I spent most of yesterday assembling and re-assembling overly complicated Lego at the whim of a tyrannical three-year old.

No idea what to make of the U.S. and Russia expelling each other’s diplomats. (Whoops. Putin shut down the request of his own foreign ministry. This is turning into a WB Roadrunner cartoon or a trickster fable.) It feels like a farce with the incoming Trump administration likely to erase many of these tensions, but Obama could be enabling elements in State Department, CIA, and military that will remain. It’s a small surprise that they’re bothering with this theater at this late stage. I just don’t know.

More on Penman writing on Bowie and other general Bowie stuff.

  • Penman on late Bowie agrees with Critchley. I didn’t enjoy any of those albums much, but I enjoyed Bowie being comfortable with his life, if not so much his art. Enjoying an artist’s torment is one thing. Demanding it for continued superior art is quite another. I wince at the thought of listening to the new Nick Cave album.
  • My aunt loved the Glass Spider tour. Loved it.
  • I still haven’t quite made the connection to the Berlin era albums. I like and respect them, but mostly haven’t been able to get it under my skin as much as true Bowie acolytes do. I remain the guy who has the most affinity for Hunky Dory. Barbarian.
  • “When Robert Christgau claimed that one of below-par-Bowie’s main traits was ‘the way he simulates meaning’ he got it just right. The more stress Bowie put on his songs’ ‘meaning’ the less they sounded meaningful to the listener.” What’s nifty about this is that I absolutely love Brian Eno’s ’70s work, especially the lyrics. It doesn’t matter that they mean little. I well up in tears at some of that doggerel.
  • Penman doesn’t very much like Paul Morley’s book, dubbing it a bloated hagiography. Penman then goes on to get excited about another Bowie book that gets into numbers and record company politics. Duly noted.
  • Eno might have been right in dubbing Bowie “a far-sighted celebrant of some strange new ritual/cultural paradigm” for his crap albums. Bowie paved the way for bland albums that invited re-exploration of previous work.
  • Huh. Ernst Jünger wrote a sci-fi novel. Eumeswil. (‘ve never read any Jünger.)

I’ve been re-reading The Incal lately. I’m still buying new comics, but I need to drop the floppy habit. The cost to burst of enjoyment ratio is just too high.

Amazon To Airdrop Packages From Floating Blimp Warehouses. Nah, this is a bad idea.

Political Surrealism, Surreal Politics. Three unread recent China Miéville books are now on my shelves. I’ve really goofed off 2016. I ain’t promising nothing for 2017 either.

America needs a network of rebel cities to stand up to Trump. Ambitious but it’s saner than the faithless elector gambit, or worse yet, wishing for a military coup. Yes, some Dems have genuinely wished for a coup. It’s sad and creepy. The rebel cities network would actually directly improve the lives of people. Neoliberal mayors will never go along with it. They’re too invested in privatization and entrepreneurship. Good.

Atrios chimes in on the suicide pact that that Democratic establishment is making. He’s one of the few Bush era bloggers I still respect. (Currently MIA Billmon is beloved. Atrios is still a good guy. Marcy Wheeler is more centrist than I care for, but she’s sane and has integrity. Jesus’ General remains a moral character with low tolerance for bullshit.) He does seem to be missing a small detail in that many of the “Bernie would have won” people don’t mean it literally, but using it as short-circuit arguments so that they can push policies that would have increased voter engagement and turnout. I love Bernie, but he’s not the messiah. Then I read the comments. Oh, man. Trump will reign forever. Many of his faithful readers still haven’t gotten it through their skulls that Trump didn’t win because of his voters. He won because of the people who stayed home.1

The Lists Told Us Otherwise. I forgot. Why did I not have anything to do with n+1 for a long time? There was a very good reason and it now escapes me. Email archive is no help. The first account of a New Hampshire field office is extraordinarily depressing. The second half, attempting to decipher the next 4 to 8 years, doesn’t seem nearly bleak enough.

Playing the Space Trump Card: Relaunching a National Space Council. This might be the only small facet of the Trump administration that will genuinely amuse me in the months to come. A lot of the billionaire freaks who backed him, secretly or not, are hardcore advocates of space exploration. Maybe that should be space exploitation. Then again, it’s Trump. It’s going to be a waste of resources, a total boondoggle. So much for space Nazis.

The West Should Hope That Merkel Loses. Haha! This red-red-green coalition sounds awesome! Good luck with that. (Terrifying. I agree with the writer’s politics, but that’s not my uninformed impression of the way the wind is blowing in Germany. We’re all so fucked and it now feels like more fascism is welling up everywhere.)

Rudolf Virchow comes across as a fantastic inspiration and I don’t care if the duel story is apocryphal. “Physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor.” BTW, this is the third time in a week someone has mentioned the 1848 Austrian Empire Revolutions, which I may never have spent a moment thinking about before. Weird.

More fast radio bursts detected from same location. FRB 121102. The previous bursts were recorded in late 2015. The six new ones were recorded December 16, 2016. It could be a pulsar or a magnetar. It’s the first time burst like this seem to have the same source.

Slime mold can solve mazes, make decisions, and learn by merging together. Obviously, there’s no nervous system in these organisms. It’s a unicellular organism operating somewhat as a colony. Nifty.

Chaco Canyon inhabitants likely relied on imported food. Those trade networks already shown to be well-established and extensive. But why Chaco?


  1. Or worse, weren’t allowed to vote. []

One thought on “morning 12.30.16

  1. Junger most certainly did write “science fiction”, and in that book he comes up with things that resemble the internet, VR, the ipad, etc. People going to it for that sort of thing will probably be disappointed though, since it is much more of a virtually plotless neo-stoic philosophical treatise and an almanac of anti-politics. Junger is my favorite quasi-fascist, and it isn’t really even close. Eumeswil is a dense treasure, the sort of book one turns to throughout one’s life. I was lucky to get mine for a pittance in the Eridanos edition a few years ago, before the prices skyrocketed. Even the weird alt-right press reprint is pricey. Don’t be fooled by his unsavory boosters online, Junger is so much more interesting (and relevant) for the individual than pretty much any of the other “dangerous” Europeans that academics and alt-righters are exhuming nowadays.

    Re: Slime Mold, one could do worse than to read Canetti on Crowds.

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