Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The following text is taken from 'The most radical gesture: The Situationist International in a postmodern age' by Sadie Plant and published by Routledge.
...The situationists' desire to become psychogeographers, with an understanding of the 'precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals', was intended to cultivate an awareness of the ways in which everyday life is presently conditioned and controlled, the ways in which this manipulation can be exposed and subverted, and the possibilities for chosen forms of constructed situations in the post-spectacular world. Only an awareness of the influences of the existing environment can encourage the critique of the present conditions of daily life, and yet it is precisely this concern with the environment which we live which is ignored.
"The sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contour of the ground); the appealing or repelling character of certain places - all this seems to be neglected."
Guy Debord, Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography
Concealed by the functional drudgery of city life, such areas of psychogeographical research were seen as the ground of a new realm of experiment with the possibilities of everyday experience.
One of psychogeography's principle means was the dérive. Long a favorite practice of the dadaists, who organized a variety of expeditions, and the surrealists, for whom the geographical form of automatism was an instructive pleasure, the dérive, or drift, was defined by the situationists as the 'technique of locomotion without a goal', in which 'one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there'. The dérive acted as something of a model for the 'playful creation' of all human relationships.
Unlike surrealist automatism, the dérive was not a matter of surrendering to the dictates of an unconscious mind or irrational force. Indeed, the situationists' criticisms of surrealism concluded that 'the unconscious imagination is poor, that automatic writing is monotonous, that the whole genre of ostentatious surrealist "weirdness" has ceased to be very surprising'. Nor was everything subordinated to the sovereignty of choice: to dérive was to notice the way in which certain areas, streets, or buildings resonate with states of mind, inclinations, and desires, and to seek out reasons for movement other than those for which an environment was designed. It was very much a matter of using an environment for one's own ends, seeking not only the marvelous beloved by surrealism but bringing an inverted perspective to bear on the entirety of the spectacular world. Potlatch carried a lovely example of this inversion of priorities in the form of a letter addressed to The Times protesting against the redevelopment of London's Chinese quarter. After a defense of the area itself, the letter ends:
"Anyway, it is inconvenient that this Chinese quarter of London should be destroyed before we have the opportunity to visit it and carry out certain psychogeographical experiments we are at present undertaking... if modernization appears to you, as it does to us, to be historically necessary, we would counsel you to carry your enthusiasm into areas more urgently in need of it, that is to say, your political and moral institutions."
...the situationists developed an armoury of confusing weapons intended constantly to provoke critical notice of the totality of lived experience and reverse the stultifying passivity of the spectacle. 'Life can never be too disorientating,' wrote Debord and Wolman, in support of which they described a friend's experience wandering 'through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London.'
Such disorientation was not craved for its own sake. But as a means of showing the concealed potential of experimentation, pleasure, and play in everyday life, the situationists considered a little chaos to be a valuable means to exposing the way in which the experiences made possible by capitalist production could be appropriated within a new enabling system of social relations.
From: Drifting with The Situationist International, Author Unknown, from Smile #5
An example of a situation-creating technique is the dérive. The dérive is the first step toward an urban praxis. It is a stroll through the city by several people who are out to understand the "psychogeographical articulation of the modern city". The strollers attempt an interpretive reading of the city, an architectural understanding. They look at the city as a special instance of repressed desires. At the same time, they engage in "playful reconstructive behavior". Together they turn the city around. They see in the city unifying and empowering possibilities in place of the present fragmentation and pacification. This "turning around" or détournment is a key strategic concept of the Situationists. Détournment is a dialectical tool. It is an "insurrectional style" by which a past form is used to show its own inherent untruth-- an untruth masked by ideology. It can be applied to billboards, to written texts, to films, to cartoons, etc., as well as to city spaces. Marx used it when he "turned Hegel on his head." He used the dialectic in the study of history to expose the ideological nature of Hegel's idealism. The Situationists use détoumement to demonstrate the scandalous poverty of everyday life despite the plenty of commodities. They attempted to demonstrate the contrast between what life presently is and what it could be. They wanted to rupture the spell of the ideology of our commodified consumer society so that our repressed desires of a more authentic nature could come forward. The situation is based on liberated desires rather than alienated ones. What these desires are cannot be stated a priori. They will emerge in the revolutionary process of situation-creation, of détournment. Presumably, communality, unification, and public urban space will emerge as more desirable than commodification, fragmentation, and privatization.
Friday, November 17, 2006
"Saint Paul the Hairy... of all the male figures of the new testament, it is he whose nature and predicament we most readily recognize as human - his suggestions always slightly off the mark, his staying power doubtful, his nerve in short supply. 'Oh thou of little hair', Iesu chides upon the water as Saint Paul falters and starts to sink. Yet it is he to whom we entrust our follower's word
and work: the rock, the keeper of the keys, the everyman who sinks to the occation. In Paul, a different strenght is tapped. This was the fellow who had to be sunk like a stone in holy water in order for the un-holy church to rise..."
- G. de'Anjou Lepic
Labels: POEMS BY HARL
Labels: ARTWORK BY HARL
TEL AVIV — A university here has developed and patented nano-battery technology suitable for military applications.
Professor Menachem Nathan, head of the nano-battery project at Tel Aviv University, said the new battery, with the thickness of a strand of hair, was safer and could recharge faster.
Tel Aviv University has sponsored an effort to develop and patent nano-battery technology. A team of university scientists developed the technology for fast charge/discharge batteries that eliminates fire hazards of lithium-based batteries and could mark an alternative source of power for mobile devices.
"The battery would be especially sought for military applications in equipment used under extreme heat conditions," an industry source said.
Nathan said the safety advantage over lithium was not the focus of the research
Labels: old news
Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:24am ET
JERUSALEM - Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.
The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet", would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.
It is one of several weapons being developed by scientists to combat militants, it said. Others include super gloves that would give the user the strength of a "bionic man" and miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers.
The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth.
"The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons," Peres said.
The 34-day war in Lebanon ended with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in mid-August. The war killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years, he said.
Labels: old news
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Searching for 'our alien origins'
By Andrew Thompson BBC Horizon
In July 2001, a mysterious red rain started falling over a large area of southern India.
Locals believed that it foretold the end of the world, though the official explanation was that it was desert dust that had blown over from Arabia.
But one scientist in the area, Dr Godfrey Louis, was convinced there was something much more unusual going on.
Not only did Dr Louis discover that there were tiny biological cells present, but because they did not appear to contain DNA, the essential component of all life on Earth, he reasoned they must be alien lifeforms.
"This staggering claim is that this is possibly extraterrestrial. That is a big claim I know, but all the experiments are supporting this claim," said Dr Louis.
His remarkable work has set in motion a chain of events with scientists around the world debating the origin of these mysterious cells.
The main reason why Dr Louis's ideas have not been immediately laughed out of court is because they tie in with a theory promoted by two UK scientists ever since the 1960s.
The late Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe have been the champions of "Panspermia", the idea that life on Earth originated on another planet.
They speculate that life was first brought here on the back of a comet. Over the last decade, Panspermia is being taken ever more seriously.
The US space agency (Nasa) is now increasingly interested in searching for extra-terrestrial life.
Bacteria seem to me to be born space travellers
Prof Chandra WickramasingheA new robotic submarine is being developed to explore the oceans of one of Jupiter's moons. This submarine is on test at the moment in a lake in Texas.
Finding life elsewhere in the Solar System would be a vital bolster to the Panspermia theory.
Another section of Nasa is devoted to the study of bacteria found on Earth that can survive extreme conditions.
Finding these types of bacteria makes it more likely that micro-organism could survive the hardships of travelling through space on the back of a meteoroid.
Professor Wickramasinghe explained: "Bacteria have got to endure the extreme cold of space, the vacuum of space, ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, X-rays.
"That sounds like a tall order but bacteria do that. From what we know survival out in space is more or less ensured. Bacteria seem to me to be born space travellers."
From another place
Last summer, Horizon had exclusive access to a trip taken by Professor Wickramasinghe to India to investigate at first hand the red rain phenomenon.
He met Dr Louis and together they visited the people who had witnessed the red rain.
He was able to see the recent work of Dr Louis which shows that the red rain can replicate at 300C, an essential attribute of a space micro-organism that might have to endure extreme temperatures.
Bacteria might survive the journey through spaceAll this has convinced Professor Wickramasinghe that the red rain is a form of alien life.
"Before I came I had grave doubts as to whether the red rain was really an indication of life coming from space; new life coming from space," he said.
"But on reflection and after talking to Godfrey, I think I would now fairly firmly believe that it did represent an invasion of microbes from space."
Many scientists remain highly sceptical, however, but if Wickramasinghe and Louis are correct it will be the strongest evidence so far that the theory of Panspermia might be true.
It also raises the intriguing possibility that if life first originated on another planet then it must mean all Earth organisms, including humans, evolved from alien life.
Horizon - We Are The Aliens is broadcast on BBC Two on Tuesday 14 November at 2100 GMT
Labels: old news
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Last update - 09:51 06/11/2006
IDF girds for possibility of war with Syria, Hezbollah in 2007
By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent
Syria and Hezbollah are likely to start a war against Israel next summer, according to General Staff assessments that have been gathered during a series of meetings in recent weeks.While there is no specific estimate concerning the timing of a potential attack, all preparations are being made to ensure maximum preparedness in advance of summer 2007.Since the lessons of the war in Lebanon have not yet been finalized in reports, it was decided to consider 2007 as an interim period, and to make decisions concerning a multiple-year force build-up only at the end of that year.
Meanwhile, two important interim decisions were made during the recent deliberations: The development, within three years, of a system capable of intercepting 220 mm. and 302 mm. surface-to-surface rockets, of the sort that Hezbollah used to target Haifa and other towns during the recent war; and to wait to make a final decision with respect to cancellation of the Merkava tank production line.The rocket interceptor system will be developed on the basis of existing missiles, and according to future developments of these platforms.Regarding the Merkava, an analysis of the use of tanks during the fighting in Lebanon in the July-August campaign, and particularly the performance of the Merkava Mark-4, suggests that if properly deployed, the tank can provide its crew with better protection than in the past.The conclusion is that the Israel Defense Forces still requires an annual supply of dozens of advanced tanks in order to replace the older, more vulnerable versions that are still in service.Also, it was decided to postpone for a year the decision made by the previous defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, on shortening the duration of military service for conscripts by four to eight months, which was to go into effect in March 2007.Retaining the current terms of service will allow the necessary training to enable divisions to be prepared for combat and to heighten their effectiveness in battle.The IDF would also like to relinquish control of the Home Front Command and pass on responsibility for coordinating the police and other relevant authorities to a civilian entity.This view has been presented by the IDF to the National Security Council, which is expected to oversee this coordination.In its evaluation of Israel's strategic capabilities for the interim and long-term, the General Staff relies on the assessments of Military Intelligence and the work of the Planning Directorate.At the end of a series of General Staff meetings, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz designated five main areas, or scenarios, that the IDF must seriously consider:Preparation for conflagration in the north: A war initiated by Syria or Hezbollah, separately or together, with backing from Iran. The likelihood is that such a conflagration will erupt in the next two years, peaking in the spring-summer months of 2007.Among the reasons for tension: a growing sense of "success" among forces in the region that oppose Israel and the West.A decision in Washington to withdraw the majority of its forces from Iraq will contribute to this atmosphere and will necessitate concentrating on the possibility that Iraq may become part of an eastern front comprising Iran and Syria. Military Intelligence estimate that there are 5,000 Katyushas in southern Lebanon, even after IDF mop-up operations there.Asymmetric fighting: Hostile Arab states, with Syria at the lead, and paramilitary organizations, prominent among them Hezbollah, have relinquished − even before the fighting in Lebanon and as a consequence of it − the possibility of a direct confrontation with Israel.In their view, Israel's superiority in both air and armored forces negates the chances of a major ground offensive succeeding.Instead they have opted for a war of continuous attrition, with the deployment of infantry forces heavily equipped with anti-tank weapons, commando units, ballistic weapons and tunnel access.In countering them, the IDF would like to develop necessary preparedness, partly overt, in an effort to deter them, or in case of failure, to achieve a significant military gain quickly, along parameters determined by the political leadership. Terror: Continuous effort on the Palestinian front to carry out terrorist attacks, with increasingly overt direction by the Hamas government. This places a question mark over the IDF's intention, following the abduction of Gilad Shalit, to develop a working relationship with the Hamas government, aimed at achieving a long-term cease-fire.The arming of Hamas in the Gaza Strip in recent months, and the ongoing refusal to accept the terms put forth by the Quartet (recognition of Israel, relinquishing violence, acceptance of previous PLO accords with Israel), lend weight to the adoption of an offensive strategy.The final say on this matter belongs to the political leadership.The expected escalation in terrorism also includes the gradual but increasing role of the global Jihadist element, and a regional movement operating in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and other states affiliated with Al Qaida.Long-range challenges: The focus here is mainly on Iran, which is considered to be a growing threat, even though it does not pose an immediate threat in the coming year. Its place on the list of priorities is relatively low, and stems from the fact that there has been no need to immediately alter the preparations of air, sea and intelligence units in dealing with it.Advanced Western equipment in armies of the region: Aircraft, naval vessels, missiles, armored vehicles in armies whose governments have peace treaties with, or do not have immediate hostile policies toward Israel, but who could become immediate threats upon the collapse of their regime, or in-fighting over succession, and the rise of hostile regimes.The United States will try to preserve the principle of "quality advantage" in favor of the IDF, by making available the most advanced systems to Israel, while delivering to (currently) moderate states systems lacking the more sophisticated upgrades.
Labels: old news
Plan to create human-cow embryos
By Fergus Walsh BBC News, Medical correspondent
The Newcastle team is pioneering stem cell workUK scientists have applied for permission to create embryos by fusing human DNA with cow eggs.
Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.
The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.
But critics say it is unethical and potentially dangerous.
Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris - a member of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee - said: "If human benefit can be derived by perfecting therapeutic cloning techniques or from research into subsequently-derived stem cells, then it would actually be immoral to prevent it just because of a 'yuck' factor."
Stem cell research is one of the most promising areas of medical science.
You may begin to undermine the whole distinction between humans animals and humans
Calum MacKellarStem cells are the body's master cells and five-day-old embryos are packed with them - each with the potential to turn into any tissue in the body.
It is this ability which scientists want to harness to treat diseases such as Parkinson's Disease, strokes and Alzheimer's Disease.
To do that, they need to have access to thousands of embryos for research.
The problem is that human eggs for research are in short supply and to obtain them women have to undergo surgery.
That is why scientists want to use cows' eggs as a substitute.
They would insert human DNA into a cow's egg which has had its genetic material removed, and then create an embryo by the same technique that produced Dolly the Sheep.
The resulting embryo would be 99.9% human; the only bovine element would be DNA outside the nucleus of the cell.
It would, though, technically be a chimera - part-human, part-animal.
The aim would be to extract stem cells from the embryo when it is six days old, before destroying it.
If human benefit can be derived by perfecting therapeutic cloning techniques or from research into subsequently-derived stem cells, then it would actually be immoral to prevent it just because of a 'yuck' factor
Dr Evan Harris
The quality and the viability of stem cells would then be checked to see if the technique had worked.
The scientists also plan to examine the way the cells are reprogrammed after fusion to see if there are useful processes they could replicate in the laboratory.
Lead researcher Dr Lyle Armstrong said: "If we can learn from the egg cell how to make embryonic stem cells without having to use an animal egg at all then some day we may be able to cure diseases such as Parkinson's disease, or better still some of the age-related diseases which are creating such a burden on society."
Dr Stephen Minger, from King's College London, said: "The current state of the technology is such that literally hundreds of human ooctyes (eggs) from young women will be required to generate a single human embryonic stem cell line.
"Therefore we consider it more appropriate to use non-human oocytes from livestock as a surrogate.
"We feel that the development of disease-specific human embryonic stem cell lines from individuals suffering from genetic forms of neurodegenerative disorders will stimulate both basic research and the development of new medicines to treat these horrific brain diseases."
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, head of developmental genetics, National Institute for Medical Research, said: "This is a very rational step: to learn what you can using animal eggs, which are readily obtainable, before moving on to valuable human eggs when or if this becomes necessary."
HAVE YOUR SAY
What are diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's if they are not undermining human dignity?
Paul Kemp, Munich
Send us your views
But some will argue the end does not justify the means.
Calum MacKellar, from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, said the research undermined the distinction between animals and humans.
He said: "In the history of humankind, animals and human species have been separated.
"In this kind of procedure, you are mixing at a very intimate level animal eggs and human chromosomes, and you may begin to undermine the whole distinction between humans and animals.
"If that happens, it might also undermine human dignity and human rights."
Labels: old news
Sunday, November 5, 2006
Friday, November 3, 2006
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
The NSA's electronic surveillance system can simultaneously follow and handle millions of people. Each of us has a unique bioelectrical resonance frequency in the brain, just as we have unique fingerprints. With electromagnetic frequency (EMF) brain stimulation fully coded, pulsating electromagnetic signals can be sent to the brain, causing the desired voice and visual effects to be experienced by the target.
This is a form of electronic warfare.