Monastery vs. unMonastery

Edgeryders, community, benedictine, Monastery, secularism, social structure, unMonastery, long termi

Most hackers, activists and social innovators and unMonasterians take solace in their work too. Like monks, unMonasterians believe their work is important, but only very few think it will single-handedly “change the world”. Almost all projects within our reach are quite small. And yet, they feel important. Even the smallest and least influential open source project encodes a better world: the sharing of knowledge, generosity with one’s time, the attempt to make the world ever so slightly better and more free. Like monks, unMonasterians don’t do work because they think it is all-important and world-changing: they do it because they like to, because it makes them into the people they want to be.

https://edgeryders.eu/en/monastery-vs-unmonastery-reflecting-on-a-deep-conversation-with-father

CIA Fact Sheet Regarding the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program December 9, 2014 Related…

icontherecord:

CIA Fact Sheet Regarding the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program

December 9, 2014


Related Documents:


The Detention and Interrogation Program Ended in 2009 and Will Not Be Renewed at CIA:

  • President Obama ended the detention and interrogation program nearly six years ago in 2009.
  • The use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) by CIA ended in December 2007, and was subsequently prohibited by an Executive Order issued by President Obama when he took office in January 2009.
  • The President also directed that CIA no longer operate detention facilities and banned the use of all interrogation techniques that are not in the Army Field Manual for those held in U.S. custody or under the effective control of the United States in any armed conflict.
  • It is Director Brennan’s resolute intention to ensure that Agency officers scrupulously adhere to these directives, which the Director fully supports.

History:

  • The detention and interrogation program was authorized by President George W. Bush six days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, reviewed and determined to be lawful by the Justice Department, and implemented by the CIA.
  • The program was one part of a global counter-terrorism effort undertaken by CIA to dismantle al-Qa’ida and prevent another mass-casualty strike on American soil.

CIA’s Response Acknowledges Serious Mistakes:

  • CIA’s 2013 response (found at www.cia.gov) to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study acknowledges that the program had shortcomings and the Agency made mistakes. The most serious problems occurred early on and stemmed from the fact that the Agency was unprepared and lacked the core competencies required to undertake an unprecedented program of detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists around the world.
  • In carrying out that program, CIA did not always live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves and that the American people expect of us.
  • CIA has owned up to these mistakes, learned from them, and taken numerous corrective actions over the years. Further improvements to CIA practices continue to be made today as a result of our review of the SSCI Study.

The Program Produced Valuable and Unique Intelligence:

  • The Agency takes no position on whether intelligence obtained from detainees who were subjected to EITs could have been obtained through other means or from other individuals. The answer to this question is, and will remain, unknowable.
  • However, CIA reviews indicate that the program, including interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used, did produce valuable and unique intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives. Tab C of the Agency’s response addresses this issue in detail.
  • CIA’s position on the value of information derived from detainees is not an endorsement of the policy decision to use EITs or an “ends-justify-the-means” case for them, but merely a reflection of the historical record.
  • CIA assesses that most of the 20 case studies cited in the SSCI Study and the Agency’s representations about them remain valid examples of the program’s effectiveness, although CIA has acknowledged some flaws in its past representations.

Bin Ladin Example:

  • For instance, information that CIA obtained from detainees played a role, in combination with other streams of intelligence, in finding Usama Bin Ladin.
  • Information from detainees in CIA custody relating to the involvement of courier Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti in delivering messages to and from Bin Ladin fundamentally changed our assessment of his potential importance to our hunt for Bin Ladin.
  • As an example, Ammar al-Baluchi, after undergoing EITs, was the first detainee to reveal that Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti served as a courier for messages from Bin Ladin after Bin Laden had departed Afghanistan. Before that, CIA had only general information that Abu Ahmad had interacted with Bin Ladin before the group’s retreat from Tora Bora in late 2001, when Bin Ladin was relatively accessible to a number of al-Qa’ida figures.
  • This information prompted CIA to re-question other detainees on Abu Ahmad’s role, to review previous reporting in light of this information, and to increase the focus of Abu Ahmad’s role in our questioning. CIA then combined this information with reporting from other streams to build a profile of Abu Ahmad’s experiences, family, and characteristics that allowed us to eventually determine his true name and location.

CIA Representations to Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Public Regarding the Program:

  • CIA disagrees with the Study’s inference that the CIA systematically and intentionally misrepresented the program to Congress, others in the Executive Branch, and the media.
  • The Agency’s record is not perfect – there were instances where representations about the program that were used or approved by Agency officers were inaccurate, imprecise, or fell short of Agency tradecraft standards — but the factual record does not support the inference in the Study that the Agency conspired to intentionally mislead the Congress or others regarding the effectiveness of the program.
  • Within the limits on access established by the White House, CIA made a good faith effort to keep Congressional oversight committee leaders fully briefed on the program.
  • CIA also facilitated multiple reviews by its own Inspector General (IG), whose reports allowed Agency leaders to address a number of the same shortcomings noted in the SSCI report.
  • Despite some flaws in CIA’s representations of effectiveness, the overall nature and value of the program, including the manner in which interrogations were carried out and the IG’s findings about the program’s shortcomings, were accurately portrayed to CIA’s Executive and Legislative Branch overseers, as well as the Justice Department.

CIA’s Response Included Recommendations Based on a Review of the Study:

  • While there are no specific recommendations for CIA improvement in the SSCI Study, CIA developed its own recommendations based a review of the concerns raised in the Study. CIA has made substantial progress implementing these recommendations, including:
    • To better plan and manage sensitive programs, CIA has codified a requirement to explicitly address at the outset lines of authority, resources, the implications of public disclosure, and an exit strategy.
    • CIA is improving how it assesses the effectiveness of its sensitive programs and has instituted a process for determining which assignments entail particularly sensitive responsibilities requiring enhanced vetting of CIA officers being considered for those assignments.
    • CIA has created a mechanism to ensure it regularly revalidates and, as necessary, updates the factual basis for the legal guidance on which it relies from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
    • CIA has established a requirement that internal accountability boards do not focus exclusively on individual misconduct, but look more broadly at any systemic problems.

CIA’s Response Takes an Introspective Look at the Past with an Eye towards the Future:

  • CIA has learned many lessons over the years from this chapter in its history, and the Agency is stronger as a result. The SSCI Study is no exception.
  • Nevertheless, CIA must ensure the SSCI Study doesn’t undermine the confidence of officers charged with executing current or future Presidential directives and hopes that, in the future, such reports can be the result of collaborative, bi-partisan investigations.
  • CIA sincerely hopes that, as a result of the Committee’s work and our subsequent review and response, we can move forward in our efforts to address successfully the many national security challenges facing our nation. By learning from the past while focusing on the future, we will be best able to meet our responsibility to protect the American people.

Via CIA.gov

Release of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report Press Statement — John Kerry, Secretary of State December 9, 2014 …

icontherecord:

Release of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report

Press Statement —John Kerry,Secretary of State

December 9, 2014

Release of this report affirms again that one of America’s strengths is our democratic system’s ability to recognize and wrestle with our own history, acknowledge mistakes, and correct course. This marks a coda to a chapter in our history. President Obama turned the page on these policies when he took office and during week one banned the use of torture and closed the detention and interrogation program. It was right to end these practices for a simple but powerful reason: they were at odds with our values. They are not who we are, and they’re not who or what we had to become, because the most powerful country on earth doesn’t have to choose between protecting our security and promoting our values.

Now this report sheds light on this period that’s more than five years behind us, so we can discuss and debate our history – and then look again to the future.

As that debate is joined, I want to underscore that while it’s uncomfortable and unpleasant to reexamine this period, it’s important that this period not define the intelligence community in anyone’s minds. Every single day, the State Department and our diplomats and their families are safer because of the men and women of the CIA and the Intelligence Community. They sign up to serve their country the same way our diplomats and our military do. They risk their lives to keep us safe and strengthen America’s foreign policy and national security. The awful facts of this report do not represent who they are, period. That context is also important to how we understand history.

Via State.gov

A lot of my life is lived as part of this stringy confederation of nerds interested in perception over distance and mediated by…

“A lot of my life is lived as part of this stringy confederation of nerds interested in perception over distance and mediated by algorithms, in the river rapids where culture flows around protuberant lumps of technology, in volition and encoding, in the connections, separations, and flavors of the network itself, in scale, in long chains of molecules and routes of IP packets and corten containers and coffee beans, and in the submerged cathedrals and unmapped data halls that they build. And I make fun of us, our rhizome or distributed pocket, with jokes about James C. Scott and so forth. But I feel the weight when I wonder whether the children who sorted the beans I’m drinking were singing.”

Charlie Loyd, ‘6, 35: Moonlight’ (2014)

One version of the history of modern medicine is written around the growth of the diagnostic enterprise: physicals, serologies,…

One version of the history of modern medicine is written around the growth of the diagnostic enterprise: physicals, serologies, radiologic cross-sections. Rightly or wrongly, we’ve been conditioned to trust visions of our health informed by the perspective of this third eye. A credible diagnosis increasingly relies on objective data that allows us to sense the body beyond its obvious borders, to peer into it and through it.

This fetish extends beyond the clinic as well. The ideal of the tricorder, for instance, a palm-sized scanner designed to detect a universal range of pathologies first posited by the Star Trek franchise and further mythologized by the X Prize Foundation as medicine’s next holy grail, supports this equation between mechanical assessments and the optimization of our well-being. The quantified self movement, as embodied by a diverse array of commercially available wristlet-pedometers and data-management apps, offers another compelling example of our penchant for deriving self-worth from our digital reflections.

More and more, we turn to devices to help us explain the generalized tenderness of our flesh. However keenly we suffer, however cleanly that suffering fits into our common nosology, each of us is inevitably captivated by the elaborate workings of our own insides. Whether or not we strictly need this information, pleasure is built into the unveiling – the thrill of reflexive comprehension, another small truth made naked. Diagnosis as a synaptic connection doubles as an emotional one, renewing the intimacy of self-knowledge, and of being known.

Nitin K. Ahuja, “Softer than Softcore” (viathenewinquiry)

"So why are all of these strange references on the Nostromo’s emergency destruct keyboard? Well, according to the Alien…

alien, typography, occult, blavatsky, agaric fly, pranic lift 777, keyboard, interface, UX, UI, HCI

“So why are all of these strange references on the Nostromo’s emergency destruct keyboard? Well, according to the Alien Explorations blog, designer Simon Deering needed some complex-sounding labels for the keyboard at short notice. He was reading The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher and occultist, at the time of filming. Blavatsky’s book attempts to explain the origin and evolution of the universe in terms derived from the Hindu concept of cyclical development. Deering found his inspiration in its pages, and the Nostromo’s odd keyboard was born.”

Once the program started in earnest, Soviet flight doctors winnowed down a pool of hundreds of applicants from the broadcaster’s…

“Once the program started in earnest, Soviet flight doctors winnowed down a pool of hundreds of applicants from the broadcaster’s employees to two final candidates: Kikuchi Ryoko, a 26 year-old camerawoman whose hobbies included mountain climbing, cycling, and skiing, and Akiyama, a 48 year-old senior editor whose hobbies appeared limited to chronic overtime and a four-pack-a-day cigarette habit. Given the era, the final decision shouldn’t come as any surprise. Akiyama was an ideal “every man” in a society where middle-aged men essentially called all the shots. Thus it was that a chain-smoking, over-the-hill salaryman came to carry the entirety of TBS’ multimillion dollar investment on his shoulders.”

» Japan’s Forgotten First Astronaut:: Néojaponisme » Blog Archive (viaiamdanw)

qaul.net – قول

activism, OSS, art, network, hacktivism, security, decentralised, decentre

qaul.net implements a redundant, open communication principle, in which wireless-enabled computers and mobile devices can directly form a spontaneous network. Text messaging, file sharing and voice calls are possible independent of internet and cellular networks. Qaul.net can spread like a virus, and an Open Source Community can modify it freely. In a time of communication blackouts in places like Egypt, Burma, and Tibet, and given the large power outages often caused by natural disasters, qaul.net has taken on the challenge of critically examining existing communication pathways while simultaneously exploring new horizons.

http://www.qaul.net/text_en.html

Christian Schad, Schadograph, 1919 Although cameraless photography had been used since the birth of the medium, it was largely…

chagalov:

Christian Schad,Schadograph, 1919

Although cameraless photography had been used since the birth of the medium, it was largely abandoned until the early 20th century, when it was re-invigorated by such figures as Christian Schad, László Moholy-Nagy, and Man Ray. This renewed interest is most often attributed to Man Ray in 1922, but the artist Christian Schad had been using the photogram process for his Dada-inspired work since 1919.

Schad was known primarily as a painter and proponent of Neue Sachlichkeit prior to his brief involvement in Zurich Dada in the late 1910s. In true Dada fashion, he took the photogram out of the realm of traditional art subjects by placing such detritus as scraps of paper and fabric onto light-sensitive paper, resulting in his so-called Schadographs. The name Schadograph was coined by Dada leader Tristan Tzara, as a play on both the artist’s name and ‘the shadowlike character of the pictures’ (Experimental Vision, p. 9).

photo and note from Sotheby’s
Catalogue : 175 Masterworks To Celebrate 175 Years Of Photography: Property from Joy of Giving Something Foundation (Sotheby’s, 11-12 Dec. 2014)

When we do think about technology’s moral implications, we tend to think about what we do with a given technology. We might call…

When we do think about technology’s moral implications, we tend to think about what we do with a given technology. We might call this the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” approach to the ethics of technology. What matters most about a technology on this view is the use to which it is put. This is, of course, a valid consideration. A hammer may indeed be used to either build a house or bash someones head in. On this view, technology is morally neutral and the only morally relevant question is this: What will I do with this tool?

But is this really the only morally relevant question one could ask? For instance, pursuing the example of the hammer, might I not also ask how having the hammer in hand encourages me to perceive the world around me? Or, what feelings having a hammer in hand arouses?

Do Artifacts Have Ethics? | The Frailest Thing (viadesignedconflictterritories)

Appropriately enough, a small lunar soil sample made the trip back into orbit aboard Orion along with a part from an Apollo…

space, fetishism

“Appropriately enough, a small lunar soil sample made the trip back into orbit aboard Orion along with a part from an Apollo lunar suit and a variety of other mementos, including a “Star Trek” Captain Kirk action figure and an assortment of flags, medallions, patches and pins, according to collectSPACE.”

Orion capsule completes epic space journey | Spaceflight Now (viaiamdanw)

Ghosts used to be either the likeness of the dead or wraiths of the living. But here in the Zone categories have been blurred…

ghosts, the zone, light, darkness, uncertainty, memory, pynchon, hauntology

“Ghosts used to be either the likeness of the dead or wraiths of the living. But here in the Zone categories have been blurred badly. The status of the name you miss, love, and search for now has grown ambiguous and remote, but this is even more than the bureaucracy of mass absence- some still live, some have died, but many, many have forgotten which they are. Their likenesses will not serve. Down here are only wrappings left in the light, in the dark: images of the Uncertainty…”

Thomas Pynchon,Gravity’s Rainbow

Anarchist Themes in the Work of Elinor Ostrom

commons, economics, common pool resourses, Ostrom, decentralisation, anarchism

The Governance of Common Pool Resources. Ostrom begins by noting the problem of natural resource depletion—what she calls “common pool resources”—and then goes on to survey three largely complementary (“closely related concepts”) major theories that attempt to explain “the many problems that individuals face when attempting to achieve collective benefits”: Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons,” the prisoner’s dilemma, and Olson’s “logic of collective action.”

http://c4ss.org/content/23644

Wine and insect pairing guide

wine, insects, food, food pairing, wine paring, taste, flavour, UN, locusts, scorpion, crickets, ant

BBQ Locusts: To offset the punchy flavors of barbecue, one of the more popular ways to prepare locusts, you need a wine with a hint of sweetness, say experts at Laithwaite’s. A light bubbly pink like the Hacienda de Lluna Moscatel would work well, they suggest.
Asian Forest Scorpion: To offset the strong, bitter flavor of this venomous critter, in Asia scorpions are often prepared with a sweet chili sauce. Try a rosé that’s bold enough to cut through sweet and sour flavors, like a Paris Street Rose, made with Pinot Noir.
Crickets: One of the most common flavorings for crickets is a simple garlic and salt rub. A Spanish Albarino is the perfect match, experts say, as the full-bodied white brings out the nuttiness of crickets while its terroir, the seaside of Galicia, is also evocative of the salty sea air.

http://www.wort.lu/en/panorama/add-buzz-to-your-dinner-party-british-wine-experts-create-wine-and-insect-pairing-guide-5481b81b0c88b46a8ce444e9

Typhoon Hagupit, seen here by moonlight on the early morning of the 5th, is approaching the Philippines. It’s about 550 km (350…

Typhoon Hagupit, seen here by moonlight on the early morning of the 5th, is approaching the Philippines. It’s about 550 km (350 mi) across, nearing the central Philippines to the west, where it’s forecast to make landfall on Saturday. Many of the areas in its path are still recovering from the record-breaking Supertyphoon Haiyan, more than a year ago.

Experts say that while it’s not as intense as Haiyan, Hagupit (known locally as Typhoon Ruby) is likely to cross the Philippine islands unusually slowly. That will mean powerful winds will last longer and more rain will fall. Some mountainous areas may receive as much as 50 cm (20 inches) of rain over 2–3 days. After the worst is past, supplies may be slow to reach hard-hit areas, because travel will be difficult for longer than usual. The coast guard has already suspended sea traffic, and predicts storm surges of up to 4 m (13 ft) in some areas. Half a million people have evacuated as of late on the 4th, with more expected as it’s made mandatory in some landslide-prone areas.

This image is from the VIIRS sensor on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)’s Suomi-NPP satellite. Its “day-night band” is sensitive enough to work even during the night half of its orbit. The city lights of Manila (population 25 million) are faintly visible on the coastline in the west of this view, where the land appears dark against the moonlit water. Near the eye of the typhoon is a bright stripe, which shows a lightning strike at exactly the instant the sensor swept over that point. (via http://instagram.com/p/wPbR5jTed5/)

In an uncomfortable echo of the reeducation campaigns of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Chinese President Xi Jinping has…

hyperallergic:

In an uncomfortable echo of the reeducation campaigns of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that artists, filmmakers, and TV staff will be sent to live and work in rural villages so that they will “form a correct view of art and create more masterpieces,” China’s official news agency, Xinhua, announced.

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BRIGHTON, UK — Attempting an interview with Chicks on Speed is a logistical challenge,  as members of the art and music…

BRIGHTON, UK — Attempting an interview with Chicks on Speed is a logistical challenge,  as members of the art and music collective are dispersed around the world. So at time of asking these questions Alex Murray-Leslie was in Florence, Italy, and Melissa Logan was in Talinn, Estonia. The two founder members make it a condition that any interested journalists speak to both or none at all. Since other Chicks were said to be in Istanbul, Paris and a treehouse in a Redwood Forest, this writer was fortunate to keep things simple with just two long distance calls.

READ MORE

Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film which exists somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and…

video link

Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film which exists somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction. Slow Action applies the idea of island biogeography - the study of how species and eco-systems evolve differently when isolated and surrounded by unsuitable habitat - to a conception of the Earth in a few hundred years; the sea level rising to absurd heights, creating hyperbolic utopias that appear as possible future mini-societies.

Slow Action is filmed at different sites across the globe: Lanzarote - a beautiful strange island known for its beach resorts yet one of the driest places on the planet, full of dead volcanoes and strange architecture; Gunkanjima - an island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, a deserted city built on a rock, once home to thousands of families mining its rich coal reserves; Tuvalu - one of the smallest countries in the world, with tiny strips of land barely above sea level in the middle of the Pacific; and Somerset - an as yet to be discovered island and its various clades.

Slow Action, Ben Rivers’ first exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that brings together a series of four 16mm works which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction.

Continuing his exploration of curious and extraordinary environments, Slow Action applies the idea of island biogeography - the study of how species and eco-systems evolve differently when isolated and surrounded by unsuitable habitat - to a conception of the Earth in a few hundred years; the sea level rising to absurd heights, creating hyperbolic utopias that appear as possible future mini-societies.

Slow Action is filmed at different sites across the globe: Lanzarote - a beautiful strange island known for its beach resorts yet one of the driest places on the planet, full of dead volcanoes and strange architecture; Gunkanjima - an island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, a deserted city built on a rock, once home to thousands of families mining its rich coal reserves; Tuvalu - one of the smallest countries in the world, with tiny strips of land barely above sea level in the middle of the Pacific; and Somerset - an as yet to be discovered island and its various clades.

This series of constructed realities explores the environments of self-contained lands and the search for information to enable the reconstruction of soon to be lost worlds.

The film’s soundtrack - narratives by writer Mark von Schlegell - detail each of the four islands’ evolutions according to their geographical, geological, climatic and botanical conditions.

Slow Action, inspired by novels such as Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, Bacon’s The New Atlantis, Herbert Read’s The Green Child and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, embodies the spirit of exploration, experiment and active research that has come to characterise Rivers’ practice.