Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007


"A former public schoolboy who masterminded a £3m plot to smuggle wooden doors impregnated with liquid cocaine into Britain was jailed yesterday for 18 years. Paul Sneath, 24, of Guildford, Surrey, came up with a "unique" plot using sheets of plywood, liquid cocaine, industrial solvent, and cheese graters.

In 2005, after inheriting £250,000, the Bristol University dropout travelled to Panama where he arranged for plywood to be soaked in liquid cocaine and sealed inside doors elaborately patterned with parrots. The doors were then shipped from Panama to his family home, where his unknowing mother signed for them and paid £798 for the shipping costs.

Sneath then transferred the doors to a lock-up in Dalston, east London, where members of a Colombian gang removed the plywood, shaved it with cheese graters and mixed the shavings with heated solvent. Police caught the gang red-handed before they had a chance to dry the precipitate and chop it into powder. The doors were found to have been impregnated with 17.3kg of pure cocaine, with a street value in excess of £3.2m.

Sneath, who had no previous criminal record, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine at Inner London crown court."


Friday, February 23, 2007

Torture in the US

"Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to "break" prisoners are finally being put on trial. This was not supposed to happen. The Bush administration's plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla's lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government.

Arrested in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare airport, Padilla, a Brooklyn-born former gang member, was classified as an "enemy combatant" and taken to a navy prison in Charleston, South Carolina. He was kept in a cell 9ft by 7ft, with no natural light, no clock and no calendar. Whenever Padilla left the cell, he was shackled and suited in heavy goggles and headphones. Padilla was kept under these conditions for 1,307 days. He was forbidden contact with anyone but his interrogators, who punctured the extreme sensory deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and pounding sounds. Padilla also says he was injected with a "truth serum", a substance his lawyers believe was LSD or PCP."


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cricket at its best

Ambrose destroys England in 1994. Truly great cricket.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Liverpool beat Barca

Lovin the swing

Second leg still to come

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Teaching the machine

“I was trying to explain this stuff in the traditional paper format, and I thought, ‘This is ironic,’ I can illustrate this much better in a video.”

michael wesch, assistant professor of cultural anthropology and digital ethnographer

Sunday, February 18, 2007

William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower:
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

CLR James on Kanhai

"Cricket is an art, a means of national expression. Voltaire says that no one is so boring as the man who insists on saying everything. I have said enough. But I believe I owe it to the many who did not see the Edgbaston innings to say what I thought it showed of the directions that, once freed, the West Indies might take. The West Indies in my view embody more sharply than elsewhere Nietzche’s conflict between the ebullience of Dionysus and the discipline of Apollo. Kanhai’s going crazy might seem to be Dionysus in us breaking loose. It was absent from Edgbaston. Instead the phrases which go nearest to expressing what I saw and have reflected upon are those of Lytton Strachey on French Literature: ‘(the) mingled distinction, gaiety and grace which is one of the unique products of the mature poetical genius of France.’

Distinction, gaiety, grace. Virtues of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, city-states, islands, the sea, and the sun. Long before Edgbaston I had been thinking that way. Maybe I saw only what I was looking for. Maybe."


Let the party begin

"Amid a delightful cacophony of Caribbean sounds symbolising national rejoicing, the new Kensington Oval was officially unveiled yesterday. It also marked the unofficial opening of the ninth World Cup. The official ceremony is at Sabina Park, Kingston, on 11 March, but there was the definite whiff of a march being stolen. The 2007 Kensington Oval is a tremendous arena, fit for a World Cup final, which it will stage late in April. Yesterday, it was perfectly content with a festival match between a West Indies Legends XI and a Rest of the World XI. It was a treat. The statue of Sir Garfield Sobers outside the ground, unveiled by the great man himself, said it all."

cricket world cup

Super what?

Friday, February 16, 2007


"The first man who, having enclosed a piece of land, thought of saying 'This is mine' and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders; how much misery and horror the human race would have been spared if someone had pulled up the stakes and filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: 'Beware of listening to this imposter. Youare lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to everyone and that the earth itself belongs to no one!"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chagon, Tierney, Neel and the Yanomani

This is most balanced article i've read on the 'Darkness in El Dorado' issues that haunt anthropology.

"Anthropologists cannot simply be observers, as traditional scientific objectivity requires, but must actively take sides in any political struggle involving the peoples they are studying. And in such a struggle the norms of scientific objectivity become subordinate to the political aims."


Thursday, February 08, 2007


"A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act.

The research breaks controversial new ground in scientists' ability to probe people's minds and eavesdrop on their thoughts, and raises serious ethical issues over how brain-reading technology may be used in the future.

The team used high-resolution brain scans to identify patterns of activity before translating them into meaningful thoughts, revealing what a person planned to do in the near future. It is the first time scientists have succeeded in reading intentions in this way.

"Using the scanner, we could look around the brain for this information and read out something that from the outside there's no way you could possibly tell is in there. It's like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall," said John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who led the study with colleagues at University College London and Oxford University."


This chair is no ordinary chair

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Oh no you didn't

"The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.

Details of the shipments have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction. Its chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the war, said the way the cash had been handled was mind-boggling. "The numbers are so large that it doesn't seem possible that they're true. Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?"


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Jeff Jarvis from CUNY

"The revolution will not be televised. It will be YouTubed."


Saturday, February 03, 2007


From GU

"Anyone ready for a vegetable Spinoza?

In the West, the clash of civilisations is not between Islam and Christianity, but two other powerful faiths: environmentalism and materialism. Observe the reverence of worshippers at a Ferrari showroom and a farmers' market. A Testarossa or an organic carrot? Both are so eulogised by these rival flocks they could be the Second Coming. 'Greed is good' proved a slogan too powerful for that lesser faith, socialism. Now materialism faces a fresh challenge from a creed with a new motto: 'Green is good'.

Environmentalism is a faith, its converts as fervent as those flocking to Islam. The West might have shaken off God, but not the desire to revere: the planet. Don't believe me? Read Baruch Spinoza. He lived in 17th-century Amsterdam, but is rapidly becoming philosopher a la mode. He even dabbled in kabbalah: how modish is that?

He believed the world is God. So to pray is to worship every hill and valley, every raindrop and sunray, every man and animal - and every law connecting them. It was known as pantheism, but could be called environmentalism. Without Spinoza, would we ever have heard of James Lovelock and Gaia?

Since Descartes, humanity has felt itself separate from a dead, physical world that is ours to play with. Spinoza, by contrast, says we are part of the same, sacred earth. What makes us special? According to Spinoza, nowt. Which is very green. Unlike Prince Charles, Spinoza was a frugal ecologist.

What we call greed, Spinoza called 'human bondage'. He distrusted desire and progress. But he was a democrat who wanted the clergy out of politics. Many greens will also identify with his years of ostracism: aged 23, he was excommunicated by his synagogue for 'abominable heresies'. His great works were published after his death, found hidden in his desk. He is interesting as more than an historical curiosity, however.

He wrote: 'Like waves on the sea, driven by contrary winds, we toss about, not knowing our fate.' A pretty good take on life with rising sea levels. He also felt nature is determined to 'produce an effect in a certain way'. If only Bush had read that before commissioning dodgy reports suggesting climate change is mere chance.

But Spinoza would also ask tough questions of greens: is yours a faith in the planet or merely a lifestyle choice?

So will Spinoza triumph? Capitalism always adapts, hence all the products pushed as 'green'. Spinoza would choose the carrot over the Ferrari. Will we?"

changing sides

Fukuyama says. "When I wrote The End of History, I did not anticipate the degree to which mistakes on the part of American leaders, in their own stewardship of American power, could create such problems and undermine the legitimacy of the broader project. I don't think these are mistakes we'll never recover from ... but there's no question that because of decisions in Washington, the situation has become much worse than it would have been."


Friday, February 02, 2007

Hair news

i think this is how you take back power from the media coporations. set your own agenda

Thursday, February 01, 2007