From stealth technology to GPS to vaccines, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — or DARPA — has developed some of the most consequential weapons and technology through the ages. Annie Jacobsen, author of the new book “The Pentagon’s Brain,” talks with Steve Inskeep about the agency’s storied past and its intriguing future.
Don’t talk to me about sustainability. You want to question my lifestyle, my impact, my ecological footprint? There is a monster standing over us, with a footprint so large it can trample a whole planet underfoot, without noticing or caring. This monster is Industrial Civilization. I refuse to sustain the monster. If the Earth is to live, the monster must die. This is a declaration of war.What is it we are trying to sustain? A living planet, or industrial civilization? Because we can’t have both.Somewhere along the way the environmental movement – based on a desire to protect the Earth, was largely eaten by the sustainability movement – based on a desire to maintain our comfortable lifestyles. When did this happen, and why? And how is it possible that no-one noticed? This is a fundamental shift in values, to go from compassion for all living beings and the land, to a selfish wish to feel good about our inherently destructive way of life.
If you could change anything, what would you change? Would yougo on vacation for the rest of your life? Make fossil fuels stop causingclimate change? Ask for ethical banks and politicians? Surely nothingcould be more unrealistic than to keep everything the way it is andexpect different results.Our private financial and emotional struggles mirror globalupheaval and disaster. We could spend the rest of our days trying to douse these fires one by one, but they stem from the same source. No piecemeal solution will serve; we need to rethink everything according to a different logic.
Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum revealed what he calls “wrist-slitting depressing” details about the National Security Agency’s spy programs at a computer conference in Germany on Monday where he presented previously unpublished NSA files.
“They would be able to break into this phone, almost certainly, and turn on the microphone,” Appelbaum said at one point as he re-inserted the battery into his mobile device. “All without a court, and that to me is really scary.” Indeed, classified files shown later during his presentation revealed a device that for $175,800 allows the NSA or another license client to construct a fake cell tower than can allow officials to eavesdrop on texts and talks alike.
Many people desire an existence free of coercive authority, where all are at liberty to shape their own lives as they choose for the sake of their own personal needs, values, and desires. For such freedom to be possible, no individual person can extend his or her sphere of control upon the lives of others without their choosing. Many who challenge oppression in the modern world strive toward their conception of a “free society” by attempting to merely reform the most powerful and coercive institutions of today, or to replace them with “directly democratic” governments, community-controlled municipalities, worker-owned industrial federations, etc. Those who prioritize the values of personal autonomy or wild existence have reason to oppose and reject all large-scale organizations and societies on the grounds that they necessitate imperialism, slavery and hierarchy, regardless of the purposes they may be designed for.
A global, strategic evaluation of the social forces comprising the society of the spectacle. It is conceived from the view that, if individuals are to gain control over their lives, the world of hierarchical power must be destroyed.
Call It Sleep is the first visual work produced in the United States which makes use of the situationist technique of detournement – the devaluation and reuse of present and past cultural production to form a superior theoretical and practical unity.
Call It Sleep is based on material drawn from the most prevalent means of social conditioning- television-for two reasons. Familiar images easily acquire a strong negative charge when linked with a subversive content. Using images and techniques available to everyone has demonstrated once and for all, that detournement is within reach of anyone with a few basic appliances and the ability to communicate radical ideas.
Some people who see Call It Sleep are only interested to know if copyright permissions have been obtained from the producers of the various images in the tape. These “courageous souls” think that a disrespect for cultural and social conventions should begin after property rights have been observed. No doubt many of these people have already produced or dream of producing an artifact which they want protected by the state.
Others want to discover what special techniques or tricks of the trade are behind Call It Sleep and they may be disappointed because no sophisticated technical expertise was involved. The singularity of Call It Sleep comes not from the novel use of equipment, but from the practical application of a radical perspective on daily life.
Call It Sleep was completed in May of 1982. It was financed solely by its makers.
“One can only empathise with individuals, motivated by a sincere desire for reform, who join ecology groups, consumer organisations and alternative political parties. In any of these groups these individuals are directed by a firmly entrenched leadership through a maze of politically motivated compromises to an end that is sadly predictable: the indefinite postponement of profound social transformation, the enrichment of the careers of a few bureaucrats and the permanent disillusion of a number of intelligent individuals.”
An experiment by Australian scientists has proven that what happens to particles in the past is only decided when they are observed and measured in the future. Until such time, reality is just an abstraction.
Theses on the Imaginary PartyThe moral and political significance of thought only appears in those rare moments of history where “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”; where “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity”. In these crucial moments, thought ceases to be a marginal affair to political questions. When the whole world lets itself be carried away without thinking by what the many do and believe, those who think find themselves exposed, because their refusal to join with others is patent and becomes thus a sort of action.Hannah Arendt, Moral Considerations
The dead hand of notorious UK spycop Mark Kennedy has reached out once again – this time in France, where a major trial involving a so-called ‘metaphysical anarchist’ cell saw the most serious charge – terrorism – dismissed. In a statement afterwards one of the defendants accused the prosecution of having based its case on false statements made by the police – in other words, fabricated (or exaggerated) evidence. Here is what happened…