Graffiti Research Lab

"read HOW TO START YOUR OWN GRAFFITI RESEARCH LAB, then get a URL, set the background color to #000000 and tear your city apart."

Free Speech TV

Just found this channel, pretty cool videos online. Available full time on DISH Network ch. 9415 and part-time on 172 community access cable stations in 35 states.

The Ultimate Con

A documentary on 911 that we talked about in the last hangout. Take a look.

Question Authority

Bad Eggs, I know how much you like questioning, especially if it involves questioning Authority, so I figure you'd really like this project:

QuestionAuthority Proposal

QuestionAuthority is an educational and advocacy project dedicated to defending and extending personal and civil liberties and encouraging free expression.

Our goal is to create a broad-based coalition of non-authoritarian groups and individuals who may currently be working in relative isolation on single issues, for political organizations and candidates, or in relatively isolated ideological cohort groups.

As a cohesive force, we can do more than just stem the tide one issue -- or one court case -- at a time. We can exercise political and cultural influence by uniting the vast numbers of Americans who believe that the country has taken a radical turn in an authoritarian direction.

Man Weds Dog?

An Indian man has "married" a female dog, hoping the move will help atone for stoning two other dogs to death.


Interesting. And very logical. Especially if that dog is a relative of those two other dogs. But this makes me wonder, I wanted to screen the documentary ZOO at some point. Anyone have any interest in watching it? Details about the movie here:

Extraordinary Stories at the Bad Egg Collective

As inspiration for the upcoming Extraordinary Stories at the Bad Egg Collective (and as mentioned by Matt at the last hangout), here's a website full of stories about stupid humans:

Darwin Awards
A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises
Honoring those who improve the
accidentally removing themselves from it!

Description "The stories on this website, which range from the sublimely ironic to the pathetically stupid, display examples of trial and (fatal) error that vividly illustrate evolution in all its selective glory."

and remember to join us on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at Stain Bar for more of the hilarity. RSVP here:

The Mole Man

Per our recent exploration into alternative homes and extraordinary things, I stumbled upon this story:

A homeless man was found living underground in California. This reminds me of a time when I was a kid, my friends and I built an underground home (or a bunker, as we called it) and the authorities destroyed it...

Look what I found! Robots who Drink!

Some Reading Materials

radical pamphlets and books

Came upon it on the net, anyone see any interesting topics in there that you want to discuss?

Poppa Neutrino

Bad Eggs love to meet iconoclasts, and here's one we went to see yesterday night. "Poppa doesn’t work, pay rent, listen to doctors or kiss institutional butt. He prefers to invent his life as he goes along, whether he’s building a raft out of scraps and sailing the Atlantic, inventing a new football play or touring the world from Mexico to Russia with his band, the Flying Neutrinos. But don’t discount the intellect that Poppa uses to back up his wit and daring as leader of his tribe"

His three pieces of wisdom for the audience were: (I'm paraphrasing since I did not write it down)

1) figure out the three things you want to do in your life

2) learn to participate, redirect or leave

3) figure it out on your own

More wisdom from Poppa Neutrino:

Bad Egg Phil's Bands Bring Down the House

(Across the street) I have pictures!

heheheh... Bill Maher's show!

The Corporation

I'm just watching this movie and thinking we should hang out and watch it together soon. Fits well with the wage slavery topic that is in our heads at the moment.A summary from the official website:

"THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time... Taking its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" The Corporation includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change."

Part 1:

Part 2:


Saw this on Current the other day:

Interesting musical instrument. I just wanna touch it...

[Artist Gabriela León is photographed on the riot-torn streets of Oaxaca in the When I saw the article Vicente Fox Disrupted in NYC, I couldn't help but think of our own "guerrilla press corps" idea. As the article notes, "Fox, to his credit, or that of pr handlers who have prepped all world "leaders" for similar circumstances in light of Kerry's embarrassing and cowardly inaction while a questioner was tased, said aloud that this is still a free country and that people have a right to speak and the audience erupted in applause and the goons backed off." Some of the questioners were nonetheless later ejected through the front door, reportedly breaking a window in the process. I looked for a picture or video to post, but couldn't find anything from that event.

But I did find the picture shown here, of a completely different form of protest over the situation in Oaxaca. Resident artist Gabriela León crafted a "baracada" dress from scavenged garbage, and had some friends film and photograph her taking a stroll through the zócalo (market square), past federal police in full riot gear, in her outfit. She's now assembled the dress, a video of her walk, and other related articles into a traveling exhibit, currently being shown at the University of California, Riverside, Sweeney Art Gallery. See "A Walk of Conscience" for the full story.

Note: Just to be clear, our own "guerrilla press corps" was never meant to have such a particular political agenda, beyond, perhaps, promoting iconoclasm and independent thinking. And of course free expression—especially when it involves wonderful art made from salvaged trash!

TED for your Viewing Pleasure

"TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 150 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted."

Heresy and Moral Fashions

Interesting article by Paul Graham: What You Can't Say

"It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise.

Is our time any different? To anyone who has read any amount of history, the answer is almost certainly no. It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right."

Image by Addictive Picasso via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

The Shock Doctrine

UPDATE: the talk at the Graduate Center has been POSTPONED.

I've been so distracted lately, that I've missed Naomi Klein's first two NYC appearances in promotion of her new book. But she'll be speaking Monday at the Graduate Center, CUNY, at 4pm on Friday, November 16, at the Graduate Center, CUNY, at 12 noon. (I'm sorry to anyone else who went on Monday only to be disappointed, I did too! And there has been no word yet on why it was postponed.)

Or if you can't make it to hear her in person, then the next best thing is to check out videos of the lecture she gave recently in Vancouver.

The short film shown here can also be downloaded in Quicktime or Windows Media format from her website.

Cancer Theory

Is Cancer a deficiency disease?

Interview with Aaron Russo

"Hollywood director Russo goes in-depth for first time on the astounding admissions of Nick Rockefeller, including his prediction of 9/11 ... all » and the war on terror hoax, the Rockefeller's creation of women's lib, and the elite's ultimate plan for world population reduction and a microchipped society"

More info on the man:

Let's beat up the Poor! - Charles Baudelaire ("Assommons les pauvres!")

For fifteen days I was confined to my room, and I was surrounded by the sort of books that were fashionable then (this was sixteen or seventeen years ago)--I mean to say those books in which is treated the art of making people happy, wise, and rich in twenty-four hours. I had, then, digested,--I should say, swallowed whole,--all the lucubrations of all of these entrepreneurs of public happiness,--of those who council all of the poor to make themselves slaves, and of those who persuade them that are all unthroned kings. You won't be surprised to learn that I was in a state of mind close to dizziness or stupefaction.
It seemed to me only that I felt, confined in the depths of my intellect, the obscure seed of an idea superior to all the old wives' tales collected in the encyclopedia that I had recently read through. Bit it was only the idea of an idea, something infinitely vague.
And I went out with a great thirst. For a passionate taste for bad reading engenders a proportional need for fresh air and refreshments.
As I was about to enter a cabaret, a beggar held out his cap to me, with one of those unforgettable gazes that would cause thrones to tumble, if spirit could move matter, and if the eye of a hypnotist could make grapes ripen.
At the same time, I heard a voice whispering in my ear, a voice that I well recognized: it was that of the good Angel, or good Devil, who accompanies me everywhere. Since Socrates had his good Demon, why shouldn't I have my good Angel, and why shouldn't I have the honor, like Socrates, of obtaining my own certificate of insanity, signed by the subtle Lelut and the well-advised Baillarge?
There is a difference between Socrates' Demon and my own, and that is that Socrates' only appeared to him to forbid, warn,m and prevent, whereas mine deigns to offer council, suggest, and persuade. Poor Socrates only had a prohibitive Demon; mine is a great affirmer, mine is a Demon of action, a Demon of combat.
Now, his voice whispered this: "He alone is equal to another who proves it, and he alone is worthy of liberty who knows how to conquer it."
I immediately leaped upon the beggar. With a single punch I gave him a black eye, which became in a second as big as a ball. I tore one of my nails breaking two of his teeth, and since I didn't feel strong enough--having been born delicate and being little practiced in boxing--to beat this old man to death quickly, I seized him with one hand by the collar of his jacket and with the other I grabbed his throat, and I began to bang his head against the wall vigorously. I must admit that I had previously inspected the area with a quick glance and that I had verified that i would find myself, in this deserted suburb, out of the reach of any police officer for a fairly long period of time.
Having then knocked down this weakened sexagenarian with a kick in the back, energetic enough to have broken his shoulder-blades, I seized a big tree limb that was lying on the ground and I beat him with it with the obstinate energy of a cook who wants to tenderize a steak.
Suddenly,--Oh delight of the philosopher who verifies the excellence of this theory!--I saw that ancient carcass turn, stand up with an energy that I would never have expected to find in so singularly broken-down a machine, and, with a look of hatred that seemed to me a good omen, the decrepit ruffian threw himself upon me, blackened both of my eyes, broke four of my teeth, and with the same tree branch beat me to a bloody pulp. Through my energetic medicine, I had returned to him his pride and his life...
Then I made him numerous signs to let him understand that I considered the discussion ended, and getting up with all of the satisfaction of a Stoic philosopher, I said to him: "Sir, you are my equal! Do me the honor of sharing my purse with me; and remember, if you are really a philanthropist, that you must apply to all of your brothers, when they ask you for alms, the theory that I had the sorrow of testing out on your back."
He swore to me that he had understood my theory, and that he would obey my advice.
Perhaps we have a new project for the Bad Egg? The guerilla poverty corps where we fan out to revitalize the city's downtrodden? I have been itching for a fight. If nothing else, the idea is both intriguing and hilarious.

How do our own preconceptions influence our decisions?

This was from a class some years in the past now, but the exercise still holds my interest, and perhaps will ignite a heated discussion here in the blog. Time shall tell.

You are a member of a surgical team at the World's Greatest Hospital. All the patients listed below MUST receive a heart transplant TODAY or else they will die. There only TWO hearts available and YOU must decide, from this list, which two patients will be heart-donor recipients.

1. A seventy-year old female U.S. Senator credited with creating and protecting the nation's first National Health Plan.

2. A Hispanic ex-officer who is a very successful drug dealer. His "business" allows him to hire community youth, support his entire extended family of fifteen, and be perceived by the community as a leader.

3. An African-American Vietnam veteran and amputee who created a national training program for people with disabilities. Hie is under investigation for possible embezzlement of program funds to support a known gambling addiction.

A White fifteen-year-old female who tested intellectually "gifted." She is on drugs and supports her habit through prostitution.

5. A scientist/researcher who is know to be closely associated with a white-supremacist group and is very close to discovering a cure for AIDS.

6. An ex-Roman-Catholic priest who works with small children in a day-care center. He is homosexual and a strong gay-rights advocate. His lover recently tested HIV positive.

What You Can Learn from Zombie Movies

According to early reports, the undead are now trying to reconnect with old friends, jobs, and romances. If they succeed, television will also have succeeded in broadcasting its ultimate message: “Melt into that couch: You’re dead already.”
Douglas Rushkoff, Discover Magazine

Ron Paul, looking good
Yes, it's silly. But very well done. : )

Learning from Clowns

"At the core of the Parliament’s philosophy is the idea that clowns have an inherent spirituality and wisdom, and by just being themselves, can inspire everyone – politicians, scientists, artists, managers, everyone – to think in new ways and actively take on a global responsibility."

More here...

Quote of the day

So, not for lack of love of language, but because I feel our language is in an enormous state of humiliation, I decided to make films without words.
Godfrey Reggio

...We're Ok with it all?

from Bob:

Our August Hangout is Creeping Close!

Dead Horse Bay Redux

Shameless Self-Promotion Dept:

My article on Dead Horse Bay is in the new Brooklyn Rail. And if that link doesn't work, point your webernet schlepper to

Bracket Fungus of the Gods

A Bad Egg took this photo in Doodletown.

Ganoderma tsugae, most likely. Here

Iran Graffiti

An illustration to Barry's post.

[Iran Graffiti:]

thoughts evolution/creation battle

realize that the gap in our knowlege between what chemistry can do and what the simplest bacteria can do is IMMENSE. this gaping chasm only openned up 50 years ago.

how do you get from this:
Chemistry of the Elements, Second Edition (Paperback)
by A. Earnshaw, Norman Greenwood

to this:
a day in the life of a cell

some adamant atheists say "of course life came about through some (mumbly mumbly) chemistry" and really havent thought it through. they just don't want their ignorant religious neighbors bringing in their LORD.

some scientists say the same thing, but really what with specialization these days i don't think theyve thought it through.

without going through this:

kind of training (which i think (sadly) most who graduate with a B.S. or even Phd rarely get) i realy don't see how anyone could even have a descent intuitive feeling that chemistry CAN make life. it's all wishful thinking.

so it's no wonder that such irreducible complexity arguments are floating around. i'm not talking about specific arguments about flagela, yeah i know how those can evolve. i'm talking about how the HELL did we get cells capable of evolving them in the first place. it's all a little mindnumbing.

the next important aspect is: Intelligent design is a PERFECTLY reasonable hypthesis. the only trouble is that we don't have anywhere near a decent exploration of what we mean by: what is an intelligent system?

we DON'T know how the human mind works, we DON'T know how neurons MAKE/BE it. we don't even know how a single celled protozoan wends it's way creatively through its environment, how the innards of the cell, the dynamic cytoskeleton, the 100s of chemical feedback loops coordinate to make A COHERENT ENTITY.

we don't know how to ask: is honeybee hive an entity? is an evolving ecosystem an entity. is Earth an entity? i.e. are the growing interactions between organisms over time cohesive enough to call it that.

we don't have a general theory of HOW intelligences in general might create. therefore we can't say "well, does this look like the work of AN intelligence?"

we've got vague mumblings about, well why would an intelligence create a 20foot vagus nerve running all the way up then back down the neck of a girraffe... the creationists rant: well, who knows the mind of god, maybe there is a purpose?

who knows? we don't have a general theory of intelligences.

i will grant that such a creator is probably NOT like a grey bearded old man in the sky.

it does not help, certainly, that most religious folk make no effort at an experimental or synthetic exploration of what their beloved intelligence IS like.

some do, they are called mystics, and i suppose ultimately some come to a conclusion that such an intelligence they contact is nothing more than the grandness of the universe...

so frankly i think that most of the problem is that really this discussion in popular media is basically at the level of the National Enquirer, or a mobfight at a baseball game. truly i think the particular ideas, not thougth out, evolution vs creation are just arbitrary banners being held by waring classes in america. the war is really about something ENTIRELY different! what does the average person care about these complex issues of chemistry, complex systems and artificall intelligence?

i'd like to find out what that war is REALLY about. my suspicion is that it is:

one class wants to continue this glorious (?) european enlightenment cultural/economic experiment

the other class, who came here wanting to get AWAY from eruopean civilization who created the wasteland of the wild wild west, now knows it's destined to work at wallmart and 7/11.

if anyone has any ideas, i'd be very intersted in hearing.

Chess Boxing

"Boxing is harder than chess, because you are receiving damage in head. The biggest different between boxing and chess is that boxing is a sport of "enemies", while in chess you make friends. Chessboxing is fantastically interesting and very difficult. The switch make it difficult. After boxing a round blood enters your head and this make thinking very, very difficult."

'Shrooms, dudes

I met Gary Lincoff today. He wrote the Audubon field guide to mushrooms. Turned me on to the local mushroom hunters here. They do local and regional trips. Let's go.

Nanotechnology and Fashion

"Student designer and fiber scientists create a dress that prevents colds and a jacket that destroys noxious gases..." Fun! As soon as they create a dress that can neuralize pee odors, the glitterati can descend into the subways without fear.
nanotechnology and fashion...

Napoleon, Rest in Peace...

Heh Heh Heh... from New York Times Op-Ed:

"It’s time to let Napoleon’s penis rest in peace. Museums are quietly de-accessioning the human remains of indigenous peoples so that body parts can be given proper burial rites. Napoleon’s penis, too, should be allowed to go home and rejoin the rest of his captivating body."

And some more famous body parts for our enjoyment... khm..

Proteus Gowanus

Descend into the Valley of the Gowanus, where the greasy green canal smells of ancient worlds, to visit Proteus Gowanus, a wunderkammer made for Bad Eggs. Among other things on display, and you'll see how this all fits together, are some of Kinsey's gall wasps.

Darfur China Olympics

The Olympics, sponsored by the IOC, one of the world’s more corrupt organizations, is going to be in China next year. The Chinese state, another corrupt organization, but one with a huge authoritarian apparatus, sees the massive drug and corporate-fattened spectacle as its coming-out party after the long shadow of Tiananmen Square. Trouble is, some world citizens are upset that China acts as Sudan’s muscle, guaranteeing a freehand in Darfur. In sucking up all that Sudanese oil, the Chinese have become the de facto supporters of the massacres in Darfur, blocking any serious UN action with their veto power on the Security Council. That’s why there’s a movement to label next year’s Summer Olympics the Genocide Olympics. To essentially shame the Chinese to changing their policies.

Steven Spielberg, hired out to produce the “most emotional” opening and closing ceremonies (will a little boy touch an alien’s finger?), miraculously claimed to be unaware of both what was happening in Darfur and that his new bosses had complicity in the massacres. This would be the same Spielberg who founded the Shoah Foundation, wouldn’t it?

See below

our fuzzy oak gall

here is a gall that is close to ours:

made by tiny wasps aparantly called Acraspis, in the cynipid family.

here are similar ones:

these are another variation:

now dangit i was so out of it i don't recall wether we were looking at white oak or not! but judging by our photo, now i say it's not white oak.

if you google image: cynipid oak gall you get to see the huge variety of the collaboration handiwork between cynipid wasps and oak trees.

so what are they? Cynipids are tiny wasps the size of sesame seeds use their hypodermic needle like ovipositors to lay eggs in the propper tissues of plants. they also no doubt secrete various substances along with the eggs. in combination with these substances and stuff the growing egg starts secreting, the plant is induced to form a gall. i don't think we know too many details yet. basically the substances modulate what the growing cells are doing and derail the normal developmental processs of the plant in various ways so that the plant grows what you might call a creative tumor.

the wasp mothers select tissue that is in the process of growing, and the goal is to get the tissues to form a protective coat, and to form layers rich in proteins for the larvae to eat.

the various forms are what you get when you mess with the developmental mechanisms of the plants. of course through evolutionary time we see that plants themselves have been exploring these outlandish changes in mechanisms because there are already all kinds of plant forms out there. it's all creative.

eventually the larvas turn into adults and hatch out to start again. cynipid wasps have complex lifecycles i think and maybe half their life cycle is making galls on one plant and half on another.

the galls are great places to live in so plenty of other insects invade. other wasps seek out galls and lay THIER eggs in them. there are probably even wasps that lay their eggs (using very clever ovipositors) INSIDE the existing cynipid wasp larva.

in general parasitic wasps are known for laying their eggs in other insect larvae! in fact there are some cases where wasps lay eggs inside the larvae of other wasps that are allready inside catipillars. life is nested chinese boxes!

ok, i found a good introduction about galls:

So WHY is this a bad egg issue? i think the message here is that for most of life on this planet, creatures are highly entangled with each other. odd that we like to remain so aloof.

A Robot Parade

I found some more Bad-eggery! My heart is warm and at peace now...

Food as Art

From Kool aid pickles and foamed potatoes, -- oh the inventive human mind, how I despise thee for this poison... and how I celebrate thee for bringing me a tropical punch flavored pickle!


Come on, yolks, I know you're out there... feel free to make contributions to this blog. What are you thinking, reading, seeing & hearing?

Meanwhile, check out Mass Observation.

Bad Egg Janis alerts us to the New Sanctuary Movement.

If you're joining us on Saturday, here's some information about Green-Wood. Nice music, huh?


OK, admittedly, milk isn’t a likely topic to wake anybody up. How about sex?

Millions are marching in Turkey for secularism. Can you imagine such a thing in god-fearing America, when our politicians have to get all teary-eyed as they talk about their personal god/fetish object/invisible friend?

There are lots of women in those demonstrations: they know what fundamentalism means. What unites all fundamentalisms, whether Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or Hindu (did I miss anyone?) is misogyny and its imperative to control female sexuality. Although, as Dan Savage is so fond of pointing out, women and gays are merely the point people in the ayatollahs’ efforts to control all sexuality. Let’s not forget that the fundies who want to criminalize abortion are very often also opposed to contraception; that right into the 1960s it was illegal (in some states) for even married couples to get contraception. Imagine that.

The Milky Way

A couple of weeks ago, Rudy Ghouliani was asked what the price of a gallon of milk was. His guess about half the going price. As much as I loath that evil little man, it was a total gotcha moment; I doubt any of the isolated, cosseted, overly-consulted politicos (all claiming to be the common man, or woman) has any idea of such basic pocket book issues. They are so beyond shopping.

Today, the price of a gallon of milk is more expensive than a gallon of oil. More and more corn is being diverted to the production of ethanol, which means less for the industrial food system that produces so much of our meat and diary products. But cows are actually grass eaters, not grain eaters. They evolved with fantastic ruminant stomachs that can digest those things we humans can’t. But when they are feed corn, those marvelous double stomachs are screwed up, necessitating all sorts of antibiotics and supplements to handle what are essentially permanently ill animals. (Don’t even get me started on bovine growth hormone, that great producer of pus.) Will efforts to wean us away from foreign oil turn more of our beef and dairy cattle back to grass? That would be a very good thing. Check out Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, a vital read for anyone who eats, and learn how we are modern Azteca, the children of the corn. If your drink the stuff, get it grass-feed and organic: yes, it's more expensive, lacking the massive subsidies that deflate the price of industrial agriculture, but it's good for you and the cow.

Producing ethanol, by the way, is very heavily carbon-intensive, but it’s being driven by Midwestern politics and the massive amounts of corn produced there.

A box of bees is twice as sweet

A quarter of the nation’s bees have disappeared. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder, and nobody knows why it’s happening. Basically, all the adult bees of the hive vanish in a chilling science-fiction scenario. Unfortunately, it's not fiction. Because of the incredible economic importance of bees to agriculture, scientists are racing to find an answer. No doubt a certain species of giant killer apes will be found somehow responsible (is it our industrial agriculture processes, our genetically modified corn, our nicotine-based pesticides, our overall climate change?).

Here’s a good overview from the Science Times and here’s an article on the local NYC situation. There's been recent noise that city bees were tougher, but this doesn't seem to be holding true.

The above picture is from two weeks ago when we hived bees in a community garden in the East Village. They're going to need all the help they can get. Note that it's illegal to keep bees in NYC, so you didn't hear this from me.

Sweet, Sour and Low

So, the non-profit that I work for is actually considering accepting a sponsorship from Sweet&Low. Which is infuriating, since this nonprofit only does programs for children. The ethics of marketing a chemical sweetener known to cause cancer, seizures and other unpleasant things to children is completely lost on them. So I bring you other news from the Food world, that are gnashing my teeth and boiling my brain.

1 A new FDA(Food and Drug Administration) "guidance" document, published on the FDA's website, reveals plans to reclassify virtually all vitamins, supplements, herbs and even vegetable juices as FDA-regulated drugs. Massage oils and massage rocks will be classified as "medical devices" and require FDA approval. The document is called Docket No. 2006D-0480. Draft Guidance for Industry on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.
read on...

send FDA a "love" note (before April 30, when the comment period ends)

2 Nestlé buys Gerber foods. Sweet, considering Nesle is targeted with a boycott because monitoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) finds it to be responsible for more violations of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods than any other company. Nestle has a long and sordid history of pushing third-world women away from breast-feeding so they could sell them their vastly inferior infant formula.

and that's pretty damn sleazy, because

"Marketing practices that undermine breastfeeding are potentially hazardous wherever they are pursued: in the developing world, WHO estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. These facts are not in dispute." - UNICEF

Plus, as you all know, my Jewish self likes eating babies and drinking their blood, so this is completely unconscionable. My supply of healthy fatty babies is going to dry up pretty soon...

more on this...

Loaded questions for tonight's debate

The eight Democrats who are currently running for President are having their first TV confab tonight. One of those so-called debates. Expect the usual platitudes, posturing, preening, hairspray, hairplugs, red ties, well-rehersed comebacks, adenoidal refusals to take a stand, and, alas, the hopeless clarity of Dennis Kucinich.

Not that I'll be watching, but these are my questions:

When will all Americans have access to a basic level of health care?

What radical actions are needed now to mitigate the effects of climate change here and abroad?

Do you subscribe to Clinton-era “Rubinomics,” which gives primacy to finance capital over working people? And what’s your opinion of the reigning neo-liberalism that profits a tiny elite at expense of the vast majority of the American, as well as the world’s, people?

How do you reconcile the unaccountable power of the national security state with the Constitution? Give us some examples of how you’ll be rolling back the authoritarianism manifested by Bush & Co.

Explain your plans for disengagement from Iraq. Also, how should we instead spend the $8 billion a month we are currently wasting there?

Elucidate the steps necessary to be an actually neutral broker in the Israel-Palestine conflict instead of a partisan of the side with the most votes in the U.S. Then tell us how the U.S. might guarantee and/or force both parties to come to a peace agreement.

Norms ( invoking )

Via Really Magazine:

Hotel chains can cut down on their environmental impact (and save a large percentage of their laundry bill) by encouraging guests to re-use their towels. Many chains now use message cards in the guest rooms to persuade visitors to comply—but what would be the most effective message to have written on the card?
One [message] stood out, persuading almost half the guests to recycle.

The message read :

Almost 75% of guests who are asked to participate in our new resource savings program do help by using their towels more than once.
It was clear (brushing aside the slightly-less-than-factual "75%" assertion), that the best way to influence the guests was to imply that they would be behaving abnormally if they requested a fresh towel every day.

Abstract here. Full paper here?

Following up on Radical Lace…

Another canary in our increasing caving-in coal mine is the bleaching of coral reefs. Vast stretches of reef are already dead due to warming water temps and pollution. The Institute for Figuring is crocheting a coral reef in memoriam: “a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.” Cool, beautiful, sad.

Found out about this project in Lawrence Weschler's article on artistic responses to global warming in the May 7th The Nation special issue on “Surviving the Climate Crisis: What must be done.” The issue contains a half dozen short articles that are mandatory reading.

And what's to be done? Let's start with a carbon tax.

Follow the footsteps...

So on the way to work, I saw footsteps in the street and had an uncontrollable urge to follow them wherever they might lead. What is it about footsteps that is so powerful? In any case, I did a quick search on footsteps and here's some interesting stuff that I found:

Around the World


Tokyo ticket machines powered by footsteps

Photoblog of Tibet

Not as good as Colbert but....

crunchy dirty beach

crunchy dirty beach
clear blue sky
frightfully sharp water in sun
cool under floating ducks

crowd of wandering bad egg collectors
picking through brooklyn's past
like sandpipers for worms

finding really disgusting things:
chopped up dead pigs and horses
evidence of dead winos
mutated rollerskates and motorparts
many peices of feet
tangled things who knows what

cheerful folks though to spend a long sunday afternoon with
and birds
and washing waves

What a dump!

Typical Bad Eggs Maneuvers.

A lovely picnic on the beach decays into anarchy as oyster catchers fly back and forth screaming their heads off. First we drink up a storm, a wild frenzy turning into sullen morbidity, then break bottles left and right, sometimes even on nearby heads. There was desperate talk of cannibalism, at least until we realized that the cars were still in the parking lot and food was close. In the end, we were reduced to stripping the pants off of each other. Or tree roots, whatever.

Dirty Car Art

Barry sent this to me a while ago:

Kinda cool, huh?

Soapboxing (hey, somebody's got to add content)

A busy news day:

It’s almost funny how Abu Gonzalez, the Torturer General, is such a little bootlicker, so like Dracula’s Renfrew, Frankenstein’s Igor, or the familiar, toady, sucking-up little yes-man of your choice. “Yess, master, yess!” But it really isn’t funny. This was the man, so to speak, who blithely gave Young Bush the death warrants of more than 150 Texans after “reviewing” (wink, wink) them; who has done so much to make the Commander-in-Chief triumphant over our tripartite democracy; who has overseen the disappearance, gulagization, torture, & execution of untold (assumed) enemies, making America the moral equivalent of a dictatorship; who has put blind loyalty to his capo and his dirty little party above country. But it’s ok, really, since he’s wearing an American Flag Lapel Pin as he perjures himself in the Senate. And such a cuddwy backstowy!

How about that Old Dominion? It only takes a psychopath 20 minutes there to buy all the weapons and ammo he needs to “2nd Amendment” 32 lives. But that’s being unfair, isn’t it? Non-psychopaths can do it in five minutes.

Is it sweeps week? NBC must think so. Yet another argument to throw your television out the window.

The picture-profiles of victims, as pioneered by the Times after 9/11, connect us to the human lives lost in massacres and other tragedies. But they also remind us that American lives are more important than others. (After all, we’re supposedly God’s children; the rest, evidently, Satan's). We’ll never see profiles of the tens upon tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush’s war. As long as they remain abstract numbers, nothing more than dead ferners, they will not count.

Tawk amongst yourselves

The May issue of Harper’s Magazine, which is not yet available on-line, has some thought-provoking articles that may boil your eggs. (Subscribe to this bad egg unbible:

Lapham’s “Notebook: Time Travel” on the American ignorance of history, and what this state of childishness leads to. “The national shortage of adult minds suits the purposes of a government that defines its task as a form of child-rearing and guarantees the profits of the consumer markets selling promises of instant relief from the pain of thought, loneliness, doubt, experience, envy, and old age. A country so favored by fortune is one in which no childhood gets left behind.”

Greenberg’s “Manufacturing Depression: A journey into the economy of melancholy” raises many interesting questions about the pharmacological (i.e. profit-driven) approach to depression. This is particularly apropos to our potential next discussion.

Lewis-Kraus’s “A World in Three Aisles: Browsing the post-digital library” explores the Prelinger Library project in San Francisco. Fascinating.

I christen, baptise and circumcise thee...

So it begins...