Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Grand Design - Model Dependent Realism

The Grand DesignThe Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was a philosophy major undergrad, I wrote several essays, and ultimately my senior thesis, on a premise that is here much more elegantly presented by Stephen Hawking as Model-Dependent Realism. He obviously understands the underlying scientific models better than I do or ever will, though his snide comment that "philosophy is dead" is somewhat ironic considering that this book is essentially a piece of populist scientific philosophy. The most pressing issues for philosophy have changed in the places where the academy isn't still navel gazing, or stuck in Heidegger's lederhosen.

Anyway, enough about that. To the book. My point is that this book doesn't present anything especially new for those of us who have already filled our heads with Berkeley, Hume, Feynman, Einstein, and so on. But that doesn't mean that it isn't worth reading. To the contrary, it is one of the most elegant presentations of the intersection of science and philosophy meant for the public that I've yet encountered. Again with the irony of "philosophy is dead." (Wittgenstein made a similar pronouncement in the wake of his Tractatus. That was published ~1921.)

I highly suggest reading this book because elegance is, as Hawking states, one of the highest values for a theory aside from conforming with observation. I also suggest it because model-dependent realism is a more subtle, more accurate interpretation of relativism that should be burned into the minds of everyone that wishes to work in the sciences, or humanities for that matter. It is not a conclusion or an end point, but rather the starting point from which we can avoid a great deal of wasted effort and ink.

View all my reviews

Want a summary of Model Dependent Realism? Check out this page.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Monday, April 29, 2013

Disability, ability, and bow-chicka-wow-wow.

As I have come to accept my (relatively mild) disability as a permanent part of who I am, it has nevertheless forced me to look differently at myself as well as the world around me.

It is possible that it will not be healthy for me again to work a "normal" 9-5 job, at least one that follows mainstream American norms, and it makes me wonder if that work is in fact ever healthy for anyone.

I am still more than competent at what I'm good at, but our society puts expectations on allowing us to work that demand we be in every way able-bodied. It makes sense that if you have a chronic back injury and chronic pain, you can't work a stocking job -- but why shouldn't we be allowed to adapt to our own strengths and limitations rather than not be allowed to be productive members of a workplace at all?

Even if we are allowed the "right" to enter the workplace, the disabled are likely going to be subject to teasing or outright abuse. I know because for the years that as I tried to fit myself in, at the behest of family, peers, and necessity, I accumulated more trauma from workplace abuse than anything else. And it is likely far worse for those with more immediately apparent challenges.

Never again.

Similarly, it is possible that our concept of individualism makes it difficult for most people to conceive of being in any way disabled, and being a sexual commodity.

Moving beyond my direct experience, I'd like you to consider some of these: 
"Artificial limbs are usually designed to be as inconspicuous as possible. Yet here was an amputee proudly stretching her bejeweled leg before a stadium of flashing cameras and millions of TV viewers across the world.
"Generally the whole technology is moving towards trying to recapture a lifelike limb that looks realistic and also acts realistic in motion," said de Oliveira.
"In this instance I'm doing the complete opposite and I think it does capture that whole childlike imagination -- it's like being a superhero with super powers." http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/24/world/europe/alternative-limb-project/
"How we judge ourselves is inextricably linked to how we think others perceive us. This is a problem because – and this isn’t much of a secret – disability isn’t sexy.
Open almost any magazine and you’ll find an article about what makes for an attractive partner. We all value different qualities – whether it’s intelligence, sense of humour, looks, or financial security. No one ever says disability. Whatever – who wants their disability to be a sexual commodity? The problem is, we never talk about disability and sexuality in the same sentence. And the result is that people often fear their disability is an active turn-off." http://buff.ly/11vSuf8
The fact is that even if you are in the prime of health, this is a temporary condition. You will with absolute certainty come to face either injury, chronic illness, or death. Age will reduce some capacities, in this culture that idolizes youth and ignores the benefits of wisdom. How much thought have you given to cultural ideas of ability, injury, and sex? What about your personal perspective?

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Our Kind (Book Review)

Our Kind: Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are GoingOur Kind: Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are Going by Marvin Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marvin Harris argues with such an even-toned sense of consideration that he could probably make the outlandish seem plausible. However, that sort of radical sophistry doesn't seem his aim in this work. Rather, he lays out the varied topics of cultural anthropology along with his thoughts on those matters in a casual way that eschews even the radical framing of his Cannibals and Kings. I found all of his points both worth making and quite possible, even if there is always plenty of room to be incorrect in such matters, no matter how sensible you may sound. (Nor how correct your argument may be -- nature observes no particular need to heed all elegant arguments.)

Regardless of the relative "age" of this book, it is still in my opinion a must-read in any introductory course (academic or otherwise) dealing with the issues of the overlap of culture, biology, evolution, and environment.

View all my reviews

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Double Digits - What Had Happened Was #10

  GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective.

Hello everyone, today grumpyhawk and Benjamin discuss Smell-O-Vision 2.0, a racist Texas legislator, new Netflix options, why being left handed is the best handed, a new virtual reality device, and the awful goodness that is Hemlock Grove, all on today's episode "Double Digits!" Thanks for listening and subscribing!
Benjamin's Note: Apparently I'm dreaming that I own the CD of The Hobbit Soundtrack. I was informed that I have the vinyl records, but not a CD. So I found you all a YouTube link with the first track, so you understand how amazing the soundtrack really is.
The Greatest Adventure - Glenn Yarbrough - Youtube

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nobody Wants Another News Program - What Had Happened Was #9

  GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective.

Welcome to episode 9 of What Had Happened Was. In this week's episode grumpyhawk and Benjamin talk about a good lawsuit outcome, over-hyped article titles, how much I love Fringe, The White House officially rails on CISPA, awesome conspiracy theory statistics, and much more

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Sex and Books

I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one with a "hot babysitter reading bedtime stories" fetish. This project is interesting, in addition to the obvious, for pushing ever so slightly at the boundaries of what is considered sexual media. In Philadelphia there is an ongoing project involving attractive women reading stories naked, but I find this project far more interesting, as they are clothed and the texts are chosen by the reader as some of their favorites, rather than being erotica as in the first instance.

Now we just need to figure out how to wire our brains to have orgasms from reading alone, and us authors will have a much easier time selling books!
It’s a beyond sexy project called Hysterical Literature, and the idea is as simple as it is brilliant: gorgeous, gorgeous girls are sitting down at a table, filmed in black and white by one fixed camera, fully clothed in nice outfits. They are reading a passage from one of their favorite books. Under the table, however, something else is happening.
“I’ve been told to dress as I would for a date with a man, not a boy”, remembers Stoya.

Full article

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Ripple: Estradasphere #1

I was first turned on to these guys in upstate NY one particularly uhm foggy evening. That was three years ago. I still try to keep tabs with whatever they're up to. Maybe I just have a secret hard-on for heavy klezmer music. I hope after listening to the interview you get just as hooked.

Today on RIPPLE:

Ray Carney interviews Tim Smolens of Estradasphere on their latest tour and the release of Palace of Mirrors Live (see review).
Part one of a two part interview.

Listen to interview on Alterati.com.
Download. (mp3)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sinister Yogis

"Breathe in, hold in, breathe out, old, focus on purifying the mind and body with white light" -- how many of you have heard this before? (Quite possibly while internalizing thoughts of lighting the teacher on fire as they use words like "sensation" as code for "agonizing, excruciating pain" as they twist you into a pretzel.)

Here at Modern Mythology we are often looking at the origin myths behind what has become rote practice. This may involve delving into etymological history or just conjecture about the possibilities that have since been forgotten. However, in this case, it seems that our work has been done for us. If you'd like to check out an alternative perspective on yoga and the myth of the yogi, check out David Gordon White's "Sinister Yoga." (This is not to say that alternative myths are not myths themselves.)
This approach challenges many of the preconceived Western notions of yoga. There is little meditation, breathing, exercise, impossible contortionism, etc. that is often associated with the practice. Further, it offers an alterative reading of histories of the philosophical development of yogic teachings, which are based primarily on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. What we are presented with is possession, shape-shifting, and creation of multiple selves, among other things. Overall, yogis, were defined as such, when they entered into or took over the bodies of others. White examines this history in a variety of contexts and across a vast expanse of history. Sinister Yogis continues White’s earlier work,Kiss of the Yogini: ‘Tantric Sex’ in its South Asian Contexts and The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India, and foreshadows his upcoming projects, Yoga in Practice and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A Biography. Altogether, White’s research is rich and detailed but thoroughly readable, as he is a skilled storyteller. One will discover this with delight already on the first pages, which recount White’s encounters with yogis (or maybe the same yogi) from the mountains of Kathmandu to the parking lot of Los Angeles’ Trader Joe’s. Listen to podcast interview with the author! (MP3)

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Friday, April 19, 2013

Exploring the Implications of Sacred Geometry - A Meeting of Minds

What do you do with a technologically aided telepathic connection to a rat's tail?

Odd questions like this become more relevant as developments in cybernetics and communication technology allow for strange interactions with the world around us. Without the aid of creative imagination you get a bizarre bit of cultural kitsch, delving deeper you can encounter profound questions that crack into the mystery of mind and body, and the synaptic symetry defining so much of our self perception. If you tread carefully you enter the realm of Sacred Geometry, encountering applications of mathematics and ratio that bridge the gap between material science and the more aetheral realms of human existence.

It may seem counter-intuitive to connect Sacred Geometry to cybernetics, but in this kind of wider application is exactly the domains where theories of integral mathematics can be most fruitfully applied. The neurochemical maps that connect our nervous system to our body and allow us to move are predicated on mathematical relationships that can be found throughout manifested reality. Seeking to understand these relationships, and the structural web that they work throughout the universe, can provide a revolutionary change in how we view our place in the world, and guide our applications of science to more material concerns.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kickstart Dead Unicorn in their Pandemic Album

Don't know who Dead Unicorn are? 

Then I have a few treats for you:

Their entire back catalog is available for download on their website. 

An interview with Dead Unicorn that we did during their previous album.

The End Times PDF

And finally... that time we jammed with Dead Unicorn and made something horrific:

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fallen Nation: The SINopsis

In a world where guilt-by-association is enough to convict for terrorism, two rebellious young Americans are locked in a mental asylum for a crime they didn't commit. Though not terrorists, these two are outsiders in nearly every sense of the word: a transsexual and a transgressive philosopher capable of driving even psychiatrists insane. They are found without ID, only going by the monikers of Jesus and Dionysus. It seems that their stories will end here, wandering the halls and living on anti-psychotics, but for the help of their ingenious friend Loki.

Dreams and circumstances collide as soon as they hit the road. At a bar, they meet a woman who Dionysus insists was in a dream he had in the asylum. Curiously, she introduces herself as Lilith. Thrust onstage through an odd series of events, the bar erupts into chaos. After the show she names the band Babylon, and sets them on a path of debauchery worthy of the name.

Former cop-turned-Marshal Adam Trevino tracks the trail of debauchery they cut across the country. Charged with observing them and reporting their activities back to the shadowy agency that recommissioned him, Trevino begins to wonder who the good guys really are. This uncertainty only mounts as more fans flock to Babylon with cult-like fervor.

This is no peace, love and happiness 60s revival, however. Lilith turns their rock act into the platform for an outright cultural war, with Loki as her chief architect. They steal a mobile TV broadcast vehicle and use it to launch a viral propaganda campaign. Lilith hunts the countryside for other “demigods,” prepared to awaken to their true nature and break the shackles imposed upon them by the forgetfulness of reincarnation. Dionysus also begins to wonder if their monikers are just a coincidence. This feelings grows even stronger as he falls in love with Ariadne, a fan and quickly recruited maenad-in-training. The two of them share a bond that makes them recall fragments of past or future lives together.

When a show leads to a bloody clash between authorities and civilians, Trevino is forced to make up his mind, and leads a group of hired mercenaries into the desert to remove this burgeoning threat to the American way of life, permanently.

However, he doesn’t understand the nature of what he’s up against. The more American blood that is spilled, the more likely a true revolution. To Lilith, believing herself the avatar of an immortal goddess, starting a revolution that will forever change the world just seems like a damn good time.

During this battle, and its aftermath, Trevino discovers the secret behind the nature of these “demigods.” As the story closes, we are left to consider a world very much like our own, but poised on the brink of a great transformation.

Part Fear and Loathing In Los Vegas, part Fight Club and Natural Born Killers, Fallen Nation: Party At The World’s End questions many of our cultural assumptions, makes us re-examine them, and hints at where they might lead.

Get the:


[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Friday, April 12, 2013

This Time, It's Personal - This Is Why #10, presented by the grumpyhawk collective

This Is Why is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Nate Griffin that covers pretty much anything we feel like talking/arguing about. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective.

Hello and welcome to episode 10 of This Is Why. Coming up in this episode, Nate and I talk Nate's video game date, which leads to us tackling the larger discussion around geek girls, concert etiquette and finally, NEW DOCTOR WHO!

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dear Drew - What Had Happened Was Episode 8

Welcome to another episode of What Had Happened Was. In today's episode we explore some interesting "science", some new privacy laws (hopefully), large corporations bluffing start ups, bad internet service providers, and our unbelief at an article about "voluntary kidnapping". Listen to it all on today's episode, "Dear Drew..."

Show Notes:

  1. How a banner ad for H&R Block appeared on apple.com—without Apple’s OK - Ars Technica
  2. Comcast Caught Hijacking Web Traffic - Ryan Kearney Blog
  3. News Corp threatens to move Fox to cable-only channel if Aereo isn't shut down - The Verge
  4. New California "Right to Know" Act Would Let Consumers Find Out Who Has Their Personal Data -- And Get a Copy of It - EFF.org
  5. Study: Walmart Most Popular Place For People To Fall In Love At First Sight - CBS Houston
  6. Consensual kidnapping service, inspired by The Game - Boing Boing

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Saturday, April 06, 2013

What's your Superhero Origin Story?

Let’s get one thing straight. I hate the word Superhero, but I don’t hate superheroes. I think that’s because like many things, the overuse of hero has dis-empowered the word. A hero, in its original sense, meant more than mortal. A person worshipped, honoured and elevated above others. Some of them were demigods, others made it to godhood and had shrines raised to them which lasted beyond their deaths.

Superman is an alien raised by kindly adoptive parents, one of the last scions of a destroyed world. Batman is a man who is forged in tragedy, becoming a symbol which casts long shadows. Captains' America and Britain are elevated by science and magic respectively, to become symbolic as defenders of the world. The X-Men are mutants, set-apart by genetic quirk and the merciless pressure of evolutionary selection.

And all of them, all of them, have an origin story. They’re not just their powers - they’ve been shaped by their experience, those events which change them, make them different.

They do not stand in isolation - whether it be genetics, radiation, magic, or being child of a god, a hero is nothing without their origin. So, where does that leave us poor ordinary mortals who have our everyday lives? It’s highly unlikely we’re going to get nuked in a particle accelerator and come out with godlike powers. And yet, if you look, it is once again the apparently ordinary which they strive to protect.

Whether its the fireman, the paramedic, the doctor, the librarian, the alien ubermensch, the Dark Knight or the trench-coat wearing magus who chain-smokes his way through apocalypses, laughing all the while. Whether it’s the barbarian or the wizard, the soldier or the king, they all come from
somewhere. They don’t just pop into existence - they emerge somehow. Without the ordinary, they have no fuel, no way to claw their way into existence, to drive their stories.

So, let me ask you - where is it that
you come from? What’s made you who you are? Just think about it.

That hero was nothing without that
difference. Your neighbourhood, your childhood, your family, your beliefs, your food, your drink, your culture - all of these shaped you. You are one of billions on this planet; one of those staggering numbers which boggle the mind, force it to take shortcuts, to create categories like race, sex, gender, politics. All that to make sense of things.

Because gods forbid you look at yourself in the mirror and see the Mystery that you are. Gods forbid you conceive of the sheer wonder of life - not that it may have meaning, or otherwise - merely that it exists at all!

Look over your shoulder and imagine the countless choices that brought you here. Imagine the memories and nuances you have, which no-one else does.


Imagine all those things that made you what you were, and then look back at the screens and the newspapers and wonder - “Why the hell are they trying to get us to buy these things? Why the hell do they want me to conform to this body-image, dream this particular dream?”

You are the proverbial miracle, hiding in the common-place. The diamond in the rough - the commonest carbon compressed by a billion pounds of heat and pressure into a multifaceted gem. You may not have a nuclear explosion or genetic code that warps notions of humanity. You may not have billionaire status, or be a member of an alien aristocracy, but you have the fuel, the experience that you can arrange, the
difference that makes the difference.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to give up on the secret identity, claim your birthright and assume the mask of the hero.


Craig 'VI' Slee is a Consultant & Theorist dealing with Mythology, Folklore, Storytelling & Culture.

Currently, he serves as Writer and Content Developer for
FoolishPeople, an internationally acclaimed immersive theatre company who create ritual experiences, books and films. Their latest work is STRANGE FACTORIES, which will be released to worldwide distribution late 2013.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Friday, April 05, 2013

Upcoming Art Show: MARVEL

Philadelphia, April 25th, come to a MASSIVE art show and club event featuring many artists including yours truly. The Words of Traitors pieces will all be present, along with never before seen concept art and unique material.


[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Why Aren't These Things Real? - What Had Happened Was Episode 7

What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective.

Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of What Had Happened Was. Today we're talking about justifying our swearing, Apple security, April Fools jokes, Biological transistors, and more. Welcome to today's episode, "Why Aren't These Things Real?"

  1. Why Swearing Sparingly Can Help Kill Pain - Time
  2. Breakthrough Research Suggests Simple Ways To Reverse Chronic Pain - io9
  3. Password Denied: When Will Apple Get Serious About Security - The Verge
  4. E-bleeder: Is Nook On Its Deathbed - The Verge
  5. Store Wants To Collect $5 Browsing Fee - BoingBoing
  6. Biological Transistor Enables Computing Within Living Cells - Kurzweil AI
  7. Your Guide To Every April Fools Day Prank on the Internet - BuzzFeed
  8. 5 Brilliant April Fools Products We Hope Become Real - Gizmodo

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Universe Does Not Exist: Conspiratorial cosmology - the case against the Universe

German physicists Jörg P. Rachen and Ute G. Gahlings have recently discovered evidence of a Universal Conspiracy and have just published their results in a brilliant exposé in the highly esteemed Journal of Comparative Irrelevance:

Abstract: "Based on the cosmological results of the Planck Mission, we show that all parameters describing our Universe within the ΛCDM model can be constructed from a small set of numbers known from conspiracy theory. Our finding is confirmed by recent data from high energy particle physics. This clearly demonstrates that our Universe is a plot initiated an unknown interest group or lodge. We analyse possible scenarios for this conspiracy, and conclude that the belief in the existence of our Universe is an illusion, as previously assumed by ancient philosophers, 20th century science fiction authors and contemporary film makers.

It's like this, only BIGGER

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Breaking: Godwin's Law Refuted By Finnish Ecofascist

Today, I have observed a clear violation of Godwin's Law. To compare this man to Hitler would be an understatement. It's a good thing he's older than dirt and will never get into a position of power, since it is an indisputable fact that Pentti Linkola would be FAR WORSE THAN HITLER.

Certified Worse Than Hitler

At least he's honest?

In his own words:

"If the present amount of Earths population is preserved and is reduced only by the means of birth control, then:
  • Birthgiving must be licenced. To enhance population quality, genetically or socially unfit homes will be denied offspring, so that several birth licences can be allowed to families of quality.
  • Energy production must be drastically reduced. Electricity is allowed only for the most necessary lighting and communications.
  • Food: Hunting must be made more efficient. Human diet will include rats and invertebrate animals. Agriculture moves to small un-mechanized units. All human manure is used as fertilizer.
  • Traffic is mostly done with bicycles and rowing boats. Private cars are confiscated. Long-distance travel is done with sparse mass transport. Trees will be planted on most roads.
  • Foreign affairs: All mass immigration and most of import-export trade must stop. Cross-border travel is allowed only for small numbers of diplomats and correspondents.
  • Business will mostly end. Manufacture is allowed only for well argumented needs. All major manufacturing capacity is state owned. Products will be durable and last for generations.
  • Science and schooling: Education will concentrate on practical skills. All competition is rooted out. Technological research is reduced to extreme minimum. But every child will learn how to clean a fish in a way that only the big shiny bones are left over."
From ― Pentti LinkolaCan Life Prevail? - A Radical Approach To The Environmental Crisis:

"If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating, if it meant millions of people would die."

“I could never find two people who are perfectly equal: one will always be more valuable than the other. And many people, as a matter of fact, simply have no value.”

“I believe that human brilliance manifests itself only in flashes, among rare individuals. For this reason, humanity as a whole is enormously destructive: the creation of something as devastating as Western culture, which is now allowed to spread throughout the world, offers sufficient proof of this fact.”

“The coming years will prove increasingly cynical and cruel. People will definitely not slip into oblivion while hugging each other. The final stages in the life of humanity will be marked by the monstrous war of all against all: the amount of suffering will be maximal.”

Suck it, Godwin.


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