A still from Extreme Force (2001)

In response to a request on Facebook today, I dug through some of my old Alamout Black CDs, and managed to locate a track we made called “World View“.

This song was featured in a fight scene in the 2001 film Extreme Force.  My friend Kays Alatrakchi was the guy who did the music for that film, and we made this song specifically for it.  A lot of fun, that, though I have to admit it sounds pretty dated to me now.  Kays more recently did the music for Midnight Son as well, which is a totally excellent vampire film, and which you should see immediately, if you haven’t already.

Anyways, here’s the song.  Right-click to download.

So I was browsing around, trying to find footage to convince a couple of friends to come with me to see Amon Tobin play live here in Chicago in a couple of weeks, and what should I find, but this beautiful HD version of the live show, with excellent audio to boot.

Sit back for an hour, full-screen this baby, and enjoy.

UPDATE:  It appears the YouTube video has been taken down for copyright reasons.  Oh well.  It was fun while it lasted.

I watched the ISAM 2.0 show in Chicago on Saturday night, and it was even better than the first one.

Another post inspired by a mailing list post.

Today, a young lady posted, without context of any kind, an email to a semi-public email listserv, asserting:

Disclaimer:  All communication sent from charityXXXXX@XXXXX.COM, or from Charity XXXXX
is privileged communication, owned exclusively by Charity XXXXX, as proprietary owner/ideas and information as copyright. No duplication, dissemination or profit from the above-mentioned material may occur without the express discretionary consent of owner, Charity XXXXX.
Copyright Charity XXXXX 1958-2012
All rights reserved

You see a lot of these kinds of things these days.  Problem is, they’re completely pointless.  As was pointed out by the Economist back in April of last year.  And by Slate, in 2004.  In fact, the only thing I can find which indicates these sort of stupid things have any merit is this guy, and then only in very limited circumstances.
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Well friends, after 25 responses to the survey, it’s time to reveal what you all think is (and isn’t) cannibalism. It was an interesting survey, and after thinking about it a little, I might include some different questions in the next one.

So, is the crowd right? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Today is the day that much of the internet is going dark to protest the SOPA/PIPA acts in the United States.

I wrote a little piece on it for Acceler8or, and I’ve blacked out my logo for the day.

Please, take a moment to register your displeasure with legislators.  Don’t break the internet.

Like it?

Well, I told you I had some neat things in the works, and today, I’m happy to report that Acceler8or.com, a new website featuring news and original articles about transhumanist and Singularitarian culture, is online and rocking.

The site editor is none other than R.U. Sirius, whom you might remember from his time editing Mondo 2000, or perhaps his collaborations with Timothy Leary, or maybe even from his presidential bid under the banner of The Revolution.

I did the design and implementation of the site, which is based on WordPress, with some rich customizations, and a theme I build from scratch using the Blueprint CSS framework.

Already, there’s articles on the death of music, a new BBC series called All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, and many links to current news of interest to transhumanists, futurists, and technophiles.

I couldn’t be happier with the project, so pay the site a visit, and watch for coming tweaks and improvements as more and more content gets added.

ReadWriteWeb reports today on a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The takeaway?

According to the survey, 46% of people now say they get their news online at least three times a week, surpassing newspapers (40%) for the first time. Only local television is more popular among Americans, with 50% indicating that’s their regular source for news.

Not to mention this beautiful graphic:

So things are looking good for the web.  Not so good for newspapers.  Even less well for magazines, and worst of all for cable news.

I suspect that a large reason for the 13.7% drop in cable news numbers can be directly related to the perception of partisanship on most of those stations.  At least, I hope that’s the reason — it’s a good one.

CC-licensed image, courtesy of Steve Rhodes, via Flickr

This post is an amalgam of several emails I sent to a private journalism-related listserv.  I’ve got a project brewing in the ol’ noggin relating to journalism, objectivity, and transparency.  I figured I’d post this publicly, in the hopes of soliciting more opinions, so please feel free to post in the comments.

So, one of my pet peeves about the universe of journalism is the fact that most (primarily non-journalist) folks, and particularly those on the conservative end of the political spectrum, insist that journalists must be “objective” in their reporting.

This notion is, of course, under constant debate, but it has recently been brought to the fore by several cases, including Juan Williams, Keith Olberman, Helen Thomas, and Octavia Nasr, who was fired over a mere tweet which was seen by some folks as partisan.

See also this article on TechCrunch for some insight:
http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/08/we-need-more-opinions-in-news-not-less/

Frankly, I don’t believe that it’s possible for such a thing as genuinely objective reporting to exist in the real world. We might aspire to write just the facts, we might try our best to present every side of an argument without favoring one or the other, but ultimately, there’s no such thing as a human with no bias, and therefore by logical necessity, no reporting without bias.

Furthermore, because of the epistemological impossibility of “objective” reporting, I’m personally inclined to treat those who base their journalistic reputation on objectivity as suspect, because they either A) haven’t considered the philosophical consequences of their claim or B) they don’t believe that I’ve thought about it deeply enough to see their claims are bogus, or perhaps worst of all C) they genuinely DO believe that they are being more objective than anyone else, which is a level of self-delusion I’m not prepared to accept.

The primary benefit that a professional journalist brings to the table (in my opinion) is the impetus towards investigation and a willingness to discuss multiple points of view in their stories.  Take for example Dave Weigel, who was fired from the WaPo for comments he made on a private listserv. Even though he didn’t personally hold the same beliefs as the folks he was reporting on, nobody was complaining about the content of his stories.  He was reporting on a point of view that differed from his own, and apparently doing it well enough to satisfy the conservatives of the world (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on this point).  Ultimately, he was undone by expressing his personal opinions in a private forum.

Perhaps it is that the real advantage of professional journalism over “citizen journalism” is in fact that it requires a certain amount of exposure to ideas which may not completely cohere with your intellectual predisposition?  Maybe what the NYT, Dallas Morning News, and Chicago Tribune offer is the opportunity to encounter a bit of cognitive dissonance from time to time.  It may not be comfortable, but that just means you’re thinking about it.

I thought Mathew Ingram presented it well in this article on GigaOm :

David Weinberger, a former fellow with the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society, has also argued that “transparency is the new objectivity,” and that readers can now make up their own minds about whether journalists are credible or not by looking at the sources of the news they are reporting, rather than relying on the notion of objectivity. “Transparency gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases,” he said in a blog post last year. “Transparency brings us to reliability the way objectivity used to.” Transparency is also much more effective online because journalists can link to supporting evidence for their arguments, Weinberger said, instead of just relying on the principle of objectivity to buttress their opinions. “Objectivity,” he wrote, “is a trust mechanism you rely on when your medium can’t do links.”

Jay Rosen has taken to referring to the mythical objectivity which some journalists invoke as the “view from nowhere”, a term apparently coined by Thomas Nagel, and he’s got a lot of opinions which I find myself agreeing with on the subject.

Any thoughts from the noosphere on the subject?  Is transparency the new objectivity?  I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments.

See, folks, this is why October in Chicago is so great. Just look at this list!  So many horror movies!  So little time!

Oct. 1

  • Chain Letter, wide release
  • Let Me In, wide release
  • Case 39, wide release
  • Hatchet II, wide release
  • 13 Ghosts, Facets Cinematheque
  • Ed Gein, The Musical, Music Box

Oct. 2

Oct. 4

Oct. 8

Oct. 9

Oct. 9-10Music Box Massacre @ Music Box Theater, including:

  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Raven
  • The Wolf Man
  • Hungry Wives (aka Season of the Witch)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
  • Rabid
  • Basket Case
  • Pet Sematary
  • The Funhouse
  • The House by the Cemetary
  • Theatre of Blood
  • Psycho
  • Fright Night

Oct. 15

Oct. 16

Oct. 22

Oct. 23

Oct. 23 & 24 — Horror Society Film Festival @ the Portage Theater including:

  • Demons
  • Chopping Mall
  • Terrorvision
  • Worm
  • TXT: The Movie
  • Slime City
  • Slices of Life
  • Satan Hates You
  • The Guest
  • Ugly
  • Popatopolis
  • Slime City Massacre

Oct. 25

October 26

October 27

Oct. 28

Oct. 29

Oct. 30

Did I miss some?  If I did, leave me the info in the comments, and I’ll add them to the list…


Here’s a short list of key words that will guarantee I will ignore your TV show, movie, etc.

  • From the producers of ‘Scary Movie’
  • Tyler Perry’s _________________
  • From the writers of ‘Two and a half men’
  • “It will warm your heart”
  • “Just how far would you go to find true love?”
  • “This generation’s (something interesting that happened 10 years ago).
  • “The Bible tells us …….”
  • “Starring Kirk Cameron.”
  • “Everybody’s favorite _____________ “

Did I miss some of your favorites?  Let me know in the comments.