When is the last time you watched the sky revolve around us?
Earth rotates on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour (1600 kilometers per hour). At the same time, it flies around the sun at 67,000 m/h (110,000 km/h). And the Sun, with all its planets and rocks and dust in tow, makes its way around the center of the Galaxy, our Milky…
The Seed Keepers
by Palestinian poet Fawaz Turki ( b.1940)
Burn our land
burn our dream
pour acid onto our songs
cover with sawdust
the blood of our massacred people
muffle with your technology
the screams of all that is free,
wild and indigenous.
our grass and soil
raze to the ground
every farm and every village
our ancestors had built,
every tree, every home
every book, every law
and all the equity and harmony.
Flatten with your bombs
every valley; erase with your edits
our literature; our metaphor.
Denude the forests
and the earth
till no insect,
can find a place to hide.
Do that and more.
I do not fear your tryanny
I do not despair ever
for I guard one seed
a little live seed
and I shall safeguard
and plant again.
We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave.
They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again.
Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.
”—~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.
From The Moth podcast, ‘Notes on an Exorcism’. (via jacobwren)
“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?”—Friedrich Nietzsche (via man-of-prose)
“I think our materialism is often totally disconnected from the idea that aesthetics are crucial to our abilitity to live humanely in the world. To be able to recognize and know beauty, to be able to be lifted up by it, to be able to choose the objects in your surroundings…I’ve always been interested in Buddhist room arrangment: how do we place something in our house so that we can be made more fully human by glancing at it, or by interacting with it? And there’s so little of that in our culture.”—bell hooks, Angry Women interview, Re/Search #13 (via organization)
“We are waiting here to see if we are meant to live or die. Every day is another day of fear and destruction. If you don’t die, someone you know is likely to be among the dead. This is no life a human being can accept.”—
A Palestinian commenting on conditions inside Gaza.
“So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”—Attachments, Rainbow Rowell (via stellablu)
“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”—Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek (via observando)
There has been quite a bit of chatter this past week after it was revealed that a recent Facebook outage was the result of a psychological experiment that the company conducted on a portion of its users without their permission. The experiment, which was described in a paper published by Facebook, and UCSF, tested the contagion of emotions on social media by manipulating the content of personal feeds and measuring how this impacted user behavior.
Over 600,000 users were used as guinea pigs without their consent, which raises a number of serious ethical and legal questions (particularly due to the fact that this study received federal funding), however there is an even more disturbing angle to this story. It turns out that this research was connected to a Department of Defense project called the Minerva Initiative, which funds universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world.
In the official credits for the study conducted by Facebook you’ll find Jeffrey T. Hancock from Cornell University. If you go to the Minerva initiative website you’ll find that Jeffery Hancock received funding from the Department of Defense for a study called "Cornell: Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes". If you go to the project site for that study you’ll find a visualization program that models the spread of beliefs and disease.
Cornell University is currently being funded for another DoD study right now called "Cornell: Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions" (you’ll find the description for this project on the Minerva Initiative’s funding page).
The Department of Defense’s investment in the mechanics of psychological contagion and Facebook’s assistance, have some very serious implications, particularly when placed in context with other scandals which have broken in the past two years.
The U.S. government hasn’t sought these capabilities for the sake of science. We know from the Cuban Twitter scandal, where the U.S. State Department where got caught red handed attempting to topple the Cuban government through social media, that these capabilities are already being used for offensive operations. Combine that with the fact that the U.S. Military got exposed in 2011 for developing ‘sock puppet’ software to create fake online identities and spread propaganda and an ominous picture snaps into focus.
The U.S. government is militarizing social media through a combination of technology and social sciences, and Facebook is helping them.
A bit conspiratorial, but it wouldn’t be a bit surprising to me if it is true.
You cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is a part of the present experience. When you see clearly that memory is a form of present experience, it will be obvious that trying to separate yourself from this experience is as impossible as trying to make your teeth bite themselves.
To understand this is to realize that life is entirely momentary, that there is neither permanence nor security, and that there is no “I” which can be protected.
“Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place—the picture of it—stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think if, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”—http://apoetreflects.tumblr.com/post/74142816571/some-things-you-forget-other-things-you-never-do
“Posthumanism has signified “human enhancement” for too long—whether through technologies of replacement or addendum or through newer, more pliant cultural understandings of human identity. A true posthumanism would neither extend humanity into a symbiotic, visionary future nor reject our place in the world via antihuman nihilism. Instead, as Bryant puts it, a posthumanist ontology is one in which “humans are no longer monarchs of being, but are instead among beings, entangled in beings, and implicated in other beings.””—Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. (via carvalhais)
Let me be blunt: Stock photography needs to die. In his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell argued that clichéd language produces clichéd thinking. Using a stale image, as he’d put it, “makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” Stock photography imprisons us in the same cognitive jail. Its intentionally bland images are designed to be usable in many vaguely defined situations. This produces wretched photography for the same reason Hallmark cards produce wretched poetry. We live in a visual world, communicating and thinking in pictures. When we use stock photos, we think in clichés.
The true cure for stock photography is inside your camera phone.
“I received a bogus copyright takedown notice for using public domain audio on SoundCloud yesterday. The sound in question—the famous “Houston, we have a problem” snippet of the Apollo 13 mission—is incontrovertibly available to all, for any use, without copyright restrictions. The fact that it’s been yanked from my SoundCloud page, though, is a sad demonstration of how completely many online services have swallowed the fallacy that “unauthorized” means “unacceptable.” It’s a dangerous myth, that we should all need permission any time we’re getting value out of a piece of culture. And it’s one that gets entrenched deeper each time we accept the idea that we’re able to make use of a work because a copyright owner is or would be OK with it, and not just because we have a basic right to participate in culture that is more fundamental than anybody else’s desire to maximize profits.”—Houston, We Have A Public Domain Problem — Medium (via notational)
“That system of the world was invented. It’s not really natural. To imagine that capitalism is not subject to deconstruction, reinvention or critique in maximum happy imagination seems a little silly. If disruption is your mantra – why not go all the way?”—Matt Jones in “Maximum Happy Imagination,” commenting on Marc Andreessen’s posts about abundance. (via blech)
… the overriding emotion in [Leiter’s] work is a stillness, tenderness, and grace that is at odds with the mad rush of New York street life. “In No Great Hurry,” the understated film made abo …
“…this is a discourse that inverts the values, the equilibrium, and the traditional polarities of intelligibility, and which posits, demands, an explanation from below. But in this explanation, the “below” is not necessarily what is clearest and simplest. Explaining things from below also means explaining them in terms of what is most confused, most obscure, most disorderly and most subject of chance, because what is being put forward as a principle for the interpretation of society and its visible order is the confusion of violence, passions, hatreds, rages, resentments, and bitterness; and it is the obscurity of contingencies and all the minor incidents that bring about defeats and ensure victories. This discourse is essentially asking the elliptical god of battles to explain the long days of order, labor, peace, and justice. Fury is being asked to explain calm and order. ”—Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, pg.54 (via absurdhowl)