Saturday, January 29, 2011
Postures of revolution and insurrection on the internet are all very brave and laudable, but, as events in Egypt make all to clear, all of this continues only at the pleasure of our electronic overlords who can shut us down at a whim or if they deem the situation demands. Maybe we should be studying older, low-tech means of communications. I mean, do we even remember each other’s phone numbers?
"No one is completely certain what happened to the Egyptian internet, but it appears that the shutdown started off early in the week with the country blocking Twitter and Facebook access for those within its borders. Then, shortly after Thursday midnight local time, the country simply disappeared from the internet. With a few exceptions like the stock exchange, Egyptian websites and services were unreachable; the network traffic over Egyptian borders dropped by an astonishing 90 percent. Cell phone networks were also down. Today Vodafone confirmed that all mobile providers been "obliged" by the Egyptian government to shut off service to customers in that country. How did it happen? Most likely, according to experts, the Egyptian authorities made a few phone calls to the country's handful of large internet service providers. Their request would have been simple: Make it impossible for Egyptians to communicate with other countries and each other using the internet. But carrying out this order isn't like hitting an off switch. To erase Egypt, those providers would have to corrupt routers, nodes in the internet which direct data traffic. Each router helps traffic along by advertising the many IP addresses it knows using a system called border gateway protocol (BGP). When you visit a website in Egypt, your internet provider uses BGP to ask an Egyptian router, "Hey, how do I get to this Egyptian blog?" The router responds by using BGP to send you on your merry way to the right address. BGP is basically the border language that helps different parts of the internet speak to each other. But early Friday morning, thousands of routers in Egypt had their minds wiped. Suddenly they had no idea where anything was on the Egyptian internet. When your internet provider looked for web addresses inside Egypt, it found nothing. Egyptian routers no longer gave meaningful answers to BGP requests for border crossings.” Click here for more
Charlie Louvin – RIP
The secret word is Endgame
Posted by Mick at 1/29/2011 05:41:00 AM
Friday, January 28, 2011
Baby, it’s cold outside. I’m tired. I’m behind with my correspondence. The Virgin Atlantic TV commercial is in heavy rotation and making me nuts. I can’t contemplate world conquest or even a unique live performance concept. Finn the cat is asleep, and refuses to discuss the dire circumstances overtaking North Africa. Hank Williams is going round and round in my head. All the signs seem to indicate that I should take the rest of the night off. And Russell just called me and advised me to follow the signs. So I guess I’ll see you all tomorrow.
Click here for Hank
Click here for insidious Virgin
The secret word is Isolation
Posted by Mick at 1/28/2011 01:55:00 PM
Thursday, January 27, 2011
It was Joseph Stalin who offered the cynicism that “one death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” What he didn’t add was that 40 million deaths could be an ecological bonanza. Our pal Wendy sent us this story but with the caveat that it comes from the UK Daily Mail.
“Genghis Khan has been branded the greenest invader in history - after his murderous conquests killed so many people that huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest. The Mongol leader, who established a vast empire between the 13th and 14th centuries, helped remove nearly 700million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, claims a new study. The deaths of 40million people meant that large areas of cultivated land grew thick once again with trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And, although his methods may be difficult for environmentalists to accept, ecologists believe it may be the first ever case of successful manmade global cooling. ‘It's a common misconception that the human impact on climate began with the large-scale burning of coal and oil in the industrial era,’ said Julia Pongratz, who headed the research by the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology. ‘Actually, humans started to influence the environment thousands of years ago by changing the vegetation cover of the Earth's landscapes when we cleared forests for agriculture,’ she told Mongabay.com. The 700million tons of carbon absorbed as a result of the Mongol empire is about the same produced in a year from the global use of petrol.” (Click here for more.)
The secret word is Warts
Posted by Mick at 1/27/2011 10:57:00 AM
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I know the bear would probably consider me a potential snack, but reports like this just depress the hell out of me.
“A polar bear swam continuously for over nine days, covering 687km (426 miles), a new study has revealed. Scientists studying bears around the Beaufort sea, north of Alaska, claim this endurance feat could be a result of climate change. Polar bears are known to swim between land and sea ice floes to hunt seals. But the researchers say that increased sea ice melts push polar bears to swim greater distances, risking their own health and future generations. In their findings, published in Polar Biology, researchers from the US Geological Survey reveal the first evidence of long distance swimming by polar bears (Ursus maritimus). "This bear swam continuously for 232 hours and 687 km and through waters that were 2-6 degrees C," says research zoologist George M. Durner. "We are in awe that an animal that spends most of its time on the surface of sea ice could swim constantly for so long in water so cold. It is truly an amazing feat." (Click here for more)
The secret word is Endurance
Posted by Mick at 1/26/2011 09:54:00 AM
I’ve always been a fan of the 1911. It was, of course, a favored weapon of Mike Hammer, The Phantom, and the Wild Bunch. But isn’t this both tasteless and a little absurd?
“The House Political Subdivisions Committee passed out favorably a bill to make the Browning M1911 semi-automatic pistol as Utah's official firearm. The bill sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, was brought before the committee on the day designated by Gov. Gary Herbert as John M. Browning Day. Browning was a Utah native in the late 1800s who started the Browning Gun company and is seen to many in the Legislature as one of the great Utahns in history. "John M. Browning has single-handedly saved more lives on the battlefield than any other person," said Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem. Even though the bill passed with a 9-2 favorable vote, there were still some in the audience who felt that adopting a semi-automatic gun as a state symbol wasn't the right thing to do at this time.”
Click here for MC5
Posted by Mick at 1/26/2011 09:48:00 AM
Umm…okay…the synopsis reads…
“Energy catastrophe has struck worldwide! Massive oil spills, nuclear meltdowns and more leave us desperate for viable energy sources to rebuild global society and technology. Inspired by a little tea party, Sarah Palin hits upon the answer: steam power! She begins the “Steam Initiative”, touting geothermal energy as the cure for what ails ya. The heads of Big Oil and Nuclear Power are less than happy with this trend, and they send their agents to do in the Rogue Republican. Luckily, she comes prepared with a set of steam-powered armor! (Standard equipment, don’cha know.)”
I suppose this book is perversely collectable but I really can’t imagine anyone seriously reading the damn thing. It could, however, maybe mark the last gasp near-demise of steampunk as a worked out genre.
Posted by Mick at 1/26/2011 09:41:00 AM
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Our pal Chris Hedges at Truthdig can always be counted on to take the hard road and the uncompromising approach.
“Barack Obama is another stock character in the cyclical political theater embraced by the liberal class. Act I is the burst of enthusiasm for a Democratic candidate who, through clever branding and public relations, appears finally to stand up for the interests of citizens rather than corporations. Act II is the flurry of euphoria and excitement. Act III begins with befuddled confusion and gnawing disappointment, humiliating appeals to the elected official to correct "mistakes," and pleading with the officeholder to return to his or her true self. Act IV is the thunder and lightning scene. Liberals strut across the stage in faux moral outrage, delivering empty threats of vengeance. And then there is Act V. This act is the most pathetic. It is as much farce as tragedy. Liberals-frightened back into submission by the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party or the call to be practical-begin the drama all over again. We are now in Act IV, the one where the liberal class postures like the cowardly policemen in "The Pirates of Penzance." Liberals promise battle. They talk of glory and honor. They vow not to abandon their core liberal values. They rouse themselves, like the terrified policemen who have no intention of fighting the pirates, with the bugle call of "Tarantara!" This scene is the most painful to watch. It is a window into how hollow, vacuous and powerless liberals and liberal institutions including labor, the liberal church, the press, the arts, universities and the Democratic Party have become. They fight for nothing. They stand for nothing. And at a moment when we desperately need citizens and institutions willing to stand up against corporate forces for the core liberal values, values that make a democracy possible, we get the ridiculous chatter and noise of the liberal class.” (Click here for more)
Click here for Third World War
The secret word is Revolting
Posted by Mick at 1/25/2011 10:53:00 AM
As it starts to emerge that outspoken liberal MSNBC news anchor Keith Olbermann was, in fact, a victim of the Comcast/NBC merger, I start to feel more and more comfortable that I’m away from the 24 hour cable news cycle. Back when I lived in LA, I’d take an afternoon break at around 5.00 to watch Olbermann and then Rachel Maddow. With Olbermann gone, I can only guess how long the openly gay Maddow will last under the new corporate masters. As Marketwatch tells it the field may be being cleared for all Fox all the time…
“Comcast is likely using Olbermann, who turns 52 a day before the Comcast takeover of MSNBC is completed later this week, as an example that it won’t tolerate an employee who shows up the owner. Cable news today is a Wild West where opinion and political bias shift from channel to channel. Viewers can get any point of view they seek from one network or another. Though Comcast is likely to pay his successor significantly less than the millions a major television personality such as Olbermann commands and though it’s not known for throwing around big bucks unnecessarily, the ouster of the onetime ESPN anchor is no slam-dunk victory for the cable giant. The new owner is likely to attract its fair share of negative publicity. Olbermann’s supporters — and there are plenty of them — will insist that Comcast sacked him because it had no stomach for his finger-in-the-eye brand of journalism.”
Click here for Nazi TV
Posted by Mick at 1/25/2011 10:46:00 AM
All that a slack-jawed yokel needs is a banjo, some crystal meth, a few oxycontin, and maybe a couple of tourists out of whom he can scare the living shit. (But when did you last hear a hillbilly say “whom”?) If should also be more than enough for a...
Posted by Mick at 1/25/2011 10:37:00 AM
Monday, January 24, 2011
Which I guess will serve as both an excellent piece of cultural trivia and an adequate Monday morning metaphor for a slow grey day when my brain – and therefore my imagination – refuses to be kick-started into routine hyperactivity, and a sense of isolation grips me that is only heightened by conversations with a recalcitrant feline who is determinedly shredding old magazines destined for recycling, but will later claim that he’s both hungry and late for a nap. I guess all this is an excuse for why today may be singularly lacking in the profound and the fury. (Although “The Godzilla Schematic” is a great title for something.)
Click here for Godzilla 2012
The secret phrase is You Fucked With The Wrong Lizard
Posted by Mick at 1/24/2011 10:21:00 AM
Sunday, January 23, 2011
While waiting to find what the fuck really went down with Keith Olbermann, I may have invented a cocktail. It’s something I played around with many years ago and only recently returned to when I started to worry that, partially due to my illogical fondness for Coca Cola, I was getting far too much sugar in my diet. The recipe is fairly simple. You take a tall highball glass and add…
One part Campari
One part Vodka
Dash of pure lemon juice
A great deal of ice
And fill the glass with soda water and garnish with a slice of orange.
I’ve heard that’s there’s something somewhat similar that’s called a Red Russian, but the too painfully obvious name for my version could only be one thing. That’s right folks, it’s a…Pink Fairy.
The secret word is Groan
Posted by Mick at 1/23/2011 07:38:00 AM