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Panopticon Gazes Down on the Pill-Popping Zombies

Haven’t you sometimes said to yourself, I’ll bet other people can see me! And you’re puzzled as to what to do about this serious, baffling problem of being conspicuous… At once overly self-conscious, and at the same time paranoid and internalized, it is no wonder that the previous statement was written by our favorite paranoid schizo SF writer, Philip K. Dick. However, it is worth taking a closer look at the tendency for humans to worry about their own self-consciousness and appearance, since it is obvious that our right to privacy is under serious attack. Although the government is wrestling with the issue, it is by no means certain that the harsh surveillance tactics brought to us in recent years are coming to an end. Indeed, the inquisitorial big-brother milieu extends beyond the concept of mere observation…as Dick implies, there is an active attempt to instigate our own self-doubts and keep us trapped in a spiral of confusion. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded now by advertisements for drugs. These often take the form of overt manipulation. For those who are having a bad day, or have low self-esteem, these could trigger a whole chain of thoughts, a sort of self-reinforcing trap for which, SURPRISE! Drug companies have an ANSWER! And with the relaxation of restrictions on Direct to Consumer Drug advertising, this predatory form of brainwashing is reaching epidemic proportions.

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What it is

Dude, this is all over the web, but nonetheless… imagine if the Unified Field Theory was encapsulated in a geometric diagram - an image - which is actually a graphic depiction of a 57 dimensional obj

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The Music Business is Rough

The following panel explains the story in a nutshell: “He hired gangsters to get these bonds after his disguise as a musician failed to work. His violin bow fired the arrows.” Brilliant plan - and in

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Postsingular Now!

Hey, folks, you should all know that Rudy Rucker’s next far out adventure is in print! You have wonderful options to read it: a) buy a <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765317419?ie=UTF8&a

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Seeking Comics in Austria & Germany

It’s nice to know that comics are not excluded from the Museumsquarter in Vienna. Not a stone’s throw from the Leopold Gallery, where Gustav Klimt’s “Death and Life“ hangs beside the works of Kolo Mo

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Welt Raum Fahrt - Space 1960

On a trip to Vienna last week, I was happy as a clam to find a copy of “Das Bildbuch der Welt Raum Fahrt,” [Picture Book of Space Travel] which documents the latest advances in Space Trav

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Race to the Moon

For some reason September 2007 is Moon month, or is that an oxymoron? At MIT, the film In the Shadow of the Moon was launched with a free reception and discussion. Ten years in the making, this film p

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Rocks below, Stars above

Little did I know when writing the previous post that Google was cooking up SKY for their latest version (4.2) of GoogleEarth! Now, the greenest tyro can download GoogleEarth, click on Sky, and begin

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In Search of Sanjuro Pray

Having searched high and low for my fine friend, John C. Pray, aka Sanjuro, I’ve just about given up hope of finding him. Repeated scourings of the net turn up no hits, so I’ve decided to provide some of my own in the hopes that _he_ might find _me_ one of these days. Sanjuro was a real one-of-a-kind. Surrealist, Haiku poet, social critic, Japanophile, former alcoholic and all-around gonzo journalist of the dust-blasted Albuquerque desert. We met as mutual wage slaves of the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, which owned B. Dalton Booksellers, the Albuquerque branch being New Mexico’s largest bookstore back in 1983. Our co-workers were a bunch of practically (if not verifiably) insane people, including Hugh Callens, Rachel “Moonbat” Dixon, Miss Piggy, Charles Vane, Ben Porter, Walt Carpenter & Marty Dusty Rose Snapless Bird. We all lived on the nervous edge of the 70s, which had not quite been extinguished down in New Mexico, apprehensive about the technology that seemed to be creeping in from the periphery. B. Dalton installed modems to send all the sales information to HQ up in Minneapolis every night, which seemed pretty futuristic to me back then. Charles Vane was given a primordial beta testing version of the original Macintosh computer, something like a bastard cross between a toaster and mini-tv set. I drew a doodle on it using MacPaint. Sanjuro and I frequented the happy hour at Japanese Kitchen which was barely fifty meters from the bookstore. We swapped tales of motorcycling, writing, psychedelic experiences and journalistic feats of derring-do. Sanjuro’s famous incident was the statewide media scoop of Patty Hearst’s capture in 1975 on KUNM radio. “Out of my way!” he shouted, thrashing the DJ onto the floor and sweeping the needle across the turntable with a fistful of teletype paper. “Breaking News! Patty Hearst, captive of, or conspirator with, the Symbionese Liberation Army, has been captured in Los Angeles.” What a moment! And how many gin fizzes, tequila sunrises, and straight up shots of Wild Turkey followed… as the years rolled by and the realization sank in: nobody gives a damn about politics, about revolution, about savage covert operations taking place in forsaken backwaters of Central America or in the fetid jungle swamps of American corporate boardrooms. Another round of bourbon whiskey and let it all ride on the twitching pony with the green nostrils and pupils as big as bowling balls! Because, damn it, if this flea-bitten horse can’t win a race at the State Fair in New Mexico, then it will have to be beer at Okie’s and green chile pizza at Jack’s for the rest of our stinking lives! What a treasure it is to have a political junkie, poet, and Master of Art History as a drinking buddy! Of course the alcohol nearly did him in and he had to kick it, but not until he had filtered a decade of hard stuff through his kidneys. And no thanks to the Hawaiian bartender at Japanese Kitchen who was always giving him freebies! For reasons of my own I had as much of a drinking problem as the next guy, but then again, I was already a haggard minimum wage-earning father by the age of 22, whereas John C. Pray was a single guy who managed to invent his own kind of drunken bushido.