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greySomeone recently asked what music I like. My standard answer of pretty much every genre but only the most heartfelt and melodic in each is wearing thin. Time to put some more thought into it.

It goes beyond music, into movies and literature. Common themes are present once I look for them.

Black / grey.

Even if I wasn’t a Kiwi I probably would still be an All Blacks fan. They have the best uniform. And I wear black a fair bit.

I like bad weather, and I LOVE thunderstorms. When I first went travelling I took a cassette with me where every song on side 1 was about rain, and every song was from NZ. This is one of them:

My musical favourites are wide and varied. But a significant amount skew towards the dark and tremulous. I like the:

  • Pagan, passionate operatics of Wendy Rule
  • Explorations of David Bowie
  • Nick Cave’s ruminations
  • Dystopian metal of Metallica and Megadeth
  • Neu-pagan-mysticism of Julian Cope
  • Despondent literature of And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead
  • Most of the above via Ed Harcourt

Ready to move from this world to the next one
Summon my soul to the end of the setting sun
A parliament of rooks will move you on
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/ed-harcourt/parliament-of-rooks-lyrics/#Vz9HT2gPtHdqv4Gs.99

I read mostly despondent, darkly fantastic, existentialist and dystopian literature:

  • K. J Bishop
  • H. P. Lovecraft
  • Dostoevsky
  • Clive Barker
  • Cormac McCarthy
  • J. G. Ballard

And movies/tv ….

  • The Matrix (first one)
  • True Blood
  • Coen Brothers
  • The 3%
  • Twin Peaks

And don’t get me started about Real Life:

  • Mental disorders
  • Drugs / alcohol
  • Winter / storms
  • Anarchy / rebellion
  • Deepest recesses of used book stores
  • Sacrifice

Black is too clean, and mud is too hard to describe as a colour. Grey is my happy colour.

 

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A new NASA sponsored study is looking into the feasibility of spacecraft that rotate all the way to Mars which could simulate partial or full Earth gravity – a little like the craft in the movie Elysium, but more utilitarian and with fewer billionaires.

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, which nurtures and experiments with ideas that are beyond the agency’s current mission “horizon” planning has just pumped another $500,000 into developing the first proof of concept systems, based on a concept called tensegrity. However, if all of the funding was in place today then lead principal investigator Robert Skelton has said he could have a prototype in low-Earth orbit in about three to four years.
Source

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When I say we, I don’t mean in war-torn africa, but rather the western world. And by relatively I mean compared to seemingly any other time in human existence.

According to  Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking, 2011):

“Violent deaths of all kinds have declined, from around 500 per 100,000 people per year in prestate societies to around 50 in the Middle Ages, to around six to eight today worldwide, and fewer than one in most of Europe.”

You can thank the upper class:

“Beginning in the 11th or 12th [century] and maturing in the 17th and 18th, Europeans increasingly inhibited their impulses, anticipated the long-term consequences of their actions, and took other people’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. A culture of honor—the readiness to take revenge—gave way to a culture of dignity—the readiness to control one’s emotions. These ideals originated in explicit instructions that cultural arbiters gave to aristocrats and noblemen, allowing them to differentiate themselves from the villains and boors. But they were then absorbed into the socialization of younger and younger children until they became second nature.”

In the USA murders are rending towards recorded lows:

homicide_offending_by_race

 

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In the future I envisage a shrine room of sorts in the family home. A room for meditation, arts, weights and remembrance. Mood music. Pot plants and filtered sunlight and a gentle breeze.

The centerpiece is in the corner. A bi-fold concertina that has images of the most recent generation at the forefront. Each layer behind has the generation before – in images or stories.

Hidden to all but those who wish to look back.

It could be scrapbook-esque, or multimedia.

In the past, all people generally had of their long-dead relatives is a few black and white photos. In the future we’ll have social media posts, videos, 3D figurines and much, much more. And as organised religion fades, perhaps honouring your ancestors will make a return?

This person is on a similar track but I’m thinking TV cabinet size:

shrine-1

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The concept of an Elephant’s Graveyard strikes a chord with many humans.

I would love to be able to emulate the ritual of elephants for my own death, but typically it won’t be possible.

To make it work you will need the following:

  • All generations living in the same locality
  • No bureaucratic interference
  • Distance achievable by an elderly person

The final point is critical. Most animals seem to be highly functional right until death. Humans aren’t like that. We can’t hike 50 miles and then drop dead. 50 metres is more like it. So we need to place ourselves close to the graveyard when we feel our end is nigh.

I have long toyed with the idea of a natural post-death dispersal, the idea that I disappear into nature via a regular process:

  • Taken by vultures or hyenas
  • Rotted into soil

But that seems so random and impersonal. It would be substantially more special if I lay down amongst the bones of my ancestors. I wouldn’t even need to see bones, just trust that I was in the same place.

The only way it could work for me is to buy some land and be sure that it would stay with my family forever. And then (when my time has come) lay myself down amongst the bones of my future family. It might not become a thing, but it would feel nice trying such a thing as my final act.

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This is the first time I’ve thought that a new social network could have a chance:

http://nextdoor.com/

NextDoor will get you hanging out with people on your block that you know already… and then get to know the neighbors you have never met. I could see people using it for things like asking if anyone can babysit, or has a ladder you can borrow.

I had similar plans for StKildaBeach.com but I never completed the site.

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Al Jazeera has news from Ordos in Inner Mongolia, a wealthy coal-mining town in Inner Mongolia. The city is designed to house one million people, yet almost nobody lives there yet.

This is quite extraordinary, and smells like Dubai – a modern city has been built, mosty by Chinese citizens seeking a safe haven investment (and the banks are letting them) – and virtually nobody is living there. Watch the video:

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Yes, harsh economic times, blah blah blah, but that’s not the reason Colorado is going broke. I used to shop there because they made clothes for my demographic – middle-aged men who want to look and act younger, but in a balanced way. I used to shop there, but their clothes have trended younger than suits me… For example, trying buying a normal pair of jeans, without bleached bits or fake wear… That’;s why they are failing, I stopped shopping there.

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It is looking likely that a insecticide sold by Bayer, clothianidin, which is banned in Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia, is harming the global bee population. It appears that the EPA is happy for the product to remain on sale, despite a leaked document that says it is toxic to bees.

The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat…

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If you know anyone who mostly will just receive calls, there is an Optus reseller with a great deal.

- $5 credit lasts 90 days
- After your credit runs out, receive calls for 90 days
- Cheap – 15c min calls, 12c texts + cheap international calls

They are called AmaySim.

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