Sunday, January 31, 2010

Screwing With the Establishment

Think about this, if we can have these kinds of -"hacked Communication issues" what could a really twisted Gov , be able to do, with the intent of screwing with public policy and world opinion. Remember War of the Worlds, and what panic it created, and it was just a radio program, one of Orson's best. I heard it first at 13. If you suspend some things like it was coming from radio and was the way that most people got thier info, at the time. You can really get into the fact that this was real. And considering the FACT that this did create mass panic, is it any wonder why NOW - I look at some of the current things and poke fun at the present day issues.

So - suspend belief for a little bit. OH - BTW - Gov does have radio directional meters to trace radio signals down to the square meter. So unless you are a mobile bandit, you could get nailed in short order-- playing this kind of prank!

Cheers - Z1

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Because we love picking on the slightly twisted nature of Japan:

see more deMotivational Posters

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Addendum...'Fight Club' as Queer BDSM Cultural Artifact?

With thanx to Elyce Rae Helford!

A Long, Hard Review of Fight Club
Ok, so it took me six years to get up the gumption to put myself through the film Fight Club. I knew it would mess with my adrenalin and energy for the day, and it definitely did. It’s a long film (even longer on DVD), and it definitely needed an editor to trim some of the excess. But that’s about the only negative thing I have to say about it.

Here's what I most loved about it:

(1) Critique of corporate capitalism. The film is all about how it crushes the soul and drives white, middle-class men insane. Oddly, it actually brought The Incredibles to mind for me, with its much-lauded critique of the life of (white, middle-class) men in cubicles. But where The Incredibles argued that there’s a superhero waiting to burst forth from that petty insurance job, Fight Club argues there’s a vulnerable, insecure man, suppressing his desire to do the right thing, wrestling with the contradiction that what is supporting his existence (and encouraging him to buy in at a deeper and deeper level – Ikea!) is what is psychically numbing him and driving him mad.

(2) Masculinity. I have seen few recent films that do white, middle-class heterosexual masculinity this well. From the inability to express emotion without absurdly potent encouragement (testicular cancer group, anyone?) to the need to beat each other up to process said emotions, it's right there. I will also give the film credit for having our increasingly psychotic protagonist encourage men to take it out on each other rather than their wives/girlfriends, but that leads me to several other points…

(3) Freud! This film was such a great exemplification of Freud’s “Latency Period,” where boys hang with boys in “No Girls Allowed’ clubs (perfect that our hero called it “Fight Club,” which was so geeky and pre-teen, even if he later “grew up” to form his “army”) and are far less concerned with sex than camaraderie. (That the protagonist wanted to beat up William Shatner was so perfect: the original Star Trek series can be read beautifully as a Freudian latency narrative—see Ilsa Bick’s chapter in Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek (a collection I co-edited in 1996).) It is latency that explains why there is no killing in the film (by the narrator or his "army"). This was a truly surprising element of the film and inexplicable to me without this helpful Freudian framework.

This is also where Marla (Helena Bonham Carter’s character) becomes necessary: she is woman and disrupts the illusion of idyllic boyhood (a la Peter Pan). She forces him to see the pleasures of adult malehood that war with the narrator bond with his “imaginary friend” Tyler Durden and their boyish games. (And the narrator does say something about being a 30-year-old boy or the like, I believe.)

Furthermore, Tyler Durden is phallus personified, and there are all the guns (especially in the narrator’s mouth) as well as the constant castration issues (no coincidence that the threat to the city official is to cut off his balls, nor that if the narrator/Tyler tries to back out of his plan that his army has been commanded to castrate him). Which leads me to…

(4) The Gaze. Fight Club is amazing as it engages with Laura Mulvey’s concept of the “male gaze” in film. Using Freud, Mulvey argues that mainstream films are driven by a libidinal/political economy of constant castration anxiety. Basically, we see the film’s through the male director and male protagonists’ eyes, and these eyes are full of fear of castration (seeing woman-as-difference, he sees that she hasn’t got a dick/balls and realizes his could be taken!). Though castration anxiety can’t be processed consciously, unconsciously it can be resolved, says Freud, through either scopophilic pleasure (turning the threatening object, woman, into a pleasurable object in his control) or a sadistic kind of voyeurism (seeing the woman be controlled or punished, via marriage or murder, for example). And Mulvey argues this drives Hollywood film’s images of women. (To read the article in its entirety, see Mulvey). For Fight Club, the castration stuff couldn’t be any more direct. Marla, then, comes to represent the threat. She is desired object, but the narrator has trouble getting her to fit the fully objectified mold he needs to control the anxiety she brings. She appears in the guise of film noir femme fatale early in the narrative, a figure Mulvey discusses as invoking this threat through her combination of hyperfeminine appearance yet powerful sexuality (and often wielding the phallus/gun). Now, Marla is herself rather castrated, if you will, a pretty poor femme fatale. But she is strong enough to lure and threaten the narrator, who desires her yet cannot manage her. She sees through his masculine guise (showing up at all the support groups he attends) and offers cultural critique (e.g. of bridesmaid’s dresses) and has sex in ways that leave him both part of the experience (via the Tyler persona) and an alienated, impotent voyeur (as he disassociates from his Tyler persona but cannot fully escape it—staying in a nearby room, according to his delusion). In the end, he is either yelling at her to leave or instructing his army to destroy her (not sure if this means killing her or what…hard to tell given the intentionally confusing nature of the representation of his psychosis). Reading through Mulvey, what we have is a situation in which the narrator can neither make of Marla a controllable sex object or adequately punish her. At the film’s conclusion, it seems he will marry her (or at least this may be his delusion as he is dying), and this is, says Freud, one viable solution to castration anxiety.

What is even more interesting re the gaze than how the film plays it out is how it turns it around. Instead of having a narrator constantly gazing at his femme fatale or sex object (a la Hitchcock’s Vertigo, for one), Fight Club has him gaze at his hypermasculine alter ego, Tyler Durden. Both the protagonist and the camera linger over Brad Pitt and his buff bod—as well as over the many other men who must strip to the waist when they fight and the pumped up army dudes. This goes even further as the film fetishizes blood, scrapes, and bruises (and I’ll get to kinkiness presently), but first…

(4) Queerness. Where to begin? Certainly, there is the ease of reading the film’s central fight metaphor as a homophobic men’s method of displaying/repressing homosexual desire. I’m certainly not the first to read punching as intercourse or spurting blood as ejaculation, and those guys certainly did hug a lot after each bout (not to mention sharing a cigarette and a beer). Then there’s the love relationship between the narrator and Tyler (which turns out to be his alter ego, but as we watch the film for the first time, we don’t know/see that). From Brad Pitt’s arguably gay stylings throughout the film (I dare you to look through the International Male catalog and tell me that’s not where Tyler's clothes came from) to the narrator’s voiceover saying he and his imaginary pal lived like “Ozzie and Harriet” and fear of Marla getting between them, we’ve definitely got some queerness going on. (Here, Marla is the third member of a romantic triangle who is necessary to prevent the consummation of the male-male love axis).

Now, that it is Bob (fabulously played by Meat Loaf) who causes the beginning of the breakdown for the narrator of his dual selves also has good queer overtones. The hypermasculine space of his “paper house” army bunker reinforces his delusions. Nor can Marla, that representative of femininity, do more than just spur it on (see above). But Bob—as he blends masculine and feminine, male and female, in body, voice, and personality—does exemplify that there is more to the psyche than the gendered polar opposites which (in combination with oppressiveness of corporate capitalism for Mr. Average) cause his psychotic break. So when Bob dies, arguably, so does the impenetrability (to use a Freudian term) of his delusion. He no longer has a figure through which to externalize his anxieties. Queerness must be acknowledged not just as a part of Bob, but of himself. (Ok, I’m out on a limb here and trying this out as I write it, but it’s working for me.)

Finally, S/M in the film. The narrator is obviously a masochist, and though it’s not a new image (people into S/M are predominantly psychos in films), Fight Club does seem to me to suggest something more: rigid masculine norms lead to kinky fetishes. If (middle-class) men can’t display emotion (or engage in sex with each other), they can beat each other up. It’s acceptable male display, and you can always pretend it wasn’t sexually arousing (as long as you can keep your erection down). As Steve Neale argues in “Masculinity as Spectacle” (Screen 24.6, 1983, pp. 2-16), “‘male’ genres and films constantly involve sado-masochistic themes, scenes, and phantasies,” and these are “founded upon a repressed homosexual voyeurism.” Neale notes that “in a heterosexual and patriarchal society the male body cannot be marked explicitly as the erotic object of another male look: that look must be motivated in some other way, its erotic component repressed.” In this light, what’s great about Fight Club is that it both illustrates the validity of this argument and shows the consequences (psychosis) for those who do not repress. Gayness and/or queerness aside, the film does more than most in reflecting kinkiness in the blending of pain-pleasure and the enjoyment of showing off of “battle scars.” Indeed, like most who share the BDSM credo of “Safe, Sane, and Consensual,” the Fight Club men in their secret society are even allowed to use safewords (the word “Red” in the BDSM community becomes “Stop” in the film) and, as in BDSM circles where people use pseudonyms (like Tyler Durden) and do not “out” others, the first rule of Fight Club is “You Do Not Talk About Fight Club.” Unlike BDSM, however, male fighting is more marginalized than socially ostracized (as in the scene where the Fight Club members are instructed to pick a fight and have trouble doing so), and so the men do not fear showing off their black eyes and stitches, while those into BDSM, especially women, are unlikely to do the same. (No one accused the narrator of being beat up by his girlfriend, for example.)

All in all, few movies I’ve seen have encouraged me to process (and blog-purge) quite so fully or satisfyingly. I found the film compelling on many levels and regret only that its cultural critique did not seem to sink very deeply into the American consciousness. For one, corporate culture is very good at co-opting critique. For another, most of the men about whom the film speaks most loudly are too busy repressing to get it. Session of Fight Club for Xbox, anyone?

A REAL 'Fight Club'-at University of Manitoba???

Police not investigating alleged fight club at U of M

The Canadian Press

Updated: Wed. Jan. 20 2010 5:02 PM ET
WINNIPEG — Winnipeg police say they are not investigating the existence of a so-called "fight club" at the University of Manitoba.
Although fight clubs are illegal under the "prize fighting" provision of the Criminal Code, city police say they will not be pursuing charges and referred all calls to the Winnipeg school.
Allegations of a fight club operating on campus late last year came to light earlier this week.
An internal university investigation was launched after several men were seen leaving the university's squash courts with bloodied faces and officials were told about a Facebook page with 87 members discussing fights at the facility.
The university said the incident has been dealt with internally. It has disciplined several students and a staff member, suspending them from the recreational facility for a month.
The university initially handed recreation facility suspensions to all members of the Facebook group who held passes. But that list was whittled down to four students and one staff member.
The other 82 members of the Facebook group were not deemed to be participants and the Facebook page has since been removed.
Police declined to provide anyone to explain why they aren't investigating.
One criminal law expert says it's not surprising police aren't pursuing the matter.
Sanjeev Anand, professor of law at the University of Alberta, said few people realize fight clubs are illegal and those involved aren't inclined to report them.
The Hollywood movie "Fight Club," starring Brad Pitt, made famous the line: "The first rule of fight club is: you do not talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club is: you do not talk about fight club"
"Fight clubs are happening but they're secret. They don't come to the attention of the authorities," said Anand, adding busting up fight clubs usually isn't a top priority for police.
"They consider this almost a consensual crime."
Even if police do get a tip about a fight club, Anand said investigating and laying charges is not easy.
"Most of the actions of the police are reactive, not proactive so you need a complaint from the public triggering the investigation," he said. "If they become aware of it, they can go and investigate ... Even then, police would have to find witnesses, willing individuals to come forward to testify."
It's not the first time fight club allegations have come up in Manitoba.
Last September, police in Brandon busted up an alleged group called Brandon Beat Down. Police allege the group staged bouts at school yards and public parks around the southern Manitoba city.
Local police started investigating after some parents complained about their teens getting injured in fights. Police said some 100 teens and young adults belonged to the group. A 19-year-old Manitoba man was charged with public mischief.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Objectum Sexuality

She (Allegedly) Just Wants To Have Sex With A Hermann Park Statue. The Odd Thing Is, The Statue In Question Is Not Sam Houston

And you think you have a KINK? This is a KINK! LOL Enjoy! Z1

I Love Lego & Plastic Surgery

This makes me happy.

Pix-napped from here.

But this happier still:

Pix-napped from here:

But this is plastic surgery at it's finest.

I need to spend more time over at Jan Vormann's site... Awesomely fun art.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good points...

...but they can obviously be fixed with plastic surgery.

Women's right to choose was not meant to be about Botox

Libby Brooks,, Thursday 14 January 2010 19.00 GMT

The era of perfectability has seen feminist calls for autonomy distorted into a row about rights to self-mutilate the body

This lady has a tattoo on her right buttock. That lady's breasts are slightly lopsided. The woman to the left has an ample tummy that jiggles when she bounces. As a quotidian consumer of contemporary culture, I consider myself inured to nudity. But, on a chilly evening earlier this week, before a stage full of naked, whooping strangers, I realised that I don't know women's bodies at all.

Nic Green's Trilogy is an exuberantly choreographed and unashamedly political piece of theatre that examines the arc of the women's movement from the passionate debates of the early 70s to the neutered discourse of big jugs and work/life juggling today. Now playing in London for the month, Trilogy was the talk of the steamie at the Edinburgh festival last summer for reasons that were easily apparent the other night: for much of it the actors are nude, there is a set piece naked dance performed by non-professional volunteers, and a finale that invites female audience members to strip on spec and join the cast in a singsong.

There's something at once endearingly old-fashioned and perfectly modern about deploying the elemental shock tactic of nudity in the service of women's empowerment. Germaine Greer famously posed naked for the 60s underground publication Oz. Only last week, the actress and fashion designer Sadie Frost, guest-editing the rather more sedate Grazia magazine, included nude and un-airbrushed shots of herself in order to make the "big point", she said, that women should be proud of who they are. Certainly, there is little more visible than bared flesh. But there is also little more dishonest.

What is striking about Trilogy, alongside ordinary women's delight in striping off, is how unfamiliar we have become with the familiar sight of the female form. From the cult of the Virgin Mary in late-middle ages European art to the surgically sculpted cover girls of today, the perfected female nude has been rendered the idealised aesthetic and unequivocal, aspirational norm. We live in an era of perfectability, where cosmetic procedures are marketed according to how effectively they may be executed in a lunch hour, and almost half of secondary-school girls would consider some form of surgical intervention to change the way they look.

Quite apart from the unknowable physical and mental health consequences of performing invasive and unnecessary operations on younger and younger people, the terrifying normalisation of cosmetic surgery, in tandem with the epic prevalence of digitally altered images, distorts not only our notion of what is beautiful, but our sense of what is natural. It is ironic that the more shapes and sizes that become technically attainable, the narrower our template of what is attractive becomes. Instead, what have been vastly expanded are the aspects of appearance we pathologise.

This is really nothing more than the logical extension of the way that late capitalism co-opted the language of empowerment to sell women shampoo and mascara "because we're worth it". A woman's right to choose, once the foundation of feminist discourse about abortion, contraception and the like, has mutated into a woman's right to inject her crow's-feet with botulism, or indulge in potentially life-threatening mutilations. Physical flaws, no matter how minor, and the consequences of ageing, no matter how inevitable, are re–conceived as a challenge. Since bodies can be so easily improved upon, is it not, in fact, one's ultimate responsibility to do so?

In her 1990 classic The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf predicted the inevitable outcome of what she called the Surgical Age: "Women in our 'raw' or 'natural' state will continue to be shifted from category 'woman' to category 'ugly', and shamed into an assembly-line physical identity. As each woman responds to the pressure, it will grow so intense that it will become obligatory, until no self-respecting woman will venture outdoors with a surgically unaltered face." It's not so far from the more recently imagined dystopia proffered by ­Jeanette Winterson in her novel The Stone Gods, in which scientific advances allow women to fix their physical appearance at their preferred moment of youthfulness.

The era of perfectability is far from singular in its focus on women's bodies. Men are similarly maligned, and ­encouraged to entertain their moral responsibility to achieve perfect pectorals or phalloplasty. Indeed, the winnowing factor is no longer gender, nor class, but cash. But still, it does retain a specific message for women: that, after longer than a century of political ­movements fighting for the right to visibility in public life, the locus of ­participation has shifted to the private preoccupation with individual ­presentation. Perhaps you can't change the world, but you can – and indeed it is beholden upon you – to change yourself.

I choose not to get fixed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beaver

isn't the iconic Beaver anymore because of the sexual connotations of the word:

The Canadian Press

Date: Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010 3:56 PM ET

WINNIPEG — After 90 years, venerable history magazine The Beaver is getting a new moniker, in part because of the sexual connotation of its name.

The Winnipeg-based publication will be relaunched in the spring as Canada's History.

The innuendo of the old name was causing problems for the magazine online, said Deborah Morrison, president and CEO of Canada's National History Society, which publishes The Beaver.

"Because of the sexual connotations that this next generation of Canadians have adopted for the name, 'The Beaver,' there were some very practical challenges," she said.

"Every once in awhile we would have readers call and say: 'You know, you've got to do something about the name."'

Some readers, she said, complained that the magazine's electronic newsletters were landing in their spam folder.

A look at visits to the magazine's website also indicated the name was confusing to some, added Morrison.

"We noticed monitoring our web traffic that the average visitor time to our website was eight seconds. And I have a feeling that might be because a lot of people going to the site weren't exactly looking for Canadian history content," she said.

"In this day and age, in this multimedia universe, being clear about who you are and what it is you're selling is really important."

Morrison also said market research strongly indicated that some readers -- particularly women and readers under age 45 -- were turned off by the title of the magazine, which was created by the Hudson's Bay Company as a staff newsletter in 1920.

"It was obviously a problem. That's what the data was," she said.

"This is a significant change in the 90-year history of an organization. We did extensive research."

While traditionalists might balk at the reason for the name change, University of Toronto Prof. David Dunne noted that the Internet has forced companies to completely alter the way they market their products.

"The world has changed from one in which manufacturers -- or in this case, publishers and advertisers -- control brands, to one in which the best they can do is influence the discourse about a brand," said Dunne, a marketing professor at U of T's Rotman School of Business.

"You don't have control but you do have some influence."

An official news release from The Beaver didn't mention the sexual connotation as the reason for the name change.

"We want to make it easier for history enthusiasts to find us," editor-in-chief Mark Reid said in a statement. "Whether it's through any one of our print publications or online."

The Beaver, which boasts a subscriber base of 50,000 and an estimated total readership of more than 350,000, will make the change in April.

The magazine features stories, columns and commentaries as well as historic maps and illustrations.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Feeling Lucky

Vintage Ad Browser

I could spend hours there getting absolutely nothing done.

And it's searchable.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

'Avatar': Pocahontas With Blue People???

"Avatar' chix as they SHOULD have been!

Hat tip to my brother MAL but also to the crazed but creative individuals at BuzzFeed!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Get Out Your Trojans

or more on the X-ray vision security.

X-ray security: can airport system be hacked?
January 7, 2010 - 2:43PM

Having a strange airport employee looking at your "naked" image on a full-body x-ray scanner might be disturbing enough. But what if hackers got access to your "virtual strip search" and distributed it to an even wider audience?

Authorities have gone to significant lengths to appease privacy advocates about x-ray scanners, but protection from technological intrusions haven't featured in explanations.

Hackers have successfully cracked open bank accounts, government websites and even the private Yahoo email account of would-be US vice president Sarah Palin ... so why not an airport x-ray machine?

"From the attackers perspective, it's more around how secure the computers are that control the x-ray machine," said Ty Miller, chief technology officer of Pure Hacking, which tests the security of websites and online systems.

"The way to hack in and get access to images would be by accessing the computers controlling them. There's someone sitting there at a computer hitting 'enter' as people go through [to be scanned], and it's possible that that computer might have some sort of vulnerability, just as any desktop might."

Alan Watt, head of forensics at and who has researched cyber-terrorism, said most computer software had a "back door" that could be exploited by hackers.

"If the x-ray software is owned and managed by some company in Seattle, they often have a back door that allows them to perform remote maintenance."

If a hacker came in via that backdoor, "it would be the same for them as being in front of computer, it doesn't matter if they're sitting 100 miles away [from the airport]", he said.

They would then have access to data stored on the computer.

Authorities say scanned images will not be stored.

"In fact, all machines are delivered to airports with [save] functions disabled," says the US Transport Security Administration, which has rolled out the machines to 19 airports.

But this might not be enough.

"If the computer is compromised, [the hacker] could install a trojan on the machine, which can capture a video of what the operator is looking at, and record it," Mr Miller said.

These hacker attacks would rely on the x-ray machine being plugged into the airport's computer network, and so connected to the outside world.

The Office of Transport Security has been asked whether x-ray scanning - if implemented in Australia - would involve the networking of x-ray equipment. A response is pending.

In recent days, the office has said it is waiting on results from a 2008 trial - in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide - before deciding how or when to implement screening locally.

Another, albeit less likely, way that scanned images could get out was the capture of x-rays, Mr Watt said.

"If it's emitting an electric signal, you can capture those signals but you'll need some application to interface with it [and unscramble it to re-create the image]," he said.

He cited a device that could re-generate the image on a computer screen based on the gamma rays the monitor emitted as an example of technology that could be developed for this purpose.

"So I'd say someone with the right knowledge and 2-3 hours could do it."

On 702 ABC radio yesterday, Crikey aviation writer Ben Sandilands also raised concerns that x-ray machines used the same radio frequency as wifi. This meant a hacker could use a wifi-enabled PC to hack into the machines and access scanned images.

Mr Miller believed this was unlikely, as x-rays and wifi were distinctly different protocols.

In any case, while it was more dramatic to think of hackers using wizardry breaking into a network, it was usually human slip-ups that opened the door, Mr Miller's CEO Robert McAdam said.

"You don't have to do it as a full frontal attack, rather focus on some weaker link in the chain," he said.

The quality and integrity of airport staff would thus be crucial to the protection of scanned images. In the US, airport officers evaluating images are banned from taking cameras, phones or photo-enabled devices into viewing room.

"It's usually the people, like an unhappy ex-employee, or someone just being lax with passwords ... that leads to a [hack attack]," Mr Watt said.

"Usually a place like an airport is pretty secure but there's always a loop-hole."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I love this kind of shit: speculating on the future. Hedge your bets now for the end of the decade will be fast approaching in another 9 years. The Experts have spoken.

2020 vision: where will we be in a decade's time?
Our experts make twenty predictions for the end of the next decade.
Published: 7:00AM GMT 02 Jan 2010 UK Telegraph

Gene therapy

Ten years ago, I would have said that by 2010 gene therapy would be a standard medical treatment – and I would have been wrong. Two years ago, my prediction was that there would be no real impact for at least a decade; but I was probably wrong there, too. My guess is that, for some people, and depending on how it is defined, gene therapy will be an important part of hi-tech medicine by about 2018. But for the health of most people, it will remain irrelevant.

Prof Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London

General medicine

We will understand better some of the world’s biggest killers, notably cancer and HIV/Aids. Despite advances in understanding the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s, it probably won’t result in a cure this decade. In surgery, big advances include the increasing involvement of robotics in the operating theatre. Surgeons will use “non-invasive” techniques, entering through the body’s natural orifices rather than using scalpels to enter.

Dr Max Pemberton, author and doctor


2010 is likely to see the final flights of NASA’s workhorse, the space shuttle. The forthcoming space race will be among private enterprises. We will see the creation of “synthetic life”. Since 2007, American Craig Venter has been on the verge of unveiling a living bacterium carrying a DNA code made from scratch in the lab. Others are working on an entirely synthetic cell. We will see attempts at a planetary fix (geoengineering), a Manhattan-scale global project to curb harmful climate change.

Dr Roger Highfield, editor of New Scientist

Consumer technology

Technology will infiltrate every aspect of our lives – the mobile phone will become a gateway to global communications, and link seamlessly to the web and every screen in homes and offices. Supermarkets will restock your internet-connected fridge automatically. Expect a pervasive sense of being watched – probably not by government, but by big corporations.

Matt Warman, DT technology editor


There are now three times more mobile phone subscribers than internet users. In the decade ahead, mobile and web will collide to fulfil the promise of technology: helping people help themselves. The open exchange of information will lead to a more informed, engaged, and more empathetic global citizenry.

Biz Stone, founder, Twitter


High-speed rail will transform travel in the UK. I am excited about the possibilities it holds in terms of shorter journeys, environmental benefits, encouraging investment and boosting business and jobs.

Andrew Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport


It will be the hottest decade ever as global warming continues, though individual years will vary. Renewables will boom, especially solar power, as new technologies and falling prices kick in. Nuclear power will make no real contribution; any new reactors will not come on stream before the end of the decade. Evidence that mobile phones endanger health will increase. Continued shrinkage of the Arctic ice-cap could provide the first climate “tipping point”.

Geoffrey Lean, DT environment columnist


I’m tempted to say that, in 2020, the Anglican Communion will be poised on the edge of schism, as its 107th openly homosexual bishop is consecrated. Plus ça change … Anglicanism will have fragmented into national and denominational shards. Women bishops will no longer frighten the horses. Pope Benedict XVI may be succeeded by a less ambitiously orthodox pontiff. As for Islam, things will get worse before they get better, through no fault of the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims.

George Pitcher, DT religion editor


A brace of US Open titles for Andy Murray but alas no Wimbledon crown; a stunning London Olympics; Argentina to win football and rugby World Cups; a mind boggling sub-42 seconds 400m world record from Usain Bolt; England to take their first cricket World Cup; Rory McIlroy to challenge Nick Faldo’s British record of six golf Majors; Tiger Woods to “redeem” himself with an Olympic golf gold medal (2016); and Ben Ainslie to win the America’s Cup for Britain. Finally, a Briton to win the Tour de France.

Brendan Gallagher, DT sports writer


Written literature will divide. Disposable celebrity memoirs will be delivered electronically, in tiny bursts. Published works will be delivered with alterations commissioned by the end-user. Pride and Prejudice with more sex and violence? Yours, for £3.99. The audience for serious works will survive. Books may have to prove themselves with an audience before a publisher will print copies. A talent to watch? The novelist Evie Wyld.

Philip Hensher, literary critic


We’ll see fewer global stars, more localisation and a dissemination of cross-pollinating musical styles created by bedroom studio wizards. Guitar-based rock will become the preserve of old-school arenas. The decline of the reality TV talent show model will leave a hole, to be filled by fictionalised TV-internet stars. The LP will leap onto a multimedia web-based sound and vision remixing platform – and fail. The fortunes of the music business will decline further; music itself will thrive as a more hands-on activity.

Neil McCormick, DT music critic


Britain will finally address both its catastrophic undersupply of new housing and the low quality of what it is building. Britain’s architects are having to adjust to the fact that there is less work around and tighter budgets. Add the growing challenge of environmental sustainability, and the next decade will be a highly testing one for the profession.

Ellis Woodman, architecture critic


We’ll see a rediscovery of morals in matters of production and consumption. Making things will become more important, both economically and culturally. True value will be separated from mere cost. We will want better, not merely more, and with that will come more dignified consumer behaviour: gross indulgence will soon acquire the stigma currently attached to drink-driving.

Stephen Bayley, design critic


We will enter a golden age in British theatre. There is enough money, thanks to sustained subsidies and commercial success. Our major theatres are run by the best. Our acting talent is the envy of the world. There are budding playwrights on every street corner. The country is experiencing profound change, which can only energise new writing further. Digital technology will help export this theatre boom on a scale comparable to the pop music revolution of the Fifties and Sixties.

Dominic Cavendish, DT theatre critic


Following James Cameron’s Avatar, we can expect an explosion in 3D blockbusters. New ways to see and distribute films will lead to a far broader idea of cinema than Hollywood would like to admit. Already the success of the South African sci-fi thriller District 9 bodes well for the health of large-scale, independent productions from around the world. It will be exciting to see which other countries throw their hats into the ring.

Tim Robey, DT film critic


More viewing will take place online and on demand but live TV events such as The X Factor will continue to glue viewers to their sofas. Global marketing will collide with soaring production costs to create truly international dramas, co-produced by many national broadcasters including the BBC, which no government will be foolish enough to abolish. The big winners will be those with the ambition to conquer the world: brace yourselves for the ongoing rise of Simon Cowell.

Neil Midgley, DT media editor


The UK will be like Havana, with almost all of us growing some of our food. Gardening will be less ornamental and more productive. Expect destructive winds and tropical rain – which will take lots of precious topsoil with it – and very definite winters. We’ll have to bring more in under cover or start with new plants each spring.

Sarah Raven, gardening expert


Supermarkets will sell more British food. A packaging revolution will see more compostable bags and fresh foods with longer shelf lives. Labelling will clearly state country of origin. Nutritionally enhanced foods will flourish and obesity decline, but GM foods will get a stronger foothold in Europe. Organic and molecular cuisine will give way to bistro cooking and local food. M&S will lead on ethical sourcing. We’ll eat more quince, tonka beans, emmer (a grain), British olives and spider crab.

Rose Prince, food writer


The combination of being the most knowing generation ever and one that has to find its place in a wrecked economy should fire up entrepreneurial innovation in the young. Fewer jobs and pricey further education will see sixth formers marketing their own products and leading the generation’s tastes for extreme hair styles, make-up, jewellery, sunglasses and bedroom accessories. The high street will still sell clothes, but the fashion electricity will come from a different direction.

Sarah Mower, fashion critic


The noughties were defined by fast-fashion for those prepared to buy, wear and bin. The next decade will see well-made, British-made, higher-priced items come to the fore as people cherish, customise and take an interest in how and who made their garments. Disposable fashion will go the way of the battery chicken. Many will order their underwear on their iPhone and delivery vans will clog up the traffic. But the high street will never die, with the best shopkeepers offering tailoring and personalised shopping to beat the internet.

Harry Wallop, DT consumer affairs correspondent

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

X-Ray Vision

Gotta love the politics of Public Security vs Personal Privacy and legislation designed both to protect and preserve.

The whole debate makes me wonder if I would prefer a good full body pat-down by a creepy looking security person as compared to some other unknown creepy security person, who looks nothing like Clark Kent, perusing a pic of my now digitally naked body via electronic X-ray vision. All of it now digitally captured with the potential to save and destroy despite the assurances by US authorities that the images will be deleted immediately.

Guess we get to welcome the scanners to Canada which was inevitable and only a question of time. The time is here.

The next question that will arise is age exemption as it has in Britain because the scanner use brings the laws that counter the creation of child pornography into play. In Britain it seems that the time is here to hid the "shit" on the children, thus creating a whole new generation of extremely young martyrs for the cause.

It will be interesting to watch how our politicos reconcile our privacy with our safety and still prevent airport created porn from appearing on the web.

Happy flying!

Better But Older News

The Brighter the babe the better the boinking!

Now that's news that I enjoy unlike yesterday's non-existent G-spot. I certainly agree with science in this case as I have often argued that sex occurs in the brain. That's an awkward conversation to have with a lot of people who seem to think that it happens in the dick. The dick has nothing to do with brilliant sex I counter endlessly, but everything to do with what is happening between the ears; and for my more Zen and Tantric counterparts, what is not happening by way of distraction in the brain.

Yes, good news to go with good coffee and the amount of irony in the article just makes me smile with glee, not an easy feat first thing in the morning.

The article for those not wanting to follow links:
Bright women are brilliant in bed
But it's not just having brains that counts, it's knowing how to use them in your relationship.
By Judith Woods
Published: 7:00AM BST 13 May 2009

Women have protested it for years, but a (male) scientist has finally discovered that the most important erogenous zone on the female body is, indeed, the brain. Intelligence, not beauty, is the deciding factor when it comes to enjoying sex, which will come as a great relief to clever-but-oh-so-plain girls everywhere.

A study has revealed that women endowed with emotional intelligence have superior sex lives because of their skill at expressing themselves and empathising with their partner. Researchers at King's College London asked 2,000 female twins about their sex lives and concluded that brains are the key to bliss in the boudoir.

Bright women apparently have twice as many orgasms as their peers, which of course makes perfect sense; the ability to bark, "No, for heaven's sake, not like that! There, over there!" in four languages is pretty much a guarantee of great sex on an international scale.

Moreover, for high-flying career types who spend their days immersed in acquisitions and mergers, or sweating over shareholders' reactions to worse-than-expected first-half losses, the strategic line management of a mere husband come lights out is a walk in the park.

High levels of emotional intelligence also makes it easier for women to fantasise during foreplay. So what if we're secretly running our imaginary hands over the craggy nooks of Jeremy Paxman, Simon Schama or Richard Dawkins? There's no harm done, as long as we don't actually close our eyes and, instead of moaning, "Oh God, oh God…" at a particularly inopportune moment of congress, start asking ourselves: "But what if there is no God?"

On a personal note, my IQ was measured by the nuns when I was nine; it's supposed to remain constant throughout your life, but given that three decades on, I can now gaze at a watering can for several minutes and still be unable to put a name to it, I wouldn't want to put that theory to the test.

Anyway, I apparently have (or at least once had) an IQ of 148, which allegedly places me above Nicole Kidman (132), Madonna (140) and Shakira (140) but below Carol Vorderman and Sharon Stone (both 154). While it's tremendously cheering to know I'm having better sex than hot Latina babe Shakira (yeah, right), it's not so good to think Carol Vorderman is soundly thrashing me in the whoopee stakes.

To paraphrase, the earth might move for the likes of me and Madonna, but clever clogs Carol is in a different league, with tectonic plates crashing and collisional boundaries climaxing in her lithosphere. And hey, what woman doesn't yearn to experience that at least once in her life?

Novelist Isabel Allende once famously declared that the G-spot is located in a woman's ears; words are the greatest aphrodisiac. Perhaps the reason why emotionally intelligent women have more fun is because they intuitively choose the best (or at least, most biddable) partners, who are imaginative, appreciative and can, at a push, chat a bit while in flagrante.

A woman with a soupçon of common sense can spare herself a lot of grief, boredom and misery by applying her intelligence to weeding out life's roués, rogues and rotters. Whether it's due to IQ or straightforward female intuition is a moot point, but Don't Sleep With Someone You Wouldn't Give A Job To is a fairly sound ground rule.

But I would aver that having a blast in bed has less to do with intelligence per se than confidence, of feeling loved, or at the very least, liked. And a shrewd woman, a woman with self-esteem, will only sleep with a chap who likes her. That ultimate sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, who was ill-used more than once, poignantly observed: "I have never liked sex. I do not think I ever will. It seems just the opposite of love."

Beauty, you see, may get a man into bed. But brains will ensure you know what to do with him (and vice versa) when you get there.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bad News Day

The G-spot, the continuously sought after magical spot of female orgasm, may not exist.

This is a terrible headline to be greeted with on a Monday morning. I am truly disappointed for myself and all other lusty broads who indulge their sexual proclivities and enjoy them heartily.

Next the scientific world will tell us that men have no P-spot.

Here's the bad news:

G-spot ‘may not exist’, say scientists
The G-spot, the erogenous zone that is said to be possessed by some women but not by others, may not exist at all, according to scientists.

By Ben Leach
Published: 8:00AM GMT 03 Jan 2010

Researchers at King’s College London claim there is no evidence for the existence of the G-spot – supposedly a cluster of internal nerve endings – beyond a woman’s imagination.

“Women may argue that having a G-spot is due to diet or exercise, but in fact it is virtually impossible to find real traits,” said Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology, who coauthored the research.

“This is by far the biggest study ever carried out and it shows fairly conclusively that the idea of a G-spot is subjective.”

They reached their conclusions after a survey of more than 1,800 British women, all of whom were pairs of identical or non-identical twins.

Identical twins share all their genes, while non-identical pairs share 50 per cent of theirs. If one identical twin reported having a G-spot then her sister was more likely to give the same answer

But no such pattern emerged, suggesting the G-spot is a matter of the woman’s subjective opinion.

Andrea Burri, who led the research, said she was anxious to remove feelings of “inadequacy or underachievement” that might affect women who feared they lacked a G-spot.

“It is rather irresponsible to claim the existence of an entity that has never really been proven and pressurise women — and men, too,” she said.