Psychedelic prohibition is racist and colonialist

Psychedelic prohibition is racist and colonialist Andrey Zvyagintsev
Envision a club-wielding Fred Flintstone tripping out on psychedelic drugs - bizarre, right? But according to archaeologists, that's exactly what cavemen might have been getting up to. Research undertaken by Dr Elisa Guerra-Doce at the University of Valladolid in Spain drew up a paper on the archaeological evidence that proves stimulants and psycho...
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Web Curios 31/07/20

Web Curios 31/07/20
Well  that  was a fortni...actually, no, fcuk it, I can't be bothered.  IT'S ALL OVER. I wrote my first Web Curios for Imperica on 8 February 2013, a few short months after binning off a reasonably-good job with an email that, even now, is the single piece of writing that people most remember me for and, in all likelihood, the only o...
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When it comes to space, we're all vision impaired

When it comes to space, we're all vision impaired “The Tactile Universe” event, Dr Chris Harrison
Many of us have our interest in astronomy sparked by the visual, whether simply looking up at the sky to watch the moon cross the night, or the stunning images captured by the Hubble telescope that filter into the popular imagination. Astronomical data often comes in different forms beyond the visual, such as radio signals. However, the e...
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With e.gg, retro websites become the future

With e.gg, retro websites become the future
​2020 represents the pinnacle of the stylistic mashup. The Weeknd's recent number one single sounds like it was beamed in from the early 80s. That early 90s monument for tabloid moral panics, the rave, is making a comeback across the world. And, of course, we have successfully updated the 1918 H1N1 "Spanish Flu" pandemic, bringing it into a truly g...
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Ready to eat

Ready to eat
What did you do to prepare for the lockdown? What activities helped you cope as the world retreated into suspended animation? One of the ways I coped was to cross the line between passive interest and active obsession; to take a step forward from being interested in a subculture, to actually entering it.   On Saturday 14 March - during the las...
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Trans stories finally get their time in gaming

Trans stories finally get their time in gaming If Found, Annapurna Interactive
There has been some misogynistic crap in video gaming over the years, and it’s good to see this really changing. Part of this move is due to the explosion in indie gaming studios and development teams, brought about in part by frictionless stores like Steam and PSN - as well, of course, by devices good enough to be gaming machines through Goog...
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All desire and pride: shame and young women

All desire and pride: shame and young women Elijah O’Donnell
I remember a girl in my PE class making fun of me for not shaving my legs properly. I was around 11 or 12, and still had very fair hair, but I had wanted to be grown-up and so I shaved them in the bath using my mum's razor. I was short and still skinny, still a child. We sat on a grass verge by our school, during sports day. I was wearing shiny gre...
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Electric Dreams: digital works will always be together

Electric Dreams: digital works will always be together “Doxbox Trustbot”, Alistair Gentry
Curated by Crossover Labs,  ​Electric Dreams Online ​ is a digital art and creativity showcase - a “celebration of storytelling through cyberspace” which runs from 24/07/16 for three weeks. ​Rather than just have a bunch of on-demand videos,  ​Electric Dreams Online ​ is hosting a series of interactive performances at ...
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Trevor Paglen: blooming marvellous

Trevor Paglen: blooming marvellous Bloom (#5f5554), Trevor Paglen, 2020, c/o Pace Gallery
Art gallery behemoth Pace will host Trevor Paglen in London this September, with a new exhibition entitled  ​Bloom. ​ Following on from exhibitions at the Barbican and at Prada in Milan and Paris, Paglen continues his analysis of contemporary socio-technical themes including facial recognition, AI, and concepts surrounding ...
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From Al to Zappa: can music be funny?

From Al to Zappa: can music be funny?
Music has always found a way to make people laugh. Go and randomly slap your hands around on a piano right now, and you'll probably crack a smile. I'm sure that three-hundred years ago baby Beethoven would have laughed just the same. This wasn't documented, of course, but it's likely that the human mind still finds very similar things amusing these...
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Deepfake dilemma: when a Birmingham blogger doesn't actually exist

Deepfake dilemma: when a Birmingham blogger doesn't actually exist Cyabra
​The header image for this article is that of Oliver Taylor. Oliver is a student at the University of Birmingham, loves his politics, and is a rather incendiary author for the press in Israel. Oh, one thing... Oliver doesn’t exist. An investigation by Reuters and deepfake-spotting security company Cyabra started after academic a...
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It's time to say goodbye

It's time to say goodbye Graffiti, Oxford, 2011
We intend to close Imperica at the end of this month. It has been a wonderful thing to create, to grow, and be part of. When I first thought of the idea in the late 1990s – for an online magazine to cover interesting stuff in a thoughtful way – I had no idea as to whether it would ever happen. For the past (almost) 10 years, it has happen...
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Web Curios 17/07/20

Web Curios 17/07/20
Blah blah blah week blah blah blah.  We have some HOUSEKEEPING to take care of. Point the first: I am off next week due to having STUFF TO DO that is going to keep me offline for two whole days (unconscionable, I know). You will have to find a way of consoling yourselves in my absence; I am told PCP is 'similarly engaging'. Point the second: t...
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Delving into Wuxia: the intricacies and symbolism of costumes and cosplay in ancient Chinese fashion

Delving into Wuxia: the intricacies and symbolism of costumes and cosplay in ancient Chinese fashion “Ice Fantasy”, 2016
Last December, as another year - and another decade - came to a close, I began my journey into Wuxia. For the uninitiated, "wuxia" - which translates to "martial heroes"- is a genre of fiction centered on the pseudo-stories and adventures of martial artists in ancient China. With origins in fantasy literature, Wuxia's growing popularity as a subset...
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China’s Uyghur ethnic minority is targeted through Android

China’s Uyghur ethnic minority is targeted through Android Uyghur camel drivers in Xinjiang, Wikimedia
The ongoing work of Chinese authorities to suppress and ultimately remove the Uyghur / Uighur population from Xinjiang province has moved online - principally to Android. The Uyghur population is Muslim, and one of 55 officially-recognised ethnic minorities in the country. Suppression techniques are somewhat barbaric, including - allegedly -&n...
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12 things stripping taught me about stand-up comedy

12 things stripping taught me about stand-up comedy
When I tell people I'm a comedian I get lots of questions like "can I borrow your phone charger?" or "thank you but, for the ninth time, do you have a code for the loo?" . Lockdown has given me plenty of thinking time to finally get round to answering these, I've compiled the 12 most important things I've learned about stand-up here. And it's C3570...
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Web Curios 10/07/20

Web Curios 10/07/20
CAN EVERYONE STOP SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER PLEASE?  Sorry, I appreciate that typing that in all caps does rather render me a crushing hypocrite, but, well, really. Could we all just please be quiet please and accept the fact that the overriding principle of life ought to be something along the lines of 'do not be a cnut' and that as long as...
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​The 90s: Game Boys, dungarees, and techno-utopianism

​The 90s: Game Boys, dungarees, and techno-utopianism Gateway Skegness, Roger Cornfoot, 1992 (CC BY-SA)
The Nineties are back! Actually, they've been back for a while. In fact, they've been back so many times over the last few years that it's starting to feel like they never left. From Dad shoes and dungarees to bike shorts and bodycon, my wardrobe looks like a turn-of-the-century time capsule.  It's not just the fashion industry that's gone nut...
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Miss Americana

8D39E341-F9A7-428A-9CD0-777164DDB34E Lana Del Rey, “Born to Die”, 2012
There are perhaps more similarities between Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey than first meet the eye. Both artists had a meteoric rise to fame – accompanied by more than their fair share of public criticism and media harrassment; both are solo artists, singer-songwriters who author their own output; both are deeply invested in projecting a very specif...
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Web Curios 03/07/20

Web Curios 03/07/20
ARE YOU ALL READY???? It feels a little bit like that moment at the start of Gladiators where that little bloke is doing his rolling Rs and getting the crowd all gee'd up, and the current crop of pituitary meatheads are all pawing at the ground and flexing their lumps in anticipation as they look forward to TAKING DOWN the latest foolish civvies wh...
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