Saturday, May 01, 2010


Part of the week here – maybe as an antidote to all the dire news, or maybe just because we like that sort of thing – has been taken up with the debate about how advisable it might be to let an extraterrestrial intelligence know we are here. Stephen Hawking didn’t think so. I had reservations, and now I find that Isaac Asimov decided it was, taken as a whole, quite a good idea in a 1978 essay in the now sadly defunct magazine Second Look that was devoted to the search for other intelligent life.

“Even if the speed-of-light limit is not absolute and if there are ways of getting around it, the difficulties may be too great to allow the kind of mass transfer of populations that would be involved in conquest and settlement. It may be that civilizations would use it only as a means for sending out scouting vessels to explore and to gain knowledge of the Universe. Such scouting vessels might have noted Earth’s existence thousands of years ago before civilization appeared on Earth. We would be viewed not as a world for settlement but as a world for interested observation, and if we find that signals seem to be aimed at us particularly, that may be the reason. Finally, even if advanced civilizations find methods for making flights between the stars as simple as we find flights between cities, this does not necessarily mean they would conquer us. We know from our own experience how extraordinarily contentious and quarrelsome the members of an intelligent species can be. We also know how difficult it is to make major advances such as those required in the exploration of space, when the various segments of our species spend almost all their time, money, and effort in quarreling with each other. In fact, it doesn’t really seem likely that humanity will be able to advance into space unless the peoples of Earth abandon war and agree to make the advance a truly cooperative venture. Space exploration is a global concern and can only succeed if it is a global activity.
We might argue, therefore, that any intelligent species that cannot control its contentiousness will destroy itself before it goes out into space (as we may). On the other hand, any intelligent species that makes it way out into space, succeeds in doing so only because it isn’t contentious in the first place, or has learned to control its contentiousness, if it is. It will therefore be more likely to seek a League of Galactic Civilizations than to attempt conquest. For all these reasons, because the advanced civilizations can’t get at us—because if they can they are surely peaceful—because if they can get at us and are not peaceful, we’ve given ourselves away anyhow—we conclude that it is safe (or, at any rate, involves no additional risk) to contact advanced civilizations. Finally, since it is profitable, useful, and safe to contact advanced civilizations, there is no possible conclusion that we can come to but that it is wise to contact advanced civilizations. In fact, it would be very unwise not to!” (Click here for the whole thing.)

Click here for Gustav Holst

The secret word is Gort


Click here and pass the ammunition (for a weapon of cake destruction.)


…to post a link to Torture by The Fendermen. (Image by Stephen Pierce)



Friday, April 30, 2010


In Arizona the police are now empowered to demand US citizens prove their legal status by producing their papers. In Oklahoma women are forced to watch an ultrasound, hear a detailed description of the fetus, and be subjected to other pro-life propaganda before they can receive an abortion. In Louisiana, the vastly bigger-than-predicted oil slick is reaching the beaches on the Gulf and coating the birds, while a second rig capsizes. In Kentucky, the roof of another coalmine caved in. In Washington, Fabrice (Fab) Tourre of Goldman Sachs – clearly a graduate of the Gordon Gekko business school – arrogantly denied intentionally cashing in on the housing crash by betting against home loan securities and misleading Goldman’s own investors to a Senate sub-committee. And that’s only this week. In the larger timespan, unemployment remains the norm, two wars drag on, and the atmosphere is tainted with even more ugliness. Do I weep, scream, hit the streets, or hide under the bed? The aliens can’t get here soon enough.

Click here for Bob

The secret word is Contagion


We give names to hurricanes (and we call the wind Mariah) but we don't name oil slicks. Maybe we should. Maybe we should call this one Sarah.


Back on April 21st Doc40 angrily noted that the Supreme Court had struck down a 1999 law to forbidding sales of so-called crush videos, sexual fetish nastiness depicting the torture of animals and showing cats, dogs, monkeys, mice and hamsters being crushed to death by women in high heels. While we don’t mind too much what consenting adults do to each other, with heels or not, animals are totally off limits. We demanded something be done and seemingly it now is…

“Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declared an important federal anti-cruelty law known as the "Crush Act" (18 U.S. Code Section 48) unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. The Crush Act banned the creation, sale and possession of materials depicting genuine acts of animal cruelty where such acts are illegal. The Court made it clear that its major concern was the broadness of the law's language, which could make the law applicable in many circumstances not intended by its authors. While the ASPCA is disappointed with the Court's decision, we are moving forward! Representative Elton Gallegly of California has acted quickly and introduced a bill to amend the law. H.R. 5092 will make the Crush Act's language more specific and resolve the over-breadth concerns raised by the Supreme Court. Passage of H.R. 5092 will help prevent a revitalization of the crush video industry. The original Crush Act was passed with little opposition— help us ensure that this revision passes, too.” (Click here to help)


But I’ve heard this is going viral, so maybe you’ve already seen it.

Click here for Connie Francis


Click here for the entire titanium orgy


Pholomene Frozdick’s enthusiasm for steampunk retro-tech was rapidly waning. And she didn't much like her frock either.


The ultimate green. Grow your own house.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


While Stephen Hawking warns us not to trust ETs, and NASA gets in a fight with the UK newspaper The Sun over life on Mars, blogger Athena Andreadis suggests that we might not recognize an alien even if we saw one. And I have to agree with her. Humanity severely restricts itself with cultural and narcissistic blinders. We are too locked into the idea of bipeds that are roughly the same size as us, and if, for the sake of flippant argument, there was a lifeform out there that was a kind of intelligent yeast a hundred miles long and a couple of molecules thick, we’d fly our spaceship right through it without a clue it was there. (This does, however, give a chance to post this excellent Geiger.)

"Our probes and landers still look for life "as we know it." But we're already aware that even terrestrial life goes beyond what we once considered possible. We should use that experience, or we may literally step on alien life. Extraterrestrial life is a staple of SF and the focus of astrobiology and SETI. Yet whereas SF has populated countless worlds with varying success, from Tiptree's haunting Flenni to Lucas' annoying Ewoks, real ETs remain stubbornly elusive: nobody has received a transmission demanding more Chuck Berry, and the data from the planetary probes are maddeningly inconclusive. Equally controversial are the shadowy forms on Martian asteroid ALH84001, although the pendulum has swung toward cautious favoring of the biological possibility after scientists discovered nanobacteria on earth and water on Mars. In part, we're hobbled by the limits of our technology, including the problems of sample contamination and method-specific artifacts. But we're also severely limited by having a single life sample. Despite its dizzying variations in form and function, extant terrestrial life arose from one source. We know this because our genetic blueprint and its associated molecular machinery are identical across the three domains (archaea, eubacteria, eukarya). So to be able to determine if something is alive, we need to decide what is universal and what is parochial. We stumble through redefinitions each time our paradigms shift or our techniques achieve higher resolution. Worse yet, our practices lag considerably behind our theories." (Click here for more)

Click here for David

The secret word is Krell


I lifted this from Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing as a reminder of how the corporate bastards operate…

“A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you've got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything: "Child pornography is great," the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. "It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites". The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title "Sweden -- A Safe Haven for Pirates?". The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others. "One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close cooperation with IFPI and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand," Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.”



Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Yeah, maybe you thought it was all Don Rickles, redneck folklore, and Jerry Lee Lewis, and cousins didn’t really marry here in the great gene pool of the 21st century. I don’t know how many first cousins are kissing first cousins but it’s still legal in plenty of (red) states, and here’s a map lifted from Mother Jones showing them all.

Click here for Jerry Lee

The secret word is Banjo


While checking out YouTube for Jerry Lee Lewis, I came across this scarcely believable comment. I mean, if it been posted in 1955, I might have believed it, but today? Damn.

“My little nephew can holler and hit the keys on his toy piano better than that. Just a lot of clamor! Jerry Lee Lewis was nothing but an inbred, nose-picking, rustic yokel that made good in the music industry because of an agenda to slowly, gradually turn young people away from a quality repertoire to the hellish noise that is standard fare these days. Rock-'n'-roll is nothing but communist propaganda. Every minister in the 1950's warned about it. Indeed, the commies have prevailed in this country. The ministers are doing their duty in preaching the Word of God. Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard are communists. This whole notion about young people needing to have "fun" at the expense of good moral character is communist. Communists destroyed Russia. Culturally, communists have destroyed American popular culture. I stand with the Word of God. (Read Eccl. ch. 12 about youth.)”

Click here for Patti


The following came from Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council…

"Dear Mick,
Right now, newborn wild bison -- better known as buffalo -- are grazing under their mothers' watchful eyes on the lush Horse Butte peninsula near Yellowstone National Park in Montana. But on May 15, this pastoral scene could turn ugly if the government begins hazing the buffalo back into the park with a helicopter, horses and ATVs, as they did last year at this time. If this operation proceeds, some buffalo could die, including young calves and pregnant cows. First, a helicopter invades the stillness, circling low to scare wild buffalo away from Horse Butte, so that government agents on ATVs and horses can chase them back to Yellowstone. With no time to rest or nurse during this relentless chase, calves have collapsed and even died of exhaustion before ever reaching their grazing grounds deep within the park. The saddest part? This senseless tragedy is unnecessary. The justification for hazing and killing buffalo is that they could spread the disease brucellosis to domestic cattle. That is why buffalo are generally not welcome outside Yellowstone Park in Montana -- and why thousands have been slaughtered or hazed back into the park in recent years. But the fact is, there has never been a documented case of brucellosis transmission from buffalo to cattle in the wild. More to the point, there are no cattle at all on Horse Butte, so there is absolutely no reason to haze and endanger Yellowstone's wild buffalo. So please, help us give newborn buffalo a better chance at survival this spring. Tell the Secretary of Agriculture to intervene right away and prevent the hazing of wild buffalo in the weeks ahead. As living links to the great herds that once thundered across America's plains, Yellowstone's buffalo are a national treasure. Please join me in urging our government to protect them -- instead of subjecting them to needless suffering.
Sincerely, Frances Beinecke, President Natural Resources Defense Council"

(Click here to help)



Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Yes, neighbours, I have a brand now book coming down the pike, and not only is it the last word on the cultural, chemical, political and personal history of amphetamine in the 20th and 21st centuries, but – in the spirit of the book as artifact – it is actually trimmed to resemble a Dextroamphetamine capsule.

“Elvis Presley, the Hell’s Angels, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote, the Beatles, Judy Garland, Hank Williams, Jack Kerouac, Johnny Cash, JFK, the Manson Family and Adolf Hitler. All of the above were, at one time or another, to put it bluntly, speedfreaks.
Speed-Speed-Speedfreak traces the criminal and cultural use of amphetamine and its growing use through each new and destructive cycle. Speed is both one of the biggest social problems facing the country today, an indispensible component of the doctor’s medicine bag, and a huge and abiding influence on artists, musicians and writers."

Formatted in the shape of an amphetamine capsule, this book presents award-winning author Mick Farren’s examination of the curious history of the world’s addiction to speed, both in its political and cultural manifestations.”

The book won’t be out until July 1st, but it can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Click here for Sister Ray


My excellent collections of short works is still very much on sale and at a hard-times-friendly price. I’d really like you all to have a copy, (and it keeps Doc40 in business) so click here for ordering information.

Here’s a glowing review from Amazon…
"In "Zones of Chaos", Farren throws down with a collection of prose and poetry (and even cartoons) with titles like "Vinnie wants to sell me Hitler's Brain", "The Aztec Calendar Just Ran Out" and "Just a Poor Dogpoet Who Finds Himself Locked Out Of The Cathouse". "Zones" is an outwardly chaotic mixture of lyrical storytelling, but each piece in the book is a gem, strung together on a broken guitar string that changes quickly from a charming necklace to a garrote, and back again. In" Jailhouse Rock" he tells the tale of spending the Northridge Earthquake locked in the Van Nuys jail. The story, in seven short pages, has it all- drama, humor and biting social commentary. The poem "Anthropomorphism", a eulogy to cartoonist Edward Barker, is full of sweetness and anger, and "Envy" tears apart rock'n'roll idolatry in a mere hand full of words. Farren is unafraid to show his roots and cultural references- reading his work is like watching a great poker player playing an open hand. No tricks, no secrets, no bluffs- just raw talent, well-honed skills and a lifetime of experience that tells him what to throw out, what to keep in, when to fold early, when to go all-in. The great Michael Moorcock, in the introduction to "Zones" describes Farren's work best - "Mick Farren is an original. Read him and rage. Read him and laugh. Read him and weep. He still has more energy, more life and more creativity than most of those who have come after him. And He's still ahead of his own game. Doing what comes naturally. Cocking a snoot at convention. Telling it like it is. Living in a present made incandescent by his very existence. Showing just how good it is to be alive. "

Click here for Costello


Click here for an entire acid blotter gallery. (The heads-up for this came from Tara McGinley on Dangerous Minds.)

Click here for Elvis



Much of the recent plethora of Hello Kitty items are gleaned from an amazing site called Kitty Hell.

Monday, April 26, 2010


The end result of the mindless “drill baby drill” mentality – that even Barack Obama has felt the need to placate – is now playing itself out of the Louisiana coast. But do Palin and her baying hordes, and the oil giants who pick up the tag for the propaganda, really care? Or is it the same as in the coal industry where workers lives and the degrading of the planet could for zip, and only profits are sacred? MSNBC reports…

“Officials had previously said the environmental damage appeared minimal, but new challenges have arisen now that the platform has sunk. The well could be spilling up to 336,000 gallons of crude oil a day, the Coast Guard said, and the rig carried 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Crude from the well had been burning off but when the rig sank earlier Thursday the fire was extinguished. What's not clear is if the crude is still spewing below the surface. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said crews saw a one mile by five mile sheen of what appeared to be a crude oil mix on the surface of the water.”

The secret word is Cormorant


This is an extreme ultraviolet image, using false colours to trace different gas temperatures and shows superheated material swirling across the sun's surface in unprecedented detail. At the top left of the image there is a solar prominence, a huge loop of plasma, that is being blasted into space. One of the least hysterical predictions for 2012, is that it might see the peak of a new cycle of solar activity. (Thanks to Elf Hellion for the heads up.)

“NASA’s latest space telescope, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, is delivering unprecedented images of our local star. The telescope was launched Feb. 11. NASA released the first tremendously exciting data from the mission today. “These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” said Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA, in a release. “SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.” The sun’s internal dynamics were the subject of intense interest over the last few years as the normal waxing and waning of solar activity did not follow past cycles as closely as anticipated. The solar minimum of 2008 stretched deep into 2009, raising questions about how well we understand the complex internal dynamics that drive sun spots, solar flares and coronal-mass ejections. Because solar storms can disrupt human technologies, it’s important to know when we might expect a serious event that could shut down the electrical grid, for example.” (Click here for more)

Click here for early Floyd

NEVER TRUST AN ALIEN (Stephen Hawking said so)

I have to admit I missed the Discovery Channel show Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, but I will definitely be looking for an “encore presentation”, since MrMR sent us the item below and both Valerie and x_S commented on it. (See yesterday’s Space Opera post.)

“British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life. Hawking claims in a new documentary that intelligent alien lifeforms almost certainly exist, but warns that communicating with them could be "too risky." The 68-year-old scientist says a visit by extraterrestrials to Earth would be like Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, "which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans." He speculates most extraterrestrial life will be similar to microbes, or small animals — but adds advanced lifeforms may be "nomads, looking to conquer and colonize." (Click here for more)”

Although I hardly have the ego to bracket myself with Stephen Hawking, I would point out that I explored similar ideas a few months ago on the LOWFI website…

“At this point I need to fill in a few peripheral thoughts I’ve had on the subject of visiting aliens. The very fact that they are visiting here makes them explorers of some kind – whatever else they might be notwithstanding. And on that very basic level, explorers are not to be trusted. They have a ruthlessness that invariably bodes ill for the inhabitants of the places they explore. On Earth, the outstanding explorers – the Dutch, the Spanish, and the English in most recent human history – have cultural roots in piracy and mayhem, and are descendants of buccaneers and long-ship raiders.” (Click here for the whole thing)

Click here for Sheb Wooley



Sunday, April 25, 2010


Today’s is satirical and maybe allegorical, which is nothing like as satisfying as scrambled eggs, toast, and marmalade.


Since Thursday, when I admitted my total lack of awareness of Lady Gaga, I have been clued in with a vengeance, specially to her cultural and even occult significance. Unfortunately most of these revelations came by email and not as posted comments, but they were enough to convince me that the lady has it all going on and maybe I should share some of it. Our pal Wendy linked me to an individual called Marco Ponce who seems to believe that Lady G is a witch bent on world conquest. (Although I’ve long tended to worry about conspiracy theorists who have a need to write stuff in caps.)

“Many blogs on Lady Gaga try to decipher all the occult symbolism in her work, this post will just try to convince you she is a WITCH and is out to corrupt people listening to her music SPIRITUALLY FIRST, then morally. I’d like to introduced you to an ex-witch which was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ and began to speak out on his high level occult involvement and was then ASSASSINATED for it. His name is John Todd and I will be adding his testimony throughout this post.

"The TRIad claw is tied to the reptilian Dragon’s claw. If one did bend down the two attached fingers then one would create the el-diablo (aka mano cornuto) signal also from it. Remember that the Dragon is the sacred animal of Lucifer whilst her next sacred animal is the Lion. TRI meaning three, the three so called angels protecting Satan with the equilateral TRIangle, the all seeing eye of Saturn. Also signals the letters ‘M’ and ‘W’ which both symbolise 666 from the three ‘Vs’. The 666 being the ‘Beast’.

"Interesting to see red around her when she’s throwing the symbolism of the feminine capstone of Lucifer. Notice how she highlights the eye which represents the Sun. The Left eye is of course the Moon and the one which Horus had ripped out by Seth. Remember the TRIangle is itself the symbol of the masculine Satan, the planet Saturn and his three angels.” (Click here for the whole weird thing)

Click here for Telephone

Click here for some spectacular staging

I'm told the secret word is Fun


Click here for some real nonsense.

Click here for the Pentagram

Click here for Ozzie


Bambi Frozdick was easily bored by television.