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.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Perspectives and Milestones

Paul Stankard's handblown glass pieces look impossible to create. In Beauty Beyond Nature, he discusses the craft. Image Source: Paul Stankard via boing boing.

This blog has just passed 2 million hits! Welcome to the 1359th post and the end of the blog's fifth year. Thank you to everyone who has stopped here. Your time is precious and comments are always appreciated. Thank you to every interviewee who has been kind enough to discuss your work. And thank you to other bloggers I have met along the way, who have shown me the value of real-time publishing. These bloggers are all amazing people, intelligent and gifted mavericks (you know who you are), who know what to read on a desert island, and how to walk the line.

This blog was partly inspired by a site called The Strip, and partly by the late Mac Tonnies, whose blog (now in paperback on Amazon here) was published from 2003 until his untimely death in 2009. Tonnies' Posthuman Blues remains a landmark. Sometimes I revisit his blog, and I am still amazed by his ideas and vision, his uncanny ability to pin down the Zeitgeist, to channel the new Millennium's collective unconscious, to decrypt and encrypt a cultural environment of changing symbols, to describe the future.

Blogs remain relevant because some are still independent. Media independence? Political neutrality? What's that? Although media outlets co-opt blogs to make them branded social media products, some blogs remain artistic life statements and authentic testimonies. Readers follow a blogger on a personal journey as he or she tries to make sense of the exploding world of communications. So, Histories of Things to Come is based on a true story.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Planet Walkers

Press imagery for the BBC series, Voyage to the Planets (2004). Image Source: BBC.

For today, here are two fictional Youtube videos on what it would be like for astronauts to walk on the surfaces of Venus and Pluto. The clips are modified, taken from the 2004 BBC TV series, Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets. This award-winning, fake-umentary series speculated on what a manned exploration of the solar system would be like:
Five astronauts pilot the nuclear thermal rocket powered Pegasus spacecraft on a tour of the solar system. Their mission is a collaboration of the NASA, CSA, ESA and РКА space agencies and takes the crew to Venus, Mars, a close flyby of the Sun, Jupiter’s moon[s] Io and Europa, Saturn, Pluto, and the fictional Comet Yano-Moore. Most of the planetary destinations the crew reaches are followed by a manned landing there. Prior to the mission large tanks of hydrogen were deposited in stable orbits around the planets to allow the crew to refuel to have sufficient delta-v for the multi-year mission.

The crew encounter many hardships and disappointments along the way. A Venus EVA that almost ends in disaster when the lander Orpheus encounters launch delays, the near-loss of the shield during the aerobrake in Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the loss of samples from Jupiter's moon Io all test the crew's resolve. The most devastating blow comes when the ship's medical officer dies of solar radiation-induced lymphoma in Saturn orbit, forcing the crew to decide whether to continue the mission to Pluto, or abort and return to Earth. In the original British release, the crew decides to press on to Pluto, making history. The American version, broadcast on The Science Channel, was trimmed for length, the crew deciding to turn back at this stage rather than continue. The programme is narrated by David Suchet.
I don't know how long the links will last, but the series is up in parts on Youtube and another link is on Vimeo:

Voyage to the Planets still (2004). Image Source: BBC via The Space Review.

Voyage to the Planets (2004) concept art by Daren Horley. Image Source: The Rogue Verbumancer.

The Youtuber who posted the Venusian clip argues:
Theoretically , we can build VENUS SPACE SUIT. "Chief Navy Diver Daniel Jackson (US Navy) holds the depth record using an ADS. On August 1, 2006 he was submerged at 2,000 feet (610 m) deep off the coast of La Jolla, California." Venusian pressure is an equivalent to a 1-km-deep water ocean. Pressure isn't even the biggest problem , the biggest problem is temperature and acid in atmosphere. But if we landed on the highest mountain Maxwell Montes, conditions would be much more better: pressure - equivalent to a approx. 325 m(!) in ocean , temp. 650 F (+343 C). We can create suits made of titanium [melting point is more than 1,650 °C or 3,000 °F] and use basalt-based fiber technology with a thermal range of -260 C to +982 C (1800 F) and melt point of 1450 C . The biggest problem is to create corrosion resistant coating and effective cooling system. 

Atmospheric diving suit (2006), a potential precursor for a Venusian spacesuit.
Image Source: U.S. Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Chelsea Kennedy via Wiki.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Can You Keep Up?

Video Source: Youtube.

The above video from mid-2014 features American management expert, Gary Hamel, speaking (actually, yelling) about the pace of change, and if and how we can keep up. He points out that the recession was at least partly due to the transformation of the economy due to technology: "The world is becoming more turbulent, faster than our organizations are becoming more resilient." Individuals and businesses are having real problems coping with the flood of information and the exponential expansion of the technological environment.

Triangular hierarchical management structures cause a lot of these problems. Hamel claims that those hierarchies responded to earlier social and economic conditions, unsuited to the demands of new economies. The question he seeks to answer is how people can become more committed, autonomous and efficient in their work, so that they can respond to change and evolve profitably without becoming overwhelmed. There is more from him below, talking on the evolution of management in 2011.

New Movies in Old VHS Cases

New wine in old bottles. From the French satirical site, golem13, via The Poke, here's what Millennial movies would look like if packaged in the old 1980s-1990s VHS cases. It shows how graphic art and marketing have moved from the static to the kinetic in 15-20 odd years.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Laugh of the Day: Easter's Concerned Reader

A concerned reader of the blog thinks this blog needs to lighten up. He sent some links from the UK humour site, The Poke, which ran, Jesus is the Boss and 35 reasons to love Easter on Good Friday. The first two paintings are by Nathan Greene, The Senior Partner (2002) and The Difficult Case (1994). Thanks to -B.