Apr 23

Sumi Dreams

Sumi Dreams from Betsy Kopmar on Vimeo.

Apr 23

Infrared Drone Dope Raiders

infrared marijuana

Looks like the British criminal element is using drones outfitted with infrared cameras to find marijuana grows and rob them.

The Halesowen News has interviewed an anonymous criminal who uses his drone to find and steal from cannabis farms in Halesowen, Oldbury and Cradley Heath.

The criminal says that he purchased his first drone for around £200 (approximately $335). He learned how to fly the drone over wasteland and also fitted it with a Wi-Fi camera so that he could peep into the windows of people.

However, he later found that the police helicopters had infrared cameras fitted to them to find cannabis farms. He says that he used the same concept and purchased a second-hand infrared camera and fitted it to his drone, which was connected to an iPad.

The criminal says that once he found a cannabis farm he would either get his mates to burgle the place or tax the victim. He also added that many people who grow cannabis are not gangsters and, therefore, criminals need not resort to violence to steal.

Now, I don’t know how it is in England but I’m pretty sure that, around here, if you plan on robbing someone’s grow you better be prepared for violence and a great deal of it. As a matter of fact, Sac just banned outdoor grows because of the robberies and whatnot.

Lt. John Laughlin of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said many of the marijuana grows are run by organized crime, and it’s not hard to figure out why: A single plant can yield $1,500 worth of marijuana in California, and much more in other parts of the country. The drug trafficking task force he serves on found a cornfield in Sacramento County with $52 million in marijuana, he said.

Marijuana crops lead to violence as people try to steal and protect them, said Michael Neves, an assistant chief deputy district attorney. The District Attorney’s Office is actively prosecuting 10 people on homicide charges involving marijuana, he said.

“It’s out of control,” said Neves, who said in late summer some neighborhoods will be permeated with the skunk-like smell of freshly harvested marijuana.

A lieutenant and a DA probably aren’t the most reliable sources on anything, especially drugs, but this one passes the smell test and, honestly, I won’t be all that sad to see the outdoor grows go inside. Growing and smoking pot is one thing, having a yard full of money trees is another. There’s something to be said for, you know, not broadcasting. It’s not like you need to be Sherlock Drones to find this shit and that’s a problem.


Apr 22

Surveillance Chandelier

I don’t really care about chandeliers. When I think about them, which isn’t very often, I fondly remember my Nan, lampshade upon her head, swinging from hers while tapping out a tune on champagne glasses with her stilettos. Aside from that, they’ve always seemed a little clunky and old fashioned and expensive. I’m also not sure about their light. But, if I were to have a chandelier, which I’m currently in danger of, I’d probably go for something like this one from Humans Since 1982.

004_Surveillance chandelier

If I could just get a ceiling fan made from trading algorithms, I’d be good to go. Go where? I don’t know. Probably to buy some candy and cigarettes.


Apr 21

Software Maps Gang Affiliations

A software to map gang connections has been developed by Emilio Ferrara at Indiana University in Bloomington and “colleagues.” Called LogAnalysis it looks at raw phone records and can determine an individual’s place in the gang hierarchy. Data like mugshots can be added.

The agents can then study the data in different ways. For example, they can look at the network of links between individuals according to the number of calls they make to each other, ‘MIT Technology Review’ reported.

In this network, each phone is a node and connections exist between phones that have called each other. That immediately allows the detection of communities that tend to contact each other more often.

This in turn can reveal the hierarchy of a criminal organisation and the most important individuals within it.

According to ‘New Scientist’, the team also pinpointed a few rules of thumb that can reveal an individual’s standing in a criminal organisation.

For example, lower-level lackeys send lots of short calls and texts at the time a crime happens. Those who are higher up tend not to receive too many calls, although they will often take one right after the crime has been committed.

You can read more about it here, here and here.


Apr 21

How to Make a Millwall Brick (Newspaper Weapon)

Now that Easter is out of the way and you’re a decent distance away from your family, it’s probably safe to share this guide on how to convert a newspaper into a Millwall Brick.



A Millwall brick is constructed from one or more newspaper sheets rolled and folded to create a handle (a haft) and a rounded head at the fold. The Millwall brick is used similarly to a shillelagh or a waddy

The newspaper sheets can first be wetted with a liquid to add weight. The blunt end can be wrapped with a shoelace or leather. The ends can be taped together and a string attached to the handle, enabling the user to swing the brick, similar to a meteor hammer. A pencil, pen, or large nail can be driven from the first interior side near the middle perpendicularly through the first end so that that head of the nail rests against the first interior side. The nail may be secured in place by bringing the ends towards and adjacent to each other, effectively forming a crude nail bat.”

Good for parades, riots and picnics.

Considering the perpetual threat from WHAT IS IT TODAY that newspapers seem to be under, they should design themselves with these sort of secondary uses in mind. A re-branding later and they’re in the informative weapon business. Problem solved.

Apr 19

Grid Life and The Black Stacks

GRID LIFE from Paul Fletcher on Vimeo.

 The Black Stack by Benjamin Bratton

The position of the User then maps only very incompletely onto any one individual body. From the perspective of the platform, what looks like one is really many, and what looks like many may only be one. Elaborate schizophrenias already take hold in our early negotiation of these composite User positions. The neoliberal subject position makes absurd demands on people as Users, as Quantified Selves, as SysAdmins of their own psyche, and from this, paranoia and narcissism are two symptoms of the same disposition, two functions of the same mask. For one, the mask works to pluralize identity according to the subjective demands of the User position as composite alloy; and for another, it defends against those same demands on behalf of the illusory integrity of a self-identity fracturing around its existential core. Ask yourself: Is that User “Anonymous” because he is dissolved into a vital machinic plurality, or because public identification threatens individual self-mastery, sense of autonomy, social unaccountability, and so forth? The former and the latter are two very different politics, yet they use the same masks and the same software suite. Given the schizophrenic economy of the User—first over-individuated and then multiplied and de-differentiated—this really isn’t an unexpected or neurotic reaction at all. It is, however, fragile and inadequate.

Apr 19

Domestic Drone Threat Inflation

An interesting piece from Forbes about how the threat of drones, like cyberwar, is being inflated. My first thought, and maybe yours, was: Try telling the Yemenis who were murdered today or any Pakistani wedding party that the threat from drones is inflated. See how far that shit gets you. But, thankfully, the article is not making the case that drones are harmless, wonderful sky angels nor is it claiming that the threat of American military drones is exaggerated. It’s saying that the threat of drones in private hands is misunderstood and inflated and that this has consequences. Most of them bad.

Section on projection:

In the case of cybersecurity, it has become increasingly clear that the United States is one of the chief perpetrators of the kinds of cyber threats it has pinned on others for years. In psychology, this is what is known as “projection” and involves seeing in others the thoughts, desires, feelings, beliefs, or actions that you yourself harbor but do not wish to acknowledge. The tendency for the United States to engage in projection regarding cyber threats became evident as early as June 2012 with revelations that it was behind the Stuxnet attack on Iran. The tendency has been overwhelmingly confirmed over the last year as revelations from the Snowden leaks made it clear that the United States has engaged in practically all the activities it has pinned on others for years.

Similarly, much of the news coverage and commentary about possible terrorist use of model-airplanes-cum-“drones” implies that since the United States uses drones (e.g. Predators) as weapons against others, we should, therefore, expect that others will use drones (e.g. model aircraft) as weapons against us. This is the rationale behind a January 2013 piece in Time warning that “criminals and terrorists can fly drones too.” The article opened by reminding readers of the United States’ use of drones in surveillance and assassination missions before going on to discuss a failed terrorist plot to use a “drone,” in this case a model airplane, to carry out an attack on the U.S. Capitol and Pentagon. Likewise, the article in Salon mentioned above was premised on the idea that “America has smart bombs and drones. Others could create something as deadly with a remote-controlled car and camera.”

In short, concern over possible use of drones against us is a projection of our own fear that the “golden rule” might actually be applied to us, that others might do to us what we have been doing to them. While this might be a valid moral concern, it is not evidence of an actual threat.

Drones are here and more are coming. In anybody’s hands, they’re some sort of threat. One hopes for sensible regulations or basic human decency to govern their use. Then one remembers what country they live in. And one thinks about getting a bulletproof hat.

Apr 18

Genuine Suede Tiki Mug Umbrellas

What we generally think of as a tiki is a product of American pop culture, originating in California, at “exotic” island-themed restaurants such as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s, which first opened in the 1930s. Both restaurants served elaborate rum punches, such as Zombies and Mai Tais, in ceramic mugs styled like tikis. The American craze for all things Polynesian exploded after World War II, when the men serving in the Pacific theater returned to the mainland. New mid-century “tiki” themed restaurants popped up all over the United States, serving similar fruity cocktails in mugs shaped like tikis, coconuts, bamboo sticks, animals, and volcanos, or featuring hula girls and palm trees in relief, usually with a paper umbrella on top.

Tiki Mugs

tiki bar

pic nicked from here

After all this history and folklore, who was the first person to actually put an umbrella in a cocktail? Jeff Berry, tiki drink historian and author of six books on the subject, has the answer: “A bartender named Harry Yee at the Hilton Waikiki was the first. He used to garnish his cocktails with a stick of sugarcane, but that was at the time that everybody was still smoking cigarettes. After they chewed on the sugarcane, they’d set it in the ashtrays, and he would have to scrub them clean. So he came up with something new.”

Yee first used an orchid in his garnishes, but the umbrella is what really took off: “People really do call tiki cocktails ‘umbrella drinks’ now,” says Berry. The first cocktail to get an umbrella was the tapa punch, in 1959, according to an article written by journalist Rick Carroll in 1998. So why were those little umbrellas hanging around? Berry surmises they were used as toothpicks and garnishes for food—or, possibly, “people put them in their hats!”

The Exciting History and Origin of the Cocktail Umbrella


genuine suede from dax norman on Vimeo.

Apr 18

New Pew Study: U.S. Views of Technology and the Future

the glass city

Futuristic Americans escape a mass shooting at the mall with only a gun and some bacon to protect them.

A new Pew Research Center study indicates that Americans expect a lot of scientific and technological progress in the next few decades but are less than impressed with much of what’s coming in the short term. That is, they believe these things will exist but they don’t necessarily like them.

  • 66% think it would be a change for the worse if prospective parents could alter the DNA of their children to produce smarter, healthier, or more athletic offspring.
  • 65% think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become the primary caregivers for the elderly and people in poor health.
  • 63% think it would be a change for the worse if personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace.
  • 53% of Americans think it would be a change for the worse if most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them. Women are especially wary of a future in which these devices are widespread.

When the study tried to find what futuristic things Americans would like to own:

 . . . the public offered three common themes: 1) travel improvements like flying cars and bikes, or even personal space crafts; 2) time travel; and 3) health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases.

Yeah, uh guys . . . Like, I get the disease thing but a time travelling flying bike? Are you fucking serious?

Part of me wants to believe the CBS angle on this story, that science fiction is becoming reality — and Americans aren’t all that excited, because being bored by the future makes sense. I mean, America has been selling the future for a long time and who isn’t a little bored of it? Maybe some skepticism on the subject is overdue. But, when I hear about the flying bikes and all, I think maybe the country is just full of crazy people. Cause flying bikes? How does that even make sense?

Apr 17

Hollywood Mutant Gang Bang and Teen Sex Energy

teen sex energy


The staying power of the bullshit comes from the way it harnesses the world-destroying forces of Youth and Sex, to control the sites where they are released, and to use their latent energy to perpetuate the bullshit. Youth and Sex are like two elements held in suspension within a battery: A reaction that would ordinarily result in an explosion can yield a steady charge of appliance-powering juice if the ratios are kept under strict control. Teen Sex Energy is thus woven back into the existing framework of the three inherited forces—Land Money Power—which are weaker in their moment but distinguished by a castle-like resiliency tested by wave after wave of the most vicious assaults.

From Teen Sex Energy / Land Money Power

Sites of controlled release: War, where the bodies and riot-energies of the teens are smashed against opposing bodies, and opposing energies, for the taking of land. Advertising, where hyperreal images of Teen Sex Energy are projected into older minds to produce increased consumer demand within the money economy. Factories, where energy is drawn down and converted to measurable output. Computers, where the field of action narrows to a choice of where to click.


Hollywood Mutant Gang Bang from Mauri Lehtonen on Vimeo.

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