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December 31, 2007

UK declares War on Terror over

Keep Calm and Carry On poster

A bit of hopeful news to end the year, courtesy of the UK government. According to an article last week in the Daily Mail newspaper, the British government will stop using the term War on Terror...

The words "war on terror" will no longer be used by the British government to describe attacks on the public, the country's chief prosecutor said Dec. 27.

Sir Ken Macdonald said terrorist fanatics were not soldiers fighting a war but simply members of an aimless "death cult."

The Director of Public Prosecutions said: 'We resist the language of warfare, and I think the government has moved on this. It no longer uses this sort of language."

London is not a battlefield, he said.

"The people who were murdered on July 7 were not the victims of war. The men who killed them were not soldiers," Macdonald said. "They were fantasists, narcissists, murderers and criminals and need to be responded to in that way."

His remarks signal a change in emphasis across Whitehall, where the "war on terror" language has officially been ditched.

I see this as a very hopeful sign... a tiny turn away from the Orwellian double-speak in the UK and US that did nothing to make anyone safer, but did engender a sense of fear and dread that was exploited for political gain.

Here's a link to one of the many places that reprinted the article.

(The poster above is a reproduction of posters put up throughout London during the blitz).

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2007

The rise of brain doping

bottles of Provigil

A friend pointed me to this recent article in the Los Angeles Times. According to the article, the Next Big Thing will be the use of drugs to improve mental acuity. Businesses like the computer industry has run on caffeine and sugar for decades of course, but now there's a growing trend... by all sorts of folks... to use more powerful prescription medications.

"There isn't any question about it -- they made me a much better player," said Paul Phillips, 35, who credited the attention deficit drug Adderall and the narcolepsy pill Provigil with helping him earn more than $2.3 million as a poker player.

Provigil seems to be the drug of choice with the brain augmentation crowd. I'm looking forward to a stranger in a sleazy bar offering to sell me some fresh Provigil, instead of the same old grass and meth. I would definitely be interested! If you're interested in the world of brain augmentation, a good place to start is Quinn Norton's great Body Hacking talk.

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Posted by Chris Spurgeon at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2007

Wants For Sale

samples from Wants For Sale

You and I are greedy, superficial people. And because of that, we want all sorts of material possessions. So do a couple of artists named Christine Santora and Justin Gignac. They create acrylic paintings of things they want, and then sell the paintings for the exact cost of their object of desire. For instance, their painting of an iPhone went for $432.42, their painting of a slice of pepperoni pizza cost three bucks.

Their website, Wants For Sale, has the full catalog of their paintings...both the ones that have been bought and therefore gave the couple the cash to sate some of their desires...as well as ones still to be purchased.

This concept was probably inspired by the brilliant conceptual art of J. S. G. Boggs, who drew meticulously detailed copies of paper money and then attempts to spend those copies at their face value, an act that has caused him to be brought up on counterfeiting charges in several countries.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

Hello? Is this blog dead?

photo of cobwebs. Released under a Creative Commons license. Original at http://www.spurgeonworld.com/blog/images/2007/cobwebs.jpg

If you've been a reader of this blog you may have been wondering, "What the hell's happened to it?" Good question.

A confluence of work and personal demands pegged my amount-of-stuff-I-have-to-do-every-24-hours meter way past the red line. But now I'm back, so let the discovery of new and wondrous things resume!

(CC-licensed photo of cobwebs by Mullers/flickr)

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Posted by Chris Spurgeon at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)