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friday :: december 30, 2005
why we give: origins of holiday giving

A groundbreaking new study examines the origins of holiday giving and finds that our early human ancestors were frequently altruistic.

"Reciprocity is arguably the foundational basis of cooperation in humans," writes Michael Gurven (University of California – Santa Barbara). "A core feature of reciprocity is the contingent relationship between acts of giving and receiving among social partners. Contingency is important because it sets the rules for who qualifies as a free-rider or cheater in exchange relations."

A rigorous effort to quantify the extent and magnitude of different forms of payback in exchange relationships, the study, forthcoming in the February 2006 issue of Current Anthropology, will be critical for resolving heated debates about the function of altruism among hunter-gatherers.

Strict forms of contingency require tit-for-tat, while more forgiving forms emphasize the work effort or relative contributions of others. Gurven examined food exchanges in two small-scale, non-market societies – a classic context for understanding the evolution of conditional cooperation in humans.

"Without some kind of payback, altruism can be a very costly endeavor in small-scale societies subsisting on wild foods," Gurven writes. "This study shows that people indeed share more with those who give more to them… [but] families who cannot produce much food, close kin, and nearby neighbors sometimes receive more than they give."

Michael Gurven, "The Evolution of Contingent Cooperation." Current Anthropology 47:1. >from *Why we give: New study finds evidence of generosity among our early human ancestors*. December 19, 2005

related context
mirror neurons. neural basis of social interactions. march 11, 2005
> revenge: neural basis of altruistic punishment. september 10, 2004
> others' intentions. march 5, 2004
> cooperation evolution: symbiotic organisms, social animals and inequity aversion. october 8, 2003
> commons-based peer production in the digitally networked environment. december 19, 2002
> neurophysiology of sympathy: patterns of brain activity. december 10, 2002
> human cooperation: biological basis revealed. july 19, 2002
> cooperation and affiliation: primary social behavior in primates. february 25, 2002
> social skills earlier than thought. early evidence of social safety net. september 14, 2001

re:think reciprocity laws

sonic flow
conditional cooperation [stream]
conditional cooperation [download]

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friday :: december 23, 2005
pgs versus gps: mapOmatix

Looking back on several generations of mapping tools and projects, related in particular to the 'locative media' trend, still we feel that some levels of representation are missing in most of the maps that can be produced. We are interested in locating collectives and the activity of the multitude rather than into locating individualistic practices. We suspect that the logic under which some geospecific mapping projects are developed is the logic of the market or other self referent narratives.

A subjective positioning system would be developed after working on questions such as what is the meaning of location when the activities that are mapped are constituted by human practices? Some inmaterial entities are missing in the mapping of human activities, for example, how can you trace the influence of a writer in a network of conversations? When trying to give location to the inmaterial, ephemeral, distributed and non objective nature of for instance, human labor, human play and civil participation, it seems that all monitoring-based systems will fail in locating the subjective nature of flows of human activity and the processes involved.

Systems of information are based on a logic of identification and tracking which becomes insufficient and dangerous. Insufficient because it doesn´t relate to inmaterial information as joy, fear or participation and dangerous because it potentially may be used to execute surveillance and control. Within a spotting system using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID), who will guarantee that our privacy is protected and that the rights of secondary citizens ( immigrants, sin papeles, homeless, sex workers, ... ) will be respected and will not this technology for tracking bodies be only a way to control anyone that may be a menace to the dominating model?

Tracking technologies are insufficient to describe inmateriality. If the description of territories is only based on geographical data ( GPS ), how can we draw a clear picture of human actions, history and struggles? How can maps be made to represent the inmaterial labor of such people who cannot afford expensive technology when the techno- positivist approach to cartography is the only one proposed ?

A series of reinventions of the city are being performed by people trying to find alternative ways to live in urban environments. These reinventions work as multiple forms of appropriations and ways to bend city programs based on the most efficient ways to allow consumption. Different practices working on ideas related to the free, the open and implementing ways to innovate in civil participation, self mediation and software culture. The writtings and early psychogeographic interventions of Situationist International, of those as Asger Jorn, Constant and Guy Debord as well as the categories of daily consumption and rhythmanalysis described by Henri Lefebvre are to be seen as operating in the cultural background of these reinventions. 'A different city for a different life' (Constant) may be the moto under which these innovations develop ways to avoid or to alternate dominant narratives such as consumption, profit and competitivity.

Nevertheless we think we have to be conscious of marketing agendas always hungry for novelty. We can be sure that any possible form of innovation whether artistic or technological is potentially suitable for its incorporation into the market, even if this innovations deal with new ways to live the cities. What would be the ways to maintain independence from market logics? >from *PGS versus GPS : On Psycho/Subjective Geographic Systems* by elpueblodechina dialoguing with yves degoyon ( MapOMatix ).

related context
mapOmatix, a psycho geographic system (pgs), a geo-wiki, a story-teller for the multitude.
> al jwarizmi, a new generation prototype for realtime communication-creation over free networks based on horizontal relations between agents taking part in it.
> gollum. streaming tools for social networks. gollum want to privide tools for the al-warizmi project
> maptools, resources in the open source mapping community.
> carto.net, SVG, cartography and geography.
> satellite culture: global positioning systems, inuit wayfinding, and the need for a new account of technology. the risk of turning landscapes into constructed entities or commodities. december, 2005
> how does your city affect you?. november 4, 2005
> placelab: location-aware computing. october 14, 2005
> geoserver: open access to geographic data. may 27, 2005
> satellite navigation for blind people. june 11, 2003

mapOmatix tools to distillate human practices
and avoid subjective diffidence

sonic flow
tracing activities' location [stream]
tracing activities' location [download]

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friday :: december 16, 2005
scientists must help prevent misuse of science and technology

"Knowledge without conscience is simply the ruin of the soul." F. Rabelais, 1532

In recent decades scientific research has created new and unexpected knowledge and technologies that offer unprecedented opportunities to improve human and animal health and environmental conditions. But some science and technology can be used for destructive purposes as well as for constructive purposes. Scientists have a special responsibility when it comes to problems of "dual use" and the misuse of science and technology.

The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention reinforced the international norm prohibiting biological weapons, stating in its provisions that "each state party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic or other peaceful purposes." Nevertheless, the threat from biological weapons is again a live issue. This statement presents principles to guide individual scientists and local scientific communities that may wish to define a code of conduct for their own use.

These principles represent fundamental issues that should be taken into account when formulating codes of conduct. They are not intended to be a comprehensive list of considerations.

1. Awareness. Scientists have an obligation to do no harm. They should always take into consideration the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their own activities. They should therefore:
• always bear in mind the potential consequences – possibly harmful – of their research and recognize that individual good conscience does not justify ignoring the possible misuse of their scientific endeavour;
• refuse to undertake research that has only harmful consequences for humankind.
2. Safety and Security. Scientists working with agents such as pathogenic organisms or dangerous toxins have a responsibility to use good, safe and secure laboratory procedures, whether codified by law or common practice.
3. Education and Information. Scientists should be aware of, disseminate information about and teach national and international laws and regulations, as well as policies and principles aimed at preventing the misuse of biological research.
4. Accountability. Scientists who become aware of activities that violate the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention or international customary law should raise their concerns with appropriate people, authorities and agencies.
5. Oversight. Scientists with responsibility for oversight of research or for evaluation of projects or publications should promote adherence to these principles by those under their control, supervision or evaluation and act as role models in this regard. >from *IAP Statement on Biosecurity* . In this statement, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and 67 fellow members of the global InterAcademy Panel offer researchers principles of professional conduct to address "dual use" issues. December 1, 2005

related context
active denial technology: directed energy weapons. august 5, 2005
> mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of iraq. november 19, 2004
> deadly medicine: creating the master race. november 5, 2004
> spain: scientists' objections. april 20, 2004
> science misuse. february 24, 2004
> challenges to evolution education. november 14, 2003
> berlin declaration: science and culture accessible to all internet users. november 5, 2003
> xenophobia may slow scientific progress. june 6, 2003
> science commons: building a free flow of knowledge. march 15, 2002
> attacks on science: ethics and public health. january 11, 2002
> declaration on science and the use of scientific knowledge. july 1, 1999

hand with care the potential dual use of your hands

sonic flow
building a scientists' code of conduct [stream]
building a scientists' code of conduct [download]

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friday :: december 9, 2005
3 cities against the wall: a world without borders

Art has the potential to unite different cultures in harmony and to imagine new ways people can live and work together for justice, equality, and peace.

Three Cities Against the Wall is an exhibition protesting the Separation Wall under construction by Israel in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. This project involved groups of artists in Ramallah, Palestine; Tel Aviv, Israel; and New York City. The show was held simultaneously in all three cities in November 2005.

Through this collaborative exhibition, the organizers and participating artists draw attention to the reality of the Wall and its disastrous impact on the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by the separation of Palestinian communities from each other and from their fertile lands, water resources, schools, hospitals and work places, thereby “contributing to the departure of Palestinian populations,” as the International Court of Justice has warned.

The wall also destroys the human spirit. Spiritual and cultural life cannot survive under these conditions, and we, as artists, find it necessary to fight this crime with the means we possess.

This illegal Wall prevents the possibility of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the universal principles of equality and self-determination. It prolongs the conflict and the suffering that results from it. Therefore we Israeli, Palestinian, and American artists call attention to the urgency of dismantling the Wall, which threatens any peaceful future in Israel and Palestine.

In an advisory opinion issued at the Hague in July 2004, the International Court of Justice found the Separation Wall to be illegal. The court stated this unequivocally: “The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, [is] contrary to international law.”

Curatorial and organizing committees for Three Cities Against the Wall, comprised of local artists and activists, have been established in each of the three participating cities. These committees have each invited numerous artists to participate, each of whom was asked to provide three works, one for each of the three locations.

In Palestine, Tayseer Barakat, founder of the League of Palestinian Artists and curator of Gallery Barakat, and the artist and organizer Sliman Mansour organized the exhibition. The organizations involved are the League of Palestinian Artists and the Palestinian Association of Contemporary Art.

In Israel the project was organized by a group of artists and activists that came together to resist the Wall through art and culture. Members of the group are associated with the Israeli Coalition Against the Wall, Ta’ayush, and Anarchists Against the Wall. These groups are active in protests and projects, both in Israel and Palestine, against the occupation and the construction of the Wall; many have participated in demonstrations where protesters have been seriously injured - Palestinian, Israeli, and international.

In New York, Three Cities Against the Wall was organized through the arts center ABC No Rio by a committee of artists and activists, a number of them associated with the radical comic magazine World War 3 Illustrated. ABC No Rio is a community center for the arts that grew out of housing struggles on New York’s Lower East Side. World War 3 Illustrated was founded in 1979 to oppose the right-wing policies of Ronald Reagan. It has been publishing art and articles in support of the rights of the Palestinian people since 1988, when it published an interview with the Palestinian political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali. Many of the organizers in New York participate in the International Solidarity Movement, Women in Black, SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now), the International Women’s Peace Service, Jews Against the Occupation, and other groups opposed to Israel’s unjust occupation.

In the process of creating Three Cities Against the Wall, the organizers and participating artists built networks and forged relationships between their respective communities to oppose Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and the Wall as a symbol of that oppression.

Yet while American, Palestinian, and Israeli artists are showing their work together in this exhibition, we understand that their relationship is not one of equality. The relationship between Palestinians and Israelis is like that between prisoners and guards, with U.S. citizens as the prison’s patrons. Americans finance Israel through their tax dollars; some also finance Israel through contributions to Zionist organizations. The Wall is horrifying because it casts these relationships in concrete, making Palestinian imprisonment more thorough and more permanent.

Ironically, there is also an opportunity created by the Wall: this physical barrier makes the oppression of Palestinians more visible. Artists can use the Wall as a metaphor to educate the public. We are working together because we understand that by uniting our voices we are more likely to be heard and will therefore be better able to inform people about the true nature of this catastrophic situation. We also want to demonstrate that within the Israeli and the American public there is opposition to the Wall.

With this exhibit, we are laying the foundation for building a community of artists across borders. And we are demonstrating our joint opposition to injustice and oppression, both on moral and ethical grounds and because injustice and oppression engender a separation between peoples, preventing normal human communication between them.

We believe that the world of the future is a world without borders. We support the right of a Turk to work in Germany, of a Haitian to seek refuge in the United States, of a Croat to live peacefully in Serbia. Thus we also support the right of a Palestinian, a Jew, or anyone else to live in the city of his or her choice, to enjoy all the privileges of citizenship there, and to travel freely to and from this home. This is not a radical demand but a natural human expectation. The attempts of twentieth century governments to control their nations’ demographics through genocide, forced transfer, and other coercive means have been a disaster and such policies must be discarded. It is outrageous that at a time when governments in Europe are discussing the possibility of open borders, Israel is building a new border of cement and steel. We oppose the Wall because it is a wall against the future. >from * Three Cities Against the Wall*. November, 2005

related context
graffiti artist banksy hacks the wall by nigel parry, the electronic intifada. september 2, 2005
> fadaiat, an event dealing with freedom of movement and freedom of knowledge. june 17, 2005
> making differences: snow white and the madness of truth. "art can actually have a value and a meaning beyond being just art itself - it can make people reflect on, and better be prepared, for a discussion and understandning of the events of the world." january 25, 2004
> banksy: graffiti art. the banksy manifesto is talking about how the application of paint can make a difference. december 3, 2003
> guess who died: on arafat in israeli art. october 6, 2003
> al-wasiti art center: art bridge between palestine and the outside world. july 3, 2002
> mirroring evil: nazi imagery/recent art . one art exhibition at the jewish museum that addressed the period of the holocaust. march 18, 2002
> present tense by mona hatoum. january 9, 2002
> artists and scientists in times of war by roger malina. september 23, 2001

no western walls

sonic flow
deconstructed by the wall [stream]
deconstructed by the wall [download]

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friday :: december 2, 2005
hayabusa: asteroid sampling

On November 26, 2005 spacecraft 'Hayabusa' -– which means "falcon" in Japanese -- challenged the second trial to execute landing on and sampling from the asteroid Itokawa. Hayabusa team confirmed the whole process to have been implemented, and is sure that the team succeeded in sampling materials on the surface of an asteroid for the first time in world history. Detailed data to be sent from Hayabusa will further verify the sampling.

'Hayabusa' started its last descent phase from the altitude of 1 km above Itokawa by command from earth around 10:00 p.m. Nov.25 (JST). It was followed by starting the vertical descent from around 6:00 a.m. Nov.26., and, around 6:25 a.m., Sagamihara Deep Space Control Room sent a command to continue the descent. Hayabusa challenged landing and sampling operation after a hovering phase. Hayabusa team is now sure, through the analysis of telemetry data, that a series of sequence for sampling was successfully done. Hayabusa then flew up to several kilometers altitude with normal solar paddles power, spacecraft attitude, etc.

The spacecraft shifted to safe-hold mode because of its attitude dispersion during ascent, and Sagamihara Deep Space Control Room is now carrying out the recovery operation to three-axis control mode. It therefore takes a few more days to obtain detailed data relating the procedure. Instruments onboard are functioning very well.

Spacecraft Hayabusa could find, on the surface of Itokawa, the Target Marker dropped November 20 among the images taken during descent phase on November 26. On the Target Marker are etched 880,000 names from 149 countries. >from *Hayabusa is sure to have succeeded in asteroid sampling! It found the Target Marker with 880,000 names!*. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). November 28, 2005

"A large gap between meteorite research and asteroid research exists in spite of great many works in each field. To bridge knowledge in both fields it is necessary to establish correspondence between asteroid spectral type and meteorite type by comparing the asteroid sample with the meteorite sample. Hayabusa is, following this scheme, the first mission to collect samples from a near-earth asteroid and return them to the earth." >from *Asteroid Science opened by Hayabusa Samole Return Mission* by A. Fujiwara. Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS/JAXA)

related context
hayabusa mission.
> a chronology of asteroid exploration.
> stardust: comet sampling.
> lunar sampling.
> genesis: solar wind sampling.
> voyager enters solar system's final frontier. june 3, 2005
> sedna. discovery of a candidate inner oort cloud planetoid by michael e. brown. august 10, 2004
> what is a planet? evolving definition. april 7, 2003
> mirror matter footprint in eros asteroid?. november 18, 2002
> quaoar: a new world in the solar system. october 14, 2002
> late permian mass extinction triggered by a collision with near earth object. february 27, 2001
> edgeworth-kuiper belt latest discoveries. august 11, 2000
> eros is relic of solar system's birth. may 30, 2000

a peregrine falcon, wanderer in search for muses

sonic flow
hayabusa [stream]
hayabusa [download]

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