‘Human Swan’ Joins 4,500-Mile Migration to Help Save the Species

rjzimmerman:

Excerpt:

Sacha Dench of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is going to be undertaking the first attempt to fly along with them using only a paramotor. She’ll be taking off with the swans from the Russian high Arctic in the fall and traveling approximately 4,500 miles across 11 countries, ending at their overwintering grounds in the UK. 

The Bewick’s swans who Dench will be accompanying are endangered and their numbers have dropped dramatically over the past 20 years. Now researchers from the University of Exeter, who are part of the expedition team, are trying to learn more about exactly why so few are surviving.

According to the research team, between 1995 and 2010 the number of swans making this migration has fallen by more than a third from 29,000 to just 18,000. Some of the threats they’re now facing include a loss of wetland habitat, development, energy exploration, being hunted and climate change.

‘Human Swan’ Joins 4,500-Mile Migration to Help Save the Species

On WEIRD Cultural Beliefs, Anthropologists’ Wizard-envy and the Skeptical Native"

anthropology, ontology, magic, skepticism, culture, reality, David-Graeber, RAW, OT

Graeber concludes his piece by explaining that his saying as an anthropologist – like his informants themselves said – that certain spirit-charms probably didn’t work, actually allows for the possibility that other charms might do so. Skepticism about magic is thus a necessary part of its possibility, and we actually take the ‘radically other’ possibilities of our research participants’ worlds more seriously when we recognize that they are often just as hard-to-swallow, inconclusive, weird or paradoxical for our research participants themselves.

via https://perfumedskull.com/2015/12/11/on-weird-cultural-beliefs-anthropologists-wizard-envy-and-the-skeptical-native/#more–729

In the forthcoming Moon & Serpent Bumper Book of Magic we argue that consciousness, preceded by language, preceded by…

magic, Alan Moore, consciousness

In the forthcoming Moon& Serpent Bumper Book of Magic we argue that consciousness, preceded by language, preceded by representation (and thus art) were all phenomena arising at around the same momentous juncture of human development and that all of these would be perceived as magic, an umbrella term encompassing the radical new concepts born of our discovery of our new, inner world.

This allows us to offer a definition of magic as a ‘purposeful engagement with the phenomena and possibilities of consciousness’. We then go on to argue that originally, all of human thought and culture was subsumed within the magic worldview, with the advent of urban society and the rise of specialised professionals gradually stripping magic of its social functions.

Organised religions first removed its spiritual capacity, while an attendant rise of authors, artisans and artists would remove its role as the dispensing source of vision. Viziers usurped the shaman’s tribal role as a political consultant. This left the still-vital functions of alchemical research, healing and the investigation of the inner world as fruitful areas of magical endeavour until the Renaissance and the advent of the Age of Reason delegated the first two of these to the emerging fields of science and medicine, and around 1910 the third was rendered obsolete by Freud and Jung’s new ‘science’ of psychiatry.

We suggest that the entirety of the culture in which we currently reside is no less than the dismembered corpse of magic (although somehow still with a seeming capacity for speech) and that this no-doubt necessary process is exemplified by the alchemic principle of Solvé, or analysis.

Our thesis is that what is now required is a complementary process of Coagula, or synthesis, in order to complete this all-important formula. To this end, we propose that art and magic should be more closely connected to the massive benefit of both endeavours, as argued in my essay Fossil Angels, and that the next step should be to enhance the existing bond between the arts and sciences, including psychiatry, which I have elsewhere characterised, not disrespectfully, as ‘occultism in a lab coat’.

The final, most important and most problematic step would be to foster a connection between science and politics, ensuring that political decisions are made in the light of current scientific understanding, utilising the advances science has made in, for example, conflict resolution, to the betterment of humankind in general.

To finally answer your question, one of the many things that magic offers is a plausible and, I believe, rational worldview in which science, psychology and all the other fields mentioned above are joined up and connected meaningfully into the all-embracing, one-stop science of existence they first emerged from. (Paracelsus, pretty much the father of most modern medical procedure, was also the first person to employ the term ‘unconscious’, some four hundred years before its subsequent appropriation by psychoanalysis.)

With magic, at least as we define it, the chief benefit in terms of relating to the world is that it offers us a coherent and sensibly integrated world with which to relate. Also, unlike the other fields of enterprise mentioned above, excepting only art and creativity, magic is centred wholly on the principles of ecstasy and transformation, things we believe to be the pivot of human experience and therefore sorely lacking in contemporary society.

Alan Moore: The Art of Magic

They don’t use the data as an explanation, they fold the data and its implications into a wider view of reality. …the gnostics…

They don’t use the data as an explanation, they fold the data and its implications into a wider view of reality.

…the gnostics were writing their own myths. They riffed off Old Testament and later Jesus stories; repeating some components, combining others, inventing new ones. The act of doing so appears to have been some sort of mystic ritual.

Solving Prometheus – The Most AstroGnostic Film Ever?
(viam1k3y)

An empty book, placed on a wet floor in the leaking building - slowly, the pages will be covered with the language of…

zwart24:

An empty book, placed on a wet floor in the leaking building -

slowly, the pages will be covered with the language of water and mud

part of   X  LES VIES ABSENTES  X

30 april 2016

\

z\w\a\r\t\24: a long term project of Z\W\A\R\T magazine in this building:

“The abandoned building KKN24 is located on Buitenplaats Koningsweg a former military base in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
The building was a sleeping-quarter for soldiers, 4 in one room. 39 Rooms in the whole building. The building is waiting to be demolished, meanwhile it transforms back to nature. In october 2014 artist BiOP got permission to use the building for site-specific artworks. He invites several artists to transmute the building and their artwork, 24hours a day. [ ]
During Code Rood ( Code Red) the art and the building can be visited (every last saturday).”

Source: Transmute24 Facebookpage
https://www.facebook.com/transmute24
https://www.flickr.com/photos/transmute24/

follow the Z\W\A\R\T project on this blog, with many more photos: http://zwart24.tumblr.com/

_9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9: the mysterious tale terrifying Reddit

fiction, metafiction, review, reddit, storytelling, narrative, sci-fi, conspiracy, _9MOTHER9HORSE9EY

The user continued to post about topics including Vietnam, Elizabeth Bathory, the Treblinka concentration camp, humpback whales, the Manson Family and LSD, but especially about the inexplicable “flesh interfaces”, being built somehow by shadowy programmes. A Reddit user might chance upon a single one of these posts in one of their ordinary discussion threads, but clicking on the username of _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 would let you view all their posts in aggregate, and there, a compelling science-fiction horror story was beginning to emerge, gradually more beautifully and boldly written from multiple narrative perspectives, but with a common mystery.

via https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/05/9mother9horse9eyes9-the-mysterious-tale-terrifying-reddit

Coming from the dense urban context of Italy, where he grew up in Turin, Soleri found American cities to be anathema, their…

“Coming from the dense urban context of Italy, where he grew up in Turin, Soleri found American cities to be anathema, their auto-centric planning “a fathomless sinkhole for immense waste”. Cities designed around cars, he said, had the effect of producing “not mobility, but a hermitage of the single home in an ever-increasing sea of single units, a dreadful flat-land of self-denial, courtesy of the great fiction of self-sufficiency.” Spread people out into “a square-mile thin pancake,” he said, and you end up with “a slimy veneer of organic matter of no use to you or the observer puzzled by the thin, gooey-drip man. Suburbias and exurbias are promoters of ‘slime’.””

Oliver Wainwright, ‘Arcosanti – the unfinished answer to suburban sprawl’ (2016)

Wi-Fi hotspot named ‘detonation device’ causes bomb scare at Melbourne airport

technolgy, terror, errorism, security, security-theatre

A poorly-named Wi-Fi hotspot sparked a security scare on a Qantas flight and prompted about 50 terrified passengers to refuse to fly. The hotspot name - Mobile Detonation Device — was spotted by a female passenger who saw it on her phone’s Wi-Fi menu before the plane left Melbourne airport.

via http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/02/wi-fi-hotspot-named-detonation-device-causes-bomb-scare-at-melbo/

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’

rjzimmerman:

Excerpt:

In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems.

One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.

“We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,” lamented Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, the tribe to which most Isle de Jean Charles residents belong. “It’s all going to be history.”

The Isle de Jean Charles resettlement plan is one of the first programs of its kind in the world, a test of how to respond to climate change in the most dramatic circumstances without tearing communities apart. Under the terms of the federal grant, the island’s residents are to be resettled to drier land and a community that as of now does not exist. All funds have to be spent by 2022.

Amiya Brunet, 3, on the bridge that leads to her home, which fills with up to a foot of mud during storms. Her parents, Keith Brunet and Keisha McGehee, would like to leave the island.

An abandoned boat in front of the home of Marq Naquin and Ochxia Naquin, who say they plan to stay on the island. The location of the new community has not yet been chosen, and moving is voluntary. Credit Josh Haner/The New York Times

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’

Observations of climate change among subsistence-oriented communities around the world

rjzimmerman:

This isn’t a scientific study done in a lab or with computer models. Instead, it’s based on on-site observations in hundreds of places around the globe, showing us significant changes to local conditions already being experienced, mostly by indigenous peoples. This has to be an important study.

Here’s the extract from the research paper:

The study of climate change has been based strongly on data collected from instruments, but how local people perceive such changes remains poorly quantified. We conducted a meta-analysis of climatic changes observed by subsistence-oriented communities. Our review of 10,660 observations from 2,230 localities in 137 countries shows that increases in temperature and changes in seasonality and rainfall patterns are widespread (≈70% of localities across 122 countries). Observations of increased temperature show patterns consistent with simulated trends in surface air temperature taken from the ensemble average of CMIP5 models, for the period 1955–2005. Secondary impacts of climatic changes on both wild and domesticated plants and animals are extensive and threaten the food security of subsistence-oriented communities. Collectively, our results suggest that climate change is having profound disruptive effects at local levels and that local observations can make an important contribution to understanding the pervasiveness of climate change on ecosystems and societies.

Here’s an example of one of the maps. I know it’s tough to read. If you link into the article you can see the map with more clarity.

Observations of climate change among subsistence-oriented communities around the world

David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

bureaucracy, book, book-review, David-Graeber

Bureaucracy is a utopian project: like all utopians, capitalist bureaucrats (whether in private- or public-sector) believe that humans can be perfected by modifying their behavior according to some ideal, and blame anyone who can’t live up to that ideal for failing to do so. Bureaucracy begets bureaucracy. Every effort to do away with bureaucracy ends up with more bureaucracy.

via http://boingboing.net/2015/02/02/david-graebers-the-utopia-of.html

Financial Times; Apr 2, 2001

FT, Starlab, FoAM, reearch, pranks, Mars, deep-future

Beyond the financial hurdles, the centre’s determination to fund offbeat projects such as the Foundation of Affordable Mysticism - an association of artists and technologists exploring new modes of artistic expression - has prompted some critics to question whether Starlab is a group of pranksters masquerading as serious scientists. Time machines and teleportation modules may have great implications in the deep future but few realistic applications in the here and now.

via http://web.archive.org/web/20010823073007/globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=010402010132&query=Starlab

Sonic hedgehog (SHH)

biology, naming, names, metabolism, morphogen, morphogenesis, growth

Sonic hedgehog is one of three proteins in the mammalian signaling pathway family called hedgehog, the others being desert hedgehog (DHH) and Indian hedgehog (IHH). SHH is the best studied ligand of the hedgehog signaling pathway. It plays a key role in regulating vertebrate organogenesis, such as in the growth of digits on limbs and organization of the brain. Sonic hedgehog is the best established example of a morphogen as defined by Lewis Wolpert’s French flag model—a molecule that diffuses to form a concentration gradient and has different effects on the cells of the developing embryo depending on its concentration.

via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_hedgehog#Controversy_surrounding_name

Characterization of the major odor-active compounds in Thai durian ( Durio zibethinus L. ‘Monthong’)

Pubmed, durian, food, flavour, chemistry, taste, smell, AEDA, SHGCO

An aroma extract dilution analysis applied on the volatile fraction isolated from Thai durian by solvent extraction and solvent-assisted flavor evaporation resulted in 44 odor-active compounds in the flavor dilution (FD) factor range of 1-16384, 41 of which could be identified and 24 that had not been reported in durian before. High FD factors were found for ethyl (2S)-2-methylbutanoate (fruity; FD 16384), ethyl cinnamate (honey; FD 4096), and 1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethanethiol (roasted onion; FD 1024), followed by 1-(ethyldisulfanyl)-1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethane (sulfury, onion), 2(5)-ethyl-4-hydroxy-5(2)-methylfuran-3(2H)-one (caramel), 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethylfuran-2(5H)-one (soup seasoning), ethyl 2-methylpropanoate (fruity), ethyl butanoate (fruity), 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol (skunky), ethane-1,1-dithiol (sulfury, durian), 1-(methylsulfanyl)ethanethiol (roasted onion), 1-(ethylsulfanyl)propane-1-thiol (roasted onion), and 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethylfuran-3(2H)-one (caramel). Among the highly volatile compounds screened by static headspace gas chromatography-olfactometry, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg), acetaldehyde (fresh, fruity), methanethiol (rotten, cabbage), ethanethiol (rotten, onion), and propane-1-thiol (rotten, durian) were found as additional potent odor-active compounds. Fourteen of the 41 characterized durian odorants showed an alkane-1,1-dithiol, 1-(alkylsulfanyl)alkane-1-thiol, or 1,1-bis(alkylsulfanyl)alkane structure derived from acetaldehyde, propanal, hydrogen sulfide, and alkane-1-thiols. Among these, 1-(propylsulfanyl)ethanethiol, 1-{[1-(methylsulfanyl)ethyl]sulfanyl}ethanethiol, and 1-{[1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethyl]sulfanyl}ethanethiol were reported for the first time in a natural product.

via http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23088286

Bernhard Edmaier | Maelifellsander, Iceland - "Bright green moss has colonized a hill in the middle of Maelifellsandur, a black…

Bernhard Edmaier | Maelifellsander, Iceland -
“Bright green moss has colonized a hill in the middle of Maelifellsandur, a black desert of lava and volcanic ash in Iceland. The hill is all what remains of a once active cinder cone, ground down by ice of the nearby retreating Maelifell glacier” by sornmagazine (via https://www.instagram.com/p/BE5e3rUw1sm/)

OverviewCityscapes feature with Super Architects: The planned city of La Plata – the capital city of the Province of Buenos…

dailyoverview:

#OverviewCityscapes feature with Super Architects:

The planned city of La Plata – the capital city of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina – is characterized by its strict, square grid pattern. At the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, the new city was awarded two gold medals in the categories ‘City of the Future’ and ‘Better Performance Built’.

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1Z0nWQo

34°55′16″S 57°57′16″W

Source imagery: DigitalGlobe

Blockchains could become merely a new technique to ensure the continuation of banking hegemony in its current form. That would…

“Blockchains could become merely a new technique to ensure the continuation of banking hegemony in its current form. That would be one of those final plot twists which leaves everybody thinking that although they enjoyed most of the show, the ending was so disappointing they now wish they hadn’t bothered.”

John Lanchester, ‘When Bitcoin Grows Up’ (2016)

The Geographical Oddity of Null Island

geography, geomancy, imagination, places, null, errorism, data, corruption, correlation

Null Island is an imaginary island located at 0°N 0°E (hence “Null”) in the South Atlantic Ocean. This point is where the Equator meets the Prime Meridian. The concept of the island originated in 2011 when it was drawn into Natural Earth, a public domain map dataset developed by volunteer cartographers and GIS analysts. In creating a one-square meter plot of land at 0°N 0°E in the digital dataset, Null Island was intended to help analysts flag errors in a process known as “geocoding.”

via https://blogs.loc.gov/maps/2016/04/the-geographical-oddity-of-null-island/

The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn’t eating the world

mostlysignssomeportents:

Mathematician/economist Eric R Weinstein is managing director of Thiel Capital, but that doesn’t mean that he thinks capitalism has a future.

In a short, but wide-ranging essay in Edge’s Annual Question series (this year’s question is “What do you consider the most interesting recent [scientific] news? What makes it important?”), Weinstein talks about the fundamentally transformative nature of software-based societies and the challenges they put to the nature of work and economics.

First, Weinstein looks at the impact of software-driven automation on labor and education. Previous cycles of automation have displaced some repetitive work while creating new and better forms of labor in the long run (weavers put out of work by looms, new textile industries created by cheap fabric). But software consists of two kinds of automation: doing repetitive work; and doing “rube goldberg-like processes that happen once,” and mostly, they do the former. Since that’s also what teachers, lawyers, doctors, and software engineers do, meaning that the new software economy displaces far more people – and leaves behind a very small number of opportunities for people who are good at thinking up and executing “rube goldberg-like processes that happen once” (like writing novels or founding Facebook).

He says this leads to ever-more-lavish rewards for successful rube-goldbergers, but disaster for people who use “stable and cyclical work to feed families.”

Next up is software’s intrinsic nature as a “public good” (a good that is inexhaustible and non-excludable – something everyone can use, including people who didn’t pay for it). Historically, he argues, public goods were a minority of the goods we relied on, and we taxed everything else to pay for them. But software (and 3D printers) shift an ever-greater percentage of useful goods into the public good category, leaving a dwindling rump of excludable/rivalrous things that can be used as the raw fodder for market economies.

The result, he says, is an insurmountable challenge to market capitalism (for which “there is as yet no known alternative”). This leads central banks and governments, who have no idea what to do next, propping up markets with “gimmicks” like quantitative easing, while the real economy melts down around them.

http://boingboing.net/2016/04/22/the-gimmick-economy-how-centr.html

The Letlhakane Diamond Mine is located in Botswana roughly 190 kilometers (120 mi) west of the city of Francistown. The open pit…

dailyoverview:

The Letlhakane Diamond Mine is located in Botswana roughly 190 kilometers (120 mi) west of the city of Francistown. The open pit mine produces 3.6 million tons of ore and an additional 15 million tons of waste rock each year. Diamond mines in Botswana are often considered to be the richest in the world, a figure that takes into account the rate of diamond extraction combined with the quality of the diamonds that are mined (sale price per weight).

21°31′13″S 25°41′20″E

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1QATIxs

Source imagery: DigitalGlobe

“anti-surveillance” in the most spectacular, hey-look-at-me, Dutch performance-artist kinda way

art, surveillance, NL

*When you wanna be “anti-surveillance” in the most spectacular, hey-look-at-me, Dutch performance-artist kinda way

The Ray Cat Solution

Long-Now, 10000, nuclear, radioactivity, genetic-engineering, bioart, 1981

Philosophers Françoise Bastide and Paolo Fabbri were part of the Human Interference Task Force, employed by the US Department of Energy and Bechtel Corp at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in 1981. Their solution consisted of two steps. The first step is to engineer a cat that changes colours in response to radioactivity. The second is to establish a culture around these cats, in which the theme is: If your cat changes colour, you should move somewhere else.

via http://www.theraycatsolution.com/#10000

Peer review: Troubled from the start

Nature, peer-review, science, knowledge, legitimation, public-perception, process, history, culture

‘Peer review’ was a term borrowed from the procedures that government agencies used to decide who would receive financial support for scientific and medical research. When 'referee systems’ turned into 'peer review’, the process became a mighty public symbol of the claim that these powerful and expensive investigators of the natural world had procedures for regulating themselves and for producing consensus, even though some observers quietly wondered whether scientific referees were up to this grand calling. Current attempts to reimagine peer review rightly debate the psychology of bias, the problem of objectivity, and the ability to gauge reliability and importance, but they rarely consider the multilayered history of this institution. Peer review did not develop simply out of scientists’ need to trust one another’s research. It was also a response to political demands for public accountability. To understand that other practices of scientific judgement were once in place ought to be a part of any responsible attempt to chart a future path. The imagined functions of this institution are in flux, but they were never as fixed as many believe.

via http://www.nature.com/news/peer-review-troubled-from-the-start–1.19763?WT.mc_id=SFB_NNEWS_1508_RHBox