New York Systems

I'm David. I live in Astoria. During the day I work at a startup. Other times I visit bookstores.
This blog is my curio collection, sort of. I'll have a place of my own for essays... someday.

Posts tagged #nutters

One can find a numerological significance to anything, provided “sufficient cleverness”.
I believe it will change the world for the better,” writes Sanjuro, who shares his handle with the nameless samurai protagonist in the Akira Kurosawa film “Yojimbo.” (He tells me he chose it in homage to creator of the online black market Silk Road, who called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts, as well Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.) ”Thanks to this system, a world without wars, dragnet panopticon-style surveillance, nuclear weapons, armies, repression, money manipulation, and limits to trade is firmly within our grasp for but a few bitcoins per person. I also believe that as soon as a few politicians gets offed and they realize they’ve lost the war on privacy, the killings can stop and we can transition to a phase of peace, privacy and laissez-faire.

Today in weird emails I receive. This one to the work account!

Evidence is mounting that points to a “lost decade” between what we now remember as the 1970s and 1980s, a time whose full cultural trauma and resulting suppression from memory was so complete as to effect itself even on the living. […]
The space: do we not all feel it? The space. It may be said that the consumer cultures of the 1980s and 1990s, successively exhorting us to embrace artifice and then soul-crushing blandess, were manufactured to “cure” the residual confusion and cultural inconsistency that resulted from the methods used to effect mankind’s collective psychic displacement. The hidden “space,” however, manifests itself in curious ways — the obsession with youth and physical condition in those born in the 1960s and 1970s; oddities in climate change data; the apparently freakish pace of economic change in what we believe now to be the 1980s; and so forth. […] Likewise, no-one familiar with the Lost Decade hypothesis can fail to grasp the religious significance of shutter shades.
This tickles that space deep within me that loves conspiracies, the more world-encompassing the better. 19A0 | jwz
For what it’s worth, his thesis concerns the reasons Obama returned a bust of Winston Churchill to the British Embassy early in his presidency. The only answer D’Souza entertains: that Obama is a Mau Mau anticolonial revolutionary driven to impress his dead, absentee father, a Kenyan who dared to write in 1965—two years after his homeland achieved its independence—that government regulation might sometimes be needed to rein in private industry. You might object, “But Obama has spent almost zero percent of his life with that father, and something like 75 percent of his life in the same private schools and Ivy League universities and institutions of power occupied by every other president of either party in recent American history.” D’Souza’s counter is to brandish Obama’s memoir and proclaim, “Notice it says Dreams From My Father, not Dreams of My Father.” Also: Bill Ayers! Jeremiah Wright! Edward Said, who once taught a class Obama took! NYU psychology professor Paul Vitz shows up to explain that the father who abandons a boy has a profound influence on the shaping of that boy, an argument that lays bare D’Souza’s debased rules of evidence: the fact that Obama senior was never around to radicalize Obama junior only proves that he did radicalize Obama junior. That explains why junior later went on to fulfill the dream of all Kenyan revolutionaries of the 1960s: passing the health care plan Republicans came up with in the ’90s.

Let the Awl brighten your afternoon with the tale of the astrologer who beat Hitler — at least, if he were telling the story.

It’s really interesting to watch libertarians’ rising sense of disbelief and outrage over the Koch brothers’ attempt to take over the Cato Institute, the most prominent and respected libertarian think tank in the country. Suddenly, many former defenders of the Kochs are beginning to question the intellectual integrity and political purity of their benefactors. In one sense, it seems a petty and personal squabble within a small political faction. But from another standpoint, the stakes are much higher, putting to the test the lingering question of whether libertarianism is in fact a non-partisan intellectual movement, as its adherents insist, or just a fancy-sounding name for a subset of the Republican Party, aimed at enhancing the wealth and power of its deep-pocketed donors.

The Omphalos hypothesis was named after the title of an 1857 book, Omphalos by Philip Henry Gosse, in which Gosse argued that in order for the world to be “functional”, God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and navels (omphalos is Greek for “navel”), and that therefore no evidence that we can see of the presumed age of the earth and universe can be taken as reliable. The idea has seen some revival in the 20th century by some creationists, who have extended the argument to light that appears to originate in far-off stars and galaxies (although other creationists reject this explanation).

Though Gosse’s original Omphalos hypothesis specifies a popular creation story, others have proposed that the idea does not preclude creation as recently as five minutes ago, including memories of times before this created in situ. This idea is sometimes called “Last Thursdayism” by its opponents, as in “the world might as well have been created last Thursday.” The concept is both unverifiable and unfalsifiable through any conceivable scientific method—in other words, it is impossible even in principle to subject it to any form of test by reference to any empirical data because the empirical data themselves are considered to have been arbitrarily created to look the way they do at every observable level of detail.

What we have here is a failure to translate. Or even to transliterate.

As Jeff W. and Makabit noted in comments to the previous Left Behind post, the filmmakers didn’t translate the English into Hebrew for this sign, they roughly tried to reproduce the English in the Hebrew alphabet. Backwards.

In a discovery that biblical scholars say could alter our most fundamental understanding of Christianity, recently unearthed manuscripts suggest that in addition to His Son, Jesus Christ, God also had a daughter with absolutely humongous breasts. (via New Evidence Suggests God Also Had Incredibly Busty Daughter | The Onion - America’s Finest News Source)