Life as an Extreme Sport

Ethics and Materiality

Indeed, there is no body as such; there are only bodies – male or female, black, brown, white, large or small – and the gradations in between. Bodies can be represented or understood not as entities in themselves or simply on a linear continuum with its polar extremes occupied by male and female bodies… but as a field, a two-dimensional continuum in which race (and possibly even class, caste, or religion) form body specifications. -Elizabeth Grosz In contrast to the body, embodiment is contextual, enmeshed within the specifics of place, time, physiology, and culture, which together compose enactment. Embodiment never coincides exactly with “the body,” however that normalized concept is understood. Whereas the body is an idealized form that gestures toward a Platonic reality, embodiment is the specific instantiation generated from the noise of difference. -N. Katherine Hayles It has occured to me, over the course of reading Hayles’ book

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Vision Does Not Require Technology

A large part of the charm in Vannevar Bush’s paper As We May Think is reading a 60-odd year old article and identifying the technology he predicted. Polaroid and digital cameras, virtual reality glasses, the TCP/IP protocol, cochlear implants, hard drives and eBook readers are a sample of ideas that could be read and extracted out to what we have today. (For example, take this passage: Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them [sounds into the nerve channels of the deaf] without the present cumbersomness of first transforming electrical vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly turns back to the electrical form? With a couple of electrodes on the skull… It is an abstract of cochlear implants.) What really struck me about Bush’s article was not so much the ability to predict technology, (science fiction has done that for years), but that it clarified

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A Brief History of Medical Knowledge

The Doctor’s Decalogue For in ten words the whole Art is comprised — For some of the ten are always advised: Piss, Spew and Spit, Perspiration and Sweat; Purge, Bleed, and Blister, Issues and Clyster. – Edward Baynard, M.D. 1719 The body of medical knowledge has existed in three distinct phases. The first phase would stretch from the beginnings of history to about 450 BCE, the time of Phythagorus and Hippocrates. What we now consider Hippocratic Medicine took for granted that disease is caused by natural subjects and natural law (that the world is ordered and governed in a certain way). No one really knows why the Greeks suddenly shifted to this natural law, but it’s been the basis of our medical thinking ever since. Pre-Hippocratic medical knowledge was interpretted in strictly supernatural terms, while Hippocratic medicine saw illness as a practical matter. The big differentiation here is what caused

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