• The Asylum Issue

    Bad News: This Immortality Is out of Your Price Range

    The Asylum Issue
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    A 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India

    Bad News

    This Immortality Is out of Your Price Range

    It's been a rough week. In short, pack a small bag is what ol' blue eyes would have said. That's right, last week was so bad, it's got me shaking with that oh it's time to get out of here feeling – you know the one that rises up after you've been clicking around on the internet for hours, with little to no idea what you've been doing or why you haven't closed these tabs yet? That slap-the-laptop-shut feeling? The even sadder moment fifteen seconds later when you click the wake button on your phone and accidentally spend another hour swiping through your various feeds and streams with pretty much zero interest. That lifeless whiff of fate drifting in from the stack of untouched papers in the corner of your room from last summer when you spent that day collecting everything into one big pile to "finally organize your life"? The four digit red badge of courage beside your email app, reminding you of the six or seven important emails you've been putting off for weeks that are buried inside of the literally thousands of meaningless notifications and newsletters?

    Yeah! That's right, let's blow this popsicle stand. Let's wave a cab, or tie eight bedsheets together, and drop out to make our big break. Open a new browser tab, smash that play button, and let's fly.

    The long version, in case you weren't already convinced, is my carefully curated list of the worst things that happened last week.

    Monday, October 26

    Last week started off rough with some tragic news: the Karl Marx gravesite in London's Highgate Cemetery is officially closed to the unwashed masses. If you want to get a peek at the final resting site of Europe's most infamous bearded hipster, you'll have to pony up six bucks. Socialism, more like Sus-ialism, am I right?

    Speaking of the exploitation of the working classes, new Social Security data released today reveals that more than one half of working Americans are making less than $30,000 a year. Just to put that in perspective, that's the same amount of money Americans spend online every 4 seconds. So next time you're at the bank, go ahead and climb up on the counter.

    If you haven't noticed, the police propaganda machine has been in high gear lately – no doubt because they keep fucking "accidentally" murdering people – and we're seeing more and more ludicrous crime sensationalism. The latest? This report that YouTube videos are giving rise to a kind of stand-alone complex of viral ultraviolence. Hey police state, if you think that the commonplace of violent videos going viral online is evidence of an actual real-world pattern of violence, perhaps you should take note of the historically unprecedented rage inspired by videos of police killing people. I'm no statistician, so you'll have to run with that. Sidenote: I had to google how to spell "ludicrous" the original way.

    As if we needed one more reason to scoop eyeballs out of the sockets of the super-wealthy, Citigroup is testing a new ATM kiosk with retina scanning software promising to do away with pin numbers and credit cards. See you chumps in the cyberpunk criminal utopia!

    As global leaders are busy negotiating new climate change agreements in Paris, the worlds' developing nations are calling BS. I love this story because its full of all kinds of drama: between the Left and the Right, rich and poor, environmentalists and industrialists, the "West" and everyone else ... all stratified on axses that challenge our ideas of which end of the political spectrum we expect arguments to come from. Far be it from me to get involved in geopolitical debates that have literally no chance of ever ending positively, but I really enjoyed this right-wing editorial about the Anthropence, coming to the defense of developing nations and against the wealthy West.

    Tuesday, October 27

    Lots of sketchy military news today. First up is the high-powered sonic device capable of moving objects with sound that could be used for a Star Wars style tractor beam. Into the garbage chute, flyboy.

    Next, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working on an artificial brain to improve the treatment of the 300,000-some "brain-wounded warriors" returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. But seriously, read that TIME article because it's full of eyebrow-raising dystopian shit like this:

    Outside Dr. Kenyon’s office at Los Alamos there is an armored truck with a machine gun mounted on top. It is parked in the red zone, by the front entrance. Inside the building, Dr. Kenyon and his team work on artificial intelligence, man’s quest to create a sentient machine. Dr. Kenyon is part of the synthetic cognition group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He and his team are simulating the primate visual system, using a supercomputer to power the operation to create a precise computer model of the human eye to understand the relationship between visual cognition and the brain.

    While we're on the subject of artificial intelligence in a world lacking regular intelligence, scientists in England claim we're only 50 years away from immortal virtual versions of ourselves powered by social media. That means by the time I'm as old as my grandfather, I could be frozen in internet as a learning, growing, communicative, emotionally-aware version of my Twitter account. There alone, we're talking act of God levels of scientific achievement.

    Of course, one immediately imagines a world of singular digital immortality and can't help but also head-scratch about the role of sweeping government data-collecting and surviellance. Because even though we all know the government is watching and recording our every digital move without our consent, somehow American politicians still managed to pass the massive, unprecedentedly draconian cybersecurity bill Cisa.

    In probably related news, today the federal government released tax data that revealed a record 3,221 of Americans gave up their citizenship so far this year and expatriated. That's up 25 percent from this time last year, but seems about 322 million people lower than it probably should be.

    Wednesday, October 28

    On the back of news about the cybersurveillance bill, Freedom House, the human rights NGO started by Eleanor Roosevelt, found that global internet freedom declined for the fifth consecutive year, with conditions worsening in half of the 65 countries they analyzed.

    Meanwhile, the FAA just certified this $330 million luxury airship for production. Too many jokes about this to really get into it right now, so I'll just leave this story about the military blimp that bounced across the eastern seaboard and straight into the knowyourmeme.com database right here.

    Have you been participating in #WomanCrushWednesday? Word? Ok, cool whatever. Anyway, if you want to start, I'll give you some free debut material, our little secret: this 85-year-old career jewel thief named Doris Payne. She was arrested yesterday in Atlanta for stealing a pair of earrings, but is believed to have stolen more than $2 million in jewels in the last 65 years. *Dabs forehead and takes a sip of water* ...

    “I have no remorse,” she said. “Why? I ain’t killed nobody. I never took anything I regretted. I had a good look at it and decided this is what I want. And I kept it.”

    New 3D-mapping software is being developed for commercial drones capable of autonomously mapping and navigating the airspace around skyscrapers was reported by MIT today. Elsewhere, this report on the ethics of self-driving vehicles in deciding whether to allow a passenger to die to save the lives of other people. Gulp.

    Today Google told the BBC that they are a year away from encircling the globe in a continuous ring of internet-beaming hot air balloons. I've reported on this before – Facebook is working on continously-flying solar drones, Google crashed a few balloons into the Mexican mountains, etc. – but this is the first official announcement I'm aware of that details the timeline of the New Zealand "Loon" project they revealed back in 2013. Related news, the head of the National Institute for Mental Health announced he would be leaving his position to take a gig at Google Life Sciences. Google LS is the branch of the beast that is studying life extension and "predictive human health". Something-something dystopia joke – I dunno, honestly I give up at this point.

    Some hump-day comic relief midway through the terror: the US Department of Energy claims the waste caused by Halloween-time pumpkins is creating a climate change catastrophe, producing more than 1.3 billion pounds of greenhouse-gas-emitting biowaste a year.

    Thursday, October 29

    Today, China officially ended their controversial and ambitious One-Child policy. If you didn't know, the Communist Party criminalized having more than one child way back in 1979 in an effort to conserve resources in the world's most populous country. Since then, birth rates have plummetted to about 12.5 births per 1000 people per year, nearly tied with the United States. In a time when the global population is pushing 7.4 billion, you wouldn't think this would come as bad news per se, but in fact low birth rates are the scourge of the industrialized world. A fact no doubt rooted in global capitalism's insatiable demand for unmediated expansion and surplus, lol.

    The European Union (You're a peeing union, as I loved to say in the sixth grade) approved a resolution to grant Edward Snowden – the NSA whistleblower who is cool but also kind of just another white nerd dude on Twitterasylum as a "Human Rights Defender". I'm immediately realizing I shouldn't call Snowden names because on many occassions he's endorsed the encryption app I designed, but fuck it, I'm insane.

    Halloween is right around the corner, and I can't get enough of these costume-sensitivity posters. I laugh, but Halloween costumes are almost sociopathologically racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynist, or otherwise totally effed-up these days so I guess it's worth mentioning that, too. Honestly, those of us unfortunate enough to be deep in the social justice internet milleu should tread lightly here, because ultimately this will end in a kind of hypervigiliant capitalist mediation of ethics as public relations. Oh wait.

    The baddest-ass-shit-of-the-week award goes to these hip-hop heroes, who managed to film a music video using the visitation video system of the DeKalb County Jail in Georgia.

    Toyota is working on a robotic "toy" thing that is designed to keep you awake and alert by moving around and respond to your body language while you drive alone. The robot was inspired by a similar device installed in the International Space Station to study the effect of artificial intelligence on human isolation. No word yet if they plan to release a model for the 35 hours a week you spend on your couch scrolling through your phone.

    Friday, October 30

    Tons of terrible things happened today, and I guess it's my job to ennumerate them, so here goes. Bill Gates said that "Capitalism can't save us from Climate Change", which seems a tad convenient seeing as this nerd got saved by capitalism, himself. American's disapproval of the government is at a record 78 percent.
    A mysterious disease is causing starfish to turn themselves inside out and die. The unmanned Black Hawk helicopter that the Army has been developing just passed an important test and will be brought into their fleet of killing machines. There is a new September 11 virtual reality simulator out on Occulus Rift. Another historic massive cyclone is spinning up in Indian Ocean, and could dump a foot of rain on the Arabian Peninsula. NASA released photos of massive prehistoric earthworks that could be 8 millenia old, further proving my theory that we don't know anything about anything. This awesome story of three polyamorous women who formed a civil union in Brazil, the first women to do this in that country. The police boycott of Quentin Tarantino was just made official by the National Association of Police Organizations, which means if you go see The Hateful Eight this holiday season feel free to spark a j in the first row. And last but not least a, fucking abyss just opened up in the Bighorn Mountains. Supervolcano conspiracy YouTube, you take it from here.

    Saturday, October 31

    Things are getting really spooky over on the Right, where a growing force of young ideologues are taking more prominent roles in the Republican party. The party of dusty old coots who stomp out flaming bags of dog shit on Halloween is quickly becoming the party of the little pricks who light them, ring the doorbell, and run into the bushes. Pun intended. I'm really nailing this political Halloween section, don't you think?

    A Russian airplane crashed today, killing all 224 souls aboard. Militants "associated with the Islamic State" – I use scare quotes because I never trust an article that uses the phrase a group associated with this or that terrorist organization – claimed to have brought the plane down in response to Russian airstrikes in Syria. This is a big story that will surely be playing out for weeks. And just in case anyone was wondering, we still don't know wtf happened to Malaysian flight 370.

    Would it cross a line to make a screenshot of the trashy tabloid site that published the unconsentual photo this drone took of a sunbather attacking it the official Bad News t-shirt? Probably.

    Either I'm getting old or Halloween was really boring this year: I went as an untethered decoration, which I felt really fit my brand. On the plus side, I bumped into the one and only Sexy Sax Man, Sergio Flores on the wild streets of Bushwick tonight, but while I was going to ask to take an Instagram Video so I can retire from the internet with a story to tell my grandkids, my party was already leaving me behind. So there you go, you'll just have to take my word for it.

    Oh, and I found my new avatar.

    Sunday, November 1

    Absolutely nothing happened today.

    Tune in next week!

    Protesters storm AirBNB headquarters, demand cozy, conveniently-located alternative to gentrification! Anonymous leaks the credentials of a bunch of random white men in positions of power who turn out to be racists! Scientists discover "perfect storm" brewing over the Pacific actually just the consequencestwo centuries of rampant industrialism!

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