December 31, 2002
born into

Was gently moved to learn how Navajo births are noted, and remembered, via these obits from early in 2002. e.g., "He was born May 26, 1963 in Gallup into the Folded Arm Clan for the Black Sheep Clan."

Posted by dbrown at 02:09 PM
Plowshares to Swords (B2B)

I'm trying to think of some callous joke to make, some joke about a better use for the fucking WTC steel than building another god damn battleship, but I can't find one.

Posted by at 09:43 AM
December 30, 2002
Fuck You Frank Gehry

Let's not read any victory for architectural sanity into this, perhaps more about t. krenz, but the "gigantic titanium cloud" that would have been the Guggenheim, and would have fucked my view of Manhattan, is dead. ding dong. I thought it an arrogant, childish, and wasteful relic of that 3 months of the late 90s when Gehry seemed to portend something, anything, greater than a fish-shaped restaurant.

Posted by dbrown at 06:39 PM
Snake Eats Tail, not Man Bites Dog

From the former HP ad man who brought you Syrup (missed that, did you?), here comes his second book, Jennifer Government, which sounds like the real world, or mine, at least. You know, corporations supplant nation-states, take the company you work for as a last name, that kind of thing.

Optioned by Section 8 (Soderberg/Clooney), being written for the screen by Scott Burns (Got Milk?) and given that everyone in advertising is writing about the travesty and tragedy of advertising, I have a lot of hope for the industry.

Posted by at 10:38 AM
Google Viewer.

"The Google Viewer displays the pages found as a result of your Google search as a continuous scrolling slide show. You can view your search results without using your keyboard or mouse and you can adjust the speed with which the images move across your screen. Each image of a page's contents is accompanied by a short "snippet" describing that page."

Posted by at 10:08 AM
The Long Arm of Patrick Ewing

File Under: What the--?

Posted by tmonkey at 09:33 AM
December 27, 2002
Six Degrees, and then some

The goal of the degree confluence project is "to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location." Will someone tell me why people are doing this? The 17/107 story, though is interesting enough, and how I found the site.

Posted by dbrown at 03:20 PM

Midtown Underwater.

Posted by hirmes at 12:33 PM
Life Out of Balance

It has begun.

The first cloned baby, by a cult who believes we are ourselves clones of aliens.

Self-organizing robots driven by "hormonal" software to erect Space Solar Power System satellite without the help of astronauts.

A hole opens up in the sky, forcing the people in a city at the bottom of the world to run for cover from the sun.

A fascinating character who has provided some visual commentary on the matter -- in fact, if you watch his first film you will find some incredible premonitions of 9/11.

Posted by tmonkey at 10:00 AM
December 24, 2002
Giving new meaning to the Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairies

'Twas the Night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Except for the teens knockin' boots.

Posted by tmonkey at 05:18 PM
Dead Snakes Kept Too Long In a Jar (Go/No-Go)

The history of amphetamines and war is a rich and trembly one (and I do not mean Speed and Politics, which is something else entirely. OK, not entirely.) Speed and combat are old good friends, as it turns out.

It's that vivid image from Michael Herr's Dispatches,:

Going out at night the medics gave you pills, Dexedrine breath like dead snakes kept too long in a jar. [...] I knew one 4th division Lurp who took his pills by the fistful, downs from the left pocket of his tiger suit and ups from the right, one to cut the trail for him and the other to send him down it. He told me that they cooled things out just right for him, that could see that old jungle at night like he was looking at it through a starlight scope. "They sure give you the range," he said.

So we're talking army docs with bennies; it seems absurd that the government wages Wars On Drugs and Wars With Drugs, but life's too complicated for policy, isn't it? It's that combination of actually increasing mental capacity with the side effect of psychotic behavior that makes for better soldiers. Truth is, the use of amphetamines and methamphetamines to build better soldiers goes back further and wider than vietnam, all the way to an earlier axis. 72 million amphetamines issued in WWII on all sides led to fierce post-war addictions, including Japan, Germany and the US.

Even through the gulf war, there were go/no-go pills, like those from the Lurp's tiger suit. From the pbs documentary on the gulf war, no-go pills were to knock them out after a long night of flying. Missions that would last for five, six, seven hours and then the go pills were to get them up and running the next night.

And if you're the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, it makes sense that, as a soldier yourself, you might require some of those same benefits, whether you are the Fuehrer or the President. Which is terrifying, considering the buttons those shaky fingers were on.

It's important to note that the United States army and air force were among those who believed that speed made war better. Because now that our computers are making a lot of decisions for us, bad ones often enough, we still look for human causes, when it fucks up beyond all. This is particularly sensitive in the case of Canadians, because they are so easy to mistake for Taliban troops from a few miles in the air, and I'm not even kidding. I mean, try it at Mach one. And also, on a really fast plane.

Because at the same time we're looking to blame somebody in particular for bad intelligence and the piled up body parts that go with it, we're also still investigating how to keep everybody up just a little longer, including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and tinkering and tampering with the genome. We have to optimize the soldiers we've got; it's not like we're getting more and more of them; the Army's missed it's numbers for three years. So while the Army used Leo Burnett to come up with "An Army of One" to get more army, the Navy hired Campbell-Ewald to follow a different tack and tagline: Accelerate Your Life.

Speed is our secret friend, hidden from scrutiny and light; the light is not what speed is for. There are those who say you can smell it on a user. But it's fatigue that changes body chemistry, you sweat ammonia and god knows. It's not the speed that smells bad: it's the exhaustion.

Posted by at 01:35 PM
December 23, 2002

From Yahoo Buzz. "Christmas (1) continues to prance on the buzz this week."

Posted by dbrown at 10:01 PM
naming names

Truth will out, at least in a small way. The western (+ Japanese) companies that have supplied Iraq's (alleged?) weapons research are now named, whether the U.N. wants them to be or not. No Halliburton subsidiaries, here, but those are catalogued elsewhere.

Posted by dbrown at 10:43 AM
Would You Like To Play Global Thermonuclear War?

OK, so the Institute for Creative Technologies is devising strategies to make war more like video games. But in the meantime, the video game industry is donating consoles to our submarine navy, so they have something to do down there when they're not doing, uh, whatever it is that submarines do.

I'm not against this per se, there's just something rather disturbing about the idea of navy guys sitting on top of a nuclear reactor inside a tin can, a couple miles below the ocean, carrying out exercises on a combat flight simulator. Actually, there are more disturbing scenarios, if I think about it.

Posted by at 08:33 AM
December 21, 2002

"A 34-year-old patient who had been treated with radioactive iodine for Graves disease, a thyroid disorder, returned to the clinic three weeks later complaining he had been strip-searched twice in Manhattan subway stations. Christopher Buettner and Martin Surks report the case in a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association."

Original text of the letter here.

Posted by at 09:57 AM
December 20, 2002
Sometimes a finger is more than a finger

Apropos of pretty much nothing except my procrastination, here's a Jungian take on The Piano. "Consider for a moment Flora's improvisation on her mother's muteness. ... Flora's insight is penetrating. In this fantasy her father died and her mother was struck dumb as punishment for their passion, for the joy of their own voices. ... The multiple images of isolation and constriction in THE PIANO point to a central psychological complex." There's a "review" of Bulworth in that site too.

Posted by dbrown at 06:20 PM
Turning Point?

Lott's out. We hardly knew ye, and that was enough. Questions:

1. Do the Dems now have a clear strategy: the anti-racist party? Some argue that with Lott out the Dems have no target to bust on during the next election, but I'm sure others can be dug up, a case can be made, but how politically viable is that? Pretty serious implication to make. Guilt by party association. Unlikely in my book. Clinton did have a killer quote on the matter thoough: "He just embarrassed them by saying in Washington what they do on the back roads every day." He makes the bold assertion that there was a concerted Republican effort in the South to scare/intimidate/mislead black voters during the last round of elections.

2. What impact did blogs, TPM to name names, have in shaking the GOP tree?

Posted by tmonkey at 01:05 PM
Your Mother

"Miracle" takes Teresa towards sainthood

"It is claimed that a locket with Mother Teresa's photo on it cured the woman of a stomach tumour in Calcutta in 1998. "

That and the drug therapy.

Ok, that's it. I'm going to hell.

Posted by tmonkey at 10:13 AM
Also, has anyone heard about the Lord of the Rings movie?

I rely on my colleagues to tell me: Am I the very last person on earth to have heard of Las Ketchup, or what?

Posted by at 09:37 AM
Demand seen also for ghost-eating pills

Some good news for the United States Army, for a change. If indeed people really do want to really drive certain cars, cars that they are only familiar with from their Playstation, then there's a decent chance that they'll want to kill terrorists because they kill them there too. In fact, if Lieberman was smart at all, and I'm not sure he is, he'd use this Gran Turismo car manufacturer study to make his point about people not truly understanding the difference between pixels and physics.

Me, I look for life to mirror games as closely as possible, except for the whole points thing. I hate points.

Posted by at 07:26 AM
December 19, 2002
Gee whiz.

Report Condemns Sex, Violence in Video Games (no that's not an Onion headline)

'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City' is receiving rave reviews for its technical excellence. However, its portrayal and mistreatment of women is disturbing," the report said. "The brutal murder of women as entertainment should be cause for great concern."

Joe Lieberman pulling the trigger on that "woman" after he humped her in his car and then running over her ten times is cause for great concern. He should be ashamed.

Posted by tmonkey at 05:41 PM

from White Noise, 1985
"'Members of an air-crash cult will hijack a jumbo jet and crash it into the White House in an act of blind devotion to their mysterious and reclusive leader, known only as Uncle Bob.'"

Posted by dbrown at 02:13 PM
All-Purpose Apology

Clip and Save, someday you, too, can use these generic words.

Posted by dbrown at 01:11 PM
Switch chronicles


Posted by dbrown at 01:02 PM
December 18, 2002
Desperately Seeking Victim

Hannibal's got nothing on this Berliner.

Only from the brilliantly sick and twisted mind/eye of Warren Ellis, on his blog, die puny humans.

Posted by tmonkey at 02:44 PM
December 17, 2002

there were two versions of this entry, one 400 words, one three words.

Learning to see.

Posted by dbrown at 10:29 PM
hello operator. can you get me number nine?

I always thought mine was "Sycamore 7," but it turns out it was either Swinburne or nothing at all. The Telephone EXchange Name Project offers a searchable database of exchange names from the way-back. In the past, 917 meant nothing at all.

Posted by dbrown at 10:34 AM
Painfully beautiful Double Life of Veronique meets Dancer in the Dark type aural loveletter

The Morning News - Mix Tape for Dead Girl

Posted by tmonkey at 10:15 AM
Metaphor Watch

Two new ones and I haven't gotten past page A1. Both re: Trent Lott.
"One outside adviser with close ties to the administration said Mr. Lott had become a "walking piñata"... Political physics has set in — it's only a matter of time," the adviser said."

Posted by dbrown at 09:36 AM
I'm insulted

The sight of Brad Pitt's mug just does that to me. Apparently the Malaysian governmentthinks so too.

Posted by tmonkey at 09:30 AM
Two from Salon

America's apostrophe catastrophe -- It's a freaking epidemic.

Cute interview with shy, uptight journalist transformed by working on the Playboy of the Millenium tourbus. "Playboy is always a little bit behind the curve of what's hip."

Posted by tmonkey at 09:16 AM
December 16, 2002
good for the goose, etc...

snooping on john poindexter...

Posted by elia at 02:27 PM
December 12, 2002

This is getting messy.

Posted by dbrown at 05:39 PM
higher education

seems like these third graders and this 4 year old are ready for high school.

Posted by elia at 12:16 AM
December 11, 2002
World Barometer

Has the world ever had such a realistic pulse-taking machine as Google's Zeitgeist (2002)? (Has the world ever cared?) Some surprises: Canada as a more popular destination than New York? Ferrari the top brand of 2002?

Posted by tmonkey at 05:01 PM

Georgia legislators will introduce a bill early next month that refers to abortion as an ''execution'' and will require any mother seeking an abortion to go to court to obtain a death warrant.

''A mother would have to argue why the child should die and why her rights would take priority over the rights of the child,'' said Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, who sponsored the legislation.

Once a mother filed for a death warrant, a guardian would be appointed to protect the rights of the unborn child. That guardian would be authorized to demand a jury trial in which the rights of the unborn child would be balanced against the rights of the mother seeking to have the ''execution'' performed.

Posted by at 02:07 AM
December 10, 2002

I am weeks late to this, but still tickled all shades of pink. From an LA Times story, 11/12/02, "A parody of New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp -- titled, "Just as I Expected, These Plans Suck" -- is making its way into the nation's newsrooms...." Anyone seen the full thing? Is it true that Michael Bierut wrote it? 2x4, I'm looking in your direction.

Posted by dbrown at 11:22 PM

so there was some passing mention on the news that in amongst the 12000 pages of iraq's weapons report are sections where names will be named about who has been supplying the evil motherfucker with bad things. I think this was on fox news; the implication being we'd find out Jordan or France or some such husk of a country has been playing both sides of the flute. But what if instead the names named are Haliburton, George HW Bush, and Donny Rumsfeld? All known purveyors of bad things to the evil motherfucker.

Posted by dbrown at 12:58 AM
Used to have a little now I have a lot

blog of the evening; not one, not two, but three fantastic entries. 12.09 12.05 11.25. and to think, it's from the cultural waste of sf. and: people, get busy with the eavesdropping. civic pride is at stake.

Posted by dbrown at 12:45 AM
December 09, 2002

Someone buy me this, please.

Posted by dbrown at 11:32 AM
December 06, 2002
Afghanistan update

Not a dissertation like Slavin's previous post (dang), but just some color from an American soldier about our failure in Afghanistan to create a government, shut down Al-Qaeda, and of our technology to give us any kind of advantage. And a slap at journalists.

Posted by tmonkey at 11:40 AM
overflow & overboard

I was thinking about how best to write this, but I think in the end it's just the description of what I was thinking about writing, which is from an email to Mr. Brown this evening. I'm meta like that.


I'm working on a longer post on propaganda, since I spent some time today looking through psyop stuff from afghanistan. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to say about it, the crazy part is that it's so bad somehow, so base and stupid. Like we have this image of western propaganda as being sophisticated and clever and stuff -- I think in part because of our imagery and understanding of western advertising. You want it to be strategically sophisticated like an Ikea ad, but it's base, like direct mail. It's more about the challenge of "open this envelope now" than the challenge of a complex perceptual shift.

But then, these are experts, with a lot of war behind them, you have to assume that these guys know what they are doing and that this really base stuff is really what makes propaganda effective. I just keep thinking of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's David Ogilvy. Goebbels' thing about how everyone thinks propaganda is when you distort the truth or exaggerate or lie, and that they are immune to that. He said in a way, people are immune to that, because you greet such things with either confirmation, yes I thought so, or denial, that's just bullshit. Effective propaganda, said the clubfoot'd Joseph, is when you come up with an action or an image that is so shocking that the mind simply boggles. That you see something that you simply can't believe and the mind sort of shuts down, and then you are vulnerable to whatever comes next. It's like a buffer overflow attack on your OS. Actually, it's really like a buffer overflow attack. Funny, that.

So looking at this recent psyop shit today I thought, man, we humans are just so easy to fucking take apart. I remember too, a study about a year ago that showed how very very few decisions we make in a day, that most all of the things that we decide, we decide on autopilot, they don't involve a certain kind of complex cognitive processing. It was a study that confirmed, yes, we would go crazy if we had to process every decision (walk/don’t walk) at some higher level. That there’s a set of decisions that we have always already made. And that's where the persuasion industries enter, I think, it's to get certain kinds of choices and decisions into that root level directory.

There's a popular idea that commercials are supposed to make you think, yes, I'd like a Pepsi right now, but if you think about it in relationship to that study, it's more about making the [decision of what to drink] less of a [decision]. Combined with the recent articles on MRI "neuromarketing" and cognitive-science connections to advertising, it seems like we simply aren't as complicated as we thought. Which is the first mistake that any sentient complex system makes, right? Mistaking itself for simple?

Posted by at 03:05 AM
December 05, 2002

If I were God -- and I'm not saying I'm not -- I would include an EMP burst along with the Rapture, just to emphasize the you're-fucked-sinners point. But Rapture Letters obviously isn't planning on it, and I'll assume they know more than I do about apocrypha. "We have written a computer program to do just that. It will send an Electronic Message (e-mail) to whomever you want after the rapture has taken place, and you and I have been taken to heaven." via mefi. kslavin, you've got a message waiting for you.

Posted by dbrown at 10:29 AM
Cupid Where Is Thy Sting

"A Story Without Words."

except for one, and what a word.

Posted by at 04:58 AM
A Million Ways To Say "I Have No Idea Who You Are"

Don't ask how I stumbled onto this, but it appears a) endless and b) a great wonder of mankind. Someone or someones has managed to find a different thing to say about every human on the web. OK, not every one of us, not yet, but they are well on their way.

I mean, really, there are copywriters in the audience here. How many ways can you come up with to say "here's the page for a person I don't know"?

Two favorites:
1) People can now express themselves with pictures, text, and animation over the Web. Explore this offering.
2) Student at Stanford University offers his email address so that friends and family can contact him.

Most alarmingly, if you click on any one of them, you are taken to that home page, with a menu bar at the top. You can kind of scroll through the web from there, which I have never had any reason to do.

Posted by at 04:54 AM
December 04, 2002
watch this!

two new entries into the literature of exhibitionism (both via memepool): ShowMeYourWound (real) and Necrocam (fictional, but not far-fetched). Note that the wound site can be really fucking gross. Really. REALLY. I won't even look at the motorcycle stuff, but kevin probably should. Also, via the motorcycle text one gets to this guide to motorcycle trauma, from the lay-cyclist's p.o.v. E.g., "12) In case of femur injuries (extremely common in moto accidents), check for blood loss ..." Definitely scissors.

Posted by dbrown at 05:00 PM
Alcohol kills germs

I would make fun of this, but if it works for the president of Russia and was ordered by a Russian microbiologist, I'm trying this on my trip to Southeast Asia!

Posted by tmonkey at 03:00 PM
Binary One, Degree Zero

Haiku follows certain rules, and Iambic Pentameter others, but in general, the machinery is relatively transparent, and the poetry sort of sits at the center.

Unlike Googlism, which obeys no clear rules I can determine. Like anything that mirrors the complexity of a human brain, I could spend all day in there, but here are a few I found that make the web itself seem fallible, human. More human than it's component users. Maybe.

Bedroom, 1984, 1976, Paris 1968, Kio Stark, The 100 Years War, and of course, the number one search term (always) produces results similar to real life: contradictory, lengthy, so full with meaning as to eliminate it.

Posted by at 03:56 AM
A Million Miles Away, Any Way You Look at It.

From Yahoo, a story on the "Earth As Art" exhibition: one librarian, a representation of the mud and salt marshes in Iran's Dasht-e Kevir desert recalled the marbled end-papers in a rare book of the 1700s. What look from space like delicate ripples in a Namibian desert are in fact the world's tallest sand dunes — about 980 feet high. A frozen-over reservoir near the city of Bratsk in southern Siberia seems to merit its nickname of "Dragon Lake."

By coincidence, one picture taken in January 2001 (above) shows an area around Basra, the great oil port where U.S. planes bombed Iraqi air defenses on Sunday.

"Now littered with minefields and gun emplacements, it is a staging area for military exercises," says last year's description by the USGS.

Posted by at 03:15 AM
Decasia II

a little late, but Deborah Solomon weighs in (on Tuesday) on Bill Morrison's film Decasia, and the cult of ecay in general. "During a break, one group in the audience chatted about the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, while another group discussed old photos of circus freaks. What drew these people together?" I asked the very same question, while waiting in line for the thing.

Posted by dbrown at 12:27 AM
December 03, 2002
Hot glowing ball of gas named dbrown

Now, for $70, you can point up at the night sky and name that star. Soon, we will navigate the seas by the light of the TeenBoob cluster and the (who knows?) Saturation Nebula.

Hey, I wouldn't mind a black hole named after me.

Posted by tmonkey at 09:24 AM
December 02, 2002
Decline and fall of the American Empire

What? Europe challenge America's hegemony? Charles Kupchan has his ideas.

The questions he raises are interesting though: Do we really want to govern Iraq for the next 10 years? While we're pouring a conspicuous share of our national budget into the military to build nations and police the world, Europe (and Asia) are devoting theirs to building their economies. But will Europe coalesce ideologically as it has done economically in order to successfully stand up to American dominance?

Posted by tmonkey at 12:38 PM
December 01, 2002
Shock, shock, shock.

In First, Defibrillator Saves Man on U.S. Airliner

November 26, 2002

BOSTON, Nov. 25 (AP) - Michael Tighe, who pushed for the installation of defibrillators in buildings around Boston, is grateful that someone saw a need for the cardiac equipment on planes.

Last week, when Mr. Tighe, 62, went into cardiac arrest on an American Airlines flight from Boston to Los Angeles, he became the first person on a domestic flight to have his life saved by a defibrillator.

Mr. Tighe, director of community relations for the Boston Public Health Commission, recalled little of the incident this week from his hospital room in Denver. "I was watching a movie, and I just drifted off," he said. "I don't remember anything."

His wife, Dolores, was alerted to the emergency by the way his arm was hanging from his side. Mrs. Tighe, a nurse, immediately began performing CPR, and flight attendants soon arrived with the defibrillator. After five electric shocks revived him, they turned Mr. Tighe's care over to a doctor who was on the plane. The flight was then diverted to Denver, where Mr. Tighe was hospitalized.

In July 1997 American, a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, became the first domestic airline to install the devices, which are about the size of a laptop computer and cost $3,000 to $3,500 each.

American has since used the devices on five other people, including two who were revived at airport gates. Mr. Tighe was the first to receive the shock treatment in-flight and survive, an airline spokesman, Chris Chiames, said.

The defibrillator used on Mr. Tighe had been installed only three days earlier. Of American's 650 aircraft, about three-quarters have been outfitted with the equipment. The airline expects to finish the fleet by March.

Similar installations have been announced by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, a subsidiary of UAL, which is being sued by the widow of a passenger who died of a heart attack. The devices are not required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Some international carriers, including Qantas and Virgin Atlantic, have carried defibrillators for years.

As part of his duties at the public health commission, Mr. Tighe has been campaigning to promote the use of defibrillators in office buildings and malls.

Without a defibrillator, the chances of surviving cardiac arrest are no more than 5 percent.


As an aside, it was brought my attention that this article is wrong. Mr. Tighe was not the first person to have his life saved by a defibrillator on an airline. This is the Medline abstract of "Use of Automated External Defibrillators by a U.S. Airline" (American) in the NEJM two years ago.

The summary: AED used in 200 patients, defibrillation advised appropriately in 14, and the rate of survival to hospital discharge in patients who were defibrillated was 40 percent. Compared to 5 percent or less.

Also see lifepak AEDS and DEFIBWORLD.

Posted by at 10:17 AM