Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Welcome to Sin News: Journalism for Digital Millenials Who Want the Truth (McSweenys)

If you don't get the joke watch anything recently put out by Vice News. The below will be that much more hilarious.

Welcome to Sin News: Journalism for Digital Millenials Who Want the Truth
// McSweeney's

We're Sin News — a new kind of news organization. We're hip. We're now. We're aimed at young, digital native audiences who give a damn. We get it.

We take drugs. Lots of drugs. And then we report on the news. We smoked a bunch of blunts and then interviewed the Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. We got high on ketamine, hosted a roundtable discussion about Aleppo, and came up with few, if any, meaningful insights. We injected ourselves with heroin and reported on how it feels good to sit in the corner of the room for a while. Too much for you to handle? Then change the channel, square.

Yeah, you could say that our angle, is a little… off. We film everything a few degrees off-center; not enough for you to notice right away, but enough so after a few minutes, you'll say, "I think the camera is a little off-center." Also, we overexpose all of our shots, and the subject is rarely in focus. Don't like it? Then go back to your lame news anchor and desk. We shoot all of our news footage on old iPhones, and we always get the notification that says we're running out of storage.

We think that censorship is bad. Most networks wouldn't show you a video of a clown punching a baby. But we would. We've got dozens of those videos. If you want censored news, then you can get the hell out of here. Yeah, we said "hell!" No suit is going to tell us what to say. We're modern day Edward R. Murrow's. We also say other words too, like "dick" and "poop."

We go places that normal news outlets won't go. We'll skydive into a volcano. We'll backflip into a war zone. We'll go to a really dope club and just dance. We report the stories that other outlets are too afraid to report. We'll do a five-part investigative series on spooky goblins. We'll open up a bunch of caskets to see if there are any vampires in them. We're not afraid! Except for the last one. We're kind of afraid of Draculas.

We don't just have cameras, we talk into them. We take the traditional narrative construction of the proscenium — the fourth wall demarcating performance from audience — and burn it to the goddamn ground because we don't play by your rules. We say things like, "I can't believe this. This is so weird. It's also dangerous," because otherwise, how would you know how unbelievable, weird, and dangerous the situation we've gotten ourselves into is? Yeah, that's right — we spell things out for you. Without nuance. Booooom!

We're really into branded content — which is like advertising, but for people who are rad. We report on the stories that you care about, and that our marketing partners care about. Here's a story about the adverse effects of ICE's crackdown on refugees from Honduras… and also, we're all pounding Diet Sprites!

We don't wear suits when we report the news. We wear jeans. And hoodies. And T-shirts. Sometimes, the T-shirts have band names on them, but other times they don't have any band names on them. Sometimes we want to wear the T-shirts with the band names, but we can't because we didn't do the wash. Are we blowing your mind right now? How does laundry work?

We're raw. We're wild. We tell our viewers what we're thinking, as we think it. We think Snowden is a hero. We think that transphobia is wrong. We think that a bird just flew by. Or, maybe it was a very large bug. Either way, did you see it? It looked cool.

We don't have researchers. We don't have fact checkers. We've got an intern in a gimp suit who listens exclusively to Phantogram and Beach House. Every so often, we give him an article to copyedit, or a granola bar to make sure he doesn't die, but that's only because if we don't, we'll go to jail.

We don't just report the news, we fuck the news. We go out with the news, grab a few beers, take the news back to our place, ask for consent, and then have sex with the news. We do all sorts of different positions, and experiment with some things with the news that we were always interested in, and had seen on the internet, but never really had the courage to try.

We're Sin News. We love stories. We love the news. We also love vaping.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mishima "The Rite of Love and Death" (1966) - short film

My new love affair with Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) has yielded discovery of the below. Sometimes referred to by other names, I believe "The Rite of Love and Death" is the best translation for his fantastic short film which I am posting here.  The Kanji in the background translates to "sincerity," "honor," and "fidelity."  This fits perfectly as we continue our discussion of tragedy in Philosophies of Art & Beauty. Over break I'll certainly be reading as much of Mishima that I can.

On a side note Mishima is arguably Japan's greatest author/playwright/literary figure of the 20th-century, much like Ernst Junger from Germany - whose work I have been admiring for years.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Has dogma derailed the scientific search for dark matter? (Aeon article)

Link below:

Has dogma derailed the scientific search for dark matter?
// Aeon
According to mainstream researchers, the vast majority of the matter in the Universe is invisible: it consists of dark-matter particles that do not interact with radiation and cannot be seen through any telescope. The case for dark matter is regarded as so overwhelming that its existence is often...
By Pavel Kroupa
Read at Aeon


The Meaning of Nature

Conference paper on the eco-philosopher and American naturalist and idealist, John William Miller (1895-1978), HERE.  Many ideas are similar to Merleau-Ponty, Alfred North Whitehead, and John Dewey, for those interested.  Truly a pioneer in "philosophical ecology" that is so popular today.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Southern Illinois U Carbonale announces potential layoffs, program cuts

Article from back in March however only just recently discovered it. Some very shocking news. According to the article (link HERE):

Potential reductions at SIUC include:

- Elimination of more than 180 faculty, administrative professional and civil service staff positions
- Elimination of academic programs; reduction of more than 400 classes
- Elimination of more than 300 student employment positions, including on-campus jobs for undergraduates and assistantships for graduate students
- Merge four colleges into two colleges, eliminating two deans and associated office support.
- Reduced hours at Morris Library - the building will be closed up to 28 hours per week, including all day Saturday
- Reduction of funding for non-academic student programming support, including programs for underserved populations, retention initiatives, and counseling services.
- Elimination of men's and women's tennis
- Reduction of institutional funding for deferred maintenance in campus facilities
- Reduce state budget support for WSIU-TV (Broadcasting Service) by $200,000
- Eliminate $509, 505 state budget support for Touch of Nature
- Eliminate $189,000 state budget support for University Press.
- Eliminate $292,450 state budget support for University Museum
- Eliminate $148,300 state budget support for the Center for Dewey Studies.
- $887,498 reduction of research support
- Reduction of funding for 23 SIUC research centers and institutes, which operate in support of externally funded research grants.
- $528,662 reduction of information technology support and hardware

Friday, November 25, 2016

Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Dark Matter

Scientists explore the idea that dark matter may house a key to understanding advanced extraterrestrial intelligence.  Link HERE.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"His Ferocious But Short-Lived Assault" Conference on the Work of Nick Land 2017

Call for Papers
"His Ferocious But Short-lived Assault" 
Interdisciplinary Conference Assessing the Legacy of Nick Land

2nd – 3rd June, 2017, University of Liverpool 

This conference is the first devoted to the impact of Nick Land’s writings. As controversial as influential, the (retired) author of A Thirst for Annihilation and Fanged Noumena, has influenced not only philosophy but a range of disciplines. In the short period between his emergence as the new rising star of British philosophy and his ‘burn-out’ less than a decade later, Land instigated lines of investigation that remain relatively unexplored.

Link HERE.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Agent Swarm on Pluralist Metaphysical Research

PLURALIST METAPHYSICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMMES: Feyerabend, Deleuze, Laruelle, Zizek, Serres, Stiegler, Badiou, Latour

My long-term philosophical project is the critical analysis of the differing pluralist French Continental philosophies, those of Deleuze, Laruelle, Zizek, Serres, Stiegler, Badiou and Latour, as competing alternative metaphysical research programmes (in the sense proposed by Karl Popper).

I describe, analyse and evaluate these diverse metaphysical research programmes in terms of a loose partially overlapping set of criteria:

openness, pluralism, testability, realism, diachronicity, apophaticism, and democracy.

These criteria were originally derived from Paul Feyerabend's later philosophy (as outlined in the articles collected in CONQUEST OF ABUNDANCE). They give us useful descriptive and evaluative categories for dealing with contemporary French pluralism.

Feyerabend is often associated with a destructive criticism leading to an anarchism that flouts every rule and a relativism that treats all opinions as equal. This negative stereotype is based on ignorance and rumour rather than on any real engagement with his texts.

Feyerabend's work from beginning to end turns around problems of pluralism, ontology and realism, culminating in the outlines of a sophisticated form of pluralist realism. The still largely unknown ontological turn taken by Feyerabend's work in the last decade of his life was based on eight strands of argument: ontological difference and pluralism (ineffable Being as distinct from the multiple manifest realities), realism, testability, cosmological criticism, the historical approach, the quantum analogy (complementarity), and the primacy of democracy. See: Feyerabend's Cosmological Pluralism

My past advisors on this project were Alan Chalmers, Jean-Toussaint Desanti, and Jean-François Lyotard. I learned much from attending the seminars of Michel Serres, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Kenneth White. More recently I have profited from exchanges with Charles Spinosa, Bernard Stiegler and Bruno Latour.

A useful first approach to my project: IS ONTOLOGY MAKING US STUPID? (2012):


My most recent publication (2016), evaluating Bruno Latour's AN INQUIRY INTO MODES OF EXISTENCE from this perspective:

De-briefing Aime Project


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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Brassier’s Autopsy in Russian

Ht to Reza.

Brassier's Autopsy in Russian
// Eliminative Culinarism

Sygma have just posted 'Спекулятивная аутопсия', Pavel Borisov's Russian translation of Ray Brassier's postscript to Object-Oriented Philosophy, 'Speculative Autopsy': link.


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Saturday, November 12, 2016

"Toward a New Materialism: Matter as Dynamic" (article recommended by a reader with some of my reflections about it)

After Nature reader Don Vande Krol emailed me this interesting article, link HERE.  It was published in Minding Nature Vol. 8 No. 1 of January 2015 so it is fairly recent.

The argument of agential realism is that agency is not a property of objects (a predicate) but rather any objects' defining substantive core (the essential nature of any object in order to be an object, at all).  Thus in  strict sense agency (creativity) is that which makes possible any property whatsoever.

The only problem I see, though, when I read arguments like this is that one seems to lack a proper principle of individuation: that is, if activity/creativity is central to the identity of a thing rather than substances with properties, then other than activity one must account for what makes something uniquely an individual.

Friday, November 11, 2016

new translation from Meillassoux's "L'inexistence divine"

Of course due to politics many folks are simply unaware of that this newly translated material even exists, but Nathan Brown has by far done a superior job when compared to the other translation from "L'inexistence divine" that is out there (it is different material but from the same source, which is Meillassoux's dissertation).

Chris Watkins is the exception but his translations are minimal or fragmentary, as helpful as they are. You can find those in his book Difficult Atheism (see After Nature posts HERE and HERE).

Link to Brown's translation HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

BADIOU, THE ONE, THE INFINITE: six theses (Agent Swarm blog post)

Obviously please vist the original as well.


In the introduction to his seminar L'INFINI: ARISTOTE, SPINOZA, HEGEL (1984-1985) Badiou lists eight fundamental theses concerning the concepts of the One and the Infinite. Three are contained in BEING AND EVENT (1988) :

"1. The One is not, being is given only in the form of the multiple.

2. A situation, thought as multiple, is in general infinite.

3. Every truth, considered in its being-multiple, is infinite".

Five more have been added in his subsequent works, Logics of Worlds (2006) and The Immanence of Truths (forthcoming 2017):

"4. Every world is a multiple measured by an inaccessible infinite cardinal.

5. In every world, there is one and only one element which is the inexistent of this world.

6. The finite does not exist. It results from the combined action of two infinites of different types.

 7. Under the action of the infinity of truth, every finite production is divided into the work and the waste product.
8. Finitude is the essence of all oppression, and its overcoming supposes an infinite that is new to the regard of those who structure the world considered".


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Final lecture on Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Robert Paul Wolff Lecture 9 (YouTube)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

quote of the day

"The human body is the best picture of the human soul."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein