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, August 8, 2018

Millennial Extremes 14: Next Gen Tech and the Bering Strait Connection

Image Source: InterBering.

The blog is back after a break! Today's post is about a mega-project which illustrates how early generations of imperialists have passed to torch to Millennial globalists.

If the Channel Tunnel ignited the hopes of a European generation when it opened in 1994, the Bering Strait Tunnel is an engineering scheme which could similarly transform geopolitics and revolutionize transportation. The dedicated site, InterBering, expects "Tourists will be able to cross between the U.S. and Russia in just 15-20 minutes." The most colourful aspects of the plan include proposed five star hotels along the route:
"Where the tunnels pass under America's Krusenstern Island (Small Diomede), a railway station can be built allowing passengers elevator access to the island. A world-class hotel would provide them with a mid-Strait vista of the confluence of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. A stay at this iconic hotel, along with a journey on the magnetic levitation train serving it, will become a tourist attraction in its own right. A similar facility can be created on Russia's neighboring Ratmanov Island (Big Diomede)."
Bering Strait Tunnel proposal. Image Source: InterBering.

Image Source: InterBering.

Maps Source: InterBering.

Map Source: InterBering.

The InterBering project is the brainchild of Alaskan-based Russian consultant, Fyodor Soloview. Alternatively, there is a Bering Strait superhighway which was proposed in 2015 by Vladimir Yakunin, the now-ex-head of Russian Railways. There is less interest expressed in crossing the Bering Strait from the North American side. Either way, these undertakings could boost the economies of all cities along the route. (Not financial advice, but one may invest in the tunnel's limited liability company.) Investors may begin buying property around remote Arctic locations:
Below, see a Youtube virtual tour of some of these places.

GoPro Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska 7-01-16 (1 July 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Huslia[, Alaska, USA] town center (10 November 2010). Video Source: Youtube.

Tanana Barge Arrival- Tanana, Alaska (11 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Whitehorse Yukon (11 February 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Ft Nelson BC[, Canada] (17 June 2011). Video Source: Youtube.

EDMONTON , ALBERTA CANADA A WALKING TRAVEL TOUR HD 1080P (27 April 2014). Video Source: Youtube. For less nice tours of the city, see Edmonton crackheads fighting here and a fatal attack on the local train here. In 2017, the city had the fifth most violent crime rate in Canada.

The high-speed Bering Strait rail system would connect to the California high-speed rail network currently being constructed. Image Source: The Mercury News.

Image Source: The White Oaks Blog

These are the communities on the Russian side of this network:
Дрон летает над Уэленом на Чукотском полуострове [Drone flies over Uelen in the Chukchi Peninsula] (23 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Эгвекинот (Egvekinot). Video Source: Youtube.

Зырянка. Заброшенная Богоявления Господня церковь. Что говорят стены... [Zyryanka. Abandoned Epiphany Church. What the walls say ...] (12 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Отмроженные в Усть - Нере [Frozen in Ust-Nere] (17 February 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Полет DJI Inspire над центром г. Якутск - One flew over Yakutsk (17 August 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The InterBering proposal states that the line would run along the Russian Far East to Heilongjiang Province in China, down to the Koreas and Japan. The Trans-Siberian line connects to the Harbin–Manzhouli railway at Zabaykalsk and Manzhouli on the Chinese-Russian border. A 2016 memo expects to link this system to the renewed Silk Road, another monster project, undertaken by the Chinese at a cost of USD $900 billion.

Planned Russian Railroad Development to 2030. Image Source: InterBering. Click to enlarge.

Main rail routes and selected secondary routes of Eurasia. Image Source: InterBering. Click to enlarge.

048美丽目的地 黑龙江—哈尔滨上《中央大街走九遍》 [048 beautiful destination Heilongjiang - Harbin on the "Central Avenue, nine times"] (22 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

The whole massive Bering Strait network will cost an estimated USD $1.3+ trillion to build and will generate hundreds of thousands of jobs during and after construction.

When one looks at the small northern communities along the intended route, it is hard to say if such a project can get off the ground. This is not exactly a line which connects Paris to London.

There are, however, natural resources to be mined and traded in this region, especially oil, gas, uranium, phosphate, nickel, and platinum. You can see an infographic on Arctic oil and mineral wealth, here.

Perhaps this plan for Arctic travel and plunder concerns next gen technology. Gallium nitride, indium, and rare earth elements will provide the guts of electronic devices as our computing capacity outstrips the power of silicon. I have previously written about gallium nitride here. This imperfect crystal semiconductor is a by-product of mining other metals including aluminum (bauxite) and zinc (sphalerite). Another key metal is beryllium. Russia resumed mining it last year.

Raytheon is extremely active in the Arctic; it is developing military defense and communications systems, including Arctic broadband. It is opening shipping lanes and seeking natural resources through the Raytheon Arctic Monitoring and Prediction (RAMP) program. Raytheon’s GaN Advantage (2 October 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

How Gallium Nitride Semiconductors will make your home and workspace completely wireless (18 April 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Indium derives from zinc mining, as well as iron, lead, and copper ores, sourced mainly from China, South Korea, Japan and Canada. In a March 2018 report, Mining News North of 60 stated that billions upon billions of pounds of these elements are being located in the Arctic.

Image Source: Mia Bennett/Cryopolitics via Eye on the Arctic.

Thus, the essential physical components for the evolution of technology are located in this region. So too are possible developments for the blockchain, considered to be the backbone protocol of next generation technology. The Arctic could prove a haven for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining, since there is a lot of cheap hydro-electric power there and naturally cold environments for overheated computer centres. Irkutsk, Russia is fast becoming a world capital for Bitcoin mining.

In February of this year, Hackernoon reported that more than 80% of Bitcoin's mining pools are located in China, even with government regulation. Remember that crypto mining pools, when they cooperate, can control a cryptocurrency; if these people and systems were also geographically concentrated, the Arctic could become a region which controls blockchains around the world. That possibility raises questions about centralized cryptopolitics for decentralized technologies.

A pie chart showing the hashrate distribution among the main Bitcoin mining pools in February 2018; the top four are in China: BTC.com; Antpool; BTC.top; ViaBTC. SlushPool is Czech. Image Source: Blockchain.info via Hackernoon. To see the hashrate distribution for the Bitcoin mining pools over the past 24 hours, go here.

SlushPool's 2016 promo for its AI assistant for cryptocurrency miners: Slush Pool AI Introduction HD (2 September 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

This is all new tech, and it will be associated with a different kind of internationalism. A Siberian Times report on the Bering Strait superhighway project (discussed in The Atlantic in 2015) maintained that this is globalization on a non-European model, a trend I have described on this blog.

Rather than trying to make the virtual free zones real, the Russians look to precedents set by big engineering projects in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s:
"'This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project,' The Siberian Times reported [Vladimir] Yakunin saying at the meeting. 'It should be an alternative to the current [neo-liberal] model, which has caused a systemic crisis,' by which he means an economy based on investing in derivatives and stock buybacks and, in consulting engineer and infrastructure expert Dr. Hal Cooper’s words 'things that are easy to do on your computer, but which don’t benefit the real world.' The idea is to instead focus on reviving economic forces that revolve around building something—and in this case a very big, maybe impossibly ambitious something—in the physical world."
Perhaps the mega-projects trend is less about political flavours of imperialism and more about a Millennial tendency to push the mind toward extremes. The Atlantic remarks that this project, if realized, would be a superhuman achievement:
"The project is almost mystical in its proportions. Were it to succeed, it would be among the largest infrastructure projects in history. So the Bering Strait tunnel is, in effect, a fantastical plan at this point, tantamount to the space elevator—another proposed Russian-American collaboration spanning the 20th century—and will almost certainly never be a popular use of American funds." 
Future Megaprojects - Bering Strait Tunnel (Extreme Engineering | Megastructures) Documentary (8 May 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Click to enlarge. Image Source: 911 Metallurgist.

See all my posts on Millennial Extremes.

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