tom moody

Archive for the ‘around the web’ Category

him bomb good

Some choice bits from Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo on our deranged commentary class (edited slightly for the post-Snowden landscape):

[T]he minute [Trump] starts bombing foreigners he’s suddenly not so bad after all. Over at the Washington Post, David Ignatius ... says he’s “becoming a credible foreign policy leader.” Ruth Marcus opines that we’re witnessing “the normalization of Donald Trump.” Finally, she enthuses, “rationality is dawning” on the forty-fifth President! Among the liberal elite, the hosannas were well nigh universal.

And

Fareed Zakaria’s joy over the bombing seemed to indicate that, for him, it was practically an erotic experience. And this weird bloodlust wasn’t limited to the liberal precincts of the commentariat – far from it. When we dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan, Kimberly Guilfoyle practically had an orgasm over at Fox News. Sitting there in her low cut red dress, her breasts heaving with passion, her lips parted, and an ecstatic smile plastered on her heavily made-up face, she hailed the bombing as if it were the climax – so to speak – of a pornographic movie: “America is back!” Oh, yeeeesssss!!!!

Just to keep some balance here, Fareed Zakaria's breasts were also heaving.

- tom moody

April 19th, 2017 at 10:05 am

Posted in around the web

around the web

Ex-Billmon commenter-turned-blogger "b." at Moon of Alabama offers detailed, generally plausible counter-narratives to the media's insidious fictions of the moment. One such popular trope is "North Koreans are so cra-a-a-azy." Perhaps, b. suggests, the threat of imminent invasion from the South, egged on by you-know-who (us), forces the North to commit so much labor to the military that they are starving for lack of farm hands. Having a credible nuclear deterrent allows them to build their civilian economy, in particular, food production. That's not so crazy.

Clintonite crazies (speaking of crazies) have been huffing and HuffPo-ing about Steve Bannon as the next Goebbels, pumping this Breitbart amateur up to superpowered levels of Machiavellian skill. Ian Welsh suggests some of Bannon's nativist schtick wasn't such a bad thing, and with him out, the neocons and neolibs are rushing in: "He was the guy, along with Trump on the campaign trail, who wanted the Muslim ban, aye. But he also favored rewriting trade deals, hitting China on manufacturing (it is true that China no longer keeps its currency low, but they did for ages and gutted US manufacturing), bringing those jobs back to America, improving relations with Russia, and, oh yeah, not getting involved in stupid Middle Eastern wars other than fighting ISIS."

Benjamin Studebaker has a Political Strategy for a Better Europe that sounds wrong to me: "In this way we can partner the integrationist and protectionist lefts together -- by pairing a genuine threat of exit in the periphery with a strong push for federalism in the core, we can split the neoliberals off from the right nationalists in the core countries and force them into making concessions. What the left needs is a good cop, bad cop routine, where the British, French, Dutch, and German leftists are the good cops and the Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese leftists are the bad cops." You'll have to read the whole post to make sense of that excerpt but surely he has this backward: his "bad cops" have everything to lose by acting up; it's leftists in the fat and sassy countries who should be causing trouble (and making alliances with nativists, even) to thwart the globalist leeches.

- tom moody

April 18th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Posted in around the web

livejournal update

Science fiction author Charles Stross has a private Livejournal site he uses for testing fiction -- or did:

I started out on Livejournal because, back in the day, it inherited a bunch of folks from SFFNet when SFFNet curled up and sort-of died; SFFNet in turn inherited the users of the Delphi SF forum from bulletin board days. It's all about the people, as usual, and Livejournal for many years was a social network hub for SF/F fans and authors. But Livejournal gradually lost out to Facebook in the anglophone world, just like MySpace. Unlike MySpace, LJ survived by becoming the social network of choice in Russia: a few years ago LJ was sold to a Russian company, and has gradually become a 90% Russophone social site with a weird bag of western SF fans still lurking in the moldering wreckage of what was once a thriving social networking system. There were periodic upsets because any major Russian political event would seemingly draw distributed denial of service attacks; a lot of people left, either decamping to Facebook, or to smaller specialized social hubs—the founders of Livejournal released their software under an open source license, and some folks are successfully running small-scale LJ servers with their own distinct communities.

I probably stuck with LJ for too long, because back in the day I paid for a perpetual premium account—unlimited access and no ads: the urge to get one's money's worth out of something you've paid for is hard to resist. But the rot has finally gone too far. This Tuesday Livejournal pushed out a revision to their terms of service that emphasize the service runs under Russian law, and specifically requires compliance with Russian law on minors -- which makes any discussion of "sexual deviancy" (aka LGBT issues) illegal or at least a violation of the ToS.

So I'm currently migrating my entire Livejournal presence to Dreamwidth, a service set up by some of LJ's original founders that focuses on providing a Livejournal-like set of services for creative types (and, significantly, is not subject to Russian law because it's not based in Russia).

Curious what effect this "Russian law" will have on Thomas Disch's LJ (still extant since he died but in memorial status). Possibly Stross is being alarmist and just looking for a reason to bail -- I haven't done any research to confirm his legal interpretation.

- tom moody

April 7th, 2017 at 7:41 am

chicken little for real

When lab-grown meat was first announced a few years ago, science fiction fan Paul Krugman (whose economic theories in support of the Clintons have also been called science fictional) mentioned the "Chicken Little" episode in Pohl & Kornbluth's book The Space Merchants. That was P&K's name for a monstrous mound of non-sentient chicken flesh, filling a small underground cavern, flensed off in strips to feed the populace. The meat Krugman was comparing to it was pork, or perhaps nu-pork, but last week the feat was achieved in San Francisco startup-land with actual chicken, or nu-chicken. (hat tip m.po)

Since the source is Business Insider they don't call it Frankenfood, but rather a form of venture-capital-funded disruption. If brainless meat ever becomes economical, the idea is, its various purveyors will do to chicken farmers what Uber does to cab drivers. Or, as BI puts it:

They're all hoping to disrupt America's $200 billion meat industry (and $48 billion poultry industry), by offering foods that mimic meat but are more environmentally friendly.

The details are pretty disgusting, even if you aren't excited by a food that is "eerily similar" to real meat (BI's telling phrase):

...lab-grown meat still requires fetal serum, which comes from unborn calves and chicks, to start the cultivation process. Memphis Meats told The Wall Street Journal in 2016 that it expects to replace the serum with something plant-based soon.

Right, sure. It's the nu-ethics: Disrupting baby cows is bad, disrupting family farmers is OK.

- tom moody

March 22nd, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Posted in around the web

around the web

In praise of cash (Brett Scott, Aeon) reminds us of the not-so-wholesome political agendas behind a "cashless society."

Amazon warehouse workers describe the future of non-elite work in the 21st century (Outis Philalithopoulos, Naked Capitalism -- part 1 / part 2). Read before clicking "add to cart." This is techno-dystopia and it's not a fiction series from Amazon streaming video.

- tom moody

March 16th, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Posted in around the web

around the web

The Story of ORCH5 (via Cosmic) How an orchestral stab from The Firebird Suite became a hiphop staple. Thoughtful tracing of cultural currents even if you don't buy the thesis of a "fundamental epistemological crisis that besets Western music." Was intrigued to learn about the role of White Noise's David Vorhaus (he digitized the sample in the late '70s) and the happy accident of a pricy Fairlight synth (which contained ORCH5) being in the studio when Arthur Baker and Afrika Bambaataa went in to record "Planet Rock."

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) notes that the Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours. That's the same Jeff Bezos-owned news entity that's currently peddling Russian conspiracy garbage. (hat tip Lambert)

"Love Me, I'm a Liberal" [YouTube] (hat tip Lambert again). Phil Ochs song from the '60s beguilingly anticipates Hillary Clinton partisans and their bizarre infatuation with spy agencies.

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

- tom moody

February 23rd, 2017 at 4:06 am

around the web

Three "long-form" posts that give you something to mull over:

Netherlands-based cyber-thinker Geert Lovink considers the state of theory after the Sn0wd3n m0m3nt. (Caution: arty not-safe-for-work photo from e-flux also graces the page.) This essay from April 2014 makes a nice (though more opaque) bookend to the talk by cybersecurity expert Dan Geer about opting-out. Lovink isn't saying we should opt out, precisely, but acknowledges a "God is dead" situation for new media types: after the years of accelerated transparency and sharing that were going to change everything we suddenly realized we had compiled a dossier on ourselves. So, now what?

Matt Stoller's piece on the censored 28 pages in the government's 9/11 report that possibly tell us about the involvement of U.S. "allies" in the attacks. If this information had been known years of pointless violence might have been avoided, etc. Stoller posted this on Medium, another startup content-suck.

Richard Prince reminisces about his days hanging out with Jeff Koons in late-'70s NYC. The item is dated 9/17/2014 and can currently be found at the top on this large wad of non-permalinked writing on Prince's personal website. Prince makes a good case for Koons' art, woven into a rambling autobiography. (hat tip sdb)

- tom moody

September 22nd, 2014 at 7:06 am

Posted in around the web, theory