Category Archives: Mania

Viktoria Modesta is the cyborg that transhumanists want to see in the world

I am not a fan, and here is why:
Continue reading Viktoria Modesta is the cyborg that transhumanists want to see in the world


Boxing is rigged

A boxing promoter who had been working on the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor bout, was found dead within hours of warning the fight is fixed.

Barry Gibson was found dead in his hometown of Washington D.C. in what has the hallmarks of an execution-style killing, hours after blowing the lid on the Mayweather-McGregor fight backstage at a press conference in Toronto, Canada.

Early reports claim the 45-year-old was found shot dead in his Jeep, along with one other man, believed to be a colleague.

Gibson, a PR executive, had been working alongside Mayweather Promotions as well as McGregor Sports & Entertainment on promoting Saturday’s prize fight between the pair. However Gibson went “off-script” in Toronto and was removed from the premises by security staff, but not before publicly criticizing the pair.

According to Gibson, Mayweather and McGregor have organized a “fixed fight” that will earn them both record pay packets and hundreds of millions for broadcasters, but will send jaded boxing fans home disappointed.

“This is the biggest scam in boxing history,” Gibson said in Toronto, according to reports. “I’m telling you now there is more than a gentleman’s agreement between these two assholes. The fight is already completely scripted out.”
Continue reading Boxing is rigged

Real-life grinder realizes that implantable magnets offer temporary features and permanent medical challenges

The most cyberpunk thing in the world, perhaps, is a healthy person who mutilated herself to become a cyborg, knowing that her implanted magnet would eventually weaken, and then was shocked to discover that her implant became useless in just four years.

The cyborg wrote:
realized that my sixth sense was failing when I stopped noticing the magnetic fields of my laptop.

In fall 2012, I implanted a rare earth magnet in my right ring finger. Magnets were one of the most accessible forms of DIY biohacking, a niche subculture riding the start of a massive mainstream publicity wave. My colleague Ben Popper got one while writing a biohacking feature, and it sounded like magic.

When I first got it, I wasn’t disappointed. Nestled just beneath my skin, the magnet tugged and tickled when it got close to hard drives and speakers; around microwaves, it outright buzzed. I could attract screws and other small metal objects to my finger, like a real-life version of Looper’s telekinetic party tricks. Even its downsides (like wiping hotel keycards) felt cool. They were problems, yes, but problems of the future.

Continue reading Real-life grinder realizes that implantable magnets offer temporary features and permanent medical challenges

30 cyberpunk shows over the past 30 months (and what they teach about civil liberties)

This blog started just before the new year of 2014.

Initially I was strongly motivated to blog a diary of my anime consumption, which initially was disconnected from my cyberpunk fixation.

Later I got recruited as the caretaker of a serious political economy blog and turned it into a current events blog.

But today I look back at what the heck occupied my anime-viewing time.
Continue reading 30 cyberpunk shows over the past 30 months (and what they teach about civil liberties)

I bet you want to know why I’m addicted to blogging this (no, actually, I know you don’t)

Blogging is a job for some people, but it’s not a job for me. It is a work substitute, and it seems to be slightly more constructive than video games.

A little background:

“Video games are addictive, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded,” Christopher said, a 22-year-old video gamer. “With a job, it’s always been up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.”

Christopher represents a group of video-game-loving Americans who, according to new research, may help explain one of the most alarming aspects of the nation’s economic recovery: Even as the unemployment rate has fallen to low levels, an unusually large percentage of able-bodied men, particularly the young and less-educated, are either not working or not working full-time.

Clinical Trends

At the Center for Internet Addiction, our number one client is a male, living at home playing video games. They have either been kicked out of college, often several times, or they can’t hold a job because they are too preoccupied with playing video games.

Confirming this trend is new research by economists from Princeton, the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago which shows that an additional reason many of these young men — who don’t have college degrees — are rejecting work is that they have a better alternative: living at home and enjoying video games. The decision may not even be completely conscious, but surveys suggest that young men are happier for it.

“Happiness has gone up for this group, despite employment percentages having fallen, and the percentage living with parents going up. And that’s different than for any other group,” says the University of Chicago’s Erik Hurst, an economist at the Booth School of Business who helped lead the research.


While young men might temporarily enjoy a life of leisure, the implications could be troubling for them as well as the economy. The young men aren’t gaining job experience that will better equip them to work in their 30s and 40s. That, in turn, could lead to a lifetime of decreased wages, limited opportunities and challenges such as depression and drug use — problems that the United States is already seeing in areas hit with heavy job losses.

From an addiction standpoint, this is troubling as a vibrant portion of the workforce doesn’t feel as much desire to work, this could harm the economy’s future and the ability of government to use policy to create jobs.
As of last year, 22 percent of men between the ages of 21 and 30 with less than a bachelor’s degree reported not working at all in the previous year — up from only 9.5 percent in 2000. Overall, only 88 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 are working or looking for work, the third-lowest among 34 developed countries, according to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Young men without college degrees have replaced 75 percent of the time they used to spend working with time on the computer, mostly playing video games, according to the study, which is based on the Census Bureau’s time-use surveys. Before the recession, from 2004 to 2007, young, unemployed men without college degrees were spending 3.4 hours per week playing video games. By 2011 to 2014, that time had shot up to 8.6 hours per week on average.

More-educated young men have ratcheted up their gaming time, too — but this group has an easier time finding good jobs, and so their work hours haven’t fallen as much. The trends are different for women, who are much more likely to go back to school after leaving the labor force.
The researchers are not merely saying that young men, out of work, are turning to video games. They’re saying that increasingly sophisticated video games are luring young men away from the workforce.

Clinical data collected by the Center for Internet Addiction supports what economists are seeing is that people have switched so much time, more time than we would have predicted, to computers and video games. Alan Krueger, a former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the research presents “They find evidence that a portion … of the decrease in work time of less-educated young men can be a result of the appeal of video games.”

Reasons Why

One reason young men are drawn to games is their extremely low cost, after the initial outlay for a computer or gaming system. Compounding the problem is that video gamers also suffer from other psychological problems such as depression or social anxiety, making these online games a social alternative to making real life friends. Cheap or free services such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix provide seemingly endless entertainment options and an easy connection to the outside world. Video games, in particular, provide a strong community and a sense of achievement that, for some, real-world jobs lack.

Also these young men are also helped out economically by living at home. For the first time since the 1930s, in fact, more U.S. men aged 18-34 are living with their parents than with romantic partners, according to the Pew Research Center.

The clinical implications for young males to adapt to these games as a way of life is disheartening as Internet Gaming Disorder rises across the United States. The economic implications are staggering as the gaming industry is growing rapidly adding new themes, content, graphics, and marketing while the American economy may suffer from troubling trend.

Blogging is not my job. Blogging is a self-destructive habit that I use to distract myself from my lack of a career.

Bloggers can make a huge deal out of their motivations. Blogging is a very self-disclosing process; the blogger is making himself potentally vulnerable to the readers. (Most readers have no sinister motives, but spammers and a few sociopaths should not be discounted.)
Continue reading I bet you want to know why I’m addicted to blogging this (no, actually, I know you don’t)

A weak, almost evidence-free accusation against Roald Dahl

The following accusations have two relevant aspects: snozzberries and “Big Friendly Giants.”


Most people just assume that “snozzberries” is just a fictional word, but it actually has a meaning to the creator of Willy Wonka. Roald Dahl, the author of the original book, gave a meaning to the word in one of his other books. Snozzberries are dicks. Those kids were licking dick-flavored wallpaper.

The word “snozzberries” had its meaning revealed in Roald’s adult novel My Uncle Oswald. The story is about Oswald Hendryks Cornelius, the “greatest fornicator of all time.”

The meaning of snozzberry is revealed during a part of the book where a women describes how she placed a condom onto a man:

How did you manage to roll the old rubbery thing on him?”

There’s only one way when they get violent,” Yasmin said. “I grabbed hold of his snozzberry and hung onto it like grim death and gave it a twist or two to make him hold still.”

Does this mean Willy Wonka was a pedophile? Why would a candy maker tell kids to lick wallpaper that is the same flavor as a penis? Why would a candy maker even create that kind of wallpaper in the first place?

Well it wouldn’t be the only time that Roald Dahl created a pedophile character in one of his books. Ever heard of The BFG?

The BFG (short for “Big Friendly Giant”) is a 1982 children’s book written by Dahl, and was turned into a movie by Disney. The story is about a giant who steals a sleeping girl, from an orphanage, out of her bedroom. The giant then befriends the girl and takes her to a magical world. The sounds like a sweet story, but most people don’t know the origin of The BFG.

In Jeremy Treglown’s 1994 biography of Roald Dahl, it was revealed that The BFG was originally a pedophile. The biography mentions that Farrar, Straus and Giroux, who worked with Dahl, were the ones who would changed his child-inappropriate manuscript of the pedophile BFG into a loving giant.

However, some of the hints of pedophilia may still remain in final version of The BFG. The girl was taken from an orphanage, and statistics show that at least 75% of children in foster care will be sexually abused.

The story also showcases Stockholm syndrome, a syndrome present in many cases of sexual abuse, as the little girl befriends the giant who kidnapped her.

Therefore, just like The BFG, Willy Wonka may have also been a pedophile in the original manuscript. Some things may have been changed from that original manuscript, but the snozzberry reference remained and will forever make people question the true nature of Willy Wonka.

End quote.

The first accusation is that “snozzberry,” first used as a fictitious fruit in 1964, was a secret code for “penis.”

It is plausible that it could be used as such a code 15 years later.

That does not suggest it was originally intended as such a code.

The second accusation is that the “Big Friendly Giant” was supposed to be a pedophile.

And for that, we have no evidence but the allegations of Treglown, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Why exactly are their testimonies supposed to be credible? Because they published four years after Dahl was dead, Dahl was not able to refute their accusations. Quite possibly they were accusing him falsely to confuse investigators.

Finally – is there any evidence that while Dahl was alive, he actually interacted inappropriately with any child? I have yet to see any.

On the flip side, some circumstantial evidence adds up to a fairly strong argument, as shown in the following from the same site.


J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, was a very creepy individual. He was portrayed as a kind and caring man by Johnny Depp in 2004’s Finding Neverland, but was that portrayal historically accurate? According to some evidence, Barrie may have preyed on young children.

Here are 5 reasons why Barrie’s true nature is questioned.

1. Barrie stole another couple’s children

According to Piers Dudgeon, the author of Captivated: J.M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers & the Dark Side of Neverland, Barrie forced his way into the lives of Sylvia and Arthur Llewelyn Davies, the parents of three boys, George, Jack and Peter. Barrie gave many gifts to the family and spent hours playing outside with the boys and making up stories.

Arthur and Sylvia eventually died of cancer within a couple years of each other, and Barrie took guardianship of the boys. In case any relatives of the boys protested, he had Sylvia’s will forged, giving him custody. Oddly, the family never tried to take custody of the children away from Barrie. It seemed the family had no idea of who Barrie truly was. After much time passed, Peter gave this statement about Barrie taking custody of him and his brothers, “The whole business, as I look back on it, was almost unbelievably queer and pathetic and ludicrous and even macabre in a kind of way.”


2. Barrie’s relationship with the boys

Barrie loved taking photographs of the boys, sometimes in weird costumes and often with no clothes on. In Today’s world, many would automatically suspect him as a pedophile for doing that. However, Barrie only showed an innocent front to the adults around him, which is why nobody ever suspected him of anything.

Barrie once wrote about the joy of undressing and sleeping next to a young boy. Barrie’s book, The Little White Bird, published in 1902, talked of his close relationship with George. “I lay thinking of this little boy, who, in the midst of his play while I undressed him, had suddenly buried his head on my knees… Of David’s dripping little form in the bath, and how I essayed to catch him as he slipped from my arms like a trout. Of how I had stood at the open door listening to his sweet breathing, had stood so long I forgot his name.”


3. The Creepy Candle Letter

In June 1908, Barrie wrote this strange letter to Michael for his eighth birthday, “I wish I could be with you and your candles. You can look on me as one of your candles, the one that burns badly — the greasy one that is bent in the middle. But still, hurray, I am Michael’s candle. Dear Michael, I am very fond of you, but don’t tell anybody.”


4. Barrie’s Impotency

Piers Dudgeon, Barrie’s Biographer, suggests the author was impotent and most likely never satisfied his wife sexually. Mary Ansell, wrote this about her husband, “Love in its fullest sense could never be felt by him or experienced.” The couple eventually divorced after Mary had an affair with one of Barrie’s friends.


5. The Deaths of the 3 Boys

During World War 1, George died in Belgium from a gunshot to the head. Many historians think George tried to escape Barrie by volunteering to serve in the war, but sadly it did not work out.

At 21 years of age, Michael drowned along with another young male, who was his lover. Many biographers think this was a suicide pact.

In 1960, at the age of 63, Peter threw himself under a moving train. He did this shortly after destroying almost all the letters from Barrie to the Davies boys, and said they were simply “too much.”

End quote.

A Japanese neologism lately making the rounds is one borrowed (as most such are) from English: “self-neglect.” A Japanese-language equivalent translates into “masochistic depression.”

This is the happiest time in the history of the world, and Japan is among the happiest of countries.

That should be true. It’s not, obviously. Why?

Globally, prosperity is wider spread and poverty less abysmal than ever before. Technology enables not only the mighty few but the run-of-the-mill masses — you, me, anyone — to perform miracles and wonders beside which biblical miracles and “Arabian Nights” fantasies pale. Everything we want is the merest click away. Socially, we’re freer than ever before — to live as we please, marry or not as we please, engage in whatever sexual practices turn us on, online or off, physical or virtual, without society batting an eye in disapproval or even surprise.

Our happiness is bounded only by our misery. Which turns out to be boundless.

Earlier this month the BBC summarized a number of studies showing a global decline in sexual activity. The countries specifically cited are the U.S., Britain, Australia and Japan. Various causes are suggested: too much internet use sapping interest in real-life socializing, too much internet porn sapping interest in real-life sex, too much work sapping sexual energy (mocking technology’s early promise of liberation from overwork) and so on. Objections are raised to each of these hypothetical causes, but a qualified consensus is emerging, the report says, to the effect that sexual lethargy “may be due to increasing levels of unhappiness. Western societies in particular have seen a mental health epidemic in the past few decades, focused primarily around depression and anxiety disorders.”

Also this month, The Japan Times published a report under a headline that bluntly inquires, “Why are Japanese teens so glum?” The research cited is by the London-based Varkey Foundation. It finds among Japanese aged 15-21 “the lowest level of net happiness of all 20 countries polled,” with “more Japanese young people (saying) they were unhappy (17 percent) than any other country apart from South Korea (also 17 percent).”

Here, too, reasons are partial and hypothetical, as no doubt they must be. Halfhearted family support is one. Japanese parents, apparently, are more distracted than Chinese, Indian, Nigerian and Indonesian parents, whose children seem markedly happier. Another perceived factor is a sense among young people that Japan is past its prime, while emerging economies, less prosperous for now but heading upward while Japan declines, instill in children a faith, enviable to the less optimistic Japanese, that “the world is not becoming a worse place.”

The weekly Spa! is a persistent chronicler of what might be called prosperous poverty, or maybe Dickensian prosperity. A Japanese neologism lately making the rounds is one borrowed (as most such are) from English: “self-neglect.” A Japanese-language equivalent translates into “masochistic depression.” Spa!’s source on one exemplar is, significantly, a cleaning expert whose specialty is the decreasingly uncommon “garbage house.” You reach a point where you just don’t care anymore, or where filth seems a perversely fitting backdrop to a life gone hopelessly wrong. It happens all too easily.

Yoshitaka Ishimi, the expert in question, tells of entering one such house and finding tacked on the wall a postcard written by a little girl, the late occupant’s daughter. Under a picture she’d drawn of a taxi, she wrote, “Papa, how are you?” She thought her father still worked as a taxi driver. She had no idea how far he’d fallen out of any semblance of orderly life. He’d been dead about two weeks when his body was found by a social worker and Ishimi was called in. It was not suicide, just a slow, apathetic wasting away. Among the garbage was a mountain of instant-noodle containers. It seems to have been all he ate. The kitchen alone was clean. All he’d done there, apparently, was boil water. “Dying alone” is a growing concern, associated mostly with the elderly, but Ishimi’s firm handles 500-odd cases of it a year, and he says 40 percent of the deceased are in their 40s.

“Self neglect” is not clinical depression, which is both worse and better — worse to the point of being clinical whereas self-neglect is not; better because clinical depression sufferers receive sympathy and care as patients, while self-neglectors are too easily dismissed as malingerers. It’s a busy world. Allowances are made (up to a point) for the certifiably sick, but who has time for the merely unhappy?

Unhappiness works in mysterious ways. You never know who it’ll strike, or why, or what form it will take. Spa! tells of a nurse in her 40s — a successful professional woman with a solid work record and friends and family who cared about her. They didn’t know her, though, and didn’t know they didn’t know her. One day she failed to show up at work. Her hospital called her sister. The sister went to her flat, and found the dead body among what turned out to be 7 tons of garbage. Imagine the shock. The sisters were close, and had met regularly, though not at the nurse’s apartment. What happened to her? No one seems to know.

School bullying figures as a cause of unhappiness in the Varkey Foundation report, and office bullying in Spa!’s. It’s a hypercompetitive jungle out there and everyone’s on edge, natural sympathy overwhelmed by pressure to triumph over others and get ahead. Spa! in addition invokes middle-age disillusion, a feeling of being “betrayed by life” among people who, by age 40, have seen to many of their youthful hopes wither. It’s what life does to you. Even the successful succumb, as how can they not when they get home to find, or be reminded, that “all they are to their kids is a walking ATM.”

Somehow the way we’re living, with all its promise of happiness, is making us miserable. Is there anything we can do about it? Spa! has a suggestion, presumably ironic (though maybe not): go homeless. In Osaka’s Airin district, where day laborers congregate and live in flophouses or on the street, a man in his 60s says, “Die alone in a room? No thanks!”

Give him homelessness. What he saves on rent he spends on liquor and, thus fortified, “I can sleep quite comfortably outside.” Maybe we all could. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

politically correct perverts start attacking their former comrades

It is not terribly surprising when the Left starts attacking its own.

The situation was this.

First the straight BDSM freaks and the gays and the miscellaneous sexual misfits were all in the same political faction. It maintained a staunch feminist outlook, and it proclaimed that horrible straight men like Brendan Eich were the enemy.

They won a lot of victories. They installed feminist commissars in key academic positions. And then they looked around and realized that not everyone was sufficiently feminine. They decided the BDSM freaks could endanger feminism if straight men were dominating straight women. (Presumably BDSM would still be tolerated if the woman was on top, or if both participants were gay).

Here is the story from the link at the bottom:

Continue reading politically correct perverts start attacking their former comrades

To Do Lists are Genius!

[Calculate] the measurement of Milan and Suburbs

[Find] a book that treats of Milan and its churches, which is to be had at the stationer’s on the way to Cordusio

[Discover] the measurement of Corte Vecchio (the courtyard in the duke’s palace).

[Discover] the measurement of the castello (the duke’s palace itself)

Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle.

Get Messer Fazio (a professor of medicine and law in Pavia) to show you about proportion.

Get the Brera Friar (at the Benedictine Monastery to Milan) to show you De Ponderibus (a medieval text on mechanics)

[Talk to] Giannino, the Bombardier, re. the means by which the tower of Ferrara is walled without loopholes (no one really knows what Da Vinci meant by this)

Ask Benedetto Potinari (A Florentine Merchant) by what means they go on ice in Flanders

Draw Milan

Ask Maestro Antonio how mortars are positioned on bastions by day or night.

[Examine] the Crossbow of Mastro Giannetto

Find a master of hydraulics and get him to tell you how to repair a lock, canal and mill in the Lombard manner

[Ask about] the measurement of the sun promised me by Maestro Giovanni Francese

Try to get Vitolone (the medieval author of a text on optics), which is in the Library at Pavia, which deals with the mathematic.


Continue reading To Do Lists are Genius!

Poets have lots of trouble sleeping for some reason

One of the most celebrated and terrifying poems of the second half of the 20th century — and one of poetry’s great treatments of insomnia — is Philip Larkin’s “Aubade.” The 1977 poem describes an experience all of us have at some point, that of waking up much earlier than we’d intended and, unable to get back to sleep, lying in a hazy torment in which all our life’s anxieties are amplified tenfold. The anxiety that hounds Larkin turns out to be the prospect of his own death:

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

Larkin wants us to see that these states prefigure death itself: death too will be an affair of “soundless dark” in which “all thought [is] impossible” and the individual — supine, rigid, gaping at nothing in particular — is quite alone. We are all speeding toward the endless acreage of death, and it’s a paradox of life that we only fully glimpse that fact against the clarifying backdrop of night and darkness. Insomniac poets glimpse it with particular sharpness, and often seem proud of this: afflicted by a crippling illness, they yet occupy a place of lonely, privileged insight, gazing out from an observatory of solitude and sleeplessness at a misguided humanity, lost in a hypnosis of daily tasks that divert it from its destiny.
Continue reading Poets have lots of trouble sleeping for some reason