1. I Googled 'Narcotecture' So You Don't Have To


    Yes, that’d be the house that rocks built.  Look close.

    Since first coming across that delightful term ‘narcotecture’, I’ve had an eye out for examples of how drug lords are playing Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in their fiefdoms.  Here’s some clicky things with minimal commentary:

    P.J. Tobia’s photos from Kabul.  Highlights: a ‘For Rent’ sign on one (‘Roommate wanted. Must like cooking base and Wii Tennis tournaments.’) and what appears to be the headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps.

    -RE: Columbia’s white powdery boom years:

    The business brought fast and easy money to a hungry society and the money brought power. Those who had it flaunted it and a whole new aesthetic bulldozed its way into Medellin, spreading out across the world.

    El-Cartel investigates this aesthetic and defines ‘Narcotecture’.

    Plus a blurry MPEG of some nightlit narco-ruins.  Warning: site comes complete with a barking dog on the main page for some reason.  Taste is the enemy of narcotecture, after all.

    C-Monster gives a quick tour of Miami ‘narchitecture’, defining it thusly:

    Narchitecture is the pit bull of architecture. It grabs you by the (eye) balls and doesn’t let go, marrying a bevy of Mediterranean styles—neo-Classical, Spanish Revival and Fascist—with the vernacular American school known as Contemporary McMansion. The structures are big, overly-decorous and unabashedly gaudy, and, in their placement, show a complete disregard for their environment.

    Apt.  Swap in some more-favored styles–Persian, comic book, Bond vilian–and that could work just as well in Afghanistan.

    A cool little story about savoring beer and pork sausages in Afghanistan with interludes of discussing navigation by narcotectural landmarks.  Fella named Gregory Warne knows a good butcher in Kabul, apparently.

    -On a tangent, here’s BLDGBLOG’s excellent post ‘Geology in the War on Terror‘.  Remember the giddy thrills of diagram porn when every major news outlet was churning out those drawings of Bin Laden’s secret mountain caves of evil?  One can assume that at least one opium baron saw that, looked at his own digs and got thinking about a Pashtun playboy’s life in a location more defensible.  Say inside a mountain.  One can only wait for the day when that guy pops up on the narco lifestyle channel equivalent of Cribs.

    – – –

    Beyond narcotecture, I’d be interested to study up on the sort of public goods, communication, transportation and facilities that either result from the drug trade or are built by public image conscious drug lords.  A study of ‘narcostructure’ if you will.

  2. Jimmy Stewart, Tom Slick, and a Yeti Hand

    What do you mean Harry?
    In the late 1950’s Texan oil  tycoon Tom Slick launched an expedition to Nepal. He searched of a rumored hand of yeti hand, now called the Pangbouche Hand, allegedly used as part of a ritual in the Himalayas. That area is home to many legends such as “The Abominable Snowman” with white fur and its redheaded stepchild Almas.

    He located the hand at a Buddhist monastery in Pangboche. Subsequent treks brought photos of the hand and ultimately the hand itself. The monks declined these fast talking city slickers in coats request to have the hand removed for study.

    Slick’s associate Peter Byrne cracked a plan: replace the hand with human remains and smuggle it out of Nepal. Then what?

    That’s where Byrne and Slick’s hunting buddy/flying pal and all around American good-guy actor Jimmy Stewart comes in. Yes, It’s a Wonderful Life, Harvey and Rear Window Jimmy Stewart. Stewart rushed to India and smuggled the hand to London. To avoid confiscation Stewart hid the hand in his wife’s unspeakables– her underwear. This was confirmed in a letter Stewart wrote to Loren Coleman as Coleman was writing Slick’s biography.

    Tests so far have been inconclusive if its a genuine article or a hoax. What parts were added by Byrne’s bamboozling or what parts are original also remains unclear.

    The only clear thing is lets hope Stewart discarded his lady’s underwear after being wrapped in rotten yeti flesh.

  3. Robot Whales Will Save Us, I Assure You

    More linking strands in the swirling digital chum of the intertube, gentle reader.

    First off, here’s an oldie but goodie (from way back in in 2008) from Vice:

    Whereupon they tag along with a mission to catalog what’s floating around in the vast plastic morass in the middle of the Pacific.  In case you’re unfamiliar, the Wikigods say:

    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Eastern Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N and estimated to be twice the size of Texas.[1] The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastic and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.

    Mix that with a report on Pink Tentacle about floating robot UAVs deployed in the gross urban waterways of my ex-stomping grounds of Osaka.  Keeping it Japan-style, they look like UFO’s with a jaunty blowhole fountain that is not only cute but serves to keep the solar panels chilled down for better efficiency.

    These two bits of internet flotsam fused somewhere in my brain: why not develop some kind of UAV that feeds off its environment to skim out at least the surface flotsam of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    While this couldn’t be a straight-up port of the Osaka UFO floaters (they filter the water, not skim out trash, the concept is there.  Additionally, why not pattern this on a successful creature in that environment that feeds in a similar fashion: baleen whales.


    Picture it: a pod of three to five robo-whales chomp and filter great mouthfuls of trashy seawater in the gently swirling waters of the gyre, fed by solar panels, internally mounted motion-activated dynamos and an internal “digestion” system that burns or chemically breaks down the plastics into fuel.  Undigested waste products are compacted and floated out on tethers for later collection and use in constructing a floating monitoring station maintained by well-heeled sailing eco-tourists.

    Hell. Yes.  Someone put up a cool million for an X-prize and make MIT and RPI race the garage scene for a working prototype.  All I ask is that every one of ’em has a little decal that reads: “AARON CAEL THINKS YOU’RE TRASH”

  4. Huh? Viral campaign for Japanese biotech company

    First go to which looks like Google. Type “alfa tsentr” and you see some Russian characters that translates to “she is the beginning” (ona nachalo). Clicking around gets you to “The Junsui Project” which features Junko, the child of all man-kind. I know some Russian and Japanese but I have no idea what I’m supposed to buy.

  5. Mad Palin: A Sarah Palin Speech Generator

    Mad Palin

    Ever wonder how you could write an eloquent speech as eloquent as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin? Well now you can. At least the first couple paragraphs. It’s a bit long and rambling, but then again so is her 2,500 word speech. Share you results below. Fill in your own nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs after the jump.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  6. Goldman Sachs: Not Just Evil, Also Maybe a Decepticon


    OK.  So it’s been pretty well established that Goldman Sachs can generally do whatever the hell it wants.  Seeding the upper echelons of government and financial market regulators with former employees raised with cult-like loyalty and mushing enough business models together to create a massive, largely unfuckwithable, finance hydra generally adds up to a blank check underwritten by reality as we know it.  Smarter men than I will tell you all about it.

    H+ goes the next step and suggests that deep inside Goldmans belly (or would that be in its Sachs?) rumbles a secret prototype for the machine intelligence that will one day muscle all us puny humans into the sewage drain of history.

    Y’know, the one that runs along the road of competition.  As we ride our ponies of ignorance.   Wearing trucker hats of inauspiciousness.

    I love metaphors.

    Anyway, the gist is that the pattern of just-in-time trades from the likes of Goldman Sachs indicates that they’ve married the sweetheart deals that big-time insider status gets you with the computing/modeling horsepower that supercomputers can throw out.  Result?  The ability to profit from market trends before they happen, basically snatching the cash from the hand of the guy who first reached out for it by a matter of 30 miliseconds.

    Seriously, go read it. Oh and put an ‘allegedly’ in front of everything I just said there.

    The whole thing reminds me of a scenario where instead of banning steroids, the Major League was considering banning warp drive.  Of course with the regulators of Wall Street springing from the same places as the guys they’re regulating (and sometimes directly paid by the same), its as if the MLB drug detection program was being run by Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and whoever Jose Canseco’s dealer was all those years.


  7. Disney on Mars

    Disney cartoon from 1957 shortly after Sputnik orbited Earth. The cartoon speculates on life on Mars. You know, before NASA messed everything up and made Mars boring and full of useless rocks. I remember seeing this as a child, well after Mars was established boring and free from horny Mars princesses.

  8. Demand Celebrity Death Panel Choice, Patriot!


    Remember when the thick rich soup of internet infotainment was touted as the food of a new race of superintelligent uber-citizens who would zoom from source to source with a keen eye for the facts?

    Yeah.  The future has always been full of shit.

    So instead we get Sarah Palin’s pearls of wisdom drooled out via Facebook, raising the specter of government death panels chomping at the bit to liquidate her Down syndrome baby’.

    As an aside, whenever challenged about anything, from now on, I’m going to reply ‘You want to kill my baby with Down syndrome.’  Bulletproof.

    In this brave new post-facts reality, I think Obama would be foolish to try to refute this charge by say, calmly refuting the death panel rumor as weird gibberish and talking some sense. No way, once an idea gets dipped in the delicious candy coating that is a buzzword like ‘death panel’ there’s no way something wimpy like multi-syllabic facts could combat it.

    No sir.  In the heartland, the small towns, in the Real America, they only want three things: Freedom.  Celebrities.  And meth.  Let’s give them two of the three, shall we?

    Celebrity Death Panels! All Americans should go get their freak on as loud as possible at their local town hall, scaring the beejezus out of their elected representatives by bellowing support for the right to choose a panel of the famous to decide whether one lives or dies once they near that border line of one’s worth to society.

    I’ve already got mine picked out:  Celine Dion (don’t ask me to explain this one), Henry Rollins (after studying his lyrics, I think he’d reliably vote to pull the plug should I be wired to a ventilator and a poop tube), that pneumatic JFK from Sans Soleil, and Kevin Federline (he’s made a career out of looking like he could use the work)

    Fellow TITLEr Mr. Veer puts in his request for Bob Saget, Alan Thicke, Tony Danza, and Dave Couiler, possibly so as to be gently ushered off to death’s door with some learning-a-valuable-lesson music and a lingering sitcom father figure glow.

    Hit the comments and name your dream panel or twitter it with #celebdeathpanel

  9. Everything I Know About Computers I Learned From Movies

    Do you fancy yourself a computer home computer enthusiast? Or would you like to become one? Rest assured, everything you need to know is in retarded movies.

    Access Denied & Hacking

    access-deniedAnytime anything wrong happens it will inevitably lead to a full screen flashing text saying Access Denied. Period. Oh and passwords are really easy to figure out and usually as I learned from Watchmen or The X-Files are the names of objects located near the computer in question. It’s also quite easy as in WarGames to accidentally get the username and password for thermodynamic weapons or some vast conspiracy.

    Wondering how you will be able to obtain anything through this “hacking” nonsense like bank cards, video confessions or someone’s DNA? Luckily, NASA and other agencies have easy to use high-tech user interfaces with well thought buttons indicated “LAUNCH SHUTTLE” or “NUKE THE SOVIET UNION.” These functions are all accessible over the World Wide Web. Anytime you need access at the last minute to a nuclear power plant, NORAD, or a car’s engine hacking is on your side.

    You may need to use a computer virus to do some super good or harm, just as long as it has a countdown sequence. Alien spaceship or home computer: viruses can do anything. They also cause physical damage such as smoke, screen glitches, or elaborate bitching graphics with skulls and crap off of a Lisa Frank folder.

    Planning is not necessary: just jam on your keyboard and that sad Access Denied will become a giant green Access Granted!

    Everything is VR


    VR Michael Douglas

    The single best way of using a computer is not through a mouse and keyboard. If you want to get real work done, slap on a VR helmet. Also you know how Google makes it easy to find things by there being a convenient search box? No, there should be virtual file cabinets to hide and misfile information.

    jurassic_park_macintosh_quadra_700Michael Douglas does this in Disclosure. When he’s not getting raped by Demi Moore he invents VR. He’s able to find dirt on Moore way quicker than with Google or any of those kids toys. It’s like Halo mixed with Altavista from 1997. This is typical of movies like Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity, and Johnny Mnemonic they make computer seem magical and less utilitarian– as doing mundane tasks like opening Outlook should be. Insert virtual reality and anything can happen– even sex!

    If the computer does anything involving the security depart they must have a 3D wireframe model of the entire building allowing the security guards to zoom in and out a lá Jurassic Park or Ocean’s 12. Otherwise they are fucked.

    In short, this is how the Internet works. Or at least how it works for Keanu Reeves.

    Never Make Backups, Ever

    Great, so you discovered that the President is sleeping with, literally sleeping with the Soviet Premier. Save the information on one floppy disk or one laptop and never make a backup, physical copy, or email it to anyone. This is extremely important. This is imperative. Otherwise you will never have a final showdown with your enemy who thought he won on top of a skyscraper as he’s about to crush the floppy disk. Don’t believe me? Watch Fled, Mission Impossible, The Net, or any movie made in the 1990’s.

    In Conclusion: There is Nothing A Computer Can’t Do

    CSI and Bladerunner shows that any camera has infinite resolution. You must be a horrible photographer if you can’t get a perfect shot of the ‘perp reflecting in the teeth of a witness from a MacDonald’s security camera. All software is compatible with any other software, just slide the disk in an the file will pop up. Also, note that even over a payphone in Hackers its possible to have unlimited Internet speeds. DARYL in the aptly named DARYL had unlimited wireless bandwidth. Just remember whatever it is, whatever plot hole, computers will fix it.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, tell ’em Keanu: