Weblog Archives




  Saturday   May 4   2002

Pentagon Rats

"(The) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals deplored the experiments as well as the possible use of remote-controlled rats." — Associated Press, May 4, 2002


Under withering fire from animal rights activists, who blasted the Pentagon's plan to fit live rats with electrodes so they could be steered toward hidden bombs or disaster victims, the U.S. Defense Department today promised that actual rats will not be used.

Instead, said Pentagon spokesman Art Kekich, the military will use baby chicks surgically altered to look like rats.

More to follow...

[read more]

 02:25 AM - link

The Past is for Sale

Live Auction Catalogs
Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

Jerry playing Tiger

A bunch of Jerry's stuff that you can own! Tiger is expected to fetch upwards of half a million. A lot of paintings and prints. You can even bid on one of Jerry's T-shirts for $2,000 to $4,000. I wonder if it's been washed? Maybe it would be worth more if it hasn't?

I think seeing Tiger go bothers me the most. Paul Allen — are you paying attention? This belongs in your EMP

 02:20 AM - link


Window of Ignorance

The latest budget news is worse than even the most dour pessimists had thought possible. But the unfolding fiscal disaster hasn't yet penetrated the public's consciousness — and the administration is trying to exploit that window of ignorance.

In fiscal 2000 the federal budget was in surplus by $236 billion. This year's deficit will be more than $100 billion, possibly more than $150 billion. Only the Treasury Department knows exactly how much money is coming in, but the renewed push to raise the debt limit, which will allow the government to borrow more money, suggests that the news is grim indeed. A year ago Treasury officials said they could stay within the current debt limit until 2008; in April they said they could make it into June; now they say they'll hit the wall in a couple of weeks.

And it's not a temporary shortfall. One insider told me to watch the plans for next week's auction of federal bonds: "If Treasury auctions five-year rather than one-year bonds, that could tip their hand that we have a chronic, long-term problem." Sure enough, most of the bonds auctioned next week will be five-year.
[read more]

thanks to Cursor

 01:41 AM - link

Graphic Arts

The City
by Frans Masereel

"First published in Germany in 1925 The City is a portrait of urban Europe between the wars, told in one hundred woodcuts of exceptional force and beauty. Frans Masereel portrays parks and factories, shipyards and brothels, crowds, lovers, and lonely individuals with remarkable subtlety and nuance while exploiting the stark contrast of the woodcut medium.
[read more]

thanks to andrew abb at American Samizdat

 01:38 AM - link


No Exit

For all his destructiveness, Ariel Sharon has been losing his war but Yasser Arafat is not winning his either. The increasingly aggressive rhetoric of both men—notwithstanding Arafat's intermittent condemnations of violence— suggests that they must be aware of this. From his first day in office, Sharon's strategy has been to scuttle the Oslo agreement and confine Palestinian autonomy to a few isolated enclaves—surrounded by armed Israeli encampments—on about 50 (some say 30) percent of the occupied West Bank, or perhaps only in the Gaza Strip. Both sides have explicitly withdrawn the possible concessions they discussed at Taba in Egypt in January 2001 on borders, refugees, and Jerusalem; such concessions had in any case been strictly "informal" and subject to further approval, which became impossible after Sharon took office.

Arafat insists once again that Israel must withdraw to the 1967 lines and recognize the refugees' right of return. In February and March his endgame seemed even more ambitious. He may have seriously believed that Israeli morale and national unity could be broken by a combination of terror and international pressure. Watching Israeli television in March, I heard Arafat calling in Arabic for "a thousand shahids, a thousand shahids [martyrs]"—the Arabic word for suicide bombers. He and Sharon continue to exclude each other as legitimate interlocutors. The past eighteen months have shown that despite Israel's overwhelming military superiority, neither side has been able to dictate the terms of a final settlement or even a temporary arrangement during which further negotiations could take place.

For the first time since 1967, the suicide bombers have established something close to a balance of terror between the two sides. It is not a steady balance of terror maintained by two stable, responsible, and cautious powers. The growing number of shahids suggests that the Palestinian war of independence is being, so to speak, "privatized." The result is a morbid derangement of power that promises only more bloodshed and horror. Israel is no longer facing two or three terroristic organizations which can be fought and perhaps subdued. This is a new, diffuse enemy, a widespread mood among Palestinians that is harder to combat, perhaps nearly an entire people aroused, enraged, and embittered as never before.
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Before There Was Terrorism

This difference in perceptions of the essential morality-the "worthiness"-of those on each side is and has always been fundamental to how policy is made in this country. Marc Ellis, a Jewish-American political scholar and professor at Baylor University, recently put it this way: speaking of progressives in Israel and in the American Jewish community who always used to be open to the Palestinian perspective but distanced themselves from the Palestinians after the peace process collapsed, he says that the underlying assumption of virtually all of these progressives, when push comes to shove, is that Palestinians are not quite equal to Israelis. "Any political empowerment of Palestinians must be limited and monitored by Israel," he said- because, ultimately, "Palestinian history and destiny are secondary to Jewish history and destiny."

This has always been, and remains, the fundamental assumption, and the fundamental inequity, of all U.S. administrations and of all U.S. peacemaking efforts. And ultimately, these perceptions and the misguided policy that has resulted from them have caused the perpetuation of the conflict-the decades-long perpetuation of a conflict that could have been resolved years ago.
[read more]

thanks to Cursor

 01:30 AM - link


Scroll down and you'll see why I like my medium format Mamiya. It's negative (6 x 9) is almost 30% larger than the 6 x 7.

Canon EOS D60 vs. Medium Format


 01:17 AM - link

War Against Some Terrorists

Seymour Says

"We have an attorney general that is, I don't know, how would you describe him, demented? We have an attorney general who doesn't seem to understand the law. He's talking about John Walker Lindh, a young boy. John Walker Lindh has made a confession that hasn't been made public. And [Ashcroft] is using parts of the confession to attack him, in public, and that's against every code of every U.S. attorney; it's one of the first things in the rule book. You can't take material that's privileged and use it publicly against anybody.
[read more]

thanks to Cursor

 01:06 AM - link

  Friday   May 3   2002

Atomic Secrets

Promise of Hidden Surprises Has Propelled Fission Research for Decades

A Princeton physicist recently split an atom of hydrogen and found a toy prize inside, the journal Science reported in its June issue.

"It was just a cheap plastic clicker you use to make cricket sounds, and it broke, like, the second time I used it, but it was the surprise I found most satisfying," said Prof. Harold Lumiere of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Science noted that it was the first prize found inside an atom since Allison Wyatt of Cambridge University discovered a magic puzzle toy in a lithium atom in February. For Lumiere, it was the first time in his 15- year, atom-splitting career that he has come across anything more than the normal protons, gluons, and quarks.

"I know that over at MIT, Hendricks has amassed an entire collection of little gewgaws — spinning tops, decoder rings, stickers," he said. "He is so lucky. I hate him."
[read more]

In this colorized photo,
physicist Enrico Fermi brags
about the plastic whistle he
found after splitting open a
uranium atom.

 11:31 AM - link

Bush and Jesus

Fire and Brimstone
A letter from a Pastor to the President

Dear President Bush,

When you were running for office, you stated that Jesus Christ was your favorite philosopher. You have made a point of proclaiming your Christian faith. You have put time and energy in an attempt to link the church's mission with state social security. You have, particularly since September 11, continually preached GOD BLESS AMERICA on almost every public occasion.

As a Pastor and fellow United Methodist, I need to ask you: Do you know what the values and vision of Jesus are?
[read more]

thanks to SmirkingChimp.com

 11:25 AM - link


Virtually Rebuilt, a Ruin Yields Secrets

Everyone knows that the Roman Colosseum is an architectural marvel. Built so that thousands of people could be ushered in and out in minutes, it is a testament to the genius of Roman engineering. Or is it?

By reconstructing the building with three- dimensional computer modeling and then virtually "walking through" it, researchers have discovered that in some sections the building may have had all the efficiency of a railroad-style apartment on the Bowery. The model reveals dark, narrow upper hallways that probably hemmed in spectators, slowing their movement to a crawl.

Such three-dimensional modeling is turning some of archaeology's once-established truths on their heads. Because 3-D software can take into account the building materials and the laws of physics, it enables scholars to address construction techniques in ways sometimes overlooked when they are working with two- dimensional drawings.
[read more]


Cultural VR Lab

3D models of cultural sites bring the past to life for today’s students and tourists. The models can run on personal computers, be put on the World Wide Web, or be used as interactive illustrations on videos, DVDs or CD-ROMs. They can be used as "virtual sets" in film or television productions recreating a past event, providing a guided tour of a place that no longer exists, or creating the backdrop for plays or other works of fiction. Models can also be viewed in realtime in CAVEs and reality theaters such as UCLA’s new Visualization Portal.
[read more]

 11:21 AM - link


These are the last two pieces in...

The Politics of Verticality
by Eyal Weizman


A bewildering network of bypass roads weave over and under one another, attempting to separate the Israeli and Palestinian communities. And the future could be wilder – a 48-kilometre viaduct between Gaza and the West Bank.

The Israeli settlements in the West Bank are dormitory suburbs, reliant on roads connecting them with the urban centres of Israel proper. So-called ‘bypass’ roads were a feature of the Oslo accord. The Israeli government was allowed (with specially allocated American money) to construct a network of fast, wide security roads that bypass Arab towns and connect the settlements to Israel.

The bypass roads, some still in the process of paving, would become a massive system of twenty-nine highways spanning four hundred and fifty kilometres. They allow four hundred thousand Jews living in land occupied in 1967 to have freedom of movement. About three million Palestinians are left locked into isolated enclaves.
[read more]


Now and in the final settlement proposals, Israel holds control of the airspace over the West Bank. It uses its domination of the airspace and electromagnetic spectrum to drop a net of surveillance and pinpoint executions over the territory.

Airspace is a discrete dimension absent from political maps. But it is a space of utmost importance – cluttered with civilian and military airways, allowing a vantage observational point on the terrain under it, denying that position to others.

Complete control over the West Bank’s airspace is currently exercised by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). In Camp David, Israel agreed to the concept of a Palestinian state, but demanded sovereignty over the airspace above it in the context of a final resolution.
[read more]

Sharon's vision of a Palestinian "State" leaves Israel with complete control of the water under the Palestinians, the air over the Palestinians, and enough of the surface to split the Palestinians into Bantustans under Israeli control. Does anyone think the Palestinians will stand for that? Does anyone think the Israelis will stop until all the Palestinians are gone?


WWIII is coming, 'I'm sure,' high-level Sharon aide says

The terror attacks on Sept. 11 and extreme turmoil in the Middle East point to one thing - World War III, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Friday during a visit to Tucson.

"We've been fighting a war for the past 18 months, which is the harbinger of World War III. The world is going to fight, whether they like it or not. I'm sure,'' Ra'anan Gissin, a senior adviser to Sharon, said in an interview Friday.
[read more]

thanks to This Modern World

They're fucking crazy.


Richard Armey Supports Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

Mathews went on to ask Armey if he supported the idea of a Palestinian State besides Israel. Armey's initial evasive response was that he was 'content' to have a Palestinian State 'near Israel.' So Mathews pressed the point and asked him bluntly "Where are you going to put the Palestinian State? in Norway?". Armey's response was that the Arab states have hundreds of thousands of acres of "land and soil and property" and went on to state that Israel should "occupy and hold the land it has at this moment." In affirmation of views earlier expressed by Rep. Delray, another Republican Texan power player, he allowed that he was "content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank." Sharon has deliberately sabotaged the Oslo accords to annex half the West Bank, but Armey has a more vicious design. Complete annexation and full expulsion. A 'final solution' for the Palestinians, courtesy of the House.
[read more]

thanks to al jensen at American Samizdat


Background / Sharon faces a home-front war over Palestine card


Israelis Held Hostage By Settlements


Who's Anti-Semitic?


Noam Chomsky: US-Israel-Palestine

thanks to Red Rock Eater Digest

 02:29 AM - link


Red Handed

The latest in what has become a steady stream of bad budgetary news arrived last Friday, when newspapers reported that this year's deficit is estimated to be about $100 billion--twice as large as previous forecasts had suggested. President George W. Bush immediately offered a multilayered defense packed with jaw-dropping mendacity. First came denial. "Of course, it's all speculative to begin with," he told reporters. "I don't know the models that they guessed [sic], but it's guesswork thus far." (Actually, this year's revenue forecast, which is based on tax returns that have already come in, is fairly reliable. What's unreliable are the ten-year budget forecasts, which Bush was only too happy to treat as money in the bank while selling his tax cut last year.) Next Bush offered up what has in recent months become his all-purpose escape clause: "I want to remind you what I told the American people, that if I'm the president--when I was campaigning, if I were to become the president, we would have deficits only in the case of war, a recession, or a national emergency." Bush, somewhat morbidly, plays this line for laughs in his speeches, chuckling, "Never did I realize we'd get the trifecta." But this escape clause is not only a falsehood; it's actually a revision of a previous falsehood, which itself was consciously designed to cover up the fact that the budget is in far worse shape than Bush lets on.
[read more]

thanks to follow me here...

 01:37 AM - link


These old family photos

Most of the photos come from the Estonian National Museum , some photos belong to private collections. These photos have arrived in the museum by different ways. Some were obtained from photographers, some were just "found". Some photos have been sent to the museum with a detailed family history, others are lacking almost any data. We are showing you the photos without the stories that belong to them. Let the pictures talk for their own. However, we have draw up a list containing data on the time and place of making the photo and the photographer's name, if they are known. We hope that no-one will take offence when, recognising familiar faces, discovers that their names are not mentioned. Let it be this way this time
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thanks to plep

 01:31 AM - link

Deep Linking

I don't know what it is about corporations that put up web sites and then want to control how people move about in them.

Site Barks About Deep Link

Now Adelman is locked in a battle against the Belo media corporation, owner of The Dallas Morning News, which sent him a legalistic letter this week demanding that BarkingDogs.org remove all "deep links" to the DallasNews.com site.

"Deep links" point to specific content within a site, allowing readers to bypass the site's front page. Instead of linking to a specific article within The Dallas Morning News's site, Belo wants Adelman to only link to the site's main page.

"As you may know, the Belo content (various news articles) is protected by copyright laws of the United States," the company's legal letter states. "Accordingly, we must request that you cease and desist from any unauthorized use of the Belo content, including without limitation, allowing users of BarkingDogs.org to deep link directly to the Belo content or from posting, without prior written permission, any other Belo content on BarkingDogs.org.
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I like it that the article deep links to the article in dispute. If you missed that deep link try this.

 01:20 AM - link

Linking's been a little light lately. Zoe has been sick and I've been most busy with work (work is good!). I spent this evening (until after midnight) doing some test shots with my flash and it's mini soft box that arrived today. It actually arrived two days ago and was at my neighbor's front door (which she never uses). I'm tired but the links keep piling up so I'd better do something with them.

And Cameron hit four consecutive home runs as the Mariners beat Chicago 15-4.

 12:52 AM - link

  Wednesday   May 1   2002


The Politics of Verticality
by Eyal Weizman


From the struggles over Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount) to the historic stone with which all Greater Jerusalem is now clad, Jerusalem is an intense case study of the politics of verticality.

Israel’s chief negotiator Gilead Sher has told how, during the failed Camp David summit on 17 July 2000 in the Dogwood hut balcony, in the presence of the whole Israeli delegation, Barak declared:

“We shall stand united in front of the whole world, if it becomes apparent that an agreement wasn’t reached over the issue of our sovereignty over the First and Second Temples. It is the Archemedic point of our universe, the anchor of the Zionist effort… we are at the moment of truth.”

The two delegations laid claim to the same plot of land. Neither side was willing to give up their claim of sovereignty. In attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable, intense spatial contortions took place at Camp David.
[read more]

And Barak was a paragon of Israeli liberalism compared to Sharon and the thugs running the show now. Bush thinks he can negotiate with Sharon. We are not dealing with rational people here.


Fear Can Turn Us All Into 'Good Germans.'
We Must Resist It

"I left Israel abruptly after only a few years there. I had met Ariel Sharon personally. He loved to visit the settlement where I lived because that is where his power base is located. His good-old-boy network of Jewish hit men and terrorists who boobie trap Arab cars and do hit- and-run shootouts is located there, and sadly they derive a large portion of their funding from Jewish groups located in the U.S. who receive tax-free status here."

"The beef among Arabs, whether it is Al Queda or Hamas, is that Israel has been labeled a democracy by the U.S., and they have been labeled terrorists. This is not about religion; it is rather about saying what you mean and meaning what you say."

"Sadly, though, the foreign policy of the U.S. is to recognize Israel's right not only to exist but to intimidate the Arabs around them for the sake of putting them on notice that if they ever decide to cut off the oil then Israel will ally itself with the U.S."

"This is a game, and it is sadly a game that has turned Jews into terrorists. Therefore, I decided not to be Jewish, because I refuse to take part in this blood for oil game. I believe in the right of all people to live in peace, and insofar as that is concerned I have taken this position."
[read more]


A Venerable Voice in Israel Is Muted After Questioning Army's Actions

But this time, Yarkoni offered no words of encouragement. Instead, she bitterly criticized the troops, the government and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in an anguished tirade that shocked her interviewer and enraged many Israelis. "When I saw the Palestinians with their hands tied behind their backs, young men, I said, 'It is like what they did to us in the Holocaust,' " Yarkoni said. "We are a people who have been through the Holocaust. How are we capable of doing these things?"

Her words were deemed so offensive that the union representing the nation's performing artists called off a planned tribute to Yarkoni that had been in the works for two years. The head of the union said it was forced to make the move after members of the public flooded its offices with complaints and returned tickets purchased for the event, and after sponsors canceled their financial support.
[read more]

 02:45 AM - link


Today we run from the simple to the sublime.

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

Welcome to the 2nd annual Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day exhibition, where you will discover 231 images realized by as many different pinhole photographers from 25 countries!

All the photographs in this extraordinary collection share two common characteristics:

they are lensless photographs.
they were made on April 28, 2002.

[read more]

The image above is James Luckett's at consumptive.org I will be submitting something next year since I will be making a pinhole for my Mamiya Universal.

I ran my first film through the Mamiya today — just some test shots. Actually cocking shutters and advancing, film which felt pretty good. I also did a shot of star trails from my porch. It's nice to have a manual camera again.


Hubble's Advanced Camera Unveils a Panoramic New View of the Universe

Jubilant astronomers unveiled humankind's most spectacular views of the universe, courtesy of the newly installed Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Among the suite of four ACS photographs to demonstrate the camera's capabilities is a stunning view of a colliding galaxy dubbed the "Tadpole" (UGC10214). Set against a rich tapestry of 6,000 galaxies, the Tadpole, with its long tail of stars, looks like a runaway pinwheel firework. Another picture depicts a spectacular collision between two spiral galaxies -- dubbed "The Mice" -- that presages what may happen to our own Milky Way several billion years from now when it collides with the neighboring galaxy in the constellation Andromeda. Looking closer to home, ACS imaged the "Cone Nebula," a craggy-looking mountaintop of cold gas and dust that is a cousin to Hubble's iconic "pillars of creation" in the Eagle Nebula, photographed in 1995. Peering into a celestial maternity ward called the Omega Nebula or M17, ACS revealed a watercolor fantasy-world of glowing gases, where stars and perhaps embryonic planetary systems are forming.
[read more]


Photographs From the Golden Age of Jazz

Portrait of Les Paul, New York, N.Y.(?), ca. Jan. 1947

The William P. Gottlieb Collection, comprising over sixteen hundred photographs of celebrated jazz artists, documents the jazz scene from 1938 to 1948, primarily in New York City and Washington, D.C. In 1938 Gottlieb began working for the Washington Post, where he wrote and illustrated a weekly jazz column--perhaps the first in a major newspaper. After World War II he was employed as a writer-photographer for Down Beat magazine, and his work also appeared frequently in Record Changer, the Saturday Review, and Collier's. During the course of his career, Gottlieb took portraits of prominent jazz musicians and personalities, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Hines, Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Ray McKinley, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, and Benny Carter. This online collection presents Gottlieb's photographs, annotated contact prints, selected published prints, and related articles from Down Beat magazine.

While most of the photographs are b&w, aparently taken with a twin-lens reflex, there are a few big 4x5 inch transparencies. They're georgeous.

52nd Street, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1948

[read more]

thanks to plep


The Sacred Site Pilgrimages of Martin Gray

Martin Gray is an anthropologist and photographer specializing in the study of sacred sites and pilgrimage traditions around the world. During the past eighteen years, Martin has visited and photographed over 1000 sacred sites in eighty countries.

This web site discusses Martin's pilgrimage journeys, features many of his photographs and writings, lists calendar details of upcoming slide shows, gives information regarding book and photograph orders, and has links to related sites.
[read more]

thanks to abuddhas memes

 02:02 AM - link

  Tuesday   April 30   2002

I lost my Bookmarks!

I was working along, minding my own business, when my system crashed (Windows 2000 Professional). It restarted right away but my Opera wouldnt start. I downloaded the new Opera and loaded it on top of the existing installation to no avail. The next step was to delete Opera and reload which worked fine until I looked at my Bookmarks (Favorites to you IE folks) which were now only the default Bookmarks.

I keep telling myself that everything is impermanent everything is impermanent everything is impermanent everything is impermanent everything is impermanent.

I don't feel any better.

All the wonderful links for this evening have evaporated. Now I have to rely on memory. I'm over 55 so I don't have any short term memory and I went through the 60s so there is no long term memory either. I guess I'll just have to do the best I can.

 11:45 PM - link


This is an index of over 16,000 books available online — free.

The Online Books Page

The Online Books Page is a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet. It also aims to encourage the development of such online books, for the benefit and edification of all.
[read more]

thanks to Robot Wisdom

 03:00 AM - link

Graphic Arts

Some exceptional eye candy today.

About 2 Squares

About 2 Squares is a short picture book for children. It is also one of the most powerful expressions of revolutionary Communism and modern art. It deserves close and careful examination as we embark on a similar revolution from text on paper to electronic cyberspace.
[read more]

thanks to The Online Books Page

About 2 Squares + More About 2 Squares

El Lissitzky's first suprematist book is a story about how two squares, one red, one black, transform a world. It is Lissitzky's "scientific romance," an allegory of the fourth dimension and its effect on the three-dimensional world. When it was first published in Berlin in 1922, About 2 [Squares] presented a radical rethinking of what a book was, demonstrating a new way of organizing typography on a page and relating it to visual images. It marked the beginning of a new graphic art and is among the most important publications in the history of the avant-garde in typography and graphic design.
[read more]


The World of Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast (1840-1902), perhaps the most important American political cartoonist of all time, is best known for his invention and development of popular symbols like the Republican Elephant, Democratic Donkey, a fat, jolly Santa Claus and a lean, goatee-wearing Uncle Sam.

Nast’s most important forum was Harper’s Weekly, the leading illustrated American periodical of the last half of the nineteenth century. HarpWeek has identified the 2200-plus cartoons that Nast drew for Harper’s Weekly—the first in 1859, the last in 1896, and the rest mainly between 1862 and 1886. They were instrumental in winning four presidential elections—for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, for Ulysses S. Grant in 1868 and 1872, and for Grover Cleveland in 1884.

Almost unknown is the influence that Nast’s cartoons had on two major European artists—Edgar Degas and Vincent van Gogh. Albert I. Boime, Professor of Art History at UCLA, has studied and published extensively on both impressionists, as well as on Nast and his influence on each of them.
[read more]

thanks to Andrew Abb at American Samizdat


The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti in Cartoons from the Daily Worker

Hastily, as these cartoons go to press, the roasted bodies of Sacco and Vanzetti, still unburied, are placed in state in the "cultured" sity of Boston. The world is still ringing with the protests of workers and liberals against one of the foulest of the innumerable foul crimes of the capitalist class. Demonstrations continue to storm the doors of the American embassies and consulates in two hemispheres; and the American workers are preparing to perpetuate the memory of the two working class heroes who, innocent of any crime except the "crime" of fighting for the emancipation of humanity from capitalist oppression, were tortured for seven long years and finally murdered as a challenge to the revolutionary movement.
[read more]

thanks to The Online Books Page

Ron Wise's Geographical Directory Of World Paper Money

thanks to MetaFilter

 02:46 AM - link


The Politics of Verticality
Eyal Weizman


In a quest for biblical archaeology, Israel has attempted to resurrect the subterreanean fragments of ancient civilization to testify for its present-day rights above ground.

When the Zionists first arrived in Palestine late in the nineteenth century, the land they found was strangely unfamiliar, different from the one they longed for. Reaching the map co-ordinates of the site of their yearnings was not enough. The search had to continue: above, in a metaphysical sense, below the crust of earth in archaeological excavations.

That the ground was further inhabited by the Arabs and marked with the traces of their lives, complicated things even further. So the existing terrain was transformed in the Zionists’ minds into a protective wrap, under which the historical longed-for landscape was hidden.(...)

If the land to be ‘inherited’ was indeed located under the surface, then the whole subterranean volume was a national monument. From this source, the ancient civilisation could be politically resurrected to testify for the right of the present-day Israel.
[read more]

I try to avoid the parallels, but people who start invoking mystical mythological pasts to justify their current excesses scare me. Germany did the same thing in the 30s.


Sharon is taking us back to 1948
The prospect of a two-state solution has faded - Israel and the Palestinians are now digging in for all-out existential war

Despite the havoc wrought by Palestinian suicide bombers, it is Israel that has proven to be the incontestable historical master of controlled and directed fury; from the callous, calculating terrorism of its pre-state underground to the most recent thorough and systematic lynching of the Palestinian Authority - security agencies and civilian infrastructure alike. Against this background, recent events take on a certain cyclical consistency: Israeli oppression met by Palestinian acts of resistance - sometimes bold, often bloody - met in turn by Israeli force, always excessive, invariably disproportionate and purposely designed to inflict maximum pain.

Indeed, there is even an ironic symmetry in the fact that Ariel Sharon's old "special" forces Unit 101 was as active in Jenin this month as it was half a century ago in the attack on the Palestinian village of Qibya in October 1953 when 69 civilians were killed, their houses blown up over their heads as the future Israeli prime minister oversaw the operation in person. Jenin can thus be seen as the latest episode in a long-running Israeli attempt to break the back of the Palestinian national movement by attacking its soft civilian underbelly. Sharon's ongoing assault on the authority in many ways represents a return to the raw existential confrontations of 1948 in the land of Palestine, albeit with an even greater imbalance in tools of confrontation available to each side.

Sunday's apparent resolution of the impasse over Arafat's imprisonment in Ramallah should not be misconstrued: Israeli rightwing triumphalism is in full swing and its appetite for colonial expansion and a "greater Israel" whetted again. Even before the latest violence, 34 new settlement outposts had been established by Sharon on the West Bank and plans are apace to expand into densely populated areas of Hebron and Arab Jerusalem. The apparent defeat of the authority can only serve to fire the right wing's enthusiasm for yet more radical solutions - including a return to the basics of "transfer", or ethnic cleansing, supported by about 50% of the Israeli electorate, according to opinion polls. Sharon is now likely to extend his war to Gaza and is still bent on the political, perhaps physical, elimination of Yasser Arafat. His ultimate goal is no less than the total subjugation and dissolution of the Palestinian national movement.
[read more]

 02:01 AM - link

Medical art

The Anatomical Waxes by Clemente Susini of the University of Cagliari

In September 1801 Antonio Boi(1), the professor of anatomy of the University of Cagliari, should have started his third year teaching, but found that he had no auditors (students) due the fact that in Cagliari no one had undertaken medical studies that year. He sought he would take advantage of this situation to go to the continent in order to "acquire more information on his subjects". He therefore asked the permission of Carlo Felice di Savoia, Viceroy of Sardinia. Not only did the latter give permission unhesitantigly, but he accompanied his decision with an emolument (grant) of one hundred Sardinian Scudi taken from the prebend of Assemini, which had been granted to the university of Cagliari seven lustra (35 years) before by pope Clemente XIII, and which represented one of the most important sources of income to the ateneum. Dr. Boi left Cagliari for the continent and went first of all to Pavia, in whose famous University the great Scarpa was professor of Anatomy. He then went to Pisa and to Florence where, although there was no university, studies of anatomy were flourishing thanks to some enlightened provisions taken years before by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo of Asburgo Lorena. At the Arcispedale of Santa Maria Nuova anatomy was thought by Paolo Mascagni who, although he had his professorship in Pisa, had been assigned to that task by a motu proprio of the King of Etruria Lodovico I of Borbone. On his arrival in Florence dr. Boi started attending Mascagni's school, where he obtained so much scientific knowledge that he decided to stay there for four years i.e. till 1805.

It is to his sojourn in Florence that we owe the anatomical waxes of Clemente Susini of the University of Cagliari.
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 01:35 AM - link

Shit Happens

Toilet Technology

Great Moments in Toilet Paper History

500 B.C.-A.D. 500: Roman So-Called Civilization — All public toilets feature a stick with a sponge attached to its end, soaking in a bucket of brine. Citizens use the tool to freshen up.

1700s: Damn Niblets! — Colonial Americans wipe with corncobs, later switching to old newspapers, catalogues and almanacs.

1890: On a Roll — Scott Paper introduces toilet paper on a roll. But the paper goods company is somewhat embarrassed to be associated with such an "unmentionable" thing and refuses to put its name on the product. Instead, the toilet paper bears the name of intermediaries. As a result, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Waldorf Hotel in New York becomes a leader in the toilet paper business.
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thanks to Progressive Review

 01:17 AM - link

The State of the US

Log cabin to White House? Not any more
The State We're In, Will Hutton's explosive analysis of the British economy, caused a storm and became an instant bestseller seven years ago. Now, in The World We're In, he turns his attention to the global picture. In this exclusive extract he argues that the US can no longer lay claim to being the land of opportunity

America is the most unequal society in the industrialised West. The richest 20 per cent of Americans earn nine times more than the poorest 20 per cent, a scale of inequality half as great again as in Japan, Germany and France. At the very top of American society, incomes and wealth have reached stupendous proportions. The country boasts some three million millionaires, and the richest 1 per cent of the population hold 38 per cent of its wealth, a concentration more marked than in any comparable country.

This inequality is the most brutal fact of American life. Nor is it excused by more mobility and opportunity than other societies, America's great conceit. The reality is that US society is polarising and its social arteries hardening. The sumptuousness and bleakness of the respective lifestyles of rich and poor represent a scale of difference in opportunity and wealth that is almost medieval - and a standing offence to the American expectation that everyone has the opportunity for life, liberty and happiness.
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thanks to Cursor


What Europe can teach Uncle Sam
In the second extract from his eagerly awaited new book, Will Hutton reveals why the American economic miracle is not all it seems

The story of Boeing is a salutary lesson. In the mid 1960s its organisational reason to be was clear. This was a company dedicated to technological excellence and building the best planes in the world - and it did. In the mid 1960s it embarked on the then vastly ambitious project to build the 747, the jumbo jet - in effect betting the company on a vastly expensive technological risk. Boeing pulled it off, but not before laying off 60% of its workers and risking bankruptcy before its first sale of a jumbo. As it reaped the rewards, in 1987 corporate raider Texan T Boone Pickens came along, an apostle of southern raw capitalism, a Reagan supporter and founder of the US Shareholders Association which is committed to putting profits first. Like other raiders, his objective was to dismantle large organisations, stripping them of cash and assets in order to unlock "value" and so make a profit as long the disposal proceeds were greater than the purchase price.

Pickens was seen off, but Boeing was never the same again. Plans for new planes were frozen, R&D spending was slashed and close to 50,000 workers were laid off in an attempt to prevent another takeover bid or corporate raid. Throughout the 90s, Boeing's object has been on building rapid earnings growth rather than developing new planes; its reason to be has become the maximisation of shareholder value, allowing it to develop businesses outside aerospace - but so losing organisational focus.
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thanks to Doc Searls

I know something of Boeing — I worked there for 25 years. (Laid off once and quit four times.) I started out in 1965 and it was, as Will describes, a focused airplane company. That's what we were about — building airplanes. Now it is maximizing shareholder value. The people buying the airplanes are not the number one customer — the shareholders are. It's insane.

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  Monday   April 29   2002


Handler, Creator of Barbie Doll, Dies

Ruth Handler, who created Barbie, the world's most popular doll and an American icon that helped shape girls' dreams while infuriating feminists, has died. She was 85.

Handler, who also co-founded the Mattel toy company, died at Century City Hospital Saturday morning of complications from colon surgery she underwent three months ago, said Elliot Handler, her husband.

Since Handler's creation, named for her daughter Barbara, was introduced in 1959 it has become a touchstone of cultural politics.

``My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be,'' Handler wrote in a 1994 autobiography. ``Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.''
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The Holiday Inn sign
Exploding with color, optimism and razzle-dazzle, the now-extinct Holiday Inn "Great Sign" was a true design landmark of the American century.

"Holiday Inn's sign was a prop in a play," says Andrew Moore, professor of communication studies at San Jose State University and an authority on motel history. "It communicated the playfulness, fantasy and optimism of the American roadside. And it meant safety for the [traveling] middle class."

The Great Sign was brash, bold and a masterpiece. It is also, alas, extinct. The company ripped them down in a bid to be a little more upscale.
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 01:14 AM - link


Installment 5 of the excellent...

The Politics of Verticality
by Eyal Weizman


The aquifers deep below the West Bank are a battleground, just as much as the rivers of sewage split through its valleys by both Israeli and Palestinian settlements.

The Israelis claim they offered Arafat 95% of what he was asking for. Aside from the fact that all he was offered were isolated Bantustans, Israel kept control of the water underneath Palestine. Every other sovereign state has control of the water underneath it. What kind of soverign state doesn't control it's water? Not only have the settlements been stealing the Palestinians' land, all of Israel has been stealing the Palestinians' water.


Apartheid in the Holy Land
by Desmond Tutu

In our struggle against apartheid, the great supporters were Jewish people. They almost instinctively had to be on the side of the disenfranchised, of the voiceless ones, fighting injustice, oppression and evil. I have continued to feel strongly with the Jews. I am patron of a Holocaust centre in South Africa. I believe Israel has a right to secure borders.

What is not so understandable, not justified, is what it did to another people to guarantee its existence. I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.

Israel has three options: revert to the previous stalemated situation; exterminate all Palestinians; or - I hope - to strive for peace based on justice, based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories, and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on those territories side by side with Israel, both with secure borders.
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In on the tide, the guns and rockets that fuel this fight
As the methods of drugs smugglers are used to bring weapons to Gaza, mystery still surrounds the 'Karin A' arms shipment

 12:53 AM - link


jp provided some good links, over at American Samizdat, about the Rawanda genocide.

A call to action
Researcher examines U.S. role in the atrocities of the 20th century

Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Bystanders to Genocide
The author's exclusive interviews with scores of the participants in the decision-making, together with her analysis of newly declassified documents, yield a chilling narrative of self-serving caution and flaccid will —and countless missed opportunities to mitigate a colossal crime

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  Sunday   April 28   2002



thanks to MorfaBlog

 12:58 AM - link


Another installment of...

The Politics of Verticality
by Eyal Weizman


Many different types of settlements perch atop the hills of the West Bank, providing islands of biblical identity that are also strategic vantage points.

The placement of the settlements has not been a random process. They are strategic military bastions turning the Palestinians into prisoners trapped in the worlds largest Panopticon. It's also obvious that the expense the Israelis have gone to means, as Sharon has bluntly put it, the Israelis never plan to leave. The occupation will continue. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

 12:52 AM - link


The cathedral of Chartres

The History of Chartres cathedral enrols itself in the very old history of the hill where it towers up, that has always been a place of fervour and pilgrimage. Through its' sculptures, it is a testimony to the success of Romanesque Art. Through its' architecture, it is one of the first testimonies of the victory achieved by the master builders of the Middle Ages over the darkness of sanctuaries, thus making way for the blossoming of the art of stained-glass windows.
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thanks to plep

 12:50 AM - link


My beloved VW Microbus was 10th. I'm of two minds about this. I'm not sure I'm upset that it made it on this list or that I'm upset that it didn't place higher.

What's the Worst Car of the Millennium?

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thanks to Red Rock Eater Digest

 12:44 AM - link

I'm speechless

jp sent me a link to this...this...well, you be the judge.


Now, there is a solution to the problem of dog waste: a revolutionary dog diaper that will permanently transform dog care everywhere. The problem of dog waste in urban centers as well as in households is worldwide. A measure of the problem in urban centers is reflected in the canine laws, both in the U.S. and abroad, which impose considerable fines upon dog owners who do not "pick up after their dogs." Furthermore, animal waste poses a health hazard in parks and other places when left uncollected. The dog diaper is fashionable, it has been patented (U.S. and worldwide) and a prototype of the diaper has been tested on several breeds of dogs. Dogs do not require training to use the diaper. The diaper is disposable, thus offering repeat business. It eliminates mess indoors and the bother of and aversion to picking up dog waste by hand outdoors. A video demonstration shows dogs using a prototype of the diaper.
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 12:36 AM - link


The Enron Nine

For those already exhausted by the torrent of Enron disclosures, I would not recommend reading the "Consolidated Complaint" filed by defrauded investors for a literary experience. The class-action lawsuit is 500 pages long, not counting appendixes, and dense with tedious legal repetitions and the mind-numbing complexities of Enron's financial transactions, most already known. On the other hand, this document tells an eye- popping story of how the Wall Street system really works, and it resonates with political significance because the plaintiffs' lawyers are redirecting public outrage--and multibillion- dollar damage claims--at the best and most powerful names in American finance. Nine leading banks and financial houses have been added as defendants and depicted as intimate insiders in what the lawsuit calls the "Enron Ponzi scheme." They were the engineers, it is asserted, who devised manipulative deals concealing the truth. They were also principal beneficiaries of this massive scam.
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thanks to Cursor

 12:28 AM - link


An amazing collection of Russian and European photography as well as astronomical and space exploration photography.

Howard Schickler Gallery

Field-Marshall Hermann Goring speaking to his lawyer.


thanks to consumptive.org

 12:22 AM - link