Kurt Cobain: self-martyring time-traveller

We’re all living in a lie.

from Idolator via What?

@Marth: Yep. In that same string, Kurt recorded a slowed-down, acoustic version of “Beat It”. The arrangement of the track was later copped by David Archuleta, propelling him to the American Idol crown, and making neo-grunge the trend of 2008 for America’s tweens. By 2012, Mormonism was the country’s dominant religion. Horrified, Kurt travelled back in time to 1994 and shot both himself and Courtney Love.

Courtney Love is not dead and Twilight is a bestselling franchise. The timeline is reverting to the original.

nervous systems evolved twice

This story about monosiga being the ancestor of all animals was a natural to be forwarded to a friend of mine who writes psychedelic songs about evolving from sperm-tailed mutants, but i almost missed the more important detail of the story- that nervous systems evolved twice– once for non-bilaterians and and once for bilaterians.

This seems significant. If there is a tendency for nervous systems to evolve in organisms, I’m wondering if this improves chances for the chances for something that we could recognize as intelligence in exobiology, or if I’m just being incredibly naive.

the comet that may or may not have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago

My childish fondness of theories based on thrill factor is well-documented on this blog. It’s a little disappointing to see this new paper stating that the theory that a comet exploded over North America 12,900 years ago is bunk. It found no evidence for continent-wide fires at that time. Okay, but didn’t the original paper pushing the exploding comet theory used “extraterrestrial concentrations of helium 3 and the element iridium” as evidence?

Warwick Prize

It’s not as fun watching how these prizes are awarded as it used to be, but this new Warwick Prize is an odd one, simply for being ecelectic. Here’s the shortlist:

Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 by Lisa Appignanesi (Virago)

The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi? by Francisco Goldman (Atlantic Books)

Reinventing the Sacred by Stuart A Kauffman (Perseus – Basic Books)

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (Penguin)

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century by Alex Ross (4th Estate, HarperCollins)

Montano’s Malady by Enrique Vila-Matas (translator: Jonathan Dunne) (New Directions)

So what’s the unifying theme here? Complexity, they state.

The judges are an odd collection too, with sci-fi/fantasy writer China Miéville, translator and author Maureen Freely, and mathematician  Ian Stewart among them.1 No, I don’t recognize the other two. 2

More like this please.

  1. I’ve been meaning to read Flatterland for awhile, but completely forgot it. []
  2. Ouch. Yes, i do. I’m ashamed not to have placed Stephen Mitchelmore’s name immediately. This Space is an excellent blog that I’ve been reading for years. Now i’m scrabbling to see if Maya Jaggi is someone else who has been lost to my notoriously spotty memory. []

“this charming, interesting, beautifully mannered history buff”

This is the real Bush derangement syndrome. These loons cannot merely argue that Bush is not the worst president in American history. They are compelled to argue that he is good, or more often, great. This piece is one of the most absurd pieces about Bush that I’ve ever read. It’s so brazenly sycophantic that I’ve read it several times, and checked the identity of the author, because it reads as satire.

Read it. Be gobsmacked.

what I suspect Israel has on the Bush administration

Somehow I missed Juan Cole’s post about Olmert’s boast of how he gave a call to Bush to crush Condi Rice’s UN resolution. YatPundit nudged it back to my attention.

So why would the Bush administration cave so quickly to Israel’s demands?

Because Mossad probably has proof that the Bush administration let 9/11 happen, believing that the casualties would be no worse than the 1993 WTC bombing, and allow them to push through a radical agenda, especially the invasion of Iraq.1

There. I said it. I said it before, and it always seems to be greeted with the sound of chirping crickets. This has been the most corrupt and mendacious administration in American history. At this late date, how is this scenario still inconceivable?

After all, it’s what they did with New Orleans when the levees were breached.

  1. The big gaping hole in this theory is if Israel has this sword hanging over the head of the Bush administration, The U.S. would have already bombed Iran ten times over by now. []

downstream regulatory element antagonistic modulator (aka DREAM)

A gene has been identified as a regulator in the perception of pain. It’s been dubbed the downstream regulatory element antagonistic modulator (aka DREAM.) Interesting. Remove the gene, and sensitivity to pain is decreased. Gotcha.

What’s weird though, is if this gene is removed, it seems that learning and memory are increased.

The rest of the article describes how when calcium regulation goes awry in old age, that DREAM is stimulated, and causes Alzheimer’s, as learning and memory are muted.

Great for a cure for Alzheimer’s, but my head is full of unhealthy visions of men in vats, who feel no sensations of pain, thus must be protected from injury themselves, that are living computers.

Mars methane discovery hints at presence of life

Read the article. I’m feeling giddy. From the Telegraph:

Large quantities of the gas – which on Earth is mostly produced by living things – were recorded by three huge telescopes during a seven year study.

The level of activity was so great that at times it equalled the amount of the gas released at some of the most methane-rich locations on Earth.

Scientists say that further investigation is necessary to determine whether the gas – spotted in 2003 – was created by the biological processes of creatures such as microbes, or from volcanic activity.

“Living systems produce more than 90 per cent of Earth’s atmospheric methane; the balance is of geochemical origin. On Mars, methane could be a signature of either,” Nasa said in a statement.

Europe’s Mars Express probe picked up possible evidence of methane on Mars in 2004, but Nasa’s latest discovery has been heralded as the strongest indicator yet that the planet is able to support simple organisms.

The methane, which was detected alongside water vapour, could have been a waste product from organisms called methanogens living in water beneath underground ice, experts believe.

Professor Colin Pillinger, whose Beagle 2 craft crashed on Mars in 2003 while on a mission to seek signs of life, said the discovery could prove important.

“Methane is a product of biology. For methane to be in Mars’ atmosphere, there has to be a replenishable source,” he told The Sun.

“The most obvious source of methane is organisms. So if you find methane in an atmosphere, you can suspect there is life.

“It’s not proof, but it makes it worth a much closer look.”

Nasa will announce the full results of the study at a briefing in Washington today.

Elsewhere, it’s been reported that the briefing will be at 2 PM, EST. I await valiadation for years of irrational belief.

about the Pitchfork 500

Nope. Still have not bought the Pitchfork 500. I’ve been on the verge of buying it for a couple of months now, as some of my favorite music bloggers through the years have pieces in it, but then i realize it’s more of a coffee table feature than tome to be flipped through ad infinitum, like the Trouser Press Record Guide or Manguel’s The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

What would be more cool and valuable is if Tom Ewing wrote a whole book. He’s “live-blogging” the whole of the so-called Pitchfork 500, and i suspect that it’s more insightful and entertaining than the actual book. From the most recent entry:

…you’re ready for the garish vulgarity of ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky”. “Predicting 21st century indie pop” is surely the absolute least of this song’s charms: like many Jeff Lynne tracks it sounds more like it’s trying doggedly to finish a project started ten years before and gradually abandoned as unrealistic and a little gauche. Its presence in the Pitchfork 500 reminds me of that scene in Watchmen where Captain Metropolis unveils his crime map to a sardonic new generation of superheroes. (Lou Reed = The Comedian, Ralf Hutter = Dr Manhattan, and I’ll let you work out who Rorschach is.) But if it’s a folly it’s a gorgeous one right to its sad-robot finish.

Great cross-referencing of pop culture. The next entry is about another old fave, the Only Ones’ “Another Girl Another Planet,” and i want to amen his and Pete B’s assertion on drugs versus space… even though i love that heroin sound, when the songwriters go for the space references, the lyrics are far more fun to take at face value, as paeans to a sci-fi lifestyle.