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February's Fine Forays
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Gregory Stock takes inventory on The Prospects for Human Germline Engineering and finds that while our technology may enable us to interfere in life's flow, we are ethically unprepared.
"Though germline intervention may not be clinically feasible for several decades, there is little doubt its potential is immense. One day it may protect children from cancer, AIDS and other diseases, enhance their intelligence and even extend their life spans. But the technology also embodies a fundamental challenge: how far are willing to go in reshaping the human form and psyche?"
For a reason I can't quite put my finger on, or my arm around, I wanted to find out what research in human pheremone response has discovered. Perhaps the anecdotal evidence is best.
"I love to see a lady with hairy armpits. Especially sweaty, hairy pits that get all matted down from the wetness, either from a hot, humid day, or during lovemaking. The scent of the sweat gives me tremendous arousal, and I enjoy mutual licking of each others armpits."
Charles S. Grob, M.D. examines Psychiatric Research with Hallucinogens and asks "What have we learned?"
"Jaffe, in the 7th and 8th editions of Goodman and Gilman, defined psychedelics as agents that produce changes in thought and perception normally experienced only during dreaming or at times of religious exultation. All of us should take a few minutes to think about the implications of that definition."
It seems inevitable when a bevvy of specialists from diverse disciplines get together to discuss a topic that agreement will be scarce. Posing the question "Do Memes Account For Culture?", the participants had some common ground.
"The box of concepts available from Darwinism doesn't impress this group. It seems a very small toolkit when so many theoretical alternatives are already available and there is so much complexity to explain. In fact, theory abounds in the social sciences. What is lacking is insight into real social processes."
Perhaps all specialists could take the graduate course in Conversational Terrorism to help boost their cause. A word salad, or sesquipedalianism, can easily create enough cognitive dissonance to ensure compliance. Don't you agree?
"In view of the federal budget deficit, civil unrest, and international politics, we need to consider that, notwithstanding the mitigating circumstances, this country has got to get back on its feet. Don't you agree?"

I am not a vegetarian, but I would much rather eat a roast from an ex-cow that was happy in life. In our economy of scale, my ex-mooing munch is just another commodity; hamburger on the hoof. At MeatStinks.com an antimeme approach is used to get across that non-human animals have rights too, and the Lettuce Ladies show how to educate with veggies.

Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery (CLAWS), shows great courage in promulgating ease. Let's spread the word folks, "we're tired as hell and we're not going to take it anymore".
"I would like to see people refusing to work in any job they felt was wrong. I would like to see work-dodgers: honourable and brave people who refuse to continue to feed this monstrous culture."
Chris Busby in his forward to Molly Scott Cato's book Seven Myths About Work
Nootropics may be able to help us adjust to the increasing demands of balancing work with home. I'd rather be learning/teaching (leaching, there's a posi-meme for ya: What do you do? I am a Leacher.) with my kids.
"Picture this: You have a business meeting tomorrow with your distributor. This meeting requires that you be in top form for some critical negotiations. You have several reports to go over, many facts to memorize, and above all you have to get some rest. Your first step? A trip to the drug store, of course."
Although consciousness is not well understood it is well and truly controllable by those who desire such things. It is with the utmost vigilance that we must guard our cognitive freedom, a task aided by fine groups like The Alchemind Society, an International Association for Cognitive Liberty.
"But, while certain justices have, at times, pointedly acknowledged the fundamental nature of cognitive freedom and the nefarious nature of government (or other outside) interference with the intellect, this important freedom remains only obliquely defined within the US legal system." From On Cognitive Liberty, part 1

Do not go to Chemical Manipulation of Consciousness, Behavior, Health and Evolutionary Potential in the Human Population unless you are clearly trans-dysthymic and are able to integrate the fact that we have shit on our metaphorical carpet, can't and won't clean it up, and there's no other house to move to. (The dogs made me use that visualization; puppy flashback...)

Snakes and rapids and paradise, Oh my! Bill Belleville writes a wonderful tale of adventure in Guyana, and leaves me wondering what's in the yellow mustard.
"And then, as if to shatter any shards of ethnocentricity I might have remaining: "Sometimes, visitors bring photographs and you see the concrete jungles and understand what can happen to a place when the people forget what is important."
Dysthymia is a chronic condition endured by about 3% of people, half of whom go untreated. The incidence of this illness has been growing steadily since the industrial revolution. Often complicated by an anxiety disorder the results can be devastating, including financial and social poverty.

JAMA provides an article that enquires into whether depression is an adaptive behavior to untenable or stressful environments.
"However, it is essential to emphasize that many depressions are clearly disease states: some caused by dysregulations of negative affect and others by brain defects unrelated to low mood. The fact that low mood, and perhaps some depression, may be useful should not distract attention from recognition that depression is one of humanity's most serious medial problems."
A position that would raise anyone's spirits is available with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, based in Fairbanks. Helping to preserve the environment, teaching children, and working in some of the last remaining pristine wilderness on our earthship sounds like a dream job to me.


Prodigal Genius, The Life of Nicola Tesla by John J. O'Neill is a biography that was first printed in 1944 and is now available on line; all 327 pages of it. I'm going to save it to disk for that rainy day the net goes down; or I can't pay my access bill.
"It is the story of the dazzling scintillations of a superman who created a new world; it is a story that condemns woman as an anchor of the flesh which retards the development of man and limits his accomplishment--and, paradoxically, proves that even the most successful life, if it does not include a woman, is a dismal failure."
Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C. to the Present. When you realize that the scale is logarithmic, the insight that naturally follows is that the growth will soon go virtually straight up. How can this be?

Michael Ignatieff asks a question that puts the squeeze on a western tradition of moral liberalism and ethical conservatism.
"If moral perfectionism is in fact an alibi for inaction, then what kinds of arguments should we use to justify moral practices like intervening on behalf of people's right to free speech in other cultures and contexts?"
As the compilers of The Law and Mind Control put it: "149 Subprojects / 80 Institutions / 185 Private Researchers". This was MKULTRA, concerned with 'the research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.'
"In order to meet the perceived threat to national security, substantial programs for the testing and use of chemical and biological agents--including projects involving the surreptitious administration of LSD to unwitting nonvolunteer subjects at all social levels, high and low, native American and foreign--were conceived, and implemented. These programs resulted in substantial violations of the rights of individuals within the United States."
Further to this enquiry is chapter nine of Father, Son and CIA.
"I now had a fairly complete understanding of what Ewen Cameron was trying to do, and I even had some sense of what his motivations might have been. But there remained a piece of the puzzle yet to be fixed in place. How was it that a psychiatrist in Canada was chosen by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States to receive money for research?"

David E. Nichols, Ph.D. is a researcher who maintains what one of his students called "an oasis in the midwest". A Scientist Reflects on the Discovery and future of LSD is a heartfelt thanks to Albert Hoffman, and a look at where and how further research could be carried out.
"Many influential people have made public pronouncements about the dangers and lack of value of research with LSD and related drugs. These individuals will eventually retire from public life and relinquish their power and we must hope that more enlightened and progressive persons will take their place. We also desperately need a greater number of individuals to pursue Ph.D. and M.D. degrees who believe that this research is worthwhile, and who are willing to devote some portion of their effort to bringing about change."
The Serotonin Club has a very readable synopsis of what is known and yet to be learned about this neurotransmitter.

If Long-Term Growth As A Sequence of Exponential Modes is a guide, we are most certainly headed into a singular experience; perhaps even during my lifetime!
"If history is a guide, the economy may transition within the next 60 years or so to a faster mode, with a doubling time of one to two years. Scientific progress may drive the current mode, while computer hardware may drive the next."
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but my dogs have little need of it; they already know they're perfect. Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Lalandpose a question that I can certainly answer in the affirmative: Do Animals Have Memes?
"Non-human animals may be poor imitators, but many are excellent social learners. We argue that the meme concept can, and should, be applied to animal cultural transmission."

Being an antimeme activist, one feels impelled to engage in culture jamming. The Culture Jamming Encyclopedia to the rescue with ideas. Exposing the Great God Hoax is a prime example.
What God looks like, eh

Coming soon to a home near you are Five Future Religions Waiting To Happen. The televisionary oracle Jay Kinney of the now defunct Gnosis Magazine looks toward the light, and says:
Visualize Whirled Peas

While the religious machinations turn, Erik Davis turns his attention to the religion that machines invoke, in Corpus Cybermeticum: Digital mysticism and the religion of technology
"Spiritually, we may be entering an age as vital and eclectic as that seen in Alexandria nearly two millennium ago, when Gnosticism, Judaism, hermeticism, Egyptian religion, Greek metaphysics, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity created a delirious dance, producing new forms of spirit from the mutant intermingling of traditions."
Whitecrow Borderland explores The Myth of Eden from the perspective of Native American cultural philosophy.
"I suppose one could argue that, while some of it may seem overly harsh in its judgment against European ideology, it is meant to suggest a simple necessity; namely, that the spirit world is alive and well and in process of becoming reintegrated into the world of flesh and living bone like it was before Europeans came to the Western hemisphere."
Is the 'impact factor' as a way of judging the affect of a published paper analogous to those desperate arbiters of figure skating, who end up giving their own countries athletes the best scores despite using supposedly objective criteria? Craig McGarty explores this tender issue.
"The measure punishes journals which publish the work of authors who do not have membership of these invisible colleges and is virtually incapable of detecting genuine impact. It is not just a bad measure it is an invitation to do bad science."

From the mouths of babes....In this case the Drug Enforcement Agency (and the things they're forcing those drugs to do!!) provides a most competent compendium of Future Synthetic Drugs of Abuse. Their astounding conclusion: (sheesh)
"The clandestine chemist of the future will be more sophisticated than those of the present and compounds not yet conceived of will be within their reach."
Probably for highly chaotic reasons Global Simplicity and Local Complexity is not available at source, which is a shame because I'd like to see more. This is apparently chapter twelve, and is a stand-alone must-read. If the Google link does not work, I've mirrored it here.
"According to one mode of expression, the question What are laws of nature? may be stated thus: What are the fewest and simplest assumptions, which being granted, the whole existing order of nature would result?"
I think I was about twelve years old when, begging to watch a late hockey game, I used the fact that the game was 'live' as part of my argument. My dad, a physicist, said "it's not 'live'" and pointed out why. I get the same feeling from The Dream Body in Cyberspace; a kind of psychic dislocation due to realization.
"The relation of the subject in cyberspace to the outside observer mimics the relation between the dreamer while dreaming and the ego consciousness of the dreamer when he or she awakens."
"When a finger points at the moon, only an idiot looks at the finger." Chinese aphorism quoted in Contemplating The Finger: Visuality and the Semiotics of Chemistry, which aims to show that imagination plays as much of a role as fact.
"Chemistry's symbolic language is shown to mimic many features of natural languages, including the ability to construct fictional worlds. I argue that these 'scientific fictions' are as cognitively valuable in chemistry as they are in ordinary life, and that chemists creatively mix 'true' and 'fictional' representations of molecules and substances."

Theodore Adorno gives me a mental pat on the back, reminding me that to see differently, freshly is not to see wrongly.
"Whatever the intellectual does, is wrong. He experiences drastically and vitally the ignominious choice that late capitalism secretly presents to all its dependants: to become one more grown-up, or to remain a child."
The revolution begins, and ends, with me. In A Fantasy for the Future we can experience a post-memetic fable which draws a crystal picture of repercepted reality.
"Slowly, an awareness emerged that it was not "what" that had changed, but "who". It was people who were affected. The world remained the same, but the observers were perceiving differently."
Scientific Psychology and Christian Theism is an empirical examination of the role and relationship of Christianity with modern scientific psychology.
"Alfred North Whitehead has argued that Christianity gave birth to modern science by giving European minds the unalterable conviction that every detailed occurrence exemplified a general principle that could be discovered."
Tantra Yoga brings the sacred to the sexual; symbolically, actually, or usually both. This FAQ is a good place to start, answering all except where a middle-aged man of dubious verticality (not there, silly!) but absolute sincerity, could find a partner.

I seem to be seeking clarity and precision today, perhaps as a counter to the muddy clumsiness of my actual day. A realignment of my harmonius relational waveflow is had by absorbing The Physics of Consciousness; Virtual Chaos.
"Consciousness it would seem, is the perception of an interference pattern, by the interference pattern itself."

Just when I think I've got a pretty good grasp on things, a preteen asks an apparently simple question: "What is 'sub-space'?" Well, darned if I know! Go ask a space scientist, like Dr. Sten Odenwald.
"It is a subset of a larger space in which all the same arithmetic operations are possible, but in which the results of these operations are always still elements within the sub-space."
Chemical Hallucinations, Mind Control, and Dr. Jose Delgado. I think I lost control of my neurochemical sphincter in perusing this site.
"Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electrically control the brain. Some day armies and generals will be controlled by electric stimulation of the brain." Despite Dr. Delgado's outlandish statements before Congress, his work was financed by grants from the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Aero-Medical Research Laboratory, and the Public Health Foundation of Boston."
Strategic Issues Today provides unique insight into how America conducts its foriegn affairs.
"Rhodes, ultimately, was "bottom-line" oriented, seeking to control gold, diamonds and other natural resources. The current crowd seeks to control government and to "tax" corporations by many "positive" and "negative" means (including class-action and anti-trust litigation) as their means of establishing government and bureaucratic control over a global economy that is less and less dependent on government."
Attention all practising or potential psychonauts, here is a definitive compilation of information concerning orally and parenterally active psychotropic tryptamine derivatives.

The Social Alter, by Lloyd deMause, takes us deep into the ethical quagmire of owning personal responsibility for group behavior.
"Nations, home of our social alters, act out what seems to be a nonpersonal history because social events appear to exist "in reality" but seem not to be a result of the intentions or emotions of any individual."
You can't eat the cookbook, nor make love with a magazine. In mistaking the represented for the actual we lose our embeddedness; our sanity. How we confuse symbols and things is an urgent message to wake up.
"The real solution to excessive governmental power is education. People must learn the difference between a symbol (government) and a thing (effective group action), and they must come to believe in themselves and the natural value of individual experience. If people educate themselves to the point that they realize their own power and capabilities, huge governments will lose their audience. And make no mistake about it -- big government isn't just like show business, it is show business: no audience, no show."
Fridge magnet poetry is great, better than playing with the overdue bills stuck up there. This University of Wisconsin - Madison site dedicated to magnetism is strongly attractive and conducive to new ideas. "The common flexible sheet refrigerator magnet has a complex, ingenious magnetic structure."

The Vancouver Aquarium has set up hydrophones at the entrance to Johnstone Straight, which runs between Vancouver Island and the coast of B.C. You can listen for whales 'live' or hear prerecorded audio, as well as learn about orca behavior.
"ORCA FM is part of a larger project called "WhaleLink", which provides opportunities for scientists and the interested public to remotely monitor the underwater communication of wild killer whales."
An education with a difference may be had at Naropa University, where the first point of their mission statement says all I need to know.
"1. offer educational programs that cultivate awareness of the present moment through intellectual, artistic, and meditative disciplines;"

Before attempting psychic assimilation of the philomemetic material that follows, try rocket science. "A tiny rocket can be made very simply with a small piece of aluminum foil, a paper match from a matchbook, and a paper clip." Bizzare Stuff has a vast collection of things to amuse and enlighten; perchance an opportunity to fire up the Death Star (see below).

Thoughts as Tools: the Meme in Daniel Dennet's Work profiles whether this is truly a reductionist view. Kelby Mason does not believe so, and points out that we must not confuse reductionism and materialism.
"Far from crippling us with a sense of our own impotence, then, memetics should empower us. For it is not just as a science of thought that Dennett is interested in it, but also as a technology of thought. This conception of thoughts is one that encourages us to take control of them, and use them to their full advantage: if we can now get a science (in the form of memetics) of the ideas that rule us then, according to Dennett, we will have that much more power over ourselves and our environment."
"...unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do hope it's my dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like belonging to another person's dream..." Alice, Lewis Carroll In Application of Memetics we are given a guided tour of memetic engineering; how to design friends and influence them.
"It all boils down to acting like the Wizard of Oz--acting powerful, mysterious, all-knowing, beyond judgment or reproach, when all you really are is a small, ordinary man hiding behind a threadbare curtain."
Among the animals I know, including the human ones, cooperative behavior is the norm. This suggests that we have made a philo-ideological wrong turn. Can we turn before we crash? Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis ask "Is Equality Passe?"
"Like altruism toward strangers, strong reciprocity thus represents an evolutionary puzzle, one that we will seek to unravel. But first we will show that Homo reciprocans is indeed among the actors on today's political stage, and most likely has been for the last hundred thousand years."
Homo Reciprocans; Political Economy and Cultural Evolution looks at the race from a different perspective than the usual technology versus biology one, questioning whether co-operative human behavior can supplant our present Homo Economicus; viral and ultimately self-defeating.


If you have a handy little air pump and a convenient hardware store, building a Death Star could be a fine weekend project. I mean, you'ld never use it or anything....um, what was I talking about?
"If marihuana were the cause of amotivation, one would expect that amotivation could be cured by taking away the marihuana, but this is not the case. Therefore, it makes more sense to see amotivation as a cause of heavy marihuana smoking rather than the reverse." Andrew Weil
An original e-book first put up in 1995, City of Bits traces the I-bahn from the 'laying of the glass' to the extensible human.
"From gesture sensors worn on our bodies to the worldwide infrastructure of communications satellites and long-distance fiber, the elements of the bitsphere will finally come together to form one densely interwoven system within which the knee bone is connected to the I-bahn."
Minds are simply what brains do. So saith Marvin Minski in this argument for dissolution of the mind/body conceptual division.
"We need not lose our self-respect when someone describes us as machines; we should consider it wonderful that what we are and what we do depends upon a billion parts. As for more traditional views, I find it demeaning to be told that all the things that I can do depend on some structureless spirit or soul."
Snow white is not the color of our ethical mein. Anthony Judge uses fabled insight to examine how we see work. Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Off to Work We Go: Engagement in the 21st Century is at once funny, fresh, and a serious work that points out fundamental flaws in our perceptions of value.
"It is time to consider the organization of society in terms of other dimensions that might offer more people more opportunities. Rather than vainly endeavouring to "create new jobs", this would mean recognizing "existing forms of engagement" which already contribute to vital aspects of sustainability that are not measured by GNP."
Judge not lest ye be judged, unless your guru asks you for money. Sarlo presumes to adjudicate the saintly and would-be-so's in Sarlo's Guru Rating Service.
"Their methods, quality and authenticity vary tremendously, as do the degree to which they encourage worship of their exalted selves and even their conceptions of our misery."

Most adults have had, or are having at this moment though what contortions that would require I'd rather not think, a sexual experience. I had not however contemplated the result of sexual activity at relativistic velocities. Relativistic Intercourse led my brain to think; and it'll never be the same again.
"Over the years much valuable work has been done researching the relative merits of various penetration speeds during sexual intercourse, but to my knowledge none of the researchers has ever pursued this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion--"
It's always good to refresh one's understanding of the basics, perhaps to gain new perspectives or to strengthen the perceptual foundation. Auburn's good people bring us the foundations of fusion.

Tracing the concept of poverty across the centuries, How Poverty Lost Its Meaning shows that, once of an intrinsically spiritual nature, when increasingly aligned with unemployment poverty became a social sin.
"Things are as we say they are, a "virtual reality" extending well beyond our computer screens to encompass our entire social lives. As poverty theorist Michael Katz (1989: 7-8) has clearly recognized, poverty is not so much the existence of poor people as the prevailing discourse about them."
We inhabit a culture based on growth, and judge each other based on fitness within that paradigm. Psycho-technology: Its Present & Future points toward behavioristic ways of dealing with the stress of it all. A neurochemical approach may be made by various means, as outlined by The Good Drug Guide"
"...modafinil is a memory-enhancing and mood-brightening psychostimulant. It enhances wakefulness and vigilance, but its pharmacological profile is notably different from the amphetamines, methylphenidate (Ritalin) or cocaine. It is less likely to cause jitteriness, anxiety, or excess locomotor activity - or lead to a hypersomnolent 'rebound effect' - than traditional stimulants."
Real care must be exercised when self-adjusting one's neurochemical balance. Many popular cough remedies contain dextromethorphan (DXM) and are used daily in a range of doses, and for a variety of reasons.
"In addition to brain damage, these drugs can also trigger psychosis, limbic seizures, temporal lability, depression, and other neurological and psychological diseases much more frequently than other types of drugs."

The Halcyon Cosmopolitan Entertainment is sporting a new url and has an absolutely first rate collection of connections. In the same vein but with a more direct focus is The One behind the Many, subtitled The Purporsive Evolution and Involution of Consciousness in the Universe. These are both jumping off points of the first water for all "Homo Noeticus" potentiates.

5-Methoxy-Diisopropyltryptamine is one of the tryptamines, a class of compounds that includes many hallucinogens. Psilocybin is the perhaps the most recognizable of these, at least where mushroom picking has evolved to a high art, though many others are highly interesting as well.
"As a good psychedelic should, psilocybin, psilocin and psilocybian mushrooms have low toxicity -- in tests with mice, doses up to 200 mg of psilocybin/kg of body (in average human terms (65 kg) 13 grams) have been injected intravenously without lethal effects. The ED50 : LD50 ratio is 641 according to the NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects; compare this with 9637 for vitamin A, 4816 for LSD, 199 for aspirin and 21 for nicotine. Poisoning, at least physically, is thus not a problem."
Fright is a conundrum. I can see a bear coming toward me in the forest and feel visceral fear while intellectually be interested/amazed/in awe. Here in my nice comfy house I am splanchnicly replete, warm, dry, fed and in good canine company, and yet upon reading as much of The Technology of Social Control as I could bear, I am terrified.
"The essential point that I am making is that science itself enters the social matrix of domination within which there are competing, fractionated groups -- all of whom wish to put the fruits of science to different purposes."
"Every sensory window makes use of energy in wave form." Quantum Mechanics and the Analysis of Behavior is quite at the other end of the consciousness telescope, providing a good synopsis of how this approach makes sense.
"Finally, a true science of behavior may at last be possible. Psychology has hitherto been crippled by the mind/body dualism. It may be fairly said that those psychologists who elected to concentrate on the "mental" side of the equation have done their work with both feet planted squarely in midair. I personally can vouch for the fact that those who have focused on the purely corporal have done so blindfolded by a preconception that prevents their seeing more of the game than their rules have allowed."
February 1/00

Welcome to the Quantum Future, in which Arkadiusz Jadczyk outlines why quantum theory is still Ptolemeian due to its reliance on one-Hilbert-space geometry.
"It started as a dream, then this dream was converted into mathematical equations, which were converted into numbers. These numbers can be crunched by computers to simulate pointer readings of measuring devices. In this respect the theory works. But does it free us from the Ptolemeian thinking? I believe not. Not yet. It is the first step - to stop denying that things "happen." But how many other steps must be made until Copernicus and then Kepler, and then Newton will put an end to the `quantum controlled schizophrenia?'"
The Federation of American Scientists is looking for a new President. I wonder if running the USA shouldn't require as much or more polymathic ability.

Stanislov Grof delves into the History of LSD Therapy in chapter 1 of his book LSD Psychotherapy.
"In the following chapters an attempt will be made to present a tentative framework for the theory and practice of LSD psychotherapy. It is my belief that a conceptual system that could account for at least the major observations of LSD therapy requires not just a new understanding of the effects of LSD, but a new and expanded model of the human mind and the nature of human beings."
Although a little long in loading, Clouds from Space is a fascinating collection of images from various shuttle missions.
Jet Stream Cirrus

Abuddha Ahdduba, 2000