Thursday, May 31, 2007

Let's Eat Drugs

The chemicals in food have always been a route to more than replenishment: they are also a means of entertainment, even enlightenment. Beer was invented because it is safer drinking than water - the fermentation process kills harmful microbes. So, should we be surprised that epicatechin - found in chocolate, tea, grapes, and blueberries can improve the memory of mice?

Bizarrely, the BBC website warns (via "nutritionists") that "chocolate is high in fat and sugar, which may undo any potential benefits". Yes, you might forget to stop eating.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Coca-Cola Wars

Water, water everywhere, but the Israelis get three to five times more of it than their Palestinian neighbours. I can vouch for this inequality which I observed when I was in Jericho. I saw the ancient orange groves dying from lack of water, which was being diverted for intense cash-crop agriculture by armed Israelis beyond the city boundaries. Here's the BBC background coverage of the fight for this most precious resource in the middle east.

One reason I never drink Coca-Cola, aside from the fact it's tooth-rotting, stomach-dissolving carcinogenic muck, and the company has a history of vicious suppression of its workers, is that it takes 2.72 litres of water to make 1 litre of all-American fizzy brown kaka.

Read about how crap Coca-Cola is here. Did you know that Fanta Orange was invented by nazi-owned and run Coca-Cola GMBH, which used slave labour between 1939-45?

Recommended reading:

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Is This Message Any Good?

Been busy, real busy, busy busy busy like a little busy bee. During my travels, I made this video for the Googleborg, which I have reported upon earlier. Funny - the experience was significant for me and changes the way I am working, including the changes to Blog of Funk - interesting how unexpected events can catalyse change in one's methods or even direction.

Earlier today, a bee said, "Zzz zzz zzz zz zzz, zz zzzz zzz-zzz zzzz zz zz zzzzzzzzzz zzz."

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Cure For Baldness

A long time ago - when I was 28, to be precise - my girlfriend at the time pointed out to me the inevitabilty of my head hair deteriorating in the future. She calmly showed me that the curly fringe which I wore happily and without a care in the world was doomed to degenerate. She took some pleasure in alerting me to the awful truth of my mortality, as evidenced by the change in follicular functioning.

My hair had always been somewhat of a painful issue for me as a struggling adolescent, and so I wondered at the time why it was that she felt the imperative to tell me this. Just winding me up, niggling? What was it caused the smirk that accompanied the observation, made carefully and in some detail, where she (accurately as it turned out) plotted the gentle decline of my youthful barnet.

She was a couple of years younger than me, but already, the signs of female ageing were upon her own body, the breasts losing their tussle with gravity, and heavy smoking creasing lines where her more healthy peers had none, regular weight loss and gain creating the crinkles of cellulite. I loved her with all these distinctions, though really we were not compatible. I came to realise that her insistence in categorically laying before me the onset of visible signs of ageing had much to do with her own lack of self-esteem. For women, the deal is rough. The currency of youth, looks, fertility, impoverishes the female more viciously than the male, who enjoys a greater status in this as in everything, so far as mainstream society is concerned.

I rapidly adjusted to the fact of my soon-to-be-shining bonce. We split up, and I embraced the truth of my head, both inside and out, and lost all the residual panic about my looks at the same time. Marvellous what self-acceptance can do for a person's self-esteem.

Apparently, scientists now think they can reverse balding in men.
British expert Professor Des Tobin, from the University of Bradford, said: "This paper provides convincing evidence that the skin has remarkable powers of regeneration, not just repair as previously known. It was long thought that hair follicle development, under physiological conditions, was limited to early developmental process in the embryo. Now this shows convincingly that under the conditions peculiar to the wound-healing environment, the highly complex hair follicle can be created anew from apparently unremarkable cells of the healing epidermis and its underlying dermis."

He added: "The implications of this observation are many fold, but principally perhaps for what it tells us about the reprogramming power of adult stem cells, and it applications in regenerative medicine and wound healing."

Well, I'm still not totally bald, though my fringe is long gone. Men don't go bald in any case - the hair multiplies and moves. Observe the toes, now furry and warm in winter. Observe the chest and belly, now delightfully screening the harmful rays of the sun. Observe the ears, producing a rainforest of sprouts, a new eco-system for my vanity to ponder. Balding means testosterone, testosterone fights depression most marvellously, makes you punchy and viable in business and in bed.

Being bald is good, it makes you absorb wisdom easier. The wisdom you gain is about self-acceptance. The healing that matters in the hairy subject of balding is the healing of the attitude to ageing.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Farewell, Blog of Funk

I may as well begin my valediction here. June 24th 2007 I will have maintained a more-or-less steady output of blog-writing for three years, and I've chosen that date to lay down my plume.

I'm going to continue with some other blogs, and I'm still debating exactly what to do with this sprawling, enormous piece of work which costs me money to run (the success of Blog of Funk = 16.66GB bandwidth last month, at a cost of ≈£30 / $60US) and I have made zero profit from it, preferring to keep it running as I started it for my own personal amusement and as a creative outlet. Having said that, the main reason for the decision to hit the cosmic blog pause button is not about money, it's about personal fulfilment - I don't get that from blogging now. My old blog-met friend {illyria} left a comment on this post Blank Canvas:

finally, a post that describes the general state of affairs in the blogging world. thanks for that.

I was heartened that one of the more compulsive, literate bloggers that I follow agreed with my take on it.

Now it's one thing that my writing in this blog may yet exist for times yet to come in the Internet Wayback Engine, at least, until the electricity runs out, but it's quite another to be storing three years of my personal writings in a database owned and run by a near-impenetrable corporation that doesn't need to show up.

Since fully contemplating the scary truth about Google, I ran through a few scenarios. What happens when things change geopolitically, for e.g. what if some future mega-corp, maybe Chinese company takes over Google? In the future, my gmail email (and all the archives) will be available to people who will have a different public agenda to "do no evil".

Whatever their private agenda may be, Google is still rooted in some kind of nebulous America where concepts of personal freedom determine the legal and illegal use of data. But, for how much longer? I don't trust capitalism to resist fascism, whether it stems from the right or the left.

Finally, in blog terms, less is definitely more. The less time I write here, the more likely I am to make other creative things happen - like writing books, making radio programmes, producing internet video, all of which I cannot do if I am committed to writing a blog in quite such a personal, intimate, exploratory way as I do here.

So the good thing about having a date in mind is that I can work with Blog of Funk a little longer, squeeze the juice out of it, extricate the final scraps of blogging nourishment; there will be no sudden goodbye.


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Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Psychedelic Shed

It wasn't like that last night, thought the man, as he lifted his head and looked towards where the noise was coming from. A torch shone in the dark, making him squint.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Alpen What?

A short instructional video, in which I prove the gullible nature of the unsuspecting British public, and demonstrate the sense of security engendered by affluence.

Comments, innit.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

RSS Is Not The Answer

I keep hearing things like, "RSS driven content is 10% of the internet"

That means all RSS traffic, so that's blogs mostly. But these "stats" get used to make wild predictions about the golden future of plodcasting which I find tad frustrating.

I'd like to make some predictions about RSS.

By next Thursday, old-fashioned cash dispensing "hole in the wall" machines will use RSS to deliver money.

The week after next, all the buses in London will be delivered by RSS, meaning that waiting at bus stops will be a thing of the past.

By 2012 the entire Olympics will be delivered by RSS, meaning that the athletes no longer have to turn up. You just select which sportsmen and women you want, and then, when there is another competition, you watch them test their strength and fitness without them having to actually attend.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Google Gone

Recently I was asked to be in a film made by Google. I was within the same week speaking at an event on the future of the distribution of programmed, packaged content, the kind of stuff we're used to getting via television and radio and cinema. I was asked to speak because Google didn't show up.

This is getting to be a habit. Here's the Google stand at Internet Expo, Earls Court, London.

There's a day left - tomorrow - but something tells me the sculpted G's and the expensive laptops will stay behind the rope and unused.

It's spooky. What does it say about this mega-corp whose very brand name has supplanted the verbs to search and to find? It says that they have money to waste on setting up an entirely unmanned, Marie-Celeste of a presence at the expo. They have no need to talk to anyone. We all use them everyday. They have us right where they want us. We aren't going anywhere on Google Earth without them.

Where are the priests of this new religion?

Update: Now, this is REALLY SPOOKY. Before writing this post, my Google Page Rank was 5. It's just dropped to 4.

I'm going to take that damn button off and move this blog.

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