TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Image of the Day: Godzilla: Rage Across Time


Image Source: Nerdist.

Now trending on Twitter, THAT is a comic book cover! This is IDW's Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1, written by Jeremy Robinson, with art by Matt Frank, published 24 August 2016. The book sees the giant lizard transported to different time periods, and is getting rave reviews from sites such as The Moon is a Dead World. Outright Geekery explains how a 1950s' nuclear monster has traveled in this first issue back to the 13th century:
"In 1954 Ishiro Honda unleashed his atom bomb allegory Gojira on the world. In the sixty years that followed the titular character of that terrifying monster-noir has been many things; archetypal force of nature, protector of children, even a militant environmentalist (Gojira vs Hedorah aka Godzilla vs The Smog Monster). ... Beyond all of that however, the irrepressible king of all daikaiju has become a beloved international cultural icon. In his homeland, the big guy has become something akin to a traditional folktale.

It is this aspect of Godzilla that is at the forefront of this first issue of IDW’s Godzilla Rage Across Time. A new mini-series that puts everyone’s favorite radioactive giant badass lizard into various historic periods. ... [In the first issue,] writer Jeremy Robinson and artist Matt Frank ... set this first installment in the land of Godzilla’s birth during the first Mongol invasion of 1274.

Kublai Khan’s horde, along with two evil kaiju, have arrived at Hakata Bay under the command of 'Dragon Master' Zhenjin Khan. Two feuding heroes, samurai Gorou Suda and ninja Akio of the Bamboo Forest must go on a quest to save Japan by awakening a mighty champion who will vanquish the invaders."
Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1 (page 1) © IDW. Click to enlarge. Image Source: deviantART. Full opening page preview at SciFi Japan.

See all my posts on Nuclear topics.
See all my posts on Time Travel.
Click here for my posts on Comics.

Times Outside History 11: Neanderthal Cave Rings


Images Source: Etienne Fabre/SSAC via Guardian.

On 25 May 2016, The Guardian reported that archaeologists have redated structures in the Bruniquel cave, near the Pyrénées mountains, in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of southwest France. They claim stalagmite circles in the cave were built 176,500 years ago, rather than 47,600 years ago; the original estimate was based on carbon-dating findings elsewhere in the cave. The revision means that only Neanderthals could have created these mysterious installations:
"Mysterious structures found deep inside a French cave are the work of Neanderthal builders who lived in the region more than 100,000 years before modern humans set foot in Europe.

The extraordinary constructions are made from nearly 400 stalagmites that have been yanked from the ground and stacked on top of one another to produce rudimentary walls on the damp cave floor.

The most prominent formations are two ringed walls, built four layers deep in places, which appear to have been propped up with stalagmites wedged in place as vertical stays. The largest of the walls is nearly seven metres across and, where intact, stands up to 40 cm high.

'This is completely different to anything we have seen before. I find it very mysterious,' said Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University, who was not involved in the research. Unique in the history of Neanderthal achievements, the structures rank among the earliest human building projects ever discovered.

Parts of the walls show clear signs of fire damage, with the stalagmites blackened or reddened and fractured from the heat, leading researchers to suspect that the Neanderthals embedded fireplaces in the structures to illuminate the cave."
The structures lie some 1,100 feet from the cave entrance, in total darkness, which indicates purposeful intent to build structures far from natural light. The size of these installations reveals complex cooperation and social organization. There is no sign of ongoing domestic occupation in the cave, which may imply that these sites were used for ritualistic purposes. Along with fireplaces, archaeologists have found remains of animal bone torches. From France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS):
"Since no other stalagmite structure of this scale has yet been discovered, the team developed a new concept to designate these carefully arranged pieces of stalagmites: 'speleofacts.' An inventory of the cave's 400 speleofacts reveals a total of 112 meters of stalagmites broken into well-calibrated pieces, weighing an estimated 2.2 metric tons. The components of the structures are aligned, juxtaposed and superimposed (in two, three and even four layers), with props around the outside, apparently to hold them in place, and filler pieces. Marks left by the wrenching of stalagmites from the cave floor to make the structures have been identified nearby. "
According to Live Science, there are older constructed sites in the world:
"Evidence of a human-made structure exists in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, dated at over 1 million years old. But this has not been studied extensively, Jaubert said. He added there is similarly little information about a Homo erectus campsite in Bilzingsleben, Germany (about 400,000 years old), early shelters in Terra Amata, France (about 400,000 years old), and the bone and stone materials found in France's Lazaret cave (around 170,000 years old). Researchers have credited Neanderthals with making a building out of mammoth bone in Ukraine. They believe this is about 40,000 years old."
See an article on this story from Nature here, and further reports herehere, here, here, here, here, and here. The original press release is here and related video is here.


"A 3D reconstruction of the structures in Bruniquel Cave. Rendering by Xavier Muth/GET IN SITU/ARCHÉOTRANSFERT/ARCHÉOVISION-SHS-3D; BASE PHOTOGRAPHIQUE PASCAL MORA."


See all my posts on Neanderthals.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Quote of the Day: "It’s not easy to move 20+ nukes"


Image Source: Keep Talking Greece.

There are reports that between 20 and 100 nuclear weapons are being moved from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey (70 miles from the Syrian border) to Deveselu air field in Romania:
  • Global Security (May 2016): Deveselu Base, Romania
  • The New Yorker (17 July 2016: The H-Bombs in Turkey
  • Stimson (14 August 2016): US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey at Risk of Seizure by Terrorists, Hostile Forces
  • Stimson (August 2016): B61 LIFE EXTENSION PROGRAM Costs and Policy Considerations
  • Business Insider (15 August 2016): A briefing for Congress on possibly moving the US's nuclear weapons from Turkey's Incirlik Air Base
  • Jerusalem Post (15 August 2016): Report: Terrorists Could Seize US Nuclear Weapons from Turkey Base
  • Russia Today (15 August 2016): US nukes in Turkey vulnerable to ‘terrorists & other hostile forces’ – think tank
  • The Sun (15 August 2016): ISIS NUKE THREAT Dozens of US nuclear bombs stored at Turkish air base ‘are at risk of being seized by terrorists’
  • Newsweek (15 August 2016): U.S. TURKEY AIRBASE NUKES AT RISK OF SEIZURE FROM 'TERRORISTS': REPORT
  • Keep Talking Greece (18 August 2016): USA moves nuclear weapons from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to Romania
  • EurActiv (18 August 2016): US moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania
  • The Times (19 August 2016): Kremlin presses Turkey for access to US airbase
  • Sputnik News (20-21 August 2016): Kremlin Presses Turkey for Access to NATO's Incirlik Air Base, Home to US Nukes
  • Russia Today (21 August 2016): Russia could use Incirlik airbase ‘if necessary’ – Turkish PM
  • The Illuminati Conspiracy Blog (22 August 2016): Nuke Transfer: Great Opportunity for Nuke Theft (the conspiracy theorist's view)
"Map of main air bases and other important airfields in Romania, as of 1989. (Map by Tom Cooper, based on Encarta 2003 software)." Image Source: ACIG.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NASA's Plan to Colonize Mars


Developing adequate supporting technology is a pre-existing requirement in NASA's plan to colonize Mars. Image Source: NASA via Daily Mail.

Interplanetary communications systems are being developed in plans to colonize Mars. I first covered Google's InterPlanetary Internet Protocols in 2011, here. Delay-tolerant network protocols must cope with huge distances between our planet and a future Martian settlement. On 9 October 2015, NASA released its plan for a manned journey to Mars, including a stated need for IPFS development:
"Currently, Mars robotic rovers have data rates around two million bits per second, using a relay, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ISS data rate is 300 million bits per second, two orders of magnitude faster. Future human Mars missions may need up to a billion bits per second at 1,000 times greater range than ISS, requiring laser communications to reduce weight and power. In addition, disruption and error-tolerant interplanetary networking and improved navigation capabilities are required to ensure accurate trajectories and precision landing."
This networking requirement for space exploration will potentially establish a permanent Internet, which I have discussed - coming from other sectors - here. On 18 March 2016, The Daily Mail reported that NASA plans to develop nuclear-powered rockets to travel to Mars, following a similar statement from the Russians in January 2016. With a nuclear rocket, spacecraft could reach the Red Planet in six weeks. The only problem is finding the money.

Planet Mars, As Seen by the 100 Inch Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory: "Before we sent any spacecraft to Mars, these were the best images we had of the Red Planet." Image Source: The Carnegie Institution for Science via Tech Insider.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

When Hairdressers Dominated the Earth


RT (12 August 2016): I destroyed the far right in Britain (and I grew a moustache). Image Source: Twitter.

I was going to leave the blog for a bit, but then ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage's post-Brexit moustache stopped me in my tracks. As a publicity stunt, it was so weird and economical. The Internet melted down. Ladbible wondered "what the fuck is going on"? Farage hasn't always been so lucky with moustaches.


The moustache debuted in an RT interview yesterday. It wasn't just the moustache. It was RT's colour scheme. I couldn't focus on what was said, because watching it felt like being loaded into a time machine and being shot back to 1985, when as one Youtuber put it, "hairdressers dominated the whole earth." I could not understand. When did turquoise and pink neon come back? Then I remembered they are the trending transgender colours of 2016. As for the moustache, I have a lot of posts on iconic 1980s' styles and media, but this is the main one; that post includes a clip from Scarface (1983) with Robert Loggia sporting the same facial hair.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SpaceX: Of Course I Still Love You


Falcon 9 launches with the Thai THAICOM 8 satellite (27 May 2016).

The pride of Elon Musk's private SpaceX spacecraft stable is the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9, first launched on 4 June 2010, is a reusable heavy launch lift vehicle, so named because it is powered by nine SpaceX Merlin 1C rocket engines. It has a little free-flying spacecraft crew capsule, the Dragon, attached at the top.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Drone Precedents: Point and Click


The unmanned drone MQ-9 Reaper, made by General Atomics, designed in 2001, first introduced into use by the US Air Force in 2007. This photo is from Afghanistan. Image Source: US Air Force via Defense Update.

This is the third in three posts on discrepancies between declared meaning and hard reality and the problems those gaps cause in emerging Millennial history. Today's post focuses on warfare. The 2014 documentary Drone, directed by Norwegian director Tonje Hessen Schei, summarized the change from a critical perspective. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom reviewed the film in 2015:
"The international community has stressed that drone strikes involve killings without due process that are violating international law and human rights, most importantly the right to life. There have been strong concerns that drone operations do not gather sufficient information to establish legal targets, resulting in indiscriminate killings. The precision of drones, so fondly asserted by their supporters, is a myth.

Someone who knows all about this crude reality is Brandon Bryant, a former US Air Force drone operator diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who is now speaking out to the world on what he experienced during his time flying drones. In the documentary, he describes the light-hearted, often nonchalant, atmosphere in the control room, half a world away from the people they were targeting, and how he himself grew more and more jaded for each strike."
The documentary (available at time of writing, here) sounds an alarm on drone development; the film regards drones as an international, not purely American, problem; and it criticizes the Republicans and especially the Democrats for their endorsement of the drone programme. The narration opens with an interview with Brandon Bryant, as he reflected on how drone operation dehumanized him:
"I didn't really understand what it meant to kill at first. It was horrible. Sometimes it plays itself over and over again in your head, so much that you, you just imagine who these people were. We sat in a box for nearly twelve hour shifts. I [was] typically on the night shift. It was quieter. All the lights were usually off, except for the light coming from the monitors. It was so weird just being able to watch people's lives. ... I remember watching a wedding. I mean, these were people enjoying themselves. These were people celebrating, like, a wedding. You know? Like - but someone in that wedding was a bad person, and at that moment, they were celebrating. It's just weird, like, I'm watching this person, and this person has no clue. We're the ultimate voyeurs, the ultimate Peeping Toms. No one's going to catch us, and we're getting orders to take these people's lives. It was just - point and click."
Bryant claimed most of his fellow drone pilots did not view their operations that way, and some threatened him when he came forward to criticize drones. At the other end of engagement, civilians sitting under drone attacks regard them as despicable and illegal. Lawyers in Pakistan have taken drone attack cases before their courts as criminal extrajudicial killings. But the paper trail disappears when it reaches the American government's doorstep, due to the confidentiality of unidentified authorities and top secret status of intelligence officers. In 2015, The Guardian called "Obama's drone panopticon" a "secret machine with no accountability." In the old military system, information can pinpoint those who violate military laws and court martial them. In the new military system, information disappears.




The verdict on conventional warfare from 2001 to 2008: Abu Ghraib prison torture in 2003 Image Source: Progressive Charlestown. The Senate committee report on torture was published on 30 December 2014. Image Source: Christian Science Monitor. Wife at the grave of an American soldier. Image Source: The Daily Call. Approximately half of veterans (over 1 million former military personnel) returned home to suffer PTSD, drug problems, convoluted governmental support, unemployment in the Great Recession, and other difficulties. A homeless veteran in Houston, Texas. Image Source: IFTBQP. Wiki: "In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were committing suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes."

Barack Obama's drone programme grew out of a catastrophic evaluation of George W. Bush's conventional wars. The Americans faced huge criticism and problems over their handling of the War in Afghanistan (2001-2014) and the Iraq War (2003-present). Abu Ghraib prison, torture, and Guantanamo Bay became ugly mirrors which the big media held up to show a proud nation its shameful inhumanity. The media and experts challenged the justifications and WMD premises for the war. Bush's conventional war was also astronomically expensive. In 2004, Osama bin Laden stated that one of al-Qaeda's aims was to provoke the USA into military conflict to the point of bankruptcy. He almost succeeded. Critics blamed the 2008 meltdown partly on the cost of war. In 2013, Reuters reported that the Iraq War and its related aftermath could cost USD $6 trillion over the next four decades, including interest.

Enter the drone, a comparatively cheap, recessionary weapon. In 2015, The Daily Dot reported that Obama requested roughly USD $561 billion in defense spending for the following year, with a growing portion devoted to drones or drone research, to around USD $5 billion by 2016. This was the projected cost of 'soft defense' with a 'small footprint': "While controversial for a variety of reasons, the drone program was supposed to usher in the era of a slimmer, smarter military for the U.S." Bard College has a Center for the Study of the Drone, which broke down America's annual drone budget for 2016 (here) and 2017 (here). According to one PBS opinion piece, the Democrats paid for the drones by printing money, as part of recessionary quantitative easing.

So, Obama declared: war is peace. Drone technology effectively continued Bush's Middle Eastern military policy in a different style. Single, targeted drone attacks became more widespread, akin to drone bombing. The Intercept dug through leaked classified drone papers, especially those for Operation Haymaker in Afghanistan in 2012-2013, and found large numbers of civilian casualties. For all the earlier concerns in Iraq and Afghanistan, this was a troubling shift in operational perspective. The Democrats' policy obscured reality, and was conceptually, politically and philosophically dislocated from the reality it created. This war continued mostly out of the public eye, behind a façade of peace. The film Drone maintains that the sympathetic Democratic rhetoric of humanitarianism and frugal economy held the moral high ground over the sabre-rattling of hawkish Republicans. However, the Democrats' withdrawal of troops and peaceable rhetoric cynically, strategically - and progressively - continued the war with drone technology and mercenaries, who replaced American soldiers on the ground.


Blackwater gained public attention when four of their mercenaries were ambushed, killed and burned on a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq, on 31 March 2004. It took two military battles for the Americans to take the city. After the victory in December 2004, the Marines signed the bridge with their Latin motto. In the photo above, 3/5 is the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment of the Marines, also known as the Darkhorse. From 2005 to 2011, investigative reports linked birth defects in Fallujah to the US Army's use of white phosphorous. The incident showed how unconventional mercenaries and weapons overlapped with conventional forces and the media. Images Sources: Mount Holyoke University; flickr.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton condemned the Bush State Department's employment of the military contractor Blackwater. But a 2014 HuffPo investigation found that shortly thereafter, Clinton's State Department stepped up hiring of private armies; her office promised Blackwater (now known as Academi) USD $500 million in mercenary contracts. In 2010, Wired reported that Clinton's State Department signed a five-year contract worth over USD $10 billion with a mercenary umbrella group called, 'International Development Solutions,' which included Academi-formerly-known-as-Blackwater. In 2014, there were rumours that Academi and an affiliated, Barbados-based company, Greystone, were active in the Ukraine. Other Blackwater shell companies, like Paravant, have grimly ironic names (a paravent is a portable bedroom privacy screen). According to Wired, here are a few other names Blackwater, its subsidiaries, or related merc companies have taken on to shed baggage:
  • Total Intelligence Solutions
  • Technical Defense Inc.
  • Apex Management Solutions LLC
  • Aviation Worldwide Services LLC
  • Air Quest Inc.
  • Presidential Airways Inc.
  • EP Aviation LLC
  • Backup Training LLC
  • Terrorism Research Center
  • Xe Services LLC
  • Worldwide Protective Services
  • AAR Corp.
The employer-reviews Website, Glassdoor, has employees' reviews of International Development Solutions; one reads: "Great pay. Travel is awesome. [But y]ou're away from home quite often." Darker parts of the story emerged in 2016 about an embryonic private air force (here and here), while ex-Blackwater CEO Erik Prince aided in China's quiet imperial conquest of Africa. One blog devoted to overseas military contractors calls them "the best kept secret of the wars." Contractors and drones allowed war to disappear (largely) from the media; conflict faded into the background behind the term, 'deniability.' Regardless of the winner in the American presidential race, this approach will continue. The current foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump is Joseph Schmitz, a former Blackwater executive.

Even more than before, politicians separated cause from effect and meaning from reality. This policy created two contemporary historical narratives, the politicized metahistory, and the factual course of events. The misleading image of a kinder, gentler government became easier to cultivate, because warfare was conducted through several degrees of separation and obscured political responsibility. Drone argues that Obama disapproved of Guantanamo Bay, so he solved that problem by killing suspects with drones, thereby avoiding the public relations mess of capturing, incarcerating them and facing scrutiny over that process. Critics in Drone maintain that this policy by-passed international and national legal systems (as opposed to violating them, as the Bush administration had). Other critics assert that the same policy encouraged the rise of ISIS. Drones are one of the reasons why ISIS are so keen to provoke the Americans back into boots-on-the ground, hand-to-hand combat in the Middle East. In their eyes, a bloody human clash is the true contest between societies, and remote-piloted drones are the weapons of cowards.

Purported drone killing (12 November 2015) of 'Jihadi John' aka Mohammed Emwazi (born Muhammad Jassim Abdulkarim Olayan al-Dhafiri), a Londoner who beheaded several high-profile western captives for ISIS, including American journalist James Foley on 19 August 2014 (see my post on Foley's beheading here). ISIS confirmed Emwazi's death in January 2016. The gamer who posted this video on 13 November 2015 rejoices in the killing. This is likely the wrong footage, revealing public difficulty in confirming the details of drone warfare. According to the Daily Mail, Emwazi was killed on a street while talking on his cell phone. Video Source: Youtube

The psychological orientation of drone battle is different from conventional warfare. One army sits, thousands of miles away from the arena of action. Their engagement is virtual, disconnected from direct combat, and they target enemies dispersed among a civilian population. The documentary observes that human operators of drones will soon be replaced by computer algorithms, thus making the targeting of undesirable individuals in the world nearly fully automated. Proponents of algorithmic pilots argue that an algorithm is more objective than human drone operators. At present, the human decision to assassinate an individual or group depends on intelligence analysis and a chain of command. The intelligence is gathered through governmental monitoring of private citizens' information, combined with international intelligence tips - including, the film asserts - from the European Union, whose governments have not criticized Obama's policy on drones.

In DroneColonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, remarked that the advent of drones changes the legal connotations of war, and positions the soldier as more murderer than defender of his or her society. Drone operations demand a different kind of recruit, from soldiers who are physically, organizationally and strategically trained for combat, to soldiers who are computer gamers. The US military has developed unmanned airplane computer games to ferret out and attract drone pilot recruits at as early an age as possible. From Wilkerson in Drone:
"It's a very different youth group that we're dealing with, that we're forcing into this environment of killing. And it's a very different form of killing, when you're in Nevada and the people you're killing are ten thousand miles away. We have something in the armed forces that we call the 'warrior ethos.' You destroy that when you go out and kill people and you're totally invulnerable. I think the drone business, the distance imposed, amplifies this a hundredfold. And the distinction between killing for state purposes under just war theory and killing for state purposes with no vulnerability is, I think, the difference between killing in a way that is recognized and legalized, even, and murder. How did we get to the point where we're no longer warriors, we're murderers for the state?"

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wonders of the Millennial World 8: The Kaleidoscope


Image Source: World Arts Film Festival.

Posts on this blog have asked about the impact of technology on traditional life, a destabilization of norms, and a dislocation from stable geographical and economic bases. The shift from static to kinetic applies in media as in life. Perhaps the dynamic Millennial existence resembles a kaleidoscope, where identity, time, memory, place, beliefs, the virtual and real, constantly tumble and lock into new realities. All elements are moving pieces which come together in a way that resembles living systems. The trick to see this is depth of perspective.

Naturally occurring fractal pattern, cells in a cross-section of a plant stalk. Image Source: pinterest.

Neuronal cells. Image Source: Eye of Science.

"Equivocal kaleidoscope. Ai Weiwei welded 150 bicycle frames into an impressive installation. The work is not only a reference to cars taking over the streets in China, but also to a prominent show trial. Several years ago, a young Chinese man was arrested and mistreated for not registering his bicycle. He was later sentenced to death." Image Source: DW.

Microphotograph of the ovary of a flower by Ray Nelson. Image Source: The Daily Polymer Arts Blog.

Image Source: Hotel-R.

Electric pulses from a human brain cell. Image Source: 123RF.

Trippy 014: Psychedelic particles randomly pulse and flow (Loop). Image Source: Shutterstock.

Human Cerebral Cortex, Alfonso Rodríguez-Baeza and Marisa Ortega-Sánchez, scanning electron microscope (2009). Image Source: pinterest. Compare with the brain cell gif in my post, Making Memories.

Marker art installation by artist Heike Weber (2013). Image Source: Bored Panda. Compare with the installations of artist Clemens Behr.

See my earlier post on Microphotography.
See all my posts on Wonders of the Millennial World.