And make sure not to talk about the greenback...


Yet another excellent interview with Jim Rogers


Do You Fear America Yet?


Do You Believe In America Yet?

Thanks Web 2.0. Thanks new millenium. Thanks hyper-conscious superstars. Thanks for the striking contrast between old and new.
(p.s. Can you spot the Canadian?)


You Are (barely) Alive!

The Japanese artist Takashi Murakami certainly has a rainbow coloured imagination, but who knew he had feelings too? The ironic, desperate kind, the frustration-of-being kind. Not to mention the subversion of advertising within the confined framework of a commercial. It is usually that longing is fulfilled within these contexts, that desire can be overcome and its goal reached. Not here. But more importantly, outside of the localized capitalist motif, these commercials give us a unique insight into how an artificial creature, bestowed with the same neuro-curcuitry and consciousness as us, would be stuck living a life of longing and resentment. The brain is only half the battle.
(via Kitsune Noir)


The Reality of the Virtual

Brain-Computer Interface for Second Life

"A research team at the Keio University Biomedical Engineering Laboratory has developed a system that lets the user walk an avatar through the streets of Second Life while relying solely on the power of thought. An EEG machine reads motor cortex data and relays it to the BCI, where a brain wave analysis algorithm interprets the user’s imagined movements. A keyboard emulator then converts this data into a signal and relays it to Second Life, causing the on-screen avatar to move."
(more via Pink Tentacle)

"Virtual Reality is a rather miserable idea. A much more interesting notion is the opposite. Not virtual reality, but the reality of the virtual. That is to say reality, real effects produced by something that does not yet fully exist." Slavoj Žižek - The Reality of the Virtual


'It's going to be much worse'

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- You might expect Jim Rogers to be gloating a little bit. After all, the famed investor has been predicting a recession in the U.S. economy for months and shorting the shares of now-tanking Wall Street investment banks for even longer. And with fears of a recession sparking both a worldwide market sell-off and emergency action from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, Rogers again looks prescient - just as he has over the past few years as the China-driven commodities boom he predicted almost a decade ago began kicked into high gear. But when I reached him by phone in Singapore the other day there was little hint of celebration in his voice. Instead, he took a serious tone.


Bank's billions burnt in 10 days

By Friday, January 18, Jérôme Kerviel, a junior suit in the banking world, was on the hook for €50 billion - the equivalent of about half of all the gold and currency reserves held by France. The sum also exceeded the entire value of the bank at which he worked...


Robot Controlled by Monkey Across the Sea

"A humanoid robot moves its legs at a laboratory in Japan as directed by the brain waves of a small monkey located in the United States." - Discovery News (thanks Heather!)


The Blow-Up Artist

Excellent article about Victor Niederhoffer in the New Yorker. I cannot recommend this strongly enough.

"On a wall opposite Victor Niederhoffer’s desk is a large painting of the Essex, a Nantucket whaling ship that sank in the South Pacific in 1820, after being attacked by a giant sperm whale, and that later served as the inspiration for “Moby-Dick.” The Essex’s captain, George Pollard, Jr., survived, and persuaded his financial backers to give him another ship, but he sailed it for little more than a year before it foundered on a coral reef. Pollard was ruined, and he ended his days as a night watchman. The painting, which Niederhoffer, a sixty-three-year-old hedge-fund manager, acquired after losing all his clients’ money—and a good deal of his own—in the Thai stock market crash of 1997, serves as an admonition against the incaution to which he, a notorious risktaker, is prone, and as a reminder of the precariousness of his success..."

You can check out Neiderhoffer's website at dailyspeculations.com


Monsterz: Real and Imaginary

Kaiju Eiga - Flickr Set
(via Monster Brains)

Picopico’s Monster Suit Paradise

Brobee Figure @ urbanoutfitters

Trader Made Billions on Subprime

Fascinating article from the WSJ:

"On Wall Street, the losers in the collapse of the housing market are legion. The biggest winner looks to be John Paulson, a little-known hedge fund manager who smelled trouble two years ago..."


Street Art

Bears Exceed Bulls by Most in 17 Years, Investor Poll Says

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The number of individual investors who are bearish on U.S. equities exceeds those who are bullish by the most since November 1990, a signal to some investors that stocks may be poised to rebound.

In the week ended yesterday, about 59 percent of investors polled by the American Association of Individual Investors said they were bearish, expecting stocks to fall over the next six months. That was the highest since October 1990 and almost double the 32 percent average over the past five years.


What is Past is Present

Fun, ingenious flash game. Without giving too much away, your past actions can come back to help/haunt you.....

Cursor * 10
(via notes, happy notes)

How They Work

A fascinating tally of rituals, habits, and ruminations on aspects of the creative process specific to well known creators. The list is long and includes writers (Philip Pullman - who used to write in a shed, Don Dellilo - who writes a paragraph a page), researchers in robotics and psychology, musicians (Brian Eno, Autechre), actors (Bill Murray, Nick Nolte)..... and more and more.

rodcorp: How we work
(via kottke.org)

Never In A Trillion Years

The anti-commercial for the iPhone by David Lynch


Water Walk

John Cage performing "Water Walk" in January, 1960 on the popular TV show I've Got A Secret.

The Work of James Ensor

The paintings of James Ensor are haunting, beautiful and bizarre.