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The Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace reinvents his body — and his politics.

“(John Perry) Barlow recently surprised many of his libertarian friends by announcing that merely living a bohemian libertarian lifestyle was no longer sufficient. For most of his public career, Barlow had emphasized staking out one’s liberty in your personal life and in the arena of ideas, not the scrum of partisan politics. Now he feels very differently: He believes that the combination of George W. Bush and the rise of “plutocratic” corporations requires direct political engagement, and that getting rid of Bush overrides any other personal or political concerns.”

Reason interviews Barlow, former Wyoming rancher, Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder. Barlow talks about his upcoming stint as the star of a reality TV show, his new recommendations for ‘bohemian libertarians’, digital freedom, and his recent apprehension at San Francisco Airport as a threat to national security.

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National GOP Panic Week

From Kos: “I’ve been on record since May 2002 to the effect that Bush is unelectable. Of late, I’ve pegged the second week of August as National GOP Panic Week — the point when this realization starts to sink in. August 8-15 is Panic Week, and today is Hump Day.

At this writing, political sportsbooks had Bush at even money, but notable right-leaning pol-watchers made him a near write-off.”

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Big backpacks could be big trouble

Boing boing linked to this orthopedic warning about the effects of backpacks on back health. For those of us getting school supplies ready for our children’s September return to the classroom, it is a timely advisory that deserves to be distributed widely. Although adult backs are either stronger or already ruined, it is probably not bad advice for us grown-ups either; I routinely haul around too much stuff, mostly reading material I don’t want to be stranded without. Commonsense advice often ignored: if one has a smaller pack, one’s ability to load it up is helpfully constrained. (I learned that a long time ago with respect to my mountaineering backpacks, but it has not translated effectively to my daily urban carry.)

I am glad boing boing‘s piece addended the reader’s comment on the competing hazards of shoulder bags, which may do a different sort of damage to the back by imbalancing the bearer laterally. I first got to thinking about this imbalance issue after Carlos Castaneda described a lecture his brujo don Juan supposedly gave him in A Yaqui Way of Knowledge several decades ago. This, however, emphasized the spiritual hazards of such an ‘uncentered’ way of moving through life (also criticizing Western ‘imbalanced’ sports such as tennis in the process, if I recall).