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 Humour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humour. Show all posts

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Laugh of the Day: CERN Portals


In June 2016, a vivid electrical storm over Geneva convinced conspiracy theorists and tabloids that CERN was opening portals in reality. Snopes debunked the claim. Image Source: Christophe Suarez / The Sun.

The American spoof magazine, The Onion, issued the following joke report in April 2017 to make fun of the latest work at CERN:
"GENEVA—Expressing deep regret over the catastrophic incident that occurred within the Large Hadron Collider, officials from the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN, held a press conference Monday to apologize for the destruction of five parallel universes in a recent experiment. 'We are sorry to report that in conducting research involving high-powered proton-proton collisions, we inadvertently caused the implosion of five universes nearly identical to our own,' said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti, adding that billions of people worldwide might have experienced momentary vertigo around 9:45 a.m. as a result of several of their alternate identities being wiped from existence. 'I’d like to emphasize that there is no need to worry, as we were able to contain the damage before our own time stream disintegrated into oblivion like the others. Furthermore, in order to perform an investigation, the LHC will be shut down for the remainder of the afternoon.' At press time, a team of CERN researchers in a parallel universe was preparing to perform the exact same experiment."
In fact, the joke is closer to reality than one might expect. Since late 2015, CERN has powered up the Large Hadron Collider to its highest levels ever to explore other dimensions by creating microscopic black holes, as reported on their Website:
In our everyday lives, we experience three spatial dimensions, and a fourth dimension of time. How could there be more? Einstein’s general theory of relativity tells us that space can expand, contract, and bend. Now if one dimension were to contract to a size smaller than an atom, it would be hidden from our view. But if we could look on a small enough scale, that hidden dimension might become visible again. Imagine a person walking on a tightrope. She can only move backward and forward; but not left and right, nor up and down, so she only sees one dimension. Ants living on a much smaller scale could move around the cable, in what would appear like an extra dimension to the tightrope-walker.

How could we test for extra dimensions? One option would be to find evidence of particles that can exist only if extra dimensions are real. Theories that suggest extra dimensions predict that, in the same way as atoms have a low-energy ground state and excited high-energy states, there would be heavier versions of standard particles in other dimensions. ...

Another way of revealing extra dimensions would be through the production of 'microscopic black holes'. What exactly we would detect would depend on the number of extra dimensions, the mass of the black hole, the size of the dimensions and the energy at which the black hole occurs. If micro black holes do appear in the collisions created by the LHC, they would disintegrate rapidly ... . They would decay into Standard Model or supersymmetric particles, creating events containing an exceptional number of tracks in our detectors, which we would easily spot. Finding more on any of these subjects would open the door to yet unknown possibilities."

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Latent Feline Infection


This meme dates from 2010. Image Source: Know Your Meme.

Today's post concerns how cats influence human health, based on the article: Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma–human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis. That article concerns the often asymptomatic or latent disease, toxoplasmosis, caused by an intercellular parasite which is passed through cats to humans and is related to human depression, autism, cerebral calcification, sex addiction, and schizophrenia. It is a disease that affects rodents and makes them lose all fear of cats; this has allowed the parasitic protozoan to return to feline systems, where it can complete its life cycle. The parasite also affects the rodent brain's sexual impulses and reward centres.

Toxoplasma gondii parasitic protozoa. Image Source: Ke Hu and John Murray via Business Insider.

Scientists believe that toxoplasmosis infection similarly makes humans attracted to cats. The disease affects an enormous number of people, which may incidentally ensure the survival of the domestic cat, while also safeguarding the protozoan. Wiki:
"Up to half of the world's population are infected by toxoplasmosis but have no symptoms. In the United States about 23% are affected and in some areas of the world this is up to 95%. About 200,000 cases of congenital toxoplasmosis occur a year. Charles Nicolle and Louis Manceaux first described the organism in 1908. In 1941 transmission during pregnancy from a mother to a child was confirmed."
Perhaps those Walking Dead zombie stories are telling you the truth about a reality you suspect, but cannot see. If you think everyone around you is infected by some mysterious bug that makes them crazy, you may not be paranoid. You may be right. From Florence Robert-Gangneux and Marie-Laure Dardé in American Society for Microbiology (2012):
"Low seroprevalences (10 to 30%) have been observed in North America, in South East Asia, in Northern Europe, and in Sahelian countries of Africa. Moderate prevalences (30 to 50%) have been found in countries of Central and Southern Europe, and high prevalences have been found Latin America and in tropical African countries."
Approximate rates of infection by country below are almost all based on tests of pregnant women. Some studies only focus on particular regions, and the numbers change from year to year. Follow the links for years and details; not all countries conduct studies or keep statistics. Note that these statistics tend to show infection passed from mother to child in the womb. They do not include post-natal infection, in which people are infected directly by handling cats or eating raw or rare meat:
  • Argentina: sources for Buenos Aires 45.6%-57.2% infected
  • Australia: 28% infected; 23% found infected in pregnant women from Melbourne
  • Bahrain: 22.3% tested positive, from pregnant women in Manama only
  • Belgium: 48.7% infected
  • Brazil: 66.9% infected; other sources range 55.6%-77.8%, depending on region
  • Canada: unknown; extrapolated estimate 14%-22% infected
  • Chile: 40%-90% of the population, depending on region
  • China: Changchun only, 10.6% infected among pregnant women
  • Colombia: 43.1%-66.7%, different sources, depending on region
  • Costa Rica: approximately 55%, increases in rural areas and with poverty
  • Croatia: 38.1% infected
  • Cuba: different studies from Havana areas, 44%-66.3%
  • Czech Republic: 30%-40% infected; in Prague, 19.8% infected
  • Denmark: statistics for Copenhagen, 27.8% infected
  • Egypt: measured in women only, 46.5% in urban areas, 57.6% in rural areas
  • France: 45% infected
  • Germany: Western Pomeranian statistics only, 63.2% infected
  • Greece: depending on different studies and different regions, 20%-36.4% infected
  • Grenada: 57% infected, nationwide estimate
  • India: 11.6%-45%, depending on class and region
  • Iran: 29.4%-63.9%, depending on class and region
  • Iraq: 49.2% infected, statistics for pregnant women tested in Basra
  • Italy: 17.5%-34.4%, a range of averages, from different studies and different regions
  • Ivory Coast: 60% infected among pregnant women from Abidjan
  • Jordan: 47.1% infected in Amman
  • Kuwait: 45.7% infected among pregnant women
  • Malaysia: 49% infected among pregnant women from Kuala Lumpur
  • Mexico: extrapolated estimate 22% infected; another source found 6.1% of pregnant women infected in Durango
  • Morocco: Rabat statistics only, among pregnant women, 50.6% infected
  • Netherlands: 35.2% nationwide
  • New Zealand: statistics for pregnant women from Auckland, 35.4% infected
  • Poland: 35.8%-43.7% infected, based on pregnant women only in three cities, Warsaw, Lodz, Poznan
  • Romania: 57.6% infected in women of child-bearing age, Timisoara only
  • Serbia: 33% infected nationwide
  • Singapore: 17.2% infected among pregnant women
  • Slovakia: 22.1% among pregnant women, Bratislava data only
  • Slovenia: 34% infected nationwide
  • South Korea: 4.3% infected; other sources range 0.8%-3.7% infected in Daejeon and Suwon
  • Spain: 18.8%-43.8% infected, averages from certain regions only
  • Sudan: Khartoum and Omdurman only, pregnant women tested, 34.1% infected
  • Sweden: 18% infected from Stockholm and Skane only
  • Switzerland: 8.2%-35% infected, based on data from Lausanne, Geneva, Basel only
  • Thailand: 5.3%-21.5% infected among pregnant women from different regions
  • Turkey: 30.1%-60.4% average infected among pregnant women, from different classes and regions, impacted by regional culinary traditions (consumption of raw meat)
  • United Kingdom: 31% infected, 20 million people in 2012, with 80% of these asymptomatic; East Kent statistics for pregnant women showed 9.1% infected
  • USA: 15%-22.5% of the population, depending on demographic, 60 million+ infected; another source states 11% nationwide, with 7.76% for US-born and 28.1% for foreign born
  • Venezuela: 38% infected among pregnant women from Lara State
  • Vietnam: from Nha Trang only, 11.2% of pregnant women infected
In humans, the disease can remain latent until adulthood, or until the body experiences weakened immunity due to other causes. The non-latent form of the disease can feel like the 'flu' and spreads to the brain, eyes, and other organs; it creates cysts in the amygdala and nucleus accumbens, and changes the connections inside the brain which deal with fear responses, sexual attraction, decision-making and memory. The parasite also increases dopamine production, altering brain chemistry in the same ways cocaine - and schizophrenia - do. Those who are infected post-natally and directly through handling cats after birth are affected more severely than those who are infected congenitally.

Image Source: Twitter.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Time and Politics 24: Kiwis on the Cutting Edge


L & P Stubbies Ad (NZ) (30 August 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

A hat tip goes to Ed at The Outer Light on Youtube for sharing a funny Kiwi ad for the famous New Zealand soft drink L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) featuring the equally famous Stubbies, "short shorts ... for informal wear" favoured by Aussie and Kiwi men since 1972. The ad reminded me of my earlier post on Canadian humour, here.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, Kim Dotcom & Suzie Dawson - 2nd #AntiSpyBill event (20 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

If the Kiwis were on the cutting edge of men's fashion in the 1970s, they're on the cutting edge of political fashion now. This was Ed's segue, not mine! The point he was making, I think, is that the world used to be more trusting, naive, and less oppressive. People hung out, had parties, drank soda, and wore tight pants. Ed's Outer Light videos often express nostalgia for the lost, pre-Internet past, when everyday people did not worry about global crime and mass surveillance, and they felt they could trust their governments.

One of the Internet Party's supporters and spokespeople is Barrett Brown. For more on him, go here. Image Source: Facebook.

If citizens did not worry about mass surveillance then, they certainly do now. The New Zealand Internet Party held another worldwide roundtable meeting on 20 August 2017 to continue to develop a bill against government spying on citizens:
"Acclaimed CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and other special guests will join tech entrepreneur and Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom on the panel of the next #AntiSpyBill live event this Sunday night.

This comes hot on the heels of several major American publications reporting on technical evidence recently presented by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity (VIPS), of which Kiriakou is a member, to the White House regarding the DNC leaks of 2016, The event will be held online between 8pm and 11pm on Sunday the 20th of August, 2017, NZST (UTC+12) and follows on from the Internet Party’s flagship #AntiSpyBill event which featured appearances by Dotcom, award-winning journalist Barrett Brown, hacktivist Lauri Love and comedian Lee Camp. ...

The Internet Party is inviting the public to join the roundtable event, which as well as discussing contemporary issues of the day, will continue its effort to draft crowdsourced legislation to counter government spying."
The Internet Party is headed by ex-Occupy-Auckland citizen journalist, Suzie Dawson, a New Zealand political refugee living in Moscow, Russia (she has applied for temporary asylum); she made a documentary about her experiences in the Occupy movement and the events which led her to seek asylum, here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fountain of Youth 21: Life-Giving Elixirs



The newspaper advertisement below for life-giving mineral water comes from the fourth page of The Markdale Standard, 23 October 1890. You can click the image below to enlarge. The ad comes from a time when sparkling water was considered an elixir of life, a source of rejuvenation and renewed health. From this time period, mineral water also became a fancy little signal of wealth.


Markdale is an old community north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. That is, it is old by Canadian standards. In 1890, the town was only forty-four years old, and the newspaper had been running for eleven years. The newspaper declared the attitude of local colonial residents with its motto: "Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may."





Images from Grey Highlands, Ontario, Canada. The last image shows a typical Ontario red brick building, built in Queen Anne Revival style, from the turn of the last century. Images Sources: Municipality of Grey Highlands, Royal Le Page Real Estate, Janet H. Becerra.

Markdale was located in the historic municipality, Artemesia Township, Grey County. Now called the Grey Highlands, the area is close to the town of Orillia, which author Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) depicted as the quintessential Canadian community, fictionalized as Mariposa. Some consider Ontario and Quebec to be the old heartland provinces of Canada, and this is the heart of the heartland of Ontario. This is cottage country.

In two books of mirrored short stories, Leacock portrayed Canada and America during the Gilded Age, to show how the two countries developed alongside each other and how they differed. The stories about Canada focus on Mariposa in the collection, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912). You can read it online here.

One of the stories, "The Candidacy of Mr. Smith," describes the election campaign of the town's illiterate hotel owner, Josh Smith, who runs for the Conservatives and appeals to the royalist sympathies of Ontario Tories:
"Boys," said Mr. Smith to the two hostlers, stepping out on to the sidewalk in front of the hotel,—"hoist that there British Jack over the place and hoist her up good."

Then he stood and watched the flag fluttering in the wind.

"Billy," he said to the desk clerk, "get a couple more and put them up on the roof of the caff behind the hotel. Wire down to the city and get a quotation on a hundred of them. Take them signs 'American Drinks' out of the bar. Put up noo ones with 'British Beer at all Hours'; clear out the rye whiskey and order in Scotch and Irish, and then go up to the printing office and get me them placards."

Then another thought struck Mr. Smith.

"Say, Billy," he said, "wire to the city for fifty pictures of King George. Get 'em good, and get 'em coloured. It don't matter what they cost."

"All right, sir," said Billy.

"And Billy," called Mr. Smith, as still another thought struck him (indeed, the moment Mr. Smith went into politics you could see these thoughts strike him like waves), "get fifty pictures of his father, old King Albert."

"All right, sir."

"And say, I tell you, while you're at it, get some of the old queen, Victorina, if you can. Get 'em in mourning, with a harp and one of them lions and a three-pointed prong."
The election depicted here resembles Canada's 1911 federal election, which turned on the economics of free trade; in 1911, Canadian voters rejected the Liberals' free trade platform and voted Conservative. This election outcome dictated Canada's stance toward trade with the United States until 1988:
"I suppose there was no place in the whole Dominion where the trade question—the Reciprocity question—was threshed out quite so thoroughly and in quite such a national patriotic spirit as in Mariposa. For a month, at least, people talked of nothing else. A man would stop another in the street and tell him that he had read last night that the average price of an egg in New York was decimal ought one more than the price of an egg in Mariposa, and the other man would stop the first one later in the day and tell him that the average price of a hog in Idaho was point six of a cent per pound less (or more,—he couldn't remember which for the moment) than the average price of beef in Mariposa.

People lived on figures of this sort, and the man who could remember most of them stood out as a born leader. ..."
In the election, it looks like the independent will win in an upset:
"I suppose that may have been why it was that in Mariposa the results came out at first in such a conflicting way. Perhaps that was how it was that the first reports showed that Edward Drone the Independent candidate was certain to win. You should have seen how the excitement grew upon the streets when the news was circulated. In the big rallies and meetings of the Liberals and Conservatives, everybody had pretty well forgotten all about Drone, and when the news got round at about four o'clock that the Drone vote was carrying the poll, the people were simply astounded. Not that they were not pleased. On the contrary. They were delighted. Everybody came up to Drone and shook hands and congratulated him and told him that they had known all along that what the country wanted was a straight, honest, non-partisan representation. The Conservatives said openly that they were sick of party, utterly done with it, and the Liberals said that they hated it. Already three or four of them had taken Drone aside and explained that what was needed in the town was a straight, clean, non-partisan post-office, built on a piece of ground of a strictly non-partisan character, and constructed under contracts that were not tainted and smirched with party affiliation. Two or three men were willing to show to Drone just where a piece of ground of this character could be bought. They told him too that in the matter of the postmastership itself they had nothing against Trelawney, the present postmaster, in any personal sense, and would say nothing against him except merely that he was utterly and hopelessly unfit for his job and that if Drone believed, as he had said he did, in a purified civil service, he ought to begin by purifying Trelawney.

Already Edward Drone was beginning to feel something of what it meant to hold office and there was creeping into his manner the quiet self-importance which is the first sign of conscious power."
But in the last moment, the hotelier Smith wins for the Conservatives by declaring his victory in the press before he actually wins; this swings the undecided voters for him, and everyone forgets how Liberal they were before the election:
"It was that last hour that did it. Just as soon as the big posters went up in the windows of the Mariposa Newspacket with the telegraphic despatch that Josh Smith was reported in the city to be elected, and was followed by the messages from all over the county, the voters hesitated no longer. They had waited, most of them, all through the day, not wanting to make any error in their vote, but when they saw the Smith men crowding into the polls and heard the news from the outside, they went solid in one great stampede, and by the time the poll was declared closed at five o'clock there was no shadow of doubt that the county was saved and that Josh Smith was elected for Missinaba.

I wish you could have witnessed the scene in Mariposa that evening. It would have done your heart good,—such joy, such public rejoicing as you never saw. It turned out that there wasn't really a Liberal in the whole town and that there never had been. They were all Conservatives and had been for years and years. Men who had voted, with pain and sorrow in their hearts, for the Liberal party for twenty years, came out that evening and owned up straight that they were Conservatives. They said they could stand the strain no longer and simply had to confess. Whatever the sacrifice might mean, they were prepared to make it."

Recent interiors of the Chicago Club (established 1869) and the University Club of Chicago (established 1887). Images Sources: Chicago Club, Prague Days Chicago.

Leacock's book which describes America, Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich (1914), centres on an unnamed metropolis - probably Chicago - and its exclusive Plutoria Avenue and Mausoleum Club (previously mentioned in this post). As for the inspiration for the Mausoleum Club, you can see a list of traditional gentlemen's clubs in Illinois, here. You can read Arcadian Adventures online here.


Recent interiors of Chicago's Casino Club (founded 1914). Images Sources: LK Events Chicago, Victoria Sprung Photography.

Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich opens with a reference to mineral water as well, as a symbol of America's breath-taking, heart-stopping wealth from this period:
"The Mausoleum Club stands on the quietest corner of the best residential street in the City. It is a Grecian building of white stone. About it are great elm trees with birds – the most expensive kind of birds – singing in the branches.

The street in the softer hours of the morning has an almost reverential quiet. Great motors move drowsily along it, with solitary chauffeurs returning at 10.30 after conveying the earlier of the millionaires to their down-town offices. The sunlight flickers through the elm trees, illuminating expensive nursemaids wheeling valuable children in little perambulators. Some of the children are worth millions and millions. In Europe, no doubt, you may see in the Unter den Linden avenue or the Champs Elysées a little prince or princess go past with a clattering military guard to do honour. But that is nothing. It is not half so impressive, in the real sense, as what you may observe every morning on Plutoria Avenue beside the Mausoleum Club in the quietest part of the city. Here you may see a little toddling princess in a rabbit suit who owns fifty distilleries in her own right. There, in a lacquered perambulator, sails past a little hooded head that controls from its cradle an entire New Jersey corporation. The United States attorney-general is suing her as she sits, in a vain attempt to make her dissolve herself into constituent companies. Near by is a child of four, in a khaki suit, who represents the merger of two trunk line railways. You may meet in the flickered sunlight any number of little princes and princesses far more real than the poor survivals of Europe. Incalculable infants wave their fifty-dollar ivory rattles in an inarticulate greeting to one another. A million dollars of preferred stock laughs merrily in recognition of a majority control going past in a go-cart drawn by an imported nurse. And through it all the sunlight falls through the elm-trees, and the birds sing and the motors hum, so that the whole world as seen from the boulevard of Plutoria Avenue is the very pleasantest place imaginable.

Just below Plutoria Avenue, and parallel with it, the trees die out and the brick and stone of the City begins in earnest. Even from the Avenue you see the tops of the sky-scraping buildings in the big commercial streets, and can hear or almost hear the roar of the elevated railway, earning dividends. And beyond that again the City sinks lower, and is choked and crowded with the tangled streets and little houses of the slums.

In fact, if you were to mount to the roof of the Mausoleum Club itself on Plutoria Avenue you could almost see the slums from there. But why should you? And on the other hand, if you never went up on the roof, but only dined inside among the palm-trees, you would never know that the slums existed – which is much better.

There are broad steps leading up to the club, so broad and so agreeably covered with matting that the physical exertion of lifting oneself from one’s motor to the door of the club is reduced to the smallest compass. The richer members are not ashamed to take the steps one at a time, first one foot and then the other; and at tight money periods, when there is a black cloud hanging over the Stock Exchange, you may see each and every one of the members of the Mausoleum Club dragging himself up the steps after this fashion, his restless eyes filled with the dumb pathos of a man wondering where he can put his hand on half a million dollars.

But at gayer times, when there are gala receptions at the club, its steps are all buried under expensive carpet, soft as moss and covered over with a long pavilion of red and white awning to catch the snowflakes; and beautiful ladies are poured into the club by the motorful. Then indeed it is turned into a veritable Arcadia; and for a beautiful pastoral scene, such as would have gladdened the heart of a poet who understood the cost of things, commend me to the Mausoleum Club on just such an evening. Its broad corridors and deep recesses are filled with shepherdesses such as you never saw, dressed in beautiful shimmering gowns, and wearing feathers in their hair that droop off sideways at every angle known to trigonometry. And there are shepherds too with broad white waistcoats and little patent leather shoes and heavy faces and congested cheeks. And there is dancing and conversation among the shepherds and shepherdesses, with such brilliant flashes of wit and repartee about the rise in Wabash and the fall in Cement that the soul of Louis Quatorze would leap to hear it. And later there is supper at little tables, when the shepherds and shepherdesses consume preferred stocks and gold-interest bonds in the shape of chilled champagne and iced asparagus, and great platefuls of dividends and special quarterly bonuses are carried to and fro in silver dishes by Chinese philosophers dressed up to look like waiters.

But on ordinary days there are no ladies in the club, but only the shepherds. You may see them sitting about in little groups of two and three under the palm-trees drinking whiskey and soda; though of course the more temperate among them drink nothing but whiskey and Lithia water, and those who have important business to do in the afternoon limit themselves to whiskey and Radnor, or whiskey and Magi water. There are as many kinds of bubbling, gurgling, mineral waters in the caverns of the Mausoleum Club as ever sparkled from the rocks of Homeric Greece. And when you have once grown used to them, it is as impossible to go back to plain water as it is to live again in the forgotten house in a side street that you inhabited long before you became a member."
In his satire of America before World War I, Leacock was undoubtedly influenced by Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), under whom he studied graduate economics at the University of Chicago.

The library at the Union League Club of Chicago (founded 1879). Image Source: Union League Club of Chicago.

Veblen's critique of capitalism was summarized by his invention of the phrase, "conspicuous consumption" in his book, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899); you can read it online here. See my previous mention of Veblen in the post, Bitcoin: Economy of the Eternal Now, and my earlier post contrasting Canada and America in Twelve by Twelve Hours in Two Countries.

Penguin ed. of Veblen's work (1995). Image Source: booktopia.

Image Source: Princeton UP.

On 7 September 2016, one of my favourite American blogs, The Art of Manliness, pondered the values of the American election by citing a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt spoke on 3 April 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on the ideals of American citizenship, beyond conspicuous consumption and money-making:
"No matter how honest a man may be, if he is timid, there is but little chance of his being useful to the body politic. In addition to honesty you must have strength and courage. We live in a rough world, and good work in it can be done only by those who are not afraid to step down into the hurly burly to do their part in the dust and smoke of the arena. The man who is a good man, but who stays at home in his own parlor, is of small use. It is easy enough to be good, if you lead the cloistered life, which is absolutely free from temptation to do evil because there is no chance to do it.

In addition to honesty and decency you need courage and strength. You need not only the virtues that teach you to refrain from wrong doing, but the virtues that teach you positively and aggressively to do right. You have to have those, too. And if you have got them, still it is not enough. You are valueless without them; you are valueless as a citizen unless you are both honest and brave, but if, in addition to that, you are a natural born fool, may the Lord be with you.

We need courage and we need honesty, and finally we need the saving grace of common sense. And we shall get good results from good citizenship exactly in proportion as the average citizen is developed along the three lines that I have indicated; for that is the man who will have high ideals, and yet will be able to realize them in practical fashion."
See all my posts on the Fountain of Youth.

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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rickrolling ISIS


Image Source: Academia Obscura.

In 2007, a bait-and-switch meme started on the Internet that tricked users into watching Rick Astley's 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up (hear it here). The meme is called 'Rickrolling' and while it has brought Astley back into the spotlight, by August 2015 he had earned only $12 from the prank because he has performer's rights to the song; profits from Rickrolling went to the very fortunate song-writing trio, Stock Aitken Waterman. Astley remains sanguine: "Listen, I just think it’s bizarre and funny. My main consideration is that my daughter doesn’t get embarrassed about it." Above, from Academia Obscura, a student's physics paper on Niels Bohr. Bohr, the 1922 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, modeled the atom in the 1920s, helped refugees flee the Nazis in the 1930s, worked at the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, and helped establish CERN in the 1950s.

Anonymous cyber-revenge campaign after the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks. Video Source: RT via Youtube.

The Young Turks opinion on Anonymous campaign against ISIS (16 November 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Rickrolling meme is resilient. A day after the Paris attacks on 14 November 2015, Anonymous began to spam and troll Twitter users with pro-ISIS terrorist hashtags by diverting their traffic to Rick Astley's video. This Rickrolling performs as a type of data-mining, in which Anonymous hackers keep track of those diverted to the video and mark them for cyber-attacks. The hackers use social media information to steal ISIS Bitcoin cryptocurrency holdings and they attack them on the Dark Net. They renewed this effort after the Brussels attacks on 22 March 2016. This is the hackers' reverse humour against ISIS operatives and sympathizers: never gonna give you up.

However, as I have commented before on this blog, it would be naïve to imagine Anonymous as purely heroic actors, after one has had a taste of their New World Order and World War III conspiracy theories, here, here, here and here. The campaigns against ISIS are related to Anonymous cyber-attacks on the Belgian government under hashtag #DownSecBelgium. On their announcement that they will rally at Place de la Concorde in Paris, France on 10 June 2016, one Youtuber was skeptical: "rien à voire avec Anonymous, c'est un fake."

Anonymous hacker campaign announced in French against ISIS one day after the Paris attacks (14 November 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Anonymous hacker campaign announced in French against ISIS on the same day as the Brussels attacks (22 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Love in the New Millennium 11: An Indigo-Anonymous Valentine


Image Source: Beneath Blindfold.

A surprise Valentine's post was inspired by a search on computer hackers and Julian Assange's latest media scrum. Some days, writing the cultural history of the new Millennium is like being on a game show. Do a search on a random topic and find a giant world mushrooming behind the label. "What's behind Door Number 6, Bob?" Then you look, and you're sorry you did.

Today, behind Door Number 6, we find Indigo Children. This is one of those 1970s' Baby Boomer spiritual entertainment franchises which got out of control and has now created a New Age revolution in parent-child consciousness. With apologies to all those who positively self-identify as Indigo Children, the term came from books written by three Silent Gen and Boomer authors: Nancy Ann Tappe, Jan Tober, and Lee Carroll. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Tappe combined visual arts colour theory with eastern spiritual ideas about coloured chakras and auras. She claimed that a new type of people were appearing on the planet, and their indigo-coloured auras revealed their soul missions. Sometimes, they were infused with alien spirits from the stars; either way, they were meant to change the world with superhuman psychic abilities. This was a profitable mash-up of many ideas from that time, and adapted the egomania of the Me Generation.

The Indigo Child combined the 1970s' extra-sensory perception fad with space aliens (a quasi-futuristic update of Roman Catholic demonology), sexual liberation, angel worship, New Age occultism, Wicca, and environmental eco-faith. In Tappe's mythos, Indigo people now walking the earth were and are on a gnostic spiritual path. Tappe warned that as heralds and iconoclasts of the Age of Aquarius, Indigo Children might be hard to take!
Top Indigo Characteristics:
  • Brilliant with technology
  • Relaxed and casual
  • Peer-oriented
  • Love junk food
  • High energy
  • Bored in school and easily distracted
  • Multi-task effortlessly
  • Blunt in communication
  • Unswayed by previous social norms
  • View entitlement as a right
  • Androgynous
Indigo Children were and are rebellious non-conformists, but we have to forgive them for it, since they are destined to unite us all in peaceful, loving understanding of ever-broader realities and dimensions of existence. From Tappe's Website:
Indigos is a label associated with recent generations of individuals born around the globe. They were originally seen and identified by Nancy Ann Tappe (1931-2012) as a part of the color system which evolved from her synesthetic perceptions. Nancy's lifetime work with the science of color has persuaded her and thousands of others that color is one language that can be used to distinguish and identify elements of the human personality.

Indigos bring change to every level of the human experience through their universal task: to globalize humanity through technology. Their energy today is constantly changing and fast, almost hyperactive. Technology is an innate talent and skill for them; cellphones are an extension of their body.

There are four groups or types of Indigo: Humanists, Artists, Conceptualists, and Catalysts. ...

Indigo was only one of twelve life colors that Nancy Tappe has seen her entire life in the human electromagnetic energy field. Originally Nancy saw eleven colors, but that changed in the late 1960's and early 1970's when she noticed another color among infants. She called it indigo, a color between blue and violet in the color spectrum. It took her forty years to identify and clarify consistent patterns of Indigo behavior and influence. Her information system about life colors came from her study of color and the human personality.
Over the subsequent decades, the idea of Indigo Children influenced the Boomer credo that their children were special, unique and gifted. This was particularly the case if the children suffered from learning disabilities or behavioural problems, many of which had been newly conceptualized as well.

For Gen X parents, Indigo Child spiritual parenting techniques have evolved as part of so-called 'meta-gifted education.' Little did Tappe realize that the Me Generation's ego worship would create a new generation of people who worshipped their own souls, to become demi-gods in the new Millennium's online spiritual explosion. In March 2012, Cracked numbered Indigo Children among one of the "five creepiest progressive parenting fads": "Declaring Bratty Kids to Be Magical Superhumans." Indigo Children inspired a film in 2012 and resonates strongly with people who have grown up with, and are living much of their lives in, the dream spaces of virtual reality.

Anonymous Message to the Indigo Children of the world (28 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

None of this has escaped the attention of computer hackers, who spend a lot of time online and know virtual cultures well. In 2015, an Anonymous hacker posted a video with a proposal to Indigo Children. "Look, you Indigo Children [girls]," the hacker said, "it's time for us to join forces." From the video description:
"Attention Indigo, crystal, and rainbow children of the world. Greetings from anonymous. We are contacting you today as there are those who say you and those like you are here to usher in the new era. An era of peace and enlightenment. It has been said you are here to challenge the tyranny that has so long plagued our world. To rise up against injustice and make way for a new, harmonious world.

However, the planet seems to be going in the other direction. Corporations have corrupted nearly every government in the world. Our politicians our controlled by money. The people who are sworn to protect us are now beating and killing us. Greed and indifference are glorified while generosity and tolerance are mocked. The media are nothing more than pawns in a world where our fundamental right to knowledge and expression are being censored. Children are starving in the streets. The elderly are homeless, cold and hungry. Things are only going to get worse.

the time for talking is over. It is time for action. No longer can we turn a blind eye to uncensured greed and corruption. No longer can we afford the luxury of not paying attention to the world around us. Our futures, and our childrens futures depend on it. We must act now. We must take to the streets, we must take to the internet. We must let the powers at be know that this is our world and will will not sit idly by as they enslave and destroy it.

Many believe Anonymous is nothing more than a group of hacker activists. This is not exactly true. Anonymous is not a group or organization per say. There is no central leadership. There is no membership. There is no one sole purpose behind our actions. Rather, we are a movement. An idea. We are everyone and we are no one. We are anyone who wishes to stand up against injustice. We are the passerby who records police brutality on their phone. We are the reporter who exposes a corrupt politician, we are your friend that constantly posts activists posts and news stories on social media, we are the protesters in the streets and, yes, sometimes we are the hackers taking down terrorist websites. We believe that the indigo children can add greatly to our movement. To help us achieve a better world for everyone. Join the cause today."
Anonymous lads: young hacker vigilantes. Image Source: Hacker News Bulletin.

I suspect this has less to do with toppling the Illuminati and more to do with getting laid. This goes to show that no matter how crazy the crazy gets, nature finds a way. But it's not going to be that easy (the follow-up video is here). One Indigo girl who commented on the Anonymous guy's video was skeptical:
"I am indigo and I get a negative vibe from them. Its like they are the face of what right sounds like but isn't. The change is not about fighting. It's about loving. Indigo children are free spirits. They do not have one solid belief or group or thought for which they support. They simply act on what feels right inside. I am suspicious of this post. Police brutality isn't even a major issue. There's brutality everywhere in every race and occupation in the world. There is nothing wrong with police or blacks or whites. We as a people are the problem. we each have two wolves. one of love and one of hate. the one that wins the fight is the one you feed. stop labeling police and groups and people. take self responsibility and stop encouraging the media. treat each negative case as an individual issue. stop playing victim. do not wine because the milk has spilled. feed it to the cat so that you can save a days worth of cat food and in turn a days worth of money. see the positive and feed the positive."
Perhaps Indigo Children should just lie back, close their third eyes, and think of England. More likely, the hackers will be ensnared in their Indigo lovers' harrowing spiritual awakenings and ascensions to the fifth dimension of existence.

Image Source: tumblr.

See all posts on Love in the New Millennium.
Click here for my posts on 60s' Legacies.
Posts on spiritual technology in the New Millennium are here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

So Passed the Queen of the Black Coast


3 December 2015: "A professor at Texas A&M University posted these photos to Facebook. 'There has been a dead cockroach in the Anthropology building's stairwell for at least two weeks. Some enterprising person has now made her a little shrine.'" Images and Text Sources: Facebook via imgur.

In November, a cockroach died in the Anthropology stairwell at Texas A&M University. Then Facebook took over after the Anthropology Department went all Princess Diana-Burning Man to bid the cockroach goodbye in December.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bloom County is Back


Image Source: Facebook.

Bloom County, the beloved 1980s' American alt-politics comic strip that out-alted them all has returned after 25 years. Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed announced the return, which may or may not have had something to do with Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, on Facebook on 13 July 2015. Bloom County grew out of a late 1970s' comic, The Academia Waltz, from Breathed's student days and inspired sequels Outland (1989-1995) and Opus (2003-2008).

Laugh of the Day: Minute by Minute



The cartoon above is from Gary Clement at Canada's National Post (27 December 2014). Clement pokes fun at the six-volume autobiography of Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle (Min kamp), known for its minute-by-minute examination of all minutiae of the author's life. It was a publishing sensation. Unlike Clement's cartoon, there was nothing funny about the personal outcome. Knausgård admitted that in exposing so many intimate details about himself and those close to him, he committed an "unmoral" act and gave away his soul. But he said: "The point was not to please. It was to speak the truth. To write reality." The first volume was published in 2009, the last in 2011; the whole series is 3,600 pages long.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Venn Diagram of Unintended Consequences


This is a Venn diagram of unintended consequences New Republic writer Elizabeth Bruenig experienced when reviewing work by Ayn Rand.

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.