Friday, December 15, 2006

Alice Walker

"Walker has no intention of retiring but tells me that, "In the tradition of the world when people reach their 60s, they withdraw. They become sages ... In South Korea they believe that when you turn 60, you've become a baby again and the rest of your life should be totally about joy and happiness and people should leave you alone and I just think that that's the height of intelligence. It's about strategically understanding that you need to retreat."

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Arundhati Roy

"For all these reasons it is critical that we consider carefully the strange, sad and utterly sinister story of the December 13 attack. It tells us a great deal about the way the world's largest "democracy" really works. It connects the biggest things to the smallest. It traces the pathways that connect what happens in the shadowy grottoes of our police stations to what goes on in the snowy streets of Paradise Valley, and from there to the malign furies that bring nations to the brink of nuclear war. It raises specific questions that deserve specific, and not ideological or rhetorical, answers. What hangs in the balance is far more than the fate of one man."

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Liverpool FC

"Liverpool was one of the few clubs originally formed as a commercial venture. John Houlding, a brewer, was left with an empty Anfield in 1892 after Everton left protesting about the rent. He hired 11 Scots, all professionals, the "team of Macs," to fill Anfield and make money.

Critics of modern football's turbo-capitalism look to an ideal where clubs are member-owned and the money is shared more evenly. Liverpool fans are more immediately concerned not to fall further behind Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal and so far they appear persuaded that their heritage is not being sold. This was poetically expressed last week by one fan on the Red All Over the Land fanzine website:

"If you think old Shanks'd be turning in his grave, think again, get a grip lad, you're wrong. Behave!"

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Social Business

The Nobel Lecture given by The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2006, Muhammad Yunus (Oslo, December 10, 2006)

An excerpt:

"By defining "entrepreneur" in a broader way we can change the character of capitalism radically, and solve many of the unresolved social and economic problems within the scope of the free market. Let us suppose an entrepreneur, instead of having a single source of motivation (such as, maximizing profit), now has two sources of motivation, which are mutually exclusive, but equally compelling a) maximization of profit and b) doing good to people and the world.

Each type of motivation will lead to a separate kind of business. Let us call the first type of business a profit-maximizing business, and the second type of business as social business.

Social business will be a new kind of business introduced in the market place with the objective of making a difference in the world. Investors in the social business could get back their investment, but will not take any dividend from the company. Profit would be ploughed back into the company to expand its outreach and improve the quality of its product or service. A social business will be a non-loss, non-dividend company.

Once social business is recognized in law, many existing companies will come forward to create social businesses in addition to their foundation activities. Many activists from the non-profit sector will also find this an attractive option. Unlike the non-profit sector where one needs to collect donations to keep activities going, a social business will be self-sustaining and create surplus for expansion since it is a non-loss enterprise. Social business will go into a new type of capital market of its own, to raise capital.

Young people all around the world, particularly in rich countries, will find the concept of social business very appealing since it will give them a challenge to make a difference by using their creative talent. Many young people today feel frustrated because they cannot see any worthy challenge, which excites them, within the present capitalist world. Socialism gave them a dream to fight for. Young people dream about creating a perfect world of their own."

Now that's a goal!


'we must address the root causes of terrorism to end it for all time to come. I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor people is a better strategy than spending it on guns.'
- Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement micro-banking system and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner

Friday, December 08, 2006

Class warfare

below is a long article but its worth reading. it is a prime example of the way global capitalism dispossessess the lands, rights and resources of local people in order to increase accumulation of capital for a silent ruling class who already make and are in total control of loads of cash and power. David Harvey calls it 'accumulation by disspossesion.' Anyone that tells me class oppression and warfare is dead doesnt understand how it never went away. Who works? Who sells their labour to survive? Who owns the means of production, the companies, the media, the industries that make money? Class politics is right infront of our noses but we call it inequality or believe the markets will balance it out. Im not saying we all need to be marxists, because i'm certainly not and ultimately Marx's got lots wrong. But the way the world exists today is not to benefit all, or even to make it bearable for most, its about making profits for a small group who have too much money for their own good. The mobility of the middle classes misleads us all into believing everyone has a chance if they work hard. Think about that because it isn't a reality. Nor should forcing an aluminium smelter on people be one either.

anyways: Trinidad vs Smelter
From (i know food! weird.)

On December 6th, Trinidadians were experiencing an unusual event, a government symposium on aluminum smelters, or more appropriately "all the government will ever allow you to know about smelting"

As expected, the foreign "Aluminum Experts" brought in by pro aluminium forces all sung the praises of smelters and told us how well everything worked out in South Africa or Norway while our local economists, environmental and social experts continued sounding strong warnings against rushing into this kind of development.

We were treated to 8 hours of speeches from "Aluminum Experts" like newly appointed Energy Minister Lenny Saith (the old one is up on corruption charges!) and his brother NEC head honcho Prakash Saith and some imported experts like Alcoa's very own 'medical expert' Dr. Taiwo.

In case you couldn't stay awake through the entire 8 hours, here is what we learned on from all of the 'expert testimony':

None of the paid aluminum experts could make a clear point as to why it is so necessary that Trinidad needs to have Aluminum smelters. They tried to convince us of economic benefits with very little mention of true dollars and cents flowing into the pockets of the average Trinidadian. They tried to convince us that there's no risk to our health and our environment which was quickly countered with a long list of tons and tons of toxic emissions that we can expect from the smelters.

We learned that the smelters planned in Trinidad would be able to supply about 4 months worth of the world's demand of aluminum. That would explain why that both Alutrint and Alcoa are already hinting on doubling the capacity of the smelter in the future.

On the subject of health, we are probably more confused than ever. While one 'energy expert' cites a Norwegian study showing that there was no cancer risk, the next expert quoted a study from the same country showing, yes there was an increased cancer risk. I guess it just depends on who funds your study.

Another revelation that we found interesting was the statement from Prakash Saith that each one of the ten Ammonia Plants we currently have on this Island consumes half a million gallons of water a day, the six or so Methanol plants consume a million gallons each.

So, if you're still wondering why you have six water tanks in the back of your house and your pipe is still dry several days a week, here is your answer.

While on the subject of water, it was also revealed that the government had also already imported pipelines to supply more water to the new industrial estates and the smelters. Yes, the smelters that have NOT been approved by the EMA yet. Chatham is not even approved for an industrial estate but still zoned as agricultural land, but the pipes are here, my dear friends! Do not look for any more water in your pipes anytime soon, we are piping it to the smelters instead. For all you living abroad, only 26% of Trinidadians have a regular water supply.

Aluminum Industry experts like Colin Pratt warned us that we should not assume automatically that downstream opportunities will develop or be successful just because we are building smelters. There has to be proper planning and development of downstream industries and there has to be a market.

In South Africa, we've been told that crime and HIV rates increased in the
area where the smelter was built. We also learnt that short term contracts (temporary construction jobs) results in low term debt (as people shop on credit beyond their means).

Our local experts from the University of the West Indies presented studies that also showed that industrial areas in Trinidad like Pt. Fortin and Pt. Lisas are historically suffering from higher unemployment and poverty rates. For instance, Atlantic LNG in Pt. Fortin, they showed created mainly low income employment. The economists showed low level job creation is not worth the substantial invasion. Trinidad's massive investment of 15 billion dollars in the energy industry generates less than 4% of the employment in the country. All is not well in our industrial wonderland.

We were warned that the Alcoa smelter will have to be subsidized (something even Dr. Saith confirmed) and each one of the 1,000 jobs at Alcoa may come at a price tag of 400,000 dollars that we, the tax payers have to come up with, according to the UWI study group.

Mr. Goddard, the representative of the EMA confirmed that there are concerns about the carrying capacity of the Island, how much industrial pollution the environment can absorb. He simply stated that that maximum safe carrying capacity may have already been reached. He also mentioned that the proposed port is a major concern to the EMA. That port requires a 4 km dredge channel on a coastline that is already under threat.

And there is still no information on the secret agreements signed between Alcoa and the Government. Radio host Anil Roberts asked Prakash Saith "what is the price of gas promised to Alcoa in the agreement?"

Prakash Saith demonstrated that he seemed to have taken lessons in not answering questions from the master of avoidance, Wade Hughes of Alcoa. He answered "no price of gas is mentioned in the M.O.U."

And he is technically correct of course, the M.O.U. specifies a supply of electricity, not the gas to generate that electricity. In Trinidad, electricity generation is a regulated industry and only T&TEC can legally generate and sell electricity. Alcoa cannot build a power plant and generate power for their smelter.

Good old Prakash dropped another Alcoa-ism on Mr. Aboud later. When asked, "are you the chairman of the NEC?" he answered, "no" Well, OK, he is the President of the NEC.

Dr. Taiwo, Alcoa's resident African smelter doctor also went on to assure us how all these smelter health risks can be "managed" these days. He explained that there was a necessity for the Alcoa smelter to have a buffer zone to manage exposure to the population. So, why is there no buffer zone at the Alutrint smelter?

But thank God for Prof. Julian Kenny. As a 'simple biologist', he was able to explain to everybody in the room how illegal, irregular and irresponsible this whole smelter deal really is. To anybody who videotaped Dr. Kenny's presentation, please make copies and give it to your friends.

You can also download the text of his presentation in PDF format at this location: At the Chamber website, you can also download copies of the presentations of the other featured presenters. The web site however does not list the comments of the expert panel or the audience questions and responses.

The record also got set straight on the point that the late Dr. Eric Williams had envisioned a aluminum smelter in Trinidad. The reality is that Dr. Eric Williams envisioned a regional aluminum industry in competition with Alcoa. He had no plans of selling out our land to a foreign corporation like Alcoa for their own enrichment. Quite a different story than what is proposed by NEC, Alcoa and Alutrint.

One of the highlights of the TV broadcast carried by CCN TV6 was actually a public service announcement showing the virtues of the rainforest (yes, the same rainforest that Alcoa would like to bulldoze for their smelter) The programme showed that rainforests produce many medicines against many illnesses such as cancer, asthma, respiratory illnesses and more, yes, the same illnesses that are associated with the emissions of aluminium smelters. Well, isn't that ironic?

Our Rain Forests are also essential in helping reduce global warming and the greenhouse effect, the same greenhouse effect Alcoa's smelter will contribute to so heavily with as much CO2 from their smelter as 300,000 cars would produce. More Irony? Yes!

Our general conclusion is that this symposium has raised more questions and concerns than ever about establishing aluminum industry in Trinidad. It also raised more than enough questions about the industries that are already there and it has probably convinced more people than ever that the population need to be heard and consulted on this issue and that the unanswered questions in this secret deals have to be answered once and for all.

Yesterday's symposium did not answer these questions, did not shed light (or even heat) on the contents of the secret agreements. Why was Alcoa in the audience instead of on the podium when discussing their smelter? Why do we need secrecy and can't disclose the details agreement made with Alcoa? Where are these gas supplies located that can power the smelters for the next 20, 30 or 50 years? What then?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Friendship and madness

"Deleuze hypothesises that in order to form the basis for friendship with someone, each of us is apt to seize on a certain indication of an individual's charm, for example, in a gesture, a touch, an expression of modesty or a thought (even before that thought has become meaningful). In other words, friendship can result from perception of the charm that individuals emit and through which we sense that another suits us, might offer us something, might open and awaken us. And a person actually reveals his or her charm through a kind of démence or madness, Deleuze says, a certain kind of becoming-unhinged provides the impulse for friendship."

from Gilles Deleuze: key concepts

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feeble England ruin series

"What a waste. A decent Test series was developing over the first four days but it was ruined by two sessions of England negativity. In the winning corner was Australia, whose only weakness is not knowing when to stop attacking. Then there was England. Sad, sorry, insipid England."

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Origin of language

"language as the foundation of the human community must have arisen in a collective event where mimetic tension is intensified by the multiplicity of the participants. The object desired by all members of the group—say, the carcass of a large animal brought down by a hunting party—becomes the center of a circle surrounded by peripheral individuals who act as the mediators of each other's desire. The originary sign provides the solution to or, more precisely, the deferral of a "mimetic crisis" in which the group's very existence is menaced by the potential violence of rivalry over the central object. The emission of the first sign is the founding event of the human community."

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Friday, December 01, 2006


"No, I don't have the least belief that one could consider our society democratic. [Laughs.] If one understands by democracy the effective exercise of power by a population which is neither divided nor hierarchically ordered in classes, it is quite clear that we are very far from democracy. It is only too clear that we are living under a regime of a dictatorship of class, of a power of class which imposes itself by violence, even when the instruments of this violence are institutional and constitutional; and to that degree, there isn't any question of democracy for us."

Foucault vs Chomsky 1971

or video of it here

Watch until the end

A funny and smart response to Kramer and the racists at the Fox network

How Cocaine is Made

And why its a nasty drug

Wednesday, November 29, 2006



Meet Dunkleosteus

"arguably the first king of the beasts. The monster fish cruised the oceans 400m years ago, preying on creatures much larger than itself, its blade-like fangs adept at tearing its quarry in two."

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Who knows what scrobbling is? I didn't well probably still don't but i been using this thing called if you love your digital music collection you'll like this. It's basically a plug-in that generates all kinds of cool music related (more specifically YOUR music related) charts, stats and networking opportunities. I've been using it for about a week and at first it really didn't seem all that neat or useful. But slowly but surely as it's learned my musical tastes its making my music a way for my life. Gosh im sounding like an ad here. Anyway for instance it's worked out which concerts within a 15mile radius of my house i would be interested in. And it was spot on. There are lots of other features too and if i ever feel to subscribe to the service, $3 dollars a month, it gives me my own personal digital radio station. Although since i havent done that i'm not actually sure what that means. Anyway i have a DRM expert out there some where, he looks like a cookiemonster (bit of a lazy blogger though), i'd be interested to hear what he's got to say about this. Scrobbling is my new favourite word. This page has got all the scrobbling answers.

my latest musical quilt generated from

ps its a networking thing so we can be friends. did i say that already? Friends are good. like sweets.

Totti magic

no not toeti sheldon, totti

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Library

I love the ease with which i can read all kinds of material on my computer by this or that search, through stumbling across stuff and from the direction and insight of others. I really find it addictive. But there is another place full of words i enjoy more and it has an effect on me far deeper than addiction. It creates a serenity, an ease of thought and sense of self i probably only ever associate with family and friends. At the library stacks and stacks of knowledge pulse out at you. its as though there is a low hum, a ticklish whisper as you pass by, a lost idea waiting to connect back to the world. I have learnt that we do not find books but they find us. And never should we be as foolhardy to miss this gift because those are the books which will open up your life and your thoughts in ways you hadn't even realised were there. Sometimes it is the title, sometimes a friend's recommendation, sometimes its just sitting there on a table staring back at you asking your eyes to look inside. And when you perch the book at the end of your hand, and let its pages open like the wings of a bird you honestly for the briefest moment use its power and insight to fly away from your concious mind. The words and your self become something else, able to see connections and meanings that alone your eyes could not reach. Maybe one day i'll write a book and it will sit on a library shelf waiting for some young mind to touch its stem, open its pages, consume and combine with its words. i hope the digital age does not take my stacks away because nowhere have i been happier alone than in the library. funny that. but true.

Kramer loses it

Uncomfortable viewing

some commentary


anil dash

savage minds

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thérèse Raquin

The only Zola i ever read. its about love and desire, murder and a losss of desire. They are trying it out as a play now. The book oddly enough always struck me as anthropological - about the human condition and the production of emotions, feelings and thoughts from the environment around us.

Julian Barnes does a good discussion of it:

"Those 37-year-old marginalia provoked the usual mixed feelings. On the one hand, you fear to discover that your younger self was an idiot; on the other, you need to believe that all your subsequent years as a reader and then writer have made your literary responses sharper and deeper. In terms of actual understanding of the plot, characters, key scenes and lines, I pretty much got Thérèse Raquin back in 1969, though this was doubtless helped by Zola's directness as a writer: he is explicatory rather than allusive, a teller rather than a shower. Subsequent experience brought mainly two things: a greater grasp of the psychological theories that drive the book, and a greater scepticism about - or a more nuanced response to - his picture of life...To the second edition of Thérèse Raquin, Zola added as epigraph Taine's dictum: "Vice and virtue are just as much products as are vitriol and sugar." Products, that is, of environment, inheritance, history and the momentum of the age. The human problem was one not of God and morality, but of psychological mechanics, which could be studied and solved just as a problem in physical mechanics could."

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"Also called "Radium F", polonium was discovered by Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie in 1897 and was later named after Marie's home land of Poland (Latin: Polonia). Poland at the time was under Russian, Prussian and Austrian domination, and not recognized as an independent country. It was Marie's hope that naming the element after her home land would add notoriety to its plight. Polonium may be the first element named to highlight a political controversy."

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Still waiting for smelter answers

"I am the young woman who was told to shut up at the TV6 forum held at the Chatham Youth Centre on November 9. I would like to point out that MP Achong didn’t just tell me to shut up; he said it to every concerned citizen of T&T. It is my hope that we will all do the exact opposite.

We should not forget the reason behind the forum and the still unresolved issues. I think that we all need to refocus on the original issues here: the introduction of aluminium industries in Trinidad, the processes by which decisions are being made, and the feeling that the public’s opinions are being ignored.

I did not attend this public forum as an anti-smelter activist but as a citizen seeking more information and answers pertaining to the issues. The point I tried to make that night was that this issue is one of national importance and that all citizens are stakeholders and are entitled to information regardless of their place of residence.

Also, I want to point out that I have not yet received an answer to my question: “The people of Chatham have everything to lose…what do the people who are in favour of the smelters stand to lose?”

This is an important question as any development will have its gains and losses and the people of this country need to assess what they are willing to loose or risk losing for the benefits which aluminium smelting will bring to the country.

We must continue to let our concerns and questions be heard. Alcoa will be hosting two public consultation meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Chatham Youth Centre and at the St John’s Ambulance Hall (Port-of-Spain), respectively. Also, the Government will be having a symposium on the issue on December 6.

Our Members of Parliament are (or should be) willing to listen to your concerns through a letter or personal visit. We have every right to know the price at which our gas will be sold; we are entitled to demand that our land and our water be protected by the strictest possible environmental laws and the most rigorous monitoring and enforcement standards necessary.

We deserve to have our needs, dreams and expectations taken into account in the development of the south-western peninsula of our island.

One of the most poignant sentiments expressed at the meeting in question was that the land that people in Chatham live on has been handed down from generation to generation. They are trying to protect their inheritance and we should do the same. The social, environmental and economic implications of what happens in Chatham will affect all of us. We cannot afford to “shut up!”

I would like to expand on a question raised by one of Achong’s young constituents: what do we as a nation have to lose in the face of this proposed development?

We are still waiting for an answer."

Srishti Mohais

Yoda does hip hop

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pans Labyrinth

Fascinating article about director Guillermo del Toro and his new film pans labyrinth, the story of Ofélia, an 11-year-old girl whose mother marries a fascist army commander in Franco-era Spain and copes with the murderous reality that surrounds her by escaping into her own fantastical dream world.

"I would say cinema saved my life. Literally," he enthuses. "In 1997 my father was kidnapped and I think, maybe, the epiphany of film fantasy saved my life. When you are suffering that sort of despair and anger it affects you in a physical way. You are burning with rage. You have palpitations. You have heart pains. I was writing a script of The Count of Monte Cristo and the rage in there lifted a weight off my own shoulders. Then sometimes, when you are in despair, just seeing a movie can transport you somewhere else and save you."

It is worth saying here that, on the surface, del Toro could not seem any less tormented. A jolly, articulate man, who speaks terrifyingly fluent English, he comes across like a magnified teenage comic fan with more facial hair and a better vocabulary. Yet he admits to a classically conflicted Catholic childhood. His grandmother, left in charge of the boy while his parents gallivanted, was so appalled by his affection for all things horrible that she twice arranged for his exorcism."

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The Bush Dynasty

Star Wars overview

DNA & Acid

"FRANCIS CRICK, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.

The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life.

Crick, who died in 2004, aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle's warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize...

I visited Crick at his home, Golden Helix, in Cambridge. He listened with rapt, amused attention to what I told him about the role of LSD in his Nobel Prize-winning discovery. He gave no intimation of surprise. When I had finished, he said: 'Print a word of it and I'll sue.'"

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Marvin live and direct

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More on anthropology's role in US torture

"That report is consistent with a new book that shows how interrogation techniques by U.S. forces, which once focused on physical tactics, are increasingly focused on specific cultural aspects of people that may make them likely to break. “It’s clear that they are now focused on the idea of attacking cultural sensitivity” and are using anthropology and other social science research, said Alfred W. McCoy, a historian at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror."

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Simon Jennkins blasts Blair

"After 1990 many hoped that an age of stable peace might dawn. Rich nations might disarm and combine to help the poor, advancing the cause of global responsibility. Instead two of history's most internationalist states, America and Britain, have returned to the trough of conflict, chasing a chimera of "world terrorism", and at ludicrous expense. They have brought death and destruction to a part of the globe that posed no strategic threat. Now one of them, Tony Blair, stands in a patch of desert to claim that "world security in the 21st century" depends on which warlord controls it. Was anything so demented"

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Murdoch - a predatory capitalist

"We are talking information here, and Murdoch controls a vast amount of the information that flows around the world, from China to California. As the OJ Simpson affair shows, he's a cultural, as well as political, gatekeeper. That's why, though we should worry about Branson, we should worry more about Murdoch. Branson also has a gigantic network of interests, but he's essentially a brand label that can be slapped on anything from jeans to jumbo jets, and doesn't have the same influence on how we perceive the world...

Murdoch is so much a part of the landscape that we sometimes lose sight of how outrageous his power is; we think his behaviour is just that of a natural businessman, as in some senses it is. But British political leaders cross the globe to pay him court, like tribal chiefs from outlying provinces offering tribute to a Roman emperor. He pays only the tax he feels like paying, which isn't much. To a remarkable extent, his political agenda - light business regulation, tight shackles on trade unions, a semi-detached status within the European Union, support for the American neocons in Iraq - is also the British political agenda."

read more


"In Washington, the killing appeared likely to strengthen the hands of those in the administration, led by the vice-president, Dick Cheney, who oppose negotiations with Syria or Iran over Iraq. The US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, went further than Mr Bush in linking Syria and Iran to the killing.

"The White House warned about two weeks ago that Syria and Iran, acting through Hizbullah, might be on the verge of an attempted coup d'etat in Lebanon. One has to wonder whether this despicable assassination is not the first shot," Mr Bolton said.

Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, rejected the allegations. "We are part of the solution, not part of the problem," he said."

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More evidence of global warming

Three in one

Anthropologists [5yrs late] Stand Up Against Torture and the Occupation of Iraq

"Such resolutions rarely solve problems, but they do clarify group values and serve notice to those forces that are pressing to use anthropology for intelligence needs-but the sudden move to restore what was once an important democratic mechanism of a past era may signify that the members want greater control over where anthropology seems to be heading in the post 9/11 world."

read more

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hugo Sanchez

remember him?

now thats a goal

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

tree hugging

Is change coming?

"There is a clue to how seminal this change of hands is in the power bases of the two relevant parties. The committee's outgoing Republican chairman, James Inhofe, comes from Oklahoma, bang in the heartland of America; in the plains, where farming, the gun and the pickup truck form a holy trinity.

The incoming Democrat, Barbara Boxer, comes from, yes, California, a state that has supplied several of the leaders of the Democrat revolution, including Nanci Pelosi of San Francisco, the new speaker of the House... Mr Inhofe has a track record for using his power in committee to block legislation designed to cut the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. He famously said on one occasion that global warming was "the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people".

read more

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Jaffa Cake Lore


"The Jaffa Cake has long been a disputed member of the biscuit Order (Pootle, 2004). In his report “Jaffa Cakes are Cakes - Proof from the Courtroom”, Archibald (2004) describes a courtroom battle and the various evidences, leading to the decision of the British Government to classify the Jaffa Cakes as a cake, immunising Jaffa Cakes from VAT. Nicey and Wifey (2004b) leave no doubt that the Jaffa is clearly a cake. The following response is given on their website (Nicey and Wifey 2004a), to the frequently asked question: “Are Jaffa Cakes biscuits?”

“No, no they're not. Apart from being called cakes they obviously have a sponge base. Granted they appear to be some kind of luxury biscuit being chocolate covered and shipping in a box.” [italics added].

The argument that the word ‘cake’ appears in the name is a simple issue of semantics. Using this logic one may argue that shortcake is a cake. Objects are classified based on their appearance. According to the current analysis using parsimony, if the Jaffa Cake IS indeed a cake, then so are Fig Rolls and Jammie Dodgers (an unarguable situation). This is because these two biscuits show closer affinities with the Jaffa Cake than with any other biscuits. So according to this classification, the Jaffa cake IS a biscuit after all. It therefore seems there is no simple dichotomy between cakes and biscuits. However, it is possible to make a compromise between a biscuit and cake affinity for Jaffa cakes, by allocating this group a new name. I propose the name Pseudobiscuits for this clade of three genera, on account of their close kinship with both cakes and biscuits. All other biscuits, can be referred to as ‘true biscuits’."

Read more

Monday, November 06, 2006

Corruption Index

Yellow (had to ask someone the colour to be sure - but i was good) means less corrupt, red (maroon i'm told, looks kinda brown, but hey) more corrupt

The University of Passau (Germany) and Transparency International has just released their corruption index for 2005.

The index defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among a country's public officials and politicians.

Countries that have improved their rating since the 2004 index were Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Estonia, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Moldova, Nigeria, Qatar, Slovakia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen. Some of the countries that have a worse rating since 2004 include Brazil, Costa Rica, Gabon, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Suriname and guess who TRINIDAD & TOBAGO.


"What difference is his execution going to make to chaos in Iraq?" asked Aziz Majeed, a Kurd from Irbil. "I hate Saddam, but I can't blame him for the current situation - my country has become the most dangerous place on earth. Where is the freedom the Americans promised?"

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Saturday, November 04, 2006


"If at times she showed me these marks of affection, she pained me also by seeming not pleased to see me, and this happened often on the very days on which i had most counted on the realisation of my hopes." Proust, Swann's Way (1981 [1913):438)

ICC Final tomorrow 9am GMT

Australia as always have the mark of big-headedness. Ricky Ponting their captain says "We have probably won more one-day finals, one-day tournaments, and World Cups than any other team... certainly a lot more than the West Indies have. We know what it takes to win big games and we will see how the West Indian players will cope under pressure."

Umm, even if they've won more, they've never won this tournament and it is the West Indies who coped with the pressure last time round to currently be the tournament holders.

wouldnt it be good if......

Friday, November 03, 2006

The net police

FC Copenhagen 1 – Manchester United 0 (Extended highlights here) "It's special - and not just because I'm a Liverpool fan" - Copenhagen coach, Stale Solbakken

from 101greatgoals

"The FA Premier League has ordered YouTube, the video-sharing website, to pull down clips of top-flight matches as it seeks to defend the value of television rights from erosion by online bootleggers."


We just link it - we don't host it

Kate Moss wins bong, i mean gong

Kate Moss was pictured snorting the old bolivian marching powder earlier in the year. it caused a big hullabaloo, people were outraged (not me personally) but that collective noun the newspapers use to get moral authority on their side. She was forced to leave for the states, check in to one of those boujis rehab clinics which sound kinda social and lay low for a month or two. Turns out on her return the police couldnt do anything because all they had was photos and no hard drugs so she might of been putting glucose up her nose for all they knew. Anyways, as the good comeback kid she is she wooed the fashion world and got picked up by more ad agencies than before enhancing her celebrity. Now she's got the model of the year award at the British Fashion Model awards (yes they have awards for everything) and some people - probably those that speak for collective nouns think it sets a bad example for young women. Anyways, the point i want to make, and its taken me a while to get there, is, if she's picked up more modelling gigs since the drug incident is it cus she's deemed more risque or a more realisitic reflection of modern living? As far as i'm aware lots of people do drugs and they've been doing them since we were hunter gatherers in the wilds of Amazonia and the savannahs of Africa , so its not some new fad stealing our babies, but rather a warped social policy to make them illegal and lack of government foresight into how they should be intergrated into 21st century society. Lets not forget either that its the rich and upwardly mobile classes who get in the least trouble for taking them yet they do it in the most quantities, which makes it a class issue - not to mention race one too, but thats another story. So kate, darling, keep on tooting, not everyone else wants too, but at least you never apologised to pander to popular opinion and stayed real. Something current drug laws and politicians could learn from.

Into the Final!

Lara smiles

Gayle destroys

"Chris Gayle lit up the Sawai Mansingh Stadium with a quite spectacular display of power-hitting as West Indies stormed into their second successive Champions Trophy final. Gayle's run-a-ball unbeaten 133 - and his 154-run opening wicket stand with Shivnarine Chanderpaul - turned what was supposed to be a close game into an absolute no-contest, as West Indies chased down 259 with six wickets in hand and 36 balls to spare to earn the right to challenge Australia for the title on Sunday."

read more

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The new British £20 banknotes will carry a portrait of Adam Smith, the "Godfather of free-market economics", together with an engraving illustrating Smith's notion of "the division of labour", and the words: "and the great increase in the quantity of work that results".

It's a pity they don't use a different Adam Smith quote. For example: "All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind." (Wealth of Nations, Book 3, Chapter 4)

their newsletter is worth subscribing to

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hippie Covers Outkast

Mat Weddle does acoustic cover of the Outkast hit.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Windies victory dumps out England

See you and your stumps later Mr. Tendulkar!!

When the Windies are good they really get you excited.

Go on the boys

"West Indies hung on for a nail-biting win over India to book their semi-final place and knock England out of the Champions Trophy in Ahmedabad"

read more here


As any good anthropologist will tell you categories like race, age, gender, sexuality and the character traits that go with them are social constructions. Essentialisms whose positivist geneology is traceable and part of the power structure to keep old-white-heterosexual-male as the power centre in modern western society. with this defense i thought i should put forward some interesting research no doubt designed to further the constructed differences between men and women.

here goes:

A recent report by the sleep council (i know what a silly name) finds "women are officially more grumpy than men in the mornings... Not only are women grumpier than men first thing, but their foul mood also lasts longer"

read more here

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Not my cup of tea

Saucytrini got her hands on some artist drawings of the new National Carnival & Arts Centre to be built on the site of the current savannah grandstand.

Personally i think it looks stupid, its two big and blocks the view of the hills, but thats just me.

From Gold Leader

On the 14th of February, 1990, the Voyager spacecraft took this picture from the edge of the Solar System, 4 billion miles from Earth, showing Earth as a pale blue dot hanging in the sky.

" We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known. "

- Carl Sagan

The essence of neoliberalism

Pierre Bourdieu - a truly great intellectual who passed away in 2002 - on the essence of neoliberalism

"Thus we see how the neoliberal utopia tends to embody itself in the reality of a kind of infernal machine, whose necessity imposes itself even upon the rulers. Like the Marxism of an earlier time, with which, in this regard, it has much in common, this utopia evokes powerful belief — the free trade faith — not only among those who live off it, such as financiers, the owners and managers of large corporations, etc., but also among those, such as high-level government officials and politicians, who derive their justification for existing from it. For they sanctify the power of markets in the name of economic efficiency, which requires the elimination of administrative or political barriers capable of inconveniencing the owners of capital in their individual quest for the maximisation of individual profit, which has been turned into a model of rationality. They want independent central banks. And they preach the subordination of nation-states to the requirements of economic freedom for the masters of the economy, with the suppression of any regulation of any market, beginning with the labour market, the prohibition of deficits and inflation, the general privatisation of public services, and the reduction of public and social expenses."


Sunday, October 22, 2006



"Fuck" is a paper by Christopher Fairman @ Ohio State University. They were talking about it over at Savage Minds. its a good one. Socio-linguistics doing something useful for once.

This Article is as simple and provocative as its title suggests: it explores the legal implications of the word fuck. The intersection of the word fuck and the law is examined in four major areas: First Amendment, broadcast regulation, sexual harassment, and education. The legal implications from the use of fuck vary greatly with the context. To fully understand the legal power of fuck, the nonlegal sources of its power are tapped. Drawing upon the research of etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, psychoanalysts, and other social scientists, the visceral reaction to fuck can be explained by cultural taboo. Fuck is a taboo word. The taboo is so strong that it compels many to engage in self-censorship. This process of silence then enables small segments of the population to manipulate our rights under the guise of reflecting a greater community. Taboo is then institutionalized through law, yet at the same time is in tension with other identifiable legal rights. Understanding this relationship between law and taboo ultimately yields fuck jurisprudence."

Will write sumthin when sober

"Over the course of little more than a week, we have learned that civilian casualties so far in the Iraq war may be more than 600,000; that Britain's Chief of the General Staff believes the conflict could break the army apart; that a federal solution to the growing chaos involving the effective dismemberment of the country is being openly discussed in America; that the US Iraq Study Group, headed by Republican grandee James Baker, is recommending that the US military withdraws to bases outside Iraq and seeks Iranian and Syrian help; and that Britain is now the number one al-Qaeda target, partly, it seems clear, as a consequence of events in Iraq.

There should be at least one universal response to this in Britain. Why is Tony Blair still Prime Minister after leading his country into such a disastrous war? Any large company would by now have got rid of a managing director guilty of a mistake on that scale. Any institution you care to name would have done the same. Why is Blair immune from the normal requirements of high office?"


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Protests at Gallaudet

There have been ongoing and intense disputes on Gallaudet campus for weeks now. Underneath the surface are a number of issues which are hard to pinpoint without the correct conceptual framework. This blog entry by Joseph Rainmound is a helpful way into the issues which include egos, community building and gatekeepers.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


They say he's a shoe-in

"Again, Mr Schwarzenegger used a TV appearance - this time on Jay Leno’s late-night show - to defuse attempts to link him with the president. “Trying to link me with George Bush is like trying to link me with an Oscar,” he said."

Funny; but doesn't schwarzeneggar execute death row inmates in the Bush family style?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Manning is an arse

"The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Attorney General have both distanced themselves from controversial statements made by Prime Minister Patrick Manning that two former UNC members now affiliated with Winston Dookeran's Congress of the People are facing corruption charges and may be arrested soon.

DPP Geoffrey Henderson has not only distanced himself from the comments but has also strongly condemned them as irresponsible. Henderson has also denied that the "corruption file" of any former UNC member is currently before him and he has said Manning was out of place to attempt to undermine the independence of his office."

The express article is here

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Maybe im slow on the up take but this has to be the best acronym i've heard in ages

"What I am saying is that if we look at the discourses that structure our immediate political reality – most strikingly the discourses that surround T.W.A.T (the war against terror) we can see how this war is a condition of the discursive poverty of erroneous relations that we do not, of course!, have to affirm by perpetuating its reductive logic, but nonetheless these structures hold enormous sway over how we can think of relating to each other. "

Its from a so-so article about Butler and Braidotti, the two central gender philosophers of our present moment, who are well worth reading in their own right. But because of the authors great use of the word twat and the war on terror together i'll put the link to 'Transformative thresholds: Braidotti, Butler & the ethics of relation' here.

On place and context

From space and culture

"[Latour] makes pertinent points about the sociology of the social’s preoccupation with context and place, hence the eternal return conceptually to the analytical split level of the global and the local...I think that Latour’s arguments about place are worth exploring for the way they jog ones’ perspective and decentre comfort zones about where we are and what we are claiming to describe when we set out to describe other places. Latour proposes that there is nothing intrinsically contextual about place, that place is simply a staging or framing for traces and associations, near and distant, past and present. Context as such does not exist as a factor which explains or accounts for a place. Placeness is brought to a situation through framing, and only part of this situation is localised."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cracks in the Constitution

"[Bush's] Justice Department," Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Slate, "sees through the sophisticated legal prism known as the Toddler Worldview: Anything one doesn't wish to accept simply isn't true." Because the Founding Fathers never anticipated the possibility that the nation's chief executive would treat its final judgments with the respect due an out-of-state parking ticket issued to a rental car, the Supreme Court has been rendered as toothless as a gummy bear.

The more you look, the more you'll find that our Constitution has been subverted to the point of virtual irrelevance. The legislative branch has abdicated its exclusive right to declare war to the president, who was appointed by a federal court that undermined the states' constitutional right to manage and settle election disputes. Individuals' protection against unreasonable searches have been trashed, habeas corpus is a joke, and double jeopardy has become routine as those exonerated by criminal court face second trials in civil court. Our system of checks and balances has collapsed, the victim of a citizenry more interested in entertaining distraction than eternal vigilance.

Where evil men rule, law cannot protect those who sleep."


Friday, October 13, 2006

Micro Finance

"How it works

Microfinance is lending to poor, often illiterate, people who have no collateral, no business experience and who therefore cannot normally borrow from the banks.

In the developing world the poor often work at home with raw materials bought with borrowed money.

The finished wares have to be sold back to the moneylenders, leaving scarcely enough, after repaying the loan with interest, to feed the family. So to make the next batch of goods poor people have to return to the moneylenders.

A failure to repay a debt ends up with people paying by working. The result is bonded labour, often with the children bearing the burden of unpaid debts.

Microfinance banks break the cycle by lending to the poor to buy raw materials. This means the workers can sell at a fair price on the open market, a price which means enough to service the debt, feed the family and make a profit.

To ensure that debts are paid, money is lent to groups, often women, who appear to respond better to financial terms.

Less than a dozen clients guarantee each other's loans and a default by one could result in the entire group being penalised. The resulting peer pressure means repayment rates exceed 95%."

Read more

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jaffa Cakes

The best biscuit in the world. I know it says cake but its definately a biscuit. honest

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

655,000 dead since invasion

I have a major problem with the amount of people dead and dying in Iraq because of decisions made by politicians who represent my place of birth and the country i now study in. These guys are implicated in a death toll that has reached 655,000. As i've said before that is not only a war crime but a crime against humanity. Under a supposed banner of democracy, lets not forget Bush stole both elections, such a death toll is now a normal part of Western everyday life. We read it like it don't matter, its just out there. Like we did the right thing. Wankers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

North Korea

"Like alcoholics condemning teenage drinking, the nuclear powers have made the spread of nuclear weapons the terror of our age, distracting attention from their own behaviour. Western leaders refuse to accept that our own actions encourage others to follow suit."

read more

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Waste of space

"Unfortunately, there are practically no special fields or educational programs, such as 'ethnology of building' or 'architectural anthropology', at today's architectural schools. Western architectural theory is completely fixed on the Euro-Mediterranean history of art. Systematic comparison with non-European cultures could not only place in question our own basic assumptions regarding principles of design: it could also provide stimulating insights."

The Japanese House

Sontag and Leibovitz

"If, as Sontag complained, Leibovitz skimped on taking photographs during the normal run of things, it was because "the more you know about someone, the harder it [a photograph] is to take. It has to do with knowing how they imagine they see themselves. And I think that when you love them, you don't want to disappoint them."

My time with Susan


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Two good

Friday, October 06, 2006

Carnival of Crime

"Bakhtin, in his discussion on the need for carnival, saw that “capitalism created the conditions for a special type of inescapable solitary consciousness” ; a solitariness caused, according to Weber, by “puritan ... ascetism turned against one thing: the spontaneous enjoyment of life and all it had to offer”. This spontaneity is where identity is forged. Without it we feel strait–jacketed and shoe–horned into a constricted way of life, where consumption is central and where to ‘have’ is to exist and where to ‘have nothing’ is to be nothing."

Read more


1. YouTube and Time Warner

2. YouTube backtracks on copyright tool

3. Google said to be bidding $1.6 billion for video site

Mars orbiter looks down on rover

"This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity near the rim of "Victoria Crater." Victoria is an impact crater about 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter at Meridiani Planum near the equator of Mars."

Fancy a cuppa?

"Both groups exhibited significant levels of stress measured by increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, increased heart rate and raised blood pressure. Statements of how they felt were also taken.

Fifty minutes after the task, levels of cortisol in the real tea group had fallen by 47 per cent compared with 27 per cent in the fake tea group."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Guy Debord

Im reading society of the spectacle again.

Here's what wikipedia says about it:

"In broad terms, Debord's theories attempted to account for the spiritually debilitating modernisation of both the private and public spheres of everyday life by economic forces during the post-WW2 modernisation of Europe. He rejected as the twin faces of the same problem both the market capitalism of the West and the state capitalism of the Eastern bloc. Alienation, Debord postulated, could be accounted for by the invasive forces of the 'spectacle' – the seductive nature of capitalism. Debord's analysis developed the notions of "reification" and "fetishism of the commodity" pioneered by Karl Marx and Georg Lukács. This analysis probed the historical, economic and psychological roots of 'the media'. Central to this school of thought was the claim that alienation is more than an emotive description or an aspect of individual psychology: rather, it is a consequence of the mercantile form of social organization which has reached its climax in capitalism."


I stumbled across this page called Armeniapedia:an online encyclopedia about Armenia that anyone can edit.

Its a good wiki, in the tradtional wikipedia mould. Made me wonder if anyone has started a Trinipedia yet. Couldnt find it on any searches i did.

Maybe we should start one

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Google Truth Predictor

"Voters would be able to check the probability that apparently factual statements by politicians were actually correct, using programmes that automatically compared claims with historic data...One of my messages to them is to think about having every one of your voters online all the time, then inputting ‘is this true or false?’ We are not in charge of truth but we might be able to give a probability.”

Sunday, October 01, 2006

naomi klein on Iraq

This article is pretty intense and long, but well worth a read for its ability to connect the dots.

"Torturers believe that when electrical shocks are applied to various parts of the body simultaneously subjects are rendered so confused about where the pain is coming from that they become incapable of resistance. A declassified CIA “Counterintelligence Interrogation” manual from 1963 describes how a trauma inflicted on prisoners opens up “an interval—which may be extremely brief—of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis. . . . [A]t this moment the source is far more open to suggestion, far likelier to comply...If there ever was a moment when Iraqis were too disoriented to resist shock therapy, that moment has definitely passed.”

Klein lays out what the economic plan was behind the invasion of Iraq. There has always been an economic front to this war, it is one drenched in neocon values with their embedded religious undertones. But its all gone wrong. terribly wrong and until Bush and his allies loosen their desire to hold on to a cause they can no longer win more people - civilian, soldiers, innocents, future generations - will continue to die for an extremly violent economic ideology. The sad truth is that civil war is and was the only option US/British policy allowed for people to fight the wholescale robbery and western imperialism forced on their country. Bush and Blair are more reponsible than either will admit. Bob Woodward of Watergate fame will tonight address the masks and lies the White House has used to distort their ideological economic front. This war has always been about money, about the rich capitalist class getting richer. Nothing else. simple as that.

As Klein concludes:

"The great historical irony of the catastrophe unfolding in Iraq is that the shock-therapy reforms that were supposed to create an economic boom that would rebuild the country have instead fueled a resistance that ultimately made reconstruction impossible. Bremer's reforms unleashed forces that the neocons neither predicted nor could hope to control, from armed insurrections inside factories to tens of thousands of unemployed young men arming themselves. These forces have transformed Year Zero in Iraq into the mirror opposite of what the neocons envisioned: not a corporate utopia but a ghoulish dystopia, where going to a simple business meeting can get you lynched, burned alive, or beheaded. These dangers are so great that in Iraq global capitalism has retreated, at least for now. For the neocons, this must be a shocking development: their ideological belief in greed turns out to be stronger than greed itself."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Need a hug?

Earthquake hits Trini & Venezuela

6.1 on the richter scale with a 5.5 aftershock at 2pmish. UPDATE: Thanks to JT for pointing out that after the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad got things together took they decided the intensity was 5.8 with a 5.3 aftershock and that the site of the main quake was actully north-east of Port of Spain, and inland, near Churapa Bay, about a third of the way along the north coast. This makes it the strongest quake ever actually recorded on land in Trinidad (the biggest quake of all in 1766 was offshore).

Friday, September 29, 2006

I know a monomaniac when i see one word of the Day for Friday, September 29, 2006

monomania \mon-uh-MAY-nee-uh; -nyuh\, noun:

1. Pathological obsession with a single subject or idea.
2. Excessive concentration of interest upon one particular subject or idea.

One of the themes in the book was the necessity for a leader to be passionate about the work. And sometimes in a corporate setting, passion becomes monomania.
-- "Balancing the Personal and the Professional", New York Times, October 10, 1999

It is a monomania that approaches a frenzy in which girlfriends or wife, family and sleep, mean nothing.
-- Newgate Callendar, "Crime", New York Times, January 4, 1987

He was . . . a rather impossible person -- self-absorbed to the point of monomania (when lesser beings presumed to take part in his monologues, he would say "Quite" and then continue along his solitary path).
-- Thomas M. Disch, "Later Auden", Washington Post, July 4, 1999

After visiting American prisons Tocqueville and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, wrote that social reformers in the United States had been swept up in "the monomania of the penitentiary system," convinced that prisons were "a remedy for all the evils of society."
-- Eric Schlosser, "The Prison-Industrial Complex", The Atlantic, December 1998

Monomania is derived from the Greek elements mono-, "one, single, alone" + mania, "madness, frenzy, enthusiasm."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


“It’s the economy stupid”

In 1969 shortly after David Harvey left the UK to take up a position at John Hopkins University he was witness to a period of turmoil in the United States that included the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination and the Baltimore uprisings. In interviews he has spoken of his shock at the conditions he encountered at the time and how they were partly responsible for transforming him into the scholarly radical he is considered today. “I was really, really shocked that in the wealthiest country in the world, people live in chronic impoverishment. I was really upset. So I started to participate much more in the political activism around that.”

He has also spoken on Frederick Engels work concerned with the condition of the working class in England in 1844 and made the point that he found this most helpful in trying to understand the housing questions and ghetto formation he found in late 1960s and early 1970s America. From here he began looking for the economic causality behind the crises of poverty and racism he saw in Baltimore and facing other US cities in order to argue that a market-exchange economy could never provide ‘social justice’

In ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism’ Harvey brings this approach back engaging class as a mainstream methodological tool in the critique of global capital. The neoliberal project thus becomes an enterprise in wealth redistribution on a global scale driven by class power. Harvey’s book is quite brilliant. It is a challenge to the dominant economic model of our time...

read more here

Monday, September 25, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Iron Man CGI

Pre-Production 2008 Iron Man cgi pics

Structural Violence

Inequality is built into the market. No two ways about it

"The health of poor people in poor areas is being jeopardised because market values put finance before patients, because strategic planning and funding based on need is being replaced by a phoney market that deliberately creates instability. These policies were never openly discussed or debated before, during or after the election, but are now being pursued with a zeal that smacks of a scorched-earth policy by advisers and ministers who know their time is limited. Tony Blair's intention to stand down as prime minister has clearly concentrated the minds of those who have been steadily moving us toward the full marketisation of our public services."

read Dave Prentis, Leader of the UKs biggest unionhere

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

oil companies tell lies

We know that. Right?

From GU:

"Britain's leading scientists have challenged the US oil company ExxonMobil to stop funding groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.

In an unprecedented step, the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific academy, has written to the oil giant to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence"."

The full letter is here and is worth reading

Monday, September 18, 2006


Nikolai linked to this NYT article on Susan Sontag a little while back, its about lists, journal entires and the diaries she used to keep. I only just got around to reading it now.

I love this entry dated 12/3/61.

"The writer must be four people:

1) the nut, the obsédé
2) the moron
3) the stylist
4) the critic

1) suppies the material
2) lets it come out
3) is taste
4) is intelligence

a great writer has all 4 - but you can still be a good writer with only 1) and 2); they're the most important"

There is hope for us all

Jack Warner

The World Cup in Germany was awesome. Best holiday ever. The country was so well organised and it was a festival of football, much like a carnival - with everyone in t-shirt bands and full of good vibes. Trinidad and Tobago were everyone's second team so with my allegiance focussed on my mum's island of birth over my own, and the lager louts of England, who lets admit were pretty pants anyway, everyone we met wanted to talk about the twin islands in the sun. Anyways Jack Warner no doubt got many of us tickets, the vice-president of FIFA is from T&T, and im gratful for that, because as far i could tell we didnt pay over the face value and ended having a wonderful time. Only problem is there are lots of tickets out there which can be traced to him and they were sold at well over their face value. Couple that with other dodgy deals people implicate him in and his position and defence look a little precarious. JT has a good tounge in cheek run down of the latest events over at his blog. worth a read

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Venice Architecture Biennale

Feeling sleepy and lazy now but was interested in this article on the main show at the 10th International Architecture Biennale in Venice entitled City: Architecture and Society. The curator is a professor from LSE who have a cool program PhD program called The Cities Programme

GU makes some good points about both this particular exhibit and the biennale more specifically. I had a point to make too. But can't remember it now. maybe later...

"The importance of the exhibition, though, is that it raises questions that concern all of us, and makes it clear that intelligent architecture goes hand-in-hand with well-planned cities. It shows how such architecture does not need to be big and showy; it might be modest, yet highly effective.

The subtle reconstruction of the "barrios", or shantytowns, of Caracas is a good example. Here, urban settlements that have developed organically are being made over, or "retrofitted", with the clinics, schools and public spaces they have to date lacked. Here, architects are asked to work with the skill of surgeons to give healthy hearts to these poor, overpopulated places.

Such designs are unlikely to catch the eye of those in search of exciting new buildings, but they have a real and positive impact on the lives of those they are designed for."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Banksy does LA

Banksy rocks and he just went over to LA (well he might not have personally been there but his work was) and people are taken by his work and think its sooo cool, which it is, but its that odd moment when something smart, irreverent and subversive intersects with capitalism, the mainstream and cool. What will happen?

From GU
"On entering, visitors were presented with a flyer reading: 'There's an elephant in the room. There's a problem we never talk about. The fact is that life isn't getting any fairer. 1.7 billion people have no access to clean drinking water. 20 billion people live below the poverty line. Every day hundreds of people are made to physically be sick by morons at art shows telling them how bad the world is but never actually doing something about it. Anybody want a free glass of wine?'"

Oh by the way did i mention the elephant in the room was real in more ways than one? See that and some photos of the event here

Football Silly

A Brazilian referee faces suspension after awarding a goal scored by a ball boy to allow Santacruzense to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Sorocaba.


Watch it here

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Football can help

With their recent 5-yr deal to wear UNICEF's logo on their shirt Barca show other teams how the game should be played.

From Barcelona website: "for the first time in our more than 107 years of history, our main soccer team will wear an emblem on the front of its shirt. It will not be the brand name of a corporation. It will not be a commercial to promote some kind of business. It will be the logo of "UNICEF". Through UNICEF, we, the people of FC Barcelona, the people of "Barça", are very proud to donate our shirt to the children of the world who are our present, but especially they are our future."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Presence of mind

"How can we have what Walter Benjamin called 'presence of mind?' — attunement to our own discursive and material context (One Way Street:98–99). Lipsitz invokes this notion of Benjamin’s as follows: 'Whiteness is everywhere in American culture, but it is very hard to see. . . . As the unmarked category against which difference is constructed, whiteness never has to speak its name, never has to acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in social and cultural relations' (1995:369). Identification, analysis, and opposition to the destructive consequences of whiteness, Lipsitz argued, requires 'presence of mind' — the ability to notice key aspects of the present and how they portend the future, even when they are more latent than overt and obvious and when they are routinized rather than catastrophic."

From Cultural Critique in and of American Culture

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Visibly Absent

Tessa Alexander over at project galvanise in Trini.

In her own words: "my installation is based on the recent saturation of visual imagery and marketing extravagance by the mobile phone companies bMobile and Digicel in the Trinidad and Tobago market. Although this type of marketing is global and "progressive", it is the first time that such aggressive marketing and branding have been used in this country... The installation is not against technology, but rather aims to open up discussion about superficial marketing and the money used to create illusions of progress amid disempowerment, versus socially responsible marketing (which I feel is "visibly absent") that could actually bring about positive change and therefore real progress. "

What is deviance?

From Threatening Anthropology

“Steven Spitzer recognised that a social notion of deviance ‘emerges from and reflects the ongoing development of economic forces (of the infrastructure)’ and that superstructure functions to manage and regulate members of society, particularly “problem populations”. One of the strengths of Spitzer’s theory is that by focusing on general principles rather than specific acts, we can account for cross-cultural instances of deviance. Spitzer theorised that actions and beliefs supporting a society’s mode of production are construed as nondeviant, while those that threaten the development and free functioning of its economic sector become deviants. Thus, in an economy that is dominated by productive forces requiring intense focus in a demanding, high-stress environment, drugs (e.g., coffee, cigarettes) that help employees focus on the labour requirements of a demanding workplace will be selected for, as well as those (e.g., LSD, marijuana) that foster responses of hyperindividualism or apathy will be deemed deviant. Likewise, in a society based on intense ethnic, gender, economic, and racial segregation, individuals who advocate the abolition of such systems of stratification will also be seen as deviant.”

Race in America

Saw this over at savage minds.

Pot calling the kettle black

Tony Blair a man who it has been shown lied and exaggerated to take us into a war in Iraq says 'I have never known how mendacious he [Gordon] was, how full of mendacity.'

Looks like they are going to shaft Brown. Hope he retaliates and makes Tony stand down before the end of the year. This has got all the hallmarks of getting very messy.