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Tuesday, April 06, 2004



Vigilance demands a high yield policy
Reset old paradigms- Revel at the beauty of cold fact

Beauty acts by way of warning- an encounter signals hazardous intent
Question the limits of desire- Curb the beast

H E A D o f S T A T E
History extols a projected image- Progress and profit triumph over pain
Monitor the patterns of crisis- Marvel at the intricacies of subversion

Charisma operates a concealed slot machine
Verify coherence and consistency- Back major issues- Signal hidden agendas

Romance procreates a radical delusion
Draw on your childhood- Cherish memories of perceptive dissonance

A perceptive handicap frees the senses for unilateralization
Question walking canes- shades- rubber shoes- Beware of counting crows

Covert intelligence is set to employ radically increased bandwidth
Master the virtual scent trail- Connect peer-to-peer at minimum time expenditure

G E N – C A R
A new theory of automotive complexity requires parasitic engineers and hive factories
Experience a four wheel CPU- An on board nervous system- Sensory aware vehicle skin

Achievement is a marker of complacency and selfrighteousness
Confront cynicism and smugness- Stifle intellectual fraud

1 0 0 % P R O O F
Longevity procures the myth of eternal youth
Question the apostles of health- Devise your personal recipe for enduring excess

Political activism breeds a new kind of outlaw
Honour recalcitrance- Cherish pro-active liberals- Endorse early warning protagonists

Observance constitutes a vestige of self preservation
Question the axioms of authority- Engage the child within


From: Tomorrow the World- by Thomas Powers – New York Review March 2 2004

‘Take a vast area of the earth’s surface, inhabited by people who remember a great history. Enrich them enough that they can afford satellite television and Internet connections, so that they can see what life is across the Mediterranean or across the Atlantic. Then sentence them to live in choking, miserable, polluted cities ruled by corrupt, incompetent officials. Entangle them in regulations and controls so that nobody can ever make much of a living except by paying off some crooked official. Subordinate them to elites who have suddenly become incalculably wealthy from shady dealings involving petroleum resources that supposedly belong to all…Deny them any forum or institution-not a parliament, not even a city council-where they may freely discuss their grievances.
Kill, jail, corrupt or drive into exile every political figure, artist, or intellectual who could articulate a modern alternative to bureaucratic tyranny…{ensure} that the minds of the next generation are formed entirely by clerics whose own minds contain nothing but medieval theology and a smattering of third world nationalist self-pity. Combine all this, and what else would one expect to create but an enraged populace…’

Excerpt from: An End to Evil- How to Win the War on Terror- By David Frum and Richard Perle- Random House


From: Flaming Creatures- By Tim Flannery – New York Review March 2 2004

‘Gifts of love such as the ornate moth’s seminal toxin are not uncommon in the insect world. A more widespread and obvious strategy for acquiring toxins, however, involves predators that derive it from their prey, and that strategy sometimes entangles humans in the weird world of insect chemistry. An astonishing case came to light in 1893, when a certain Dr.Meynier, attached to a French military force serving in northern Algeria in 1869, wrote about having found his ‘Chasseurs d’Afrique’ suffering from an embarrassing complaint. The men were doubled up with stomach pains, thirst, and painful urination, but their most surprising discomfort was ‘erections douloureuses et prolongees’.
Given this last symptom the afflicted soldiers were perhaps somewhat impatient and perplexed when Dr.Meynier asked them what they had been eating. Their answer, however, gave the doctor the clue he needed, for the men had been at the local river catching frogs top make that Gallic delight ‘Cuisses de Grenouille’ (frog’s thighs). Close examination of the frog’s stomachs revealed that they had been eating blister beetles (family Meloidae)-the source of the famed aphrodisiac Spanish fly.’

Review of: For Love of Insects- By Thomas Eisner- Belknap Press/Harvard University


From: The Hidden France- By Gordon S. Wood – New York Review March 2 2004

‘By 1789, at the time of his inauguration as president, Washington had only one tooth left in his mouth, a lower left bicuspid. The best dentists in the country could do little for him. He had a large collection of false teeth, made of everything from animal tusks to human teeth, but, despite of all the popular myths, never of wood. Yet Washington was not alone in suffering from tooth problems. Louis XIV’s doctors broke his jaw trying to extract his rotting molars. The age had bad teeth, and most of Washington’s contemporaries Darnton writes, ‘probably worried more about the pain in their gums than about the new constitution in 1787. But they were an odd lot,’ he adds, ‘if seen up close.’

Review of: George Washington’s False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century- by Robert Darnton- Norton


From: Primary Colors- by Elisabeth Drew- New York Review March 2 2004

‘Kerry is a genuine jock-he played hockey, Lacrosse, and soccer at Yale, and has windsurfed between Cape God and Nantucket. Asked by Sports Illustrated recently, ‘If you challenge President Bush to any sport, one on one, what could it be?’ Kerry said: ‘He’s a better runner; I’m a better hockey player…how about windsurfing?’ In a country where 100 million people watch the Super Bowl, this kind of publicity might help.’

Profile of the Democratic Presidential candidates


Personals – New York Review

-FEMALE (10022), 49, seeks NS Alpha Male (212) or (203). She resembles Vivien Leigh in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Neocons preferred.

DISILLUSIONED, UNDAUNTED DWM, 54, seeks independent, communicative, unacquisitive, flexible woman for durable relationship. Recent failures: disloyal, socially unsettled, suburban, medicated Yorkshire ex-housewife; high-strung, quasi religious Californian early-music soprano. Distaste for narcissistic ads a plus. Chicago vicinity preferred.


From: Three Blind Phreaks- How the phone-phreaking Badir brothers ran rings around Israel’s telcos for six scam-filled years.- by Michael Kaplan- WIRED- February 2004

‘The Badirs pulled off Mamet-worthy phone cons, employing cell-phones, Braille-display computers, ace code-writing skills, and an uncanny ability to impersonate anyone from corporate suits to sex-starved females. On the phone, the brothers morph into verbal 007s, intimidating men, seducing women, and wheedling classified information from steely-voiced security personnel. The phone phreakers’ term for this is social engineering: using a combination of brains and guile to obtain codes for trespassing into systems to rejigger them via strings of touch-tone code. Combine this talent with supersensitive hearing- the brothers can dissect an international connection the way wine expert Robert Parker pulls notes from a glass of Bordeaux-and you have what BernieS, a legendary phreaker and contributor to the hacking journal 2600, calls a formidable skill set.’


From: The Swarmbots Are Coming- Ant algorithms get down to business- by Marc Dorigo- Wired February 2004

‘But Logistics are just the beginning. Ant algorithms are also being used to control a class of robots called swarm bots. Typically, a swarm bot is a collection of simple robots (s-bots) that self-organize according to algorithms inspired by by the bridge-building and task-allocation activities of ants. For example, if an s-bot encounters an object too heavy to carry on its own, other s-bots will grasp either the object or other s-bots until they get it under control. Two or more can link up to cross a gap that exceeds a single s-bot’s stride. As an ad hoc accretion of simple units, a swarm bot’s form depends on its surroundings and the job it’s doing. Such devices might prove helpful in activities like search-and-rescue and planetary exploration.
The ability to swarm, adapt, and optimize makes ant algorithms a crucial technology for the information age, especially as everyday objects becomes ever smarter. The rules that insects live by turn out to be perfectly suited to the high tech anthill.’


From: Beasts on Wheels- Don’t kick the tires-They might kick you back- by Dick Morley- Wired February 2004

‘If a car were designed like a living thing-as a collection of components wired to regulate one another in response to external stimuli, like organs mediated by a nervous system-it would act more like a living thing. How would such a car be put together? Its organs would be low-powered, single-chip devices governed by a small number of rules. The steering column wouldn’t physically connect too the wheels; each wheel would be independent, with its won software agents for steering, braking and suspension. The nervous system connecting these agents would be wireless, automated, and fully electric, with selenoids and servos rather than gears, levers, and hydraulics. Sensory organs would feed a constant stream of real-world performance data into digital models that would self-evolve into a blueprint for the next-gen fleet.’


From: Rants and Raves- Letters- Wired March 2004

Joyless, Part Too

What a prick! Jillionaire hits midlife crisis and realizes his own mortality in a fit of doom-prophesying penance. Joy’s finally realized that he has plenty of money to live a happy life, then suggests ‘we’ give up economic and technological progress for a smothering (and nonexistent) blanket of safety-via-fear. We should do more to help the world’s poor, he says…then goes on about his 30-megapixel ‘meditation wall’ that cost more than my yearly salary.
Shut the hell up!

Andrew Carroll
Seattle, Washington


From: Living Proof- by Christopher Hitchens- Vanity Fair March 2003

‘I’ll be 54 in April, and everyone keeps asking how I do it. How do I do what? I’m never completely sure what the questioner means. I hope they mean how do I manage to keep producing books, writing essays, making radio and television appearances at all hours, travelling all over the place with no sign of exhaustion, teaching classes, and giving lectures, while still retaining my own hair and teeth and a near-godlike physique which is the envy of many of my juniors. Sometimes, though, I suppose they mean how do I do all this and still drink enough every day to kill or stun the average mule? My doctor confesses himself amazed at my haleness (and I never lie to a medical man), but then, in my time I’ve met more old drunks, than old doctors.’

From: What if they gave a war and nobody cared? - by James Wolcott- Vanity Fair March 2003

‘In December 2002, Sean Penn visited Baghdad. Earlier, the actor and director had paid for a full-page ad in The Washington Post to publish an open letter to the president, urging him to leash the dogs of war and rethink the consequences of invasion. The letter was stilted and ingeneous in parts, but was written in a respectful tone and reflected a serious moral concern; it wasn’t a fiery salvo from a Hollywood hothead. Penn’s visit to Baghdad demonstrated a similar brooding modesty.
He toured hospitals, spoke to Iraqis, snapped photographs, and avoided posturing before the news cameras and microphones; in fact, he was so concerned about being used as a propaganda device by the Hussein regime that he immediately issued a disavowal after an Iraqi press report attributed quotes to him saying Iraq was squeaky clean of weapons of mass destruction. None of the pains Penn took spared him the inevitable sliming. He was branded a traitor and bracketed with Jane Fonda, ‘Baghdad Sean’, to her ‘Hanoi Jane.’


From: Cartier Bresson’s Decisive Moment- by David Friend- Vanity Fair March 2003

‘He raises his glass, again toasting anarchy. ‘I’m an anarchist, yes,’ he explains. ‘Because I’m alive. Life is a provocation…I’m against people in power and what that imposes upon them. Anglo-Saxons have to learn what anarchism is. For them, it’s violence. A cat knows what anarchy is. Ask a cat. A cat understands. They’re against discipline and authority. A dog is trained to obey. Cats can’t be. Cats bring on chaos. Libertarianism-c’est la vie. ‘If you want to know why I’m a provocateur, you should ask Rimbaud.’ He glares, scowls inscrutably, then coaxes out a smile. He relishes being peevish, deflecting any semblance of conventional conversation. He enjoys being a very naughty boy of 94.’


posted by Walter at 4/06/2004