Friday, March 30, 2007

Grand Theft Auto

interesting article about the boys behind grand theft auto and the billion dollar computer game industry

"That’s where Donovan and the Housers came in. The Londoners had attitude, style, and what Dan Houser later called a “culturally relevant, detail-obsessed approach” to game-making. They moved their core team to New York and assumed the name Rockstar Games. (The group of coders and designers in Scotland was eventually acquired by Take-Two and renamed Rockstar North.) The name hinted at their ambitions. “We admired record labels, obviously, and clothing companies, which were obsessed with details and with an integrity between design, product, and marketing,” Dan told the Design Museum of London in 2003. Rockstar wouldn’t just sell games — it would sell a lifestyle."

more\

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Amazing finale

"Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga became the first bowler to take four wickets in four balls in international cricket but it was all in vain as South Africa won.

Jacques Kallis's 86 saw South Africa to a last-gasp one-wicket win in the Super 8 match at the Cricket World Cup."

report

Absolute class

man skies down escalator on London underground.

The authorities want to charge him.

What will the charge be?



update: skier makes the guardian

"Arild is a legend in Norway's free ski subculture, a "crazy half-communist" who pursues thrills over fame or money, according to Spelmann. "He works four months a year then spends the rest of his time skiing. He really is an excellent skier and he's done this stuff many times. He's happy. He just does it."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The owl of minerva

"Philosophy never was the owl of Minerva that takes flight after history has been realized in order to celebrate its happy ending. Hegel was quite clear on the point in the Philosophy of Right:


"Only one word more concerning the desire to teach the world what it ought to be. For such a purpose philosophy at least always comes too late. Philosophy, as the thought of the world, does not appear until reality has completed its formative process, and made itself ready. History thus corroborates the teaching of the conception that only in the maturity of reality does the ideal appear as counterpart to the real, apprehends the real world in its substance, and shapes it into an intellectual kingdom. When philosophy paints its grey in grey, one form of life has become old, and by means of grey it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known. The owl of Minerva, takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering."


The ideal is within the real in a mature form of life. Philosophy reflects on a form of life grown old and it does so as a mode of historical knowing.

The shades of night are falling on modernity and philosophy reflects on the movement of the ideal and the real in this form to understand the world forming.That new world is what Hardt and Negri call Empire."

more here

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why do we fall in love: anthropologist names magic



her name is helen fisher from rutgers

Sunday morning blues

After A While
by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cool links

These websites deal in emotions, affects and feelings. They make embodiment digital in a way that stretches the mind.

Play and see yourself

lovelines: From Love to Hate, in Words and Pictures

we feel fine

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lloyd Best

I never knew Lloyd Best in the flesh, only ever had the pleasure of his ideas, which in themselves were gift enough. In the 'Western intellectual canon' its easy to pick out personal heroes, growing up in London, being schooled there and sharing the ideas of a tradition well and truly engrained in the British academy i never learnt about people such as Best and George John, people outside of this 'Western canon,' but people who forged there own equally great line of thought. It was later in my adult life while living in Trinidad when i noted all those Caribbean people i admired, my friends, collegues, family – all adored Best, all spoke with such passion about his ideas, his influence, about his vision of the Caribbean and Trinidad. A vision not just for today or the recent past but also about the possible futures, both good and bad to come. My mother and my aunt were liming partners of Best and can tell a story or three about the intellectual battles they had. My editors and creative influences worked and learned alongside him. i knew i wanted to interview him, or rather just have a conversation for my PhD topic, and i always knew the time was running out. Just this Christmas and the summer before it too i regretfully failed to make the time. In my dissertation work i try to speak using many voices, dialogism as it is called, and one strong booming voice in that plentude of voices - a voice that tells me about creating new political entities in Trinidad, about how to develop the cultural gift of pan, about the economic future, about Trinidad and its people and about so much more, is Lloyd Best. A man whose ideas give me and my work a Caribbean life and space to built from, but who in life i never had the pleasure to meet. Ideas though can live forever, and i guess that means the power of the person can too.

George Lamming on Best

"With the passing of Lloyd Best an irreplaceable light has been put out. Lloyd and I shared a friendship which survived the sharpest of disagreements, but each disagreement deepened my respect for his integrity.

For more than 40 years he put his formidable intellect in the service of one singular cause - independent thought and Caribbean freedom. there was no corner of this archipelago which escaped his political concern, and his politics was the name of an intellectual culture. Best fought to the very end to help us dismantle the imperial boundaries we inherited. We failed because we do not recognise the difference between politics and government; and dare not see our mimicking of a Westminster model as the greatest obstacle to genuine representation.

To find a language of our own creation that would define the Caribbean collective experience was the gospel he preached.''

trinidad express piece

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This is good for a laugh

not the most flattering lineup



try it out here

Monday, March 19, 2007

Control of information

"The Bush administration's interference in climate change science has revealed "flaws that have developed in the functioning of our democracy", according to a leading US climate scientist.

The stinging attack on the power of the White House to distort the issue of climate change will come today in testimony to the House of Representatives committee on oversight and government reform."

"The executive branch seems to be exercising greater control in the functioning of our government, in ways that our forefathers probably did not imagine and almost certainly would not approve. This includes White House control of testimony to Congress, White House control of information that scientists provide to the public ... and most decidedly through control of the purse strings."

more

West Indies through to super eights


Lara lookin good


match report here

Oh so that's what MDMA looks like



From an intelligent website on 'entheogenics' and documenting the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives

love you guys man

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Flash

Even more amazing

Ireland beat Pakistan! unthinkable. This cricket world cup is really going good, what with the West Indies winning their opener, England going down, Gibbs hitting six sixes of one over and now the minnows taking down the big guns. Who needs 20/20?



"There is the run and the scores are now level. Trent Johnston has hit a SIX! He has actually hit the ball out of the ground. Remember this: it is cricket history. Ireland have won."

match report here

Amazing!

Bangladesh just beat India





worldcup match report here

Oh dear...why do i take these quizzes?


You are The Devil


Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession


The Devil is often a great card for business success; hard work and ambition.


Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. This is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remember that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Proteophobia

"Proteophobia often describes the outsider as being in
opposition to rational, non-ambivalent characteristics:

All traits ascribed to the outsiders signify ambivalence. Dirt is, as we know, a thing out of place, something which ought to stay elsewhere, lest it should blur the dimensions which ground the order of things… Unreliability means erratic behaviour which defies probabilities and makes calculation based on the knowledge of rules useless. Laziness stands for defying universality of routine and, by proxy, the very determined nature of the world. A similar semantic load is carried by other most common elements of the outsiders’ stereotype: they are morally lax, sexually promiscuous, dishonest… overemotional and incapable of sober judgement – and altogether irregular and unpredictable… In other words, the outsiders are the gathering point for risks and fears which accompany cognitive spacing. (Bauman 1993: 162)"

more

borat

thoughtful and funny article on Sacha Baron Cohen from rolling stone magazine

"I think part of the movie shows the absurdity of holding any form of racial prejudice, whether it's hatred of African-Americans or of Jews," Baron Cohen says.

In actuality, it turns out that Borat is a far more damning critique of America than it is of Kazakhstan. The jokes that Baron Cohen mentions above -- and all the rest about beating gypsies, throwing Jews down wells, exporting pubic hair and making monkey porn -- are clearly parody. But the America that Borat discovers on his cross-country trek here -- rife with homophobia, xenophobia, racism, classism and anti-Semitism -- is all too real.

"Borat essentially works as a tool," Baron Cohen says. "By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it's anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism.

Throw the Jew Down the Well' [a song performed at a country & western bar during Da Ali G Show] was a very controversial sketch, and some members of the Jewish community thought that it was actually going to encourage anti-Semitism. But to me it revealed something about that bar in Tucson. And the question is: Did it reveal that they were anti-Semitic? Perhaps. But maybe it just revealed that they were indifferent to anti-Semitism.

"I remember, when I was in university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, 'The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.' I know it's not very funny being a comedian talking about the Holocaust, but I think it's an interesting idea that not everyone in Germany had to be a raving anti-Semite. They just had to be apathetic."

more

Goal!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Work

Cricket world cup starts

West Indies win!

"The West Indies shrugged off any early-tournament nerves with a convincing 54-run win over Pakistan in the opening match of the World Cup at Kingston in Jamaica, with a notable allround performance from Dwayne Smith.

It was an impressive win, not least for their ability to absorb the expectation of hosting their first World Cup. Furthermore, the total they were defending was by no means out of Pakistan's reach. Yet their bowlers - who admittedly are all much of a muchness - hunted in a pack and, unlike Pakistan's, never let the batsmen dismantle their confidence, or their lines."

more

watch the games over the internet here

Anthropologists and world domination

From the chronicle of higher education:

"American military and intelligence agencies have increasingly been turning to anthropologists and other social scientists for "cultural knowledge" about actual and potential adversaries. But many anthropologists are deeply anxious about offering such assistance, fearing, among other things, that their insights might be used simply to help torture and kill people more effectively...

all anthropologists might come under suspicion if some anthropologists were known to be employees of national-security agencies. All scholars doing fieldwork in certain countries might find it more difficult to develop relationships with people who provide cultural information, and they might all be at higher risk of being arrested for espionage."

more

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The consumerism of universities

From the blog posthegemony

"I'm reading Bill Readings's The University in Ruins (for which see also Dominick LaCapra's review, as well as Peter Cramer's).

Readings argues that the operative principle of the University is now "excellence," a concept that replaces the previous guiding concept of "culture," which itself succeeded the Kantian vision of "reason."

But the characteristic of the University of Excellence is that it lacks any concrete referent: "excellence has no concept to call its own" (24); "excellence is clearly a purely internal unit of value that effectively brackets all questions of reference or function" (27).

Whereas the University of Culture was tied to the nation state and to national culture as its object and the national subject as its product, the University of Excellence is contextless and its students merely "consumers" (53); the university's goal is now that "of producing a subject who is no longer tied to the nation-state, who can readily move to meet the demands of the global market" (49).

At the same time, therefore, ideology is replaced by administration: "the University is no longer primarily an ideological arm of the nation-state but an autonomous bureaucratic corporation" (40). Accounting becomes the sole measure of accountability: "the language in which global discussions are to be conducted is not that of cultural conflict but of economic management" (30).

more

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Birthday

“She discovered with great delight that one does not love one's children just because they are one's children but because of the friendship formed while raising them.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez eighty today

liverpool through to last eight

Liverpool beat Barca over two-legs

it was close



but the 2006 champions are on the way home



and arsenal can thank us for getting rid of them. Something the gooners should have done last season

Blurred identities

I love the cyborg. The cyborg is my friend. When I think about them I cannot work out their gender, their race, their class; I cannot place them within a quasi-secular frame of reference, a Freudian metanarative or a Marxist mode of production. Neither is God around to save us, and I say ‘us’ deliberately because the bible never saw a cyborg before. It never saw ‘us.’ Our unities will always be too monstrous and illegitimate for the gender, race, class and religious consciousness forced on us by “the terrible historical experience of…patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism.”

The cyborgs who came to play, laugh with me at the irony of boundaries that collapse, and I whisper at them that I too am one of them. With a phone on my ear, a computer attached to my fingertips and a car as my privatised space; with a white father and black mother, with two passports and four places to call home I realise I have always been one of them. Fixation and fiction with, and of concreteness, has always been alien to me. The idea persons are more separate, than coupled and connected in millions of seen and unseen ways to things beyond-human, has always been a fairy tale.

These cyborgs, my friends, my family, are “wary of holism, but needy for connection.” We understand that singular individuals don’t exist, their minds are not Cartesian brains laid out in rows of vats. Rather, embodiment, identity and desire are forever making and remaking themselves and us – reconfiguring the eternal impermanence and energy of the cyborg mode of being in the world. Wake up! Today you can be whatever you want. Fiction is calling. Recognise your connections that are too strange to accept.

The cyborg reminds me of another body I’ve know. Delueze and Guattari’s ‘Body without Organs’ (BwO), to me, is a vision of embodiment where the fixed, reliable and easily defined discourses of social inscription given to human body parts – eyes, limbs, brains, phallus etc. is overcome, and established knowledge on the body, and hence the positioning of the universal ‘subject’ as a defined and reified entity, challenged.

Whereas the cyborg comes to save us from this universal subject, the BwO was a time before the universal subject that we have had stolen. Both bodies understand there is far more than male, female, black, white, fat, beautiful etc. and that these social ‘facts,’ -– “seductions of organic wholeness” – only allow for either/or binaries and a dialectical opposition to the other that mostly reflects a dominant and non-dominant social position unable to grasp the full extent of everyday life and experience.

Like the cyborg the BwO was never against organs, but rather the organisation of organs into an organism. Both bodies are dissatisfied with anthropological research reliant on normative categories. It is not that subject positions, agency and domination do not exist but rather when considered fixed and as elements of a close system they become repressive. We become prisoners of our own bodies, jailed within a social reality that is a political construction designed to hinder new conceptual frameworks for being, new understandings of not only persons but people – that misleading collective and homogenising noun. The cyborg and the BwO conceive of a “discourse dissolving the ‘West’ and its highest product – the one who is not animal, barbarian, or woman; man, that is the author of a cosmos called history.”

But wait I’m forgetting to tell you where my friends the cyborg come from. Did we make them, are they our children, is theirs a visit from space? The cyborg has no mother, no creation/origin myth – it is not human. It needs no mode of production; it requires no Marxist formulation of labour or necessity. Like me they are the illegitimate offspring of essentialist culture. They were not produced by fixed social positions and heterosexual parents. They are the bastard children of “militarism and patriarchal capitalism”. They have no mother and deny the existence of a million fathers. Will that be enough to let them escape and live free or are they just another reconceptualisation of masculine knowledge? Is bestiality truly “a new status in this cycle of marriage exchange”?

To redefine nature and culture is at the least subversive and at the most radically fatal to this binary. The cyborg is here to destroy the ontological flowerbed “grounding Western epistemology”. They never liked organised gardens anyways. But what of the organisation of labour, the factories, the engineers who make our post-industrial world possible, what will the cyborg do to these gardeners of social reality?

If “labour is the pre-eminently privileged category enabling the Marxist to overcome illusion and find that point of view which is necessary for changing the world [then l]abour is the humanising activity that makes man; labour is an ontological category permitting the knowledge of a subject, and so the knowledge of subjugation and alienation.” As the cyborg jumps up and down on the organised flowerbeds of man’s garden they free those who owe their existence as woman and other to Marxist analytical strategies, to sexual appropriation. They listen to Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring-production. Cyborgs make the invisible visible and put in their hands the tools “to mark the world that marked them as other,” as hidden.

The cyborgs arrived here, now, to play a part in much “needed political work.” For as one of the first to greet them said, “another of my premises is that the need for unity of people trying to resist world-wide intensification of domination has never been more acute. [And] a slightly perverse shift of perspective might better enable us to contest for meanings, as well as for other forms of power and pleasure in technologically mediated societies.”

My experience of the cyborgs is that they will help to change the world. That new lines of kinship between humans and non-humans can emerge. That contradictory standpoints, fractured identities, can be broken but we must be careful, for in their million faceless fathers, the cyborg as slave, hides a daunting age – a grid of control on the planet about the final abstraction embodied in a Star Wars apocalypse waged in the name of defence, about the final appropriation of women’s bodies in a masculinist orgy of war.”

The cyborgs are my friends because I am optimistic. I am not scared of this orgy, The limits of identities are now visible, there is a language with which to discuss them, visions within which we can try to recast how we see ourselves, our worlds, our people. The maps of power and identity written on our bodies are redefined when you, like me, understand we our both cyborgs too. That these are our friends, and that the dualisms of social reality are someone else’s story, not the cyborg’s. I too would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.

quotes taken from Donna Haraway's now classic cyborg manifesto

White Trash

"What that says about modern Britain seems pretty straightforward. How else to understand it than as more evidence of our embrace of an increasingly American social model, in which there is opportunity for all - apart from the undeserving rump too feckless to seize it? In short, we've finally acquired our own equivalent of that dread term "white trash". As Lynsey Hanley's superb book Estates - superficially about council housing, but actually addressing much more - points out, at the bottom of the social ladder, class has been supplanted by caste, thanks to a con trick whereby successive governments have "hived off poorer working-class people from affluent society ... when, all the while, they have claimed that we are progressing inexorably towards a state of classlessness".

more

Friday, March 02, 2007