<
Archive
Friday, September 7th, 2012

Slowly but surely my mission to get my back catalogue on Youtube continues apace… and today the internets may rejoice as I added THE JOINT, one of my favourite works that doesn’t have me rapping on it, from ATD10: CLONES, which I made in Los Angeles on an old portable PC computer. SHit sounds as fresh today as it did back in ’05.

Enjoy!

Meanwhile, on Twitter…

— Friday, September 7th, 2012

By Akira The Don on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

By David Dobbs, from NationalGeographic.com:

When New England missionary Hiram Bingham arrived in Hawaii in 1820, he was dismayed to find the natives indulging in idolatry, hula dancing, and, among the ruling family, incest. The Hawaiians themselves did not share Bingham’s shock at the royals’ behavior. Royal incest, notes historian Joanne Carando, was “not only accepted but even encouraged” in Hawaii as an exclusive royal privilege.


King Tut’s family was not the only royalty to have close relations among its close relations.
Photo: Baron/Getty Images

In fact, while virtually every culture in recorded history has held sibling or parent-child couplings taboo, royalty have been exempted in many societies, including ancient Egypt, Inca Peru, and, at times, Central Africa, Mexico, and Thailand. And while royal families in Europe avoided sibling incest, many, including the Hohenzollerns of Prussia, the Bourbons of France, and the British royal family, often married cousins.

The Spanish Habsburgs, who ruled for nearly 200 years, frequently married among close relatives. Their dynasty ended in 1700 with the death of Charles II, right, a king so riddled with health and development problems that he didn’t talk until he was four or walk until he was eight. He also had trouble chewing food and couldn’t sire a child.

The physical problems faced by Charles and the pharaoh Tutankhamun, the son of siblings, point to one possible explanation for the near-universal incest taboo: Overlapping genes can backfire. Siblings share half their genes on average, as do parents and offspring. First cousins’ genomes overlap 12.5 percent. Matings between close relatives can raise the danger that harmful recessive genes, especially if combined repeatedly through generations, will match up in the offspring, leading to elevated chances of health or developmental problems—perhaps Tut’s partially cleft palate and congenitally deformed foot or Charles’s small stature and impotence.


Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s skull defines his general appearance. Its anyone’s guess what his skin color was. This particular model (right) was prepared from a CT-scan-based “cast” of his skull (left) without knowing its identity. Reconstruction by Michael Anderson. Photos in composite © 2007 Michael Anderson and Mark Thiessen © 2007 National Geographic Society. Image:Source

If the royals knew of these potential downsides, they chose to ignore them. According to Stanford University classics professor Walter Scheidel, one reason is that “incest sets them apart.” Royal incest occurs mainly in societies where rulers have tremendous power and no peers, except the gods. Since gods marry each other, so should royals.

Incest also protects royal assets. Marrying family members ensures that a king will share riches, privilege, and power only with people already his relatives. In dominant, centralized societies such as ancient Egypt or Inca Peru, this can mean limiting the mating circle to immediate family. In societies with overlapping cultures, as in second-millennium Europe, it can mean marrying extended family members from other regimes to forge alliances while keeping power among kin.

And the hazards, while real, are not absolute. Even the high rates of genetic overlap generated in the offspring of sibling unions, for instance, can create more healthy children than sick ones. And royal wealth can help offset some medical conditions; Charles II lived far better (and probably longer, dying at age 38) than he would have were he a peasant.

A king or a pharaoh can also hedge the risk of his incestuous bets by placing wagers elsewhere. He can mate, as Stanford classicist Josiah Ober notes, “with pretty much anybody he wants to.” Inca ruler Huayna Capac (1493-1527), for instance, passed power not only to his son Huáscar, whose mother was Capac’s wife and sister, but also to his son Atahualpa, whose mother was apparently a consort. And King Rama V of Thailand (1873-1910) sired more than 70 children—some from marriages to half sisters but most with dozens of consorts and concubines. Such a ruler could opt to funnel wealth, security, education, and even political power to many of his children, regardless of the status of the mother. A geneticist would say he was offering his genes many paths to the future.

It can all seem rather mercenary. Yet affection sometimes drives these bonds. Bingham learned that even after King Kamehameha III of Hawaii accepted Christian rule, he slept for several years with his sister, Princess Nahi’ena’ena—pleasing their elders but disturbing the missionaries. They did it, says historian Carando, because they loved each other.

Article from: nationalgeographic.com

— By Akira The Don on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

By Akira The Don on Saturday, April 14th, 2012

AS IF THEY HAVEN’T DONE THIS ALREADY YEAH RIGHT CHINNY RECKON ETC!

From Popsci:

The first human eggs grown from human stem cells could be fertilized with human sperm cellslater this year, potentially revolutionizing fertility treatment for women. This could be one more step on the path toward reproduction sans human interaction — in this case, a potential parent wouldn’t even need to donate her eggs. But it could also turn stem cells into an infinite loop, of egg cells into embryos into stem cells, and on and on, in a fractal-like repetition of reproduction.

In February, we heard about a study involving Japanese women whose reproductive stem cells were donated because they were undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital were able tocoax these ovarian stem cells into becoming immature human egg cells, which were then incubated in mice so they’d have the proper ovarian structures. Now these same scientists, working with a team at Edinburgh University, want to fertilize them.

After sperm implantation, the scientists would watch the blastocysts develop into embryos for two weeks — the legal limit — and determine if they’re viable. Then these embryos would either be frozen or “allowed to perish,” according to theIndependent. The tests would validate the stem-cell-derived human eggs, more properly called oocytes, and serve as an early indicator of whether they could someday be used to eradicate infertility.

Stem-cell derived oocytes could replenish the stocks of women undergoing menopause, or they could be used to allow infertile women to reproduce. The Independent goes so far as to mention an “elixir of youth,” wherein women of any age are full of stem-cell derived oocytes, remaining fertile and youthfully healthy forever.

This potential stem cell-based embryo construction still faces some hurdles — reproductive biologists are applying for a license to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK. But if it’s approved, the eggs could be fertilized this year, according to the Independent.

Stem cells hold such great promise because they can differentiate into any cell, potentially replacing neurons, islet cells, kidney cells and more. But this research conceivably turns stem cells into an infinite supply of cellular material. The stem cell eggs would obviously most likely be used to help women conceive a child, but it’s not a huge leap to much more frightening scenarios: Stem cells turned into human egg cells, which could be fertilized to grow embryos, which would contain more stem cells, which could in turn be harvested …. and so on, as self-contained stem cell factories. It will be interesting to see how the UK authority interprets the possibilities.

 

— By Akira The Don on Saturday, April 14th, 2012

By Akira The Don on Friday, March 2nd, 2012

From Torrentfreak:

The dramatic shutdown of Megaupload and the US government’s case against the operators of the service has the potential to alter the entire service provider landscape, not just in the United States but all around the world. Indeed, some observers believe that has already happened. After defeating attempts to put him back behind bars yesterday, Mega founder Kim Dotcom is back with more insights into the reasons behind the site’s closure.

After speaking with TorrentFreak on Monday, Kim Dotcom has elaborated on his situation in an interview with 3news’ Campbell Live, which now gives us the opportunity to reveal a bit more detail about the current musings of the Megaupload founder.

Aside from the heavy-handed nature of the shutdown, the underlying shock in this case has its roots in the undermining of a previously presumed level of legal protection for service providers.

Earlier this week, Dotcom told us that in recent years Megaupload had spent millions of dollars seeking out the very best legal advice and the conclusions drawn were clear – providing the site did its part in tackling infringement it would be protected under the DMCA and could not be held liable for the actions of its users.

Towards achieving this protection, Dotcom told us that the company had developed relationships with 180 takedown partners – companies authorized to directly remove infringing links from Megaupload’s systems – and between them they had taken down in excess of 15 million links. Those companies included the major studios of the MPAA who, incidentally, in 7 years of the company’s existence had never tried to sue Megaupload for copyright infringement.

On the advice of Megaupload’s legal team, the company believed it had the same rights as YouTube in its case against entertainment giant Viacom. In that 2010 case U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton said service providers can not be held liable for infringement as long as they remove links upon copyright holder request – even if the provider knows that parts of their service are being used to host illicit content.

“[YouTube] won their lawsuit and I’m sitting in jail, my house is being raided, all my assets are frozen without a trial, without a hearing. This is completely insane, is what it is,” said Dotcom of his predicament.

Dotcom told TorrentFreak that the indictment left out many key facts, not least that Megaupload users enter into a binding legal agreement when they sign up to the file-hoster which included promising not using the service to commit crimes or infringements, a point tackled again today by 3news’ John Campbell.

“Of course, that is a romantic notion though, isn’t it, that just because we tick the box accepting the terms of service that we’re going to behave ourselves when we’re in there, right?” questioned Campbell, adding that Mega must’ve known that people would have inevitably agreed to the terms of service and then gone on and done whatever they liked.

“Well there are other laws that protect users and those are privacy laws. For example in the US it’s the Electronic Communication Privacy Act which prohibits us from looking into the accounts of users proactively and look for things,” responded Dotcom. “It’s like mail, it’s private, we cannot just go in there and police what these users are uploading.”

Although the company is clearly trying to distance themselves from comparisons to Megaupload, Swiss-based RapidShare made much the same point in a recent TorrentFreakinterview. The file-hoster said that it would always respect customer privacy by never looking through their files without permission. Earlier this month, the EU Court effectivelybanned the practice after music rights group SABAM failed in its bid to force social networking site Netlog to proactively scan uploaded user files for infringement.

It’s not unusual for huge figures to be punted around in copyright infringement cases and in this one in particular Megaupload is accused of costing copyright holders half a billion US dollars. That figure has been repeated dozens of times but according to Dotcom, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“If you read the indictment and if you hear what the Prosecution has said in court, at least $500 million of damage were just music files and just within a two-week time period. So they are actually talking about $13 billion US damage within a year just for music downloads. The entire US music industry is less than $20 billion,” he explained.

So, with all of the file-hosting services out to choose from, why would the authorities single out Megaupload? We discussed this with Dotcom on Monday and in common with the Campbell interview, the name Mediafire came up.

Mediafire is a huge file-hosting operation – in July 2011 they were clocking up 34 million unique monthly visitors, just 3 million behind Megaupload. In the previous month, the term “mediafire” was even partially censored by Google as being a piracy-related term. There can be little doubt that either Hollywood or the recording labels asked Google to take this action.

But of course what Mediafire doesn’t have is the imagery generated by a figurehead like Dotcom, and if there’s one thing that Hollywood is all about after money, it’s image – and Dotcom believes he presents their perfect arch-enemy character.

“I’m an easy target. My flamboyance, my history as a hacker, you know, I’m not American, I’m living somewhere in New Zealand around the world. I have funny number plates on my cars, you know, I’m an easy target,” he told 3news.

“I’m not Google. I don’t have 50 billion dollars in my account and right now I’ve not a penny on my account. All my lawyers currently are basically working without a penny and they are all still on board and all still doing their job because what they see here is unfair, is unreasonable and is not justice.”

But when one cuts through all the drama of the past couple of months and even with the demise of Megaupload, a service painted as the worst of the worst by Hollywood and the authorities, piracy has not gone away. Despite everything it continues and Dotcom believes the reasons for that are obvious – it’s a service issue, with regional time delays providing a prime example.

“If the business model would be one where everyone has access to this content at the same time, you know, you wouldn’t have a piracy problem. So it’s really, in my opinion, the government of the United States protecting an outdated monopolistic business model that doesn’t work anymore in the age of the internet and that’s what it all boils down to,” he explains.

Yesterday, at the behest of the US government, a court in New Zealand considering revoking Kim Dotcom’s bail. In the event that attempt failed, with the Megaupload founder continuing to insist that he’s not going to flee the country as the prosecution has suggested.

For what it’s worth, we believe Dotcom’s claim. He is full of fight, genuinely optimistic that he can win this battle, and has exciting plans for the future – none of which appear to involve hiding in a cave or befriending Hugo Chavez.

“I’m no piracy king,” he concludes. “I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.”

You can watch the full 3News show here, and read our earlier article here.

— By Akira The Don on Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

No time to write anything brilliant and urgent today, despite the terrorist “Universal Music Group”‘s continued reign of terror, as I am off to Camden to meet Stephen Hague and discuss my third album and a special project we might be working on, so it’s lucky that Brighton based painter Holly Sellors sent me this beautiful work of art. Look at the beautiful work of art! Look at all those mes! It’s called We’re All Clones, I think. I particularly like the way all their heads start to resemble that Joy Division LP after a few seconds of gazing. Word to Mickey Mouse.

Oh, and I got this in the mail too:

Dear Akira The Don,

I love ” Nothing Lasts Forever”…….and after you posted the acapella (again….i missed it the first time !) ,i had to do the version thats been rattling around in head over the past few months. Have a listen mate….and if you ever want to take on the “Country Pop” demographic …..then it might be of some use : / ??
Peace…Respect….and keep doing what your doing,

A Fan,

Martin

Akira The Don ft. Envy – Nothing Lasts Forever (NY85 REMIX) by NY85

How about that then? At first I thought it wasn’t going to work at all… yet somehow, it did… especially the rap parts. Thank you Martin.

And of course, if you want to try your hand at a remix, here’s that list of acapellas I’ve been throwing up that still doesn’t have an official home…

PAX!

DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – Evangelion ft Pixel & Marvin The Martian Acapella 140
DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – Fist of The North Star ft Littles Acapella
DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – We Won’t Be Broke Forever Baby ft Gruff Rhys Acapella
DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – I Am not Dead YEAH Acapella 105
DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – Nothing Lasts Forever ft Envy Acapella 105
DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – Video Highway Acapella
DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don – We Are Not Alone Acapella 125

PS:

— Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Firstly, I am very happy to announce that you can buy my acclaimed second album, The Life Equation in a SHOP! It is now available exclusively in Rough Trade, central London, prior to its nationwide shop release on March 5th. If you work in a record shop and would like to stock The Life Equation, get in touch, and if you have a record shop you frequent that you’d like to see The Life Equation in, let me know and I’ll try and hook it up. Any and all help is welcome and massively appreciated. I am after all, entirely independent, with a staff of Me, and certainly no marketing or distribution departments to call upon to sort out all this sort of stuff.

Over in major label world, meanwhile, the extreme fuckery continues without pause. Another day, another avalanche of reasons to cast Universal Music group into the lake of fire with concrete blocks tied to their bollocks. Turns out they and their Major Label lobbyist pals might have had another big fat reason to want Megaupload sent the way of Audiogalaxy. According to this article on Digital Music News from December, Megaupload were about to go into direct competition with the music industry establishment by launching something called Megabox.

“UMG knows that we are going to compete with them via our own music venture called Megabox.com,” MegaUpload founder and future David Fincher movie subject Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz told Torrentfreak, “a site that will soon allow artists to sell their creations directly to consumers while allowing artists to keep 90 percent of earnings.”

Meanwhile, Universal’s creepy deal with Youtube, in which they get to take down people’s content at will whether it infringes their copyright or not claimed another innocent scalp yesterday, when independent music and art collective After The Smoke saw their highly anticipated One In A Million video removed from Youtube after about two hours minutes online. The reason? Universal recording artist Yelawolf recently jacked the song’s beat for an uncredited song with his Slumerican crew. Get that? Yelawolf, without permission, rapped on an unsigned band’s song, replacing their vocals with his and his crew’s, renamed it, released it himself on the internet in the form of a “leak”, then Universal took down the band that actually made the song‘s video.

From After The Dark’s Tumblr:

SORRY FOLKS
YOUTUBE TOOK DOWN THE OIAM MUSIC VIDEO AND CLAIMED THAT UMG OWNS THE COPYRIGHTS TO OUR SONG. APPARENTLY, UMG HAS THE POWER TO TAKE DOWN OUR VIDEO BECAUSE ONE OF THEIR ARTISTS RAPPED ON A BEAT THAT I MADE FROM SCRATCH. THIS IS WHY REVOLUTION IS NECESSARY. WE NEED LESS CORPORATE POWER. WE NEED MORE ARTIST POWER. WE NEED MORE PEOPLE POWER. – ANTHONY X²

High five to the homies Die Antwoord then, who, like me before them, parted ways with Universal sub-branch Interscope recently, after Interscope objected to politically sensitive lyrical content, ie lyrics not about drinking name brand liquor in a club environment in the company of buxom females.

Die Antwoord blew themselves up with a self made and self released music video, just like I did with The Drinking Song, which received over a 100,000 views in a week on the flash portal Newgrounds in that long forgotten historical period Before Youtube… but we both gained much from our major label tenure. Die Antwoord played many festivals and TV shows that they might not have otherwise, and I similarly received reams of mainstream exposure, and a the money to build my little home studio. Not forgetting those coveted slots in major broadcast media, out of reach to most independent artists, but just a phonecall from the Interscope synch department away. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a bit of an episode of CSI, in which my song CLONES is played in a stripclub, ironically enough. Monument To The Penis!

So I am grateful to Universal Music Group for these boons, or at least to the nice humans who worked in that foul corporation and tried to do good things with their power. But here’s the thing – those nice people, with their skills and their power are finding out that their power comes from them, and their skills, not the Skynet-like monster they worked for. Independent of that monster the exact same things can be achieved, and are being… and while the traditional media is still enchanted by the queer allure of the major label co-sign, the ever more influential and fully communicative mass humanity, blogging and tweeting and tumbling down the mountain, well they just like what they like.

I am, as ever, excited about the future, and what it means. At the start of this year I proclaimed my sincere belief that this year will see a cultural explosion hitherto unseen in human history… and it turns out the Chinese agree with me.

The world is ours brothers and sisters. We don’t need Skynet with their shitty old magic tricks pushing dead eyed automatons in front of us and clogging our timelines with poisonous brain freeze.

We need emotional content.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CkN3i4NW69E

— Tuesday, January 24th, 2012