Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marshall McLuhan: Notes on Burroughs (1964)

From Reality Studio:

1. Today men’s nerves surround us; they have gone outside as electrical environment. The human nervous system itself can be reprogrammed biologically as readily as any radio network can alter its fare. Burroughs has dedicated Naked Lunch to the first proposition, and Nova Express (both Grove Press) to the second. Naked Lunch records private strategies of culture in the electric age. Nova Express indicates some of the “corporate” responses and adventures of the Subliminal Kid who is living in a universe which seems to be someone else’s insides. Both books are a kind of engineer’s report of the terrain hazards and mandatory processes, which exist in the new electric environment.

2. Burroughs uses what he calls “Brion Gysin’s cut-up method which I call the fold-in method.” To read the daily newspaper in its entirety is to encounter the method in all its purity. Similarly, an evening watching television programs is an experience in a corporate form — an endless succession of impressions and snatches of narrative. Burroughs is unique only in that he is attempting to reproduce in prose what we accommodate every day as a commonplace aspect of life in the electric age. If the corporate life is to be rendered on paper, the method of discontinuous nonstory must be employed.

3. That man provides the sexual organs of the technological world seems obvious enough to Burroughs, and such is the stage (or “biological theatre” as he calls it in Nova Express) for the series of social orgasms brought about by the evolutionary mutations of man and society. The logic, physical and emotional, of a world in which we have made our environment out of our own nervous systems, Burroughs follows everywhere to the peripheral orgasm of the cosmos.

4. Each technological extension involves an act of collective cannibalism. The previous environment with all its private and social values, is swallowed by the new environment and reprocessed for whatever values are digestible. Thus, Nature was succeeded by the mechanical environment and became what we call the “content” of the new industrial environment. That is, Nature became a vessel of aesthetic and spiritual values. Again and again the old environment is upgraded into an art form while the new conditions are regarded as corrupt and degrading. Artists, being experts in sensory awareness, tend to concentrate on the environmental as the challenging and dangerous situation. That is why they may seem to be “ahead of their time.” Actually, they alone have the resources and temerity to live in immediate contact with the environment of their age. More timid people prefer to accept the content, the previous environment’s values, as the continuing reality of their time. Our natural bias is to accept the new gimmick (automaton, say) as a thing that can be accommodated in the old ethical order.

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That Mitchell and Webb Look: Homeopathic A&E


Hilarious sketch from the fourth episode of series three of 'That Mitchell and Webb Look.'

The Story of Citizens United v. FEC (2011)


http://storyofcitizensunited.org ---- Season Two launches on March 1st with The Story of Citizens United v. FEC, an exploration of the inordinate power that corporations exercise in our democracy.

Ted Serios and Psychic Projections

By Mikita Brottman, The Chronicle of Higher Education

In the early 17th century, the metaphysician Robert Fludd pictured the interior of the brain as containing an eye in the same position as the imaginative soul. He labeled this organ the "oculus imaginationis" and pictured it radiating a tableau of thought-pictures or phantasmata, which are then projected on to a screen in a perceived space beyond the back of the head.

If such phantasmata could be photographed, what would they look like? Strange as it may seem, such "thought" photographs do exist, and a selection of them are on display in an exhibition through March 27 at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

"Psychic Projections/Photographic Impressions: Paranormal Photographs from the Jule Eisenbud Collection on Ted Serios" features a series of images produced by Theodore Judd Serios (1918-2006), a bellhop from Chicago who appeared to possess a genuinely uncanny ability. By holding a Polaroid camera and focusing on the lens very intently, he was able to produce dreamlike pictures of his thoughts on the film; he referred to these images as "thoughtographs," and many striking examples are on display in the exhibition.

The images are contextualized by a selection of notes and letters written by Serios's chief supporter, defender, champion, and sometime minder, a psychiatrist named Jule Eisenbud. Eisenbud (1908-99) was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Medical School and a charter member of the Parapsychological Association; he wrote numerous articles on psychiatry and psychoanalysis based on his experiments with telepathy. However, his best-known (and only commercially successful) book was The World of Ted Serios: "Thoughtographic" Studies of an Extraordinary Mind (1967).

In this book, Eisenbud describes how he worked with Serios. Their method varied considerably, but it turned out that Serios was able to produce images using various kinds of cameras and in many different situations, sometimes under quite stringent test conditions. Most often, however, the two men would get no results at all. At other times they would get what Serios called "blackies," in which the film would look as though it had not been exposed at all, or "whities," in which the film would appear overexposed. In a few rare cases, however, bizarre images would emerge, perhaps in a fuzzy circle of light or a ghostly shape. Sometimes they would be quite clear, particularly when Serios was attempting to produce the image of a specific physical monument or building. Still, even the clearest images had an uncanny texture and quality. On occasion, volunteers were asked to attend the experiment with a photograph sealed in a cardboard-backed manila envelope; Serios then managed to reproduce the image with no prior knowledge of it.

[ ... ]

Other images could have been obtained only as a result of knowledge or perspectives unavailable at the time. For example, after seeing magazine photographs taken from Voyager 2 of Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, Eisenbud suddenly recognized some of Serios's previously unidentified thoughtographs as images of the moons of Jupiter. That made sense, as Serios had long been obsessed with Voyager 2; what did not make sense, however, was that those thoughtographs had been produced years before the Voyager 2 pictures were taken. He also occasionally produced pictures that would be possible only from a midair perspective, including an exposure showing part of Westminster Abbey, and an image of a Hilton hotel in Denver.

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The artists who crossed the line

An art group that stages orgies, throws cats at cashiers and has Banksy as a fan has enraged the Russian authorities

By Shaun Walker, Independent

On a chilly Moscow morning last November, 10 plainclothes policemen broke into the Moscow apartment where Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolayev were sleeping. Screaming at everyone to stay on the ground, the officers handcuffed the two men, pulled plastic bags over their heads and threw them into a police van. They drove north for 10 hours while police allegedly kicked and abused the two men, who have been held in a pre-trial detention centre in St Petersburg until this week. But Mr Vorotnikov and Mr Nikolayev are not drug dealers or dangerous murderers on the run – they are artists.

The two men are part of Voina, a radical art collective that has infuriated the Russian authorities with a series of increasingly audacious stunts, and whose jailing has caused concern in Russia about a return to a Soviet-style censorship of the arts. Over the past three years, the group's installations and performances have included organising the mock execution of migrant workers in a Moscow supermarket, an impromptu expletive-filled punk rock performance in a courtroom, throwing live cats at McDonald's cashiers and painting an enormous penis on a bridge in St Petersburg.

The group first came to prominence in February 2008, two days before the carefully choreographed elections that brought President Dmitry Medvedev to power. About 12 activists, one of whom was a pregnant woman, entered the Biology Museum and staged an orgy.

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Spanish Judges Rule Case on US Torture Can Continue

CCR Hails Major Victory for Accountability

February 25, 2011, New York – In response to news that the full panel of Judges of the Audencia Nacional (Spain’s High Court) rejected a Spanish prosecutor’s effort to stop an investigation into the role of US officials for torture on Guantanamo, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has submitted many papers in this and a related case in Spain, released the following statement:

This is a monumental decision that will enable a Spanish judge to continue a case on the “authorized and systematic plan of torture and ill treatment” by U.S. officials at Guantanamo. Geoffrey Miller, the former commanding officer at Guantánamo, has already been implicated, and the case will surely move up the chain of command. Since the U.S. government has not only failed to investigate the illegal actions of its own officials and, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, also sought to interfere in the Spanish judicial process and stop the case from proceeding, this will be the first real investigation of the U.S. torture program. This is a victory for accountability and a blow against impunity. The Center for Constitutional Rights applauds the Spanish courts for not bowing to political pressure and for undertaking what may be the most important investigation in decades.
For more information and filings related to the Spanish cases, both the above torture case and the Bush 6 case looking into the role of the lawyers in the torture program, visit the Spanish case page on the Center for Constitutional Rights web site.

CCR has also filed cases against Donald Rumsfeld in Germany and France, and, on February 7, released aBush Torture Indictment under the Convention Against Torture in advance of the former president’s planned trip to Switzerland which was cancelled to avoid possible legal action. The Bush Torture Indictment stands ready to be tailored to the specific laws of any of the 147 signatory countries to the Convention Against Torture where he may travel.

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last nine years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with an individual transferred from CIA “ghost detention” to Guantanamo. CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the approximately 30 men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

US UK, French forces land in Libya

Islamabad—The United States, Britain and France have sent several hundred “defence advisors” to train and support the anti-Gadhafi forces in oil-rich Eastern Libya where “rebels armed groups” have apparently taken over.

According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region “the three Western states have landed their “special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their bases and training centres” to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas.

A Libyan official who requested not to be identified said that the U.S. and British military gurus were sent on February 23 and 24 night through American and French warships and small naval boats off Libyan ports of Benghazi and Tobruk.

The Western forces are reportedly preparing to set-up training bases for local militias set-up by the rebel forces for an effective control of the oil-rich region and counter any push by pro- Qaddafi forces from Tripoli.


The Fluoride Deception exposes the truth about water fluoridation and the phosphate mining industry


The Fluoride Deception is the latest mini documentary from Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center. Through the use of animation and motion graphics, it exposes the truth about where fluoride really comes from: The toxic byproducts of the phosphate mining industry.

Full transcript available at: http://www.naturalnews.com/031541_Fluoride_documentary.html

Produced by the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center - www.ConsumerWellness.org

A special report on global leaders

From: The world's water-coolers - Where the influential people meet and talk:

The world is a complicated place, with oceans of new information sloshing around. To run a multinational organisation, it helps if you have a rough idea of what is going on. It also helps to be on first-name terms with other globocrats. So the cosmopolitan elite—international financiers, bureaucrats, charity bosses and thinkers—constantly meet and talk. They flock to elite gatherings such as the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Trilateral Commission and the Boao meeting in China. They form clubs. Ethnic Indian entrepreneurs around the world join TiE (The Indus Enterprise). Movers and shakers in New York and Washington join the Council on Foreign Relations, where they can listen to the president of Turkey one week and the chief executive of Intel the next. The world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, a Mexican telecoms tycoon, hosts an annual gathering of Latin American billionaires who cultivate each other while ostensibly discussing regional poverty.

Davos is perhaps the glitziest of these globocratic gatherings. Hundreds of big wheels descend on the Swiss ski resort each year. The lectures are interesting, but the big draw is the chance to talk to other powerful people in the corridors. Such chats sometimes yield results. In 1988 the prime ministers of Turkey and Greece met at Davos and signed a declaration that may have averted a war. In 1994 Shimon Peres, then Israel’s foreign minister, and Yasser Arafat struck a deal over Gaza and Jericho. In 2003 Jack Straw, Britain’s foreign secretary, had an informal meeting in his hotel suite with the president of Iran, a country with which Britain had no diplomatic ties. But Davos is hardly a secretive institution: it is crawling with journalists. The other globocratic shindigs are opening up, too. Even Bilderberg has recently started publishing lists of participants on its website.

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First U.S. scientist to die of plague in 50 years worked in labs with 'harmless' bacteria

A scientist died after becoming the first American researcher to contract the plague in 50 years, it has been revealed.


Malcolm Casadaban, 60, was working with a weakened form of the plague's bacteria thought to be harmless to humans when he died in September 2009, a report said.


The University of Chicago genetics and cell biology professor's work with the live bacteria was not even noted when he fell ill and he followed proper safety protocols.


Dr Casadaban was researching the chain of events that happens when a person is made sick by the bacteria Yersinia Pestis, which are behind the plague.


The bubonic plague, which killed at least a third of the population of medieval Europe in the 14th century, still infects more than 2,000 people annually worldwide today.


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Assassin maintains he can't remember shooting RFK

More than four decades after Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, his convicted murderer wants to go free for a crime he says he can't remember.

It is not old age or some memory-snatching disease that has erased an act Sirhan Bishara Sirhan once said he committed "with 20 years of malice aforethought." It's been this way almost from the beginning. Hypnotists and psychologists, lawyers and investigators have tried to jog his memory with no useful result.

Now a new lawyer is on the case and he says his efforts have also failed.

"There is no doubt he does not remember the critical events," said William F. Pepper, the attorney who will argue for Sirhan's parole Wednesday. "He is not feigning it. It's not an act. He does not remember it."

Sirhan may not remember much about the night of June 4, 1968, but the world remembers.

They have heard how Sirhan was grabbed as he emptied a pistol in the crowded kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel here where Kennedy stood moments after claiming victory in the California presidential primary. They heard how he kept firing even as his hand was pinned to a table. They heard how Kennedy, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was shot and died, changing the course of American history.

Parole Board members are bound to review those facts, but they won't consider the many conspiracy theories floated over the years.

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Crazy Driver Hits Cyclists


Driver plows into Brazilian Critical Mass Ride. Accelerating through 130 riders, the driver hit 20 of them putting 9 in the hospital. No fatalities. It is said that the bike ride was to raise awareness of cycling in a city dominated by motor vehicles.

Tim DeChristopher: Civil Disobedience on Trial

By Brooke Jarvis, Yes! Magazine


In a few days, Tim DeChristopher will face two felony charges for disrupting a federal auction of oil and gas leases on public lands (by bidding $1.8 million he didn't have on more than 22,000 acres of land, an action that got the auction results thrown out long enough for the Obama administration to rule the process illegitimate). If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. DeChristopher doesn't regret his decision—in fact, he hopes a lot more people will follow their convictions to take direct, nonviolent action to stop climate change.

[Click here for the rest of the interview, in which DeChristopher discusses the mechanisms of people power and what it would take for the climate movement to shut down the fossil fuel industry].

But DeChristopher's experience has taught him a lot about the legal processes—and history—of civil disobedience in the United States. I asked him about his expectations for the trial and why the judge in his case has restricted him from discussing the motivation for his actions: slowing global climate change by keeping fossil fuel in the ground.

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"If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange"


Judge Howard Riddle, the bane of Julian Assange's existence for the past three months, has granted Sweden's extradition request. The WikiLeaks founder has already repealed the ruling, but his worst fears have been cemented: the rape charges are going to follow him for the rest of his life, perhaps even after years of repeals. Former Reagan Administration Paul Craig Roberts says there is a concerted effort to shut Assange up. If the legal attempt fails, he'll be assassinated by a CIA assassination team.

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