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Pictures From the International Space Station
02.09.2010
12:09 pm

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Check out this MSNBC photo slideshow of pictures of Earth taken from the International Space Station. Incredible.

(MSNBC: Pictures From Space)

(Space Station (IMAX)... Narrated by… Tom Cruise!?!)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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Pentagon Breeding Immortal Synthetic Organisms
02.09.2010
12:04 pm

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This report on Pentagon genetic engineering is rather, eh, eerie, wouldn’t you say? This is how Captain America was created, you know. And just about every comic book experiment-gone-wrong villain, too. Hell, the whole Weapon X program. Nothing tasteful can come of this!

The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. Darpa is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever — or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.

As part of its budget for the next year, Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”

Of course, Darpa’s got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work — so they’ll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create “tamper proof” cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, “similar to a serial number on a handgun.” And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry. In case Darpa’s plan somehow goes horribly awry, they’re also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch.

(Danger Room: Pentagon breeding supersoldier shits)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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Doctor Removes Live Cockroach From Man’s Ear
02.08.2010
08:53 am

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(via Arbroath)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Chatroulette: The New Facebook (NSFW)

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I read about the beta-launch of something called Chatroulette this morning on a German blog I frequent called Nerdcore and something tells me this thing is gonna be HUGE. As in huge, huge. Facebook huge.

First off, it’s super easy to use—hit the “start” button, and you’re off. The people you’ll meet are from all over the world and Chatroulette works in real time (like Skype) and there’s audio, too.

What makes this thing so exciting/addicting/cringeworthy all at the same time is easy to summarize: You never know WHO you’re going to get when you click that button. My friend and I tested it out today. Our first interaction was with a male in his mid-20s. He said he was from China. Fifth go around we got the Jonas Brothers. No shit, it was the real Jonas Brothers. “Are you guys the Jonas Brothers?” They said they were in New Jersey. It looked like they were in an airport.  There was a lot of starring and smiling going on. They asked if I was a fan of theirs. I said nothing. Awkward moment. Screen went black, we lost contact.

But seriously, there is lots of WEIRD shit going on here. Lonely guys jacking off in front of their computers, couples having sex and waving at you, monster mask pole dancing, obese women masturbating, lesbian orgies, guys eating pizza watching football, folks wearing clown masks, wholesome families waving at you, people smoking joints, teenagers yelling “show me your tits!’... it’s endless.  I was truly shocked by what I was seeing, but that’s not to say we weren’t laughing so hard we were crying for several hours.  Aside from teen pop star siblings—I mean, what are the chances?—we also encountered a hillbilly mom and her son who looked at us on her screen and murmured “They must be ‘hipsters.’ I’ve heard all about them” as well as a man… and his dog, let’s just say, and leave it at that…

This isn’t going to end well. Not at all.
 
UPDATE: I was punked! Chat Roulette With The Jonas Brothers
 
If you want to know more about Chatroulette, read The Human Shuffle: Is ChatRoulette the future of the Internet or its distant past?
 
Chatroulette (NSFW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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3-2-1 Contact: Synthesizers Are The Future
02.04.2010
04:45 pm

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Music
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Forget “Look Around You” (or don’t, ‘cuz it’s brilliant), this is the real thing: a couple of breathless and highly charming glimpses into the future of music circa late 70’s/ early 80’s featuring composer Suzanne Ciani. I have to say I’m quite smitten with Ciani’s stoney/ laconic/ hair twirling demeanor but not enough to dive into her discography of new age masterpieces. I have the feeling these fantastic clips are all I really need anyway.
 

 
Update: much better quality version of the 3-2-1 clip here (embed is disabled)

via Joseph Stewart’s Electronic Music Teacher blog. Thx Tara !

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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Augmented (Hyper)Reality
02.04.2010
09:03 am

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From Keiichi Matsuda:

The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.

A film produced for my final year Masters in Architecture, part of a larger project about the social and architectural consequences of new media and augmented reality.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Hubble Spots Spaceship?
02.03.2010
03:18 pm

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Apparently the Hubble telescope just spotted what appears to be a flying saucer. No kidding. Gizmodo reports:

Hubble has discovered a mysterious X-shaped object traveling at 11,000mph. NASA says that P/2010-A2 may be a comet, product of the collision between two asteroids. Or a Klingon Bird of Prey. Either way, UCLA investigator David Jewitt is excited:

“This is quite different from the smooth dust envelopes of normal comets. The filaments are made of dust and gravel, presumably recently thrown out of the nucleus. Some are swept back by radiation pressure from sunlight to create straight dust streaks. Embedded in the filaments are co-moving blobs of dust that likely originated from tiny unseen parent bodies.”

OK, David, we will believe you until Jerry Bruckheimer finish his next movie, in which a “comet” suddenly stops, turns to Earth, and starts firing anti-matter rays against our underpants.

The weirdest thing, however, is not only the prettyful X-shaped debris pattern, but the fact that its 460-foot-wide nucleus is outside the dust halo and separated from the trail. This behavior is something which has never been seen before in a comet or any other solar-system-swooshing object.

(Gizmodo: Hubble detects mysterious spaceship)

(Hubble: Imaging Space and Time)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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The Internet is Depressing
02.03.2010
10:51 am

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A UK-based study has found that Internet addiction, specifically replacing normal social functions with social networking, porn, and message boards, is linked to depression and addictive behaviors. Surprise. I woke up yesterday and realized we’d lost the better part of a decade to social media alone. Internets is a two-edged sword…

British psychologists have found evidence of a link between excessive internet use and depression, research published today has shown.

Leeds University researchers, writing in the Psychopathology journal (abstract here – subscription required for full pdf), said a small proportion of internet users were classed as internet addicts and that people in this group were more likely to be depressed than non-addicted users.

The article on the relationship between excessive internet use and depression, a questionnaire-based study of 1,319 young people and adults, used data compiled from respondents to links placed on UK-based social networking sites.

(Guardian: Excessive internet use linked to depression, research shows)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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Hidden Dimensions: Alien implants and conspiracy theories in Burbank
01.31.2010
06:20 pm

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Belief
Kooks
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Do space aliens “tag” us with implants the same way we microchip our beloved pets? Are we their pets?

The jury’s still out on that front, but if you are an Angeleno and suspect you’ve got an alien implant, then next weekend, at the Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, Dr. Roger Leir, M.D., a SoCal-based podiatrist, well-known to UFOlogists, George Noory fans and Fortean-types will be on hand to help.

Leir no longer feels the need to debate the existence of UFOs; it’s the implants he’s more concerned about, considering them proof positive of the alien reality. What Leir’s research wants to get to the bottom of is, what are their motives? What are their plans for us? And how the heck did those otherworldly implants get there in the first place?

Also appearing at the event is conspiracy theorist Jordan Maxwell, a fellow who describes himself as “a preeminent researcher and speaker in the fields of secret societies, occult philosophies, and UFOlogy since 1959.” Maxwell is scheduled to lecture about “The Hidden Dimensions in World Affairs.”

The tinfoil-hat brigade should be out in force at the event, which will be hosted by Noory himself. A lil’ zany? Perhaps, but something tells us that the people-watching will be very interesting.

The Hidden Dimensions in World Affairs event, Feb. 7, 2 to 9 p.m. (doors open at noon), Pickwick Gardens, 1001 Riverside Drive, Burbank. $50

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Worshipped As A Deity, Eight-Limbed Girl Starts School With Four
01.28.2010
01:16 pm

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Lakshmi Tatma

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Born with eight limbs and two torsos fused at the hips, Lakshmi Tatma was named after—and worshipped from birth as the reincarnation of—the Hindu goddess of wealth and fertility.  Now, two years after the ground-breaking operation which separated her from her parasitic twin, Lakshmi’s a happy four-year old and has just started school:

‘When I think of the way she was, never in a million years would Lakshmi have been able to go to school or have the life she does today,’ said her mother Poonam, 26.  ‘All the things she’s capable of now were impossible two years ago.  ‘I often try to think what she might be like today if she hadn’t had the operation—she couldn’t even sit up before and now she runs around like other children.

And while Lakshmi can now play cricket and hang out with friends, her doctors are just getting started.  Lakshmi still requires a number of operations, ranging from spine correction to the creation of buttocks, which, because she was connected in the womb to her “twin,” never managed to form.
 
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The Little Girl Who Had Eight Limbs And Was Worshipped As A Deity Starts School

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Discussion
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