Thursday, January 29, 2015


1. Ever wondered what a 24-course meal at the most prestigious restaurant in the world (which runs you roughly $280 American-ass dollars, without the wine)? Well then, you're in luck, because rapper and food TV show host Action Bronson just posted an Instagram report of a meal he just experienced at Noma, in Copenhagen. The ingredients in these dishes range from "flowers and sea urchin to ants and grasshopper". The dish above is the first course: fresh berries in fresh herbs. You can see and read all about the rest of the dishes at this Sploid article.

2. I have a feeling that most of the people who read the Daily Dirt Diaspora family of blogs are probably big fans of "science" as a catch-all term, and self-declared foes of "anti-science" or quackery, or pseudo-science or whatever other term you might want to use. As such, I imagine that a large percentage of my readers believe that the so-called "Wakefield Study" that raised suspicions about certain vaccines and particular vaccination practices has been well and duly "de-bunked" and exposed as a particularly egregious example of medical and scientific "fraud". The reason you probably believe that is because of a journalistic war apparently waged by a single lone crusader - Brian Deer - whose work serves as the foundation for the massive anti-anti-vaccine movement (a movement far larger, better funded, and far better organized than the so-called anti-vaccine movement ever was). So before you make any final decisions about what's safe to believe in this matter, you might want to read up a little bit about this Deer fellow's background. It ain't pretty, and the fact that this one man's propaganda has played an integral role in shaping the course of medical history for the worse is, quite frankly, terrifying.

3. If you're reading this, then you should already be a huge fan of British filmmaker Adam Curtis' work by now. His documentaries and documentary series - from the in-depth exploration of Sigmund Freud's influence on the 20th century of The Century of the Self, to the parallel examinations of the founding fathers of Islamism (Sayed Qotb) and Neoconservatism (Leo Strauss) of The Power of Nightmares - all of Curtis' films are absolute must-see material for anyone hoping to even aspire to begin grappling with the Big Ideas and World Historic shiftings of the dawning Third Millennium. 

And now, after having premiered on BBC last week, his most recent documentary - Bitter Lake - is up for all to see on Youtube. It's all about the "coalition" failures, mostly in Afghanistan, and, as usual for Curtis, there's footage here that will leave you wondering, "where and how in the name of high holy FUCK did he get this footage?! and why have I never seen it before?!?"

Particularly sly is this one part where we see footage of these art teachers that the British military have flown into the newly "liberated" Afghanistan to teach the locals about "conceptual art". As one of these clueless lassies proudly shows a slide of Marcel Duschamp's "Fountain" (a urinal attached to a gallery wall), explaining how it was "a revolutionary statement" about how "art is whatever I say it is", the looks on the students faces is absolutely priceless. Talk about your misguided efforts.

You can watch it here, below, but I recommend you cruise on over to Youtube and watch it in HD, full-screen, because you're not going to want to miss a single image or moment. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015


1. If you don't know who Barrett Brown is, what multiple governments claim he did, and the ridiculously severe penalties he has been forced to pay - and might be forced to continue paying - for said crimes... well then, I suggest you read on.
After spending more than two years behind bars, Barrett Brown will learn his fate this morning in a Dallas, Texas, courtroom. His original indictment carried a maximum sentence of 105 years. But as per the terms of a 2014 plea deal, the journalist and firebrand now faces a maximum sentence of eight and half years in prison. Charges against Brown stem from his association with the FBI’s then-most wanted hacker, Jeremy Hammond, who in 2011 exfiltrated private data from Austin-based intelligence firm, Stratfor.
During a hearing last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Candina Heath revived arguments based on the original 105-year indictment—that Brown may have broken the law by sharing a hyperlink in a public chat room to a file containing Stratfor's stolen credit cards. In early 2014, the government abandoned a related indictment, widely portrayed by supporters and journalists as an attack on the freedom of the press. However, federal sentencing guidelines require judges to hear the prosecution’s arguments regardless of whether or not the pertinent charges were dropped.
Kevin Gallagher, director of Brown’s defense fund, said in a statement Wednesday that supporters are hoping for a sentence of time served. “Every journalist in the world should be paying attention to what happens here, because it affects them directly,” he said. Brown will address presiding U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay before his ruling for the last time on Thursday. The complete text of his prepared statement is published here.
Find out what happened at Brown's sentencing hearing at the link provided directly above. Then, start considering cloaking your online activities behind a robust and muscular encryption. And always remember, just because you think you've got nothing to hide, that doesn't mean THEY can't nail you for some stupid thing or other.

2. Speaking of privacy and security, Gizmodo's annual list of the year's Top 25 Most Popular Passwords continues to amaze, delight, and stupefy. Here's how it starts off, along with position changes from last year:

25. trustno1 (Down 1)
24. batman (New)
23. 123123 (Down 12)
22. 696969 (New)
21. superman (New)
20. michael (New)
19. master (New)
18. shadow (Unchanged)
17. access (New)
16. mustang (New)
15. 111111 (Down 8)

If you think these passwords are stupid, wait until you get a load of the rest of the list.

3. Via Sploid I just found out that a "controversial" American research biologist has created a strain of influenza that can cut through the human body's defense mechanisms the way bullets sprayed from a helicopter-mounted 50 calibre machine gun cut through men, women, children and cattle during the Vietnam war. The London Independent explains:
Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has genetically manipulated the 2009 strain of pandemic flu in order for it to “escape” the control of the immune system’s neutralising antibodies, effectively making the human population defenceless against its reemergence.
Most of the world today has developed some level of immunity to the 2009 pandemic flu virus, which means that it can now be treated as less dangerous “seasonal flu”. However, The Independent understands that Professor Kawaoka intentionally set out to see if it was possible to convert it to a pre-pandemic state in order to analyse the genetic changes involved.
The study is not published, however some scientists who are aware of it are horrified that Dr Kawaoka was allowed to deliberately remove the only defence against a strain of flu virus that has already demonstrated its ability to create a deadly pandemic that killed as many as 500,000 people in the first year of its emergence.
Professor Kawaoka has so far kept details of the research out of the public domain but admitted today that the work is complete and ready for submission to a scientific journal.
I have nothing to add to this story, other than to ask, why is it that so many smart people are such absolute fucking IDIOTS a lot of the time?!

Friday, January 23, 2015


1. Australian comics creator Christian Read has something to say about right-wing-troll-slash-actor Adam Baldwin, the role he played in Gamergate, and the recent controversy about his scheduled appearance at the biggest genre convention Down Under, Supanova. I think it's worth reading, so I'm linking to it in this space. It begins:
Let’s talk about Adam Baldwin at Supanova, an Australian pop culture convention. I’ve debated a few days about posting this but my voice is being dismissed as simply agitating, so I’ll bring it home.
I have worked in the games industry. I know a few women in the games industry and maintain casual internet friendships with a few more. I know women games journalists. I know a lot of women gamers.
Gamergate, which Adam Baldwin started and supported, has made a lot of us angry. It is transparently an organised attack on women and if you think differently, you’re wrong. No debate will be entered in to.
I spoke out against it online. My partner, a tech journalist spoke out against it. And the both of us copped flak. Just reply after reply ranging from faux ‘oh be reasonable’ to personal insults, each one tediously stupid. Me? An SJW? Don’t make me laugh.
Then, the doxxings, the death threats, all that appeared. Go check it out. And that shit gets your attention.
Read is no knee-jerk identity politics whine-monger. That's why I consider his take on this issue to be so valuable. I urge anyone interested in the subject to read the entire thing.

2. If you ever think you've spotted a USB port sticking out of a wall, street curb or other piece of civic infrastructure... turns out you may not have been hallucinating
Aram Bartholl came up with this idea for an art project called “Dead Drops” in order to create an anonymous, offline file-sharing network in public space. These USB drives are completely public and anyone can plug in their devices to drop or find files. Each ‘Dead Drop’ USB is empty except for a .txt file which explains the project.
The idea is pretty unique and fun but your laptop may get scratches or a broken USB port. However, it may get handy if you want to start a revolution through an anonymous file sharing from a flash drive.
There's even a handy how-to video at the link. The phenomenon is mostly restricted to New York these days, but I have a feeling you'll be seeing more of these odd little info-pipes sticking out of things in other metropolitan areas in the very near future. The implications are just too good!

3. [adult swim]'s "Infomercials" series presented us all with what was, at times, satire of such exceedingly high quality that it's literally surprising to me when one of their videos falls flat. And fall flat is exactly what Farcopter, the very least among that series' efforts, does in style. In fact, it's so unsuccessful that it's actually worth watching if you harbor any creative ambitions of your own, just to see what not to do if tasked with creating short form nonsense comedy for cable TV. Ah well... they can't all be SmartPipe!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


1. Christopher Miller is the author of a wonderful new book called American Cornball, in which he sets out to chronicle the USA's age-old love affair with naughty, raunchy comedy, both written and illustrated. To go along with it as a kind of evolving appendix, he's put together an excellent and surprisingly funny tumblr where he hosts images and jokes there wasn't enough room for in his book. From American Cornball's Harper Collins promo page:
Miller revisits nearly 200 comic staples that have been passed down through our culture for generations, many originating from the vaudeville age. He explores the (often unseemly) contexts from which they arose, why they were funny in their time, and why they eventually lost their appeal. The result is a kind of taxonomy of humor during America's golden age that provides a deeper, more profound look at the prejudices, preoccupations, and peculiarities of a nation polarized between urban and rural, black and white, highborn and lowbrow. As he touches on issues of racism and sexism, cultural stereotypes and violence, Miller reveals how dramatically our moral sensibilities have shifted, most notably in the last few decades. Complete with more than 100 period illustrations, American Cornball is a richly entertaining survey of our shifting comic universe.
Needless to say, yer old pal Jerky highly recommends it!

2. And, continuing in the spirit of what used to make (North) Americans laugh, here's an excellent (if somewhat dated) Boston Globe think-piece on Constance Rourke's classic 1931 text American Humor: A Study of the National Character, which may be read in its entirety at this University of Virginia link. Here's a description of some of Rourke's work from the Globe piece to give you a taste:
The funniest American types, in Rourke's opinion, were the Yankee, the frontiersman, and the minstrel. To explain the rise of these three archetypal American characters, she quoted the philosopher Henri Bergson: "The comic comes into being just when society and the individual, freed from the worry of self-preservation, begin to regard themselves as works of art." Europe might have castles, cathedrals, and rock sculpture by druids, but the United States had garrulous hicks who were canny enough not to mind being mistaken for fools.
3. It is perhaps ironic that in this particular edition of the Daily Dirt Diaspora Suggested Reading List, ostensibly concerned as it seems to be with the subject of humor, that we are featuring the second-least successful of the [adult swim] series of videos entitled Infomercials:In Search of Miracle Man. It's really too bad, too, because I'm a big fan of both Matt Besser and Rich Fulcher. Oh well, maybe you'll find something in it that I don't. And for completeness' sake, I'm running it. At least it's better than Fartcopter (see this space tomorrow!).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


1. Did you ever wonder how, where and why the concept of "jay-walking" first originated? As you might have guessed by the fact that I'm linking to a story about it, it's probably not how, where and why you first thought! The story begins...
100 years ago, if you were a pedestrian, crossing the street was simple: you walked across it.
Today, if there's traffic in the area and you want to follow the law, you need to find a crosswalk. And if there's a traffic light, you need to wait for it to change to green.
Fail to do so, and you're committing a crime: jaywalking. In some cities — Los Angeles, for instance — police ticket tens of thousands of pedestrians annually for jaywalking, with fines of up to $250.
To most people, this seems part of the basic nature of roads. But it's actually the result of an aggressive, forgotten 1920s campaign led by auto groups and manufacturers that redefined who owned the city street.
2. Fortean Times is one of the finest publications going. Unfortunately, since they enjoy being a financially solvent operation, that means they don't like to put their excellent content up online for free, so that any asshole can tuck in, willy-nilly. That's too bad, because every once in a while they publish a story that it really is in the public interest to spread and have as widely known as possible. Case in point? One of their recent features on the bizarre fate of big-time Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore, who disappeared mysteriously after a number of unidentified spooks clued him in to some dark secrets about the invasion of Panama in the 1980's. Thankfully, one of my fellow Rigorous Intuition readers typed out the entire story on the RigInt message board to share with all and sundry! And hoo-boy, is it ever a page-turner...
Gary had been returning from actress friend Marsha Mason’s New Mexico residence where he had just finished a screenplay he’d told his wife would be the hardest-hitting piece of film Hollywood had ever seen. A year later, in the summer of 1998, his car was located by a police dive team in a shallow aqueduct following a tip-off from an ‘amateur sleuth’. Inside the vehicle, belted into the front seat and dressed in Gary’s cowboy clothing, sat a skeletal corpse.
The Californian Highway Patrol wrote a 158-page report declaring it an accid­ent: case closed. And that was that… except for the fact that many of those who knew Gary Devore remain convinced that the official investigation was a whitewash, that Gary was murdered, and that the US government itself has been trying to wipe clean its fingerprints from the case.
Keep reading, folks, it only gets deeper and darker from thereon out.

3. And now, thank [adult swim] for this Infomercial selling you Goth Fitness!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


1. You know the Pillars of Creation? That massive celestial structure that makes you go "oooh" and "aaaah" every time they show up on PBS or in the pages of Scientific Astronomy or whatever? Turns out they're not there anymore. Like, they're gone, man. But we can still see them. But they're gone. But they're still there. But not. Look, I know it sounds daft, but read this Sploid article to find out exactly what's up about what, exactly, is or isn't "up there" anymore. And how.

2. I know I've been using this space to harp incessantly on about the Charlie HEBDO attack, as though this new think piece by Slavoj Zizek says so much that I wished I'd said - and then some - that I just can't help but post it. It also doesn't hurt things that Zizek quotes some very germain Nietzsche, as well as from my favorite piece of poetry, YeatsThe Second Coming. He begins:
Now, when we are all in a state of shock after the killing spree in the Charlie Hebdo offices, it is the right moment to gather the courage to think. We should, of course, unambiguously condemn the killings as an attack on the very substance our freedoms, and condemn them without any hidden caveats (in the style of "Charlie Hebdo was nonetheless provoking and humiliating the Muslims too much"). But such pathos of universal solidarity is not enough – we should think further.
Such thinking has nothing whatsoever to do with the cheap relativisation of the crime (the mantra of "who are we in the West, perpetrators of terrible massacres in the Third World, to condemn such acts"). It has even less to do with the pathological fear of many Western liberal Leftists to be guilty of Islamophobia. ... What is much more needed than the demonisation of the terrorists into heroic suicidal fanatics is a debunking of this demonic myth.
You really need to read this.

3. And, finally, a much needed dose of hilarity courtesy of [adult swim]! Newbridge Tourism invites you to visit the Little Town that Wishes it Could, but Can't!

Sunday, January 11, 2015


1. This here essay, by author Kenan Malik, is the definitive statement on the Charlie HEBDO massacre, and the definitive response to the increasingly obnoxious chorus of sub-moronic moral midgets who claim that the people working at the magazine "had it coming", or ridiculously accusing them of "racism". It begins...
‘Je suis Charlie’. It’s a phrase in every newspaper, in every Twitter feed, on demonstrations in cities across Europe. The expressions of solidarity with those slain in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices are impressive. They are also too late. Had journalists and artists and political activists taken a more robust view on free speech over the past 20 years then we may never have come to this. Instead, they have helped create a new culture of self-censorship. 
Later in the essay, Malik explains:
The irony is that those who most suffer from a culture of censorship are minority communities themselves. Any kind of social change or social progress necessarily means offending some deeply held sensibilities. ‘You can’t say that!’ is all too often the response of those in power to having their power challenged. To accept that certain things cannot be said is to accept that certain forms of power cannot be challenged.
The essay just gets better - and more devastating to the reprehensible lazy lefty knee-jerk response - from that point on. This is a must-read editorial and I urge you to share it with everyone you know.

2. A little while ago, I used this space to link to an io9 story about evil technologies that should never be developed. One of those technologies was the creation of exotic brain tech to help make punishments for criminals more harsh and devastating - stuff like, for instance, meddling with a prisoner's sense of time so that it feels like they're rotting in jail for a thousand years... or more. Well, recently, New Atlantis writer Ari Schulman wrote a scathing blog post about this exact complex of proposed technologies, only to have the proposer enter the conversation in his blog's message section. Now I'm posting there, too! Why not pop on over and join the fray? Or at least just read the damn article. It's a good one, and New Atlantis has a bunch of other cool stuff for those interested in philosophy and deep cultural analysis. I've now added that site to our blog-list, on the right.

3. Once again, we finish things off with a short but sweet fake informercial from [adult swim]! This time, gaze in wide wonder at the results of Alpha Chow!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


1. Two years ago, the editor of Charlie HEBDO wrote an editorial defending his magazine against bogus charges of racism. On Wednesday of this week, Charb - the pen name of editor Stephane Charbonnier - was one of 12 people gunned down in the massacre at the mag's Parisian head office. Click on the link above to read the powerful words of a man who is now less than a ghost because of sneering, churning spite brought to hideous life and disguised as an ideology. An excerpt:
Forty years ago, it was considered obligatory to jeer, run down, even crap on religion. Anyone who set about to criticize the way the world was going could not fail to question the great power of the biggest clerical organizations. But according to some people, in truth more and more people, these days you’ve got to shut your mouth. Charlie still devotes many of its cover illustrations to Papists. But the Muslim religion, imposed like a flag on innumerable people across the planet, as far away as Indonesia, must somehow be spared. Why the hell? What is the relationship, unless it’s just ideological, between the fact of being Arab, for example, and belonging to Islam?
2. Long-time readers of the DDD family of blogs are well aware of my long-term man crush on documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis. I'm also a huge fan of his frequent collaborator, Charlie Brooker. Well, apparently, Curtis has a new doc on the way, and judging from this nugget that was showcased in Brooker's 2014 "year in review" TV special, it's looking like a real doozy. Why is everything we're told by The Powers That Be confusing and contradictory? And what does a former avant garde artist from Russia have to do with "a new system of political control" that aims to keep citizens (subjects?) in "a constant state of destabilized perception"? Check out the clip below to find out. It's chilling, and it's essential watching.

3. And now, for our daily dose of levity from [adult swim]... "Live Forever as you Are Today!" And it's all thanks to science and technology! WOW!

Friday, January 9, 2015


1. If you only read one editorial about what went down in Paris on Wednesday at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie HEBDO, make it this one by George Packer.
The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies. They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West - the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo. Least of all should they be “understood” as reactions to disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists. ... Because the ideology is the product of a major world religion, a lot of painstaking pretzel logic goes into trying to explain what the violence does, or doesn’t, have to do with Islam.
Read the whole thing. Read it. Especially if you secretly harbor niggling doubts about whether the people who work at Charlie HEBDO might have been "asking for it". Read it now.

2. If you don't know who David Cole is, how he figures into the story of Hollywood's underground right-wing establishment, and what he did before he got into the business of being America's #1 Republican Party Animal - I'll give you a hint: it rhymes with "Folocaust denier" - then boy howdy, wait'll you get a load of this crazy excerpt from his upcoming book by our good friends at Feral House Publishing!

3. And as a fitting satirical finish to today's otherwise tragic selections, please join me in watching [adult swim]'s hilariously sacrilegious parody infomercial, The Book of Christ

Thursday, January 8, 2015


1. Peter Bebergal, author of the new book Season of the Witch: How The Occult Saved Rock and Roll, which I recently purchased and which I will be reviewing in depth later this month, also recently wrote an edition of The New Yorker's "Page Turner" column, in which he gives a very good overview of the career of the "high fantasy" author Michael Moorcock,  whom he calls The Anti-Tolkien.
From his first job, editing a Tarzan fan magazine at the age of seventeen, to his seventieth novel, which will be released in January, he has essentially written the other style guide for modern fantasy. Moorcock is the author of an almost uncountable number of short stories; he’s edited anthologies, written critical books of nonfiction and had his novel “Mother London” shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. With that output, Moorcock is likely to have written some duds, but he is quick to acknowledge his own limitations. He once wrote, “I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I’d rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas”
If you're looking for some compulsively readable, unapologetically fun genre reading material, I can wholeheartedly recommend Moorcock's entire Elric Saga as some of the best times I've ever spent reading fantasy. Bebergal's article serves as an excellent primer for anyone interested in exploring this writer's work any further.

2. Today, we're beginning a new tradition! From this edition forth, the first selection for the day's Suggested Reading List will be an article or text-based interview of some sort, preferably of an informative nature, but entertaining, regardless. The third selection will be, as it has been for a while, a comedic short video, likely but not exclusively from [adult swim]. In the middle, the second selection will henceforth be a video of a "serious" nature; probably a documentary of some sort. Today's "serious" video selection is What's In My Baggie?, a documentary about the dangers of the burgeoning "research chemicals" movement. It's sometimes harrowing, always informative, and very much worth watching and sharing with your more experimental loved ones.

3. And here, once again, we finish things off with our now traditional selection from the [adult swim] programming bloc! Today, behold the awesome power of the BROOM-shaka-laka!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015



1. Self-described "anarchist", political activist, community organizer and fringe media figure (not an insult!) Bill Weinberg really, really hates the "9/11 Truth" movement. He hates it so much, in fact, that he lost a Pacifica radio show over his objections to that station's other hosts tolerating and occasionally promoting said cause during their shows. After being fired for making a general pest of himself, Weinberg wrote 9/11 at Nine in order to explain where he's coming from on this...
The most useful propaganda device in this ongoing hostile take-over of the rump progressive forces has been an exploitation of the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. Alex Jones, who trumpets anti-immigrant bromides alongside 9-11 pseudo-exposés, now rivals Noam Chomsky as an icon on lefty websites. Where our rhetoric once invoked the military-industrial complex and even the sacrosanct capitalist system, today our ire is frequently targeted at such arcane entities as the Bilderberg Club, the Bavarian Illuminati, and stranger things.
I don't agree with everything Weinberg has to say in his essay; in fact, I disagree with a lot of it. However, he does raise some interesting and valid points - even if he'd disagree with me about which parts of his opinion qualify as wheat, and which, chaff. 

2. I think it's safe to assume that writer/publisher Sander Hicks had somewhat of a stronger reaction to Weinberg's above-linked essay. His point-by-point rebuttal/response is called A New Path to Real Peace, and I think you should read the entire thing. Here is a taste:
If you are against 9/11 skepticism, you tend to paint it with the brush of whatever you find politically most odious. If you are on the right of the political spectrum, you claim 9/11 Truth is a crazy left- wing ideology. But if you are from the left, you see 9/11 skeptics as nefarious neo-Nazis. ... To the right, it presents the possibility that the Bush/Cheney administration were in fact capable of an evil that is beyond most of our understanding. If you are on the left, 9/11 showed that US imperialism got its “just desserts,” and woe to those who question that logic. As a result 9/11 skepticism is, more often than not, ignored. ... But what if you are not married to any one political ideology? What if you are free to scientifically examine the issue, free from politics that create biases? Get beyond the social conditioning of American politics per se, and one begins to see the possibilities of a mass movement built beyond sectarian limits.
I think this is an important piece of parapolitical op-ed writing, and I urge you all to read it in its entirety (you can download a PDF version here).

3. Once again, I'd like to finish things off on a light-hearted note. I've been (ahem) "curating" some of the finest short satirical films that the [adult swim] programming bloc has to offer. From the awesome "Pure Satire" of SmartPipe to the "Anti Comedy" of Unedited Footage of a Bear to the super-meta, super-This edition features a promotional video for Frank Pierre's Resort and Casino! Somehow, I don't think it's going to make much of a splash on the otherwise booming "all inclusive" resort scene. Gotta love that Ray Wise!

Monday, January 5, 2015


1. See that machine up there? For those of you who are worried about the health effects - not to mention the environmental impact - of the dietary choices that you make, and for whom the alternatives provided by the boys at Soylent just don't seem either practicable or palatable, well then, it's probably time you found out about The Food That Is Going To Change The Way You Eat.
More protein than beef. More omegas than salmon. Tons of calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin B. In their secret R&D lab, the scientists at Beyond Meat concocted a plant-protein-based performance burger that delivers the juicy flavor and texture of the real thing with none of the dietary and environmental downsides. 
Check out what one early test subject had to say about the experience of grilling up a Beast BurgerTM(pat.pend).
I tossed one on the grill. It hit with a satisfying sizzle. Gobbets of lovely fat began to bubble out. A beefy smell filled the air. I browned a bun. Popped a pilsner. Mustard, ketchup, pickle, onions. I threw it all together with some chips on the side and took a bite. I chewed. I thought. I chewed some more. And then I began to get excited about the future.
I don't know about you guys but - hideous, filthy machinery notwithstanding - I'm pretty excited to try one of these babies for myself!

2. In the Suggested Readings for Dec 14, 2014, I linked to an amazing atricle by Jamie McKittrick about the half-life of languages (typically a few hundred years at most) and the future of design, particularly as it relates to creating generation-spanning warnings for nuclear waste dumps that are going to be deadly radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Well, it seems like the folks at the radio show 99 Percent Invisible read the same articles we did, because they created a really quite excellent audio documentary about the subject, in which they interview a number of people involved in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) project to create innovative warnings, organized a few years back. Cruise on over to the link for some amazing pictures, and of course so you can listen to the program in its entirety. 

3. And, finally, here's yet another awesome [adult swim] "Infomercial". This was the first follow-up to "Too Many Cooks", which was much-seen and much-loved, and which was featured on DDD a couple short months ago. It's kind of scary though. So you've been warned.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


1. Thanks to BoingBoing for bringing this awesome American Monsters Map to our attention! It's gorgeous, and if I had 25 dollars to burn (and a living space that people actually visited), I would definitely plunk it down for this awesome two-tone illustrative product!

2. Thanks to my old buddy Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition for making me aware of this Daily Dirt article about Operation Death Eaters, an anonymous group that aims to conduct real, intense, unobstructed research into claims of pedophilic and sadistic (ritual?) sexual abuse by such heavyweight insiders as Prince AndrewAlan Dershowitz, and Jeffrey Epstein. The article begins, authored by Dell Cameron, begins:

Disturbing new allegations surfaced this week concerning a handful of rich and powerful men, each accused of abusing underage girls described in court filings as "sex slaves." According to some online activists, however, the recent news is only the scab atop a festering wound of criminal sexual activity.
Personally, I haven't heard anything about Prince Andrew or Dershowitz before now and I haven't examined the evidence against them, so I'm going to wait before I make any pronouncements on them. However, this Epstein creep - a hedge fund billionaire with a Satanic sex dungeon and multiple accusations against him, for which he has recently completed a few months' house arrest at his three opulent homes around the world - has been on my radar for a while, now (see video below for a primer on this asshole). I will be doing much more research and writing about these developments in the coming weeks and months, relating them to other avenues of research that I've delved into over the years, so keep your eyes on this space.

3. Levity is definitely in order, here, so let's watch another awesome [adult swim] "Infomercial"! This time, we bring you a trenchant look at For Profit Online University, and their greatest nemesis, Howard. Enjoy another hot and heaping slice of the finest satire the Internet has to offer!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


1. While being honored at the National Book Awards on November 19 of this year, legendary science-fiction writer Ursula K. LeGuin had a message about the future of literature and the growing threat of censorship, which she delivered during her acceptance speech upon receiving that organization's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. The gist of it? "We will need writers who remember freedom." Kind of sobering that she believes this task will fall to sf authors, but I guess that's the kind of world we live in. There's a video of the speech (see below), but if you want a written version, blogger Parker Higgins transcribed it. Here's a taste:
I see sales departments given control over editorial; I see my own publishers in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an ebook six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience and writers threatened by corporate fatwa, and I see a lot of us, the producers who write the books, and make the books, accepting this. Letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish and what to write.
I urge everyone to either watch or read this eloquent and urgent literary call to arms.

2. Just in case you missed it, this incredibly important thing happened last week...
This past Sunday evening former NSA contractor Edward Snowden sat down for an interview with German television network ARD. The interview has been intentionally blocked from the US public, with virtually no major broadcast news outlets covering this story. In addition, the video has been taken down almost immediately every time it’s posted on YouTube.
Click on the link above to watch the video (thanks to the courageous folks at LiveLeak for refusing to take the video down). And if you find the concept of an America-wide media blackout distressing - as well you should - then just wait until you hear what Snowden chooses to reveal in this frankly terrifying exchange. For instance, what do you know about X-KeyScore, the program that allegedly allows even low-level agents to track and follow anybody, anywhere, if it's in America's "national interests" - note, that's not America's "national SECURITY interest", but just plain INTERESTS... which certainly leaks into the realm of economic interests, which brings up all kinds of nightmare scenarios for entrepreneurs, inventors, and other creative types. Couple this with the knowledge that fully 1/3rd of the CIA is made up of frustrated novelists and wannabe artistes manquées, and you can easily imagine a future where that old paranoid scenario of shadowy powers stealing the ideas right out of your head becomes a terrifying reality.

3. That's enough heavy stuff for today. For the next little while, I'm going to be ending these Suggested Reading Lists with a Suggested Viewing option from my favorite current source of absurdist comedy, [adult swim]! This selection is from their "Infomercials" series, and it's an almost perfect satire on where American corporate culture is at in this awful Late Capitalist phase that we're all suffering through. This is a deceptively deep satirical statement, so be sure to watch it through to the end, and keep your eyes on the margins for special "hidden" messages. This is a video that rewards close reading!

Friday, January 2, 2015


Way back in those wacky, witchy 1970's, Nat Freedland wrote one of those catch-all "mysterious world" books that were so popular back then. It was titled The Occult Explosion and the thing that set it apart from the literally hundreds of similar books from the era is the fact that a record album was produced alongside it, to act as an "audio appendix" of sorts. As you can see directly below, with one or two exceptions, most of the speakers and topics can't rightly be labeled "occult" so much as maybe "mystical" in the broadest, New Age sense of that word.

Nat Feedland: Intro
Louise Huebner on Witchcraft
Stanton T. Friedman on UFO's
Barbara Birdfeather on Astrology
Rosemary Brown on Spiritualism
Rockin' teen combo Black Widow play a selection of their droniest, "Satanic inspired Rock" including the infamous Come To The Sabbat and the equally compelling Conjuration.
Allan Watts on Meditation
Dr. Thelma Moss on ESP Research and Parapsychology
Indra Devi on Yoga
Peter Hurkos on psychedelic drugs
Craig Carpenter on Indian Magic
Anton LaVey on Satanism

The Youtube link above contains the entire album, and you can download it from the Internet Archive here, while poorly-scanned copies of the album's insert pages can be found here.  I hope you enjoy this odd little artifact as much as I did.