These freaks named their child Adolf Hitler and now they are pissed that the bakery won’t inscribe the 3 year olds birthday cake.
Poor fucking kid. Those parents should be charged with neglect, what a thing to do to a kid.
On a lighter note, check this out:
Link to a selfishly hosted but not really all that cool picture
On an actual scientific notes, drillers accidentally hit a lava tube on the Big Island of Hawaii and have inadvertently created a magma observatory and scientists have discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field is leaking. Oh Shit!
The bottom line: When the next peak of solar activity comes, in about 4 years, electrical systems on Earth and satellites in space may be more vulnerable.
And on top of that, there are new findings about Dark Matter.
And the answer to all the cute animal sites: Fuck You Penguin!
Finally, here are some computer models of the global economic crash…very interestink!
Last night I went to the 50th birthday party of a friend and mentor. It was a very nice time. Of course, today is the day I officially become homeless again (though not friendless and so not without a place to hang my very nice hat) and so that is a bit odd. It’s been a long time since I didn’t have a place of my own. Four years…seems like a long time anyway. So that was on my mind while I was talking with a few people and one of them mentioned that he recently was talking with Marshall Sahlins, and I realized that the book I’ve been reading on the toilet lately is by the same Marshall Sahlins. That was odd (and I’ve just realized that he and I share the same horrid birthday of December 27 from his wiki page). Then, in the midst of a fantastic spoken word performance in honor of the birthday girls first half century and what she knows, it hit me that the four year old child that had been taking pictures of the back of my head and closeups of my hairy ears is the niece of soon to be President Obama and that her mother, sitting on the couch next to me, is the sister of the President to be.
All of this struck me as very funny when combined with my imminent (or perhaps I should say emminent) homeless-ness and the advent of my next vagabonding adventures.
I wonder if President Obama will get a chance to see the closeups of my hairy ears. Maybe he will be struck by them. In any event, by posting this, I am hopefully making sure that he will be able to identify the man who wears those ears.
I know that I haven’t written in a while about the dramatic changes that I think we are just beginning to see, but I don’t want you to think that I’ve stopped believing. We are living in the midst of the most incredible events in human history. Things are changing and they are changing very fast. Mumbai is, unfortunately, the first link in a fairly terrible chain of events. As usually happens when things such as this go on, there are signs visible to those who are willing to look. Here is one that you can see in a couple of nights:
Monday evening, Dec. 1, a slender crescent moon, just 15-percent illuminated, will appear in very close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter.
Venus has adorned the southwestern twilight sky since late August. No other star or planet can come close to matching Venus in brilliance. During World War II, aircraft spotters sometimes mistook Venus for an enemy airplane. There were even cases in which Venus drew antiaircraft fire.
This winter, Venus is the unrivaled evening star that will soar from excellent to magnificent prominence in the southwest at nightfall. The interval by which it follows the Sun will increase from nearly three hours on Dec. 1 to almost four hours by Jan. 1. It’s probably the first “star” you’ll see coming out after sunset. In fact, if the air is very clear and the sky a good, deep blue, try looking for Venus shortly before sunset.
Jupiter starts December just above Venus and is moving in the opposite direction, dropping progressively lower each evening. By month’s end Jupiter meets up with another planet – Mercury – but by then Jupiter is also descending deep into the glow of sunset. In January, Jupiter will be too close to the Sun to see; it’s in conjunction with the Sun on Jan. 24.
A very close conjunction of the crescent moon and a bright star or planet can be an awe-inspiring naked-eye spectacle. The English poet, critic and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) used just such a celestial sight as an ominous portent in his epic, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” In addition, there are juxtaposed crescent moon and star symbols that have appeared on the flags of many nations, including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Tunisia.
Also on Monday evening, you may be able to see the full globe of the moon, its darkened portion glowing with a bluish-gray hue interposed between the sunlit crescent and not much darker sky. This vision is sometimes called “the old moon in the young moon’s arms.” Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was the first to recognize it as what we now call “earthshine.”
As beautiful as the view of Venus, Jupiter and the moon will be from North America, an even more spectacular sight awaits those living in parts of Western Europe where the moon will pass in front of Venus.
Astronomers refer to this phenomenon as an “occultation,” taken from the Latin word occultāre, which means “to conceal.” This eye-catching sight will be visible in complete darkness across much of Eastern Europe. Farther west, Venus will disappear behind the dark part of the moon either during evening twilight or just before the Sun sets. When Venus emerges, it will look like a brightening jewel on the slender lunar crescent. For virtually all of Europe, the Sun will have set by then, the exception being southern Portugal (including Lisbon).
Such favorable circumstances are quite rare for any given location. For example, the last time London was treated to such a favorably placed Venus occultation such was back on October 7, 1961. And after 2008, there will not be another similarly favorable Venus occultation for the United Kingdom until January 10, 2032.
Here is an interesting way to start the Holiday Season:
Lost , a show its producers once described as Survivor meets The X-Files premiered as a new series in 2004 on ABC television. In 2009, Lost will begin its fifth season. Lost will only run for six seasons. This is the amount of time the producers say they needed to tell the story. Since initially airing, Lost has become one of the most widely discussed programs ever shown on TV and a true cultural phenomenon. On the surface, Lost is the story of the survivors of Oceanic flight 77, a trans-pacific flight from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, California that crashed mid-flight on a remote tropical island. Below the surface, Lost is much more.
The most ardent fans of Lost are not just fans of the show; they are fans of everything that composes Lost. The architecture of Lost is trans-medial. Lost begins with the writers in L.A., crosses the Pacific to Hawaii where it is filmed and produced, gets broadcast to the world as television entertainment, enters the liminal space of the internet where it begins to blur the boundary between the created and the real, and then, sometimes, Lost enters into the real world. Those who follow the show most closely exist within a space where the fictional has seemingly become real and as such has become something they, as real world human beings, can touch, taste, and perhaps even contribute to.
In fact, Lost is a composite of technical forms which, through purposeful architectural design, manages to create contingency within the fan community. It is through this lens of uncertainty as to the actuality of what is happening within the fantasy world of Lost that fans are forced to sift in order to discover the answers to their many questions. To add further confusion to the issue, the producers also blur the lines between the worlds of fantasy and that of reality. This inter-textual and inter-world nature of Lost is representative of a contemporary discourse in which the entire range of media and products must be considered in order to understand why fans continue to speculate, argue, and wait anxiously for the next episode of the show to appear. The architecture of uncertainty built into Lost is as complex as it is compelling and in order to have an understanding of how the show has acquired such a dedicated fandom, one must look at what came before Lost.
At its most basic level, Lost is an island survival story in the tradition of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe was published in 1719 and is considered by some to be the first novel written in the English language. The characters on Lost, like Crusoe before them, find themselves stranded on an island where they encounter a number of ‘others’ and are forced to come to terms with a variety of moral, religious, and economic decisions as a result of these encounters.
Lost though is more than a survival story, it is also the story of ‘the island’ and as such owes a large debt to Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island published in 1874. Like the castaways on Verne’s island, those on Lost, arrive from the sky and experience strange phenomenon. In addition, Verne’s story also has a dog, a submarine, a mysterious beacon from another castaway, and supplies which come from an unknown source. The creators of Lost have recently acknowledged The Mysterious Island as the starting point for the story of Lost.
In fact, Lost, owes a large debt to many in science fiction and fantasy. Many of the episode titles are in reference to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Numerous references are made to white rabbits and both a prominent location and an episode are named “The Looking Glass”. Like Alice, the castaways have gone down the rabbit hole and are now in a world which does not always make sense to them in terms of the world they have left. And, like the readers of Carroll’s works, the audience of Lost is left in a state of uncertainty as to what is going to happen next.
Lost uses multiple methods to create this uncertainty, among them, serialized formats similar to those of radio and film in the early 1900’s. While serials fell into many different genres such as science fiction, western, or detective stories; the common elements often included a recap of previous episodes and at the end of the episode a cliff-hanger ending and an ambiguous preview of the next episode. In Taking Soaps Seriously: The World of Guiding Light, Michael James Intintoli looked at soap operas from an anthropological perspective. His descriptions of soaps sound like a description of Lost:
… viewers cannot be sure of an outcome or the well being of any particular character during any particular program. (Intintoli. p.52)
One of the things that Lost fans have both complained and marveled at is that even the most popular characters can be killed off without any notice. Lost has earned a reputation for killing off characters just as they start to become interesting. Of course, sometimes they don’t stay dead, or perhaps they never died at all, or maybe the viewers were looking at the past or future of the characters, or maybe the idea of death isn’t quite the same on Lost as it is in the real life. Fans are rarely sure a character is dead or at least dead and gone. Unless the actor is dead, which hasn’t happened yet, but even that might be no guarantee.
Lost is a trigger to the imaginations of those who have become fans of the show. Unlike the confined two hours of a film narrative, Lost makes time an uncertainty as it progresses in a non-linear format which can move from past to present and from character to character while still maintaining a cohesive meta-arc due to the hyper-knowledge the fans have about the text. In the season three finale, Through the Looking Glass, the show broke with a tradition of using only flashbacks and also began to use flash forwards. This only became apparent at the end of the show. And yet some fans had already figured it out based on the appearance of a cell phone that would not have been available at the time of a flashback.
This hyper-knowledge of the minutest details serves fans as a social currency (Jenkins: 1992) which allows for participation at a higher level within the fan community. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other cult television shows which preceded it, Lost has acquired a discriminating and productive audience which ranges from fans of the actors to fans who role-play as add-on characters within the greater narrative. These relationships between the fans, stars, producers, and the media have created an intricate web of connections which not only define the reaction to the show, but, according to many fans, determine the plot as well.
Charting the ecosystem of the world the show itself has created is not a simple task. While the show has only one ‘official’ website at ABC.com, fans have created millions of websites devoted to the show. A Google search of the keywords “Lost Television Show” brings up over 8-million pages. One of the most comprehensive is Lostpedia.com a community created wiki which details everything from transcripts to pop-culture references. In addition there are the very popular fan message board sites at thetailsection.com, thefuselage.com, and lost-tvforum.com with a combined total of more than 100,000 users. I should emphasize these are only three of the most popular and there are literally millions more websites.
Many of the websites are dedicated to discovering what the fans have dubbed ‘Easter Eggs’. Lost uses these hidden clues which are scattered throughout episodes, websites, and even the real world; to create a sense amongst watchers that there is a secret story that is hidden beneath the surface waiting to be found, however, many of the Easter eggs are so ambiguous that it becomes uncertain whether they are meaningful at all. One example of this is the books shown on the bookshelf of Ben, an evil-seeming character. Are the producers telling the fans where to find further clues or simply dressing the set with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
In some cases these clues reveal startling things about the meta-narrative and its characters motivations and in others they are simply a way of acknowledging those fans that are paying extra close attention. These nods became important to the fans after a season two episode where the logo of an in-story organization called ‘Dharma’ was seen printed on the side of shark for less than a second. Associate Producer, Noreen O’Toole told me the producers are continually amazed at the speed with which the fans unearth even the most obscure Easter Eggs.
The producers have embedded sub-audible whispers within the show, reversed speech hidden within the soundtrack, shown split second images, utilized historical meaning behind names, and even had billboards put up in real-life New York City advertising Oceanic Air which then led fans to a fake website positioned as if it were real, which in turn took them into an alternate reality game (ARG) based on the show but anchored within the real world. Navigating these multiple realities is not easy and some fans have speculated that they might be looking at alternate realities which may not even exist for the characters at all!
Trans-medial fans analyze the names of characters or in-show businesses to locate anagrams such as ‘Mittelos’ a bioscience company mentioned in the show during the third season which fans quickly descrambled into ‘Lost Time’. Fans also take part in the multiple alternate reality games which the show has created. The trans-medial fans require more than the past, present, and future presented in the course of the series narrative. Instead, they are treated to a meta-story which exists independently of the TV show itself.
The Lost Experience, an alternate reality game which took place between seasons two and three revealed the story behind the story of some of the characters on the show. The New York Times described it “a multimedia treasure hunt that makes use of e-mail messages, phone calls, commercials, billboards and fake Web sites that are made to seem real.” This was followed by alternate reality games titles “Find 815” between seasons three and four and “The DHARMA Initiative Recruiting Project” between seasons four and five which is still in development according to ABC. The Oceanic Air billboard mentioned earlier was a part of “Find 815”. The alternate reality games introduced new characters and storylines that the producers claimed would help unlock the many secrets of the island.
The producers have released at least one book which has brought about intense speculation. Lost Twin is a detective story, written by Gary Troup, a fictional passenger who died when Flight 77 crashed. Characters in the second season find, read, and then burn the manuscript which was salvaged from the flight. Later that year, in the real world, Hyperion Books, released the book complete with an account of how the author had disappeared on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. Troup figured prominently in The Lost Experience, the first alternate reality game associated with the show. This is but one example of how the lines between reality and fiction have become blurred on Lost.
Lost is a unique artifact of the early twenty-first century United States of America. In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “The media is the message,” and as such the totality of the ecosystem the media creates and encompasses is deserving of careful scrutiny. Lost is the nexus of a more modern sort of entertainment.
Lost fandom is a worldwide group connected by shared experience, the internet, common knowledge, and sometimes through meeting in person. They create a community, establish rules and norms within it, and at the same time are perhaps even convinced that they have the means to take a hand in shaping the source of the culture which they are participating in.
Fans of the show see Lost as the cutting edge of breaking down the wall between the production and consumption of entertainment. The producers of the show see Lost as a new way of telling stories. The truth is, Lost, is a means of interactive storytelling which spans multiple media and makes the fans think they might be contributing to the way that the story is told, but they don’t know. The writers and producers of the show create this sense of contingency within a complex global media.
Those who are most interested in the show find meaning in the tiniest details. Elaborate theories have been constructed to explain how and why the characters are on the island, heated debates rage as to the validity of these theories, and the ultimate conclusion is that even those with the best theories are forced to wait for the producers to reveal the plot or the spoilers to leak. Thus far all theories have been disproved or modified to fit new data.
Within minutes of an episode airing, fans have captured screenshots, magnified book titles from the background, played audio forward and backward, identified the most obscure use of previous plot, identified historical or literary references based on the names of characters, locations, or companies, and constructed philosophically deep theories as to the reasons these things have been included.
Lost attempts to cross the boundary from the fictional to the real. The production is architected to create contingency and thus draw the fans into speculation about what is real versus what is fantasy. While it is descended from island stories and serialized drama, Lost distorts time, death, and meaning in new ways. The show has millions of fans and the producers use Easter Eggs to reward dedicated fans with a deeper understanding of the show which can then be used as a form of social currency within the fan community. Lost architects contingency using a combination of old methods, such as literary devices and new methods such as alternate reality games and embedded audio. Through this combination of forms, Lost has become a new sort of entertainment which caters to a new form of fan. Lost is a television show, an online game, an obsession, a lifestyle, and to some extent, Lost is real.
Gulf War Syndrome is Real.
Wow…what a surprise..I’m convinced that all those injections they gave me in bootcamp back in December of 1990 did some weird shit to me. They wouldn’t even tell us what they were, but there were dozens of them.
Freeing the Cougar…not exactly the story I expected.
The fattest city in America.
Pirates have captured a Saudi Oil Tanker.
Truly, I am astounded at the amount of flaking that I am witnessing of late. Here is just one arena: since I’ve acquired the Mercedes a week ago here is all the flaking that has gone on with it. 1) ‘John’ called me, test drove it, said he definitely wanted it, but that he needed to pick up his paycheck the next day at 4PM before he could make an offer. I put off showing the car to several people the next morning, but ‘John’ never called me back. I tried to call him twice, no response. 2) ‘Kevin’ responded to my add where I wanted to trade two loose screw boards and/or a guitar to have someone fix the window. He called me. He set up an appointment but never showed. I called and got no answer. The next day he called again, again wanted to set up an appointment and I told him to give me a call when he was in my area, never heard from him again. 3) ‘Robert’ called last night and said “I want to buy your car in the morning”. I told him to give me a call at 8am and then he could come and get it. No call. I called him, no answer. 4) Another guy, whose name I can’t remember said he wanted to test drive the car at 11am today. I told him to give me a call when he was in the neighborhood. He never called. And the list goes on beyond the car to people wanting to trade stuff, people wanting to look at furniture I have to buy, etc. etc. etc. The one thing all of these people have in common is craigslist. None of them are people that I know in the real world. I don’t know if this is par for the course on craigslist in which case they should rename it flakeslist, or if I am suddenly the star of a reality show called “Let’s waste his time”. Either way, it’s not really bugging me. I just don’t set up my life around these things and when I have something I need to do, I just go do it. The only reason I am writing about it, is because I find it so freaking interesting…don’t you think? I mean, really, what the hell is going on? Actually, now that I look, it seems that I am not alone in this: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Craigslist%20Flake http://www.yelp.com/topic/foster-city-craigslist-flake—your-experience http://ask.metafilter.com/58547/Question-about-nonresponding-replies-to-Craigs-list-posting http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2128156 And finally, strategies for dealing with craigslist flakes: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/2008/09/on-dealing-with-flakes-on-craigslist-and-freecycle.html
I don’t think I would want to do this in the United States, the dike would be sure to break.
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a town built in the middle of a lake, not on an island, but actually below water level. It’s the ancient city of Seuthopolis, in Bulgaria, and it’s been underwater since 1954, a mere 6 years after it was initial discovered. Now, it’s coming up from the depths with the lake staying around it.
This is going to be done via the construction of a huge circular dike that’ll be a whopping 1,377 feet in diameter and 65 feet high. People will be able to access the recessed city by boat, heading down into it to see the city. And the focus isn’t on archeology here, but rather on tourism, with Bulgaria looking to create a striking image that draws people in. And really, there are few things that make a town more striking than have it sit on the bottom of a lake. Cool stuff.
There is certainly a lot of panic lately in the financial and Wall Street areas…lucky for us, we have JP Morgan to ride in and save the day. First buying up Bear Stearns and now scooping up Washington Mutual. Before this is over, I bet good ole JP Morgan will help us out by building itself into a ‘super-bank’ even bigger than it already is despite those outdated anti-trust and monopoly laws…but just who or what is JP Morgan?
John Pierpont Morgan (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913) was an American financier, banker and art collector who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation during his time. In 1892 Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thompson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric. After financing the creation of the Federal Steel Company he merged the Carnegie Steel Company and several other steel and iron businesses to form the United States Steel Corporation in 1901. He is widely credited with having saved or rescued the U.S. national economy in general—and the federal government in particular—on two separate occasions. He bequeathed much of his large art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and to the Wadsworth Atheneum of Hartford, Connecticut. He died in Rome, Italy, in 1913 at the age of 75, leaving his fortune and business to his son, John Pierpont (“Jack”) Morgan, Jr.
Wow. That sounds pretty good, where did he get his start though?
The Civil War was quite unpleasant for many Americans but it was great for Wall Street.
Many of the era’s foremost robber barons—J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould—dodged the draft by paying $300 to hire a substitute. This modest investment left them free to spend the war years getting rich instead of getting shot. Many on Wall Street, including Morgan, made a fortune speculating in gold, the price of which rose against the dollar with each defeat of the Union Army. Appalled, President Lincoln announced that he hoped every gold speculator “had his devilish head shot off.”
Meanwhile, Morgan was financing a deal to buy 5,000 rifles from an Union Army arsenal in New York for $3.50 apiece, then sell them to the Union Army in Virginia for $22 each. The rifles were defective—causing soldiers to shoot their thumbs off—but a judge ruled the deal legal. Morgan earned a 25 percent commission, plus interest.
What a guy! But wait, there’s more!
In 1900, Morgan financed inventor Nikola Tesla and his Wardenclyffe Tower with $150,000 for experiments in radio. However, in 1903, when the tower structure was near completion, it was still not yet functional due to last-minute design changes that introduced an unintentional defect. When Morgan wanted to know “Where can I put the meter?”, Tesla had no answer. Tesla’s vision of free power did not agree with Morgan’s worldview; nor would it pay for the maintenance of the transmission system. Construction costs eventually exceeded the money provided by Morgan, and additional financiers were reluctant to come forth. By July 1904, Morgan (and the other investors) finally decided they would not provide any additional financing. Morgan also advised other investors to avoid the project.
His son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. took over the business at his father’s death, yet never sought publicity, but instead helped create and control the Federal Reserve with 11 other banking families. As required by the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, the “House of Morgan” became three entities: J.P. Morgan & Co. and its bank, Morgan Guaranty Trust; Morgan Stanley, an investment house; and Morgan Grenfell in London, an overseas securities house.
But let’s not be silly, the federal reserve is an independent body that won’t let a private company take control of federal assetts, right? It has no connection to JP Morgan, right?
Haha. The joke it turns out, is on us.
Care to take a guess who has benefitted most from the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act?
I wonder when they are going to move their headquarters to China?