Archive for May, 2008

  • Rob Spectre
  • 31
  • May
  • 08

They looked up through a clearing in the canopy and saw the 21st century for the first time. With white knuckle grips on bows and spears, the fear causing them to tremble was obvious even from the hasty snapshots the plane could capture from 1000 feet. Old men gestured wildly. Young men aimed futilely. The warriors poured out of leaf and thatch lodges, undoubtedly the entire tribe afire with the electric fear of the very loud and very foreign thing that circles overhead. Spackled with red pigment from head to toe and armed to the prehistoric teeth, they have no idea how feeble their preparations are. They have no idea their way of life is already dead.

In the Amazon, one of the last “uncontacted” societies on the planet Earth was photographed for the first time. A testament to the light years of contrast between their world and our own, those photos found themselves within a week’s time broadcast to billions – a number of people impossible for the subjects of that photography to comprehend. They constitute one of an estimated sixty groups of humans in the Amazon who fit this category and that we know virtually nothing about.

Of course, these men’s ignorance of Western civilization is not complete.  With all the drug runners, loggers, and rubber barons that trample those parts of the Amazon, it is virtually assured that the airplane that flew overhead was not the first these people had seen.  The photos were released as part of an effort by the Brazilian government to bring attention to the growing encroachment on these tribes.  “Uncontacted” is placed deliberately in quotation marks; they are tribes that have encountered this brave new world and have willfully turned their backs.

And still, these photos illustrate real terror.  It may be the tenth or eleventh time that month the plane flew overhead, but they still shoot their arrows and hide their women and children.  At first blush, the lack of sophistication seems comical, like they must think the two seater Cessna is some sort of terrible god or devil. The body paint and the primitive weapons seem right out of Indiana Jones, with only some alien crystal skull needed to complete a Spielberg masterpiece.

But perhaps it is not caveman superstition, but human rational thought that causes their bows to draw.  At some level, they are looking to the sky and seeing inside a beast of industry that looks upon them condescendingly and reacting with a primal, base rejection.  But I have to wonder if they may be more wise than they seem.  They are looking the brave new world right in the eye and and organizing.  There are leaders, there are formations, and there are careful indications of preparations.  Food is no where in site.  Anything valuable including women and children are nowhere in sight.  I don’t think they’re panicking.  They are seeing the future and thinking, not feeling, that it is not at all right and should be rightly feared.

As I sit ballsdeep in the technology, staring at one of no less than seven screens in this room and clacking away at a keyboard built to reduce the unnatural destruction this technology wreaks on human life, I wonder how easy that choice is for them.  How quick the decision must be when they look up at something like that and feel the jerk visceral twist of helplessness knot their guts.  Fight or flight against the unknown; the reaction which sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.

For what little good it will do them, their decision is clear.  One day, probably within our lifetimes, this tribe – whoever they are – will be gone.  Their language will be gone.  Their oral history will be gone.  Their traditions and rituals and religions will be gone.  And finally, thanks to modern disease and political instability in that region, they, their children, and their grandchildren will be gone too.

They are looking at those airplanes and they are seeing their future.  They see the gone that is coming.  And they are choosing to fight.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 29
  • May
  • 08

In response to an overwhelming population both foreign and domestic unable to understand what the hell is going on with kids these days, the BBC was kind enough to run a primer identifying what is “Emo.” Though failing to correctly identify the true origin of EMO (as all mainstream media has), it remains nevertheless a concise, moderately accurate depiction of the bizarre adolescent phenomenon written to be accessible to the pathologically unplugged. Now a global phenomenon, this threat has exploded out the United States, shitting its bad music and androgynous fashion from West to East, with few nations able to escape its filthy reach.

But despite its viral spread, there are many people of all ages who do not know anything about what it is to be or not to be emo. Hard as it may be to believe, there are many worldwide incapable of identifying the warning stages of early onset emo and indeed misdiagnose its full blown condition as mere adolescent jackassery. Indeed, there may be those who are emo and don’t even know it.

As concerned journalists and good global citizens, we here at (d)N0t have compiled this helpful take home guide. A test that can be taken in the privacy of your own home, it will quantitatively and qualitatively assess one’s likelihood of being emo. How to score this examination can be found in the first comment to this post.

Examinees are urged to share their scores in this forum. If you discover that you or someone you love is emo, there is help. Post a comment below and we will connect you with a network of trained professionals who can help you with your emo problem.

Don’t do it for the world. Don’t do it for us. Do it for you.

1. Yes and No

Add one point if you answer “Yes” to any or all of the following questions:

  • Are you currently crying?
  • Have you given or received dead roses as a gift?
  • When traveling abroad, is your gender often incorrectly identified?
  • Would a grown woman have difficulty fitting into the T-shirt you are currently wearing?
  • In your life have you ever “been through some shit?”
  • Is a punk’s foot currently up your ass?

2. IF… AND…

Evaluate the following conditional logic statements and add one point if any or all evaluate as true.

  • IF you have more than two liprings AND you have more than two chains to the same wallet.
  • IF you have held a memorial service for a deceased goldfish AND you posted pictures of it on your MySpace page.
  • IF you loudly complain that you are lonely AND your text message bill exceeds 100 dollars a month.
  • IF you have a BFF AND you “heart” him or her a lot.
  • IF your hair looks stereotypically feminine AND your shoes look stereotypically masculine.

3. Associative

Read each word individually and associate it with the first word that comes to mind.

relationships family school work

future politics music friends

dandelions painting jewelry wooden

birds oldest tablecloth happiness

Add one point if the first word that came to mind when reading any of the above was “death.”

4. Recognition

Can you name any of the people pictured below?

If yes, add one point.

Can you name any of the people pictured below?

If no, add one point.

5. Situational Judgment

In any of the situations below, how would you react?

  • If someone attacked you?
  • If someone attacked a person you loved?
  • If your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you?
  • If you received an F on an assignment you worked hard on?
  • If you woke up on a Saturday morning and the weather was rainy?
  • If McDonald’s discontinued Chicken McNuggets?
  • If the sun rose tomorrow?

Add one point if your answer to all of the above was “Cry.”

Click on the title above to see the scoring scale.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 28
  • May
  • 08

Many folks have written in noticing some new features released on the site in the past three weeks. As all websites are perpetual works in progress, here’s a post to do some horn tooting and round up all the new additions in one easy place.

1. Feedburner Integration

The generic WordPress RSS feed we were using is now being burned to provide more features and a more consistent look across all RSS readers. Folks tuning in over RSS can now get comments and posts updated with social networking and (d)N0t community functionality.

2. MyFacebook Widgetz

If you want to post a widget receiving the latest from (d)N0t in the social network of your choice, we are pleased to offer Flash and AJAX widgets for your consumption:

Flash!

Not Flash!

3. Social Networking (that works)

We shitcanned ShareThis for the lighter, much less obtrusive social networking below. Sharing on your favorite aggregator/news/social site is much easier and a lot better looking. No call to action, no ham-fisted AJAX. If its something you’re into, you’ll recognize the icons.

4. Features (that work)

The features section on the sidebar was not a fantastic experience before. We now have real series management with each post clearly identified with the other posts in the multi-part feature and a navigational system that is not batshit retarded. I highly recommend trying out last year’s Coachella coverage or the full report on the source code leak for Eve Online’s client.

5. Videos Get A Home

All our video content on YouTube now has a home on the sidebar to your right. Videos embedded on the site are now themed so as not to cause a grimace and thumbnails now appear in our RSS feed.

6. There is NO feature 6.

7. New Writer

Hala V. Furst joins the fight against the future this week and will be covering Western Europe for (d)N0t this summer. Bringing a voice that is equal parts soaring and sarcastic, Furst’s gonzo journey across the Atlantic will tear through the unsuspecting nations of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and many others in a frenetic and frantic search for truth. Scope her bio on the staff page and pull up a balcony seat to the end of the world as we know it.

More details on many other smaller updates are available on a newly revamped FAQ.

Fight the future.

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  • Daniel Austin
  • 27
  • May
  • 08

“Do me a favor. Prepare to handle security. Last time I photographed this building I had my ISO set incorrectly and I want to retake those photos, but that guard there is going to come hassle us.”

Invisible Bike HDR

Rob and I had met up to photograph the lolcat and smoke a cigar over a glass of whiskey. Afterwards we found ourselves across the street from 333 Bush, a building I had wanted to re-photograph.

We crossed the street onto the sidewalk and I set up my gear, a Nikon D300 with a Sigma 10-20mm on a Bogen-Manfrotto 322RC2 horizontal grip action ball head on 3021bpro legs. This rig is not subtle and has been known to draw the LEOs out from behind their CCTV gizmos to bring the hammer down, or at least lazily suggest something or other. The situation here was a bit more up front in that we could see the security guard from across the street. I even took his photo. Now we’re all on camera.

Standing on the public sidewalk I snapped off a few exposure bracketed sets for HDR generation. Usually this doesn’t work well under tungsten light because of the narrow bandwidth of light, but Rob and I had arrived just before twilight so there were still some blues mixed in with the oranges.

Lost in the space

I took a few angles, trying to get the symmetry just right. Slightly incorrect angles show up as exaggerated converging lines in the 10mm perspective, and this looks bad. Due to this distraction I wasn’t paying attention to where the private bricks on the sidewalk started. These are the voodoo bricks that you’re not allowed to stand on or place your tripod on. They look just like any other bricks, they’re just owned by somebody else and that makes them special.

I really didn’t need to pay attention to the voodoo bricks. I knew as soon as I touched them I’d have an audible alarm, and in fact I did, in the form of a voice belonging to the security guard who had been watching us from behind the glass doors.

“You’re not allowed to take photos there, I’m going to have to ask you to leave”, he said.

Rob was on point, handling the situation while I continued snapping my HDR sets. “We just taking pictures man, we’re allowed to stand on the sidewalk.”

“You are, but that’s not the public sidewalk you’re on, it’s private property and I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”333 Bush is Private Property, Son

“Where does it start?” I asked.

“You know where it starts.”

Long, hyperfocal exposures continued to snap off, automatically adjusting to the next exposure value each successive frame.

“Who are you, the building owner?”

It caught him off guard, he had no answer and chuckled as he scrambled to find a retort. The camera finished and I lifted my tripod up and replaced the lens cover as the camera computed the last frame. The guard turned around and walked back inside. The voodoo bricks were exorcised.

Photos from this mild evening caper are on my Flickr page: 333 Bush is Private Property, Son.

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  • Hala V. Furst
  • 26
  • May
  • 08

This morning I was awoken by cannon fire. At least I assume it was cannon fire. Having not seen any cannons, I must concede that it might have been a musket or something of that nature. I did see muskets a-plenty.

This is apparently not an uncommon occurrence in my neck of the woods, a town that purports itself to be the home of the longest running 4th of July Parade in the United States and therefore the most patriotic town in America. This is patriotism with a capital P, there are tri-corner hats, drums, and fifes involved here. This is a different type of patriotism than one might find in the midwestern metropolis of my youth, where patriotism is defined by a yellow ribbon sticker on your giant Expedition, or, if you’re feeling really flush, an American Flag decal or mudflap. Patriotism there is worn aggressively, less as a matter of pride, and more as a defense mechanism: “You can’t fuck with me, I’m an American!”. Well said, sir.

I prefer the Bristol flavor of patriotism. There is something remarkable about watching little kids in colonial garb gambol through the streets, which are, I kid you not, painted red, white, and blue. This is a happy, joyful, surprisingly historically accurate patriotism. One that urges us to remember what is great about this country, instead of bullying us into ignoring what is wrong with it. On a memorial day when we are at war, a war that has asked little to no sacrifice from the American public in general, the presence of municipal remembrance is crucial. The people here know the difference between patriotism and nationalism, they know the difference between loving your country, and being blind to your country. Right now I feel about this country the way you feel about family: when they are screwing up, you don’t just ignore it and give them a big hug. You call them on it, you tell them why you’re worried, you fight to make sure they live up to their potential. And then you give them a big hug.

On a Memorial Day when almost 4100 American service men and women are dead in a useless, wasteful war, we have a duty to remember. We have a duty to put down the burgers and hotdogs, to look away from the movie screen, to get out of the pool, and remember. Remember what makes this nation great. Remember the people who have died, whose only possible vengeance can be achieved by removing the orchestrators of their death, this president and his cronies. Remember that we are more than the things we consume, we were once a great idea, I great and terrible idea, that freedom from tyranny was worth a fight. Remember we are once again at the mercy of tyrants. And fight.

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