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Iron Dome Cures Baldness

Jamal Ghosn about Israeli Propaganda
25.07.14
3 min
Post

The 30-second TV commercial is losing its marketing supremacy. In the internet age, new ways of cross-platform advertising are used to lure customers. Product placement in movies and shows has become an attractive option for advertisers. TiVo can let you skip commercials but not the product logo in the movie’s money shot. You can pirate the movie, but you can’t skip the salesmanship.

I would venture to say that real war gets almost as much viewership as war movies. So that gives marketers an opportunity to sell.

Major news networks may have done some horrible things, but they haven’t had the audacity to this honest:

“This decapitated child is brought to you by Warprofiteerco. We didn’t invent death, we just bank on it. Warprofiteerco also happens to be the sister company of BSBC News.”

That just sounds wrong.

Since corporate sponsorship of war news is not socially acceptable yet, salesmen of death are left with product placement.

In Israel, the military censors have direct control over what gets published in Israeli media and at least one newspaper in New York. The Israeli military also happens to be a major trader in the global weapons’ market.

Israel launched a war on Gaza and dubbed it: Operation Protective Edge. What madman comes up with this shit?

In the past 2 weeks, many news items streaming out of the military censor’s office start with the words “The Iron Dome intercepted…”

“A 90% success rate” brags the press release published here and here.

Now, each interception attempt costs up to $100,000, while the incoming rocket usually costs less than a $1000.

It’s not cheap, but 90% success is pretty damn good. Except, this rocket scientist thinks the “90%” is actually less than 5%.

Shooting up piñatas from rocket launchers is almost as effective as the Iron dome. It’s a lot cheaper. Most importantly it makes it rain chocolate and lollipops.

But who cares if the product works? We already have at least one sucker paying for it.

Product placement works.

On September 1, Poland hosts a major military expo. Iron Dome’s Israeli manufacturer Rafael should be in Hall E of the Targi Kielce Exhibition Center. A week later, they’ll move their traveling sales show to Baku, Azerbaijan.

Here’s the product brochure:

"Combat Proven" is new "As Seen on TV"

The “Combat Proven” might as well read “As Seen on TV”.

And look at the slogan: Now, We’ve Got You Protected.

Again, what madman comes up with this shit?

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 5

25.07.14
2 min
Post

Golden Jubilee:  22 June 1887, at Windsor Castle Part V  

We stopped in the middle, from a place with a view on nothing and reduced to nothing else, and a little girl gave me a beautiful bouquet, on the ribbons of which were embroidered: “God bless our Queen, not Queen alone, of course alone, always alone, but Mother, Queen and Friend”.  An agonizing sound why would I? Squeeze force it out of her a wretching sound. The children sang God Save the Queen somewhat out of tune, and then we drove on to Paddington station. I ache for your indifference. Like time’s face wears, you could indifferent me like that. The train stopped at Slough, and we got out there. A philosopher waits there eternally. Different ladies and gentlemen were presented and bouquets were given, all reeking of boredom and intelligence. Then drove off with an escort to Windsor. All along the road there were decorations and crowds of people. My reflection warps on internal glass, I meltface and have no idea. Your indifference is my significance. Before coming to Eton, there was a beautiful triumphal arch, made to look exactly like part of the old College, and boys dressed like old Templars stood on the top of it, playing a regular fanfare. The whole effect was beautiful, lit up by the sun of a bright summer’s evening, and a 24 hour cycle of theatre lit by grace and black water. The town was one mass of flags and decorations and robotics. We went under the Castle walls up the hill, slowly, amidst great cheering, and stopped at the bottom of Castle Hill, where there was a stand crowded with people and every window and balcony were full of people, Chinese lanterns and preparations for illuminations making a very pretty effect. Pretty sticky pretty shut-up now pretty not listening. Those of the family who had not come with me were in the front row of the stand.

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 4

18.07.14
2 min
Post

Golden Jubilee:  22 June 1887, at Windsor Castle Part IV

What surface can I gather on from the inside? (This word does this it gathers me from the inside out and presses back it makes me I) make me. MyLife is now the object of philosophy, when once it was I am. Rested on the sofa for some time, and took a cup of tea before leaving Buckingham Palace at half-past five. Bertie and Alex could not leave London on account of looking after the guests. Had an escort and an Indian escort. Had others. Had a life, had me. Enormous and enthusiastic crowds on Constitution Hill and in Hyde Park. Set up expectations so it’s all about you (this too, you bet I think that). We drove right on to the grass in the middle of the park, where 30,000 poor children with their schoolmasters and mistresses were assembled. Tents had been pitched for them to dine in, and all sorts of amusements had been provided for them. Each received an earthenware pot with my portrait on it. My face is liquid and it spreads, they suck it up and spit it out, and this does that (so this again). This comes from here and presses back, a ceramic slip that gathers on the surface from inside, from obverse a bruised sheet. I am blotted from underneath and we seep.

Bam, Bam, Bam

Gabriel Loebell Herberstein about how it felt, that 7:1
12.07.14
2 min
Post

Stickige, dunkle, geschmacklose, pseudo-neureiche Trinker-Bar im geschäftigen Berliner Charlottenburg, Leinwand. Brav und diszipliniert noch im Dunst ihrer Alltagswelt sind sie alle gekommen. Einige Duzend weiße Männer mit gegeelter Kurzhaarigelfrisur setzen sich an ihre Plätze, die sie zuvor etwas nervös telefonisch reservieren haben lassen. Die Tore fallen, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam. 5:0. Das erste Tor noch löst ganz leicht die Anspannung. Schnell aber kippt es in eine gruselige Lust an der Demontage und Gnadenlosigkeit, in Schadenfreude, für die sich diese Leute etwas zu schämen scheinen, fassungslos ob der Chance, sich ganz ihrem kriegerischen Übermut hinzugeben zu dürfen. Sie beginnen bedrohlich und überschwänglich zu grölen, sich Kriegs-Siegerrauschhaft zu umarmen. Die Brut wird immer hämischer, schreit in tiefem, hartem Ton “Sieg”. Nasse, gehässige Augen haben sie, Lust an der Chancenlosigkeit und Auflösung des Gegners, ihre Gesichter verzerren und verkrampfen sich im symbolischen Blutrausch wie ein besoffenes Exekutionskommando nach getaner Arbeit. Endlich diese Übersichtlichkeit, verbunden im Sieg! Ich schäme mich hier zu sein, mich mit ihnen über das erste Tor gefreut zu haben, dazuzugehören. Natürlich spielt man weiter, trotz des hohen Vorsprungs an Toren, man bringt es zu Ende, so gut es geht, lässt sich nichts anmerken, so ist das Spielen eben, anstatt der Realität, anstatt des Krieges. Die Tore fielen fast alle innerhalb von 15 Minuten. Ich erinnere mich an die erste Halbzeit gegen Algerien. Erinnerst Du Dich? Der leicht verletzliche, irritierbare Deutsche mit schwachem Selbstwertgefühl der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts rächt sich vielleicht gerade für seine ganz ähnliche, verzweifelte Auflösung und Ohnmacht.

Sarah Diehl
People

For some reason Sarah Diehl frequently ends up in conversations which evoke a combination of discomfort and pleasure, often relief, as a source of a gentle but honest realization.
That’s probably a reason why she ended up researching, filming and lecturing about abortion access since eight years around the world. Based in Berlin she travels through African countries working on her next docfilm portraying women who make safe abortion accessible as a basic right to women’s health, even though it is illegal in their country. She was prone to anarchism anyway, so she started a group who helps Polish women coming to Berlin for accessing safe abortion, for unfortunately it was illegalized over there in the 90s as a sign for new found Catholicism after communism.
Her first novel “Eskimo Limon 9” dealed with an Israeli family moving to a German provincial town. And because she likes to explore how we all feel alienated by life, identity and history (at least we are united in this alienation) her second novel is about the weird parallel-universe of Whitees in sub-saharan Africa, what they still want to imagine as their own private Heart of Darkness.
Her next book to be published this November, “Die Uhr, die nicht ticket”, is non-fiction though, about women, who don’t want to have children and why our society still finds pleasure in cultivating ludicrous stereotypes about them.

Didi and Sarah met in Lagos on her last day there, while she was waiting for her plane.

Jagoda Marinic
People

With Jagoda Marinić you can shout your song into floods of stars … or up to the dirty ceiling of your room … and she’ll make it feel good all the same.
With a slight motion or a single word she lets you sense the thin skin of ideas, ideals or new mornings.
The pitch-black night however is but a hunting lodge to her eyes. She knows about hunting. She knows about getting caught.
She writes novels, Short-Stories, Essays, Non-Fiction-Books.

She is: a beauty, of course.
A rebel, of course.
A scheme in silver.
A blade of meaning.
Tenderness.
A humming sound. A shadow sliding over you.
An inflamed paper boat, send out on the water, for all good wishes.

Pete Wolfendale
People

Pete Wolfendale is an independent scholar based in the north-east of England (though he prefers the term ‘dialectical insurgent’ as it sounds less like ‘unemployed philosopher’). He is at one and the same time a heretical Platonist, an unorthodox Kantian, and a minimalist Hegelian, but he can simply be identified as a rationalist. He is best known for his Deontologistics blog (http://deontologistics.wordpress.com) – distinctive for its extended debates and detailed technical discussions – and the way it has enabled his thought to develop both in public and online.
Wolfendale’s philosophical education took place entirely at the University of Warwick. His PhD thesis offered a re-examination of the Heideggerian Seinsfrage, arguing that Heideggerian scholarship has failed to fully do justice to its philosophical significance, and supplementing the shortcomings in Heidegger’s thought about Being with an alternative formulation of the question. On the way to this new formulation, he introduces the problematic that still orients his thought today: a renewed and unitary understanding of the classical project of metaphysics obtained through an inferentialist analysis of the normative structures of discourse.
Wolfendale’s signal achievement is his strategic mobilization and rational reconstruction of concepts from major figures from the continental tradition (above all, Heidegger, Deleuze and Foucault) which, re-shaped by his nuanced commitment to the Brandomian projects of inferentialist semantics and logical expressivism, are put in the service of an ambitious and revival of rationalism in philosophy and politics, unapologetically proposing contemporary reformulations of classical concepts like Truth, Beauty and Freedom. Wolfendale’s synoptic thought seamlessly extends over the philosophical, political, scientific, and artistic domains, re-injecting a yearning for the construction of large-scale systems in the contemporary philosophical scene, culpable, in his appraisal, of having prematurely abandoned any such systematic ambition in favour of localized, and ineffective, research niches.

Image interpretation: © Y-U-K-I-K-O

Before the Ceremony

03.07.14
2 min
Post

You leave the table too late, make your excuses and head for the showers below deck, leaving too little time before the ceremony, and realising only as you begin to descend the swinging rope ladder that you’ve no idea where the showers are.

You wind your way through the tightly arranged weight-lifting equipment in the gymnasium below and begin to cross the main arena beyond. Hundreds of people are down here below the glass domed ceiling high above, which is a ruinous tangle of warped steel and dangling shards. Rooms, nooks and doors line the perimeter walls and a warren of corridors, gangways and arcades lie beyond. You cross the space, pass by a crumbling fountain and approach a cranny on the other side, illuminated by blue neon and decked with webbing. You ask a woman with short cropped hair and navy blue clothing the way to the shower stalls, and explain your dilemma at length as she leads you part of the way. But the directions are vague and the terrain unsure. Ash and rubble coat the floor, knee-deep in parts. And you think: below deck, the aircraft carrier has been designed to look like Fallujah.

You stumble upon the showers in the back room of a back room. Arranged as a row of vertical chrome pipes in the center of the space, all the showers run constantly, soaking the stools arranged around them, and the clothes piled high upon them. You undress beneath the pitching water and are at once surrounded by old friends who begin to stain your skin by dowsing you in blue and red powders. It’s tradition, you know, to do this before the ceremony, but you convince them to refrain with a few choice words.

Looking for the Attic in the Cellar – REM 1, Dream IV

Image interpretation: © Y-U-K-I-K-O

A Molotov Cocktail on the House

Jamal Ghosn about Venezuela
27.06.14
4 min
Post

The Maintenance Required light in the car’s dashboard should be universally ignored. Its purpose is to irk you and to plant a seed of doubt in your head. Soon after it lights up you start “hearing noises” and then it’s only a matter of time before a car advertisement finishes the job.

One dashboard indicator that should never be ignored, however, is when that capital E lights up.

I hadn’t driven a car in months. It’s my least favorite mode of transportation and not because of its carbon footprint. I just happen to be a fan of the old-fashioned foot footprint and I try to leave mine along the paths I take. Mud paths do the job, but my eyes light up when I see a Wet Concrete sign. The size 45 shoes with worn out grooves are mine. Sorry. I actually had to look inside my shoe to look up its size. It seems as an enough number to remember, but I never do.

Last week a car was left in my custody. It was a Honda and it had the Maintenance Required light on. Puerto Ordaz in eastern Venezuela is not a walking-friendly city. It’s a planned city that was built 60 years ago to house workers in a mining industry that extracts ridiculous amounts of wealth from the Earth core under Venezuela. As with most modern planned cities, wide avenues and hard to access public spaces are incorporated in the design to compartmentalize working class people.

A few months ago, anti-Chavista protesters would block one of these wide avenues on a nightly basis. The protest movement faded but occasional protests still take place. Burning tires is the obstacle of choice for those attempting to block roads. Tires aren’t highly flammable. They are actually doused in gasoline to get the fire going. But once they do catch fire, tires produce a steady plume of thick black smoke that rise to the sky in what I assume is a message of anger. The laws of gravity dictate that what goes up must come down. At that point anger turns into a higher laundry bill for the residents of the area.

I decided to take advantage of the car I had to get to know the city better.

At some point the dashboard E lit up, so I drove up to a Petróleos de Venezuela pump. My choices were either 95 or 91 octane. Half and half was not option. Do you know the right octane level for your car? I still remember that mine is size 45.

I suspect that the No Cellphone sign at the gas station is as bullshit as the no cellphones on an airplane rule, but I did turn off my engine and I did not light a cigarette while the dude pumped my gas tank full.

The pump is slow so let me tell you more about what’s been happening in Puerto Ordaz. Yesterday, a brand new public transport bus was torched allegedly by anti-government protesters. It was the third such incident since I arrived here last month. A series of youtube clips document one of these arson acts of resistance. “Acts of resistance” have also destroyed a number of traffic lights around town. The surviving traffic lights have a built-in countdown timer. I wish this gas pump had a countdown timer. It does have a Total Cost gauge, but it doesn’t seem to be moving much.

5 Bolivars. That was the total I owed for full tank of gas. One US dollar is 50 Bolivars, so that’s 10 US cents for a full Honda tank of gas.

I’m all for government subsidizing the basic needs of citizens, but this seems a bit extreme. I drove off feeling that I had just robbed the Venezuelan people.

This also means that the opposition’s pyromania is subsidize by the socialist government they are trying to burn down.

Cans and Rockets, Part 4

25.06.14
3 min
Post

In February 2014, Chris Woebken and I found ourselves on the way to M.I.T.’s Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about an hour’s travel away from the town of Auburn where Robert H. Goddard had launched his first rocket in 1926.

On a whim, we stopped at a Toys-R-Us and bought a couple of Estes scale model rockets and motors with the intention of playfully re-enacting the launch. Upon arriving we found the historic site, now a golf course, completely covered in snow. We barely managed and were struck by how much it visually resembled the Moon.

One month after, we held the inaugural meeting of the Society for Speculative Rocketry – named in honor of the Berlin Society for Spaceflight – at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center in Chelsea, New York City. The aim of this ongoing artistic research project is to explore the practicalities of model rocketry in an artistic context, in part through building on the work of The Extrapolation Factory, a joint project by Chris Woebken and Elliott P. Montgomery, which provides a framework for speculative thinking.

Eyebeam’s main space was transformed into “the basement of a think-tank”, borrowing widely such as the windows of RAND Corporation, with a view on a virtual Santa Monica beach. Large tables were divided into sections such as ‘speculation’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘vehicle assembly’ and ‘vehicle display’.

After spending half of the day being taught how to build a functional model rocket by a volunteer from the Long Island chapter of the NAR, participants were provided with an array of inspirational material – historical photographs, Tsiolkovsky’s drawings, NASA’s visions of space colonies and more.

Those materials served as triggers for a guided speculation process in which the participants would build a symbolic ‘payload’, an object to go into the tip of the model rocket, a scale model, nested within another scale model.

False memories, alternate presents, visions of the future or of the past. In addition to providing on-site 3D printing we also created a ‘Tsiolkovsky Kit’, a collection of items from the previously mentioned sketches, already in the shape of plastic models, thus short-cutting Tsiolkovsky’s visions and their later miniaturization as a scale model.

Day two, March 16 2014, saw a return to Auburn, MA in order to stage a performative re-enactment of Robert H. Goddard’s launch that had happened on the same day, 88 years ago.

One of the final models we launched was carrying a little camera. Although the camera was extremely light, it considerably altered the flight path of the rocket, making it ascend just a couple dozen feet before the motor burned out and the parachute deployed.

Upon viewing the video, a local expert in rocketry remarked that this flight must have almost perfectly traced Goddard’s first flight, producing the equivalent of a visual record for what wasn’t documented in 1926.

The Society for Speculative Rocketry is in a sense magical thinking through scale models. However, it is also an exploration of the dynamic flows between the wildly different ontologies that all happened within a single discipline of science and technology – roughly 150 years after Jules Verne had first published ‘De la Terre à la Lune’, a fiction which both Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and The Berlin Rocket Society cited as key inspiration.

Iron Dome Cures Baldness

Jamal Ghosn about Israeli Propaganda
25.07.14
3 min

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 5

25.07.14
2 min

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 4

18.07.14
2 min

Bam, Bam, Bam

Gabriel Loebell Herberstein about how it felt, that 7:1
12.07.14
2 min

Before the Ceremony

03.07.14
2 min

A Molotov Cocktail on the House

Jamal Ghosn about Venezuela
27.06.14
4 min

Cans and Rockets, Part 4

25.06.14
3 min