morning 03.07.17

I accidentally blew off posting yesterday for reasons I don’t recall. Half the day was spent out at Tickfaw State Park. (Lower Livingston Parish is still absolutely fucked from last year’s floods. The poor dumb bastards have more Confederate flags flying down there than American ones too. This has been the only place that I’ve seen Trump yard signs- and yes, they’re still up. Angry, desperate, abandoned people down there.) The rest of the day was spent puttering about in yard until the rains came. I finally read a little more of Anders Rydell’s  The Book Thieves.

Evidence of introgression in early modern humans in China. Ear structure and back of skull suggests Neandertal introgression. More:

In the new study, scientists analyzed fragments of two human skulls that lead study author Zhan-Yang Li, an archaeologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, unearthed during fieldwork in the city of Xuchang in central China between 2007 and 2014. The fossils are about 105,000 to 125,000 years old, the researchers said.

Record of cultivated plants in the Amazon extends 8,000  years. Surprise! Not really.

Study suggests complex life was present on Earth 2.33 billion years ago. Eukaryotes emerged during the Great Oxidation Event.

Cornel West on why James Baldwin matter more than ever.

A giant neuron found wrapped around entire mouse brain. “…a ‘crown of thorns’ shape stemming from a region linked to consciousness.” Nice imagery there. Poetic.

Theoretical physicists have confirmed that it’s not just the information coded in our DNA that shapes who we are—it’s also the way DNA folds itself that controls which genes are expressed inside our bodies. Well, fucking duh. I recall reading in the ’90s dummies who wrote about “junk” DNA and how we can seize the future and our destiny now with aggressive editing and rewriting. Transhumanists, I reckon. I wrote a very sloppy paper arguing against it. I still remember fondly my professor who called me into the office to defend it and instead shot the shit about the 1975 Rollerball and other ’70s dystopian films. In 1993, he totally agreed that there was more information in DNA than we could currently identify, probably in its structure than the actual coding. (This is probably the 4th or 5th time I’ve written this anecdote on this blog.)

Bill Paxton, William Burroughs, ‘Blade Runner’ and the making of ‘Taking Tiger Mountain’. What a peculiar pedigree of a project. The thing about these celebrity deaths is that sometimes they get me in tune with shit that I just had no connection with. I’ve mentioned before that I had this bizarre lacuna when it came to Paxton. I cannot pretend I was a fan of any kind of his work because he kept slipping straight out of my memory, no matter how great his performances were. Anyway, listening to his interview on Maron’s WTF1 it was odd Paxton ruminated about the life and death of his father at length.

For a few months a few years ago, Temples Sun Structures seemed like a fun listen. I queued up their new album Volcano and it’s big booming pop. It’s not all that far removed from Sun Structures, which had more jangle. It’s just that this is nothing I feel like listening to. Not their debut album either. Moving on…

U.S. Republicans unveil plan to dismantle Obamacare, critics pounce. Anyone else get the feeling that there is no way that this piece of shit is intended to pass? It probably can’t make it through the Senate. There are too many Republican senators who can catch serious blowback on this. Sync it with the new version of the travel ban EO being quietly rolled out and it may very well be an actual distraction, an over-used accusation.

It looks like we’ve moved on from Jeff Sessions perjuring himself during his Senate hearings. Oh well. The Democrats obsessed on Russians instead of the actual lie. (Then again, I’m the weirdo who obsesses on the fact that Hillary did indeed commit perjury and obstruction of justice in that email server mess.) Trump jumped onto wild accusations about FISA and Obama ordering wiretaps. Poof. Now the issue is just another embarrassment with no consequences. Trump is a fat oaf with dementia and he will be president forever. Our country is so sick and corrupt that this incompetent buffoon and his staff of cartoonishly deranged villains can shrug off anything.

Comey hasn’t been fired yet despite his request for the Justice Deptment to reject Trump’s wiretapping claim. I was half-expecting that last night. The accelerationist streak I’ve been nurturing is disappointed.

  1. The other podcasts I listen to hate Maron so fucking much, which I get as his tics are exasperating, but I still think about quite a few of the handful of episodes I’ve listened to, like the John Lurie one. []

morning 02.24.17

This waking up at 3 in the morning bullshit has to stop. My sleep cycle is fucked.

Planted a few flowers from the plant nursery down the street: bee balm, hollyhock, (allegedly) bog sage, and Mexican hyssop. Planted a porterweed carried over from last fall I’ve neglected. Some of the salvias from last year that died back severely in the singular freak 21 degree freeze seem to be coming back from roots. We’ll see. I blew off starting a vegetable garden last month, although with the inevitable collapse of civilization, that will be a deep regret.

FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories. Ha ha. Nothing matters. Many are shrugging, saying that this is essentially what brought Nixon down. Nah. The Republicans (and the Democrats for that matter) aren’t done with Trump yet. They need that fat oaf around to heap more sins on his back before they drive him out into the wilderness.

Trump’s First Terror Arrest: A Broke Stoner the FBI Threatened at Knifepoint. For example, this isn’t Trump’s fault. This is just the fucking standard operating procedure of the FBI. Meanwhile, a white supremacist manufactures ricin and doesn’t get caught until he drives himself to the hospital after accidental exposure. It’s impossible to tell if there is an actual agenda here or if the FBI has a lot of lazy opportunists who don’t want to put themselves in real danger. The end result doesn’t matter.

The “Identity Politics” Debate Is Splintering the Left. Here’s How We Can Move Past It. Oh, I missed this piece! Anyway, I have a bad feeling about the DNC chair race. They’re all pulling a Hillary, announcing the pledged votes, putting Perez well ahead, although Ellison has the more significant endorsements. If Perez is in, I’m out of the Democratic Party. Fuck that guy. The supporters on Twitter keep obsessing on Bernie and ignore that Perez is all-too-friendly with Wall Street or even declare that’s good.

More on that nuclear sniffer airplane from the other day. It took off from Scotland, heading for Norway and the Barents Sea. It’s accompanied by another surveillance aircraft, a RC-135W, rigged for detecting, identifying and geolocating signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Hm. Sunken subs?

Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent. Oh boy. Two of my favorites! Collective punishment and civil forfeiture!

Someone on Twitter referenced Whit Stillman as a conservative artist recently, lumping him in with some odious motherfuckers. The thing is that I hate Whit Stillman movies. His perverse sympathy for the elite is so willfully wrongheaded. I watched a few of them repeatedly in a resentful rage. It was infuriating lurking on certain online forums back in the day with a bunch of people who were ostensibly more academically left than I was/am but would swoon over Whit Stillman films, cosplaying them as absurdly as the goofballs I ran across a decade on a Tom Waits listserv pretending to be hobos.1 This 2012 interview was what I was looking for. He’s not evil, just superficial. His mystification over why Wes Anderson reached a larger audience, not him, is nice detail.

Jeff Sessions announcing more use of private prisons and Spicer suggesting a federal crackdown on marijuana use ((connecting it to opiate use, no less)) is disgusting, sad, and inevitable. Honestly, it’s probably something Hillary would have done more quietly. She was taking a lot of money from private prisons too before getting called out on it and her moronic daughter Chelsea is still insisting people die from smoking pot. (“Drug interactions.” Pft. Chelsea implied again recently, but I cannot find a good link.) Sessions is more obvious about it, but it was going to happen regardless of the election. It’s just like how the ICE raids and mass deportations have been going on for years under Obama, but now they’re more brazen. Maybe accelerationism is good, no matter how much that makes me cringe.

55 detained in Mississippi restaurant immigration raids. This is bad. There are references stating these raids have been planned for awhile, but it’s still creepy shit. I know that the farms in my area will be hit hard if they haven’t been already. However, this story seems very Trump era: Undocumented woman with brain tumor seized by federal agents at Texas hospital. Whole lotta hateful racist motherfuckers working for ICE.

Senior Trump Aide Forged Key Ties To Anti-Semitic Groups In Hungary. Sebastian Gorka is a pretty stinky piece of shit, is he not?

Flint Sickles Prove Grain Cultivation in Galilee 23,000 Years Ago. Ohalo II. This one deserves coming back to ASAP.

Thousands of horsemen may have swept into Bronze Age Europe, transforming the local population. Damn it. I should have figured the horse and wagon aspect out independently when I linked a briefer version of this story the other day. Duh. Yamnaya migration.

Meet the South Pole’s Dark Matter Detective. Work of Reina Maruyama.

Fermi finds possible dark matter ties in Andromeda galaxy. It’s similar to findings at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It could also be a high concentration of pulsars.

One of my friends has been talking about dreams of Nordic aliens. I’m… ambivalent. I goofed around with a lot of this material in the past and had a lot of fun. However, when one jumps straight into the mythologies without a big dose of humor and/ agnosticism, it’s not going to go well. I’ve been trying to push Jacques Vallée’s2 books, or better yet, Robert Anton Wilson’s first Cosmic Trigger book3. The Chapel Perilous concept still works for me.

Some local DSA guy who friended me on Facebook turns out to be a more tasteful record collecting scum than I could dream of being. His FB posts have gotten me back into listening to Bert Jansch.

  1. These same hardcore Whit Stillman fans were the same ones who linked to Mark Fisher and others. []
  2. It’s still fucking bizarre that he became a venture capitalist and I didn’t know until today that he sits on the scientific advisory board of Bigelow Aerospace… you know, the corporation started by the guy who owns Skinwalker Ranch. []
  3. because the later ones get into shit that aren’t as relevant or appealing []

noon 01.11.17

Leftover fragments of a post from night and early morning. When I get on a long string of closing shifts, the kid misses me more. The windows of sneaking internet time to dither about reading are minuscule.

This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Pick for Attorney General, Is a Fierce Opponent of Civil Rights. Jeff Sessions is garbage who should be completely marginalized from human society. Also:

Yeah, that’s not going to be an anti-porn thing. It’s going to be an anti-gay and anti-black thing. That’s guaranteed. Sessions will be pursuing anti-sodomy laws and regulating language in rap lyrics with his Christian fundamentalism. His sense of propriety only extends as far as he can use it to abuse minorities.

Freddie Gray case: Judge allows malicious prosecution lawsuit against Mosby to proceed. This is some fascist bullshit and an abortion of justice.

Chicago 1969: When Black Panthers aligned with Confederate-flag-wielding, working-class whites. This story gets passed around often, but it’s a shame that it wasn’t repeatedly thrown in the faces of the Clinton supporters who wrote off the white working class as racist last spring and summer. If they tried to talk shit about the Black Panthers, flank with Saint Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime show. Yet another lost opportunity.