Sunday

DUB FX

Found this guy on Whitechapel, thanks guys. Absolutely mindblowing beatbox / vocal loop performer called Dub FX. Check him out.

Wednesday

ON THE FEEDS: 13TH MAY 2009


* Picture - Governor Schwarzenegger evaluates the benefits of legal Marijuana.

Israeli prime-minister Netenyahu has been making conciliatory noises at a recent round of talks with the Egyptian president, despite Egypt's objections to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's refusal to acknowledge the need for a separate Palestinian state. As ever, the peace process in the region seems to be following the old 'one step forward, two steps back' routine that will be familiar to anyone with a casual interest in the subject. Nevertheless, the talks are a good sign that the current right-wing administration in Israel is not taking a universally hardline stance on the Palestinian conflict.

The Westminster expenses scandal peaked this week, with Gordon Brown forced to eat humble pie. Always nice to see a politician grovelling to the public, although to be frank this whole scandal is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Of course we care how public funds are spent... but are we really going to crucify politicians just for spending too much on lightbulbs? Surely there must be more important things to worry about.

Perhaps the furore over the expenses row, and its domination of the headlines, has something to do with the death of journalism. Check out Kurt Cagle's two-part essay on the history of the rise and fall of the investigative journalist, and the journalist-as-hero.

On to more cosmic matters - we are now at the low ebb of the current sunspot cycle, which is due to peak in 2013. It seems the sunspot cycle is starting at an unexpectedly low level of activity... suggesting that the 'season' of electromagnetic activity may be 'In like a lamb, out like a lion.' Lest we forget, a short 7 months prior to the peak of this cycle, the sun will also be aligning with the centre of the Milky Way for the first time in centuries. Do some research about this... the potential consequences of intense solar storms have led many to speculate that the Earth could suffer massive power outages around the end of 2012, leading some to speculate that we could be facing some sort of societal collapse. Most of this is speculation - it's very hard to accurately predict sunspot activity - but it's great fuel for argument if you're a conspiracy nut like us.

We liked this story about the US Army hacking itself in cyber-wargames. Watch out, Anonymous!

Allegations of witness-badgering and corporate espionage have been levelled against Trafigura, following an alleged toxic waste dumping incident on Africa's Ivory Coast. Trafigura were also involved in the Oil-for-Food scandal of a few years ago - now they have been alleged to have dumped toxic waste materials that have affected the health of up to 100,000 Africans. Toxic waste dumping is still a very hush-hush matter, and little understood - it seems Trafigura are leading the charge in getting the Third World to shoulder our toxic inheritance.

The latest Apple Apps scandal involves the banning of an application called 'Me So Holy', which would allow users to transpose their head on to the bodies of popular religious celebrities such as Jesus, Buddha and Mohammad. Well, at least its more tasteful than the Shake the Baby app. Allegations of moral superiority now dog the Apple brand, which is unsurprising, considering how Apple users lord it about over PC heads.

Staying with religion for a second, if you ever wanted to debunk someone's argument that 'God is in the details,' proceed with caution to this article debunking the theories of a respected geneticist (and up-himself God-botherer) Francis Collins. Just because it's quantum, and therefore complicated, doesn't mean it's Holy. Always distrust a scientific argument that begins: "It is thus perfectly possible that God might influence creation..." It's also perfectly possible that we live in a giant holographic banana. It's just not probable.

Stephen Wolfram, the lauded physicist and mathematician, has leant his name to a new search engine based on his revolutionary Mathematica computer algebra programming language. The new engine's makers are hoping the site's different mathematical basis will help it to outperform Google.

The Governator of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has agreed to discuss the bill for legalisation of Marijuana in his state. Considering his liberal record on the use of steroids, we hope that Arnie can take a similarly relaxed view about the harmless toking of a plant that occurs naturally, and has been needlessly prohibited by a world culture which fears mellow, fucked-up people who never get anything done.

Today's most entertaining 'what-if?' science stories involve the prospect of finding flowers on Europa, and a plan to map the multiverse. As we approach the technological singularity, expect science to get closer to speculative fiction with every passing day.

We will leave you with a preview for an upcoming nature documentary about the feeding habits of two of Nature's most popular, elusive and deadly predators - the huge shark and the gigantic octopus. This intelligent, sensitive portrait of such misunderstood creatures is sure to awaken new, Attenborough-beating levels of ecological sympathy for the much-maligned Mega Shark and Giant Octopus species.

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