[-empyre-] Pop!

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD mtata at ipublishingllc.com
Wed Apr 29 08:49:27 EST 2009

Nikos (as you’ve been called)--

I truly appreciate the violence and force of your language, how it veers toward the poetic each moment, how it never condescends to grace the constative with more than a glance from a glass eye.  
Thanks for elaborating on the parallax and its views, which seem to tie to Joe’s call for a mini-narrativity.  But you seem to denigrate these petits histories: are you longing for a larger whole, or are you comfy wafting with the unanchored fragments as they form a mosaic flirting with figuration yet hopelessly lost in abstraction?  Has Bentham’s Panopticon become a kaleidoscope of blurred edges and fractalized bodies?  What does it mean for capital and capitalism and Code to be beyond seduction?  Is it that they are before seduction, that they code seduction?  I am seeing hallucinations of Barbara Kruger images, vicious poupées crying out for me to love them, shiny commodities promising me that they can change my life, if only I take the steps necessary to acquire them.  “Buy me—I’ll change your life.”  Sure.  But who knows?—I may be a klepto.  
But when Code drowns in its own blood, does it die a proper death, or is there an afterlife, a future incarnation, a new flavor of ousia on the horizon?  There is always a more: capital knows this.  It may have even invented this, producing the spectacle of a never-ending open set of objects and things and stances and positions, even positrons.  From Either/or, with its austere virgule, to $ (both dollar sign and split subject), with its impossible bar, to Both-And, the post-virgule of capital, which extends to us the mirage that we might have everything, a more transcending more-ness itself.  And then we burst. 

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA


Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2009 09:56:33 -0700
From: editor at intertheory.org
To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Parallels

Zizek destroys what is truly a wonderful accounting of perspectival shiftiness with a perverse call to dialectical materialism in his Parallax View. The 1974 film with Warren Beatty probably does a better job of discovering the possibilities and consequences of the eternal parallax. 

It really is a biophysical and psychological distinction we are making here, related to meaning-making and embedded subjectivity. Regarding the market/nature/culture parallax, we can see each other's functioning within it, but can never know what it's like from another's point of view. We share narratives, and that's as good as it gets. Sometimes, one or another narrative holds sway, inducing new adherence to a particular subjectivity (the xxx-ologists discover this as 'agency') among more and more people, but this does not change the biophysical realm, until of course, it does, via bioengineering, or something else.

Capitalization, as 'utilization,' is immanent, ineluctable, beyond seduction. Hence we are all capitalists, even as we lament conditions, make efforts to change (ourselves, each other, whatever)...and such activity is 'capitalist' in itself, as it cultivates what a particular subjectivity deems 'useful.' Fortune and grace play a role, as does evil, in such a theater. 

Embodied Code in a mileu, utilizing, describes us best, I think. Streaming naked Code becoming Capital. Paired off Code. The Code becomes us. Until, immersed in Capital, the Code drowns in its own blood. The Markets reflect all of this. Nature too. Culture as well. But in the end, the global semiotic shuffle of our exchange is impossibly tethered to Nothing, but the replicative pulse of spreading. Capital is a moment, indeed, is the moment of every living organism at every given moment at all given times. Capital is Constant--it does not vary, rather it is in constant calculation of utility and non-utility. The virgule is anthropic, as are the words they separate. The truth is there are no words and there are no virgules! :-) And yet, there they are for us to ponder and choose. 

 Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D
Editor, Kritikos

From: "Michael Angelo Tata, PhD" <mtata at ipublishingllc.com>
To: Soft Skinned Space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 6:49:07 PM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Parallels

I do concur with your notion of "currencies of the code," and that these snakes on a plane have to be reigned in: but how cruel and cold, even sadistic, in the sense that the true Kantian subject is best described as being a sadist, that for capital, there is only a more we are charged with managing.  The interesting factor is that, when the snakes do take over the plane, the views can be spectacular: even the crash is a thrill.  
I am still interested in the optics of your tripartite parallax: I am envisioning objects in a distance moving slower than those closest to me, while I, inhabiting my own inertial frame of reference, am subjected to the velocity of a motor speeding me toward a nebulous destination making these dichotomies (trichotomies?) of motion strike my eye in the first place.  I would love for you to elaborate further on this metaphor.      

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA


Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 05:56:45 -0700
From: editor at intertheory.org
To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Magma

hmmmm...more like the cruelty of art or jeux de massacre?! As for the market/culture/nature parallax...I've long maintained that Capital, and the arts of capitalization, are anthro-spectacular as currencies of the Code. Some bury their heads in the sand, choosing to miss that part of the view, but why would we? I agree that Capital has no ethic other than to make use of itself, that is, to be utilitous in the eye of its beholder, hence the parallax of crime and charity. But this never means that we should let the big bad protocol of capitalization run wild like lions on the plain or snakes on a plane, eh?

 Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D
Editor, Kritikos

From: "Michael Angelo Tata, PhD" <mtata at ipublishingllc.com>
To: Soft Skinned Space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2009 6:41:56 AM
Subject: [-empyre-] Magma

The braid continues to coil and grow: our métissage becomes longer and more intricate.  But are we making a perruque or a merkin?  Is there a difference what gets covered?  I suppose the spirochetes might have their own take—but we have not introduced them yet.  
I’m thrilled you see some relevance to the fortuitous appearance of the spectre of the Octo-Mom.  I agree that she is symptomatic of a culture and a climate, like a giant zit that needs to be popped.  Octo-reproduction and its vocabulary/semantics of designer genes and in-vitro dalliances does call into question the naturalness of nature and the culturedness of culture, as well as the culturedness of nature and the naturalness of culture.  All arms of the chiasm and of the chromosome seem fair game for redistribution and re-knottng.  
Off course the Octo-Mom is the direct opposite of the designer baby factory, since what she has produced presumably is littered with junk DNA, autosomal anomalies and every undesirable genetic combo conceivable.  She is literally a monster in the media’s eyes, a tentacled immigrant horror whose suction cups reach into everyone’s empty pockets to snatch what they can: hence everyone’s joy at calling her by her monster name.  Neither “Nadya” nor “Suleman” seem to figure much in these debates, nor does the suppressed and secret name of the Octo-Dad, wherever and whoever he may be.  Furthermore, as regards her sobriquet, she has never been the “Sestuo-Mom,” nor has she been the “Quatuordeco-Mom,” although she could have been: only “Octo” seems to have stuck, marking her entrance to history.  Nadya, an octopus with lips too swollen for even her predatorial beak to protrude, gives and gives, takes by giving, calling into question the very relationship between giving and taking that is at the heart of our ongoing discussion about cadeaux and interrupted economies.  She might as well be blamed for the recent stock market crash: nothing nonsensical would be risked by crediting her with this economic fiasco, especially given that she represents so much of the mentality and ethos that led to it (the facile, metaleptic scission of cause and effect, the fawn-eyed flirtation with larger-than-life returns, the inability to fathom consequence).    
As for the Market/culture parallax, I am left to wonder: which side of the virgule marks that of Nature?  Is the Market the new nature, with money or capital something immanent and given, a field to be manipulated through the machinations of creative artifice?  Derrida places fortune on the side of Nature, as it is Nature which determines the aleatory (whether our luck is “tychic” or “automatic”), as well as where we stand in a social arrangement, where we are positioned and whom is placed around us, whom this position permits us to intersect, etc..  Is the Octo-Mom a market creation, or a cultural creation?  And what is “parallactic” about her?  Does she institute an optics, or perhaps de-stabilize an existing system of visual consumption?  I keep thinking she is the market, that her reproductive excesses—as mediated by “culture,” specifically “science” or “genetics”—are seamless with the financial arrangement of a credit-based society for whom money has dematerialized almost entirely.  As material as she is, Octo is clearly outside all matter, floating through space with weather balloons mistaking her for an Angelina Jolie blimp which has escaped the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Yes, Warhol’s concept of Business Art does weld together market and culture, and does speak to so many of the phenomena we take for granted each day: public art (giant Claes Oldenberg clothespins and maraschino cherries), corporate art (mammoth Lichtensteins in the lobbies of Fortune 10 companies), even televisuality itself as source and support of an aesthetic gaze (watching Nina Flowers do her thing under the watchful eye of RuPaul on VH1, all for a potential Absolut prize).  I find Biz Art an indispensable concept, and that it helps make a lot of sense out of the art market —sibling to the market market?
As for short-selling, I am left to marvel: is there an ethics of capital?  At times, we pretend there is, as with Martha Stewart and the spectacle of her punishment for being an insider and a trader, or as concerns the current Madoff scandal, but ethically speaking, did he really make off with anything?  I find capital and ethics inimical entities: in fact, we only pull ethics into the fray when things have gone too far and a massive crisis which will beg the question of accountability is imminent.  To me, capital has no ethics: it is its own justification for everything that it does, everything that is done with it, everything it inspires.  It is as if, for capital, everything remains at the level of the aesthetic (read as the sensual, the material, what matters).
Thanks for the definition of fiat currency; that helped a lot.  It makes me wonder: are there connections between the Great Depression and our current state of affairs?  Is where we are today a product of going off the gold standard all those years ago, in the wake of Wall Street catastrophe?  Truly, Gold Rush 2009 has begun, with everyone in the US rushing off to cash in their “unwanted jewelry.”  “Cash for Gold” advertises constantly on US TV, and apparently people are chomping at the bit to mail their useless gold adornments in for some meager cash equivalent.  “I took the vacation of a lifetime” the African-American actress re-assures me, but I am left to wonder where exactly her jewelry permitted her to go, what her lifetime encompassed, where my gold could take me, if only I abandoned it.
PS—You go, girl!  Excellent response to Brian.  I appreciate the wide range of your knowledge, and the specifics you are able to volley.
As per your reflections, I am left to inquire if you identify the symbolic as either matter or energy, as well as where we locate it with relation to mc2 and e and their equation.   I think of how Derrida identifies tobacco as the symbol of the symbolic: in his poetics of tobacco, it is the smoke and ash of tobacco which inaugurate a series of questions about the materiality of the symbolic in general, how it, too, seems to evanesce at the touch, leaving almost no trace or residue (except for the “gift of lung cancer,” but that is another issue).
There is most definitely a perverse holism to our economy, and politics: bomb/rebuild, push/pull (the schizoid moment).  Since my expertise is more pop-cultural, I turn to the case of Britney Spears, and how the press drove her into having a nervous breakdown so that she could confirm their clairvoyance and omniscience by having a nervous breakdown, which then necessitated continual coverage of her nervous breakdown, as well as a “comeback” only possible after she broke down and reconstituted herself: in short, an entire cascade of effects and counter-effects in- and outside of her career.
As for credit and value: is it really slippage in the sign itself—i.e., a disengagement of signifier and signified—that produces the relativity of value?  Is the dematerialization of money a semiotic crisis, as much as it is an economic one?  And how do we relate these conjoined crises to Joseph’s initial observation that academic cultures and Wall Street finances are of a piece?  Once again, those Junk Bond Salesman of Camille Paglia appear.  I think we need to push this issue a little further, as it is a highly productive direction facilitating a discussion of economy, creativity and artifice.  Does money still exist?  Clearly it does, but does it feel like it exists from the perspective of the global everyday?  Everything distances me from it: colorful plastic cards, the beeps of a cash register indicating that it is time to enter my digits, even my signature itself, which on so many occasions is my only connection to money proper.  Will money ever re-materialize?  And what other disappearances or disengagements has this dematerialization produced?  Is everything fiat?  Anthropologically speaking, is fiat an advance, the mark of a socius that has had the proper time to “cook”?
Lastly, to use the Lacanian vocabulary, is “patriarchy” a quilting point, or point de caption?  In other words, does it link together otherwise dispersed, unrelated or abstract terms in a grand gesture of meaninglessness disguising itself as meaningfulness (again, the problem of a counterfeit, double or simulacrum emerges)?  Here hegemony might enter the fray, as well as the work of Laclau and Mouffe (as well as their roots in a Leibnizian tradition of reflection on the nature of contingency)  
I appreciate your connection of Neoliberalism with the discipline of cult studies, and really love your identification of “Just-in-Time” or JIT scholarship, which has for the most part transformed the University in what I might argue are some truly wonderful ways.  Yes, for the 90s and parts of this millennium, scholarship has had an urgent temporality at its core.  The tones of post-structuralist and psychoanalytic writing are desperate and crisis-laden: it is almost as if Derrida and Lacan are about to leap into a volcano.  De-Christianized Christian guilt suffuses the atmosphere, making it imperative that we find something important and canonical to say about this phantom split subject who is at all moments about to disappear, or who has already disappeared: how would we know?  Again, I raise the question of a post-postmodernism, and ask your take on what comes next culturally, now that history appears to have re-condensed.  Might the external referent come back into vogue?   
As for the functional separation of Art/commerce, I would ask your take on Warholian “Business Art.”  I don’t think you are advocating a return of the Wildean, but am intrigued to see what you envision happening with these unique yet integrated realms, especially as regards the promising field of e-lit.  Also, is e-lit Just in Time?  Timely?  What is its “market,” its role in Nick’s parallax view?  Does it also court problems of chic?  

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA

> Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 12:37:55 -0700
> From: editor at intertheory.org
> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Enter...the Octo-Mom
> absolute ingenuity! octo-mom is the symptom, the product and the side-effect of our market/culture parallax...! when everything is genetic Code, we are equal in the sense of gross organic wealth, but then they will (and do) tell us all Code is not created equal...they tell us some Codes are inherently better suited to a particular milieu, some Codes are impaired, and so on, as a function of the market/culture/nature scaffolding... so we enter the era of genetic interventionism octo-reproduction...designer Code for designer Environments it is!?
> Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D Editor, Kritikos http://intertheory.org
> --- On Sun, 4/5/09, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD <mtata at ipublishingllc.com> wrote:
> > From: Michael Angelo Tata, PhD <mtata at ipublishingllc.com>
> > Subject: [-empyre-] Enter...the Octo-Mom
> > To: "Soft Skinned Space" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> > Date: Sunday, April 5, 2009, 1:02 AM
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > #yiv895117554 .hmmessage P
> > {
> > margin:0px;padding:0px;}
> > #yiv895117554 {
> > font-size:10pt;font-family:Verdana;}
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Given Nick's reflections on the nature of the gift, and
> > of the given in general (for example, the phenomenological
> > donne of sense experience), I am left to wonder what happens
> > if we retain the theory of the gift central to Derrida's
> > thought, yet replace the "God" of the Old
> > Testament (the creator who demands an impossible sacrifice
> > from Abraham, one which becomes the extreme form of the
> > gift, here a violent oblation defying an ethical order and
> > necessitating an appeal to "absolute duty" and
> > "absolute responsibility") with the DNA of
> > biology. What does the gift become under these
> > circumstances? What becomes of the interrupted
> > economy of the gift, as it suspends the ethical in
> > the Augenblick of faith's leap? 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > As for reciprocity, for Derrida, there is a
> > fundamental dissymetry between myself and the Other, as
> > well as among myself and the "other others" with
> > whom I share social concourse: the gift I am expected to
> > hand over to the deity is one which will not be
> > reciprocated, but refused, causing me to be
> > remunerated in a posthumous order where spirirual
> > riches accumulate, but only if I forget. With DNA in
> > the place of the Other, does this dissymetry remain, or is
> > the playng field leveled? 
> > 
> > For Derrida, to give is to forget that one has given: but
> > can we forget our investments?
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > On another note, I am struck by the coincidence of the Wall
> > Street crisis and the Octo-Mom's uterine crisis. 
> > Like an investment scheme, she has taxed the system
> > by producing too much debt (all those mouths to feed,
> > that shabby house that needed to be replaced, etc.). 
> > How many embryos were implanted? How many babies
> > came out? Is Wall Street an Octo-Mom, or is she merely
> > am emblem of excess in a time of defecit? 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > *******************************************
> > Michael Angelo Tata,
> > PhD 347.776.1931-USA
> > http://www.MichaelAngeloTata.com/
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > > Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 14:59:42 -0700
> > > From: editor at intertheory.org
> > > To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > > Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade
> > Winds
> > > 
> > > 
> > > In Derrida's "Given Time", the gift is
> > seen as that which may theoretically interrupt economy...but
> > in practice the gift cannot help itself; it serves to
> > reproduce the relations of exchange through the act of
> > reciprocity...such reciprocity of exchange seems to be the
> > basis of human relations...
> > > 
> > > In terms of our lives today, internationally, many
> > expect the gift of electronic credit and finance, and true
> > to form, are expected to return its terms in full
> > spatio-temporal reciprocity...and with interest...where did
> > we go wrong? Why not simply, gifts, wrapping paper and bows
> > for all, with no strings attached? 
> > > 
> > > So, we 'give' more, and perhaps, expect more
> > too, and increasingly...the ineluctable march of
> > 'progress'...is this the way of God or the
> > Devil...or some other Way...at the risk of tautology or
> > paradox: did we create exchange (the exchange of currency
> > takes many forms (e.g. dollars/euros, DNA contributions in
> > reproduction, posturing and innuendo in strategies of
> > nuclear deterrence, etc.))...if all this true, human culture
> > may be but a side effect of some greater process of
> > 'crescere,' that expansion and coming to be of
> > creative Exchange, no?
> > > 
> > > 
> > > nick
> > > 
> > > 
> > > Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D Editor, Kritikos
> > http://intertheory.org
> > > 
> > > 
> > > --- On Wed, 4/1/09, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD
> > <mtata at ipublishingllc.com> wrote:
> > > 
> > > > From: Michael Angelo Tata, PhD
> > <mtata at ipublishingllc.com>
> > > > Subject: [-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade
> > Winds
> > > > To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > > > Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 8:35 PM
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > #yiv1848887985 .hmmessage P
> > > > {
> > > > margin:0px;padding:0px;}
> > > > #yiv1848887985 {
> > > > font-size:10pt;font-family:Verdana;}
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > Greetings,
> > > > all! I’m quite excited to
> > > > share this panel with such an eminent bunch, and
> > look
> > > > forward to undertaking some important reflection
> > upon what
> > > > the cultural ramifications of the current Wall
> > Street
> > > > debacle might be, both domestically and globally.
> > Basically,
> > > > I’ve written a book about Warhol which is
> > currently
> > > > forthcoming from Intertheory, so hopefully
> > Warhol’s own
> > > > relation to commerce, as well as the role he has
> > been slated
> > > > within pomo-ism proper by people like Jameson,
> > will become a
> > > > part of the discussion.
> > > > 
> > > > Aside from
> > > > Warhol, the place toward which my mind
> > immediately turns as
> > > > I think about what Nicholas refers to as the
> > Immaculate
> > > > Deception is Camille Paglia’s identification of
> > Jacques
> > > > Derrida as a junk-bond salesman in her “Junk
> > Bonds and
> > > > Corporate Raiders” (part of Sex, Art, and
> > > > American Culture). I think
> > > > my mind races to this piece of writing because it
> > does raise
> > > > the important question of the potential
> > bankruptcy of theory
> > > > in general (a risk that does not seem to plague
> > > > philosophy quite the same way). 
> > > > 
> > > > Glancing anew at Derrida’s The Gift of
> > > > Death, I take immense pleasure in the text’s
> > flow, the
> > > > beautiful post-structural play of surfaces that
> > carry me
> > > > away on currents of semantic glissement: perhaps
> > she’s
> > > > right, but without comprehending that the
> > problematic she
> > > > formulates is wrong because theory is nor
> > philosophy, what
> > > > it can give transcends the gross objectivity of a
> > fact or
> > > > datum. Still, there is
> > > > Derrida’s love of counterfeit money in Gift
> > > > and Given Time. 
> > > > How does this tropism speak to Madoff’s
> > > > antics? To the culture that will
> > > > flourish in the wake of collapse and that has
> > flowered all
> > > > along during these golden years of HELOC madness
> > and
> > > > Home Depot grand openings? To
> > > > the “cultural logic” of late capitalism in
> > general, and
> > > > the late, late gerontic capitalism of today’s
> > > > world? 
> > > > 
> > > > Places my
> > > > mind travels to next:
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > The
> > > > marvelous bankruptcy of American culture in
> > > > general—especially in its postmodern
> > instantiation. Something for nothing, nothing for
> > > > nothing.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > The Dotcom
> > > > crash of the early millennium as prefigurement to
> > the
> > > > present real estate crash: the no-there-there of
> > the virtual
> > > > reasserts itself in the financial sector.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 9/11 and the
> > > > return of a historically meaningful present,
> > pace
> > > > Baudrillard’s post-history: what is
> > > > post-postmodernism? Are we
> > > > experiencing it now? 
> > > > Specifically, what comes next, after irony? The
> > Pecker
> > > > paradigm.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > “Yes We Can” becomes “Yes You Can”; the
> > Obama
> > > > slogan becomes a Pepsi mantra (or is it the Obama
> > mantra
> > > > becomes the Pepsi slogan?). Where do we go with
> > this
> > > > mutation? 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > On a recent
> > > > trip to Geneva, I stumbled across a department
> > store
> > > > (Manor-La Placette) built on the original site
> > of
> > > > Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s boyhood home: a little
> > placard,
> > > > tender yet bearing the weight of history, read
> > something to
> > > > the effect of “Ice est né le petit
> > Rousseau….’ How do we read this repurposing of
> > > > Rousseau in light of his “Discourse on the Arts
> > and
> > > > Sciences”? How do we connect
> > > > the cultural bankruptcy Rousseau outlines with
> > recent Wall
> > > > Street hijinks? Commerce and
> > > > culture alike straddle an abyss of currency and
> > meaning:
> > > > what does each realm have to say to the other
> > regarding risk
> > > > and venture?
> > > > 
> > > > Alright: this little poetic scatter catalogues
> > my
> > > > various points of inception. I
> > > > am looking forward to reading everyone else’s.
> > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > *******************************************
> > > > Michael Angelo Tata,
> > > > PhD 347.776.1931-USA
> > > > http://www.MichaelAngeloTata.com/
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > Quick access to your favorite MSN content and
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> > > _______________________________________________
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