?

Log in

theMeansofInformation
Recent Entries 
http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2016/07/ottoman-caliphs?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/theottomancaliphswhyeuropeanislamscurrentproblemsmightreflecta100yearoldmistake

From at least 1870, British diplomacy tried to shift the centre of gravity in global Islam from the Turks to the Arabs. The Dutch tried to stop their Muslim subjects deferring to the caliph in their public prayers. With somewhat more success, the French promoted alternative centres of spiritual authority among the Muslims they ruled in Algeria and Morocco. As long as the Ottomans retained control of Libya (ie, until 1912), the caliphate kept some sway in North Africa. But when Turkey's new secular nationalist rulers finally abolished the office of caliph in 1924, their job was made easier by the fact that European powers had been sabotaging the sacred office for decades.

As Mr Laurence sees things, the abolition of the old caliphate created a vacuum that has been filled, over the subsequent century, by much darker substitutes, up to and including the new caliphate proclaimed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State. Even where they stop short of fomenting anti-Western violence, global networks of religious fundamentalism and puritanism, such as those linking preachers from say, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have replaced the relatively emollient tone set by the Ottoman caliphs, who were connoisseurs of Western art and music, as a colleague has written.
9th-Feb-2013 11:32 am - alchemical art




I have always liked this guy's stuff.
13th-Nov-2012 05:23 pm - the awakening
http://www.disinfo.com/2012/11/the-global-awakening/

12/21/12 is nigh. love me a good millineum.

Currently a huge change in human consciousness is undeniably underway. In terms of the number of people effected its scale is unprecedented. Its most obvious cause is the internet, or more accurately the “communications revolution” which also includes mobile phones and other technologies. Some think it is connected to ancient prophecies relating to “the great year,” an astrological concept describing the passage of time recorded by a phenomena called the procession of the equinox. Most people from that background refer to this change as “The Awakening”.
22nd-Aug-2012 06:15 pm(no subject)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/magazine/from-bible-belt-pastor-to-atheist-leader.html

Because they started out as fervent Christians, unlike Dawkins and Hitchens and company, Phelps and DeWitt are seen as heroes within the movement. They tend to live and work in the country’s most Bible-soaked places. “I think what’s happening is that nontheists are realizing we can’t just leave this cause to Ivy Leaguers and intellectuals,” DeWitt told me. “We’ve got to convey the secular worldview in a more emotional way.”

At the same time, DeWitt is something of a reality check for many atheists, whose principles rarely cost them more than the price of “The God Delusion” in paperback. DeWitt refuses to leave DeRidder, a place where religion, politics and family pride are indivisible. Six months after he was “outed” as an atheist he lost his job and his wife — both, he says, as a direct consequence. Only a handful of his 100-plus relatives from DeRidder still speak to him. When I visited him, in late June, his house was in foreclosure, and he was contemplating moving into his 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser. This is the kind of environment where godlessness remains a real struggle and raises questions that could ramify across the rest of the country. Is the “new atheism” part of a much broader secularizing trend, like the one that started emptying out the churches in European towns and villages a century ago? Or is it just a ticket out of town?
1st-Jun-2012 05:10 pm - holy crap new KSR
http://www.orbitbooks.net/2312/

terraformation of asteroids, in this bit.
http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/68082/so-what-did-muslims-do-jews

Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.
25th-May-2012 03:06 pm - contemplating postcapistalism
http://www.alternet.org/economy/155456/capitalism_has_failed:_5_bold_ways_to_build_a_new_world/?page=entire

The problem, in a nutshell, is this: The old economic model has utterly failed us. It has destroyed our communities, our democracy, our economic security, and the planet we live on. The old industrial-age systems -- state communism, fascism, free-market capitalism -- have all let us down hard, and growing numbers of us understand that going back there isn't an option.
24th-May-2012 05:23 pm - canine brain scanning
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120504110504.htm

The idea for the dog project came to Berns about a year ago, when he learned that a U.S. Navy dog had been a member of the SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden. "I was amazed when I saw the pictures of what military dogs can do," Berns says. "I realized that if dogs can be trained to jump out of helicopters and airplanes, we could certainly train them to go into an fMRI to see what they're thinking."
24th-May-2012 05:04 pm - negative equity nation
http://www.zillow.com/visuals/negative-equity/

map of the places where people owe more on their homes than the homes are worth. scary.
17th-May-2012 01:37 pm - asteroid mining for fun and profit
http://asterank.com/

Asteroid mining has been in the news recently. Companies like Planetary Resources are an exciting take on the commercial viability of space industry. But how realistic are the trillion dollar estimates? How much would it cost to mine an object millions of miles away?

We've collected, computed, or inferred important data points such as asteroid mass and composition using scraped data from multiple scientific sources. With this information, we estimate the costs and rewards of mining rocks in space.
16th-May-2012 06:11 pm - WTF Kuiper
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Kuiper

these days i dream of posthuman dramas...genetically altered pirates and cyborg assassins among the icy isolated worlds at the edge of the System.

Kuiper, the son of a tailor in the village of Tuitjenhorn in North Holland, had an early interest in astronomy. He had extraordinarily sharp eyesight, allowing him to see magnitude 7.5 stars with the naked eye, about four times fainter than visible to normal eyes.
16th-May-2012 01:26 pm - co-op city
http://www.fastcompany.com/1837285/hippie-capitalism-how-richmond-calif-is-building-an-economy-on-co-ops

“The whole worker-owned co-op thing, it’s most beneficial for the people directly in the co-op, but there’s a trickle-out effect, and we want to talk to people about that,” says Lexi Hudson, a co-op specialist with the California Center for Cooperative Development who has been working with the café. “When one person in the community feels empowered to own their own business and make their own decisions, they’re absolutely going to be affecting everybody else in the community.”
13th-May-2012 08:52 pm - keys to the kingdom
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/12/insider-tells-why-anonymous-might-well-be-the-most-powerful-organization-on-earth/

Right now we have access to every classified database in the U.S. government. It’s a matter of when we leak the contents of those databases, not if. You know how we got access? We didn’t hack them. The access was given to us by the people who run the systems. The five-star general (and) the Secretary of Defence who sit in the cushy plush offices at the top of the Pentagon don’t run anything anymore. It’s the pimply-faced kid in the basement who controls the whole game, and Bradley Manning proved that. The fact he had the 250,000 cables that were released effectively cut the power of the U.S. State Department in half. The Afghan war diaries and the Iran war diaries effectively cut the political clout of the U.S. Department of Defence in half. All because of one guy who had enough balls to slip a CD in an envelope and mail it to somebody.

Now people are leaking to Anonymous and they’re not coming to us with this document or that document or a CD, they’re coming to us with keys to the kingdom, they’re giving us the passwords and usernames to whole secure databases that we now have free reign over. … The world needs to be concerned.
5th-Apr-2012 08:21 pm - yar!
http://torrentfreak.com/5000-artists-line-up-for-a-pirate-bay-promotion-120405/

Record labels and Hollywood have described The Pirate Bay as one of the biggest threats to their business, but thousands of artists clearly disagree with this view. In recent weeks more than 5000 independent artists have signed up to be promoted by the world’s largest torrent site. Those who were lucky enough to be featured are overwhelmed by the career boost and the positive responses from the public.
22nd-Mar-2012 06:12 pm - Livejournal 4 Life Yo!
All the cool kids are dumping their Facebooks and taking back LJ now.
http://gbooza.com/group/americas/forum/topics/mexico-marijuana-growers-learn

If drug gangs in Mexico are successful enhancing the quality of their product, they can sell the improved marijuana for up to five times the normal price. The going rate for top quality U.S. pot is around $2,500 per pound, while Mexican types sell for under $500, U.S. law enforcement officials say.

New cultivation tactics may be a sign Mexico is being forced to compete with growers north of the border, especially in California where business is booming, spurred on in part by marijuana for medical use, now legal in 15 states and the District of Colombia.

"I've been in drug law enforcement since 1970 and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would say California is producing more marijuana than Mexico," said Bill Ruzzamenti, a police officer specializing in the marijuana trade in California's Central Valley. "But there are people willing to spend the money on what they perceive to be primo bud as opposed to the Mexican crud," he added.


23rd-Aug-2010 11:31 pm - i like this article a lot
http://attackthesystem.com/2009/04/why-i-am-an-anarcho-pluralist/

 What liberals and conservatives have in common is that they are both into having—owning, possessing, controlling, and manipulating money, power, people, material wealth, and things. Having is one of the ways Americans deal with the human condition—separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness, and death. To illustrate how irrelevant the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have become, consider the case of Sweden and Switzerland, two of the most prosperous countries in the world.

Sweden is the stereotypical democratic socialist state with a strong central government, relatively high taxes, a broad social welfare net financed by the State, and a strong social conscience. Switzerland is the most free market country in the world, with the weakest central government, and the most decentralized social welfare system. Both are affluent, clean, green, healthy, well-educated, democratic, nonviolent, politically neutral, and among the most sustainable nations in all of history. By U.S. standards, they are both tiny.

Switzerland and Sweden work, not because of political ideology, but rather because the politics of human scale always trumps the politics of the left and the politics of the right. Under the politics of human scale, a politics that trumps our now-outdated and useless “liberal-versus-conservative” dualistic mindset, there would be but one fundamental question:

“Is it too big?”
25th-May-2010 07:14 am - the greeks get it
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_greeks_get_it_20100524/

Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-friedland/hey-god-is-that-you-in-my_b_588161.html

interesting article on how the rate of faith in divinity doesn't correlate with sexual behavior, but DOES seem to correlate with a belief in romantic love.

Does God matter? A huge amount of research has now been conducted on whether religious belief and practice constrain the onset and promiscuity of young people's sexuality. American sociologists have found that really religious young people have intercourse a bit later and with fewer partners. But the more people have looked, the less religion seems to matter.

Just as in the case of Representative Mark Souder, the Congressional cheerleader for abstinence-only sex education who had sex with his staffer and was recently forced to resign, God does not do a good job guarding their private parts. We found that belief in God has no impact on young people's sex lives. College virgins are no more likely to believe in God than non-virgins. Even those who took a virginity pledge are not sexually different from those who didn't, except they have had a little more oral experience.

Researchers have been looking in the wrong place. God is not working in people's underpants. But God, it turns out, does matter to young people's love lives. A student's belief in God is strongly associated with whether he or she conjoins sex and love. When compared to those who don't believe in anything beyond the physical world, young people who definitely believe in God are twice as likely to make love, as opposed to just having sex. Those who believe in God, and even more so a loving God, it turns out, are much more likely to have romantic sex and to find it difficult to separate out sex and love. If you want a lover, one of the best places to look is among those who believe in God.

Why does belief in God promote the making of love? There are various possibilities. The first is that our monotheisms make love into a sacred value. People who believe in God learn to value love. The second is that religion makes sex into a guilty pleasure. The religious need to love to justify their sex. But I think there is third reason, one that points to love as a structure of faith central to the making of our world. A relation with the divine is one in which you acknowledge your lack of sovereignty and self-control; admit that you are not your own basis, your own source; and depend on an other for your being whom you will never really understand or control. Religiosity and real romance are parallel orders of experience.

Whether religious faith is a template for loving or loving is the ground out of which we imagined our one God, romantic love is a historical achievement, one of the critical ways we moderns constitute ourselves as individuals. The desire to give oneself to another, to be entrusted with another's being, to hear the call and respond, is a font from which social solidarity, equality, and justice all derive. Love is an unlikely, even impossible, life course, but nonetheless an essential driver of much that is great in our world. Love is the prerequisite of our kind of history. When we no longer believe in it, we cripple our capacity to make it.

To me, it is more frightening that there are increasing numbers of young people who doubt the existence of love than that of God. It may be that God doesn't want us fornicating, but love's vulnerability to decay is ultimately more threatening to our political union than which sexual acts are objects of prohibitive legislation.
6th-May-2010 10:58 am - the new dreamtime
http://futurismic.com/2010/05/04/new-fiction-windsor-executive-solutions-by-chris-nakashima-brown-and-bruce-sterling/

In today’s Internetherworld, ‘fact,’ 'reality,’ and the ‘official story,’ have vanished in a cabinet of monstrosities. Beset on all sides by collapse, bereft of the mass consent once engineered by mass media, we breathe legends, rumors, folk-tales, pop-songs, and terror.
This page was loaded Dec 9th 2016, 7:11 pm GMT.