hessian writes "Tropical forests reduce peak runoff during storms and release stored water during droughts, according to researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Their results lend credence to a controversial phenomenon known as the sponge effect, which is at the center of a debate about how to minimize flood damage and maximize water availability in the tropics.
During nearly 450 tropical storms, a team of visiting scientists from the University of Wyoming measured the amount of runoff from pastureland, abandoned pastureland and forested land as part of a large-scale land-use experiment in the Panama Canal watershed initiated by STRI." Link to Original Source top
"Approximate computing" improves energy efficiency
hessian writes ""Computers were first designed to be precise calculators that solved problems where they were expected to produce an exact numerical value. However, the demand for computing today is driven by very different applications. Mobile and embedded devices need to process richer media, and are getting smarter – understanding us, being more context-aware and having more natural user interfaces. On the other hand, there is an explosion in digital data searched, interpreted, and mined by data centers."
(Hessian's note: what is interesting here is that this is how our brains work. There's an intelligent design and/or radical Darwinism argument in there somewhere.)" Link to Original Source top
Heavy metal shows piracy is not killing music, offers new business model
hessian writes "Despite being extensively pirated worldwide, Iron Maiden have managed to put themselves in the £10-20m for 2012. This means that despite the growing popularity of the band on social media, and the extensive and pervasive torrent downloading of the band’s music, books and movies, the band is turning a profit. This is in defiance of the past business model, and the idea that piracy is killing music. In fact, piracy seems to be saving music in Iron Maiden’s case.
One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity, even down to the uniform-style black tshirts that fans wear that differ only in band logo and art. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres like pop, rock and rap. It doggedly maintains its own identity and shuns outsiders. As a result, fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it." Link to Original Source top
Open plan offices attract highest levels of worker dissatisfaction
hessian writes "An open plan workplace, in which enclosed rooms are eschewed in favour of partitioned or non-partitioned desks arranged around a large room, are supposed to promote interaction between workers and boost teamwork.
However, a study of over 40,000 survey responses collected over a decade has found that the benefits for workers are quickly outweighed by the disadvantages." Link to Original Source top
hessian writes "Then, around 1850, Schopenhauer pronounced noise to be the supreme archenemy of any serious thinker.
His argument against noise was simple: A great mind can have great thoughts only if all its powers of concentration are brought to bear on one subject, in the same way that a concave mirror focuses light on one point. Just as a mighty army becomes useless if its soldiers are scattered helter-skelter, a great mind becomes ordinary the moment its energies are dispersed.
And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound." Link to Original Source top
National Geographic says Redheads set for extinction
hessian writes "Because of the smaller percentage of redheads present in the population, it has reduced the chances considerably for the redheads to get redhead partners, so their offspring may or may not be a redhead. The redhead can produce a baby from a single redhead parent; the chances rise when both the parents are redheaded, however. Some experts warn those with red hair could be gone as early 2060, but others say the gene can be dormant in the reproductive system for generations before returning.
hessian writes "Even more than boring, education was about the wrong approach entirely. It set up cute little thought-experiments, taught you some simple versions, and then hit you with more challenging ones on the final. Since this is easy to defeat, teachers relied heavily on trickery and detail-based grading, which rewards those who essentially bury themselves in the classwork and memorize.
Zero relation to (a) actual problem solving and (b) having the skill of thinking itself. In fact, worse than zero relation; negative relation. Thinkers find this kind of environmental stultifying and try to escape it." Link to Original Source top
For China, hacking may be all about Sun Tzu and World War III
hessian writes "As I've had more time to study the behavior of the PRC, I've come to believe that China isn't necessarily gearing up to start World War III, but they are planning for how they might win it, should our two nations find ourselves in a shooting war.
Sun Tzu was a Chinese military strategist thought to have lived around 500 years before the modern era, and widely credited with authoring one of the foundational texts on warfare, The Art of War." Link to Original Source top
Why so many people–including scientists–suddenly believe in an after
hessian writes "Recent polls across the developed world are starting to tell an intriguing tale. In the U.S., religion central for the West, belief in heaven has held steady, even ticking upwards on occasion, over the past two decades. Belief in hell is also high, but even Americans show a gap between the two articles of faith—81 per cent believed in the former in 2011, as opposed to 71 per cent accepting the latter. Elsewhere in the Western world the gap between heaven and hell believers is more of a gulf—a 2010 Canadian poll found more than half of us think there is a heaven, while fewer than a third acknowledge hell. What’s more, monotheism’s two destinations are no longer all that are on offer. In December a survey of the 1970 British Cohort group—9,000 people, currently 42 years old—found half believed in an afterlife, while only 31 per cent believed in God. No one has yet delved deeply into beliefs about the new afterlife—the cohort surveyors didn’t ask for details—but reincarnation, in an newly multicultural West, is one suggested factor. So too is belief in what one academic called “an unreligious afterlife,” the natural continuation of human consciousness after physical death.
While most of the current bestselling accounts of afterlife experiences are recognizably Christian—at least in outline—signs of changing beliefs can be found in them too. Nor are the new travellers—who include a four-year-old boy and a middle-aged neurosurgeon—what religious skeptics would think of as the usual suspects. Colton Burpo, now 13, “died” 10 years ago from a ruptured appendix, and spent three minutes of earthly time in heaven—some of it in Jesus’s lap, some of it speaking with a miscarried sister whose existence he had never been told about—before being pulled back to Earth by his surgical team. Since 2010, when his father, Todd, a Nebraska minister, published his account of what Colton told him, Heaven is for Real has sold more than 7.5 million copies. If Colton’s story sounds like a contemporary take on an ancient Christian motif—“unless you become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3)—the same can’t be said about Eben Alexander’s post-religious cosmic experience." Link to Original Source top
hessian writes "Jeff Hanneman, a guitarist for the influential metal band Slayer, who helped shape the group’s sonic assault and wrote some of its most popular — and controversial — songs, died on Thursday at a hospital near his home east of Los Angeles. He was 49.
(I know a lot of people in tech listen to a lot of Slayer. Please consider this article as on-topic in that light.)" Link to Original Source top
Game Preferences Among Atheistic and Religious Individuals
hessian writes "Burris and Petrican (2011) recently showed that atheists are less capable of internally simulating vivid, emotionally evocative experiences relative to those who identify with religion. Consequently, relative to religious individuals, atheists were expected to find the engaging, multisensory experience offered by virtual gaming environments to be an especially appealing form of play. This hypothesis was supported. Indeed, atheists did not rate narrative-oriented tabletop games more appealing than did religious individuals, and rated them as less appealing compared to agnostic/no religion individuals. The disparity in atheists' game preferences was further polarized by individual differences in psychological absorption. Atheists' preference for “what you see is what you get” video game environments over tabletop games that require greater imaginative effort for less immersive benefits may reflect a broad orientation that provides an experiential basis for disbelief in the unseen." Link to Original Source top
hessian writes "This is probably another dumb marketing scheme, but it looks like viral inseminators have been sneaking around this URL for a Boards of Canada promotion. Unlike most of these, however, it involves some actual hackery content
Any ideas? I know nothing about this ‘Boards of Canada’ band (except the soundtracks from Until the Light Takes Us) but I have to admit a quickening of the pulse at an OpenVMS prompt." Link to Original Source top
Conservative Opposition to Internet Sales Tax Getting Louder
hessian writes "The Senate moved closer to passing the Internet sales tax on Thursday. The chamber had already started debate on the measure, dubbed the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” but the vote last week bypassed any hope of a filibuster. Some conservative groups are increasing their efforts in opposition to the tax.
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by Grover Norquist, presented the constitutional case against the Internet sales tax. The case is in response to recent comments by David French, a lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, who said, “The industry is evolving very rapidly, and the law today is a 20th-century interpretation of an 18th-century document that is holding back the entire retail industry as it adapts to 21st-century consumer preferences and demand.”" Link to Original Source top
hessian writes "As the EPI report lays bare, the common wisdom about our STEM problem is mistaken: we are not facing a shortage of STEM-qualified workers. In fact, we appear to have a considerable STEM surplus. Only 63 percent students graduating with a STEM degree are able to find STEM jobs. Beyond that, if there was an actual shortage of STEM workers, basic supply and demand would predict that the wages of STEM workers would be on the rise. Instead, wages in S sTEM fields have not budged in over a decade. Stagnant wages and low rates of STEM job placement strongly suggest we actually have an abundance of STEM-qualified workers.
The EPI report tends to focus on the relevance of these findings to guest worker programs and other immigration issues. The tech industry has long suggested that it cannot find STEM workers in America and therefore needs immigration changes that will enable it to bring in more workers from abroad. Skeptics have rebuffed that the tech industry really is just interested in cheaper STEM labor and that its proclamations about a dearth of STEM-qualified domestic workers is just a convenient cover story. This report provides ammunition to the latter camp to say the least." Link to Original Source top
Bioengineers Build Open Source Language for Programming Cells
hessian writes "The BIOFAB project is still in the early stages. Endy and the team are creating the most basic of building blocks — the “grammar” for the language. Their latest achievement, recently reported in the journal Science, has been to create a way of controlling and amplifying the signals sent from the genome to the cell. Endy compares this process to an old fashioned telegraph.
“If you want to send a telegraph from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the signals would get degraded along the wire,” he says. “At some point, you have to have a relay system that would detect the signals before they completely went to noise and then amplify them back up to keep sending them along their way.”" Link to Original Source top
China hacker's angst opens a window onto cyber-espionage
hessian writes ""The blog provides a rare peek into the secretive hacking establishment of the Chinese military, which employs thousands of people in what is believed to be by far the world's largest institutionalized hacking operation."" Link to Original Source top
Texas proposes one of nation's "most sweeping" mobile privacy laws
hessian writes "Privacy experts say that a pair of new mobile privacy bills recently introduced in Texas are among the “most sweeping” ever seen. And they say the proposed legislation offers better protection than a related privacy bill introduced this week in Congress.
If passed, the new bills would establish a well-defined, probable-cause-driven warrant requirement for all location information. That's not just data from GPS, but potentially pen register, tap and trace, and tower location data as well. Such data would be disclosed to law enforcement "if there is probable cause to believe the records disclosing location information will provide evidence in a criminal investigation."" Link to Original Source top
hessian writes "To be sure, America's tech economy has long depended on foreign-born workers. "Immigrants have founded 40 percent of companies in the tech sector that were financed by venture capital and went on to become public in the U.S., among them Yahoo, eBay, Intel, and Google," writes Laszlo Bock, Google's senior VP of "people operations," which, along with other tech giants such as HP and Microsoft, strongly supports a big increase in H-1B visas. "In 2012, these companies employed roughly 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales."
But in reality, most of today's H-1B workers don't stick around to become the next Albert Einstein or Sergey Brin. ComputerWorld revealed last week that the top 10 users of H-1B visas last year were all offshore outsourcing firms such as Tata and Infosys. Together these firms hired nearly half of all H-1B workers, and less than 3 percent of them applied to become permanent residents. "The H-1B worker learns the job and then rotates back to the home country and takes the work with him," explains Ron Hira, an immigration expert who teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology. None other than India's former commerce secretary once dubbed the H-1B the "outsourcing visa."" Link to Original Source top
hessian writes "As documented on/., six months ago I de-installed the Adobe FlashTM player on all my browsers.
I hear a lot on/. about how many users are Apple Zealots or Microsoft Shills.
My question is simple: how do I monetize this?
That is, if I decide to be a shill, how do I get paid? Can I get an AdSense tag for my.sig file?
Or is there another way to sell this labor?
I'll gladly shill for products, or even countries, for money. Everyone else seems to be doing this, directly (get paid) or indirectly (loyalty, a buddy, employment, etc).
I guess I'd like it to not conflict with my loyalties. For example, if I'm an Apple shill and the latest Macintosh ends up being a silver-plated 0.5" turd, then I've got to find some euphemism to use. "The new Macbook XXXXL is... uh... a different kind of computing experience."
But it seems to me this is the future of our society. Advertising on everything; everyone a shill for something. I just want to be able to sock that shill money in my kids' college account.
Sometime 400 years ago, as our civilization prospered, the decision was made to modernize. This came about through a belief in the equality of all human beings and a drive toward external mechanisms, namely technology and political control systems. Guillaume Faye, the seasoned rising star of the New Right movement in Europe, explores our correction of this mistake in his landmark book Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age.
Formed by members of Rigor Mortis, Gammacide and Demonseed, the band formerly known as the Texas Metal Alliance is now WARBEAST and they're making waves with their old-school thrash metal attack. Signed to Housecore Records, WARBEAST is now touring the independent nation of Texas in preparation for world domination!
For many people, metal serves as a starting point into something deeper: that is a starting point for exploring philosophy as well as hidden meanings and patterns within society and the universe. Not everyone pursues this line of thought whenever they become interested in metal music; unfortunately, those that don't are happy to drink beer, smoke pot and party --- they never aspire to great things in life. Those that do look for deeper meaning will find Prozak's website thought provoking and (most likely) controversial.
To all weekenders, hipsters, novelty seekers, scenesters, and assorted parasites of the underground - we, the purveyors and fans of metal pre-1990 are taking back our music from you scum. It was never yours, you don't understand it, and we don't need your permission, approval, or support to continue. You idiots have done nothing but bastardize and trivialize it for almost a decade and we are sick of it.
"Until the Light Takes Us is a documentary of the early 1990s black metal scene in Norway. Featuring interviews with Varg Vikernes, Fenriz of Darkthrone and other foundational members of the early black metal community, it is a documentary meant to appreciate black metal the way it should always have been: as an artistic movement against the modern world, gravitating toward mythic imagination through intense music, murder and fire."
This is coming out right before the mainstream media unleashes their latest assault on the genre:
"Jackson Rathbone, the teen heartthrob from 'Twilight,' has reportedly agreed to play Varg Vikernes (a.k.a. Count Grishnackh) -- the former BURZUM mastermind who is currently serving a Norwegian prison term for the August 1993 murder of MAYHEM guitarist Oystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous) and setting fire to three churches -- in the upcoming movie 'Lords Of Chaos.'
Based on Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind's book of the same name, the film depicts true events and revolves around the black metal sub-culture that spawned a wave of murders and church arsons across Norway in the early 1990s."
Somehow, a fictionalized, dramatized, Hollywood-ized version of the Lords of Chaos book is about the last thing I'd want to ever see.
It would be great if someone treated black metal as a form of art, because those early bands are so transcendently beautiful and violent that they're like stepping outside of modern society into a reality from ancient times -- or the future.
Blaspherian comes from Houston, Texas, and makes old school death metal with its own voice. Their music does not sound like any known band but is clearly influenced by the old school of booming, primitive, dark, introspective and alienated metal. Formed in 2004, Blaspherian arose from the collaboration of Wes Infernal -- formerly of Infernal Dominion and Imprecation -- and Desekrator, but rapidly branched out to include Matt Mayhem on drums and Apollyon on vocals and bass.
I went from being a metalhead who had a couple classical albums to a classical and metal listener. The two musics are really similar: like metal, classical strings together a series of riffs to tell a story.
My favorite composers are:
Ludwig van Beethoven
All of these dudes are extremely "metal": stormy, powerful, dark and lawless music.
The Hessian.org guys have put together a list of the most influential current bands and albums, with mp3s. The idea is not to list bands of the week, but the "new classics" that are defining the genre right now. You can listen to the MP3s from your browser.
Yet it's true -- the appeal of both Tolkien and science is that they verify what we know to be true, a meta-form of common sense. Read your Herodotus. Read Plato. Think critically. Suddenly, you see we're asking all the wrong questions.
Society is not about the individual. It's about social order. It's not about judging others, or by sleight of hand, not-juding them. It's about social order. It's about putting people in the right place so they can function well and feel a sense of reward in belonging to the collective, because guess what, civilizations are by definition collectives.
People are afraid of their own obscurity so they make up lies to hide the plain old truth that very few of us are important, and those that are important -- a handful -- only are if our species survives.
I find it amazing that some people think this society is on its way to anything but ruin. Yes, we've got all this technology, but we're falling apart within and people are encouraged to be neurotic -- by each other.
While all the idiots out there are busy blaming government, religion, etc. for human problems, the simplest and most scientific answer is that we need to look into mass psychology -- it's probably where the error lies.
I have, and read a fair amount of history, enough to see that the situation in reality is never discussed in our society. That enough is proof of its delusional nature.
Nations exist for the good of their people. This gets complicated because they have to choose between what is good for their people as a group, and what pleases most people as individuals. Nations that serve the group stay together, and those that treat individuals as customers fall apart because they are pulled in too many directions.
The United States was once a good thing for Texas, but now it is falling apart because it is trying to please every single person instead of doing what is right and letting those who don't like it leave. It is being pulled in too many directions. Washington, D.C. is not just many miles from Texas, but it is far from the heart and soul that has made Texas great. SUPPORT THE NATIONAL FREEDOM OF TEXAS
What happens when a nation is divided? First you hear a lot about how free you are, and how much freedom you have. That's their excuse for having a disorganized nation that's falling apart. Next, because everyone is going in different directions, it becomes impossible to have one rule of law for everyone, and so there is constant law enforcement chaos. You're halfway to a police state already.
Most people confuse having freedom with not being in a police state, but freedom is the dogma the politicians use to force you to obey. They think any state without this freedom is a police state, but any state that defines what is accepted and what is not is better off than a state which says "do whatever, and we'll hope it all works out."
We are open-minded here in Texas, but we know history. Some things just don't work. Letting everyone do whatever they think is OK is a path to anarchy and chaos. Multiculturalism is a path to strife and racial grievances being taken out on whoever's seen as being on top. Here in Texas, we do the right thing. That won't make everyone happy, but it will keep us out of both chaos and police states.
Being in the United States has been good for Texas, and we are not ungrateful. We are thankful for our time with America. But we also have to do what is right for us. We believe in doing the right thing, not doing what is convenient and relying on the police to enforce it.
Rip the sacred flesh Sodomize the holy asshole Drink the red blood of the mother of earth Masturbation on the dead body of christ The king of Jews is dead and so are the lies Vomit on the host of Heaven Masturbate on the throne of God Break the seals of angels Drink the sweet blood of Christ Taste the flesh of the priest Sodomize holy nuns The king of Jews is a liar The Heavens will burn Dethrone the son of God God is dead Holyness is gone Purity is gone Prayers are burned Covered in black shit Rape the holy ghost Unclean birth of Jesus Christ Heaven will fall Fuck the church Fuck Christ Fuck the Virgin Fuck the gods of Heaven Fuck the name of Jesus
You want to be popular? You know the truth is never popular.
You should probably not read this blog then, which is about the scientific, cultural and philosophical implications of a society which markets pleasant illusions to itself and ignores difficult realities.
Penetrate the illusion: look at the truth we suppress and the underworld it reveals.
King Crimson moved retrograde to the tendency to dumb down the medium into image and trivial yet novel variations on accepted form, and with Red the band reached a climax, fusing simplicity with a need for subliminal elegance and a finding a transcendental recognition of the relative balance between structure and content, fulfilling the prophetic words of Ornette Coleman: "The pattern for a tune, for instance, will be forgotten and the tune itself will be the pattern."