fascism is so gauche. call it neoreactionism.

Ohhhhhhh… this article on neoreaction surprised me. Too often I shrug off the Awl as overrated, tossed-off groupthink born like Athena from the aftermath of the Poptimism cult, but then the writer pulls out Nick Land and lays out the argument. I vaguely recall that name being tossed around on blogs in the early ’00s. Most of those rumblings went straight over my head. They still do really. I appreciate that the writer dragged Land back into consciousness and frames him as an all-too-real priest and prophet for the Outer Gods.

After reading this, I feel like we’re living in the Invisibles with no happy ending.

liquid water on Mars

To be honest, I was a little disappointed by the confirmation of liquid water on Mars. It’s been real to me over a decade at least. Yes, it was fringe sites that also regularly delivered breathless reports of alien temples but the photos of what seemed to be tracks of water seeping down crater walls have been circulating for long time. I played along, discarding my acceptance of water on Mars along with the deranged, silly things that used to delight me more. I’m happy about my bias being confirmed, but damn it… it took long enough.

Recurring Slope Lineae in Coprates Chasma

More soberly, here’s a great blog post explaining what the announcement means in terms of future exploration for Mars and it’s not exactly optimistic in terms of immediate discovery of Martian life. Future exploration will be even more cautious. She also makes the point that the briny water is likely not even the best place to find life, but in thin sheets of melted ice near the poles.

Hillary is Bush lite

This link to an article on propaganda in the American government has been sitting in draft because I didn’t quite know what to do with it. Some of the social media work they do I appreciate because I don’t believe many people grasp what the government does for them. How civic-minded of me! But then something like how Clinton had her staff push 60 Minutes to push back against Julian Assange. This is exactly what I don’t want the government doing.

clintonassange

Isn’t that use of “balance” in quotation marks just too precious? Fuck these mendacious assholes. This is the Bush administration all over again. From the private email server to the manipulation of journalists, it’s all too familiar.

Julian Assange on 60 Minutes (4 Aug 2013) from This Day in WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Pope Francis gives a sly nod to Black Lives Matter

Catholicism isn’t my expertise. Thomas Merton was little more than the mystic who had an interest in Buddhism to me. It’s been pointed out that Pope Francis namechecking Thomas Merton is in part an homage to Black Lives Matter.

I’m trying to track down an excerpt from a piece Merton wrote in 1963 about the March on Washington that the journalist Ryan J. Reilly posted as images, as it’s eerily reminiscent of discussions I’ve seen in the past year concerning white liberals.

Tangentially, yesterday a very pleasant man approached me about supporting a future local event showing support for firefighters, police, and soldiers. I was rolling with it, as everything he said up to a point was perfectly reasonable. I have a patriotic streak, but remained cautious. He then pivoted to approaching people in his old military uniform because if he wore his old police uniform that people would spit on him as he walked down the sidewalk. His eyes were welling up in tears. He sincerely believed that nonsense. He rambled on about the children of all of the dead cops and how they no longer had fathers. It was crystal clear that he sincerely believed the myth that there is a war against police and the death toll is vast. As a representative of my company, I kept my mouth shut and steered him back to the event. Even if I had the time and opportunity to question this man about his persecution complex, it would have solved nothing.

smaller alternatives to CRISPR

The protein is Cpf1 and it’s smaller than CRISPR/Cas9.

They also uncovered some curious differences between how Cpf1 and Cas9 work. Cas9 requires two RNA molecules to cut DNA; Cpf1 needs only one. The proteins also cut DNA at different places, offering researchers more options when selecting a site to edit. “This opens up a lot of possibilities for all the things we could not target before,” says epigeneticist Luca Magnani of Imperial College London.

Cpf1 also cuts DNA in a different way. Cas9 cuts both strands in a DNA molecule at the same position, leaving behind what molecular biologists call ‘blunt’ ends. But Cpf1 leaves one strand longer than the other, creating a ‘sticky’ end. Blunt ends are not as easy to work with: a DNA sequence could be inserted in either end, for example, whereas a sticky end will only pair with a complementary sticky end.

“The sticky ends carry information that can direct the insertion of the DNA,” says Zhang. “It makes the insertion much more controllable.”