I’m sort of inured to pain by this point. Anesthetic is illegal for people like me, so we learn to live without it; I’ve made scalpel incisions in my hands, pushed five-millimeter diameter needles through my skin, and once used a vegetable knife to carve a cavity into the tip of my index finger. I’m an idiot, but I’m an idiot working in the name of progress: I’m Lepht Anonym, scrapheap transhumanist. I work with what I can get.[...]
My first foray was into RFID (radio frequency identification) following Amal Graafstra. He’s famous for having his doctor implant him with a passive ID ampoule. After one visit to an outraged state GP here in Scotland (“I wouldn’t do it even if I could, and I have no idea why you want to do it!”), I was fairly certain I’d been born in the wrong country for that — here, doctors would be struck off the records for helping me. I was on my own.
Luckily, I’m far too stupid to be stopped by bureaucracy. I bought my first Swann-Morton scalpel online, scrubbed the cleanest bathroom we could get with household bleach, settled myself cross-legged over the bathtub with my spotter, and poised the blade over the Biro-ink line I’d drawn for guidance. For a few minutes, I doubted whether I’d even be able to do it — cutting yourself open is not something we’re adapted to be good at. Contemplating St. Gibson, I took the plunge.
RFID chips work on passive power. Readers take power from a USB to generate magnetic fields. The chips contain copper coils to convert the magnetic field back into an electric one that they can use as their power source. After the RFID op, I acquired another implant that works with EM fields, the neodymium-60 nodule pioneered by Steve Haworth.
The implants sit in various places under my skin: middle fingertips of my left hand, back of the right hand, right forearm — tiny magnets, five or six millimeters across, coated in gold and then in silicon to isolate the delicate metal from the destructive environment of your body. They’re something of an investment at about thirty euros apiece, and hard to get hold of, but worth pursuing. When implanted, they become technological sensory organs.
There’s an entire world of electromagnetic radiation out there, invisible to most. Our cities are saturated with it. A radio, for instance, gives off a field that’s bigger than the device itself. So do power supplies and wires in the walls. The implants pick up on the fields, and because they’re magnets, they fizz with gentle electricity, telling you this hard drive is currently active, that one is turned off, there’s the main line in the wall. Holding a mobile phone, you can feel the signals it sends and receives. You know it’s ringing before it starts to play any sounds, and when you answer it, you stick the touchscreen stylus to the back of your hand to hold it, then to your finger to type.
It is India’s doomsday vault. If the land lies cracked and barren waiting for the rain, if the sea swallows coastal paddy fields, if plagues of pests wipe crops out of existence, India has an insurance policy – a set of seeds carefully preserved in permafrost, ready to be restored, that can be cultivated and sown to feed its people.[...]
Chang-La, opened last December, now holds 5,000 seeds from the Ministry of Defence, prioritised for qualities such yield or resistance to temperature, pests or humidity. But its total capacity is 10 times that and, says Selvamurthy, government departments, research organisations and more are welcome to store useful and viable seeds for free. Their qualities will be digitally indexed and available through open access software to further science globally.
This facility aims to rival that at Svalbard in Norway, which can hold up to 3 million seed varieties, by opening up its vaults to the international community. For that to happen, India will have to install a cooling system for the 15 days a year when the temperatures peak to -4 degrees. So even if something happens at high latitude in Norway, there will be a back up at high altitude in India.
This is classic rape culture in action. A significant proportion of rapes are not reported, because the disinterested and socially disenfranchising 'system' of state-sponsored justice does not take rape charges nearly as seriously as crimes against property or the social control mechanism; and because we are conditioned to be 'ashamed' of having been violated, to want to hide it, rather than get angry and hungry for the retribution we deserve. Despite the serious under-reporting of rapes, and the hell that trying to report and prosecute a rape puts the victim through, a lot of people are under the bizarrely counterfactual impression that false rape claims are rampant, probably because of the high-profile media treatment that such malicious claims get in contrast to the near-invisibility of real rape in the mainstream media. They excuse people who have been 'invited' to rape by bawdy behaviour or mixed signals; as if it removes all self control or even the ability to hear a denial of consent. And all of these opinions are significantly stronger among the younger generation, which means that rape-apologetic propaganda is getting more successful.When asked what you would do if sexually assaulted or raped, worryingly not all Londoners would take action. Some would do nothing at all and keep it to themselves.
- One in twenty-five Londoners would do nothing and keep a sexual assault or rape to themselves (4%)
- Few people would go to an official port of call such as calling a helpline (15%), going to Havens (3%) or to a doctor (38%)
- Almost two thirds of Londoners would not even tell their partner (62%)When asked specifically about reporting a sexual assault or rape to the police a significantnumber of respondents were unsure:
- Over one in ten claimed they would "maybe" report it to the police (13%) and one in twenty admitted they didn't know (5%)
- One in fifty respondents were clear that they would not report a case of rape or sexual assault to the police (2%)This begs the question; why? What is it that prevents people from letting the police know?The main reasons are:
- I would be too embarrassed / ashamed of what had happened (55%)
- I would just want to forget it ever happened (41%)
- I wouldn't want to go to court (38%)
- I would be afraid of repercussions from the assailant (31%)
- I would be afraid that my family would find out (25%)
- Men are more likely than women to be too embarrassed (62% vs. 53%) and fear repercussions from the assaulter (34% vs. 29%)
- The 18 to 24 year olds are most likely to choose all reasons for not wanting to approach the policeSome open responses to this question were:"The rape conviction rate here is the lowest in Europe. I wouldn't want to relive the experience in court, and have to be in the same room as my assaulter, considering the odds of getting a conviction are so low. Prison time is so low even if a conviction""I would be afraid of being demoralised by the police and society during court proceedings, why bother when they are just going to get off the charges anyway?""I am not sure whether I would be taken seriously and the follow through procedure would be thorough""My statement of truth being doubted""Rape victims rarely get justice"[...]The research has shown that Londoners are cynical about rape claims:
- Close to one in five respondents agree with the statement, "most claims of rape are probably not true" (18%)
- Men are almost twice as likely to take this viewpoint than women (27% vs. 14%)
- People who are heterosexual are less likely to agree that "most claims of rape are probably not true" (16% vs. 44% of people who are asexual)People in London are not even sure what can count as rape or who should accept responsibility for it:
- Close to one in five respondents do not know whether in a committed relationship it is rape when a man makes their partner have sex when they donít want to (18%)
- One in ten do not believe it is rape when a man makes their partner have sex when they don't want to (10%)
- The older generation are most likely to agree that this situation is in fact rape (76% of 35 to 50 year olds vs. 68% of 18 to 24 year olds)There are many situations in which some people feel that a person should take responsibility for being raped. Over half (56%) of those surveyed think that there are some circumstances where a person should accept responsibility. Of those people the circumstances are:
- Performing another sexual act on them (73%)
- Getting into bed with a person (66%)
- Drinking to excess / blackout (64%)
- Going back to theirs for a drink (29%)
- Dressing provocatively (28%)
- Dancing in a sexy way with a man at a night club or bar (22%)
- Acting flirtatiously (21%)
- Kissing them (14%)
- Accepting a drink and engaging in a conversation at a bar (13%)Women are less forgiving than men. They are more likely to think that a person should accept responsibility when:
- Performing another sexual act on them (75% vs. 70%)
- Getting into bed with a person (71% vs. 57%)
- Going back to theirs for a drink (35% vs. 19%)
- Dressing provocatively (31% vs. 23%)
- Dancing in a sexy way with a man at a night club or bar (23% vs. 19%)
- Accepting a drink and engaging in a conversation at a bar (15% vs. 11%)The younger generation, the 18 to 24 year olds are also most likely to think a person should accept responsibility in different scenarios. They are more likely to think that a person should accept responsibility when:
- Getting into bed with a person (68% vs. 63% of 25 to 34 year olds)
- Going back to theirs for a drink (39% vs. 22% of 35 to 50 year olds)
- Dressing provocatively (33% vs. 25% of 35 to 50 year olds)
- Dancing in a sexy way with a man at a night club or bar (29% vs. 18% of 35 to 50 year olds)
- Kissing them (23% vs. 8% of 35 to 50 year olds)
- Accepting a drink and engaging in a conversation at a bar (20% vs. 7% of 35 to 50 year olds)
Barber said before the expedition that climate scientists were working under the theory that climate change would happen much more slowly. It was assumed the Arctic would be ice-free in the winter by 2100.
“We expect it will happen much faster than that, much earlier than that, somewhere between 2013 and 2030 are our estimates right now. So it’s much faster than what we would expect to happen. That can be said for southern climates as well.”