Archive for August, 2006

Aug 31 2006

Puck and Permeable Press for Wikipedians

Published by Brian under art, publishing, writing, reviews

I just created articles in Wikipedia for Permeable Press and Puck magazine. I encourage all contributors to either of those enterprises to edit those articles, and to create biographical articles on themselves and then update the Permeable and/or Puck articles with the links. Likewise, you can contact me with your info, corrections or additions to the articles, and I’ll be happy to create and/or update the article(s) for you.

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Aug 29 2006

The Battle against Science

Published by Brian under food, drugs, science, politics, agriculture

I just stumbled across a truly bizarre blog called cfact. There, Dennis T. Avery (author of the wacko Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic) counters a report on the dangers of fast food with the suggestion that we “chew on some real danger foods.” Avery writes, with seeming ignorance of basic nutrition science, “There’s a new children’s book out [Avery does not name the book, always a good tactic when you want to create a diversion], telling kids that vicious food-mongers are trying to make them obese with fast food. That’s such a pathetic scare! Any food can make you fat if you eat too much.” It’s hard to imagine getting fat on lettuce, say, which requires more energy to digest than it contains, but let it go. Here’s the real nutso suggestion by Mr. Avery: eat ergot fungus! Now there’s a real “danger food”! This isn’t even comparing apples to oranges, which are both foods. Ergot, need I remind you, is not a food. Talk about a diversionary tactic: spew out a long, misinformed “history” of St. Anthony’s Fire and avoid talking about killer transfats in Micky D’s poisonous offerings. Continue Reading »

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Aug 25 2006

Published by Brian under film, reviews

film review by Brian Charles Clark

This New Age bauble adorned with computer-generated imagery suffers from two fatal narrative flaws–hubris and lack of imagination—and one straight-up-stupid logical fallacy: the conflation of the subatomic realm with the meso or middle (as the physicists call it) world of the living planet. It’s hubristic to think that “you” (nobody ever owns what they say in this film, an old con’s trick) have the power to “change” or “affect” “reality.” It’s the height of arrogance to think that you “create” your “day” and influence the course of events and that reality is merely perceived by “your” mind. By conflating the subatomic and the meso, the filmmakers fall into the trap of thinking that human thought is quantum and therefore has agency in the subatomic realm. That may or may not be the case. If it is the case, then what’s true of humans would also be true of every other living thing. Thus reality is not of “your” making but is rather an extended collaboration conducted by all conscious particles. (Or collections of particles with the emergent property called consciousness.) And that’s the film’s lack of imagination, too: this isn’t a story about humans, which might have been interesting, but about individuals, individuals seemingly in a vacuum. The talking heads speak as if they’ve lived alone on mountain tops, as hermits—but look like well-fed Euroamericans. These fat cats walk the walk of capitalism—don’t think they’re not trying to sell you something!—while talking the talk of the sidhu, the bodhisattva, the wise crone. The con job is obvious if you’ve heard the clichés enough. The biggest clue in that regard is the clichéd CGI, which look like they came from an Industrial Light & Magic yard sale circa 1985.

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Aug 05 2006

The Plot to Save Socrates

review by Brian Charles Clark

The Plot to Save Socrates
Paul Levinson
Tor Books, 2006

Socrates said he knew nothing but, even so, he was the smartest guy in Athens. Apparently a lot of Athenians found that amusing—at least for a while. Eventually, though, he got on enough people’s nerves, and in ancient Athens that was enough to get a death sentence. (In the contemporary U.S., it just gets you a life sentence, unless you’re being held in Guantanamo, in which case nobody bothers with a trial.) Paul Levin’s novel, which resonates with the current political climate, is premised on the thought that some future time traveler might time-warp back to 399 B.C. (or whatever they called it back then) to try to persuade Socrates from drinking the hemlock. Continue Reading »

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Aug 03 2006

I’m Rachel

Published by Brian under fiction, film

This is a film made by my Lit 271, science fiction, students last spring. We wrote, produced and edited the film in two weeks. I think it turned out damn fine! You can comment on our film either here or on I wrote the music for “I’m Rachel” and you can get the complete song I chopped up for the film here.

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Aug 03 2006

Giant Head

Published by Brian under mp3, music

This is the unchopped up version of the music that helps smooth out the rough edges of “I’m Rachel” (or check it out on youtube). This is a pretty big MP3 (right click and save as), about 15 megs for 10.5 minutes of music, so if you’re trying to download this from a dial-up connection, forget about it! There’s a similar, much shorter version, called “Bodhi Orange,” on my acidplanet page. Both songs rely heavily on loops provided by Steve Tibbetts. Tibbetts, if you don’t know his music but like innovative guitar playing (both electric and acoustic) is well worth checking out. I particularly recommend Big Map Idea and Cho, Tibbetts‘ collaboration with Tibetan Buddhist nun, Choying Drolma.

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Aug 02 2006

Beyond Marriage

Published by Brian under marriage, gay_rights, human_rights

At last! As I discussed in a previous post, the GLBT drive for “equal” rights, the right to get married, shows an extreme lack of imagination. Why gays, lesbians, and others would want to attain “equal” protection under a racist, sexist, colonialist, and permanently patriarchal system is beyond me. Now, Richard Kim and other have launched Beyond Marriage, a movement that acknowledges that “the struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families.” Beyond Marriage advocates for the complete “separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of relationships, households and families” and “legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.” Separation of church and state, and the divestment of sex from the concept of legal union: Amen, brothers, sisters and ‘tweeners. What this would mean, as I have long argued, is “access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.” Kim, writing in The Notion, offers an amusing response to his often “overheated” critics.

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