Monday, September 08, 2008

A Day of Mournful Overcast 09/08/08

I am starting a new section of this blog, called A Day of Mournful Overcast, which will select articles which I have read and would like to pass on to others. The title is also the name of a pamphlet published in 1937 by the Iron Column Militia, an anti-authoritarian/anarchist militia who fought Franco's fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. Among other things, the militia stood for defending the popular movement and opposed the state in its republican form, broke revolutionaries out of prisons, and resisted being turned into state military units. With that said here are some articles I found worth while.

A Day of Mournful Overcast, Iron Column: 1937.

An argument for the continuation of anarchist resistance against state power in its various forms and against the seemingly inevitable militarization of popular resistance.

How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People, Scientific American: 2008.

Features the radio frequency identification methods and how they are being pioneered in the U.S. and China. By using the same technology to track consumer products in warehouses, government agents, criminals and marketing strategists will have a whole new set of tools to keep us controlled by.

Identification and Tracking of Persons Using RFID-tagged Items in Store Environments, US Patent Office: 2003.

Full text of the 2003 IBM patent that chillingly details RFID’s potential for surveillance in a world where networked RFID readers called “person tracking units” would be incorporated virtually everywhere people go—in “shopping malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, elevators, trains, airplanes, restrooms, sports arenas, libraries, theaters, [and] mu­­se­­ums”—to closely monitor people’s movements.

The Audacity of Rhetoric, Slajov Zizek, In These Times: 2008

The academic rockstar at it again, this time analyzing Barack Obama's use of words and the power of politician's words to influence policy merely from their use.

Pacifism as the Servant of Imperialism, Leon Trotsky: 1917

Though not a Trotskyite myself, the essay does put pacifism in perspective, and could be no less apt today than it was in 1917: pacifism enables the state to perform cruel acts and destroy our freedom.

The Hidden Power of Scent, Scientific American: 2008.

The underestimated capability of humans to smell and discern scents, immune system status, and various genetic preferences unveiled through smell.

Cost of U.S. Wars, Pro Publica: 2008.

Congressional Research Service last week published a study (PDF) calculating the cost of every major U.S. war. Here are the graphical dimensions.

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