BubbleMotion is a product pushing tech site built around a really sweet Flash movie.
"To me these late-Ballard pieces, these Shepperton pieces – Cocaine Nights, Super-Cannes and so forth – really seem like gentle chiding from somebody who’s recognized that his civilisation really has gone mad. They’re a series of repetitions that say, “Look, we’re heading for a world where consensus reality really is just plain unsustainable, and the ideas that the majority of our people hold in their heart of hearts are just not connected to reality”. I think that may be a very prophetic assessment on his part. I think we may in fact be in such a world right now – where people have really just lost touch with the “reality-based community” and are basically just living in self-generated fantasy echo chambers that have no more to do with the nature of geopolitical reality than Athanasius Kircher or Castaneda’s Don Juan."
Thanks to Ballardian.
"Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents (in English, French, Chinese, Arabic and Persian), in which experts and bloggers from all over the world advise Internet users, especially those in repressive countries, how to set up their own blogs and get them known, while preserving their personal anonymity."
Download the PDF here.
(no longer remember where found - apologies to maker and source)
"Combat operations are underway on the streets "to take this city back" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "This place is going to look like Little Somalia," Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard's Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. "We're going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.".... some fight the insurgency in the city..."
"Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders. The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city."
"They killed a man here last night," Steve Banka, 28, told the Reuters news agency before he left on Sunday. "A young lady was being raped and stabbed." And the sounds of her screaming got to this man and so he ran out into the street to get help from troops, to try to flag down a passing truck of them. "He jumped up on the truck's windscreen and they shot him dead," Mr Banka said.
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
"Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting. I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians slap—you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up."
Drowning New Orleans (From the October 2001 issue of Scientific American).
"A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city... (the city) is a disaster waiting to happen."
"The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming. When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause was global warming. When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the United Kingdom, the driver was global warming. When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason was global warming. In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in Spain and Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in 30 years, the explanation was global warming. When a lethal heat wave in Arizona kept temperatures above 110 degrees and killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was global warming.And when the Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai) received 37 inches of rain in one day -- killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of 20 million others -- the villain was global warming.
"In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming "tribes" and dividing up the labor... While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods - humanity. "Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."
No pretence is possible anymore. A dystopian future is being broadcast live on satellite TV. The scenes are those seen so many times in apocalypse films, but not as clean. The screen blocks out the smell of shit, the stench of the dead, the odour of pores clogged by fear in the sweltering heat, the acrid smoke from gunshots and fires. The utter destruction.
"For days they have been without adequate electricity, sanitation, or food supplies waiting to be taken from what many describe as a scene from hell. All who have been inside the Superdome speak of the pervading stench of human waste. Amid the deteriorating conditions at both refuges, horrific stories are emerging. At the Superdome there were two reports of rape, one involving a child, while police at the convention centre said there had been similar reported incidents. Others described what it was like to live among the dead. "We got dead bodies sitting next to us for days. I feel like I am going to die. People are going to kill you for water."
Aid starts arriving today, six days after the hurricane. "The BBC's Matt Frei, in New Orleans, says conditions in the convention centre, where up to 20,000 people are stranded, are the most wretched he has seen anywhere, including crises in the Third World."
This is happening in the USA today.
The superpower of the world, the armed defensor of those denied democracy across the oil and gas rich regions of the world, has not been able to respond adequately to the tragedy unfolding in its own home.
America's gun culture, its love of war, its veneration of violence crush its compassion, despite the many Americans that uphold caring and human rights. New Orleans morphs from "natural disaster" to "war zone".
"They have M-16s and are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will," Kathleen Blanco (Governor of Louisiana) said".
The press announcements that come from most American politicians place priority on stamping out looting rather than on evacuating those still stranded. "Order has to be restored" says a soldier in full combat gear on TV. Homeland security does not mean safety for all its people.
"We hear: "when the National Guard is beaten back, when shots are fired at rescuers, when a mob mentality takes over, when desperation sets in." Yet in the firestorm this becomes something else: the potential for a desire for the End that gradually overwhelms the desire to survive, a desire for the eschatological climax, murder, for the catastrophe to find its final arc in mass self-destruction: a spiral of total societal suicide in the throes of control. And here I speak not only of the "looters," but all the fantasies of the military & the police. And at the same time - "looters" trade goods on neutral ground - guns, cigarettes and liquor are taken, leaving food behind - all the vestiges of pleasure and capital, the archetypal comforts of the social, are resurrected in the chaos, to no end, for no purpose. People become ghosts."
According to a reporter speaking on BBC World earlier today, most looters were taking bare necessities.
Others were acting out some Far West fantasy turned nightmarishly true:
"A young Briton trapped with his fiancée in the stadium telephoned his father yesterday and pleaded to be rescued, saying that they were in "dreadful danger". (He) described... how the stadium, a makeshift home to about 30,000 evacuees from the hurricane, including a group of about 30 Britons, was being run by local mafia. He said that his American fiancée had been threatened with rape."
In the aftermath of the hurricane and flooding, for the first five days there is little or no water, food, medicines, but there are plenty of TV crews. Reality is now truly the show.
Some footage shows soldiers throw food from choppers, as if feeding animals. The people the cameras keep showing are mainly black. But what unites them all is that they are poor.
Watch the words, the dispossessed become known as refugees. As if to distance perception to another geographical location. Re-focus those black faces according to past news reports. Like some disaster in Africa. Yet they shout for help in American. They are prisoners of their poverty.
There are some that say:
"The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number -- 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn't leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn't be able to get out. The resources -- meaning, the political will -- weren't there to get them out."
In this age, does the cult of pure profit reigns supreme over the welfare of people?
"What those who are afraid of civil society breaking down don't realize is that civil society has already broken down! This is not a civil society we live in, but a profiteering, every-man-for-himself, oligarchy. The democratic process is broken if not rigged; the largest-ever redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich occurred over the last six years under the guise of economic stimulus; fear and disinformation were used to put the poorest of Americans onto a battlefield under false pretenses; those who seek to engage the current administration in meaningful dialogue are terminated."
This is no natural disaster. And yet, no war is being declared on climate change, on poverty, on war.
No fear, the Jerry Lewis Telethon is about to start.
"features a selection of established and emerging artists whose work appropriates images of women taken from a variety of pop-cultural sources. Exploring society’s long-running obsession with images distributed through magazines, advertisements, and the cinema, the works in this exhibition depict, manipulate, and examine three historical female archetypes: the starlet, the pinup, and the fashion model."
This is a great tale of mercenary sex and illicit drugs and promiscuous consumption. A love story. Like Scarface remixed by Jackie Collins. So quintessentially American.