Saturday, March 27, 2010
Maybe kinda serious for the weekend, but I found by accident and it really does contain some strong and essential points. (Including a clear insite into why racism is such an integral part of all rightwing scenarios.)
“By penning us (the labour) in, capital can maintain, for a while, the wage imbalances that maximize profit. (Take raw material. Process as cheaply as possible. Sell for as much as possible.) In the long term, it's unsustainable — labour in the high-cost developed world is taking a hammering due to being uncompetitive, and wages will be forced down until it is competitive, while labour costs in the developing world are skyrocketing. It'll end when American and EU wages meet in the middle with Chinese and Indian wages ... unless American, EU, Chinese, and Indian wage-earners are forced to recalibrate their expectations against the DRC or Somalia. If you don't think this affects you, if you don't think you're on the same side of the barricades as the sweatshop workers in Bangladesh and the marine biologists in Toronto, you're deluded; unless you've got a seven-digit trust fund to dine out on, the tidal flow of globalized capital is running against your class interests. Welcome to the future that globalized capitalism has bought for us (and see also the vital, pressing need for election funding reform in the USA, which is the pivot on which this whole mess revolves). I'm beginning to think that, regardless of his prescription, Karl Marx's diagnosis of the crisis of capitalism was spot on the money. And crap like this is going to keep happening as long as we're workers first and citizens last.” (Click here for all of it)
Posted by Mick at 3/27/2010 06:59:00 PM
Friday, March 26, 2010
I discover in my travels that the Somali pirates actually have a business model, and I must confess that I silently sigh that all revolutions could be so well organized, even if you do have to bring your own machinegun. I also discovered in some collateral wandering that the unprotected seas around Somalia have been used by developed nations as a dumping ground for waste, toxic or otherwise for years now, giving the already deeply fucked-over Somalis more to be mad about.
“To be eligible for employment as a pirate, a volunteer should already possess a firearm for use in the operation. For this 'contribution', he receives a 'class A' share of any profit. Pirates who provide a skiff or a heavier firearm, like an RPG or a general purpose machine gun, may be entitled to an additional A-share. The first pirate to board a vessel may also be entitled to an extra A-share. At least 12 other volunteers are recruited as militiamen to provide protection on land of a ship is hijacked, In addition, each member of the pirate team may bring a partner or relative to be part of this land-based force. Militiamen must possess their own weapon, and receive a 'class B' share -- usually a fixed amount equivalent to approximately US$15,000...
When ransom is received, fixed costs are the first to be paid out. These are typically:
• Reimbursement of supplier(s)
• Financier(s) and/or investor(s): 30% of the ransom
• Local elders: 5 to 10 %of the ransom (anchoring rights)
• Class B shares (approx. $15,000 each): militiamen, interpreters etc.
The remaining sum -- the profit -- is divided between class-A shareholders”
(Click here for the whole thing.)
Click here for The Deviants
The secret word is Mainbrace
Posted by Mick at 3/26/2010 02:40:00 PM
In Underland, currently the fourth and final book in The Renquist Quartet, I had a whole lot of fun with the folklore of Nazi flying saucers, and secret bases in Antarctica. (Along with reptile men and the Hollow Earth) And thus I have been keeping an eye on the movie Iron Sky that mines similar veins of 20th century fable.) The producers of Iron Sky have a new teaser video. Click here to check it out.
Posted by Mick at 3/26/2010 02:31:00 PM
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"Scaling down to an even less momentous moment, we greet the attosecond, a billionth of a billionth of a second, or 10-18 seconds. The briefest events that scientists can clock, as opposed to calculate, are measured in attoseconds. It takes an electron twenty-four attoseconds to complete a single orbit around a hydrogen atom - a voyage that the electron makes about 40,000 trillion times per second. There are more attoseconds in a single minute than there have been minutes since the birth of the universe. Still, physicists keep coming back to the nicking of time. In the 1990s, they inducted two new temporal units into the official lexicon, which are worth knowing for their appellations alone: the zeptosecond, or 10-21 seconds, and the yoctosecond, or 10-24 seconds. The briskest time span recognized to date is the chronon, or Planck time, and it lasts about 5 x 10-44 seconds. This is the time it takes light to travel what could be the shortest possible slice of space, the Planck length, the size of one of the hypothetical 'strings' that some physicists say lie at the base of all matter and force in the universe."
An email arrives from our pals at Delancey Place. It quotes author Natalie Angier. I cannot contain a zeptosecond in my mind, but I want it in my spellcheck. The above paragraph washes over me like found-but-soothing poetry. But I know the soothing will be real fucking finite, lucky to last a yoctosecond in the ever-present-meanwhile where the world of cognitive dissonance hurtles to the random doom of cognitive distortion. I do not think, therefore I wonder if I am. Cable news plays behind my back, a bubbling stream of commercials and the news of the insane. And yet, even in amid this massage of madness and insecurity, I can almost be convinced the madness is mine.
Click here for The Who
The secret word is Membrane
Posted by Mick at 3/25/2010 02:54:00 PM
I must also treat this as found poetry, although maybe less soothing than the above because these Transport Security Administration instructions for service animals, even as we speak, are in some sub-viral circulation on the web and on cable news. As paranoid, I must wonder why. Is there such a thing as cognitive-cacophony?
“When a service monkey is being transported in a carrier, the monkey must be removed from the carrier by the handler prior to screening,
The service monkey must be controlled by the handler throughout the screening process.
The service monkey handler should carry the monkey through the walk through metal detector while the monkey remains on a leash.
When the handler and service monkey go through the walk through metal detector and the detector alarms, both the handler and the monkey must undergo additional screening.
Since service monkeys may likely draw attention, the handler will be escorted to the physical inspection area where a table is available for the monkey to sit on. Only the handler will touch or interact with the service monkey.
Security Officers have been trained to not touch the service monkey during the screening process.
Security Officers will conduct a visual inspection on the service monkey and will coach the handler on how to hold the monkey during the visual inspection.
The inspection process may require that the handler to take off the monkey’s diaper as part of the visual inspection.”
Posted by Mick at 3/25/2010 02:47:00 PM
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
When the yahoos start breaking windows, I get worried. Disgruntled Republicans smashing the storefront windows of local Dem Party offices last night was too close to the road to krystal nacht. Thus, when I happened across this painting by Mark Ryden on Fringepop, I couldn’t resist lifting it. The next tempation was to run some headstrong headline like "Palin Youth". But I always get into trouble when I lash back with the Nazi comparisons. So I didn’t. (Even if we are supposed to be playing by Chicago Rules.)
Posted by Mick at 3/24/2010 05:34:00 PM
Aside from demonstrating that no one at The New York Times really understands what legal marijuana might actually mean, something I’ve been pissing and moaning about for years has actually penetrated the mainstream media.
“A proposal to put the legalization of marijuana in California to a vote this November is causing some growers of the plant in the state to worry about a sharp drop in the value of their crop if the measure succeeds. As The Los Angeles Times explained in January, when supporters of the proposed Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 turned in more than enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, the initiative “would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area no larger than 25 square feet for personal use. It would also allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on marijuana production and sales.”
Without a clue as what might be going on, the Times turns the story over to the Humbolt County Times-Sentinel. (A part of Northern California – according to NYT – known as the “Emerald Triangle” for the density of its marijuana crop.) The Times-Sentinel writer is far hipper.
“In what may be an unprecedented event, residents, local business people, officials and those involved in the marijuana industry are planning to meet Tuesday night and break a long-standing silence to talk about what supposedly is the backbone of Humboldt County's economy -- pot. More specifically, the meeting will focus on the potential economic effects of the legalization of marijuana. ”It's time to talk about the elephant in the room,” said organizer Anna Hamilton. A Shelter Cove resident, Hamilton said she is “intimately involved” with the marijuana industry and has seen the market get worse over time due to changing marijuana laws. ”I've lived here 20 years and every time there's been a discussion, an open discussion, about marijuana, it has emboldened people to grow more pot with less fear,” she said. “As it's become more widely grown, the prices dropped. The effect on our local economy is harsh.” With the legalization of marijuana a hot button topic in local and statewide government, Hamilton said now is the time to think about what can be done to protect residents when marijuana is legal. In addition to ballot measures aiming to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a bill for legalization is also being promoted as a way to save the state's ailing economy.” (Click here for more.)
The Times-Sentinel probably knows, but is unwilling to mention, that the major cash crop in Humboldt is not really dope. It’s the willingness to take a bust under the current drug laws. The biggest cost factor in the production of marijuana is risk. Once that risk is removed, prices can only plummet because pot would be nothing more, at best, than a cultivation-intensive, exotic agri-crop like kiwi fruit, long stemmed roses, or maybe tobacco. Fifty bucks an ounce would probably be generous. If dope is legal the growers are really going to have to streamline their trim. Legalization will be a time when desperado danger will have to be exchanged for smart thinking. I’m wondering, for instance, if every California resident has the right by law to 25 square feet of marijuana patch, could not some legal/business model be created for all those millions of potential marijuana patches be laid end to end to form a pot super-farm managed on a cooperative basis by former outlaw and wholly expert growers? I’d lease my pot rights in a NY minute. The most important problem for the growers of legal marijuana may well turn out to be how the fuck to keep Monsanto (and their hell-spawned genetic copyrights) out of the pot business.
Click here for Max Romeo
The secret word is Complex
Posted by Mick at 3/24/2010 05:23:00 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
…or else the bat brushes you. Sorry folks. I just had to stop for a couple of days or else. The TV tells me times are hard and gamblers are losing less in Vegas than they ever did before, and, of course, also winning less. A Harris poll tells me that 24% of Republicans believe Barack Obama may be the Antichrist. The urge to crawl under the bed is overwhelming. I had to take a rest or the rest would take me. Even resting, though, I kept on thinking. Could I really write a new Renquist novel? Could I title it The Coerced Confession of Victor Renquist? Could I write it in some crypto-post-Burroughs experimental style, and have Renquist meet his makers, the eternal Nephilim? And if I did all that, who would publish such a motherfucker when the book industry is moribund. Come here, bat, it’s time for your beauty treatment.
Click here for Bauhaus
Bat lifted from World of Wonder
The secret word is Undead
Posted by Mick at 3/23/2010 02:50:00 PM
Rush Limbaugh promised he’d move to Costa Rica if the Health Bill passed, he won’t, but if he did he’d be among these balls. I’ve always been fascinated by the stone spheres of Costa Rica. I’d like to see them, but I fear my George of the Jungle days may be over. I have, however, read a whole lot of theories about the spheres. This is the boring debunker version. I don’t subscribe to it, but it does supply the basics.
“The stone balls of Costa Rica have been the object of pseudoscientific speculations since the publication of Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods in 1971. More recently, they have gained renewed attention as the result of books such as Atlantis in America: Navigators of the Ancient World, by Ivar Zapp and George Erikson (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1998), and The Atlantis Blueprint: Unlocking the Ancient Mysteries of a Long-Lost Civilization, by Colin Wilson and Rand Flem-Ath (Delacorte Press, 2001). These authors have been featured on television, radio, magazines, and web pages, where they do an incredible disservice to the public by misrepresenting themselves and the state of actual knowledge about these objects. Although some of these authors are often represented as having "discovered" these objects, the fact is that they have been known to scientists since they first came to light during agricultural activities by the United Fruit Company in 1940. Archaeological investigation of the stone balls began shortly thereafter, with the first scholarly publication about them appearing in 1943. Click here for more.” Click here for more.
Posted by Mick at 3/23/2010 02:32:00 PM