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.



Showing posts with label Dystopias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dystopias. Show all posts

Friday, February 8, 2019

QuadrigaCX: Opinions and Sources


Image Source: PrestonMartelly.

[NOTE: I am away from the blog, March-April 2019. On return, I will update this post.]

This blog will embark on a larger exploration into decentralized institutions and how they are relating to mainstream institutions, governments and globalism. To support that research, this post will feature links, opinions, and sources on the QuadrigaCX crypto exchange collapse. See my initial post on QuadrigaCX's meltdown, here.


11 February 2019: TRON CEO Justin Sun offered a job to QuadrigaCX client Tong Zhou who lost $422,000 on the exchange. Image Source: UToday.


Vlog - QuadrigaCX, how I lost my life savings, how I am dealing with it so far.. (15 February 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

By the second week of February 2019, the picture of QuadrigaCX as presented by CEO Gerald Cotten's widow, Jennifer Robertson, began falling apart under scrutiny of different cryptocurrencies' blockchains. See the 'Blockchain Forensics' section below in this post for details.

Social Media Innovation:
Crowd-Sourced Truth and Justice

In an innovative twist, Quadriga's users banded together on social media in early February 2019 to change the narrative. Instead of the funds being automatically lost, they set out to discover the truth about the exchange, because this affair is possibly "just the tip of the iceberg" in the cryptosphere and beyond it.

Together, Quadriga's users are launching their own investigation and are slowly turning the tide of opinion, first in the establishment, which refuses to touch the crypto space or treat it as a legitimate enterprise. On 8 February 2019, Reuters reported that Canada's biggest securities regulator (the Ontario Securities Commission) was looking into QuadrigaCX and cooperating with an RCMP investigation.

Second, Quadriga's users may sway the crypto sphere, where conventional wisdom and cynicism take lack of trust for granted; anyone who leaves fiat or crypto on an exchange is considered a fool who got what is coming to him or her. Some crypto users would rather look the other way and look at this crime as a non-issue. Quadriga is a transitional test case for mainstream adoption; thus, complacency in crypto circles about the collapse of this large exchange and crimes committed therein will affect that space over the long term.

Unfortunately, it appears that there was a difference between what Quadriga seemed to be and what it really was. Informal investigations and unconfirmed and dodgy information related to Quadriga are listed in the 'Theories' section near the bottom of this post.

On 7 February 2019, Quadriga's users set up a Wiki, qcWiki.org dedicated to their online investigation. Declaring that they were seeking "Crowd Sourced Truth and Justice," the site's founders stated:
"The events surrounding QuadrigaCX are extremely suspect; the official story simply doesn't make sense. As things stand, we're left with a mix of facts, rumors and hearsay. This wiki has been created to organize and verify facts. It will help eliminate the spread of misinformation, bring clarity to those interested in following the case and help law enforcement with their investigation.

If you have information/evidence of potential crimes committed by QuadrigaCX or individuals associated with it, you can contact RCMP Toronto West who are currently investigating.

Phone: (905) 876-9500




-This post will be continually expanded and updated in chronological order and will serve as a resource and links dump for researchers. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below the post. Over time, I will try to make it as complete as possible.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Stateless Futures: Crypto, Quadriga, and Anarchy in Acapulco


Court photograph showing Quadriga's book-keeping system; incredibly, the published photograph reveals personal and business data. Image Source: Twitter via Reddit. You can follow updates from Quadriga here.

On the heels of the Dark Overlord 9/11 hacks and bitcoin ransoms, the primary and most reputable Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, has melted down over the past two months after its missing 30-year-old CEO 'died' (or maybe, 'did not die') on 9 December 2018. He supposedly was the only person who had the passwords to the company's cold wallets. A dig into Quadriga reveals interests in charitable orphanages (human trafficking?), e-gold, and money laundering.

The crypto exchange has filed for court protection, which was granted by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. As of 5 February 2019, Quadriga has a 30-day stay of proceedings to stop lawsuits from its clients and account holders. The company has to find CAD $250 million in that time. Third-party observer Ernst and Young will oversee the process; they are publishing relevant documents here.




[Addendum: the above three tweets were added to this post on 7 February 2019, after the original publication date of the post.]

This case and a recent murder in Acapulco, Mexico reveal how tech-driven internationalism is faring as an alternative to globalism. The latter is growing out of older institutions, legal systems, governments and similar structures. The former is the Wild West: there are thousands of start-ups in the world which are trying to develop decentralized, scalable infrastructure based on block chain technology and smart contracts.

The real question is how these two worlds are contrasting and, more surprisingly, colliding. They are becoming integrated in the shadows.

The conventional assumption is that the established world is legitimate and legal and the alt-world is illegitimate and illegal. The alt-world maintains that the established system is completely corrupt, a rotten, eaten-out hulk, staffed by passive blue pills, complicit agents, and masterminds who want to impoverish and destroy the common people. Underground circles assumed that anything anti-establishment was automatically virtuous, a signpost to a new and better world. Quadriga's collapse suggests that the truth is much more murky and everything is connected.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

World War III Projections 3: Venezuela, The First Caribbean Domino?



Today, Venezuela's government is being forced to change through a strange internal and external consensus. While the anti-Maduro parts of the Venezuelan population are justifiably happy, there is a larger dimension of these events to consider.

Image Source: Growthlines.

The alt-media conspiracist outlet, Abel Danger, predicted earlier this month that Venezuela would be the first domino to fall in a new American- and British-led initiative, which will decimate Latin America and the Caribbean Basin in a long-term series of large wars. This supposed effort follows the same model as was used to devastate the Middle East over the past several decades. From 8 January 2019, The Terrible Forthcoming Destruction of the Caribbean Basin:
"President Trump has announced the withdrawal of US combat troops from the 'Greater Middle East', but the Pentagon is still pursuing the implementation of the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski plan. This time the aim is to destroy the States of the 'Caribbean Basin'. This is nothing like the overthrow of pro-Soviet regimes, as in the 1970’s, but the destruction of all regional state structures, without consideration for friends or political enemies. ...

In a series of previous articles, we presented the SouthCom plan to provoke wars between the Latin-American nations in order to destroy the structures of all the States in the 'Caribbean Basin'.

Preparations for wars of this magnitude, intended to follow on from the conflicts in the 'Greater Middle East' according to the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski strategy, requires a decade.

After the period of economic destabilisation and that of military preparation, the actual operation should begin in the years to come by an attack on Venezuela by Brazil (supported by [Israel]), Colombia (an ally of the United States) and Guyana (in other words, the United Kingdom). It will be followed by others, beginning with Cuba and Nicaragua (the 'troïka of tyranny' according to John Bolton).

However, the original plan may be modified, particularly because of the return of the imperial ambitions of the United Kingdom which may influence the Pentagon."
The same article was reposted at Information Clearing House. It originally appeared on the Voltaire Network Website and was penned there by Thierry Meyssan. Meyssan is a left-wing French journalist and 9/11 truther who has investigated far-right movements. He has also worked for Russia Today and Odnako (Однако) and is apparently now based in Damascus, Syria. To me, it looks like he's a spy.

10 December 2018: Russia provided two nuclear-capable 'Blackjack' aka 'White Swan' bombers to Maduro's régime. Image Source: Federico Parra / AFP / Getty Images via The Guardian.

Meyssan is convinced that the European Union project will be dropped, or perhaps left to the Germans to sort out. The European powers will return to their old plans of imperial colonization abroad in competition with, and sometimes in cooperation with, the United States. Venezuela is the first domino to fall. On 15 January 2019, he wrote:
"[O]ne of the consequences of the successive ends of the bipolar and unipolar world is the re-establishment of colonial projects. One after the other, the French, Turkish and English have publicly declared the return of their colonial ambitions. We still need to know what form they will adopt in the 21st century."
While from a dubious source, if it is correct, it is terrible news for everybody. This larger context may explain Trump's plan to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. The wall construction may anticipate a widespread southern conflict and block the flow of soldiers and refugees. The Russians have provided nuclear-capable bombers and a Kalashnikov manufacturing plant to the Maduro administration. The latter has led to a spread of guns all over the Caribbean. Freelance journalist Colin Freeman has begun covering this story.

Note also that the 8 January report suggests that the Caribbean and Latin American conflict is believed to have been laid out over the past decade, prior to Donald Trump's election. This would mean that the planning for the conflict occurred under the Obama administration. If this is even partly true, it means that the 2016 American election, Brexit, the debate over the wall in the United States, the fierce political fights between liberals and conservatives, the Democrats' moves to impeach Trump, and the US government shutdown have been a big puppet show. Perhaps the puppet show kept eyes off the actual theatre of operations while pieces were moved into place.

Other small outlets made similar reports in the first half of January. As the Trade Union and Worker News in Africa put it, with yet another article by Meyssan, Goodbye Middle East, Hello Latin America. Whatever the evolution of the Venezuelan régime, nothing can justify what is being prepared against its population.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Your Friends, The Dark Overlord


If you want to see the Dark Overlord files, go here. Image Source: Time.

A group called the Dark Overlord claimed responsibility for the 2017 Netflix hacks. They have also lately hacked London Bridge plastic surgery clinic and released celebrities' medical files onto the Web. On 31 December 2018, they rang in the New Year with the announcement that they had breached a law firm and stolen 10 Gigabytes (18,000 documents) of legal papers, video, and audio files relating to 9/11 insurance claims with Hiscox Group. The trolls at 4chan were unimpressed:
"Q: who did 9/11 in your opinion based on the docs?

A: We don't really give a fuck. We want internet money.

We've already released a select few documents to serve as proof of our claims. We're about to change the fucking world. Edward Snowden's NSA leak will be pale in comparison."
And:
"We are all broke and also we don't feel like going to jail as we are all just 16yo virgin keyboard worriers. How come you couldn't find someone to give you a suitcase of money?"
And:
"Q: Hi, thedarkoverlord, Have you considered that information may well be used crash the monetary system you hope to be compensated in?

A: Fantastic question, mate. We're not concerned about that as we receive our payments only in internet money like Bitcoin. The monetary crash will be your problem. We always advise our clients to diversify and acquire different convertible currencies."
Some trolls were less skeptical. After viewing the document below, which was released on 4chan, one noted that 'Iron Mountain' documents had been shredded:
"HEY GUYS THIS IS SOMETHING!!!!

Flight 93 was shot down by National Guard because it was heading to Iron mountain, a military base.

Shredding documents related to that seems like a crime/treason!"


In fact, Iron Mountain is a Boston-based data management company; their history is here. But the company has also partnered with the US government and maintains an underground data storage facility called Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania, USA. They have a staff of 2,700 and they do hold Flight 93 evidence.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Awaken the Amnesiacs 11: Depart from the Camera Obscura


A natural instance of a camera obscura: an image of the New Royal Palace at Prague Castle projected onto an attic wall by a hole in the tile roofing (2 August 2011). Image Source: Gampe/Wiki.

For this weekend's solstice, the blog journeys into the darkness, the blind spot. Try this experiment. If you are left or liberal, try watching or reading conservative news and alt-media for a week. If you are conservative or libertarian, force yourself to listen to or read liberal-left media for a week.

The holidays are a good time to do this, when many people encounter friends and family they haven't seen in awhile, and have conversations which reveal uncomfortable political differences. Have compassion for your fellow human beings at holiday dinner tables, because we are all equally hammered by divisive and misleading propaganda.

If you follow the 'wrong' politicized narrative for a few days, you will notice that people are being fed the exact same story with which you may be familiar, but the players are changed.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Death in Panama


Image Source: The Daily Beast.

There is an Internet sub-genre devoted to investigating what has happened to missing people. One of the most disturbing recent cases of this kind captured the attention of bloggers, Redditors, Youtubers, and forum members.

"Lisanne Froon, aged 22. Picture taken on April 1, [2014] the day of her disappearance. Cellphone data, found in their backpack, revealed that attempts to dial 911 were made some 2 hours after this photo was taken. There was no reception. The last attempt to dial 911 was 10 days after their disappearance." Image Source: imgur.

This was the case of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, two Dutch college graduates, aged 21 and 22. In March 2014, they traveled to Boquete, Panama for six weeks to learn Spanish and do volunteer work with local children. Then they disappeared during a day hike in the forest near the town.

At the time of writing this post, the debate on this case at the German forum, Allmystery, was nearly 600 pages long. One of the related Reddit threads is here. The police investigation focused on the girls' disappearance its effect on the local tourist industry. This post and a subsequent post will ask about the much larger context of this case, including the Panama Papers.

Image Source: Kris Kremers/Facebook/imgur.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The Skeleton Key


Olga Neuwirth, Lost Highway opera stills (2003), based on the 1997 film by David Lynch.

In this year's Hallowe'en countdown, I have been describing a malaise that unnerves us. There is a collective sense that things have gone wrong and somewhere, there is an answer why. Somewhere, there is a skeleton key. If you had it, you could unlock all the problems, find their solutions, and blink yourself awake into a better world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Julian Assange, Manchurian Candidate?


The Australian cult, 'The Family,' was certainly connected to Julian Assange in his childhood. But the extent of that connection is not well known. Image Source: The Age.

This week in the Hallowe'en countdown, I am covering arcane secrets which lie in plain sight. It is a common theme now that appearances are deceiving. Famous people and politicians hide behind glittering reputations, concealing sinister private realities, backroom deals, abuses, corruption, and weird spiritual beliefs. Another theme is the opposite idea that these truths aren't hidden. The common people are blind to self-evident facts, sitting right under their noses.

Free information reveals those facts. It blows open circles which, in the past, may have been secret, or may have been merely exclusive. This dynamic is being radicalized and is transforming the political landscape. Socialism is passé. The Red Pill - or the more extreme Black Pill - is the new calling card of the common man or woman.

Among those who have weaponized information against the establishment, none is more prominent than Julian Assange, publisher at WikiLeaks.

Image Source: Aangirfan.

However, whistle-blowing and leaks are no certain testament to credibility. Free information can be suppressed, discredited, or counter-weaponized by the establishment in order to harness its radical power.

Cyber activists are paranoid enough to know that there is a level of Millennial horror beyond Black Pilled disillusionment. See through all the façades, and you will reach a point at which you can trust no one, especially when they come to you bearing gifts of revelations. You cannot rely on those new populist leaders and anti-establishment whistle-blowers, who could be controlled opposition, agents meant in the final analysis to lead the flock back into the fold of a compromised establishment. Seeming reforms will come to naught and online freedom will revert to slavery. In this vein, you can read a scathing alt-attack on Assange and his intelligence connections, here.

This is why, where Assange is concerned, the jury is out among his Red Pilled followers. My last post summarized the work of Sam William, who vlogs about London, UK. When the vlogger visited the city's Ecuadorian embassy, his audience elaborated in the Youtube comments section on Assange's background:
"Assange was raised in a cult called 'The family' in Melbourne which was run by a wom[a]n called Anne Hamilton Byrne. The family conducted trauma based mind control on many white haired children. Anne was on the board of the Newhaven private hospital that was found guilty of administering LSD to patients as late as the 1980s. Anne was close fr[ie]nds with Lord Casey, founder of ASIS, Oz Secret intelligence service. Anne was on the run for many years from the FBI, hidden in the USA until they eventually got her. In 1994, she evaded prison and was only fined AUS $5000. These are my observations."
And:
"The cult was called The Family and the great leader was an Australian woman Ann Hamilton-Byrne. All of the children had bleached blonde hair and matching bowl cuts, like Children of the Damned- not just for aesthetics, but to take away individually and institute more control. The cult also dealt in child-trafficking and the sameness was useful in transporting them around with passports that may not be their own. The leader's daughter found she was not her biological daughter and was basically stolen as a baby and wrote a book on her upbringing. The children were systematically abused, drugged, sleep-deprived, trauma-based abuse. It was definitely a Tavistock cult, many cults are CIA/Tavistock inventions or they are co-opted when they show up on their radar and are useful grounds for experimentation. Julian got into the cult through his mother's boyfriend but I don't know if he has ever discussed it. All that matters are the actual wikileak documents and their legitimacy, not who he is. He could be a total Tavistock/CIA/shadow govt/reptilian overlord created persona and it doesn't really matter. It is striking that one would keep the culty hair-do after leaving the cult, unless you never really left ...)."
And:
"After I left this comment, I checked out what the daughter is up to, she is a doctor now- and I saw a comment she made, maybe on twitter, about how Julian couldn't have grown up in this cult and have been a teenage hacker when they didn't even have electricity. So he either did not grow up in the cult or was never a teen hacker. He is a constructed persona, used as a front for politically motivated leaks. The cult of personality built around him is pretty impressive though."
There is a lot to consider here, not least that the daughter mentioned above, Sarah Moore, died in May 2016 at the age of 46. Beyond the possibility that Julian Assange may have been partly raised in a cult, there is a question - as the commenters imply - of whether the cult was connected to a much larger picture. If so, we must ask whether that larger picture had any bearing from the start on Julian Assange's integrity, and on WikiLeaks's founding and agenda.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: London's Dragons, Druids, and Pumping Stations


Image Source: Bob Speel.

The countdown this week is devoted to arcane secrets which lie in plain sight. We start in the streets of London, where for seven years, the brilliant and acerbic vlogger swilliamism (aka Samuel William) has explored the dark nooks and crannies of the UK's capital. During his lunch breaks from work, he peeks behind the white façades with his digital camera, and reveals unnerving little details.


Occult Symbols in London (23 April 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Symbolism Of The Dragon (20 May 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Sam describes London's history with low key sarcasm. His videos have titles like: Where's Daddy's Pig?; Proud Taxpayer Day; Theft Appreciation Day; the eye-opening The Strange Mystical Horse and the companion video, The Strange Mystical Dead Horse; The Fresh Face of Fascism; Hello Data Subject; Very Nearly Grenfell; and A Day At The Arms Fair.

This vlogger's paranoia is not entirely joyless, like the time, inspired by fears of Santa Claus, he gave up Christmas to break his social conditioning. His main channel concentrates on the symbolism of London architecture, and he expresses his opinions more explicitly on his back-up channel.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: They Live ... Don't They?


Still from They Live (1988). Note the book behind the hero: On ESP by Edgar Cayce, which you can read for free online here. All stills and film © Universal Pictures. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: IMDB.

On this blog, I have written about poverty and homelessness, the destruction of the middle classes, and how conspiracy theories provide dramatic and supernatural explanations for growing social inequality.

In 1988, horror film director John Carpenter made a film which tackled all these ideas. It was entitled They Live. Carpenter intended his film to be an attack on the Reagan era and 1980s' conspicuous consumption. The film suggests something prevalent in Millennial conspiracists' circles, namely, that the establishment élites are pawns of alien overlords who conceal their true appearance and feed off the energy of the impoverished common people. This is a metaphor for social alienation, racism, and socio-economic distress. But the film raises an additional question as to why They Live presented a story which many netizens now believe to be literally true.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11 Anniversary: A Late Witness


9/11 - The Smoking Gun Interview - Barry Jennings (23 August 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

September 11, 2001 is a date in history that I wish had never happened. The world felt more bleak, empty and harsh after this watershed and it has never recovered. This disaster transformed the global political atmosphere.

I don't subscribe to 9/11 truther conspiracy theories, which now form an enormous subculture on the Internet. For truthers, 9/11 is the final Red Pill you need to swallow to see the world for what it really is. There are thousands of rabbit holes there, but I prefer not to fetishize a tragedy with alt-research to confirm what I already know: this nightmare-made-real made everything worse - and it is an intrinsic part of everything else that made everything worse.

Although these videos are widely shared on truther channels, I am posting this interview today to remember 9/11.

These are the testimonies of Barry Jennings, Deputy Director of Emergency Services Department (New York City Housing Authority). He was interviewed on 11 September 2001 by local ABC news, and years later by government officials. He was then tracked down in June 2007 by Loose Change (2007) documentary filmmakers Jason Bermas and Dylan Avery; the video below provides extended material.

Two Barry Jennings Interviews (WABC-TV, 2001 / LTW, 2007) (23 August 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Barry Jennings died on 19 August 2008, two days before the release of the draft of the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (20 November 2008), which does not mention his comments. There is a Website (here) dedicated to Jennings's testimonies and death.

Jennings vividly described the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7, which he entered at 9 a.m. that horrible morning. With the help of New York firefighters, he emerged from the building's rubble, a survivor climbing over dead bodies, some four hours later. The FDNY halted work in the building at 3:30 p.m. Jennings had been rescued four hours before WTC 7 collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11.

WTC 7 was rebuilt and reopened on 23 May 2006 (architect: David M. Childs). The Twin Towers were replaced by One World Trade Center (architects: David M. Childs and Daniel Libeskind), which was fully completed on 29 May 2015.

Image Source: Eddy Cards.

One World Trade Center aka the Freedom Tower (2015). Image Source: Getty Images/USA Today.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lessons from Building the Outer Brain


The NYT reported that smart assistants can be (re-)programmed by ultrasonic signals, which are inaudible to their owners. Image Source: NYT / Lynn Scurfield.

There have been several headlines about AI and robots in recent weeks. All of them involve a gap between what we want to see in technology (and in ourselves) and what we don't want to see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Unspoil Your Spyware


Samsung self-hypnosis screenshot (Hat tip: Vigilant Citizen).

Last year, WikiLeaks' Vault 7 release included information on how the CIA hacked Samsung's smart televisions. The hacking tool, Weeping Angel,  turned the F8000 TV into a hot microphone, which recorded audio in the room even when owners thought their TV was off.

Samsung self-hypnosis screenshot (Hat tip: Vigilant Citizen).

Later in 2017, the South Korean corporation endured negative publicity as its heir, Lee Jae-Yong, went to prison. In 2016, Forbes considered Lee to be the 40th most powerful person in the world, indicating that this conviction was impressive. The 49-year-old only served one year of his five-year sentence. He was treated as a bystander in his country's huge political corruption scandal.

But Samsung takes a 'What, Me Worry?' attitude to all this. A corrupt Vice-Chairman; TVs as spyware; what's the problem? Why not respond to the negative publicity with a new brainwash feature?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Losing Our Addiction


Mark Zuckerberg in 2009: Facebook privacy is central - BBC News (21 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The endgame of social media is becoming clear. The exciting 2000s and early 2010s were the heyday of the Creative Commons. A beautiful ideal established in 2001, the Creative Commons refers to the free-sharing of information, the democratization of data.

The Commons made way for cyber-variants of political ideologies, which attempted to describe and defend new virtual freedoms. Social media seemed to offer soapboxes and development venues for tech-savvy individuals. Some of these individuals became hacktivists and citizen journalists, who used search engines and video platforms like Youtube to expose the power structures of the world. They fell for the tempting promise that the little person could finally be empowered, independent, and free. Having identified themselves in the system as potential leaders, they are now being censored. Each new liberty in this testing ground has led social media users ever deeper into a matrix of control.

It is evident that early Millennial spaces of free discussion, sexual libertinism, and politically liberated behaviour, alongside honeypot offers of cheap hardware and open source toolkits, were always controlled environments. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google and even the chans! - as Petri dishes and you start to get a better idea of what has been happening. As I stated in an earlier post about the Dark Web, anonymity is a myth. These free spaces were merely opportunities to gather vast amounts of human data for future AI systems, dedicated to social control and surveillance.

"Sean Parker, 38, claims social media sites like Facebook are 'exploiting vulnerabilities in human psychology' and said social media pioneers like himself 'understood this consciously and we did it anyway.'": Facebook founder warns of social media addiction (10 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube/ABC News.

Last year, VICE talked to Google ex-designer and ethicist Tristan Harris. Harris confirmed that social media platforms were deliberately designed to addict their users and employed tricks used in casinos, such as intermittent variable rewards. Social media platforms use social reciprocity, social approval, fear of missing out, and fear of social exclusion to trick users into sharing their personal data and their emotional sensibilities around that data. It's all done in a climate of fake positivity, driven by an undercurrent of addiction, social threat, and fear.

Social media platforms also employ principles of deception because they only offer users certain courses of behaviour, with few considering the choices which were not made available. You can read Harris's essays on this topic here.


Facebook's ex-president Sean Parker confirmed the founding principles of the platform in a series of interviews last year; from Slate:
"The thought process was all about, 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?', he said. 'And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop. … You’re exploiting a vulnerabilty in human psychology.'"
Parker's revelations mean that in the 2009 interview at the top of this post, Mark Zuckerberg was outright lying to the BBC about Facebook's endgame. Today's Silicon Valley marketing is reminiscent of cigarette ads from the 1950s through the 1980s, which deliberately misled consumers about the terrible health effects of smoking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Best Before the Font Date


The statues of Prospero and Ariel by British artist and font designer Eric Gill outside Broadcasting House in London sparked questions in the British Parliament in 1933 over the size of the sprite's genitalia. Image Source: BBC.

Those who consume mass media content passively may not notice that the explosion of information has spawned a huge industry in font design. Of course, computers have spurred on this industry.

You can see a great libre font site here and a list of paid fonts sites here. Google Fonts offers beautiful libre fonts. There are classic pairings which shape how we see information in an aesthetic and visual sense. Almost always, the combination is a mix of classical Roman and plain modern. We are surrounded by typeface pairs which constantly talk to us of the past and the present, the ancient and the new: Garamond and Gill Sans; Helvetica Neue and Baskerville; Minion Pro and Super Grotesk. Fonts are organized into superfamilies. If designers don't choose the classic serif / modern sans serif mixture, they pick fonts which belong to the same superfamily. Fonts turn letters into glyphs, living illustrations, which provide a visual message inside the textual message.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Symbols of Immortality 4: The Fake Human Burger



No sooner did labs begin developing the ability to 3D print a fake hamburger, than Oxford-based evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, stampeded straight for the less obvious question: why not 3D print a burger made of artificial human meat?

Inside the Quest to Make Lab Grown Meat | WIRED (16 February 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment. It may have been a Swiftian joke. Maybe it was clickbait. Dawkins was Oxford's professor for the 'Public Understanding of Science' until 2008, so he must know about outreach.

A 3D printer creating fake meat. Image Source: ByFlow via BBC.

Over the past few years, the major news outlets have promised that lab grown meat is coming to your table and that this is a good thing: Washington Post, BBC, Bloomberg, The Economist, Reuters. Motherboard and the BBC have covered the topic since the new year. BBC reported that Dutch firm ByFlow has started selling its 3D meat printers to restaurants. ByFlow's motto is: "Think. Design. Eat." Memphis Meats (backed by Bill Gates) and Mosa Meat are two artificial meat start-ups which will start selling fake meat for public consumption by 2021. Another cellular agriculture company is New Harvest.

In the third week of February 2018, news outlets reported that the US Cattlemen's Association filed a petition to the US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA) against the Silicon Valley start-ups which are creating lab-grown meat. You can read their petition here. They focused primarily on the definition of real meat as created from animals which have been raised and slaughtered, so that fake meat cannot be labeled as genuine meat, thereby misleading consumers.

The Meat of the Future: How Lab-Grown Meat Is Made (2 October 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Lab meat, also known as clean meat, is touted as cruelty free, especially to vegetarians. Vegan Insight reported on 16 March 2018 that 41 per cent of Britons will eat "lab-grown clean meat and fish" in the next decade.

Image Source: Belchonock/Depositphotos via New Atlas.

It is one small step to Dawkins' fake human meat. Fake cannibalism will probably get a lot of support. Under the video below the jump, one girl commented: "As a vegan, I'd be happy to eat cultured human meat. I'm actually very curious and not grossed out at all."

Joe Rogan's interviewee in this video, Sam Harris, said (here) that there was "zero ethical problem ... if this was never attached to an animal, we're dealing with concepts here," that is, the vegan girl would be eating an object cultivated in a vat of human cells.

This issue highlights a moral blind spot in technological progress; it proves that technology is skewing the human ability to judge right from wrong.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I Love My Microchip


The new slavery: employers are now microchipping employees the way a veterinarian would microchip the family pet. Image Source: Mark Gasson/BBC.

I Love My Microchip: Employers are now micro-chipping their employees and the BBC thinks this is a good idea.

Predicting the biometric future of 2017 in 2007: NBC Prediction That We Will All Have an RFID Chip Under Our Skin by 2017 (28 May 2010). Video Source: Youtube.

The LA Times reports on BD EpiCenter software, which "provides advanced data management for all BD Microbiology systems" and confirms that the Internet of Things will incorporate biological entities:
"'The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,' said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter. As a demonstration, he unlocks a door merely by waving near it. 'It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.' ... 'I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart,' he said. 'That's a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.'"
On 2 August 2017, Dave Williams, a Mozilla systems engineer in the UK, explained the benefits to the BBC:
"'I have the world's worst memory,' says Williams. The fact that he now has a gadget on him at all times that opens doors and unlocks his computer — one that he can’t leave at home or forget — is a huge advantage. 'It's also fun to give someone my number and email address by touching their phone to my hand.'"
Microchipping is recommended for commuters so they don't have to buy transit tickets. Image Source: Independent.


The claims that microchips will be used to monitor public health, improve workplace efficiency, and enhance tech users' convenience distract target audiences from the fact that microchips are the foundational element of a new slavery. Soon, being microchipped will be a prerequisite for being employed. Not only is it possible that you won't get hired without a microchip, you may not even be able to travel to work without a chip in your hand.

In past centuries, slaves were branded like livestock to show ownership. For centuries, serfs and slaves fought to become free citizens, demanding constitutions, democratic elections, and civil rights. The resolution to that journey is to be microchipped, live in a faux-democracy, and await World War III in a 5G supercity.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Nuclear Leaks 38: Fukushima Unit 2's Melted Fuel



I haven't updated my nuclear posts for awhile, mainly because the topic is so depressing. The nuclear energy nightmare is the flip side of the carbon fuel conundrum. The latter skews global politics and the world economy and inspires endless outrages, pipeline conflicts, wars, and refugee crises. The former is not a great green alternative.

Also, the Fukushima disaster reminds me in more ways than one of my own mortality, not least that I miss eating Pacific fish, and the decommissioning of Fukushima will continue long after all of us are dead.

However, on 19 January 2018, TEPCO posted photos of melted fuel from a robot probe of the inside of Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Unit 2, here. CBC:
"TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said ... 'There is so much that we still haven't seen ... . But we were able to obtain important information that we need in order to determine the right method for removing the melted fuel debris.' ... Melted fuel has previously only been documented inside Unit 3, where an underwater probe captured images of large amounts of melted fuel debris that looked like molten lava mixed with broken parts of equipment and structures on the concrete floor.

During Friday's investigation, the device — developed by Toshiba Corp. and the International Research Institute for Decommissioning, a government-funded organization of nuclear companies — found deposits in the shape of pebbles, clay and other forms, Kimoto said."
All photos below the jump are from TEPCO and were taken on 19 January 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 1: Óscar Pérez and the Rise of the Petro-Yuan


Óscar Alberto Pérez, ex-policeman and Venezuelan rebel leader died on Monday (7 April 1981 – 15 January 2018). Image Source: Newsweek.

This post is a preface to a series of posts in which I will begin to explore how technology and globalization are changing what we call 'currency' in all its forms: from Canada's sale of the country's total gold reserves in 2016, to the ups and downs of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to the evolution of the Internet into an economy of value (and what that means).

For today, we start with a glance at Venezuela, where President Nicolás Maduro Moros last September planned that his country would abandon the Petro-Dollar and take up the Petro-Yuan. Since 1974, the American dollar has functioned as the de facto global currency because it was the main currency for oil purchases, and thus for all other commodities and trade.

Now that arrangement is changing, under the leadership of Russia, China, and Iran, as oil is being priced in the Chinese Yuan: "This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar." If you believe sources like Russia Today, we are watching the American Petro-Dollar die, and the period from 1974 to the present is dying with it, including its power structure, its key players, and its principles of control. This is the start of a new era.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Coups



Since October, the Internet has been gripped by fevered speculation boiling up from 4chan and 8chan. A mysterious leaker going by the handle 'QAnon' has been releasing cryptic messages about American political drama behind the scenes. The tweet above, and another from the US Navy, resemble Q's posts on 8chan made before Christmas, hinting that Q is connected to the military or intelligence. Even Trump himself appears to have made tweets which connect to Q's posts. This implies that the military supports Trump's administration and current consolidation of power. If you are curious, all of Q's messages have been archived here.

Screenshot Source: The Daily Rabbit Hole.

Among other things, the speculation around Q refers to: American domestic politics; photos taken from Air Force One; Julian Assange and a break-in at the WikiLeaks' lawyers' offices Baltasar Garzon in Madrid on 18 December 2017; UFO rumours (for mainstream coverage, go here, here and here); and the Koreas.

An alt-media summary: Who is Q Anon An overview (24 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

The discussion about QAnon is a huge interactive experience, largely ignored Trump's critics, who would not search for, or watch, this information. But they should pay attention: this covert underground extravaganza is a lesson on how Trump dominates the Internet and derives his support from it, no matter how much the tech giants censor his supporters. Q prompts netizens to embark on a crowd-sourced information treasure hunt to decode his or her posts. Some of them have tabulated their answers to Q's hints and questions here. You can see the impact of the campaign on Twitter here and Reddit here. For example, the tweet below asks whether the CIA is arming North Korea in response to Q's Matrix prompt, Follow the White Rabbit.


One Youtube commenter felt that Q's posts are not leaks so much as the next generation of mass manipulation. That is, leaks carry an aura of legitimacy and righteousness, a scourge on the corrupt den of politics. But really, that righteousness is a smokescreen for what is effectively a military coup. Or so the chatter maintains:
"Consider that Q is a psy op. Yes, it does seem to be coming from high up. But we should be questioning the narrative that says lay down and let the police state (martial law?) drain the swamp. How long will it take before we realize the horror of what this rollout really is? (Speculating. A possibility. Think Standing Rock) OR, when Trump's term is up and the swamp hasn't been drained anywhere near the extent that this narrative claims is currently happening, will we start to question the validity of Q (as well as the whole Trump savior narrative)? Notice how Hillary supporters wait with baited breath at Trumps demise the same as Trump's supporters wait for Hillary/Obama/etc. demise. How long will we wait and keep buying the bs that justice is currently underway so we should be patient. There are multiple narratives. Some are partly true. So, irresistible. What's the endgame Q? Or Tyler, or whoever the fuck you are."
Whatever Q is or is not, his or her underground posts show a superb grasp of Internet dynamics and underground mass media communication - and of managing an intended outcome from that communication. That intended outcome is not yet determined.

Some people think QAnon is NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake because Drake often wears a 'Q' pin on his suit jacket lapel in interviews. Image Source: Open Canada.

(Hat tip: Jordan Sather, whom I have previously mentioned here; his Christmas video on this subject reached #42 in trending videos on Youtube today.)

ADDENDUM: For a 27 December 2017 discussion with the 8chan board owners on the significance of QAnon and the meaning of Leutze's painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, circulated in this context first by Q, then by the US Department of Defense, go here. Warning: some people may find the discussion to be questionable and offensive.