US interests, such as economic or geopolitical maneuvers.
CJW: Diplomatic hypocrisy from the United States of North America? Odd. Though, the US has been so caught up in the Middle East for the past 20 years we’re seeing a resurgence of leftist politics in South America, so maybe the best thing for Central and South America is for the US to forget they exist…
DCH: Sadly, The US is never going to let South American leftists alone for long.
MKY: Columbia got its first leftist President, which is kinda a huge deal. (Now he’s just gotta dismantle the system he oversees.) Venezuelan’s leader is making deals all over the shop. The US Empire’s policy of economic warfare via sanctions seems to be backfiring at last. They can call it the Putin Price Hike all they want, but nobody in the homeland seems to be _buying _it, ‘cept the most died-in-the-wool Dems. And no one can save them. Europe seems fucked by all it too. Least I lived long enough to see that…
More: Colombia’s shift to the left: A new ‘pink tide’ in Latin America?
I WANT TO BELIEVE!
May Simón Bolívar ride again!!!
South America ain’t no one’s backyard… or front yard. RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE.
CJW: Welcome to a Science-Fiction Planet - Interview with Noam Chomsky at Tom’s Dispatch
There’s only one way to bring [the war in Ukraine] to an end. That’s diplomacy. Now, diplomacy, by definition, means both sides accept it. They don’t like it, but they accept it as the least bad option. It would offer Putin some kind of escape hatch. That’s one possibility. The other is just to drag it out and see how much everybody will suffer, how many Ukrainians will die, how much Russia will suffer, how many millions of people will starve to death in Asia and Africa, how much we’ll proceed toward heating the environment to the point where there will be no possibility for a livable human existence. Those are the options. Well, with near 100 percent unanimity, the United States and most of Europe want to pick the no-diplomacy option. It’s explicit. We have to keep going to hurt Russia.
On Russia and Ukraine, but also the history of US diplomacy that got us to this point. As well as some truth on military spending. The amount of money in the US Federal budget for military spending is frankly disgusting.
DCH: China’s Surveillance State Is Growing. These Documents Reveal How. by Muyi Xiao, Paul Mozur, Isabelle Qian and Alexander Cardia at The New York Times
A New York Times analysis of over 100,000 government bidding documents found that China’s ambition to collect digital and biological data from its citizens is more expansive and invasive than previously known.
This is a 15-minute video on the explosive growth of the surveillance state in China. A truly terrifying mixture of genetic, biometric, social, and economic tracking. Especially in light of the country’s ongoing oppression of the Uyghur populace.
Related: The world’s biggest surveillance company you’ve never heard of - MIT Technology Review
Gaza: Israel’s ‘Open-Air Prison’ at 15 - Human Rights Watch & Britain Is Reinforcing Israeli Apartheid - Jacobin
We Would Never Tolerate Julian Assange’s Persecution If Any Other Country Carried It Out - Branko Marcetic at Jacobin
US occupation troops steal wheat from Syria to send to Iraq - The Cradle
How a Former Transcendental Meditation Devotee Ended Up Funding America’s Wildest Right-Wing Spy Op by Tim Murphy at Mother Jones (DCH: This shit is bonkers)
Pentagon Explores Using SpaceX for Rocket-Deployed Quick Reaction Force by Sam Biddle The Intercept
Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists by Andy Greenberg WIRED #acab
In Occupied Cities, Time Doesn’t Exist: Conversations with Bucha Writers The Paris Review
America Is Growing Apart, Possibly for Good The Atlantic
MKY: The European space mission that plans to ambush a comet
After all, why not park a space probe at a Laranage point and wait for something interesting to pass by. This is how we actually might check out objects from beyond this Solar System.
DCH: Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization WIRED
Prolonged national grid failure is new territory for humankind. Documents from an assortment of government agencies and private organizations paint a dismal picture of what that would look like in the United States. Homes and offices will lose heating and cooling; water pressure in showers and faucets will drop. Subway trains will stop mid-voyage; city traffic will creep along unassisted by stoplights. Oil production will grind to a halt, and so will shipping and transportation. The blessing of modern logistics, which allows grocery stores to stock only a few days’ worth of goods, will become a curse. Pantries will thin out within a few days. The biggest killer, though, will be water. Fifteen percent of treatment facilities in the country serve 75 percent of the population—and they rely on energy-intensive pumping systems. These pumps not only distribute clean water but also remove the disease- and chemical-tainted sludge constantly oozing into sewage facilities. Without power, these waste systems could overflow, contaminating remaining surface water.
A good long read on the geomagnetic solar storms (aka Carrington Events), the ongoing scientific debate modelling them, and how our modern societies would unravel if we ever got hit by one of these “corona bullets.”
CJW: Animal magic: why intelligence isn’t just for humans - Philip Ball at the Guardian (via Sentiers)
If other animals behave like us, that’s no basis to assume that they do so for the same reasons and with the same experiences and mental representations of the world. But as countless careful experiments like this study of pigs reveal ever more about the inner world of animals, there comes a point where it looks far more contrived to suppose that their behaviour just happens to look like ours in all kinds of ways while differing utterly in its explanation. Maybe, instead, they have minds that are not really so different after all. Primatologist Frans de Waal warns that, while we must avoid anthropomorphising other animals such as great apes, sometimes their actions “make little sense if we refuse to assume intentions and feelings”.
I look forward to a time (sadly, probably a long way away) where we collectively and inherently recognise the personhood, intelligence, and even sentience of non-human animals, and perhaps create a society of true interspecies collaboration. I think the only way it could happen is if we took ourselves down a couple of notches whilst also raising them.
See The Disenchanted Earth: An Interview with Richard Seymour at Protean Magazine for more on interspecies polity, as well as a wide-ranging discussion of various climate change related topics, left politics, denialism (a really interesting para on this), eco-fascism, and more. I rarely stick with interviews, but this is a great read.
Anyway, I’m always fascinated by new research into animal cognition (as well as research into the neuroscience of humans [read Thomas Metzinger]).
Related: Can Democracy Include a World Beyond Humans? - James Bridle at Wired (via Sentiers)
Record-Breaking Voyager Spacecraft Begin to Power Down by Tim Folger at Scientific American
The Sexist Pseudoscience at the Heart of Biology by Lucy Cooke at WIRED
Controversy Grows Over whether Mars Samples Endanger Earth by Leonard David Scientific American
DCH: Influencer Creep by Sophie Bishop at Real Life
Although the metrics being chased may look slightly different, what was once a matter of professionalization specifically for influencers is now becoming a part of professionalization in general. If the phrase “mission creep” describes how a campaign’s objectives gradually expand until they entail unanticipated and boundless commitment, we might likewise call the expansion of micro-celebrity practice “influencer creep,” both for how influencing creeps into more forms of work and for how it creeps further into the lives of workers. The mark of influencer creep is the on-edge feeling that you have not done enough for social media platforms: that you can be more on trend, more authentic, more responsive — always more. It lodges in the back of your mind: film more, post more, respond more, share more. And as with mission creep, there is no apparent way out.
One more reason to hate the modern internet. I’m sure everyone else at Nothing Here feels the burn of this extra labor in some way. It’s not enough to write a great sci-fi novel, say. Now you have to pimp the fuck out of it and yourself perpetually.
CJW: We’re in the age of the influencerfication of everything. I’ve seen authors take to TikTok, Youtube, podcasting, TTRPG streaming, and on and on, and I’m sure sometimes those are good and useful outlets beyond this sort of marketing/professionalisation (I thoroughly enjoy the work I do on and for Buddies without Organs), but I’m also sure a large chunk of it is them feeling pressure to be ever more visible.
If you ever find me on TikTok, know that my publisher is holding a gun to my head.
CJW: Find me on OnlyFans posting lewds as well as excerpts from my upcoming novel. Only $15 a month.
MJW: ^^^ Isn’t this what OF would prefer? Less lewds, more ‘creatives’? If I was better at selling myself I’d have a lewds-and-fiction OF for sure. But I can’t even maintain my Patreon.
CJW: Introducing the Community Power Compass Part One and Part Two - John V Willshire (via Sentiers)
I get easily repelled by a lot of people who talk about the future of the internet (usually because said people are overly enamoured by all things blockchain), but here Willshire seems as wary of Web3 bullshit as I am even as he outlines new ways to think about online community as we move beyond web 2.0 (whatever that ends up looking like), taking inspiration from Davids Graeber and Wengrow and their book The Dawn of Everything. Worth a look. Lots of interesting stuff here.
I still plan to read The Dawn of Everything, but I don’t know when I’ll have the time…
DCH: I know John. He’s a great bloke with his heart in the right place.
DCH: We warned Google that people might believe AI was sentient. Now it’s happening. by Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell at The Washington Post
Although our goal was simply to warn Google and the public of the potential harms of LLMs, the company was not pleased with our paper, and we were subsequently very publicly fired. Less than two years later, our work is only more relevant. The race toward deploying larger and larger models without sufficient guardrails, regulation, understanding of how they work, or documentation of the training data has further accelerated across tech companies.
What’s worse, leaders in so-called AI are fueling the public’s propensity to see intelligence in current systems, touting that they might be “slightly conscious,” while poorly describing what they actually do. Google vice president Blaise Agüera y Arcas, who, according to the Post article, dismissed Lemoine’s claims of LaMDA’s sentience, wrote a recent article in the Economist describing LaMDA as an “artificial cerebral cortex.” Tech companies have been claiming that these large models have reasoning and comprehension abilities, and show “emergent” learned capabilities. The media has too often embraced the hype, for example writing about “huge ‘foundation models’ … turbo-charging AI progress” whose “emerging properties border on the uncanny.”
Of course the biggest news story around tech this fortnight were the outrageous bullshit claims by Google dev Blake Lemoine that the company’s language models had somehow gained sentience. Lemioine is no different than other AI hucksters with religious underpinnings and Google pedigrees. People like Lemoine and Levandowski forget that the Turing Test measures deception not intelligence. And that AI is far more likely to develop bias not sentience. Nice to see credible and genuinely intelligent voices like Gebru and Mitchell calling this crap out for what it is.
CJW: New Sensation - Leo Kim at Real Life Mag
In writing about the “docile” body, Foucault notes how military discipline involves a “meshing” between body and object to create a “body-weapon, body-tool, body-machine complex.” A U.S. drone operator wracked with guilt admits that on missions, he often felt inhuman, that he was “merging with the technology,” becoming “a robot, a zombie, a drone itself.” A new subjectivity more powerful in its destructive capacities, but less free.
The Xbox controller has, in the past, been used to manipulate periscopes on Naval submarines and test Boeing’s High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, among other things. The stated rationale behind this incorporation is often couched in the terms of familiarity. […] Make the weapons right, and it transforms civilians into pre-trained soldiers, already well on their way to dealing out destruction. Crucially, this training happens free of charge, on our own time, as we play as children and teenagers at home.
On VR haptics, games and gaming tools and their relation to military training, as well as the gamification of war, with a heavy dose of Foucault.
Google infiltrated by “cult-like religious sect,” says NYT reporter | Boing Boing (yes Mark, name fucking names)
How a Religious Sect Landed Google in a Lawsuit The New York Times (DCH: Seems like that Lemoine twat isn’t the only Googler with weird religious affiliations)
TikTok Boom - Scott Galloway (via Sentiers) (DCH: related Leaked Audio From 80 Internal TikTok Meetings Shows That US User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China BuzzFeed News
After Years of Perpetuating Housing Discrimination, Facebook Gets $115,055 Fine VICE
Meta Made Millions in Ads From Networks of Fake Accounts WIRED
YouTube Runs Ad Offering American Men a Ukrainian Woman VICE
‘Want to review this?’: Twitter’s niceness prompts do alter behaviour, study finds by Alex Hern The Guardian
Palantir: concerns over data firm poised to be ‘operating system’ of NHS The Guardian
Amazon’s plan to have Alexa deepfake dead relatives is even worse than it sounds inputmag.com
DCH: Souvenirs From a Civilization That Kills Its Children by Elizabeth Bruenig at The Atlantic
In the halls of schools where students have learned about the archaeological remains of failed civilizations, they have unwittingly shed the wreckage of their own. The visual artist and author Andres Gonzalez spent six years dutifully photographing the debris of a society in a specific form of decline: the letters, cards, notes, mementos, keepsakes, toys, talismans, objects, and ephemera that accumulate following a school shooting. The artifacts pictured in the book American Origami, Gonzalez’s incredible collection of more than 700 such photographs and their stories, recount the process of our civilization coming undone—of us becoming people less sensitive, less noble, and more barbaric than we once were. Through scores of Gonzalez’s interviews, photographs, and ruminations, American Origami chronicles the rise of a dark cultural malignancy and recounts the way that it eventually defeated us, then visualizes the cost.
A thorough and thoroughly devastating chronicle of American carnage. Bruening’s article about Gonzalez’s book tracks the hardening of the American heart from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook. Read through to the ending for full Faulkner-esque effect.
Columbine should have been on one-off event. It hasn’t been for a variety of reasons. Including Mastercard and Visa’s refusal to stop the sale of “ghost guns”, and elected officials dereliction of duty in passing Red Flag laws and more.
DCH: We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse by Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
“We won’t go back”—it’s an inadequate rallying cry, only prompted by events that belie its message. But it is true in at least one sense. The future that we now inhabit will not resemble the past before Roe, when women sought out illegal abortions and not infrequently found death. The principal danger now lies elsewhere, and arguably reaches further. We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse.
In the states where abortion has been or will soon be banned, any pregnancy loss past an early cutoff can now potentially be investigated as a crime. Search histories, browsing histories, text messages, location data, payment data, information from period-tracking apps—prosecutors can examine all of it if they believe that the loss of a pregnancy may have been deliberate. Even if prosecutors fail to prove that an abortion took place, those who are investigated will be punished by the process, liable for whatever might be found.
It all just got much, much worse. But despair is not an option.
CJW: Related: Dark Money Built the Supreme Court’s Radical Conservative Supermajority by Andrew Perez and Aditi Ramaswami at Jacobin
And also, something related to the author of the New Yorker article…
MJW: Abortion needs to be legal in any and all circumstances, especially if that reason is I don’t want a child. Yes, criminalise abortion in a country without universal healthcare, without paid parental leave, who votes against ensuring that baby formula is accessible, where maternal death rates for black and brown people are climbing and where guns kill more kids than any other reason. It being illegal in any circumstance gets me on a personal level: my ectopic pregnancy would have killed me if I hadn’t had an abortion. It nearly did. There will be more stories of women dying while hospitals refuse to treat them, like the case of Savita Halappanavar, who died of sepsis in Ireland after a hospital refused her an abortion. Please donate to an abortion fund to help pregnant people in states where abortion will be criminalised.
Plus, the estimates are that one in eight pregnancies end in miscarriage, which opens the door for an avalance of criminal cases if pregnancy loss is considered a crime. Thinking of people who lose a wanted pregnancy facing criminal charges as they grieve makes me shudder. Thinking of anyone who loses a pregnancy under any circumstances facing legal action makes me go cold.
Poliovirus Detected in London Sewage, UK Officials Warn Scientific American
How Covid Tracking Apps Are Pivoting for Commercial Profit WIRED
Research into falling sperm counts finds ‘alarming’ levels of chemicals in male urine samples euronews
Hospital websites are sending medical information to Facebook by Nicole Wetsman at The Verge & Your Health Data Might Be for Sale by Justin Sherman at Slate
Homophobic misinformation is making it harder to contain the spread of monkeypox by Rhiannon Williams MIT Technology Review
Know Your Enemy: Overturning Roe, Part Two, on the Christian Right by Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell Dissent
How Parents’ Trauma Leaves Biological Traces in Children Scientific American
DCH: California Stars by Susan Elizabeth Shepard at The Baffler
All these years later, dancers at the North Hollywood club Star Garden are aiming to be the next. When the new owners of the club fired Reagan, a popular dancer, in late February, her coworkers seized the moment to push back in unison. Velveeta, a dancer who’d previously tried to organize another club she worked at with Reagan, helped lead the movement (all dancers are referred to by their stage names). “All the [dancers] were really upset about it, because she had a leadership role within the club, and everyone looked up to her and she brought in a lot of good customers. And so at that moment when she was fired, I offered the suggestion of coming together and organizing around that,” Velveeta says. Most of the dancers responded with enthusiasm. Their resolve was solidified when the club owners fired another dancer, Selena, for intervening with a customer on behalf of another dancer.
Solidarity with the pole workers of North Hollywood. ✊
MJW: Sex work is work, but sex work establishments are notoriously exploitative, punitive and discriminatory.
Dancers were given the unwelcome news that instead of taking home cash from private dance sales every night, the club would be collecting that money and issuing them a paycheck—after deducting the club’s cut and payroll withholding.
While the new laws that dancers be considered employees are heartening and open the doors for unionisation, the implications of it also facilitate new modes of owners ripping off sex workers.
DCH: How Amazon Exported American Working Conditions To Europe by Albert Samaha BuzzFeed News
The Poznan warehouse shipped 1.02 million packages in 24 hours at its highest point that winter, the first in Europe to hit seven figures in a day and just short of the Delaware record of 1.1 million, according to the former senior manager. The following December, with orders again funneled to Poland fulfillment centers, the Poznan warehouse exceeded the American mark, a record that lasted three days before the Wrocław facility surpassed it. “We smashed it,” said another former manager, who was based at the Wrocław facility.
For their efforts, the workers at the record-breaking facilities were rewarded with Amazon-branded T-shirts.
“I watched some coworkers faint from exhaustion and others die and all I got was this lousy shirt.”
This is fantastic coverage of how Amazon has exported its tactics – tactics borne out of lax labor laws and few employee protections – from the US to Poland. Which is especially heartbreaking if, like me, you grew up in the early 80s and first became aware of labor movements thanks to nightly news coverage of Lech Wałęsa and The Solidarity Movement in Poland.
MJW: Leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire Jason Del Rey at Vox (DCH: related Amazon unveiled an autonomous robot that won’t quit like its human workforce Quartz)
The leaked internal findings also serve as a cautionary tale for other employers who seek to emulate the Amazon Way of management, which emphasizes worker productivity over just about everything else and churns through the equivalent of its entire front-line workforce year after year.
Who knew chewing up your entire workforce on a yearly basis might not be good for your company?
Starbucks Is Breaking Ground as One of the Worst Union Busters in Recent Memory Jacobin (DCH: which is not to say that Amazon is slacking of course)
Token Queers: LGBTQ+ Pride, gay greed, and the Blockchain by John Voss (DCH: a great read by my friend John)
DARPA pokes yet another hole in blockchain’s ‘decentralization’ claim Input
Senator posts cryptocurrency bill on GitHub, chaos ensues The Verge (DCH: extra points for GitHubber that posted: “This bill would do far more to benefit everyday Americans if its text was replaced with the source code of Doom.”)
The Crypto Crash Just Got a Lot Worse, And Investors Are Panicking by Edward Ongweso Jr VICE and The Crypto Crash: all Ponzi schemes topple eventually by Robert Reich The Guardian
Among the Landlords VICE (DCH: Read if you really want to get your blood boiling)
Where Did the Long Tail Go? by Ted Gioia
Inside the Secretive World of Irish Limited Partnerships by Ross Higgins bellingcat
A New Bill Would Redirect $100 Billion from the Military Budget to Pro-Worker Programs by Stephen Semler at Jacobin
LZ: Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols: The Ultimate A-Z Guide from Alchemy to the Zodiac, by Adele Nozedar
Currently reading this one, or at least shuffling. It is a very complete encyclopedia of symbols, many times from occultism, others just that you can see all around but have no idea where they come from. The most surprising discovery for me so far is the star used in tanks (and here I was thinking of Tank Girl, of course) which is related to Venus, the Morning Star, and how it was used in military strategy during old times. Worth the purchase for those who fancy semiotics.
MKY: We Own This City (HBO)
Whatif The Wire but it went straight to s6 of The Shield?
Whatif the only way to keep track of time in a non-linear storytelling was the many facial hair stylings of Jon Bernthal?
Copaganda, this is not. Instead, the ‘good guys’ are Internal Affairs (the only good cop is a snitch), the FBI and DoJ lawyers fighting the good fight. And a former cop, nostalgic for the days when… Homicide was on tv i guess?… literally lecturing the Good Lawyer from a Good Neighbourhood on the insanity of a war on drugs. That it’s literally the tools of colonisation brought home.
What I couldn’t help noticing is a certain commonality with another conflict. That when you’re fighting an ideologically-driven war (and aren’t they all?), sometimes the only troops that will fight are the most extreme.
Nic Cage at his finest? Not that much, but here’s some interesting visuals and a not too subtle commentary on new age boomers. Panos Cosmatos has a history of addressing topics like this and occultism, so in spite of the laughs you might get from Cage’s performance, it’s a fun movie with lots of metalhead delightful nods.
CJW: Controversial opinion: I hated this movie. Mandy was the only actual character in the film and she was brutally fridged to give Cage something to do. With her dead I just couldn’t bring myself to care about anything that was happening.
Looks incredible, of course.
LZ: Yoan Capote - Desplazados
Also known as “Stress”, this sculpture or monumental art is made of concrete and bronze. The first time I saw it, it impacted me so deeply because I have suffered from bruxism (or teeth grinding) for over a decade now and it really gets worse when you are stressed. The weight of the concrete and the displacement/damage of the bronze teeth are as distressing as the condition itself. I don’t like art that makes me smile, I like art that makes me shiver because it communicates feelings I myself am not able to describe.