Friday, 31 December 2010

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Illustration: 'exiledsurfer'
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Welcome to the 7th annual X-Mix, an end of the year mixtape celebration. As always, these aren’t necessarily songs released this year, but just a collection of things I’ve listened to in 2010. Thanks to Bobby and Fred for the non-rap influences. The ghosts of X-Mix past (2004-2009) can be downloaded here
Who Is The Ginger In Charge Over Here
X-Mix 2010, by DJ Freckled Ninja

watch (vimeo) | download (89mb)
Track list:
1) East Bound And Down, S02E04
2) Die Antwoord, Enter The Ninja
3) Grimes, Gambang
4) Waka Flocka Flame, Same Shit
5) Toots & the Maytals, Take Me Home Country Road
6) Gucci Mane, Georgia’s Most Wanted
7) Beach House, Walk In The Park
8) Bobby Creekwater, Pursuit Of Greatness
9) DJ Rupture, Reef: Baby Kites and Nokea
10) Tim Maia, Imunização Racional
11) Twin Sister, Lady Daydream
12) Big Boi, Follow Us
13) Waka Flocka Flame, Walmart Money
14) Kanye West, Blame Game
15) The Notorious B.I.G., Come On
16) Die Antwoord, Rich Bitch
17) Girl Talk, That’s Right
18) Das Racist, Return To Innocence
19) Curren$y, King Kong
20) Freddit Gibbs, National Anthem
21) Nacey, Bulletproof
22) Big Boi, Fo Yo Sorrows
23) Rick Ross, B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)
24) Toots & the Maytals, 54-46 Was My Number
25) Balam Acab, Big Boy

Hackers crack open mobile network

Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut demonstrated their eavesdropping toolkit at the Chaos Computer Club Congress (CCC) in Berlin.
The work builds on earlier research that has found holes in many parts of the most widely used mobile technology.
The pair spent a year putting together the parts of the eavesdropping toolkit.
"Now there's a path from your telephone number to me finding you and listening to your calls," Mr Nohl told BBC News. "The whole way."
He said many of the pieces in the eavesdropping toolkit already existed thanks to work by other security researchers but there was one part the pair had to create themselves.
"The one piece that completed the chain was the ability to record data off the air," he said.
In a demonstration at the CCC, the pair took attendees through all the steps that led from locating a particular phone to seizing its unique ID, then leap-frogging from that to getting hold of data swapped between a handset and a base station as calls are made and texts sent.
Key to grabbing the data from the air were cheap Motorola phones which can have their onboard software swapped for an open source alternative.
"We used the cheap Motorola telephones because a description of their firmware leaked to the internet," he said.
This led to the creation of open source alternative firmware that, he said, has its "filters" removed so it could see all the data being broadcast by a base station.
Bunch of keys, BBC  
The eavesdropping work builds on earlier work to list GSM encryption keys
This allows attackers to home in on the data they need to eavesdrop, said Mr Nohl. The encryption system that scrambles this data can be defeated using a huge list of encryption keys, called a rainbow table, that Mr Nohl generated in a separate research project.
"Any GSM call is fair game," he said.
GSM is the name of the technology used on the vast majority of mobile phone networks around the world. The GSMA, which represents operators and phone makers, estimates that there are more than five billion GSM mobiles in use around the world.
The GSMA has not responded to requests for comment about the research.
Playing around Simeon Coney, a spokesman for mobile security firm Adaptive Mobile, said the work looked fairly thorough.
"Especially interesting is how the attack is aimed at a specific target phone, which could lead to malicious interest of high value targets," he added.
"This isn't an attack that is today readily repeatable yet by the anyone unfamiliar with the underlying technology," he said. "However, it does illustrate the manners in which the mobile phone system could be compromised in a focussed attack in less protected markets."
Mr Nohl said that before now commercial equipment that could spy on calls cost upwards of £35,000. The kit demonstrated at the Berlin event cost far less than that, he said. For instance, the Motorola phones used to grab data cost only 10 euros (£9) each.
Despite showing off the entire eavesdropping kit, there were no plans to release all of it for others to use, said Mr Nohl.
However, recreating the missing parts would not be difficult for a tech savvy amateur, he added.
"I expect people to do it for the fun of doing it."
Mr Nohl said the motivation for carrying out the research was to create awareness around the problem and perhaps prompt operators to improve security.
A few simple steps could make it much harder for eavesdroppers, he said.
"Raising their awareness is the most likely outcome, but the technical changes would be better."


Another Way of Seeing

The WikiLeaks War on America

Fresh eyes needed on WikiLeaks’ treasure trove of secrets

Wikileaks Rest in Peace

Wikileaks 'should lead to greater transparency'

The Verdict Is In

America & The Middle East

Great sacrifices, small rewards

Like Father Like Son

Daniel Assange somnidea That is to say: "Naon Tiotami" {|ch, i| ch.ord-"Jack Scanlan"[i].ord }.inject(:+) == 42 @jessovenden

How to confuse an idiot

Not quite Kelvin Hall

RE:post - Exile's Weird story of the year: Oral conception. Impregnation via the proximal gastrointestinal tract in a patient with an aplastic distal vagina. Case report.

[Ed. note: There is no abstract, so we're including most of the original article below. It's a bit long, but trust us--it's worth the read!]
“Case report:
The patient was a 15-year-old girl employed in a local bar. She was admitted to hospital after a knife fight involving her, a former lover and a new boyfriend. Who stabbed whom was not quite clear but all three participants in the small war were admitted with knife injuries.
The girl had some minor lacerations of the left hand and a single stab-wound in the upper abdomen. Under general anaesthesia, laparotomy was performed through an upper midline abdominal incision to reveal two holes in the stomach. These two wounds had resulted from the single stab-wound through the abdominal wall. The two defects were repaired in two layers. The stomach was noted empty at the time of surgery and no gastric contents were seen in the abdomen. Nevertheless, the abdominal cavity was lavaged with normal saline before closure. The condition of the patient improved rapidly following routine postoperative care and she was discharged home after 10 days.
Precisely 278 days later the patient was admitted again to hospital with acute, intermittent abdominal pain. Abdominal examination revealed a term pregnancy with a cephalic fetal presentation. The uterus was contracting regularly and the fetal heart was heard. Inspection of the vulva showed no vagina, only a shallow skin dimple was present below the external urethral meatus and between the labia minora. An emergency lower segment caesarean section was performed under spinal anaesthesia and a live male infant weighing 2800 g was born…
…While closing the abdominal wall, curiosity could not be contained any longer and the patient was interviewed with the help of a sympathetic nursing sister. The whole story did not become completely clear during that day but, with some subsequent inquiries, the whole saga emerged.
The patient was well aware of the fact that she had no vagina and she had started oral experiments after disappointing attempts at conventional intercourse. Just before she was stabbed in the abdomen she had practised fellatio with her new boyfriend and was caught in the act by her former lover. The fight with knives ensued. She had never had a period and there was no trace of lochia after the caesarean section. She had been worried about the increase in her abdominal size but could not believe she was pregnant although it had crossed her mind more often as her girth increased and as people around her suggested that she was pregnant. She did recall several episodes of lower abdominal pain during the previous year. The young mother, her family, and the likely father adapted themselves rapidly to the new situation and some cattle changed hands to prove that there were no hard feelings.
A plausible explanation for this pregnancy is that spermatozoa gained access to the reproductive organs via the injured gastrointestinal tract. It is known that spermatozoa do not survive long in an environment with a low pH (Jeffcoate1975), but it is also known that saliva has a high pH and that a starved person does not produce acid under normal circumstances (Bernards & Bouman 1976). It is likely that the patient became pregnant with her first or nearly first ovulation otherwise one would expect that inspissated blood in the uterus and salpinges would have made fertilization difficult. The fact that the son resembled the father excludes an even more miraculous conception.”

♪♫ Hans Unstern - Ein Coversong

♪♫ Gisbert zu Knyphausen - Hurra hurra so nicht !

♪♫ Thairastaman - Mahalo Dub

♪♫ Der Nino aus Wien - Du Oasch

“It is almost a certainty that the editor of WikiLeaks will be turned over to the United States if he is extradited to Sweden”


Not Happy!

Boney M's Bobby Farrell dies

Seventies disco icon Bobby Farrell, singer and dancer with the chart-topping group Boney M, died aged 61 in a Russian hotel room Thursday while on tour, his agent and investigators said.
The flamboyant performer known for his energetic dance moves "was found dead in his bed," in a hotel room in Saint Petersburg, agent John Seine told AFP by telephone from Heemstede in north Netherlands, adding: "the cause of death is not known."
Seine said Farrell had given a performance in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday, but "they told me that he was not feeling well."
"This morning, he did not wake up."
The Saint Petersburg investigative committee of prosecutors confirmed to AFP that the entertainer was found dead in his bed by an employee of the Ambassador Hotel on Thursday morning.
"There were no signs of a violent death," the committee said, adding: "The investigation continues".
Saint Petersburg news site reported that Farrell had come to the Russian city on Wednesday to take part in a corporate event, but reported feeling ill during his performance.

Read On

Woman dials 999 to report snowman theft in Kent

A woman who dialled 999 to report the theft of a snowman from outside her home has been branded "completely irresponsible" by Kent Police.
The force said the woman, from Chatham, thought the incident required their involvement because she used pound coins for eyes and teaspoons for arms.
During the call the woman said: "It ain't a nice road but you don't expect someone to nick your snowman."
Kent Police said officers had given her advice on real 999 emergencies.
The force said the call was made at the same time as operators fielded thousands of other phone calls about the heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures in the county.
During the conversation she said: "There's been a theft from outside my house.
"I haven't been out to check on him for five hours but I went outside for a fag and he's gone."
When she was asked who had gone, the woman replied: "My snowman. I thought that with it being icy and there not being anybody about, he'd be safe."
She was then asked whether it was an ornament, and answered: "No, a snowman made of snow, I made him myself.
"It ain't a nice road but at the end of the day, you don't expect someone to nick your snowman, you know what I mean?"
The operator then told her she had rung an emergency line and she should not be calling it to report the theft of a snowman.
Ch Insp Simon Black said: "This call could have cost someone's life if there was a genuine emergency and they couldn't get through.
"It was completely irresponsible.
"We have spoken to her and advised her what is a 999 call, and this clearly was not."
Audio @'BBC'

REpost: Brion Gysin's illustrations for 'Time' by William S. Burroughs (1965)

William S. Burroughs created his own version of Time magazine in 1965.
It included a cover taken from the authentic 'Time' (November 30, 1962) which was then collaged over by Burroughs with a reproduction of a drawing, four drawings by Brion Gysin and twenty-six pages of typescript comprised of cut up texts and various photographs serving as news items.
Time was bootlegged in 1972 by Roy Pennington as an 'Urgency Press Rip Off'.
According to Maynard & Miles, Pennington published this bootleg edition for sale at the Bickershaw Festival.

My late friend Mike Hart (from Compendium Bookshop in Camden Town London) had a copy of this as well as Burrough's 'Mayfair Academy Series More or Less' (also published by 'Urgency Press Rip Off').
I hope that after Mike passed away his amazing collection of books and records found a good home (tho' if his son Stephen is anything like his Father, they will be in safe hands).
Back in the 70's in London I had actually managed to collect most of the original issues of 'Mayfair' from the couple of years or so that contained Burrough's column.
Most (but not all) of them were collected in such anthologies as 'Port of Saints' & 'Exterminator!'

If there is anyone out there who has a copy of either of these and wouldn't mind photo-copying or scanning the contents...well I would be eternally grateful!

Full story & scans of 'Time' available at 'Reality Studio' here.

Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation

Wired journalists deny cover-up over WikiLeaks boss and accused US soldier

The Julian Assange Investigation - Let's Clear the Air of Misinformation

Bianca Jagger last week launched a fierce attack on the Guardian for carrying my story about the evidence collected by Swedish police who have been investigating the claims of sexual assault by the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.
At the heart of her attack is a repeated claim that we failed to publish exculpatory evidence contained in the police file. Those who have read her piece will have noticed that she does not cite one single example of this missing information. There are two reasons for this. First, she does not know what is in that police file, because she has not read it. Second, if she had, she would know that her claim is simply not true.
The Guardian went out of their way to include exculpatory material, not just from the police file but also from previous comments made by Assange and his lawyers. They also sent Assange's lawyer a list of all the key points and delayed publication for days so that he had a chance to respond. Our story contains literally hundreds of words whose sole purpose is to reflect Assange's position.
Jagger also insists that she has a right to know who leaked the file to the Guardian and says that the leak was part of "an obvious effort to conduct a smear campaign" against Assange. Setting aside for a moment the head-splitting hypocrisy that a supporter of WikiLeaks wants to hunt down the source of a leak, there are two similar problems with this claim. First, Jagger has no idea who leaked that file (and made no attempt to find out). Second, if she did know, she would discover that the source had no intention of smearing Assange in any way.
I am not going to serve up that source's identity to satisfy Jagger's temper. A police file like that gets widely distributed. It happened to make its way quite legitimately into the hands of somebody I have come across in the past. This person has absolutely no connection with the Swedish prosecutor or the Swedish police or any other individual or organization with any kind of antipathy to Assange. The source passed it on, and I got it translated...
 Continue reading
Nick Davies @'HuffPo'

Oh dear:
"..the first time I have cut off a source in 34 years as a reporter..."

RIP 'Rosie'

Geraldine Doyle, 86, dies; one-time factory worker inspired Rosie the Riveter and 'We Can Do It!' poster

Radiohead Charity Pay-What-You-Want DVD On BitTorrent

In January 2010, in response to the emerging tragedy from the earthquake in Haiti, Radiohead performed before a limited audience at a charity concert in the United States. Since that performance, footage of the event has been painstakingly compiled by fans and now a twin DVD has been released, endorsed by the band. All proceeds are going to charity and the fastest way of acquiring it? BitTorrent of course.
haitiIn 2007, UK band Radiohead went against the grain by offering their latest album to the masses via the Internet in a pay-what-you-want model. Their seventh studio album, combined physical and digital sales went on to break the 3 million copy barrier.
Now the band are back supporting a similar but completely altruistic model, this time for a DVD. In January 2010, Radiohead performed at the Haiti Relief concert at the Henry Ford theater in Los Angeles and the event was filmed and its audio recorded, not by the band or show organizers, but by their fans.
Understandably, that footage went on to be scattered far and wide but thanks to the work of three fans – inez, formengr, andrea – the video and audio has been painstakingly collated to make a two DVD set of the event, which was limited on the day to just 1,400 people present. The trio then decided to make the work available on the Internet for the masses, but supported by a great idea to help those in need.
“It was a SPECIAL show with a SPECIAL purpose – to raise badly needed funds for those who lived through the devastation. And it seemed only appropriate that the DVD should carry on some of these goals,” inez explains.
So plan in hand, inez approached Radiohead for their approval and to find out which charity they would like donations to go to. The band chose Oxfam to handle donations on behalf of Haiti.
Normally with a charity product a whole bunch of funds would go to producing a physical product and then getting it delivered all over the world, but with the magic of BitTorrent none of that is necessary. In fact, even the online distribution costs come to almost nothing meaning that every penny goes in the right direction.
Inez has chosen a handful of trackers to distribute the DVD including the signup only Zombtracker and the one the majority of BitTorrent users will recognize, KickassTorrents.
The official Oxfam donation link can be found here
Please download and give generously.
Enigmax @'Torrent Freak'


Illustration: 'Mushroom'
Hacking the Hacker Stereotypes

John Pilger in conversation with Julian Assange

Not a clue

Adjust the volume

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Roy Hodgson's record at Liverpool FC: the statistics so far

Mapping the brain, slice by slice

Julian Assange in Berkeley April 2010

Transcript @'zunguzungu'

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Many Arab officials have close CIA links: Assange

Assange Alerts His Hostages

Never again? Elderly Palestinian women called “whores” on Yad Vashem tour, while racism explodes across Israel

The Poorhouse: Aunt Winnie, Glenn Beck, And The Politics Of The New Deal

♪♫ Alabama 3 - Barricade

Wikileaks: This Is Just The Beginning

The Transparency Paradox

The evanescence of Twitter debates

Rob Beschizza has a very good post on the dynamics of the spat between and Glenn Greenwald. For an excellent overview of the fight and what it’s about, I recommend Blake Hounshell. But Rob picks up on something else:
The AP-style story format now prevalent at makes it less bloggy than readers think it is. This establishes a distance between readers and reporters and restores a traditional tone of objectivity to its newswriting. As it is, Wired’s commenters rarely emerge from a state of inchoate, slavering rage, so there’s no incentive for its writers to enter the peanut gallery. And the blog river itself is polished to such a high standard that casual, chatty posts don’t really belong. Without a local venue where writers and readers can engage readers in non-confrontational discussion, it all ends up as bitching on Twitter.
The point here is that the fight is not like the blogwars of old, despite the fact that both sides are publishing on blogs. We haven’t seen a lot of back-and-forth on the blogs, and the blog entries that we have seen have been clearly worked at considerable length. Instead, the debate has been raging on Twitter, where it’s much harder for an outsider coming to the subject afresh to follow what’s going on and who’s saying what.
The biggest development in the story today comes from Sean Bonner, who seems to have managed to elicit over Twitter the very information that Wired’s critics have been calling for all along. Wired’s Kevin Poulsen told Bonner in a tweet that “The published logs include the reference to a secure FTP server Lamo discussed with the Times”; when Bonner asked Poulsen for clarification that the reference in question was the only reference in the chat logs, Poulsen said yes.
On top of that, editor Evan Hansen told Glenn Greenwald in a public tweet that he had reviewed all of the chat logs and that everything pertaining to Julian Assange or Wikileaks was already public.
Obviously, that single tweet is not going to satisfy Greenwald. But in many ways it does more to address the demands of Wired’s critics than the long and carefully-worded blog post that Hansen and Poulsen put up last night. And Greenwald too has noted — on Twitter, natch — that “it’s amazing how central of a role Twitter now plays in these disputes/debates”.
What we’re seeing here is the professionalization of the blogosphere — Greenwald and Poulsen both get paid to blog, as do I — and the way in which that has led to the less journalistic parts of blogging moving over to the informal and freewheeling venue of Twitter. I was happy to take a small part in this debate over Twitter this morning, for instance, but I’m concentrating on meta-issues here, partly because I’m clearly conflicted: I have a big story in the latest Wired magazine, and might well be appearing on’s blogs in future, too. On Twitter, such conflicts don’t seem to matter, or need to be addressed, in the way that they do on a professional blog.
This development is not, in my mind, a good thing. It robs from the blogosphere much of its naturally conversational element, which has largely moved to Twitter. Back in 2004 or so, it was easy to follow debates back and forth between blogs just by clicking on links; now, it’s much harder, and professional blogs are much more likely to link to straight news stories or just break news themselves than they are to link to other bloggers. Discussions and debates on Twitter aren’t archived in the way that they were on blogs, and they’re functionally impossible to search for if you’re more than a few months away from the event.
This particular debate is big and loud enough that bloggers are following it, archiving it, and linking to important tweets. But most Twitter discussions never reach that level, and therefore will disappear in a way that blog discussions never did. At some point, I hope that Twitter will roll out easily navigable and searchable archives of all public Twitter streams. But for the time being, Twitter is a stubbornly evanescent medium, for all its increasing importance.
Felix Salmon @'Reuters'

Former Israeli President Katsav convicted of rape

Israel's former president, Moshe Katsav (C), enters the Tel Aviv District Court before the verdict on rape and other charges of sexual misconduct against him were heard December 30, 2010 Photograph by: BAZ RATNER Credit: REUTERS
An Israeli court has convicted former President Moshe Katsav on two counts of rape. Thursday's conviction means Katsav will face a minimum of four years in prison. The verdict marks the climax of a four-and-a-half year saga that has riveted the nation as it watched its top citizen face the most serious charges ever leveled toward an Israeli public official.
The 65-year-old Katsav is also facing charges of lesser sex crimes involving two other former employees. A verdict on those charges is expected later in the day.
Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial position. But the allegations roiled the country by portraying the man supposed to be Israel's moral compass as a predatory boss who forced himself on female employees.
Katsav resigned in 2007 and was replaced by Shimon Peres.

WikiLeaks: Design Proposals by Metahaven

The Bad Daddy Factor

The fathers weren’t supposed to matter. But in the mid-1960s, pharmacologist Gladys Friedler was making all sorts of strange findings. She discovered that when she gave morphine to female rats, it altered the development of their future offspring — rat pups that hadn’t even been conceived yet. What’s more, even these rats’ grandchildren seemed to have problems. In an effort to understand the unexpected result, she made a fateful decision: She would see what happened when she put male rodents on the opiate. So she shot up the rat daddies with morphine, waited a few days, and then mated them with healthy, drug-free females. Their pups, to Friedler’s utter shock, were profoundly abnormal. They were underweight and chronic late bloomers, missing all their developmental landmarks. “It made no sense,” she recalls today. “I didn’t understand it.”For the next several decades, Friedler tried to understand this finding, ultimately assembling a strong case that morphine, alcohol and other substances could prompt male rodents to father defective offspring. There was only one problem: No one believed her. Colleagues questioned her results — her former adviser urged her to abandon the research — and she struggled to find funding and get her results published. “It didn’t occur to me that you’re not supposed to look at fathers’ roles in birth defects,” Friedler says. “I initially was not aware of the resistance. I was one of the people who was actually naïve enough to work in this field...”
 Continue reading
Emily Anthes @'Miller-McCune'
Audio slideshow: Don McCullin - 'Shaped by War'

You may recognise a couple of these people

REpost: Death by a thousand cuts

This will work while Facebook is down

If FB is down for you (and it seems OK for mobile users) then use this URL:

2 seconds ago · Friends only · · · Share Lamo/Manning Wikileaks chat logs contain no unpublished references to Assange or private servers

Glenn Greenwald and Wired Magazine: “I see no reason to doubt Poulsen’s integrity or good faith”

Histeria - My Buddy Stalin

The Twilight Singers - On The Corner

“Whenever you’re here, you’re alive” are the first words sung on Dynamite Steps, the upcoming new album from Greg Dulli’s Twilight Singers collective. That line comes from the opening track, “Last Night in Town.” Commencing a record with that title is a ballsy gambit, but there’s a method to his madness. “Last Night in Town” serves the same function as, say, a flash-forward that might open a film noir classic like Out of the Past, laying out the album’s arc in black and white right from jump. Dynamite Steps is the fifth Twilight Singers album, but the group’s first in five years. The Twilight Singers’ previous release, the acclaimed confessional opus Powder Burns, came out in 2006. Dynamite Steps is clearly the next chapter, a whole new level of catharsis and progress, evocatively cramming all the highs and lows of the maverick singer-songwriter’s past half-decade into unexpected sonic trapdoors. “Last Night in Town” encapsulates that vibe, setting the stage for the emotional thrill ride that’s about to come over the ensuing song cycle. On the one hand, the song is as signature Greg Dulli as it gets: starting with washes of spooky Mellotron, his soulful, confrontational howl rises to a messianic apex over symphonic, maximal layers of sound. It’s pure storytelling, reflecting on the impact of a near-death moment—but when a thick, dancefloor-aimed synth bassline surges through the mix, it’s clear this is a leap into the future, not doomed nostalgia.
Indeed, Dynamite Steps explores the thin line between life and death, mortality and immortality, resignation and celebration—that mythical moment when your life flashes before your eyes, drawn out here over the course of eleven songs. The album’s forty-three minutes prove an unflinching odyssey through the dark side, but one that’s ultimately redemptive in its scope and power. Dulli has never attempted anything so ambitious, neither sonically nor confessionally; that he makes it to the other side by the end feels redolent of triumph, but not without dues paid, hides scourged and lessons learned. The second song, “Be Invited,” features the haunting vocal tones of longtime Dulli friend/collaborator Mark Lanegan, adding portent to an already ominous chorus (“There’s something at work here/Chalk circles around your body”); over the song’s lurching country-blues waltz, Nick McCabe—kaleidoscopic guitarist for legendary U.K. group The Verve—adds not so much a guitar part as the hum of a swarm of bees hovering before the sting. The new textures of “Be Invited” pave the way for “Waves,” perhaps the toughest-rocking song Dulli’s ever made, exploring hitherto uncharted oceans of rage rendered as feedback squall; “Step aside while I manipulate,” he commands over shuddering analog synths and chiming, atonal guitars that recall vintage Sonic Youth.
Just as the shock and awe of “Waves” tasers listeners out of their comfort zone, the following quartet of tracks—possibly the greatest achievements in Dulli’s entire career—brings it all back home. Indeed, here are the songs that will make his most die-hard fans get over the fact that there’ll never be an Afghan Whigs reunion. The first, “Get Lucky” proves Dynamite Steps’ emotional crux, a stately piano ballad that looms somewhere between poignant and terrifying. From the dubby rimshot that echoes through its breakdown, “Get Lucky” makes clear we’re in a different dreamland—this is memory processed through regret, the violins swelling until there is literally nowhere left to turn. “I get lucky sometimes” goes the infectious earworm chorus; the accompanying musical thunderclouds, however, make clear that the song’s protagonist is dangerously deluded. The next track, “On the Corner,” could be an antihero rave-up off the Whigs’ revered 1996 opus Black Love, and proves one of Dulli’s best full-on rockers. With its blaxploitation wah-wah solos from Twilight SIngers mainstay guitarist Dave Rosser, catchy “ooh-oohs,” and relentless “I Wanna Be Your Dog” piano line—all driven by a thundering rhythm section, bassist Scott Ford and guest drummer Gene Trautmann (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal)—“On the Corner” captures Dulli in his prime, regardless of what era it was made in. “Spread your legs/Insert your alibi” he sings here, a line that captures his timeless essence: a turn of phrase both clever and vulgar, its truth hitting home all too painfully. “Gunshots” and “She Was Stolen” follow—two of the most heartrending, epic anthems he’s ever released; as such, “She Was Stolen” proves one of his most impassioned, hopeful vocal performances. Critics talk about the soul influence in the man’s work, and it’s clear here—not in sonic signifiers that obviously evoke R&B per se, but in the sheer will to take a performance as far as it can go, no looking back.
According to the liner notes, Dynamite Steps was “shot on location” at various locales significant to Dulli’s life. You can hear the sense of place emanating up from the grooves: here, the weary nighttime decadence of New Orleans rubs up against the oppressive sunshine of Los Angeles and the desolation of Joshua Tree’s desert vistas. Dynamite Steps is particularly distinguished by its bed of spectral female voices, courtesy British chanteuse Carina Round and return appearances from the likes of Petra Haden, Leta Lucy and Ani DiFranco, the latter of whom duets memorably here on “Blackbird and the Fox.” “Dulli and DiFranco, odd a pairing as they might seem, have actually crossed paths before,” The Village Voice noted recently. “The moody ‘Candy Cane Crawl,’ from 2006’s Powder Burns, is one of the best things he’s ever done. This will very happily remind you of that.” Those female voices provide a necessary counterpoint to The Twilight Singers frontman, serving as a beatific alter ego, a salve to the wounds haunting the words. The songs on Dynamite Steps catch him in the act of pulling the thorns and arrows out of his flesh: once comfortable in this new skin, he’s finally able to aim his crosshairs at the dark storms of human relations with newfound lucidity. That’s clear in the pair of songs that climax the record, “The Beginning of the End” and the title track. The former proves one of the most unashamedly beautiful songs Dulli has ever recorded—a lush, soaring Pink Floyd-meets-Slowdive reverie about someone who’s finally learned to fly, but not how to land. He co-produced “Beginning…” with Steve Nalepa, a veteran of L.A.‘s vital electronica scene that’s home to the likes of Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing. Nalepa appears throughout Dynamite Steps; that choice indicates both that this is The Twilight Singers’ most forward, electronic-leaning effort since the band’s 2001 debut, Twilight as Played by The Twilight Singers (co-produced by U.K. downtempo iconoclasts Fila Brazillia) and that Dulli’s musical taste remains as edgy, current and eclectic as ever (a recent playlist he put together for sprawls from the likes of Willie Hutch, Junip and Miles Davis to Laetitia Sadier, Jay Electronica, Black Mountain, Glass Candy, Salem, and Gonjasufi). The title track, meanwhile, proves a typically cinematic, cathartic Twilight Singers closer, its lyric reminding us, via Dulli’s personal journey, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. “I’ll see you at the door/One more time, dear,” he sings as the song reaches its peak; from that, it’s clear this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from him and the Twilight Singers. If anything, from the evidence on display, this really is just the beginning.
“If you do unto others/You will die by your own hand…”
— The Twilight Singers, “Never Seen No Devil”
Released by: Sub Pop
Release/catalogue number: SP844
Release date: Feb 15, 2011

Why Corporate Capital and Finance Are Waging an All-Out Cyberwar Against Wikileaks

Long famed for hiding money for everyone from Nazis and drug lords to spies and dictators, the Swiss government's banking arm has decided that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are just too hot even for it to handle.
And so the PostFinance, which runs the country's banks, declared in early December that it had "ended its business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Paul Assange" after accusing Mr. Assange of - gasp! - providing false information about his place of residence.
This move followed similar moves by credit card companies MasterCard and Visa, as well as PayPal and, to no longer process WikiLeaks payments and, in's case, to cease hosting its data.
As I write this, Bank of America has joined the crescendo of corporations taking aim at WikiLeaks, refusing to process payments for it any longer because of "our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments..."
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Mark Levine @'AlterNet'

...and the FBI investigates every DDoS attack!

Affidavit Details FBI "Operation Payback" Probe

Support the effort

exiledsurfer exiledsurfer Man, 10,000 words shortened down to 1000 words by boing boing when this says it all in 21words and a full stop:

"Bad day at the office!!!'

Simon Clancy SiClancy 'Fans have to expect that performances don't always match up to our hopes and expectations'. Ladies and gentlemen, our proud manager.

German Kindergartens ordered to pay copyright for songs

Flaws in Tor anonymity network spotlighted

Are some people really addicted to music?

There Was Once a Woman Who Had Immortal Cells

Today I found out there was once a woman who had immortal cells.   These immortal cells have multiplied to the point that if you were to weigh all of them that live today, they’d weigh about 50 million metric tons, which is about as much as 100 Empire State Buildings. So who was this woman and why are scientists keeping about 50 million metric tons of her cells supplied with fresh nutrients so they can live on?  The woman was Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells have been essential in curing polio; gene mapping; learning how cells work; developing drugs to treat cancer, herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS… The list goes on and on and on.  If it deals with the human body and has been studied by scientists, odds are, they needed and used Henrietta’s immortal cells somewhere along the way.  Her cells were even sent up to space on an unmanned satellite to determine whether or not human tissue could survive in zero gravity.
Go to just about any cell culture lab in the world and you’ll find billions of Henrietta’s cells stored there.  What’s unique about her cells is that, not only do they never die, in contrast to normal human cells which will die after a few replications, but her cells can also live and replicate just fine outside of the human body, which is also unique among humans.  Give her cells the nutrients they need to survive and they will live and replicate along forever, apparently (almost 60 years and counting since the first culture was taken). They can even be frozen for literally decades and later thawed and they will go right on replicating...
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Indian Film Industry Threatening To Strike Over Proposed Copyright Reform That Would Make Them Pay Composers For Music

It's sometimes amusing to see how organizations that are strong copyright defenders, because they rely on copyright for certain aspects of their business, respond when copyright law is strengthened in ways that help others. Suddenly, they seem to react differently, and all the talk about how important copyright is to "protect content creators" goes out the window. Earlier this year, we wrote about India's proposed copyright reform, which would strengthen certain rights for the content creators themselves, at the expense of many third parties. I actually think this is probably not a very good idea, and will do more harm than good, but it's still a bit amusing (via Jamie Love) to see that the Indian film industry is threatening to go on strike if a part of the law that would require it to actually pay composers and lyricists for the music they use goes through. All too often it seems like copyright is only important when it benefits the specific industry fighting for it. If it benefits anyone else, at that industry's expense, suddenly it's bad...
Mike Masnick @'techdirt'

Detox or Die

DETOX OR DIE by David Graham Scott This powerful 45-minute program is by and about filmmaker David Graham Scott, a former heroin addict trying to kick his intense methadone dependency. An emotional, no-holds-barred look at one man's struggle to get clean, ONE LIFE: DETOX OR DIE? follows Scott as he tries a dangerous, untested new detox method that promises an intense but mercifully brief withdrawal process. ** WARNING!! This documentary contains several strong scenes of intraveneous drug use and would not be suitable for children under 15 and sensitive individuals. ** The film was broadcast on BBC1 in 2004 as part of the One Life documentary strand. Here's a synopsis: Detox or Die provides an in-depth portrait of a small-time drug addict seeking redemption. Addicted to opiates for almost 20 years, filmmaker David Graham Scott decides to opt for a quick fix. The radical detox agent Ibogaine puts the user into a gut-wrenching hallucinatory state for 36 hours from which he emerges cleansed of his addiction. But several fatalities have been reported in connection with this unlicensed drug and Scott must weigh up the options before embarking on the trip of a lifetime...

Glenn Greenwald VS Wired

Illustration: 'exiledsurfer'

Wired's refusal to release or comment on the Manning chat logs

Response to Wired's accusations


A note to Greenwald and the Wired guys

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

DDoS attack shuts 4chan down

REpost: Mr. Ian Wright (artist extraordinaire)

More from Ian Wright 

Rop Gonggrijp's keynote at 27C3

REpost: A Man Within

Glenn Greenwald vs Fran Townsend WikiLeaks Debate (December 27, 2010 CNN)

The merger of journalists and government officials

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

Bak Magazine (Issue 15)

Issue 15 | Theme: Love
Download for Windows | MacOSX or read online!
Back Issues

What Makes A Song Sad?

Where does sad music get its sadness from? And whom should you ask—a composer or a cognitive psychologist?
Scientific American recently reported on a Tufts University study that purportedly lends experimental reinforcement to the widely accepted, albeit vague, notion that the interval of a minor third (two pitches separated by one full tone and one semi-tone) conveys sadness, in speech as in song.

From the Scientific American article, by Ferris Jabr:
Almost everyone thinks "Greensleeves" is a sad song—but why? Apart from the melancholy lyrics, it's because the melody prominently features a musical construct called the minor third, which musicians have used to express sadness since at least the 17th century. The minor third's emotional sway is closely related to the popular idea that, at least for Western music, songs written in a major key (like "Happy Birthday") are generally upbeat, while those in a minor key (think of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby") tend towards the doleful.
While there might be a loose correlation—reinforced by our particular musical tradition—between minor scales and "sadness," it's a mistake to think that the moods evoked by music can be confidently reduced to tonality in and of itself. Indeed, those recalcitrant minor key songs that defy generalization about the link between tonality and mood may tell us something more important about music than the ones that conform.
Don't forget: The main reason "Happy Birthday" sounds "upbeat" and "Eleanor Rigby" sounds "doleful" is that their composers intended that they should. And because that's what their composers obviously intended, that's the way the songs are typically performed. But there's much more than tonality that goes into evoking those moods.
Take "Eleanor Rigby." It's actually a very bad example of the idea that minor key tonality is inherently sad. The best evidence for that view would be minor key songs that are stubbornly, ineffably sad despite other song elements—lyrics, arrangements, tempo, etc.—that are emotionally neutral or positive. The worst kind of song to adduce in support of minor key determinism is one in which any sadness intrinsic to the melody gets a lot of "help" from the other parts of the song. And "Eleanor Rigby," remember, was considered a breakthrough for the Beatles precisely because it was one of their first songs of this kind, one that combined song elements in mutually reinforcing ways to create a unified artistic whole...
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Daniel Wattenberg @'the Atlantic'
Missing you aready!