Aaand here’s some more Balearic/rave influenced electro lo-fi.
Archive for August 27th, 2010
More chillwave/synthpop/lo-fi/1980s-revival whatever you want to call it. At least it’s summery and somewhat psychedelic. Washed Out, with a happy video.
A rare, 21-minute video by Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal, who embedded with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Released by an Australian tv program a few days ago. This is pretty amazing (and extremely dangerous), only ever been done before by a Western journalist. It offers a glimpse into the day-to-day life of the Taliban, which includes hiding in the mountains, praying, and firing on US convoys from up above.
Spend the next 21 minutes of your day watching this extremely rare footage of the war in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province — from the Taliban’s perspective. The video, released by an Australian TV news program, comes from Paul Refsdal, a Norwegian documentary journalist who embedded with a Taliban commander named Dawran earlier this year.
Most American troops spend their tours in Afghanistan with only the vaguest idea of who they’re fighting. In June, a Special Forces A-Team in the south reportedly couldn’t find the Taliban. It wasn’t so hard for Refsdal. This self-described “tall white man” managed to effectively infiltrate the insurgency in one of its bastions. The only other person we know to have done anything similar is our crazy friend Nir Rosen, who’s been known to pass himself off as a Bosnian Muslim.
Refsdal portrays the Taliban as a bunch of dudes goofily hanging out: combing their long dyed hair; joking with one another; praying a ton; and repeatedly firing on U.S. convoys from high in the mountains. (“Use the rocket launcher, Rafiq, the rocket launcher.”) Dawran is a doting father of young kids who tells the reporter stories about how he came this close to killing a “traitor” but then took mercy on him. His men gawk at how scared Refsdal appears and can’t seem to load their ammunition properly. “These guys sound and act a lot like a U.S. small unit, but replace all the quotes from ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Talladega Nights’ with ‘Allahu Akbar,’” observes Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security.
One of the more extravagant ideas currently floating around in quantum physics. The researchers in the article below don’t accept the uncertainty principle, which says that it’s basically random whether a particle decays or not (when you observe it, that is), and believe the answer has to be sought in the future. To “prove” this, they conduct experiments in three phases, and see whether the observations in the intermediate phase might be determined by actions in the last phase.
A series of quantum experiments shows that measurements performed in the future can influence the present. Does that mean the universe has a destiny—and the laws of physics pull us inexorably toward our prewritten fate?
Tollaksen’s group is looking into the notion that time might flow backward, allowing the future to influence the past. By extension, the universe might have a destiny that reaches back and conspires with the past to bring the present into view. On a cosmic scale, this idea could help explain how life arose in the universe against tremendous odds. On a personal scale, it may make us question whether fate is pulling us forward and whether we have free will.
The problem goes like this, Tollaksen says: Take two radioactive atoms, so identical that “even God couldn’t see the difference between them.” Then wait. The first atom might decay a minute later, but the second might go another hour before decaying. This is not just a thought experiment; it can really be seen in the laboratory. There is nothing to explain the different behaviors of the two atoms, no way to predict when they will decay by looking at their history, and—seemingly—no definitive cause that produces these effects. This indeterminism, along with the ambiguity inherent in the uncertainty principle, famously rankled Einstein, who fumed that God doesn’t play dice with the universe.
It bothered Aharonov as well. “I asked, what does God gain by playing dice?” he says. Aharonov accepted that a particle’s past does not contain enough information to fully predict its fate, but he wondered, if the information is not in its past, where could it be? After all, something must regulate the particle’s behavior. His answer—which seems inspired and insane in equal measure—was that we cannot perceive the information that controls the particle’s present behavior because it does not yet exist.
“Nature is trying to tell us that there is a difference between two seemingly identical particles with different fates, but that difference can only be found in the future,” he says. If we’re willing to unshackle our minds from our preconceived view that time moves in only one direction, he argues, then it is entirely possible to set up a deterministic theory of quantum mechanics.