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Category Archives: Transhuman
Posted: August 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm
Youd think that itd pretty hard for Warner Bros. to mess up Batman. Since his first appearance in 1939, he has proven to be DC Comics biggest cash cow. He has appeared in more movies, TV series and comics than any other character in DCs expansive stable of heroes: even the Man of Steel himself.
And yet somehow, Warner Bros. has screwed the pooch with Batmans most recent film version. Although Ben Affleck is perfect casting for the character, Snyders interpretation of the character as an angst-driven psychopath has turned many fans off from this version of the character.
Sure, Nolans version of the Batmobile a heavily armored assault vehicle was great in his grounded, more realistic take on the franchise, but the version we saw in Batman v Superman was nothing short of a tank used for mindlessly running over criminals. The same character who famously snapped a gun in half, saying this is the weapon of the enemy. We do not need it. We will not use it was seen in the movie blinding firing machine guns into crowds of thugs on multiple occasions.
He didnt just hunt down criminals either: he disfigured them. He would heat a branding iron and then burn his insignia into their bodies as a permanent reminder of crossing paths with the vigilante. But dont worry, its not like they lasted long in prison. It is explicitly stated that criminals with the Bat branding were killed shortly after being admitted.
This isnt the Batman I know: the one that I grew up with on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons. Hes not some xenophobic madman screaming that if theres even a one percent chance that [Superman] is our enemy we have to take it as an absolute certainty. Hes a man who would stay with [Harley Quinn] all day, risking [his] butt for somebody whos never given [him] anything but trouble simply because he know[s] what its like to try and rebuild a life, [because he] had a bad day too once.
According to Ben Affleck, this is the kind of Batman we can expect going forward in the DCEU. Speaking in a recent interview, he stated that:
[Batman] started out with all this rage directed at Superman, because of his coworkers who had died in the fight Superman had with Zod. He was holding on to a lot of anger, in a little bit of an irrational way. Whereas this is a much more traditional Batman. Hes heroic. He does things in his own way, but he wants to save people, help people.
The actor and Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder have suggested in the past that this was always going to be the case. Theyve previously argued that we were simply introduced to this version of Batman at a particularly low point in his life, shortly after the death of Jason Todd, his most recent Robin, and that his character arc would involve him clawing up from that tragedy.
Thats all well and good in the abstract, but we have never been given any context for this character other than the off-camera word of these men during the press junket for the movie. We never see him before Todds death and are given no reason in the movies themselves to suggest that that is the case.
While Justice League is looking to be an increasingly sketchy prospect, this is at least the right direction to take this character. Hes not a superpowered lab rat, omnipotent alien, transhuman cyborg or a literal God. Hes just a man: the one member of the Justice League who really understands what it means to be Human, able to take down the bad guys just as easily as he can empathize with their victims.
Hes more than just some savage, blood-sucking animal, and its high time that Warner Bros. realizes this. They desperately need to put the man back in Batman.
See original here:
Ben Affleck Promises a Heroic Batman in ‘Justice League’ – TVOvermind
Posted: at 2:43 am
Transhumanism has received significant media attention in recent times not in the least because the one of the movements leaders, Zoltan Istvan, ran for president in 2016 US elections.
But a British PhD candidate has warned of the darker side of a transhumanist future.
Sociologist Alex Thomas of East London University believes that transhumanism will further enforce a societal obsession with progress and efficiency at the expense of social justice and environmental sustainability. In an article published this week in The Conversation, Thomas argues that unbridled technological progress, in which technology become more intrusive and integrate seamlessly with the human body, could lead to a loss of basic societal values such as compassion and a concern for the environment.
Thomas interweaves examples ranging from new military technologies to powerful enhancement medications, arguing that, rather than assisting humanity, these technologies could potentially lead to a mechanisation of humanity and facilitate a subtle form of authoritarian control.
Posted: August 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm
With pre-orders open for the graphic novel collecting William Gibson’s amazing comic book Archangel, and a linked novel on the way that ties the 2016 election to the world of The Peripheral, William Gibson has conducted a fascinating interview with Vulture on the surge in popularity in dystopian literature.
Gibson reads literary trends as a kind of window into our collective fears and desires about the future — he notes that while the 20th century was rife with speculation about the 21st; here in the early decades of 21C we almost never talk about 2200 and beyond (I wonder if that’s not just a function of the fact that we’re in the first half of the 21st century, while most sf was written in the back half of 20C).
Where things get sharp is where Gibson points out that huge swathes of the human population are living in dystopias as grim as any cyberpunk future (“dystopia is not evenly distributed”). In the 1960s, during the civil rights movement’s heyday, LBJ said “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket,” while Trump’s 2016 campaign was a long exercise in telling poor white people that they may end up in the same dire straits that racialized Americans had navigated since the colonialism’s first genocidal years on the continent — proving the corollary to LBJ, namely, convincing white people they may be the next underclass will stampede them into voting for anyone who promises to stop it.
The steady accumulation of wealth at the top of the income distribution since the Reagan years are a kind of macroscopic version of the Trump phenomenon: if you want to convince first-worlders that the end-times are coming, simply convince them that they will live in the dystopian conditions that already prevail elsewhere, confirm their lurking anxiety that the privilege they’ve enjoyed was an accident of history and not a vote of confidence in their innate superiority. Convince them that they are one bad beat away from having kids with swollen bellies lying outside rude huts, too weak to brush the flies away from their eyes.
I think this is the special genius of The Handmaid’s Tale: by putting a white, educated, formerly middle-class woman in the position of a sex-slave to a religious fascist — by putting a North American in the place of a woman under the Taliban or Isis — the entwined destiny and fragility of all people on earth (including those in the unevenly distributed dystopias of the Rest of the World) is manifested and our worst fears are confirmed.
There are other reasons that dystopian stories flourish. Science fiction, as Gibson has pointed out, is a pulp literature, a storytelling mode in which the plot is the highest priority. These stories demand a series of ever-raising stakes to keep the tension ratcheting up towards a climax. Disaster stories in which the small problems of workaday life are turned into ever-larger problems of “natural” disaster, human misconduct, worsening disaster, human atrocities, build to an unbeatable crescendo of man-against-nature-against-man that you can’t bear to look away from.
As Gibson says, our resonating stories are a window into our collective fears and hopes. We’re still talking about Skynet and The Matrix because the fear of transhuman, immortal colony-organisms that use humans as their energy-source and gut-flora is a great metaphor for the relationship most of us have to limited liability transnational corporations.
These, in turn, are the result of extreme market ideology, the idea that markets aren’t just places were you go every other week — they’re moral arbiters that tell us who the worthy and unworthy are among us. The Thatcherite doctrine that “there is no such thing as society” is a claim that we have no solidarity, no shared destiny, that “greed is good” and that we are all brands and businesses, and that “there is one and only one social responsibility of businessto use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.”
This is a common motif of dystopia: neighbor against neighbor, families turning on each other. In our hearts, we know that we have a common destiny. Not only are do we require other people to help us accomplish anything truly ambitious — we also are entwined at the level of our very microbes, in our very climate. You can’t find high enough ground to escape climate change, not when the people dying in the lowlands are breeding antibiotic resistant TB and coughing it into the air we all breathe. You could try for ever-more baroque secession strategies — underground shelters, air scrubbers, hydroponics — but at a certain point, it’s far cheaper to just take care of the people around you and vice-versa.
The popularity of today’s dystopias might represent the fear of shear between the contradictions of believing in the primacy of the individual (and the idea that our shared destiny is a delusion) and the certainty of the very small and unimaginably large ways in which we are linked. If we go on believing that we owe each other nothing, we’ll arrive at a world in which we behave that way — a perfect dystopia.
There are those who say dystopian and apocalyptic fiction are masturbatory; that they placate us with catharsis when we need to be agitated into action to prevent the real-life collapse of civilization. To what extent do you agree with that outlook?
Much of the planets human population, today, lives in conditions that many inhabitants of North America would regard as dystopian. Quite a few citizens of the United States live under conditions that many people would regard as dystopian. Dystopia is not very evenly distributed. Fantasy is fun, but naturalism is the necessary balance realism, to be less precise. Naturalistic fiction written today is necessarily fairly pessimistic otherwise, it wouldnt be a realistic depiction of the present. If you were, say, a tiger, and you knew whats about to happen to your species (extinction, almost certainly), wouldnt it be realistic to have a pessimistic view of things? I think its realistic, as a human, to have a pessimistic view of a world minus tigers.
William Gibson Has a Theory About Our Cultural Obsession With Dystopias [Abraham Riesman/Vulture]
(Image: Fred Armitage, CC-BY-SA)
Jules Yap takes to Ikeahackers to describe how you can use four Knuff magazine boxes to form a storage-top for a small-apartment-sized coffee table, using an Ikea stool for your base.
Lexi Alexander is the German-Palestinian world kickboxing champ who moved to the US when Chuck Norris helped her get a Green Card; after helping the US Army develop its unarmed combat training program and working as a stuntwoman, she became a virtuoso action-film director, starting with indie movies and working her way up to directing 
Before Laurie Penny was a brilliant young feminist novelist, she was a brilliant young essayist, blazing through the British (and then the worlds) media with column after column that skewered social ills on what Warren Ellis aptly dubbed her red pen of justice.
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Many people find it easiest to learn things by doing them. If youre looking to give a doer in your life an interesting, hands-on project, check out these tech-focused DIY kits:DIY AT-AT Cable Organizer & Card Case ($32.99)With this kit, you get to put together a wooden replica of an AT-AT that keeps cables, pens, 
Posted: July 28, 2017 at 6:41 pm
Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Liam Paynehasofficially added his name to the list of celebrities who are openly and explicitly in support of trans human rights. With anInstagram post earlier today, Payne quoted Thomas Jefferson and hashtagged the image lgbtqrights.
Paynes support comes as part of the recent flood of support for trans people following President Donald Trumps declaration via Twitter, and apparently without taking the extra old-fashioned step of consulting his staff first that transgender citizens will no longer be allowed to enlist in the military. Though the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff insist that there will be no change in the militarys enlistment tactics until an official piece of legislation is passed, Trumps tweets are nonetheless a codification of hate towards trans people. It sets a dangerous precedent for whimsical lawmaking from ones own phone.
That, of course, provides ample opportunity for everyone with a platform to make sure everyone else knows that theyre a great ally. So great that they wave rainbow flags during Pride Month and are very, very against this nonsensical announcement. Even Senator John McCain can try to win some brownie points. Not as many as Payne, and certainly not as many as James Cordens musical routine, but some.
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Next: ‘Get Low’: Liam Payne and Zedd Have a Summer Smash on Their Hands
Posted: July 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm
A decade ago, personal video testimonials of people “coming out” as gay exploded on YouTube. Now, search the term “ex-gay,” and you’ll find an explosion of testimonials from those who’ve left the homosexual lifestyle and have never looked back.
But this is the news the LGBT lobby doesn’t want anyone to know, because it bursts the myth that people are “born that way” and they can never really change. So invested are they in the narrative that they’ve lobbied states to outlaw reparative therapy voluntary counseling that helps diminish or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction. Currently, nine states and counting have banned such therapy for minors, meaning youth who seek help in ridding themselves of homosexual desires can no longer do so with a licensed therapist in those states.
But counselors are hitting back. Remarkably, in a stunning federal filing in May, tens of thousands of licensed therapists and clients lodged a massive fraud claim against the LGBT lobby accusing them of misinformation and outright lies regarding the “born that way” narrative and reparative therapy. And secular media are propping up the fraud, promoting the false notion that reparative therapy resorts to torture, shaming and “shock treatment” none of it true.
The late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a pioneer in reparative therapy, helped many men recapture their heterosexual orientation.
“Homosexuality is not about sex,” Nicolosi said. “It is about a person’s sense of himself, about his relationships, how he forms and establishes relationships, his self-identity, his self-image, personal shame, his ability to sustain intimacy.”
“Homosexual behavior is always prompted by an inner sense of emptiness,” he explained.
Often, when childhood wounds were healed, men would find their same-sex desires diminish or disappear completely, replaced with a healthy, heterosexual attraction.
“Findings from preliminary data collected over a 12-month period indicated statistically significant reductions in distress and improvements in well-being, significant movement toward heterosexual identity, and significant increases in heterosexual thoughts and desires with accompanying significant decreases in homosexual thoughts and desires,” he summarized.
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